Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard takes a look at the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for 2012.
Barnes focuses on Rick Perry, who has just successfully secured the Republican nomination for the Governorship of Texas:
"To qualify as a serious national candidate, Perry must defeat Democrat Bill White—and not in a squeaker—this fall for a third term as governor of the nation’s second most populous state… A Perry-for-President bandwagon is all but inevitable, assuming he trounces White. The case for him is pretty simple: Perry is perhaps the most successful governor in the country. Texas has been a job creation machine on his watch. Even in the current recession, Texas has suffered far less than most states. And, by the way, Perry has a tough, tested crew of political advisers who will come in handy if he runs."
"He’s running for reelection on an anti-Washington theme, and he’s also anti-establishment, having beaten the darling of the Texas Republican grandees. For a Republican, that’s just about perfect positioning."
There's a long way to go but Obama's weak approval numbers, as recorded by RealClearPolitics, are giving Republicans hope that the white House can be won back:
5.30pm: Michael Barone does not see Rick Perry as a presidential candidate but salutes the growth of Texas: "From 2000 to 2009, the Census Bureau estimates, there has been a domestic outflow of 1,509,000 people from California — almost as many as the number of immigrants coming in. Population growth has not been above the national average and, for the first time in history, it appears that California will gain no House seats or electoral votes from the reapportionment following the 2010 census. Texas is a different story. Texas has low taxes — and no state income taxes — and a much smaller government. Its legislature meets for only 90 days every two years, compared with California's year-round legislature. Its fiscal condition is sound. Public employee unions are weak or nonexistent. But Texas seems to be delivering superior services. Its teachers are paid less than California's. But its test scores — and with a demographically similar school population — are higher. California's once fabled freeways and crumbling and crowded. Texas has built gleaming new highways in metro Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. In the meantime, Texas' economy has been booming. Unemployment rates have been below the national average for more than a decade, as companies small and large generate new jobs. And Americans have been voting for Texas with their feet. From 2000 to 2009, some 848,000 people moved from other parts of the United States to Texas, about the same number as moved in from abroad."