The State of the Union is over, and that can mean only one thing: it's time to get ready for the 2012 presidential election.
Sound familiar? It should, because it's always time to get ready for the next presidential election. If you've read recent news stories on the issue, you've seen that about 18 people had tossed their hats in the ring by this time for the 2008 election. Right now, there are no serious contenders and none of the big names have yet to publicly declare they're going to run for the big chair.
Then there's Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi who thinks he has a shot at being the next president. We here at PP&B will agree that he does have a shot, better than many, but that doesn't mean he's going to win.
His statements about his recollections of the civil rights movement sunk him. The reality of who Barbour is, what he's done, the great things he will promise doesn't matter. What matters is perception and spin. There's too much ammunition against Barbour.
That ammo will be used by fellow Republicans during the primary. President Barack Obama will watch the battle from afar, saving his campaign cash for when the real game begins after a Republican winner arises from the scorched earth of a 2012 primary season.
By then, it'll be too late.
What Republicans need is a front runner without Barbour's baggage or Newt Gingrich's romantic dalliances or Sarah Palin's, well, foolishness. The only problem is that the Republican field is full of newbies, repeats or crazies. Give Nikki Haley a term or two in the governor's seat and she could make a great contender.
It might be best for the Repubs to groom those who have not just a good, but a great shot in 2016 and go for the White House when an incumbent isn't there.