1. Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination based on everything we know about past nominating trends. He has tremendous establishment support, mega donors already committed to him should he run after having nearly convinced him to jump into the 2012 race, and favorable/unfavorable ratings that would be the envy of every other candidate, including Hillary Clinton. The governor is the most popular Republican in America, and after an easy reelection and a tour as RGA chairman, he will be poised to enter the race with a national base of support and poll numbers that will make even the Clinton machine nervous.
2. Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida
Despite the setback immigration reform has become for the Florida senator among the conservative base, Marco Rubio is still well positioned to be the party’s standard bearer in 2016. He has picked up tremendous backing in establishment circles for going all-in on immigration, and the donor community will reward his risk. He also remains one of the most gifted speakers in politics and once he’s back on the stump many will remember why they liked him so much the first time around.
3. Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky
The junior senator from Kentucky has quickly establishment himself in the early states as the Tea Party candidate, building off of his father’s network of supporters and benefiting from their takeover of a number of local and state GOP parties. Paul has worked to distance himself from his father’s more extreme elements, but he still has some work to do as his recent “southern avenger” staffer problem pointed out.
4. Paul Ryan, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
If any candidate can claim “next in line” status from the 2012 election, it will be Rep. Paul Ryan, not former Sen. Rick Santorum. Ryan is still a very popular figure in conservative circles, and fears over how his budget would be portrayed never really panned out. Ryan would have the advantage of having been in a national campaign before and would likely have access to Mitt Romney’s formidable donor base.
5. Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida
The scion of the Bush dynasty may finally be ready to jump into the presidential pool. Gov. Bush has been far more open to a run this time than he has the past two cycles, and with his brother’s poll numbers finally on the rise, he may take his shot to become the third President Bush. Still, Bush will find that unlike his brother, he will be unable to clear the field of opposition, and he will come across a Tea Party base more than willing to take on the Bush legacy. Jeb will need every bit of his family’s extensive network to survive the challenge.
6. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin
The governor of Wisconsin has become a folk hero to many in the conservative base for his heroic stand against public sector unions in his state. The left’s attempt to recall Scott Walker not only backfired, but helped the governor build a national donor base that may be even larger than Chris Christie’s. Walker will have real conservative governance to run on, as well as a record of being battle-tested against the left’s best attacks.
7. Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas
The junior senator from Texas has quickly made a name for himself after taking office just a few months ago. The Harvard Law graduate and former debating champion is putting his skills to use antagonizing both the Democrats and establishment Republicans, winning plaudits from Tea Party groups and scorn from Beltway elites. Sen. Cruz has the combination of brains and toughness that could make him an ideal Tea Party insurgent in 2016.
8. Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana
The former congressman has quietly gone about his new job, replacing popular Gov. Mitch Daniels, and continuing conservative reforms in the state. While only recently elected governor, Pence has a dozen years in Congress already under his belt and several years more as a talk radio host helped mold him into an excellent communicator. He was nearly recruited to run in 2012, but chose the governorship instead. By 2016, Pence could bridge the divide between fiscal and social conservatives and become a major dark horse candidate.
9. John Kasich, Governor of Ohio
Ohio Gov. John Kasich flirted with a presidential campaign back in 1999, but was quickly overwhelmed by the daunting Bush machine. After twenty years in Congress, Kasich became governor of Ohio, and after initial troubles, has turned both his numbers and the state’s economy around. Should he win reelection in 2014, Kasich could once again look at a presidential run, this time as not only a fiscal hawk, but also the leader of the most important swing state.
10. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
The governor of Louisana has seen his star fade somewhat over the past few years. Originally pegged to be the GOP’s counter to Barack Obama, Gov. Jindal flopped in his national debut giving the State of the Union response. Far from being a mortal wound, the governor had plenty of time to rebound from a bad speech. However, a poorly thought out tax reform plan in his state has led to a collapse in his numbers. He still has the brains, talent, and time to rebound, and he will need to in order to launch the national campaign he clearly wants to run.
Honorable Mention: Susana Martinez, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley
We remain only in the first year of the second term of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the media specularazzi are already churning in predictions and conclusions. It seems, in recent cycles, it always to go this way with breathless prognostications, meaningless polls, and reports of instant political “nosedives”of frontrunners and other presidential hopefuls.
On the Democratic side, the race has been declared “over” by virtually all the specularazzi, i.e., that Hillary Clinton already has the nomination in her handbag, and thus no more need be said. The fact that the identical conclusion was reached by consensus in 2006, and did not come to pass, seems to be of no import to the specularazzi. Of course, Mrs. Clinton has “total” name recognition, and it has been declared that it’s “her turn”by her old supporters. She will, of course, be nearly 70 years old in 2016, her record as secretary of state now judged to be “controversial” and uneven at best. She is a poor public speaker, and has no distinction as an administrator. Nevertheless, she is “inevitable.” Fast-forwarding is so much fun, is it not?
By the way, I wonder if Andrew Cuomo, Mark Warner, Evan Bayh, Cory Booker, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Ron Wyden and other talented younger Democrats are so willing to throw in the towel this far in advance. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
On the Republican side, there is more debate. Early favorite Senator Marco Rubio has gambled big-time on immigration reform legislation that is very unpopular with many in the GOP grass roots. Likewise, high profile New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been declared to have “crossed the line” with his handling of a U.S. senate vacancy and his “moderate” views. The new darling on the right is first-term Texas Senator Ted Cruz, an outspoken and smart conservative who seems to be filling a temporary political void. Concurrent with the seeming decline of Mr. Rubio, there has been a revival of the only man in recent U.S. history who has been disqualified for the presidency solely because of his surname, i.e., former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a man with genuine accomplishments, proven intelligence and, oh yes, all kinds of Hispanic credentials.
Of course, the Republicans also have a stable of old war horses, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, et al, but unlike 2008 and 2012, there are none who might legitimately claim that it’s ”their turn.”
As I see it, Governor Christie, Senator Cruz and former Governor Bush, albeit with differing points of view, are rather talented fellows, and should make the 2016 contest (when we finally get to it) rather interesting.
