Chris Cillizza ranks GOPers every month according to who has the most control over the party’s direction over the next several years. Guess who was listed as number one again?
1. Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor is the complete package. A tremendous fundraiser, he also has the business credentials that allow him to speak intelligently and forcefully about the economy — the only issue most Americans care about right now. Romney will move to seize the high ground (from a policy perspective) on health care within the party over the coming months and is likely to be Obama’s leading critic when Congress takes up the legislation in the fall. Romney’s Achilles heel: he is still a little too programmatic and stiff. He needs to find the common touch if he wants to stand against Obama in November 2012. (Previous ranking: 1)
Here is the complete list. You can see by a quick perusal doesn’t limit itself to possible 2012 candidates — some of these can’t or won’t be able to run.
10. Bobby Jindal
9. Tim Pawlenty
8. Jeb Bush
7. Rush Limbaugh
6. Sarah Palin
5. Eric Cantor
4. Newt Gingrich
3. Mark Sanford
2. Haley Barbour
1. Mitt Romney
Can Gov. Romney find “the common touch” to run in 2012? Definitely. (In fact, he’s fantastically down-to-earth in way that didn’t shine through in the Presidential campaign.)
Perhaps this time around (if he does take another shot at the office), he’ll let more of his personality come through. And maybe — just maybe — America will have had enough of style and rhetorical flourish by then to elect someone who also has substance and vision. As Cillizza puts it, Romney is “the complete package” — and it’s never too early to start spreading the news.
(Okay, if I did put that bumper sticker on my car, I’d first have to remove my Mitt ’08 sticker, but you get the idea.)