Skip to comments.Republicans, 2016: In full swing (At least 15 Republicans privately contemplating 2016 campaign)
Posted on 11/21/2012 7:36:46 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Tired of presidential politics? Get over it: Upwards of 15 prominent Republicans are privately contemplating 2016 campaigns for the presidency and the most serious and ambitious of the bunch are already plunging in, some quite publicly.
Dont expect them to officially announce or even officially decide for many months. But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are doing nothing to disguise their presidential ambitions.
Jindal, the Rhodes scholar and new chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is making a very public case for a more intellectual approach to conservatism, accusing the GOP of being, in his words, the stupid party.
He offered a similar premeditated critique to reporters at the RGA, on Fox and in an opinion piece.
Rubio and Ryan, both arguably better positioned than Jindal, are also competing for the mantle of the high-energy, forward-thinking conservative. POLITICO has learned both will unveil new policy plans at an awards dinner of the Jack Kemp Foundation in early December: Ryan will begin a new push on a more modern approach to alleviating poverty, focused on education; Rubio will lift the curtain on an economic empowerment message, heavy on college affordability and workforce training.
That upcoming duet is one of the clearest signs that this presidential race is beginning as early as any in history.
Not to be outdone, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and heir to his fathers libertarian following, is now on the record exploring a run that will focus heavily on returning power to the states. In a post-election interview with POLITICO, Paul said he wants to find common ground with liberal Democrats on softer marijuana laws and help create an eventual pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
These 40-something rising stars are hardly alone. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, despite party grumbling about his embrace of President Barack Obama during the recent hurricane, has made plain that he plans to make the case that he has cracked the code on winning on Democratic turf. Christie has the perfect chance to take the temperature of big donors as he raises money for his 2013 reelection race for governor. He will do just that, friends say.
POLITICO has also learned that Rick Santorum is telling friends he wants to run again. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said publicly that he might, too, and has begun talking to donors and other top supporters like he means it. And Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor with strong credentials on education and winning back Hispanics, has told advisers he will sit back to see how things unfold over the next year before deciding whether to finally give it a go.
Jeb Bush Jr., the former governors younger son, said Tuesday when asked on CNNs Starting Point whether his father would run: I certainly hope so.
You have this young crop, of attractive, successful, proven problem-solvers, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said. Old guys like me have to get out of the way. Barbour said the way to stand out in the field will be to help with the partys 2013 and 2014 races. Were not going to wait till 2016 to set a strong new course, he added.
This all might seem premature and a possible big-time distraction for a party that lost the presidency and Senate and House seats this time around. But top Republican officials are encouraging the never-ending presidential campaign in hopes of creating influential national voices beyond Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. On every conference call, the message is the same, one top official said. Were going to push out our new generation of leadership. Were not going to sit back and let the extreme voices define what it means to be a conservative.
Republicans are still haunted by the post-election chaos of 2008, when, with John McCain diminished by defeat and few clear future leaders with national juice on the scene, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin filled the void and dominated news coverage. This time feels different: Unlike 2008, when Republicans chalked up their defeat to a bad GOP ticket in a terrible post-Bush environment for the party, many of the most influential voices are calling for substantial rethinking of the conservative approach to politics. They are reckoning with demographic trends that favor Democrats as well as with exit polling suggesting the assumption this is a center-right country might be wrong, or was at least wrong on Nov. 6, when a center-left electorate showed up.
The danger, of course, is that Republicans get pulled into a bitter fight over the direction of the party, especially as more traditional and hard-edged conservatives jump into the race.
Republican sources said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) might want to fill the void on the religious right now and that Mike Pence, who just won the gubernatorial race in Indiana, has expressed interest in running, too.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who unlike Ryan won statewide in a state Obama won twice, also harbors national ambitions and remains a favorite of tea party conservatives.
For now, most of the media attention is on Republicans who can help the party adapt to the changing demographics, weeks after the party lost African-Americans by 90 points, Asian-Americas by 50 points, Hispanics by more than 40 points and women by just over 10. This will put a lot of emphasis on the small minority of minority leaders inside the GOP. Condoleezza Rice, one of the few stars of this summers Republican convention in Tampa, has told Republicans she will continue speaking out on the future of the party, which will fuel 2016 speculation. A Rice runs strikes many Republicans as unlikely, given her previous resistance.
Others known to be openly thinking about a run include New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte; two Western governors who are Hispanic, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada; and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Finally, there are the elected officials who are perpetually looking for something bigger: Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and Rob Portman of Ohio; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose term ends in 2014; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who like so many others on this list has made his ambitions known in private conversations with donors and activists.