In 2005, by the way, hardly anyone had heard of the person who swept to election as president only three years later.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
WaPo characterizes Bush’s statements in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd as such:
Allahpundit, however, is not so sure:
WaPo’s selling this as a semi-reversal of yesterday’s full reversal on citizenship for illegals, but I’m not sure that’s true. Watch the clip below (via Think Progress). He’s not saying that he’s suddenly changed his mind and now prefers citizenship to permanent residency. He’s saying that, hypothetically, if you could grant citizenship without creating a huge incentive for more people to cross the border, he’d be okay with that. Since there’s no way to do that, though, he’s sticking with the permanent residency option.
What do you think? Have at it in the comments.
Here’s what Allahpundit has to say about Bush’s about-face on a pathway to citizenship for illegals, which comes earlier on in the interview:
Is there any obvious explanation for this reversal besides him watching Rubio roll out the Senate bipartisan bill, suddenly realizing that his 2016 niche on immigration had now been filled by a younger, more charismatic candidate, and then repositioning himself as moderately hawkish on this issue in order to gain a second look from conservatives? This shift has to be electorally-driven because there’s no way his new plan — allowing illegals to apply for permanent residency but not citizenship — will ever be accepted as policy.
I’m going to read you a list of names and for each one I’d like you to please tell me if you think that person would make a good president or not. If you have never heard of a person, please just say so.
- Yes 55%
- No 42%
- Yes 43%
- No 43%
- Yes 37%
- No 33%
- Yes 37%
- No 46%
- Yes 35%
- No 59%
- Yes 26%
- No 56%
- Yes 25%
- No 29%
- Yes 16%
- No 25%
- Yes 16%
- No 39%
- Yes 6%
- No 19%
- Yes 6%
- No 22%
- Yes 5%
- No 18%
Survey of 1,010 registered voters was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research (D)/Shaw & Company Research (R) February 4-6, 2013. The margin of error is ± 3 percentage points. Party ID: 39% Democrat; 35% Republican; 24% Independent/Other.
Inside the numbers:
Clinton (62 percent) and Rice (44 percent) capture more support among women voters than any of the other figures tested.
They are also the top picks among men voters: 47 percent think Clinton would make a good president and 42 percent feel that way about Rice. Ryan (40 percent), Christie (39 percent) and Biden (35 percent) are close behind among men.
Clinton is also the candidate who receives the highest level of support from his or her own party. She would be a good president in the eyes of 83 percent of self-identified Democrats, while with 62 percent support Ryan receives the most backing among self-described Republicans.
Among Democrats, Clinton is followed by Biden (60 percent), Cuomo (25 percent), Patrick (8 percent) and O’Malley (6 percent).
Among Republicans, Rice comes in second to Ryan at 54 percent. She’s followed closely by Bush at 47 percent, Christie at 43 percent and Rubio at 41 percent. Jindal is the only other Republican to receive double-digit support (24 percent).
Ryan (59 percent) and Rice (55 percent) both receive majority backing among self-described very conservative voters.
-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal
Robert Costa has the story at NRO:
Washington, D.C. — Former Florida governor Jeb Bush met Monday with a group of his former staffers at the J. W. Marriott hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, just steps from the White House. Bush, a potential 2016 presidential contender, spent an hour in the hotel’s Cannon room, reminiscing and entertaining questions about his political future.
In an interview with NRO, Bush did not rule out a presidential run. “I am here to catch up with folks and promote education reform,” he said, smiling.
When asked again whether he will issue a Sherman-type statement about his future, Bush remained coy. “We have an alumni group that I like keeping in touch with,” he said. “I’m here to focus on educational reform, and that’s what I’m going to tell people.”
Be sure to read the full story here.
Per The New York Times:
…a decision by Mr. Bush, 59, to seek the Republican nomination would almost certainly halt any plans by Mr. Rubio, 41, to do so or abruptly set off a new intraparty feud.
Mr. Bush is said by friends to be weighing financial and family considerations — between so many years in office and the recession his wealth took a dip, they said, and he has been working hard to restore it — as well as the complicated place within the Republican Party of the Bush brand. Asked this week about whether his father would run, Jeb Bush Jr. told CNN, “I certainly hope so.”
For now, however, “It’s neither a ‘no’ nor a ‘yes’ — it’s a ‘wait and see,’ ” said Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a longtime friend and adviser to Mr. Bush. “It continues to intrigue him, given how much he has to share with the country.”
Full story here.
And as always, have at it in the comments!
Democratic insiders chose Jeb Bush as the GOP strongest nominee, while Republican insiders selected Marco Rubio:
Who would be the strongest Republican presidential nominee in 2016?
Democrats (91 votes)
- Jeb Bush 47%
- Chris Christie 28%
- Marco Rubio 13%
- Susana Martinez 2%
- Rick Santorum 2%
- Bobby Jindal 1%
- Paul Ryan 1%
- Rand Paul 0%
Republicans (88 votes)
- Marco Rubio 40%
- Jeb Bush 27%
- Paul Ryan 9%
- Rick Santorum 9%
- Chris Christie 8%
- Bobby Jindal 3%
- Susana Martinez 2%
- Rand Paul 0%
Full story here.
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s most bitter rival for his party’s nomination has agreed to speak at the nominating convention in Tampa, Florida, later this month.
Rick Santorum, the former presidential candidate who lobbed harsh criticism at Romney during some bitter primary contests, will join a host of other big-name Republicans as headline speakers, according to Republican sources.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will also speak at the convention, along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Tea Party hero and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
So add Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Mary Fallin, and Rand Paul to the list.
Salena Zito, for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, has the story:
Bush, 59, the son of a president and brother of another, pushed aside any interest in running with Romney. But he has strong feelings on whom he wants Romney to pick as a running mate.
“Marco Rubio,” he said of the freshman Florida GOP senator, who served as a volunteer on Bush’s governor’s campaign. Bush described Rubio, 40, as “dynamic, joyful, disciplined and principled.”
“He is the best orator of American politics today, a good family man. He is not only a consistent conservative, but he has managed to find a way to communicate a conservative message full of hope and optimism,” Bush said.
Be sure to read the rest of the story here.
(CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday. Bush released the following statement:
“Congratulations to Governor Mitt Romney on his win last night and to all the candidates for a hard fought, thoughtful debate and primary season. Primary elections have been held in thirty-four states, and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall. I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party¹s nomination. We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed.”
We all knew this sort of talk had to start sometime:
Al Cardenas, head of the American Conservative Union, has said that Republican turmoil might lead to a brokered convention in which Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, would emerge as a “possible alternative” party nominee.
