Monday, July 15, 2013

Early Read on the GOP Race for President

Over at Race 4 2016, I offered my early read on the '16 GOP race.

Figured I'd share with y'all over here:


If we’re offering ridiculously premature predictions, I’m happy to put in my $.02.

Walker or Cruz will be the hard right alternative to Christie or Jeb.

Rubio can afford to bide his time, and if Jeb runs (which I think he will), that gives him a personal reason to wait for a later cycle (when the immigration issue has been taken off the table and his “apostasty” far from the front of the mind).

Perry and Santorum will go nowhere. They were the product of a vaccuum on the right in the last cycle, which will not exist this go-around.

Jindal will run, but with his cratering approval at home and slightly strange affect (and I say that lovingly, b/c I’m a fan), he’s a non-starter.

Walker will have strong support in Iowa and be able to consolidate early momentum as the conservative alternative. He has tremendous cred with the talkers, will have the track record of a structural reformer who got results, and is soft spoken but capable at the podium.

Cruz is an X factor. He’s capable of the type of dynamic debate “moment” that snowballs. He’s not experienced enough, and probably not viable in a general election, but I could see him storming through primaries under the right circumstances. Still, the most likely scenario is Jeb/Christie or Walker, IMO.

Rand will carry his father’s support, but contrary to the wishful thinking of his supporters, will simply not be able to expand on it by much. He’s simply too dogmatic with too many positions that are spinable. In a bad way (e.g., his civil rights act debate with Maddow, Jack Hunter, etc.). If the Paulites really want a constitutionalist, they will jump ship for Cruz or Walker early on (although both are probably too socially conservative for many of them). My guess is they stay loyal to their “pure” libertarian candidate and end up with Jeb or Christie.

As for Huntsman, another thoughtful and intelligent man that I respect, he simply has no shot. If his appearances last go around were any indication, he is a terrible campaigner. I still gag when I think of his comment, “I came in 3rd in the State where I staked my whole campaign. We got a TICKET TO RIDE.” Cringe-worthy.

Massachusetts Conservative:
Jeb is a really impressive guy and I don’t understand some of the hate around here, but his last name is really a deal-breaker for a lot of people.

It is now. Most of those people are Dems, although I can certainly admit that there are sizeable # of GOP voters who are upset w/ W as well. Whether over policy, or his failures with politics and messaging. The difference is, most of those GOP voters who are “turned off by the Bush name” will still dial in to the presidential campaign, and will get to hear Jeb speak for himself.

He is so different from his brother in his speech, mannerisms, and approach to politics, it will not go unnoticed. His campaign will have heavy-hitters backing it. Funding is a given, not a hope or a game of “what if.” His resume is plainly worthy of the White House, and this is just based on his 2-term stint as governor of THE crucial swing sate. Never mind growing up as the son of the head of the CIA/U.S. Senator/V.P./President, and all the exposure to a broad spectrum of policy issues that provided him.

Simply put, most GOP voters will at least give him a hearing, and he will be convincing as a policy heavyweight who is intelligent, articulate, and experienced.

Ultimatooely, I think he’ll be embraced by the average, center-right Republican over Christie because he has a much more stable personality. As a northeasterner, I appreciate Christie, and am very impressed at what he’s accomplished in NJ, but he will have issues becoming the standard bearer for the party.

His Joisey brashness may turn off voters in several primary states that tend to be momentum-generating. His weight is a problem, there’s just no way around it. There is no overarching message to his politics. Listen to his RNC speech again. It’s 45 minutes of “I accomplished this, I accomplished that,” without any roadmap of where he thinks the GOP needs to lead the country. And we all know his allegiance to conservatism and the last GOP candidate was called into question because of actions that were transparently (if not exclusively) self-serving.

That’s the negative. There’s a lot of positive as well, especially his political courage and ability to relate to the man on the street. Still, IMO, it’s much harder to find Jeb’s weaknesses (and I mean his own weaknesses, not guilt-by-association). That’s why I have a feeling Jeb will be the more moderate candidate to emerge in the primary process. Whether he wins depends on the road the party (and our national political discussion) takes over the next 2.5 years.


Fredo said...

The post above gives my early early read on what I think will happen. For the record, at this stage of the game, here's my list of who I'd like to see as the nominee:

1) Jeb
2) Ryan
3) Christie

For now, that's my list. Guys with policy chops, experience, and temperance. Sober choices.

Cruz and Paul will undoubtedly whip me into a frenzy in '15 and I'll forget about this brief foray into sensibility.


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