The WashPo’s The Fix always has an interesting take on the political leaders. The list is not a prediction of who will win the 2012 nomination, but rather who is emerging as good leaders.
9. Mitch McConnell: The Kentucky Senator has retreated into the background somewhat in recent weeks but as the chief legislative strategist for Senate Republicans, McConnell will be at the center of the fights over health care and cap and trade this summer and fall. For those who doubt McConnell’s effectiveness, go back and look at how he drove the Gitmo debate from the floor of the Senate. (Previous ranking: 10)
7. Newt Gingrich: The former House Speaker drops a few slots on this month’s Line as several Republican strategists painted his fourth place showing in a recent Gallup poll looking at the 2012 field as decidedly disappointing given that Gingrich is working hard behind the scenes to build support. Still, the first vote in Iowa is still two and a half years away and Gingrich’s role as the “ideas” guy in the Republican party virtually ensures him a permanent spot on this Line. (Previous ranking: 2)
2. Sarah Palin: The Alaska governor has been ranked as high as number one on this Line and as low as number nine. That yo-yoing effect is a reflection of the Fix’s difficulty in wrapping our arms around what Palin means in the party, what she plans to do with her political future and how seriously she needs to be taken. On the one hand, her stunning July 3 resignation seemed impetuous and her resignation speech was the sort of stream of consciousness ramble that is not advisable for a politician at any level. On the other, the fact that she raised $733,000 for her Sarah PAC in the first six months of the year despite having no organization to speak of and with the dominant narrative around her during that time being the chaos of her personal and political life. We decided to put Palin so high on the Line for one reason: is there any other Republican you can think of who, if she runs for president, will be a favorite in two — Iowa and South Carolina — of the first four states to vote for president in the primaries? (Previous ranking: 9)
1. Mitt Romney: Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and a 2008 presidential candidate, is the most complete package on the Republican side of the aisle. His recent fundraising report — in which he collected $1.6 million over the first six months of 2009 and doled it out to states like New Hampshire and South Carolina — make clear he is running for president again (we never doubted it). And, Romney continues to do the sort of policy-centric things — op-eds, appearances on Sunday talk shows — to keep him on the leading edge of the issue debate in the party. (Previous ranking: 1)
The complete list is here. (Interestingly, there’s no Huckabee.)