Mr Cardenas, who is running this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a gathering in Washington of some 10,000 conservatives, told MailOnline that it was not certain that one of the four current Republican candidates would emerge victorious.
His comments came as Republicans fretted publicly about the perceived weaknesses of Mitt Romney, the establishment choice and frontrunner, Rick Santorum, surprise winner in three states on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.
The last time a Republican nomination battle went to the party convention was in 1976, when President Gerald Ford assembled a coalition of delegates to defeat Ronald Reagan at the first ballot.
There has not been a brokered Republican convention, where no candidate wins the first ballot, since 1948, when Thomas Dewey came out on top in the third ballot.
“March 6th is really the telling date as to whether we have a chance of a brokered convention or not,” said Mr Cardenas. “If Mitt wins Arizona and Michigan at the end of February and runs with the vast majority of delegates on March 6th, I still think he could end it early.
“If there’s a mixed bag, if he loses Michigan or Arizona and he wins one or two [on March 6th] and the other states are spread around you might just as well get into a convention where nobody has a majority of delegates.
“And then you might see the possibility of two of the four candidates making a deal, a ticket, things of that nature. It starts getting exciting.” If no deal could be struck then a dark horse could step in on a second ballot, when delegates pledged to candidates would be free to vote as they wished.
“That’s when you start thinking of a Jeb Bush or someone like that could maybe come in as a possible alternative,” said Mr Cardenas, who also hails from Florida.
Is Jeb really the most likely beneficiary of a brokered convention? And am I crazy for suspecting that Jeb would actually have somewhat of a decent shot against the president, given his intellectual, pensive tone and demeanor, and his refusal to rule out raising taxes as a way to close the deficit, something that, for some odd reason, high-earning independents seem to eat up?
Tomorrow is the decisive Florida primary. It is also another turning point in the race: tomorrow, it becomes mathematically impossible for a late entrant into the race to earn the 1,144 delegates necessary to win the GOP nomination. Frontloading HQ does the heavy lifting with a handy chart and a post entitled, “I’ll See Your White Knight and Raise You a Filing Deadline: Why It’s Too Late For Entry Into the Republican Nomination Race”.
The money quote:
If the list is constrained more simply to the states where filing deadlines have not passed, the total delegates open to a late entrant drops to 1157. After Tuesday, when Kentucky’s (and Indiana’s petition — see footnote 17 above) deadlines pass that total will drop below 1144 to 1066.
After tomorrow, a candidate can only get on the ballot in enough states to get 1,066 delegates. A late entrant to the race has always been an extreme longshot, but now it is mathematically impossible. Sorry, George Will, Bill Kristol, et al.
But what about a brokered convention? Could someone jump in and deny Mitt Romney the ability to get to 1,144? Theoretically, yes. But here’s what Frontloading HQ has to say about that scenario:
But here’s the thing: Who is that candidate? Let me rephrase that. Who is the candidate who can not only successfully enter the race late, but who can also marshal the organization necessary to cobble together enough delegates to take the nomination or throw enough of a monkeywrench into the process and still maintain support in the party to win the nomination at the convention? Let’s think about this for a moment. There are people in this race now actively seeking the nomination (and who have been running for president for quite some time) who cannot get on the ballots in some states. And we are expecting someone to come in and immediately be able to beat these deadlines, organize write-in efforts and uncommitted slates of delegates to get within shouting distance of 1144 or a lower total held by the frontrunner.
After tomorrow, we can finally put to rest the wild fantasies of a White Knight run by the likes of Jindal, Jeb, Christie, or Ryan. Sorry, dreamers.
US News and World Report queried some “Washington Insiders” as to whom Romney (assuming he’s the nominee) should pick as VP candidate. The “insiders” were defined as “…top GOP strategists…some with the campaigns…”. We aren’t even finished with the Iowa Caucuses yet, and here we have people speculating about whom Mitt should pick as his runningmate. Sheesh!
Anyway, here is the tally that USNews got from them:
I am no “Washington Insider”, but I am really not that impressed with this list. Rice leaves me cold. She’s a brilliant woman to be sure, but she is a Bushie. She was also National Security Adviser and Secretary of State when we got embroiled in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. If our nominee were to choose her, we would end up spending at least three quarters of campaign defending that episode rather than focusing upon the failures of the Obama administration. That and her political skills are highly suspect. She has never ran for any office at all, even dogcatcher. It is not a good idea to throw in a first-timer into the maelstrom that is a Presidential campaign.
The first problem, to a lesser extent, applies to Jeb Bush. We are just too close to the Bush-41 administration to take a chance on Jeb.
I also think that it would be better for our nominee to not choose a sitting Senator. We will need all the Republicans in Senate we can get. So that leaves out Rubio, Thune, and Portman. (Leaving out Rubio hurts, but we really, really need him in the Senate.)
Christie maybe, but do we want to remove an effective GOP governor from a blue state? My inclination is to say no.
That leaves only Santorum in the fourth tier, and Paul Ryan, Rick Perry, and McDonn in fifth. These guys just don’t float my boat, not at all. Surely we can do better than these?
Now whom do I think would be a good running-mate? Well, I don’t wish to mention names lest I jinx it, but if Mitt were to select a certain Indian-American lady governor from South Carolina, I wouldn’t complain too loudly, if you catch my drift.
*wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*
With conservatives seemingly still unwilling to coalesce around a Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, brother of the 43rd U.S. president and son of the 41st, is raising eyebrows today with a Wall Street Journal op-ed extolling the virtues of the free market.
In the piece, Bush channels campaign-style rhetoric, leading some conservative commentators to question whether he might launch a late-inning jump into a chaotic GOP field.
Byron York, a columnist for the Washington Examiner, wondered on Twitter what Bush intended by the piece.
“Trial balloon? Jeb Bush pens campaign-like economic manifesto for WSJ,” York tweeted.
