I've read this post at Knoxblog, via Instapundit about the prospects of one Bob Corker come 2012.
Now I personally believe it's a bit early to start throwing names out there for consideration, but others have already done so with regards to Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and whoever it is that Ann Coulter anoints this week (Ann has talked up both Duncan Hunter and Jeff Pence, in recent years, if memory serves). She's good at identifying back-benchers no one gives a shit about, but who nevertheless have 'solid, Conservative credentials'. They merely lack a realistic prospect of victory (they can't sway enough independents). Corker may be an attractive candidate to some in a primary sense, but he's a real loser in the greater marketplace of a general election. Not that it would be his fault; that's just the sort of electorate we have. Then again, Corker was another one of those 'conservatives' asleep at the switch during the GWB days.
That having been said, I might as well toss another name out there for consideration:
I personally believe Newt would have wiped the floor with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, had he taken the initiative. He would have soundly thumped John McCain, sparing us the agony of that campaign. And even if some portions of 'The Base' (hey, doesn't Al'Queda translate as 'The Base'?) find him a bitter pill to swallow, given his martial history. Eschewing conventional wisdom, I am confident in saying that while conservative principles DO often resonate with the electorate (especially one dissatisfied with liberal excess), many of the conservative candidate that come from Central Casting do not.
What Conservatism needs at the moment, and what the country desperately requires, is someone who can stand for conservative principles, certainly. But these principles need to be championed by someone who also knows how the apparatus of government actually works, coupled with the ability to see and react to present conditions with the keen eye of a trained historian, and with the ability to properly prioritize and communicate issues. At present, we don't need someone who will promise to put prayer back in school, defend the Second Amendment to his dying breath...yet, or frogmarch the abortionists to the gas chambers. While these things are certainly important issues, they are secondary considerations taking a back seat to economic issues, matters of national defense and reestablishing a government of the People, by the People, and for the People. The primary mission of the next Republican president will be the undoing of the damage eight years of Bush-Cheney/Frist-Boehner inflicted on Republicans, Conservatives and the country, and then ensuring that the four years of disaster that will be inflicted by Barack Obama is effectively addressed and then repaired.
We also need someone who will know what to do, and then how to get it done within the existing framework of the Constitution.