March 29, 2014

Romney Redux?

There are a number of serious Republicans interested in running for president, at this early point, in two years.

Some of them, such as Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio don’t seem to have a broad enough base that would enable them to win the nomination, but they have motivated and vocal supporters, and if they run, they will be notable factors in the Republican primaries and caucuses.

Others, including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry might be seen as figures of the past, and might not run (although Governor Perry is making serious noises about another run in 2016).

2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Governors Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and John Kasich are frequently mentioned, but have yet to indicate their serious interest in 2016.

The two figures who would probably be frontrunners, Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Jeb Bush, have current political problems to overcome (although it is more likely than not that one of these two men will be the GOP nominee).

On the other hand, if the field is large, the primaries and caucuses very bitter, AND the frontrunners falter, the resulting stalemate might propel forward a name which has not really been mentioned seriously, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, back into contention.

Romney was perhaps the wrong candidate for 2012 because his persona played into the negative Democratic media campaign that year, and because he did not, at the end, assemble as competitive campaign as did Barack Obama. But 2016 promises a very different political environment. After two terms of Mr. Obama, the voters may be weary of any Democrat (as they were in 2008 of any Republican). We must await the results of the 2014 midterm elections to draw more precise and verified conclusions, but Obamacare almost alone seems to be moving the electorate to the GOP, and threatening to ruin the Democratic Party brand for years to come.

In spite of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, changing our approach to the Middle East by diminishing our long alliance with Israel in a trade-off for (so-far) feckless relationships with other players in the region, and reducing our military and defenses, Mr. Obama’s numbers are very low in polls about his performance in foreign policy. He has been out-dueled so far in his relationship with Russian President Putin. His first term secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016, but, although she will surely try to do so, it might be difficult for her to separate herself from Mr. Obama and her own actions (including her “re-set” with Russia) when working for him. (Remember Hubert Humphrey attempting to do this in 1968?)

Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia and Mr. Putin were a major problem for the U.S., an assertion he made in the 2012 campaign, and subsequently ridiculed by Mr. Obama, looks rather prescient these days. So do many of his views on the domestic issues he ran on in 2012.

Only twice in the past 100 years has a defeated Republican presidential nominee been renominated by his party. Thomas Dewey lost in 1944, and lost again in 1948. Richard Nixon lost in 1960, but won in 1968 (and again in 1972).

In spite of his recent public visibility, there are no indications that Mitt Romney is even thinking about running again in 2016, nor under present circumstances, would he be considered a serious candidate. But in spite of the large number of major GOP candidates, the Republican field is not yet in focus for one of them to win the nomination.

Considering Mr. Romney’s stature, it is not without some curious interest to speculate, and it’s only speculation, that, in certain circumstances, he might resolve a GOP convention stalemate, or even earlier, return to the campaign field.

I’m just saying.


-Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

March 16, 2014

Poll Watch: Gravis Marketing/Human Events (R) South Carolina 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Gravis Marketing/Human Events (R) South Carolina 2016 GOP Primary Poll 

  • Jeb Bush 22% (16.0%)
  • Mike Huckabee 19% (15.8%)
  • Chris Christie 12% (16.6%)
  • Rand Paul 8% (9.7%)
  • Ted Cruz 8% (11.1%)
  • Marco Rubio 6% (7.2%)
  • Scott Walker 5% (2.3%)
  • Rick Santorum 2% (2.8%)
  • Undecided 19% (18.5%)

Survey of GOP primary voters was conducted March 6-7, 2014.  Results from the poll conducted November 30 – December 2, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:56 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch

March 14, 2014

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

PPP (D) 2016 GOP Nomination Poll 

Given the choices of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Scott Walker, who would you most like to see as the GOP candidate for President in 2016?

  • Mike Huckabee 18% [16%] (13%) (11%) {15%} [11%] (17%)
  • Jeb Bush 15% [14%] (10%) (13%) {14%} [12%] (17%)
  • Chris Christie 14% [13%] (19%) (13%) {14%} [14%] (21%)
  • Rand Paul 14% [11%] (11%) (10%) {5%} [7%] (4%)
  • Ted Cruz 11% [8%] (14%)
  • Marco Rubio 6% [8%] (7%) (22%) {21%} [18%] (10%)
  • Paul Ryan 5% [8%] (10%) (15%) {16%} [12%] (7%)
  • Scott Walker 5% [6%] (4%)
  • Bobby Jindal 4% [5%] (3%) (4%) {3%} (3%)
  • Someone else/Not sure 9% [10%] (10%) (8%) {7%} [7%] (10%)

If Mike Huckabee was not a candidate for President in 2016, who would you support, given the choices of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Scott Walker?

