In the first of a two-part series — if, in fact, a series can be but two (I think it might require three, or more; a coupla, at least, if you will) — I will project the 2016 Presidential primary fields. Which are, to date, nonexistent. & will remain such ’til after the Autumnal Congressional biennial.
To begin, the Grand Ol’ Tea Party, as they are the denomination out of executive power, & the more entertaining.
First, two candidates, neither particularly likely to run in the specific, but in outline, as they are of a certain type. Namely, female. & as the presumptively assumed Democratic candidate might be Hillary Rodham Clinton (she’ll always be Rodham, to me; just ask my 8th grade woodburning of a chanticleer), the GOTP should like to burnish its non-sexist rep with a woman or coupla women of their own. (Just as Herman Cain had a platform in 2012, when the Democrats offered their own African-American.)
So, the first two out the gate:
Linda Lingle. I wouldn’t have considered her a possible primary candidate — or, more likely, silliest of silly seasons Republican candidate forum participant, in late 2014 (say, early December, after the midterms have shaken out) — but not so much due her pro-choice leaning as her age. For some reason, I thought the erstwhile Hawai’i Governor was about as old as the septuagenarian Janet Brewer in Arizona. Turns out, Lingle was born in 1953, making her quite my parents’s age. Additionally, she is strong on Israel, won in a Purple — really, Blue, but I’ll use the Moira Liasson/Cokie Roberts/POLITICO spectral projection that holds America was, is, & always shall be a center-right, emphasis on the latter, nation– state, & has made nice with the current occupant of the White House over a long-standing Tea Party bug-bear. The then-Governor’s authentication of the (to that point) fake Birth Certificate will allow the assembled political mediocres (Tapper, Brooks, Blitzer) to tout her willingness to buck the Base, making her post-partisan, something for which our nation, conversely to its center-right heritage, is ready. Her actual record apart from the record of the President’s birth, particularly as regards tax policy & terror, will be redmeat for the Roarquistas who compose the modern Republican Party, though.
Janice Rogers Brown. In the reverse of the Lingle situation, in which a surprising youthfulness — or, at least, not yet attained Social Security retirement age — solidifies the likelihood of at least feinting toward a primary run, with Rogers Brown, the opposite is true. She’s 65 now, & on the DC Circuit — appointed, naturally, by W. Bush — but that means her ascent thru America’s Judiciary is done. Having served as Chief of the California Supremes, & now on the DC feeder for the
SCROTUS — erm, SCOTUS — the only possibility for higher achievement in law would be a tenure as Associate on the Roberts Court. Sadly, for her, she’s too old for it. As we can note from the majority of the last two decades-plus of appointments to the Court, Presidents are looking for jurists barely past 50, if not 40 — who can serve upward of thirty years on the bench & thus cement the present (or, in the case of Scalia, the past) as the distant future. This thinking has gotten us Souter, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, & Kagan… & it will only get more pronounced. (In fact, one of the also-rans leading to the Kagan nom was only 36 or 38 when being considered.) So, given Rogers Brown has maxed out her judicial potential, why not look to flip, pulling a reverse Taft? (State) Supreme Court Chief to President(ial contender). As well, Rogers Brown, unlike the aforementioned Lingle, has no question as to her social conservative bona fides, checking all the boxes on gay marriage, abortion, school vouchers, affirmative action, equal pay, etc., & she can easily learn the party line apart those (i.e. taxes, terror, environment).
Oh, & she’s African-American. Even if the pressure is not there to field a black candidate in the primaries due the looming general race against a likely white Democrat, there will be a sentiment of running against the Obama legacy. Would be nice to have at least one black face on the dais to pillory that.
Other female candidates considered, then discarded: Kelly Ayotte (too inexperienced, but more, too McCainiac, too close to Ms Lindsay of South Carolina, who, even if he pulls thru (well, not even; he will pull thru), will be a millstone around Ayotte’s neck); Nikki Haley (too scandalized); Susana Martinez (too shallow).
& now, for the pool of eventual nominee possibilities:
Sam Brownback. I know, I know — the Kansas Governor has shockingly high homestate negatives, but the only way he doesn’t end up running is if he loses re-elect. & he’s not losing. Not in Kansas. &, to be honest, I have had Brownback picked as my 2016 GOP nominee for awhile. Just on the presumption that all of the early discussions — Rand Paul! Ted Cruz! Scott Walker! — are more media wishful thinking coupled to chasing the newest, shiniest thing, & instead the nominee will be someone we have not thought likely at all. To wit: with Rand Paul, you get to rehash the last two cycles of Ron Paul runs, the libertarian put-ons, the Maddow Show disaster; with Cruz, you have a Goldwater (or, more likely, Stockdale) in waiting, a fiery orator who will step in it, eventually; & with Walker, a backwater Governor with too many skeletons in his political life, not unlike the media manipulation of early & mid 90s Clinton (get a coupla hours outside Milwaukee, & Wisconsin’s not too unlike Arkansas (which is why Bret Bielema feels right at home with the Razorbacks (zing!)). With Brownback, though, you have someone with an extensive electoral record, as firebrand in the GOP Contract
on with America House, then Clinton inquisitor in the Senate (all the better, this time, if Hillary is the opponent), &, finally, “one fed up with the stink of DC & returning to the State, one of the 50 laboratories of democracy, where the real work is done, where the real people live”. So, the media will like the possibility — good for ratings — & on the issues, Brownback appeals to the social right that has never really gotten its way, not even with Santus Ronaldus, while having the budgeting chops to prove he also wants to drown the bureaucracy in a bathtub.
He is our clubhouse favorite.
