Charles Krauthammer, a well known conservative columnist and a frequent guest on Fox News as well as PBS News, has written a guide for those who like to think about presidential elections from the perspective of a Las Vegas gambler.
I'll focus on the candidates that Krauthammer thinks has the best chances of wining in 2012:
THE MAJOR CANDIDATES
Mitt Romney: Serious guy. Pre-vetted in 2008. Tons of private- and public-sector executive experience. If not for one thing, he'd be the prohibitive front-runner. Unfortunately, the one thing is a big thing: Massachusetts' RomneyCare. For an election in which the main issue is excessive government (see Axiom One), that's a huge liability. Every sentient Republican has been trying to figure out how to explain it away. I've heard no reports of any success. Romney is Secretariat at Belmont, but ridden by Minnesota Fats. He goes out at 5-1.
Speaking of betting, Intrade has Mitt Romney with a 24% chance of winning while Tim Pawlenty has a 15.9% chance of wining. All other potential 2012 candidates have less than a 10% chance of winning.
Newt Gingrich: Smart guy. A fountain of ideas. No, a Vesuvius of ideas. Some brilliance, lots of lava. Architect of a historic Republican victory in 1994. Rocky speakership. Unfortunate personal baggage. 12-1.
Haley Barbour: Successful governor. Experienced Washington hand. Abundant charm. Baggage: Years of lobbying, unforced errors on civil rights, early neo-isolationist deviations. Rarely without a comeback, however. 7-1.
Tim Pawlenty: Formerly, unassuming, unprepossessing, solid two-term Minnesota governor. Currently, mouse that roars. Up-tempo style, middle-of-the-road conservative content. Apparently baggageless. Could be the last man standing. 5-1.
Mitch Daniels: Highly successful governor. Budget guru. Delightful dullness satisfies all axioms (see above). Foreign policy unknown, assuming he has one. Alienated some conservatives with his call for a truce on - i.e., deferring - social issues. If he runs, 6-1.To read more of Krauthammer's article, go here.