My ability to predict the next president of the U.S. out of the primary pack has always failed miserably. I was bracing myself for President Hillary Clinton (never thought I'd miss her) when Senator Barack Obama came out of the middle of nowhere (left field, Chicago, William Ayers' living room) to sweep the presidency.
Having said that, I'm going to say that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is going to be the Republican nominee, and unless President Obama has a economic trick up his sleeve, the next President of the United States. Now, there is a lot going against him; the country may not be ready for another Texan in the White House, and a fundamentalist at that. The press will take an automatic disliking to him, and his record has some issues that will be difficult to explain away. (I'm thinking in particular about the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, a man who was most likely innocent.)
Nevertheless, I think Governor Perry will persevere, and here is why: He is a professional politician who has been doing the job for a long long time. I always thought, for example, that Sarah Palin would have made an excellent VP. Her flaw though, is that she was an amateur. Now, that's not a bad thing, especially if you think that fresh uncynical blood is what America needs, but she tended to take personal attacks, well, personally. You can't let them bug you, and she did, visibly, which just encouraged the mob. (She is also a woman. I never would have imagined it, but the left really hates women who don't obey their view of what a woman should think. Witness the actions of "Creepy Uncle" Letterman and flat out disturbing Bill Maher.)
Jobs. Texas creates the jobs. It doesn't matter if they are low paying service jobs. People will just see JOBS. That's the big one. The economy trumps everything.
So that's it. Show that you can keep an economy going in the worst conditions since the Great Depression and be able to deflect some of the most vicious attacks in campaign history with grace and wit and the White House is his for the taking. Easy peasy.