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Mitt Romney: 2012 GOP Frontrunner

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‘What?!’ you say? You don’t see my logic? Well, my train of thought starts here:

Let’s start with Mark Sanford, who has inspired a new phrase — “I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail” — to describe any kind of mysterious disappearance. […] Next, there’s Sarah Palin, who has had a rough last several months; after all, when your spat with a late-night comedian has been the highlight of your 2009, you’ve had a tough year. Then there’s Bobby Jindal, who has since stepped back from the spotlight after his dreadful response to Obama’s address to Congress. John Ensign dipped his toes in the Iowa waters, but then confessed last week to having an affair. And Newt Gingrich got in trouble — and didn’t do himself any favors among Latino voters — when he called Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Even the person who was supposed to be the moderate in the 2012 field, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, has gone to work for … the Obama administration

It seems like each of the likely-potential 2012 primary candidates are imploding in some form or another.

While some of these, errr, missteps are relatively small (Jindal’s response, Palin’s ‘fight’ with Letterman, etc.), I think that it’s safe to completely rule out John Ensign and Jon Huntsman (after all, you can’t admit to an affair or work for the ‘enemy’ and then hope to win your party’s trust, can you?). Gingrich is tougher. He is still wildly popular with the base of the GOP, but the article is right to point out his ‘racist’ comment about Judge Sotomayor. The Latino vote is HUGE in modern presidential politics and could have an extremely negative affect on any potential campaign for The Newt. It’s still too early to dissect Mark Sanford’s situation — as that story is still developing — but you don’t need to be clairvoyant to see that there is something strange afoot in South Carolina.

Which, as I see it, leaves us three candidates with the strong potential: Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty. Governor Pawlenty is still a relative unknown on the national stage and Mike Huckabee — despite moderate success in the GOP primary last year — is not a favorite of the base. Hence, my declaration of Romney as the 2012 frontrunner.

Then again, a week is a lifetime in politics — so what does that make three years?

[cross-posted at ThePajamaPundit.com]