Fantasy Football is a popular game in which participants assemble an imaginary team of real life players and score points based on those players’ actual statistical performance.

 

Now that President Obama has announced his re-election bid while Republicans have no officially declared presidential candidates, (exploratory committees do not count) this is the perfect time for political junkies to assemble their own 2012 Republican presidential fantasy teams to battle the current holders of the White House trophy.

 

For the purposes of this game the GOP presidential players are based on the latest top five insider rankings from National Journal. They are in order of ranking —

Governors Romney, Pawlenty, Barbour, Daniels and Huckabee.

 

Of the National Journal’s top five only Romney and Pawlenty are surely running, while Barbour, Daniels and Huckabee seem to be on the fence.

 

(Newt Gingrich, who has established a 2012 exploratory committee, was listed 7th on the National Journal ranking, so he does not qualify for a fantasy team by these particular game rules.)

 

The vice-presidential fantasy running mate of National Journal’s top five will be based on the political assets that person brings to the ticket, how the ticket stacks up physically,  and the over all “wow” excitement factor. 

 

Here are the fantasy teams most likely to win the 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination.

 

#1 Romney/Rubio

Since Ronald Reagan cannot be resurrected to run in 2012 the ticket of Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Florida Senator Marco Rubio with their combined RR initials is a good way to subconsciously bring back the Gipper and excite the party faithful.  If Romney does manage to secure the Republican nomination, most conservatives generally speaking will not be pleased. So what better way to curry favor with the base than to bring on-board the new kid on the block, conservative darling Florida Senator Marco Rubio?

 

You can also rationalize Rubio’s abbreviated time in the US Senate (less than two years by convention time in August of 2012) for under Senator Obama’s rules of presidential experience, a national candidate only needs two years in the Senate before announcing for President, so that puts Rubio well within the Senate parameters for Vice-President.

 

Senator Rubio’s Cuban heritage will attract Hispanic voters to the GOP and he would make history as the first Hispanic on a national ticket. Then Rubio receives double bonus points because the Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida ratcheting up the excitement factor and giving him extra credit because Florida on election night 2012 could be on the verge of sudden death overtime.

This is because, as all political junkies know, Obama could lose Florida and still win re-election but the Republicans must win Florida or they lose the White House.  

 

For all these reasons, plus two great heads of hair, the RR ticket is the #1 fantasy team for 2012.

 

#2 Pawlenty/Christie

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty feeling good about his prospects for winning the nomination recently stated  that his top five vice presidential picks are Florida Senator Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

 

Since Pawlenty is not known for his charismatic personality or rock star status, his ideal fantasy pairing is with NJ Gov. Chris Christie, who would add weight to the ticket and not just in poundage. Christie has gained a reputation for being tough on spending and actually speaking his mind.  Christie has said he is not running on any presidential ticket so playing “hard to get” just increases his desirability — as does his perceived role as “kingmaker” to the presidential candidates.

 

A Governor – Governor ticket of Pawlenty/Christie would be light on foreign policy experience but heavy on domestic belt tightening. This fantasy choice also puts New Jersey in play for 2012— a state whose electoral votes have not landed in the Republican column since 1988.

 

#3 Barbour/Kyl

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour like all governors with an eye on the White House  needs to balance his domestic executive experience with a running mate who is an ace in the foreign policy arena. Thus Barbour’s fantasy pairing is with the third ranking Republican in the US Senate, retiring Arizona Senator Jon Kyl — who brings an abundance of expertise in foreign policy and national security issues.

Plus the state of Arizona could turn into a battle ground state in 2012 with its increasing Hispanic voter registration. 

So if your winning ticket offers decades of domestic and foreign policy experience Barbour/Kyl is no fantasy.

 

#4  Daniels/ McDonnell

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels a well regarded fiscal conservative won re-election in 2008 while Obama won this historically Republican leaning state. Then in 2009 Bob McDonnell won the Virginia governorship in a 16 point landslide in a state just a year before was won by Obama. (The first time Virginia had gone democratic in a presidential election since 1964.)

McDonnell is a strong social conservative, whose presence on the ticket could help blunt misgivings about Daniels by social conservatives.  

 

This no nonsense fantasy ticket of duel sitting Governors, Daniels and McDonnell might help turn both states back to the GOP column while bringing executive management leadership to the White House. Additionally, both Daniels and McDonnell are shorter than 6 feet so they will look well-matched out on the campaign trail.

 

#5 Huckabee/Palin

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be the Fox News fantasy ticket.

Chances are neither will actually run for president which is why both are still active Fox News contributors and in Huckabee’s case the host of a weekly show.

This ticket would be a gift to the Republican base and a rating bonanza for Fox News but a fantasy when it comes to attracting the all important independent/swing voter.

 

And the greatest fantasy ticket of all is…..

 

Trump/ Petraeus

Our nation’s most famous self-promoter paired with America’s most respected general.

Only a strong personality could stand up to “The Donald” and General Petraeus fills that bill. Petraeus of course would first have to hang up his stars and run as a civilian.

This ticket actually affords Trump the opportunity to say to President Obama on November 6, 2012 — You’re Fired!

Obviously this is Trump’s ultimate life fantasy and now that the polls are supporting him, he will play along until he has to file those pesky financial disclosure forms — which for Donald Trump Inc. will be way too much reality.

By Myra Adams