Both the timing of the piece and the pragmatic ex-governor’s unusual focus on the ideology du jour of the GOP base have me suspecting that the House of Bush is testing the waters to gauge whether or not the mood is right for a “draft” effort that would propel Jeb into the race once all of the candidates not named Romney and Paul have failed miserably in the early states. I think that any such effort is misplaced. First, a Tea Party-centric Republican base is hardly going to embrace as its savior the brother of a Republican president who they view as a traitor to their ideology. Secondly, while it’s true that it would be mathematically possible to win the nomination while not even competing in the early states, it’s simply not practically possible. Once Gov. Romney has won, or done especially well, in states that he was supposed to lose, like Iowa and South Carolina, the narrative of an inevitable Romney nomination will have been set in stone. All of the establishment types who haven’t already gotten on the Romney bandwagon will do so quickly, and there simply won’t be any donors, operatives, or big GOP names willing to take a gamble on a late entry. While a Romney-only race as of February 1st seems like a heaping helping of Jeb-bait (or perhaps even Palin-bait) on paper, the reality is that at that point, Romney will be the de facto nominee, and the party will have psychologically settled on Romney as its standard bearer for 2012.
The Weekly Standard reports on some of the rumors swirling around the web:
My better half stumbles across some interesting reports from people in New Hampshire:
So a writer I follow who lives in New Hampshire just tweeted:
@publicroad: I live in NH & just got a robocall polling me about what I think about Romney vs. Gingrich vs. *Jeb Bush*.
Other folks are reporting the same polling is taking place in New Hampshire.
Other reports have popped up like this:
Ken Merrifield, the mayor of Franklin, noted on Facebook last night that he was “just phone-surveyed about Jeb Bush for President.” The caller mentioned “consistent conservative twice.”
And from Erick Erickson:
Third person today tells me they got polled in New Hampshire and the list of candidates was Romney, Newt, and Jeb Bush.
So is this just a firm like PPP trolling for dissatisfaction, or is the hope of a late entry alive once more?
From the Christian Scientist Monitor (emphasis added):
Watching Rick Perry’s debate performance Tuesday night, [the author] (along with many observers in the press) was struck by how itching-to-get-out-of-there uncomfortable he looked. It was like watching someone’s half-hearted attempt to engage in polite conversation at a dinner party he was only attending as a favor to his wife.
Which has led us today to this fundamental question: Does Rick Perry really want to be president? Or, more specifically, might the Texas governor regret his decision to jump into the race?
Tellingly, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered up his reasons for passing on a White House run, he said he’d tried to imagine himself in a hotel room in Des Moines “and it’s 5:30 in the morning and it’s 15 below, and it’s time for me to get up and go shake hands at the meatpacking plant.”
His point? To subject yourself to the true grind of a presidential campaign – with the loss of privacy, the discipline of having to be always on message, the tedium of giving the same speech over and over, and the out-and-out hard work required behind the scenes - you have to really, really want it.
And almost by definition, a candidate who jumps in only after some arm twisting by supporters – as Perry did and Christie did not – probably doesn’t want it that bad.
Last time around, we had Fred Thompson. There was a great clamor for him to get in the race, too, but anyone watching real close could see that his heart just wasn’t in it. So when he finally did jump in, his campaign just slowly withered on the vine.
Perry simply was not ready. Everyone convinced him that all he had to do was show up, swagger a bit, talk real big, sling a few half-truths about Mitt Romney, and the nomination was his. He was in no way ready. And it has blown up in his face. Now he’s stuck with sinking polls, $15 millions in the bank, and seemingly hating every minute of it. Now what?
We’ve had a number of candidates this time around whose supporters did everything they could to convince them to join the race, but were wise enough to know that it wasn’t for them. First, there was Mike Huckabee. He was leading the polls when he let it be known that he was not running this time. Mitch Daniels was another. And let’s not forget Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint. Both of them had supporters begging them to run. Even Jeb Bush got some action.
With Gov. Rick Perry’s seeming implosion at last night’s debate, conservatives who desire a Republican nominee not named Mitt Romney seem to be hurting for viable options. To be sure, there are plenty of candidates other than Romney or Perry that remain in the race, but each of these candidates has already been written off by the conventional wisdom as a lower-tier selection that stands no chance of winning the nomination. The best possible outcome for a candidate like, say, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum, is that each will receive a fraction of the Anybody-but-Mitt crowd as it begins to abandon Perry, which will only serve to divide Perry’s supporters so many ways that they cease to be relevant, ensuring an easy Romney nomination. As such, Republicans opposed to Romney as their nominee either need to start practicing saying, “President Mitt,” or need to coax into the race one of the remaining white knights who could consolidate a plurality of Republicans behind his or her fledgling candidacy and snag the nomination.
With the filing deadline for the pivotal Florida primary set for October 31st, any potential white knights must make their intentions known by Halloween should they have any realistic hope of winning the nomination. That means that Gov. Sarah Palin’s recent suggestion that she could put off a decision until as late as November is simply unrealistic, as no Republican presidential candidate is going to win the nomination while skipping Florida. Gov. Palin, to be sure, is one of the few candidates remaining who could qualify as a white knight. Gov. Perry’s collapse would make Gov. Palin the instant Tea Party candidate should she enter the race. And like Ron Paul, Gov. Palin has at her fingertips a grassroots fan base that could quickly and easily be transformed into an army of small donors and volunteers should the ‘Cuda decide to make a late entry into the race.
Another candidate who seems to be unable to escape everyone’s radar is Gov. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor continues to deny any intention to run, even as establishment wonks and Bush family emissaries attempt to push the larger-than-life Garden State executive into the race. Given the Bush family’s interest in a Christie run, as demonstrated by Michael Gerson’s support for Christie in recent weeks, Christie would likely find himself with an insta-campaign at his fingertips. If Christie entered, he would essentially have the entire “Galactic Empire” of Bushie donors, volunteers, endorsements, and supporters at his command. That reality, combined with Christie’s combative, brusque nature, which is pitch-perfect for an angst-driven election cycle like this one, make Christie a real threat to Mitt Romney and pretty much every other candidate who hopes to win the GOP nomination next year.
If Christie doesn’t run, and if the Bushes continue to fear that their position as the Corleone family of the party is under seige, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may decide to take the plunge. Jeb would likely enter with the same party machinery behind him as would Christie, though he’d have to work hard to shake off the legacy of his brother, who is still viewed suspiciously by the GOP base and by the nation. Jeb is unlikely to run and would probably only enter the field if Gov. Perry somehow makes a comeback, given that, of the potential nominees for president, only a Perry nomination would truly threaten the Bushes’ places at the table.
