Hutchinson in 2012:
Mark Kleiman has a post
where he writes:
Right now, there look to be four Republican Presidential candidates for 2012: Palin, Huckabee, Romney, and Pawlenty.
And he analyzes it from there.
But who else might be running in 2012? Consider Kay Bailey Hutchinson
. She's running next year against an incumbent for governor of Texas. Why?
Her Senate seat is secure. What's the appeal of being governor? Well, until Obama, the CW was that governors are more likely to do well in presidential politics. Executive experience. A distinct track record (senators rarely get headline treatment for bills passed unless they are in leadership positions). The ability to run "against Washington D.C.".
From the Establishment Republican point of view, she would be a strong candidate. Not crazy-conservative, so moderates and independents aren't scared away. And a woman, which would be potent, especially in light of Hilary Clinton's recent run.
Keep an eye on Hutchinson. She may have presidential ambitions.
She'd really have to shore up her right flank. The Teabag crew would see her as another McCain. But you're right, if she could make it through a Republican primary she'd be tough to beat.
I wonder about Bob McDonnell, the new VA governor. He's very far right, but plays moderate very well. Provided that he doesn't mess up VA like our last Republican governor did, I wouldn't be surprised to hear him mentioned as a 2012 or 2016 candidate.
The GOP's got "Pawlenty of Nothing, and Nothing's Pawlenty" for the GOP.