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Romney and Palin and Huck

Tom PattonWhile Jacksonville may not be New Hampshire, there has been a flurry of Republican activity in the region over the past few weeks. In an area that has been pretty solidly GOP over the past several election cycles, this could be a precursor to what we might see as Republicans try to hold President Obama to one term.

The showcase event was Governor Mitt Romney at the Lincoln Day Dinner. 750 people crowded into the Hayatt Regency ballroom for a speech by the former Governor and Presidential candidate. Romney delivered a red-meat speech to a very friendly crowd, and received a standing ovation for his efforts. Talking to people after the speech, the word I heard most often was “fantastic”, and people left the hall energized.

Sarah Palin came to town a few weeks later for a book signing at Books-a-Million at the Orange Park Mall. Her book “Going Rogue”, which has topped the New York Times bestseller list, proved very popular in NE Florida. People were lined up two days in advance to get the wrist band that would get you back in the line to have your book signed. Former Governor Palin, who continues to be excoriated by the late- and not-so-late-night chat shows, certainly drew a crowd in Orange Park.

Just as an aside, if former Governor Palin was the lightweight that she’s portrayed to be by the left, they’d simply ignore her. The know she’s someone who has strong ideas and can be attractive to moderate voters. Not to mention that they desperately don’t want the first woman President or Vice President to be a Republican. They’ve staked out that territory for themselves, but I digress

Rounding out the triumvirate is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who will speak at Jacksonville University Wednesday. Huckabee did well in this area last go around, and he’ll probably draw a good crowd at JU.

This kind of parade of Presidential hopefuls usually troops through the cold and snow of New Hampshire in the wintertime, though not usually more than two years before the primary season. It’s a sure bet that there have already been some forays into the Nutmeg state, but it is certainly good to see prominent Republicans making appearances in our area.

It leads one to think that, just a year after the inauguration, Republicans are not going to sit back and hope things will happen. The events in New Jersey and Virginia have given the GOP some momentum heading into the midterms, and some analysts point to a continuing shift in the Mountain West, where Democrats who won by narrow margins could be particularly vulnerable. Here in Florida, too, Democrats at many levels who might have ridden President Obama’s coat tails could be in a position to be upset in the next cycle. And appearances by politicians with a lot of marquee value serve to remind people that we have an obligation to be active and involved and thinking about what kind of country we want. If we’re not satisfied with the government we have, there is only one way to affect change, and that’s to vote for the candidate that has your values.

Getting out to see them, even when they’re not (officially) candidates, is important. These past few weeks have been a rare opportunity to start getting to know the standard-bearers we’ll likely see in another year or two.

If you’re like me, you’re already ready for it to begin again.

12 Responses »

  1. There is no question that Mitt Romney would be the strongest Republican presidential candidate, and more importantly, the best president! Romney in 2012!

  2. Romney is a loser..... he has no job, and is never at home, he feels he has to run a ten year campaign to win an election. Romney is wasted money down the drain.

  3. I saw Romney speak at the dinner. He was amazing, especially on the economy and foreign policy. I am not a fan of Mike Huckabee, sorry to say. I never trusted him. I just learned he was responsible for freeing a criminal from jail early and that person killed four police officers! How horrible!

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  5. I think Romney is exactly what this country needs! His experience as a businessman and in politics is the perfect combination. Palin is good but is much too polarizing for a general election.

  6. Run Mitt Run 2012!

  7. Romney has run many businesses and created jobs. Romney turned the SLC Olympics from bankrupt to a huge safe success that brought our country together after 9/11. Oh yeah, he was also a Governor. Romney gets things done! People need to quit hating on his religion. Romney 2012!

    -E-Dizzle in NJ

  8. I loved Mitt's article for the USAToday about jobs and his interview on Larry King tonight! 2012 can't come soon enough!

  9. Romney is by far the best candidate for 2012. Had he been nominated by the GOP, we would not be in the mess we are in now due to the democratic's intentional efforts to destroy the economy!

  10. Watched Mitt on Larry King last night and I thought he was great. I loved the detailed solutions that he laid out to get jobs back in America immediately. It made sense to me and I appreciated that he left out the political rhetoric. I would vote Romney.

  11. I would have loved to see a Romney/Palin ticket in 2008. We have to get good conservatives on the ballot in 2012. I like Palin but she isn't nearly as experienced as Mitt.

  12. Romney is the strongest Presidential candidate the GOP has had since Reagan, and possibly ever had.