  • Jeb Bush 21% [18%] (12%) {14%} [11%] (13%) {15%} [12%]
  • Rand Paul 15% [13%] (12%) {16%} [17%] (16%) {14%} [17%]
  • Chris Christie 14% [17%] (23%) {16%} [14%] (13%) {15%} [15%]
  • Ted Cruz 13% [11%] (15%) {15%} [20%] (12%) {7%}
  • Paul Ryan 9% [9%] (11%) {11%} [10%] (13%) {9%} [12%]
  • Marco Rubio 8% [8%] (8%) {10%} [10%] (10%) {16%} [21%]
  • Scott Walker 5% [7%] (6%) [3%]
  • Bobby Jindal 5% [5%] (4%) {6%} [4%] (4%) {3%} [4%]
  • Someone else/Not sure 10% [11%] (10%) {8%} [9%] (13%) {15%} [10%]

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net} 

  • Mike Huckabee 62% [64%] (65%) (71%) {70%} [73%] (69%) / 18% [18%] (14%) (12%) {15%} [15%] (15%) {+44%}
  • Paul Ryan 58% [58%] {67%} [75%] (78%) {76%} [74%] (47%) / 17% [18%] {13%} [11%] (9%) {11%} [15%] (11%) {+41%} 
  • Rand Paul 56% [58%] (58%) {58%} [60%] (61%) {55%} [53%] (42%) / 17% [21%] (15%) {16%} [16%] (13%) {20%} [22%] (20%) {+39%}
  • Jeb Bush 53% [56%] (49%) {56%} [51%] (59%) {59%} [63%] (71%) / 21% [18%] (22%) {17%} [16%] (12%) {15%} [14%] (13%) {+32%}
  • Marco Rubio 46% {57%} [62%] (59%) {60%} [62%] (53%) / 19% {13%} [10%] (12%) {11%} [11%] (10%) {+27%}
  • Ted Cruz 43% [45%] (43%) {27%} / 20% [20%] (21%) {13%} {+23%}
  • Chris Christie 41% [40%] (47%) {42%} [41%] (42%) {44%} [49%] (62%) / 37% [38%] (29%) {29%} [29%] (27%) {29%} [28%] (12%) {+4%}
Survey of 542 Republican primary voters was conducted March 6-9, 2014.  The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points.  Political ideology: 37% [39%] (39%) {42%} [37%] (40%) {38%} [35%] (41%) {39%} [38%] (41%) Somewhat conservative; 35% [37%] (34%) {34%} [39%] (35%) {36%} [39%] (41%) {37%} [39%] (36%) Very conservative; 21% [17%] (21%) {20%} [18%] (17%) {19%} [19%] (14%) {16%} [16%] (16%) Moderate; 6% [4%] (4%) {3%} [4%] (5%) {5%} [5%] (2%) {5%} [6%] (4%) Somewhat liberal; 1% [3%] (2%) {2%} [1%] (3%) {2%} [1%] (1%) {2%} [1%] (3%) Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted January 23-26, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 13-15, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted October 29-31, 2013 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted September 25-26, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 19-21, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted May 6-9, 2013 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 27-30, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 31 – February 3, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 3-6, 2013 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted November 30 – December 2, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 12-15, 2012 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:49 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Poll Watch

February 1, 2014

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Florida 2016 Presidential Survey

Quinnipiac Florida 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% {47%} [50%] (51%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 43% {45%} [43%] (40%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% {50%} [53%] (52%)
  • Marco Rubio (R) 41% {43%} [41%] (41%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52% {50%}
  • Paul Ryan (R) 39% {42%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 53% {51%}
  • Rand Paul (R) 38% {41%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% {45%}
  • Chris Christie (R) 35% {41%}
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 54% {52%}
  • Ted Cruz (R) 34% {36%}


by @ 12:00 pm. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Florida 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Quinnipiac Florida 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 25% (22%)
  • Marco Rubio 16% (18%)
  • Rand Paul 11% (9%)
  • Chris Christie 9% (14%)
  • Ted Cruz 9% (12%)
  • Paul Ryan 5% (6%)
  • Scott Walker 5% (2%)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (3%)

Among Men

  • Jeb Bush 23% (21%)
  • Marco Rubio 16% (17%)
  • Rand Paul 14% (13%)
  • Ted Cruz 10% (14%)
  • Chris Christie 9% (11%)
  • Scott Walker 8% (4%)
  • Paul Ryan 5% (6%)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (4%)