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus said in an email to POLITICO: While the RNC engages in a serious post-election analysis of what worked well and what needs to be improved upon, one area that gives me great optimism is the caliber and quantity of potential 2016 candidates on the GOP side. The top names on the GOP side are talking about serious solutions and reforms to the major issues facing the country which will put the Republican field in a solid position.
With all this activity, Jindal, Rubio and Ryan know there is little time to waste in trying to position themselves to be the one, the candidate who can lead the party back with conservative thinking calibrated to appeal to a changing America. Jindal has been the most aggressive, hitting his party hard in his post-election interview with POLITICO, posting an op-ed on CNN and offering a sharp critique of his party during last weeks RGA meetings. In the interview, Jindal urged an end to dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic. Weve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything, he said.
Ryan allies believe that although his vice presidential run ended in a disappointing rout (with Obama winning his home state of Wisconsin), he has more celebrity, credibility and clout after the race. With his expertise and power in the upcoming budget fights, Ryan will be a central figure in the policy and political debates of 2013.
Rubio plays up his working-class roots and values as part of an appeal to voters making $30,000 to $50,000 a year a group Romney lost badly but with whom Republicans used to be very competitive. That, combined with his connection with Hispanic voters, would make him a bit of an anti-Romney the one card nearly every one of these candidates will try to play, however subtly. Rubio planted the flag in Iowa last weekend, setting a record at a Republican fundraising event. Look for him to flex his muscles in coming months in the other early states: New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
Any reason why Ted Cruz isn’t on the short list?
Yes I’m tired of politics. But I’m also tired of mowing the lawn and doing the laundry. All need to be done.
The sooner we identify good candidates, the better.
Not Rubio. Not Jindal. I want someone with ironclad, unquestionable eligibility. I don’t want a token minority to pander to minorities. That is a losing strategy. I want the absolute best candidate, solidly conservative, regardless of race/gender/socioeconomic status. I’d include religion in that list, except that for me, the loyalty and honesty of any muslim is suspect.
Cue up the natural born birthers...
So?!?! Do you think that Emperor Obama will have an election in 2016? These people act as though everything is going to be as normal in 4 years. Geez...
Born in Canada, not eligible.
Meh. The message here? Conservatives...get lost.
NBC debate round 2.
Good luck to ‘em, I suppose, but I’ve no intent of supporting the GOP any longer.
Maybe it premature to say so, but there are no indications at all the GOP has learned a damn thing from the past election.
have to love politico. It’s Nov 2012 and they tell us in their expert opinion not to expect anyone to officially announce for many months. wow.
So now would be the time for the Walter William with Thomas Sowell as VP ground swell to begin. Let’s try that and then hear them say were racists.
Correction: Dr. Walter E. Williams. and Dr. Thomas Sowell.
You can’t be serious. He is not even a Senator yet.
Yeh, Kristie Kreme has cracked the code he runs as a Democrat but just calls himself a Republican.
At this point, I’d vote for either Ryan or Bachmann. I’m open to hearing what other potential candidates have to say.
Mia Love. Allan West. Sarah Palin. Many more examples that I can’t think of off the top of my head. These were all great candidates who lost. I’m not saying don’t run them. I’m saying don’t run them if we’re trying to pander. (Personally, I think Sarah Palin would be infinitely better than 0bama.) Also, don’t put them in the #2 spot on the ticket which makes it look even more like pandering.
Stop alienating the base by running candidates who are “electable.” Tried that. Failed.
Stop alienating the base AND the rest of the country by running candidates who are “entitled” to run because it’s “their turn.” Dole. McCain. Bush 1. Bush 2.
Those guys are old, no offense.
>>We also need to identify the bad ones and look beyond the presidential election and cut the bad stock out of the herd before they run for house and senate seats as well.
Amen to that.
The New World Order wants another of their own in the Oval Office in order to usher in the new global currency.
How 'bout the fact that he hasn't yet served a single day in the US Senate? Geeez....
Yeah. If they try to get elected by promising to give things away and to make life harder for the people who go out to work every day, I’LL STAY HOME in 2016.
This is the last time I vote for an uninspiring milktoast goody-goody.
Since Jeb will have the same problems with conservatives that Romney did, I don't see a potential winner mentioned in the article...unless the Democrats nominate a white male candidate like Andrew Cuomo. Then, any of them can win.
That's funny, there's a whole lot of folks (self included) that have been calling Republicans "the stupid party" on here for YEARS now.
Needs to be
1. A governor.
2. A guy who has taken the Rats’ best shots and still prevailed.
3. A guy who fights for what he believes in, regardless of what the polls say.
That man is Scott Walker.
