Nothing like a busted Amtrak train to bring me face-to-face with the one man Republicans would love — and I mean LOVE — to get into the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination. Former governor Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and his wife Columba were just a few rows behind me. So, of course, I couldn’t resist asking him a question he has heard myriad times. “Is there any possible way your party could convince you to run for president,” I asked? “I don’t think so,” he said. “A lot of people are asking me that, and it’s flattering. But the Magic Eight Ball says, ‘Outlook not so good.’ ”
This comes mere hours before former House speaker Newt Gingrich alerts the world via Twitter, Facebook and Fox News that he will seek the 2012 Republican nomination for president. According to Gallup, he will enter the race with high name recognition and low positive intensity. I’d love to say there’s nowhere to go but up for him, but that wouldn’t be true.
There’s no shortage of people who want to be president. But the field is so lackluster that Republican primary voters even indulged a mad flirtation with Donald Trump (R-Birther). Heck, even Tea Party queen Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) thinks she got a shot at the Oval Office. Things are so desperate for the GOP that for first time the Gallup survey finds a majority of Republicans — 52 percent — favor a third party. And as the Magic Eight Ball would tell you, the outlook for the emergence of a third-party (and deep-pocketed) candidate with views and values that appeal to the vast political and ideological middle is not so good.