I’ll admit it: Early this year, if Mike Pence had decided to run for president, I would have been “all in” for him. Here, Bill Kristol suggests that Pence is one who still should consider changing his “no go” decision. (Oh, what a nice thought!) The larger point that Kristol makes, a point that is right on target, is that there is absolutely no reason why the current shape of the race must remain in place. The vast majority of GOP voters are not yet even remotely committed to any particular candidate. In that light, my column today at The American Spectator names yet another person who party big-wigs ought to try to recruit: Bobby Jindal, who just won re-election as Louisiana governor in a landslide. As you’ll see in my column, Jim Geraghty also has a big Jindal feature in the latest issue of National Review.
To be clear, I’m not saying Jindal would get my vote even if he ran. I might still vote for Rick Santorum. I still see the appeal of Herman Cain. Whatever. But that’s the point: I’m like more than 80 percent of Republican voters: I’m still able to be swayed. So, dear reader, are you, almost assuredly. At Real Clear Politics, Scott Conroy says we shouldn’t be fooled, for instance, by Santorum’s low polling numbers, because his organization in Iowa is remarkably strong. I agree.
Right now it appears, for instance, that if either Herman Cain’s outlandish lack of a clue on foreign and defense policy or his weak campaign organization catches up with him and he starts to sink, the next conservative poised to make a challenge is Newt Gingrich, who was given up for dead almost as soon as he entered the race with a thud in the spring. Who woulda thunk that Gingrich could rehabilitate himself? (Who woulda thunk Republican voters would look past Gingrich’s sordid past, his implosion as Speaker based on his arrogance and mercurial nature, his habit of saying nasty things about conservatives, his huge negatives among independent voters, his pathetic pandering on ethanol and on global warming nonsense in general, his habit of sticking his foot in his mouth, or any of his other manifold weaknesses?) But if Gingrich can rise from the political dead all the way to third in the polls, why can’t Santorum catch the next wave? Or why can’t a Jindal jump in with just the right finesse and surge like Cain did, and like Perry and Bachmann did before Cain?
This race remains wide open, folks. Keeping it wide open is a good thing, not a bad one, because it allows more relevant information to surface and tests the candidates more strenuously, making the eventual nominee far more hardened and ready for whatever Barack Obama’s minions can throw at him.