Finally, there’s always the chance that Rudy Giuliani may decide to make once last try for the nomination. Watching Rudy plop down in New Hampshire and run unapologetically as himself would be interesting if nothing else. But the hurdles are high for Mayor Giuliani after blowing what was essentially his position as frontrunner during the last presidential race.
Ultimately, though, it’s entirely possible that the field is set, and that Mitt Romney will soon establish himself as the probable nominee. We’ll know in a few short weeks whether to expect any further entries to a race that is beginning to look like Romney’s to lose.
While the date of the Florida Primary hasn’t yet been determined, the state will most likely be fifth in the presidential primary season and has been seen as one of the more important primaries. With that in mind, tailoring a message to the Florida electorate is very important. Like other states, there are certain topics that are more sensitive in Florida than in other places. For instance many of our Romney folks believe that Rick Perry’s comments in Fed Up! about Social Security will hurt him with the large elderly population of the state. However, this post is about another candidate, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and her remarks about the Florida Everglades:
Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann says she’d consider drilling for oil and natural gas in the Everglades if it can be done without causing “environmental degradation.”
This is a colossal mistake on the part of the Congresswoman on several levels. First, any kind of drilling near Florida is political suicide since the BP oil spill. The Florida Legislature has killed any and all drilling bills since that fiasco. Moreover, this isn’t just any area we are talking about. The Everglades is one of the natural treasures of this state and Governors of Florida starting with Governor Claude Kirk in 1968 and continuing to this day have strived to protect the area. It’s one of the few things Jeb Bush, Bob Graham, and Charlie Crist agree on. This policy has been strongly supported by both Democrats and Republicans in Florida. In short, it is one of the few things that Floridians agree on; don’t touch the Everglades.
But don’t take my word for it. I give you Congressman Allen West:
U.S. Rep. Allen West told a town hall audience today that Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann made “an incredible faux pas” when she said she is open to allowing drilling for oil and natural gas in the Everglades if it can be done safely.
“When I see her next week, I’ll straighten her out about that,” West said of the Minnesota congresswoman.
West is a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, which Bachmann chairs.
Michele Bachmann’s long-term viability is open to question, especially with the rise of Governor Perry. However, if the Congresswoman is still in the race come Florida, you can bet someone, whether another campaign or an outside group, will blister her over her comments. Two of the debates in September are here in Florida and I would be shocked if someone didn’t ask her a question about this. The Congresswoman better have one heck of an explanation if she doesn’t want to cause herself anymore damage on what should have been an easily avoidable mistake.
That’s the conclusion that I reach after reading excerpts from a recent interview with the former Florida governor:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush warned the Republican presidential hopefuls against ideological intransigence and knee-jerk opposition to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, saying they risk turning off middle-of-the-road voters.
Asked by Fox News host Neil Cavuto if some Republicans go too far in their criticism of Obama, Bush said flatly, “I do. I think when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, that’s wrong. It turns off people who want solutions.
“It’s fine to criticize him, that’s politics,” said Bush, the younger brother of former President George W. Bush, who again reiterated that he won’t run for president himself. “But just to stop there isn’t enough. You have to win with ideas, you have to win with policies. … He’s made a situation that was bad worse. He’s deserving of criticism for that. He’s not deserving of criticism for the common cold on up.”
“If you’re a conservative, you have to persuade. You can’t just be against the president,” he added.
Breaking with the GOP field, Bush said he’d be willing to accept new revenues as part of a deficit-reduction package.
My emphasis on all counts.
Jeb’s positioning would make him a non-starter among Republicans this year, who want anger, not optimism, emotion, not ideas, and who have been convinced by talk radio that any Republican who doesn’t call the president names, in full fourth grade jacket, is a latte-sipping RINO with slacks that are way too neatly pressed for any self-respecting Real American. Moreover, Jeb’s admission that the government will need greater revenue in order to close the deficit puts him in opposition to every other Republican running this year, who, as we learned from the last debate of GOP presidential candidates, are opposed to any sort of tax increase, regardless of the spending cuts that come along with it. And of course, in this post-Norquist world, flattening the tax code is now a “tax hike,” as it eliminates deductions, thus raising taxes on some individuals.
All of this suggests to me that the Bushes are betting that Obama will win a second term, and that by positioning himself as the “I told you so” statesman in the party, Jeb will be able to pick up the pieces if the strategy of “taking it to Obama” turns out to be a dud.
I guess this means we’re looking at a Romney/Perry race. Gulp:
With some establishment Republicans starting to fret over Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s chances in a general election and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s ability to win the GOP nomination to face President Obama, speculation continues to roil the party about a possible new entrant in the 2012 presidential contest.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie? House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan? Former Florida governor Jeb Bush? All have said they are not interested.
And now, in an interview this week, Bush predicted that the eventual Republican nominee is already in the mix.
“It’s jellin’,” said the former Florida governor. “The field is pretty well set.”
Without Ryan, Christie, or Jeb, there are a dearth of potential White Knights remaining who could scoop up both the GOP establishment and the pitchfork-wielding base. That leaves Romney as the candidate of the establishment (with Huntsman nipping at his heels) and Perry as the candidate of the base (with Bachmann and Palin both circling the Texan in the event that he stumbles).
Given yesterday’s Gallup Poll showing Romney narrowly besting Obama, and Perry tied with the president, in potential general election matchups, will the desire by the Republican base to beat Obama result in pragmatism trumping primal urges in the coming race for the nomination? Or will the base decide that the Texan is “close enough” to Obama to go long on a Perry nomination? What if America wakes up the day after the presidential election to find that the president has narrowly won a second term over Nominee Perry, perhaps by a razor thin margin of 50-49, with exit polls showing that a Nominee Romney would have flipped the race on its head and beaten Obama by a similarly narrow margin?
I suspect that such a result will yield a political environment similar to the one faced by the country after the re-election of President Nixon in 1972. Like Nixon, Obama will have won by running solely on foreign policy accomplishments, and largely due to the inability of the challenging party to nominate someone that the general electorate could stomach. Indeed, the nomination of George McGovern occupies a special place in presidential history, as it constitutes an election in which Democrats decided to nominate the candidate who best represented the uninhibited id of their party’s base, someone who boldly and unabashedly proclaimed and embodied mid-20th Century American leftism. In so doing, Democrats got the sort of election result that such a strategy deserved.
