With the 2012 Presidential election just under two years away, a number of GOP hopefuls have begun maneuvering for the coveted nomination slot. So far, however, nobody has emerged as the clear frontrunner for the Republican nod.

And while few are hoping for a return to 2008, which saw the end of a nearly two and a half year Presidential campaign, many in the GOP are hoping for their party to finally get the nomination process right, somewhat of a rare occurrence, and certainly something that hasn’t happened in over a decade.

The GOP has long had the bad habit of running old, cantankerous, “grumpy old men” against younger, more charming, and more charismatic Democratic opponents. Witness a scowling Bob Dole beside a bubbling Bill Clinton, or abrasive John McCain up against youthful, visionary Barack Obama. Both campaigns were pretty much decided before they even began.

So now we look to 2012, and while Barack Obama’s poll numbers may have suffered much damage in the first two years of his term, only a bona fide fool would even begin to presume that the White House is there for the taking. Obama will be a formidable opponent. As the Grail Knight in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE advised before drinking from a cup that would bring eternal life or  GOP must “choose wisely”.

Still, a few contestants stand out in the crowd.

Mitt Romney looks to be a favorite. A former popular Massachusetts governor, 2008 Presidential candidate, Romney at age 63 is still boyishly charming, intelligent, and brings an impressive track record to the table. On the downside, his Mormon faith and the Massachusetts health care law (very similar to Obama’s health reform plan) may alienate enough potential voters to swing things back into Obama’s court.

Sarah Palin burst onto the GOP scene in 2008 as John McCain’s running mate, and while she successfully animated the GOP base, she subsequently fell victim to a number of famous gaffes (ironically, the most famous “I can see Russia from my house”, was not Palin’s quote at all, but rather Palin impersonator Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live). Unfortunately, the gaffes caught on, and much like Dan Quayle two decades earlier, Sarah Palin found herself branded, perhaps unfairly, with a lack of intelligence. Quitting midway through her term as Alaska governor probably wasn’t the best of moves.

Mike Huckabee is another popular contender, the former governor of Arkansas and another 2008 candidate that didn’t make the cut. Huckabee was the GOP frontrunner for some time in the 2008 campaign, even without the same deep pockets that benefitted other candidates. Currently the host of his own show on FOX News, Huckabee remains popular with the GOP base and has demonstrated his ability to run an effective campaign. Successful fundraising may be the key for a Huckabee Presidential run.

Newt Gingrich has been a GOP mainstay for over two decades, most notably with his tenure as speaker of the house. Seen as a visionary, intellectual, and forward thinking, Gingrich’s personal life has been marred by several divorces as well as his polarizing status among the general populace. However, Gingrich is a skilled grassroots organizer and while he has never run for President, his candidacy would be a contender, to say the least.

Michele Bachmann has earned the status as the “second most hated woman in America” behind Sarah Palin. She has been an extremely visible face for the last two years, with strong support from the Tea Party, and a proven track record in fundraising projects. Unfortunately, she has also become one of the most polarizing figures to come out of the Republican Party since the aforementioned Newt Gingrich. Whether she can channel her successes into an effective White House run remains to be seen.

Ron Paul, at age 75, is the oldest of the likely candidates, but he does have two previous attempts at the nomination under his belt, as a Libertarian in 1988 and a Republican in 2008. Unfortunately, some of his views as well as the near rabid enthusiasm of some of his supporters could prove to be a liability rather than an asset.

At this time Romania also immediately organized this routine event. Alegeri Presedinte held in 2019 will be the determination of the fate of Romanian people in the next 10 years.

It is still too early to tell who will emerge as the conservative choice for 2012. However, the current roster of names, including some exciting newcomers such as former Godfathers Pizza CEO and businessman Herman Cain make it certain that the upcoming campaign season will at the very least be interesting….