Among Women

  • Jeb Bush 26% (23%)
  • Marco Rubio 16% (20%)
  • Chris Christie 9% (17%)
  • Rand Paul 8% (5%)
  • Ted Cruz 7% (9%)
  • Paul Ryan 6% (6%)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (2%)
  • Scott Walker 3% (1%)

Survey of 586 Republican voters was conducted January 22-27, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted November 12-17, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch

January 31, 2014

State of the 2016 Presidential Field

With President’s Obama’s popularity waning, and with his promise of a transformational presidency long ago thwarted by his own inability to turn around the nation’s economy or enact a bold legislative agenda, eyes are beginning to turn towards potential presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle as Americans commence the search for a leader to move the nation forward and renew its sense of optimism.

On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads her fellow Democrats by several laps, with even sitting Vice President Joe Biden polling well behind the seeming Hillary juggernaut. Given Mrs. Clinton’s popularity due to memories of her husband’s “Golden Age” economy, the contest for the Democratic nomination in 2016 may very well become a coronation. And though she currently leads all potential Republican presidential candidates in early polls of the general election, the aging Secretary of State is now tied not only to her popular husband’s Administration, but to the unpopular Obama Administration. It remains to be seen whether Mrs. Clinton can appeal to the American center the way her husband did, or the way she briefly did during her populist 2008 presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, the Republican field appears to be full of moving parts. In the wake of his re-election last year to the New Jersey governorship, Gov. Chris Christie appeared to be the frontrunner for 2016 due to his panache and charisma and his independent streak, all of which would theoretically allow the governor to sell the GOP message to the sorts of swing voters that Republicans will need in order to snag the White House in 2016. But “Bridge-gate” has hit Christie where it hurts, and with questions raised about the governor’s ethics in its wake, public support for Christie, both in New Jersey and nationally, is waning.

With Christie’s fall leaving an opening for another Republican candidate who could potentially garner non-traditional Republican voters, buzz began to circulate that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was considering yet another presidential run. Gov. Huckabee, during his races in Arkansas, had previously demonstrated an ability to perform disproportionately well for a Republican among usually solidly Democratic African-American voters. Despite strong poll numbers, Huckabee’s recent foray back into the spotlight has already begun to open old wounds, as his use of the term “libido” in relation to women has given Democrats an opportunity to try and reignite the 2012 “War on Women” that damaged the prospects of Gov. Romney. It is possible that Gov. Huckabee, for generational reasons, is ill-equipped to run a presidential campaign in a world where every word that comes out of a politician’s mouth is now fair game for a “hashtag” on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the candidates of the Republican base, such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul, continue to perform strongly among Republican voters, while faring poorly in a general election matchup against Hillary Clinton. Sen. Paul’s attempt to become a more mainstream carrier of his father’s message has earned him a place in the Senate and a following among Republicans, but has not given him the kind of national following needed to win the White House at this juncture. Sen. Paul’s potential to perform solidly in both Iowa and New Hampshire during the Republican primaries will make him a force to be reckoned with nonetheless. At the same time, Sen. Cruz is attempting to become the Tea Party candidate for the 2016 cycle, a position that will make for a strong primary campaign but that might not translate well to success in the general election.

Still other prominent candidates are attempting to thread the needle and become a candidate who can garner broad support while still being rooted in the traditional Republican base. Rep. Paul Ryan, currently doing well in polls of Republican primary voters, is one such candidate. While his prospects were dampened by a less than magnetic performance during his stint as vice presidential nominee in 2012, Ryan remains a young, smart, articulate candidate who has positions acceptable to the base and who has demonstrated an ability to win crossover voters in Wisconsin. Still, whether Ryan has the charisma necessary to go the distance nationally remains to be seen. Sen. Marco Rubio once sought to fill the same position, but his star seems to have faded recently, as his positions on immigration reform put him at odds with the GOP base without doing him much good in the political center.

As such, the GOP field remains wide open for other entrants hoping to both garner the nomination and become the nation’s 45th president. One name beginning to surface is that of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. A popular executive in the state of Florida, Gov. Bush positioned himself during the last presidential cycle as a reasonable Republican who understands that the concerns of most voters are not necessarily on the same page as the “playbooks” of today’s Beltway political consultants. At least one poll has shown Gov. Bush holding Mrs. Clinton under 50% in a general election matchup in the all important state of Florida, and another poll shows only a two point gap between the two nationally. Moreover, Gov. Bush leads, or ties for the lead, in two recent polls of the Republican field, and has the potential to become the “establishment candidate” should he enter the race, a powerful position in a Republican presidential primary.