If Republicans this time around are intent on nominating whichever candidate will pander most to the base’s primal fears, President Obama just may find himself winning a second term on a 40 percent approval rating. That will likely lead to a lackluster second term for Obama, and another four years of domestic woes for the nation. But just as McGovern’s nomination was followed four years later by the nomination of someone who appeared to be a reasonable Southern Democrat, so might a loss by one of the GOP’s primal candidates result in a Ryan, Christie, or Rubio nomination in 2016.
The other day, I came across a fascinating Politico piece, which told of the extensive (and under-the-radar) groundwork the Tim Pawlenty campaign has begun laying in Florida:
The former Minnesota governor announced Friday that he’ll be taking time off from an all-out effort in Iowa ahead of next month’s straw poll for a two-day swing through Florida next week…
…Pawlenty will arrive in Florida on Monday. He’ll start his multi-city series fundraisers and huddles with potential endorsers in Orlando, where he’ll be joined by the three Florida state representatives who’ve already been chosen by their conference as the next three House speakers. The group will then head to Tampa on Tuesday, where the candidate will host a meet-and-greet at Buddy Brew Coffee, his first big public event in the state. Then Pawlenty heads south to Miami, for more donor and supporter meetings.
He’s not copying Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 Florida-or-die strategy, but Pawlenty’s campaign has identified a so far largely uncontested donor- and delegate-heavy state as a major resource for campaign cash and support. And while he’s been struggling to gain traction elsewhere, he’s found a growing number of people so attracted to his personality, education positions, immigration enforcement stance and strong Second Amendment rights record that they’ve been willing to go out on a limb and publicly back his campaign. If there’s an extended primary fight next year, Pawlenty’s set up the second-round Florida primary to be his campaign firewall.
…Pawlenty made the state’s importance clear from the start. He was the only presidential candidate to accept an invitation to the January conference of the newly-formed Hispanic Leadership Network — a group that includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
…Pawlenty’s Florida state chair, Phil Handy, who led Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns and education agenda as chair of the state Board of Education, said those connections to the popular former governor haven’t gone unnoticed.
…The investment has paid off. In addition to the succession of state House speakers, 11 state House legislators have endorsed Pawlenty. Of those, eight are freshman, many wooed by Pawlenty himself, who’s ‘s been regularly setting aside time on his schedule to make the appeals directly, either on the phone or in person.
…Picking up state lawmakers’ endorsements could help him surge in the Florida GOP’s “Presidency 5” straw poll in September, where delegates will likely fall in line with the state’s leadership, especially state House speaker Will Weatherford, the Florida GOP’s rising star, said Tampa-based GOP strategist Anthony Pedicini.
This marked the first time that I had heard Pawlenty has placed so much emphasis on the Sunshine State. As noted in the article, this strategy carries some risk, as the Governor still needs to prove he can garner enough enthusiasm to receive consideration as a true top-tier candidate. However, if T-Paw manages to pull off a victory (or a strong runner-up finish to Ron Paul) in the Ames Straw Poll and then translate his early Sunshine State support into a Florida Presidency 5 Straw Poll win, he would place himself firmly in that category.
And for a campaign that certainly looks to spend a large amount of resources in early states, the fundraising pool in Florida will certainly come in handy. Perhaps Team Pawlenty also hopes to ride the momentum from an impressive showing in Florida to success on Super Tuesday, a la John McCain in 2008. Of course, that assumes that T-Paw will perform well enough in Iowa to remain so long in the race.
As the dog days of summer reach their apex, the race for the GOP nomination has become nothing short of an epic bore, with former Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann topping most polls of GOP primary voters. But that’s all about to change, as a series of events seems to be developing that could knock both Mr. Romney and Mrs. Bachmann from their respective perches, making way for a race between incoming candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and the last, best hope of the GOP establishment, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Indeed, Jeb’s walkback from his previous Shermanesque statements with regard to 2012 — the former governor now claims that he doesn’t “anticipate” running — may be a sign of the Bush Establishment’s fears of a Texas-sized juggernaut entering the race later in the summer and taking the field by storm. Rick Perry, a longtime Bush foe, seems all but certain to run, and will probably have the support of such notable Republicans as Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin, both of whom have long been Perry allies, and the latter of whom continues to make no moves in preparation for a run. With polls suggesting that Perry has already surged into second place in the Republican horse race, and with Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann continuing to make Republican base voters uncomfortable, for very different reasons, the Perry boomlet has managed to get the attention of the smart money on Intrade, where Perry, not Mitt, is now viewed as the most likely Republican nominee.
Should Perry enter the race and skyrocket to the top of the field, the GOP establishmentarians who see the Texan as a personal or political threat will have two options. They can either throw everything behind Romney, helping Mitt to prevent the Perry insurgency, or they can get behind the candidate that they’ve really wanted all along, Jeb Bush. A Romney push is probably more likely than a Jeb late entry, though it is not outside of the realm of possibility that Romney will simply collapse once a fully operational Perry campaign unites all of the disparate groups waiting for another Reagan to ride in on a white horse and save the day. In that event, the establishment will either have to make peace with Perry or go for broke with a Jeb run.
A Perry/Jeb race could make for some interesting bedfellows. Jeb, who emanates from a purple state, and who gives off relatively neutral cultural cues, may actually do better in the polls against Obama than the lamborghini red Perry. If so, a lot of Republicans who just want to beat Obama may go for Jeb, as will a lot of the Regular Republicans, the folks who don’t show up for caucuses, straw polls, or political activism, but who vote Republican every time in order to keep their taxes low and their streets safe. Additionally, Jeb will become the candidate of the wonks, while Perry takes the ideologues. Jeb will likely have a Mitt-style health care plan as an alternative to ObamaCare, while Perry will probably present more of a big picture campaign that involves getting government out of the way instead of delving into its operational nuts and bolts.
What will be especially interesting is what social conservatives do if the choice comes down to Perry and Jeb. Both have checked the requisite boxes in those areas, but Perry, the more libertarian of the two, seems to be the one actively courting the so-cons outright. Will Jeb run a more silent campaign on those issues, knowing that his record and his Catholicism will deflect any fears of apostasy? Whatever the case, the sleepy Republican race for the White House that looked all but over just a week ago now seems to be once again up in the air.
Or, “Love the One You’re With.”
