03/11/2011 08:03 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup

For a long while now, we've been told that we should be impressed with the potential candidacies of Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, who have been two heads on a three-headed frontrunner with Mitt Romney. And we've been asked to take Newt Gingrich and his perennial campaign seriously as well, if for no other reason than that he is EVERYWHERE, and capable of filling a campaign war chest as easy as a tree can photosynthesize.

But the more these guys talk and talk and talk, the less we believe, man! And With Palin fading in the polls, Huckabee losing key staffers to other candidates, and Newt Gingrich being his typical indecisive self, it gets harder to take them seriously in practical terms. Rick Santorum's strenuous exertions -- which come across as a sincere attempt to mount a campaign -- are the exception to this rule, but this week was a week where the quiet candidates seemed to have the biggest impact. Steve Kornacki reminded us of Romney's basic strength as a front runner. David Frum made the case that Tim Pawlenty may feel like an implausible choice now, but his overall lack of noticeable inadequacy could be his biggest strength. And even if Mitch Daniels' duties seem to be dragging him further from a national campaign, he's still got some influential touts at his back.

Hell, we're even super-bullish on Haley Barbour this week, if only because he went seven days without adding anything to the campaign coverage that makes us so sad inside. Thank you, Mr. Barbour, from the bottoms of our jaded hearts. Mike Huckabee, you could do well to follow in his footsteps and maybe clip them vocal chords for a week!

Last week, we bid farewell to John Thune. No one's followed him out the door yet. We're edging up to giving Herman Cain a slide of his own: his appearance at the Iowa Faith And Freedom Coalition's candidate forum went over well with social conservatives in the state. Next week, look for him to get promoted. That said, we have added a new slide to the Speculatron, and Elyse and I want you to know in advance that we are very, very sorry. Really. For more of the candidates you should be following, as well as the candidates that you probably shouldn't, please feel free to enter the Speculatron for the week of March 11, 2011.

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