While many observers question the wisdom of another candidate named Bush leading the GOP ticket, the dynastic issues that would normally arise from a Bush nomination would be cancelled out by the nomination of Hillary Clinton to head the Democratic ticket. And while Mr. Bush would turn 63 in 2016, Mrs. Clinton will turn 69 that same year, meaning that both candidates will be Baby Boomers and neither will have a clear claim to Generations X or Y. And while Mr. Bush does not exude charisma, he does exude competence and statesman-like qualities, similar to Mrs. Clinton, and comes across as eminently reasonable for voters looking for a sober alternative to continued Democratic rule.

At this early juncture, though, anything could still happen. If a young, interesting candidate with potentially broad-based appeal, such as Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, were to jump into the race, the dynamics of the race could change entirely. As would those dynamics change if Mrs. Clinton decided not to run. The reality is that the landscape of 2016, while coming into focus, is anything but certain.

July 31, 2013

Way Too Early 2016 POWER RANKINGS

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

June 30, 2013

The Specularazzi Go Hyper-Forward To 2016

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.

March 5, 2013

Bush Changing Tune Again on Path to Citizenship?

WaPo characterizes Bush’s statements in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd as such:

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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.

by @ 11:28 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

March 4, 2013

Jeb Bush on 2016: “I Have a Voice”

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.

by @ 2:02 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush

February 13, 2013

Poll Watch: Fox News 2016 Presidential Survey

Fox News 2012 Presidential Poll

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. 

Hillary Clinton

  • Yes 55%
  • No 42%

Condoleezza Rice

  • Yes 43%
  • No 43%

Chris Christie

  • Yes 37%
  • No 33%

Paul Ryan

  • Yes 37%
  • No 46%

Joe Biden

  • Yes 35%
  • No 59%

Jeb Bush

  • Yes 26%
  • No 56%

Marco Rubio

  • Yes 25%
  • No 29%

Bobby Jindal

  • Yes 16%
  • No 25%

Andrew Cuomo

  • Yes 16%
  • No 39%

Deval Patrick

  • Yes 6%
  • No 19%

Bob McDonnell

  • Yes 6%
  • No 22%

Martin O’Malley

  • 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

November 26, 2012

Jeb Refuses to Rule Out 2016 Run

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.

by @ 7:29 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush

November 24, 2012

Are You Ready for Jeb 2016? + Overnight Open Forum

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!

by @ 12:55 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush

November 10, 2012

National Journal 2016 Insiders Poll: Bush and Rubio Strongest Potential GOP Nominees

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.

by @ 11:29 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Poll Watch

August 7, 2012

More Convention Speakers Announced Including Santorum

Reuters has the story:

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.

by @ 7:15 am. Filed under Conventions, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum

March 22, 2012

Jeb Bush: Romney Should Pick Marco Rubio as Running Mate

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.

by @ 12:35 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Veep Watch

March 21, 2012

Jeb Bush Endorses Mitt Romney For President

Game over

(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.”

by @ 9:44 am. Filed under Endorsements, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

February 10, 2012

ACU Head: Jeb Could Win at Brokered Convention

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?

by @ 10:02 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush

January 30, 2012

Tomorrow, Time’s Up For a White Knight

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.

by @ 3:18 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Primary & Caucus Dates

January 3, 2012

Too Early for VP Musings?

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:

  • First place: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
    Former Secretary of State Condi Rice
    South Dakota Sen. John Thune.
  • Second: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • Third: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
  • Fourth: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
    Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
  • Fifth: Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry
    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonn.

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*


by @ 5:57 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Veep Watch

December 21, 2011

More Rumblings from Bush World

This past Monday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush penned an op-ed on markets and capitalism for The Wall Street Journal that has the commentariat musing about the governor’s motives:

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.

by @ 7:25 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush

December 14, 2011

RUMOR: Jeb Bush 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?

by @ 9:27 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Jeb Bush

October 13, 2011

An Interesting Question

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.


September 23, 2011

White Knight Watch

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.

by @ 5:40 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin

August 30, 2011

Michele Bachmann’s Florida-Sized Mistake

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.

by @ 7:17 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Jeb Bush, Michele Bachmann

August 24, 2011

Jeb Running for 2016

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.

by @ 10:23 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

August 23, 2011

Jeb: Presidential Field is Set

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.

by @ 11:33 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry

July 31, 2011

Pawlenty in Florida

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.


July 23, 2011

Is Jeb Bush Taking a Second Look at 2012?

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.

by @ 6:40 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin

May 23, 2011

The Field is Set

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.

by @ 8:51 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Chris Christie, Jeb Bush

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