Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pence May Not Run for Governor, After All

The plot thickens for the 2012 Gubernatorial Race as Mike Pence’s star rises nationally. For the first time, I think there’s a reasonable chance that Pence spurns his home state and launches a national campaign for President.

It makes sense for Pence. He embodies everything a GOP primary voter wants. A Christian conservative record without much of the apparent wingnut fringe that some of the other candidates have. He’s a better-looking Mike Huckabee without the concerning liberal streak of Mitt Romney, the loose tongue of Sarah Palin, and the questionable views on race of Haley Barbour. Pence, like Barack Obama before him, would also have the ability for conservatives to make him into a blank canvas to put all their Ronald Reagan-fueled hopes and dreams behind. Ignore the fact that he has done little in Congress, he is almost the perfect candidate for the right.

Besides his obvious allure to right wing voters, Pence is also really really good at the media game. He seemingly never turns down an interview, and he has proven that he can speak easily to the masses. Unlike Mitch Daniels or other potential outsider candidates like Herman Cain, Pence comes across well on television. The full head of white hair gives him a statesman like look while having the face of someone much younger than his age.

It’s no wonder why the right is knocking at Pence’s door and begging him to run for President. Their current candidates clearly haven’t made much of a dent in President Obama if you believe the polls. In fact, some indicators right now show that Obama is on the comeback trail. A Gallup tracking poll has him back over a 50 percent favorable rating. Clearly, Obama's new play-to-the-middle strategy has been a winner thus far. Obama's got his groove back for the moment. Whether or not that will continue remains to be seen.

While it would be easy for Pence to come back to Indiana and run for Governor, sometimes the national allure only calls once or twice. Just ask Evan Bayh. At one time, Bayh was seen as a national power instead of the role he took on after passing on runs for President in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. Pence is certainly young enough to pack it in and return home, but who knows what the political landscape will look like in 2016? One need only look at how things changed between 2004 and 2008 and even 2008 and 2010.

Should Pence duck the Governor's race in favor of a run for President, then that leaves things WIDE OPEN on the Republican side. Expect Becky Skillman to resolve her health issue and several others to jump into a Republican free-for-all on the right. Should be interesting to see what Pence does. I think he loves the national stage, but does he think he can raise enough money and interest? I guess we shall see!

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