I think Levin is usually spot on. I disagree with him on this one. I’m not arguing that Rubio is ineligible. What I am saying is that I want someone who is unquestionably eligible, someone where there is no doubt.
My other beef with Rubio is that he panders to the Hispanic vote with the Dream Act and similar positions. I don’t know what the solution to the immigration problem is, if I did I’d be posting about it, but I’m pretty sure it’s not easy amnesty. Reagan tried that and look where it got us.
I agree with you about “not only ideology.” But we ought to have some list of ideological points and insist on a candidate who scores high on that list. The Dems seem to be a coalition of special interest voters or one-issue voters and are willing to overlook everything else so long as they get their special itch scratched. Blacks who want a black President are willing to ignore the pro-gay agenda they disagree with. Unions who want favorable treatment are willing to overlook the rest of the platform. Women who want free birth control or abortion are willing to overlook the rest of the platform. Those who want more “entitlements” are willing to overlook the rest of the platform. That’s hard to compete with.
Please, drop the BS about eligibility. It didn't work on a guy with a questionable birth place and limited provenance. It certainly won't work on two guys who have naturalized Americans as parents.
2016. What a nauseating thought. I can already see the GOP-E promoting some big-government milquetoast, alongside FoxNews cheerleading and endless interviews of Rove with his blackboard. It’s become a broken-record, with the needle stuck in the same groove, playing over and over again. And all increasingly moot, as the “takers” have now overwhelmed the “makers,” rendering politics a near-pointless sideshow.
My preference is still for Palin, by a wide margin. But options ranging from third-parties to going Galt movements to even secession are looking far more enticing than anything I expect the ever-defective GOP to serve up.
Dunno why Levin, who is against illegal immigration keeps on carrying the water for Rubio.
Those who have ‘senator’ as their first names should stay out of it. Senators do not make good presidents. Look at the one currently in the Oval Office (when the golf games are rained out).
As for the list of governors, several of them have already opened their mouths and revealed they are more ‘centrist’ or ‘moderate’ leaning. Cristie’s embrace of Obama may have been his ‘macaca moment’ for many. Martinez jumped on the bandwagon that blasted Romney for his ‘gifts’ comment. Jindal has less charisma than McCain.
Nope. No thrill up my leg from the list of names in this article.
Jeb? CLUE: Over 50% are still blaming his bro for the bad economy. Jeb wouldn’t get as many electoral votes as McCain got. The Bush name is poison with more than half of the public.
Any reason why Ted Cruz isnt on the short list?
He hasn’t even served a day yet. Maybe 2024 would be best for him.
“Read My Lips, No More Bushes.”
I’ve seen this movie before, and I know how it ends.
The conservatives will beat each other to death in the primary, because they’re too egotistical and self-serving to negotiate a single conservative standard-bearer in private.
The GOP-e anointed RINO will win the primary over his eleven dozen crazed conservative competitors, himself damaged below the waterline.
Then the anointed one will veer to the left, wreck his campaign (somehow) and in spite of the utterly toxic performance of his ‘rat party over the previous four — make that eight — years, the dimocrap will win.
I’m really tired of re-runs.
Sarah Palin is mentioned, but as an observer.
Scratch that otherwise interesting article.
I will respectfully differ with you on this.
In my opinion it is not BS. The fact that people question it makes it a legitimate issue to be considered. And you can bet that if conservatives are questioning it, then liberals will attack it.
Saying that it didn’t matter for Zero doesn’t mean it’s ok for us. I have a hard time believing that either Jindal or Rubio is absolutely the #1 best possible conservative candidate we could run even if without eligibility questions. (I have a similar attitude toward Jeb Bush or any Bush running. Isn’t there anyone else??? It’s not because I hate Bush. It’s because I don’t like political dynasties and I believe there are other, much more qualified candidates.)
Oh Yeah Bobby, That’s just what we need a more intellectual approach to Conservatism.
I know that the Democrats elected an unqualified Muslim, but that doe not mean the Republicans want to cross that line and elect a non-Natural bor to the job.
>> That man is Scott Walker.
I like Scott Walker.
Two problems with Scott Walker, though:
a) No college degree. You don’t care; I don’t care. But it WILL be an obstacle to his getting elected.
b) He and his party couldn’t deliver WI to Romney, even with boots on the ground fresh from his overwhelming victory in the recall. WFT is up with that?
Romney could not deliver Wisconsin, what did Walker have to do?
I still think that reflects more on the weakness of Romney as a candidate more than anything.
I’m not very certain that we’ll have a presidential election in 2016.
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