Ah yes, the 2012 Presidential pre-season is well underway. At the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) won the presidential straw poll, with a handy 30 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2007 winner, came in second with 23 percent of the vote.
The 2012 CPAC straw poll:
1. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) - 30%
2. Mitt Romney (former Masschusetts Gov.) - 23%
3. (tie) Gary Johnson (former New Mexico Gov.) - 6%
Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey)
4. Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the U.S. House) - 5%
5. (tie) Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) - 4%
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota)
Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Indiana)
6. Sarah Palin (former Alaska Gov.) - 3%
7. (tie) Mike Huckabee (former Arkansas Gov.) - 2%
Rick Santorum (former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania)
Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
Herman Cain (former head, National Restaurant Association)
8. (tie) John Huntsman (former Utah Gov.) - 1%
Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Mississippi)
Can't help but think that Paul's victory shows the continued influence the tea party factions are having on the conservative side of the aisle. Whether or not that translates into the nomination is doubtful. While Paul has a large Internet following, I think it'll boil down to his age when it comes time for the convention. Too bad this tea party phenomenon didn't come around about 15 years earlier.
Mitt Romney? Why is this guy's name still being brought up?
I also find it interesting that Gary Johnson finished third, given his stances on marijuana. Does this mean more and more conservatives are willing to have more than the token lip service or B.S. committee hearing on the subject of legalization or decriminalization? I can't help but think yes.
Is it finally time to fork Sarah Palin, at least in the candidate sense? I mean, she only garnered three percent, which placed her behind eight other potential candidates, two of which were Governors who completed their entire terms, and one whom hasn't had enough time to just up and quit yet. To further illustrate, Palin finished just one percent higher than Herman Cain, which begs the question: who the hell is Herman Cain? He's the former head of the National Restaurant Association, which begs the question: what the hell is the National Restaurant Association? Are they the group that says you can have my smoking section when you pry it from my cold dead hands?
Finally, I thought it rather amusing that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour made himself the most visible of the potential candidates over the weekend, and yet just picked up one percent of the vote. He may be in love with the sound of his own voice, but apparently the people who attended CPAC were not impressed with the tune he was squawking.