But others will run. Like —
Bobby Jindal. Term limited out of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion, the Rhodes Scholar, Bush era HHS appointee, & savior of Katrina-ravaged Cajun Country, out of office for the two years leading to the primary, Jindal will have the time to speak to every county GOP in the nation, write his campaign book (working title: Bayou Bengal), & maybe even, if he can stomach the idea of living in Iowa, go the full Dodd. (Though, you never go the full Dodd.) Basically, he can build the superior ground operation…
& then, he’ll speak, & it’s Jack Mc Brayer all over again.
Nathan Deal. Another term-limited Southern Governor, & even more than Jindal, a socio-political climber. The one-time Democrat, who turned when the turning was
good an absolute necessity — after the ’94 Republican Revolution, which finally swept up Richard Shelby, & took Ben Nighthorse Campbell in its wake — the Georgia pol offers a bigger Electoral College prize than Jindal… & resecures it, were he to get the nomination, as Georgia, given demographics (Latinos, mostly), seems it could be the next Old South domino to return to the Democratic column (after Virginia, &, sort of, North Carolina).
George Pataki. Ex-New York Governor. In office on 9/11. Squishier on the social con front than Lingle. If he runs, he’s running for VP. But don’t put it past him. What else does he have to do?
Scott Walker. Governor of Wisconsin, & only Governor, other than the abovementioned septuagenarian Brewer — who is of a gender, & age, where being without would not be uncommon — not to have a college degree. Has staked his reputation on standing for “the people” (the County Executive recall in the aftermath of the revelation of the inordinately cushy pension deal) & standing up to “socialism” (union organizing, Medicaid expansion, high-speed trains (the last of which puts him opposite the last Wisconsin GOP Gov to countenance a Presidential run (Tommy Thompson, in both ’96 & ’00)). What we got, though, were handouts to favored industries & hands-up to best friends (the veterans outing association fund skimming) & children of donors. Once on the national stage, & without his Republican opponents having to fear a lost recall, all the punches will land. Walker will be exposed as a two-bit hustler whose game played in Palookaville but doesn’t translate to leading the free world.
Though, if he loses in November ’14 to Mary Burke, he won’t run for President. The GOP doesn’t cotton to losers. Which is why another (ex) Governor from the GOP won’t run. Namely —
Other Governors considered, then thrown on the dustpile of fail: Jon Huntsman (2012 primary loser; hews too close to other 2012 loser Romney); Tom Ridge (sounds like he should have pursued a career as offensive line coach for the Steelers); John Kasich (Deadhead); Arnold Schwarzenegger (WHERE’S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?!?).
& last, the potential candidates that are running for VP or publicity, if they’re running at all:
Chris Christie. Not to mention Taft, again, but I contend, even with all the fretting over the fattening of America, it will be years, if not decades, before we have another rotund President. That’s not to say Christie won’t run, nor that he won’t have some appeal to the primary electorate. But his physical bearing combined to his origin in America’s most populous Palookaville, & fitting much of the stereotype of same, will doom his top of the ticket chance.
Ted Cruz. For when you want those uncomfortable moments in a town hall, but Dr. Ron Paul is nowhere to be found to violate his Hippocratic Oath & condemn an uninsured 30 years old to die. To wild applause from the gallery. The Senator from Texas may be a noted speaker & Rhodes Scholar, but he’s bound to do something too stupid, even, for the GOP if given a national primary platform.
Rand Paul. His best chance to run is if his preferred Kentucky candidate beats Mc Connell, then wins the general. But that won’t happen. Though the first part might. & if Rand is the reason that the GOP fails to regain the Senate, no way can he lead a national campaign. He’ll be kryptonite.
Rob Portman. Passed over, twice, for the GOP VP selection, the former Japan envoy under W. Bush & budget wonk with the (now-revealed) gay son, will run for President now to prove the latter does not defeat the former with voters. Might work. If anybody but my likely nominee, Brownback, tops the ticket.
So, let’s summarize:
3 sitting governors
Appears to be a fairly standard field. Nearly a dozen overall, drawing largely from the GOTP’s vote clusters in the (rural) Midwest & South, save for two sops to the burnt husk of the Northeastern Rockefeller/H.W. Bush wing of the party, & two women from the western frontier. They’ll look just right on the Vanderbilt University assembly hall stage for the first FOX News Candidate Forum, on or about December 6, 2014.
But, who’s still going to be standing at the lectern on nomination night at Shank Hall or the Riverfront Coliseum? (Note: I am also calling that, right now. The GOTP National Nominating Convention 2016 will not go to Las Vegas. No matter how much money Steve Wynn & Sheldon Adelson throw down. The Party of the Family doesn’t roll like that.) Well, Brownback, of course… & after his acceptance, he’ll grace the stage with his family & that of his vice-presidential, Mitch Daniels.
You have heard it here, first.
Noted, in brief:
Jeb Bush will choose to forgo U.S. Presidential aspirations & accept a sinecure as a university president; say, at Florida Atlantic University. Instead, he will keep fingers crossed that Brownback loses in 2016, & the GOTP, once more, in 2020, paving the way for Texas Representative to Congress P. Bush (elected c. 2018) to run & win in 2024. To be the father of a President, as the Bushes know well, is almost as good. (Jeb is already being fitted for 45.5 ballcaps.)
Marco Rubio will sit it out, being only 40, still, & hoping his own window remains propped in 2020. Building a Senate record beyond “amnesty” will be a boost to those chances, as well.
George Allen will tease a run, this year’s version of Tom Tancredo or Duncan Hunter, then realize nobody likes him. Not even his monkey.
& last, Santorum will mount a challenge, only to back out before the first caucus, realizing there is no secret to his ooze, let alone that the “next man up” tradition in the GOP Prexy selection process no longer applies.