After Daniels bowed out, many looked to Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, and even Jeb Bush to swoop in and save us from what the media and establishment types deemed a lackluster field. However, Politico’s Morning Score has a nice wrap up of statements from those four fellows that points us toward the need to accept out current field (which I believe is still pretty strong).
JEB BUSH: “While I am flattered by everyone’s encouragement, my decision has not changed … I will not be a candidate for president in 2012.”
PAUL RYAN: “I’m not running for president, I’m not planning on running for president … My plan is to be a good chairman of the House Budget Committee and fight for the fiscal sanity of this nation.”
RICK PERRY SPOKESMAN MARK MINER: “The governor’s position hasn’t changed … He has no intention to run for president.”
CHRIS CHRISTIE ADVISER MIKE DUHAIME (asked if the governor is 100 percent not running): “Correct.”
So there you go. When it comes to whether or not someone will or can jump in this race late, I tend to agree with Hugh Hewitt’s new column:
[T]he reason various candidates are taking a pass this year is that the top two contenders –Romney and Pawlenty — have essentially locked up the campaign talent and the money commitments necessary to mount a traditional campaign, and that insurgent candidates are already in the hunt in the form of Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum. Jon Huntsman also presents himself as an unusual sort of candidate taking even more space from the idea of a later entrant…
The political press always wants more candidates. They mean more copy. They love the idea of late entrants and dramatic runs and don’t let the example of Fred Thompson stand in their way…
Only Palin and Texas Governor Rick Perry remain question marks, and there are good reasons for both of them to pass, including the fact that Romney and Pawlenty have launched very well designed campaigns that will not easily be pushed aside. They have both been governors, and governors know how to plan. Palin and Perry know this and know Pawlenty and Romney well. 2016 is out there and both of them would be viable candidates if President Obama rallies and hangs on.
We will have an eleven-candidate field for this primary — twelve if Palin decides to jump in. All of them have flaws. None of them are perfect. But we do have some strong candidates who will be able to defeat Obama and get this country back on track. Instead of looking wistfully out the door hoping another girl shows up at the dance, it’s time to get out on the dance floor with the pretty girls who are already here.
This week on The Chris Matthews Show, Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel reported that the “Republican money guys” are still in search of a candidate for 2012, attempting to woo folks like Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush into the race due to dissatisfaction with the field, and the desire to get behind an establishment alternative to Mitt Romney. This piece seems to confirm that report:
Some of Iowa’s top Republican campaign contributors, unhappy with their choices in the developing presidential field, are venturing to New Jersey in hopes they can persuade first-term Gov. Chris Christie to run. The entreaty is the latest sign of dissatisfaction within the GOP over the crop of candidates competing for the chance to run against President Barack Obama in 2012.
Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa energy company executive, and a half-dozen other prominent Iowa GOP donors sought the meeting with Christie, the governor’s chief political adviser, Mike DuHaime, told The Associated Press. The get-together is set for the governor’s mansion in Princeton, N.J., on May 31.
The meeting speaks to what some Republicans nationally say is a lack of enthusiasm about the emerging roster of contenders. It’s also unusual because candidates typically court Iowans, who get the first say in presidential nominating contests, and not the other way around.
Christie, who was elected in 2009 and has drawn national attention for his tough talk and battles with Democrats, has explicitly and repeatedly rejected the idea of running for the White House. Yet that hasn’t deterred these Iowans.
“There isn’t anyone like Chris Christie on the national scene for Republicans,” Rastetter told the AP. “And so we believe that he, or someone like him, running for president is very important at this critical time in our country.”
It’s not the first instance this year of Iowa Republicans seeking to widen the 2012 field. A former state party chairman, Steve Grubbs, approached Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ top aide in Indianapolis last month. Daniels expects to say in a few weeks whether he will enter the race.
For what it’s worth, Jeb is still a definite “no” according to Stengel. Whether Christie can be persuaded remains to be seen.
As fortune favors the bold, I am about to make a rather bold prediction, given that the first presidential primaries of 2012 are at least 11 months out. Based on the shape of the presidential field, the shape of the electorate, and the “narrative” of the 2011-2012 election cycle, I predict that absent a Mitch Daniels run, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota will be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
First, let’s examine the narrative of the current cycle. The U.S. economy is in the gutter. The economy hasn’t truly been “booming” since the 1990s, and real growth hasn’t reached most middle class households in a long time. Structural changes to the economy have created a now-defunct housing bubble, and a probably soon-to-burst higher education bubble, and the dearth of economic growth has led to a collapse in private sector profits and in public sector revenue, resulting in reductions in pensions and benefits. The unemployment rate is hovering at or around 9 percent. The underemployment rate is probably higher. The collapse of Social Security and Medicare is imminent. While most Americans don’t have doctorates in economics, the average citizen just sort of knows in his or her gut that something is wrong, and that the solution is to somehow move around the tectonic plates of economic and fiscal policy in order to right the ship before it plummets to the bottom of the sea.
It’s not rocket science to figure out that in this environment, John Bolton doesn’t win the GOP presidential nomination. That is to say, the nominee will be someone who at least loosely fits the narrative of the cycle, someone who has demonstrated the courage and the skill to move around the economic and fiscal tectonic plates at some level of government, despite the resistance from entrenched interests and demagogues. A candidate who has been able to cut spending, hold down the growth of government, challenge the public sector unions, and implement policies conducive to job growth will ultimately win the nomination. Also, given the continued unpopularity of ObamaCare, a candidate who can be trusted to work to roll back ObamaCare, and perhaps replace it with a conservative version of health care reform, will tend to rise to the top as well. Candidates who seem as if they would be unable to take the heat when attempting to take on the “hard things” that will have to be done in Washington in 2013 and beyond will not fare well. Nor will those who have not demonstrated the smarts to do those “hard things.” And nor will those who are deemed sympathetic to ObamaCare.
That’s the narrative of the coming election cycle, but that narrative is useless without applying it to the actual GOP presidential field. And just as important as those who probably will be running is the list of candidates who have taken themselves out of contention. Gov. Christie is a man who absolutely fits the narrative of this cycle. He has also done everything he can to take himself out of the race, including suggesting that he’s not ready to be president. Paul Ryan is another man who fits the narrative. He has also given Shermanesque statements that he won’t run. Gov. Walker and Gov. Kasich both fit the narrative as well, yet both are in the midst of their first legislative sessions as governor and would be laughed out of the race by the media. Meanwhile, Mike Pence, while never having run a state, nor designed a Ryan-esque roadmap, is a strong and articulate voice for conservatism, and could potentially have morphed into the sort of candidate who fits this year’s narrative. He’s opted out of the race though. Gov. Jindal is another public official who could probably morph into the right sort of candidate for this year given his smarts, but again, he’s not running. The same logic applies to Jeb Bush.
Once you narrow the GOP presidential field down to the folks who actually seem to be running, you’re left with very few candidates who actually fit the narrative. First, there’s a group of candidates who seemingly have the courage to do the hard things, but who have not demonstrated the ability to, or even an interest in, actually governing, a process that requires deal-making, compromise, and being something other than a purist. This group consists of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Sharron Angle, Rick Santorum, and if he runs, Jim DeMint. I suspect that these candidates will end up doing very poorly once the race is underway, forcing the candidates to actually spell out what they would do to right our economic and fiscal ship. Then there is a group of candidates who will essentially be vetoed by the base given concerns of apostasy. Mitt Romney is in this group, due to the seeming similarities between RomneyCare and ObamaCare. So is Jon Huntsman, the cap-and-tradin’ former Obama appointee. I am a big fan of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, but the reality is that a social liberal and foreign policy dove just isn’t going to win the GOP nomination. And while I’m convinced Mike Huckabee will not run, it’s possible that the 2008 campaign against him by Drudge and the talk radio types has left a bitter taste in the mouths of fiscal conservatives in a way that will deny him the nomination.
That leaves four possible nominees: Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitch Daniels. At this point, one really has to understand the mood of the GOP electorate in order to determine in which direction primary voters will head. Polls suggest that by and large the GOP electorate wants a candidate who can beat Obama. Like the 1988 Democratic electorate, it doesn’t want to nominate Jesse Jackson and go down in a blaze of purist glory, but neither is the base ready to be “Sister Souljah’d” by a Bill Clinton. What the base really wants is someone who comes across the way Michael Dukakis did initially to the Democratic base of 1988: a smart, inventive public official who would be electable but who had also demonstrated loyalty to all of the factions of the base.
Those considerations knock Newt out of contention, given the increasingly erratic former Speaker’s poor poll numbers against Obama, and his seemingly bipolar politics, shifting from a believer in man-made global warming to a supporter of impeachment of the president. Gov. Barbour, a good governor who is probably running at the wrong time, is also nixed due to his lobbyist past, which wouldn’t play well during a cycle in which special interests are the baddies, as well as his Old South demeanor, which would hurt the ticket as it attempts to unseat the first Black American president. That leaves Gov. Daniels and Gov. Pawlenty competing for the prize.
What’s interesting is that if Daniels runs, he has the potential to really mix things up, as he could totally displace Pawlenty, or displace him just enough to throw this whole analysis out the window and allow Mitt Romney (or whoever) to slip through to the nomination. But what if Daniels doesn’t run? I would say the chances of a Daniels run are less than 50 percent at this point given that his wife is cool to the subject (and given that every married man I’ve ever known says that once married, you pretty much do what your wife tells you to do). In that event, Pawlenty stands alone as the candidate who is actually running for president, who fits the narrative of the election cycle, and who fits the requirements of the GOP base as someone who is electable but remains loyal to the various factions of his party’s base. And all of that leads me to the conclusion that, if Daniels takes a knee on 2012, Gov. Pawlenty will be the GOP nominee.
It wasn’t quite an endorsement, but in an interview with the New York Times, Chris Christie said of Mitch Daniels:
“He’s the only one around the country, at least who is on the list as considering running for president, who is talking about it,” referring to addressing the skyrocketing costs of entitlement spending.
The comment has echoes of Jeb Bush’s comments about Daniels a week or so ago, including use of the words “the only one.” Bush said:
“Mitch is the only one who sees the stark [economic] perils and will offer real, detailed proposals,” Bush told Jacksonville business leaders …
There is a consensus forming on the importance of this issue among serious people. No doubt other candidates will see the trend and jump on the bandwagon, but I think Daniels’ leadership on the issue, and long record, will stand him in good stead; while the late-comers will be asked what took them so long.
Christie had other wisdom on the importance of dealing with the deficit, which I’ll quote because they are so much in line with what I’ve been saying:
Mr. Christie said that any Republican who fails to offer a specific plan to address the growth in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security is “selling people short” and will not be successful in challenging President Obama next year.
No politician in 2011-12 can be taken seriously as a leader unless they understand that the deficit is the #1 issue of our times, And any politician who claims to take the deficit seriously but pretends s/he can deal with it without touching entitlements and defense is a charlatan.
While not an “official” endorsement (since nobody’s even an “official” candidate yet), this has got to have the Daniels camp feeling pretty good this afternoon:
Jeb Bush likes Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ 2012 presidential prospects. The former Florida governor told a private gathering of Jacksonville business leaders that Daniels is the only potential candidate he’s heard who demonstrates a willingess to face up to harsh realities.
“Mitch is the only one who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals,” he said, speaking at a reception held before he took the stage in front of a crowd of real estate professionals.
Bush acknowledged that Daniels is absent the smooth, television-friendly delivery present in other hopefuls, but said voters were looking for a direct approach.
“He would be the anti-Obama, at least socially,” Bush said. “He’s not good on a teleprompter, but if my theory is right that could work well for him.”
Since Daniels is in my top three choices for nominee, this is good news to me as well. Heh.
|Obama||Opponent||Margin over Obama|
Mike Huckabee did the best, though it is nothing to really brag about. He came in the least behind Obama at -3%. Mitt Romney was close behind him at -5%. Mitt did manage to hold Obama down to 46% versus Mike’s 47%, but again that is little to brag about. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are tied at -9%
The big takeaway has to be that things continue to look poorly for Sarah Palin. Obama scored the best against her of any of the field. In fact, she was one of only two 2012 GOP hopeful that couldn’t keep Obama under 50%, and the other one who couldn’t was one of the novelty candidates. She trailed the President by double digits. Only two points separated her from the two novelty candidates, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.
Jeb Bush discusses Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee on Geraldo at Large:
-Texas Conservative blog at ILikeMikeHuckabee2012