Mar 092014

Grover Norquist (president of Americans for Tax Reform) recently stated his belief that there are only 6 Republicans who have a chance of getting elected in 2016. If those are the only contenders, the GOP is in serious trouble. In a way, it shows how insulated and out of touch leaders in the GOP have become – Rand Paul is a darling among conservatives but is about as likely to gain mainstream support as his father. Christie is probably the best bet of the list, and would have been quite a strong contender before the scandal that just broke. (People will largely have forgotten the scandal by the next elections, but the democrats would be happy to remind people). If I took Norquist seriously, and I were a GOP partisan, I’d be rather depressed right now.

But here’s the thing, Obama wouldn’t have been on anybody’s radar at this point in 2006 – by 2008 he was beating out top political veterans like Clinton and McCain. It may be that the GOP puts one of those 6 forward – the democrats surely hope so. But there is a long time until 2016, and many opportunities for somebody to emerge as a plausible contender. If I were a GOP strategist, I’d be searching for those people…

  5 Responses to “Only 6 Republicans…”

  1. Found a site that lists betting odds (only off-shore sites can do this and most can’t be accessed from the US, this was pasted to a blog). I’m not going to copy the exact odds for legality considerations, but they’re listed in order.

    There are 9 candidates with odds better than the most-commonly used p value:
    Marco Rubio
    Chris Christie
    Rand Paul
    Jeb Bush
    Paul Ryan
    Ted Cruz
    Bobby Jindall <> (sorry for the cough/upchuck, I got a little sick to my stomach there)
    Rob Portman
    Scott Walker

    Then, still with reasonable odds, are:
    Michael Bloomberg
    Condi Rice
    Sarah Palin
    Rick Santorum

    The last set I’ll include are (once in every ~40 presidential elections type candidates):
    Eric Cantor
    John Kasich
    Susana Martinez
    Mike Huckabee
    Bob McDonnel
    John Hunstman
    Rick Perry

    Caveats about gambling odds reliability apply, but its another perspective to consider besides Grover Nordquist, who admittedly knows the game pretty well.

  2. One thing to remember: people who win the Presidency tend to be Rock Stars. Not always: every once in awhile a George H.W. or Richard Nixon slips in–that is, a politician whose been around the block and everyone in the country has known forever. But (skipping those two and reelected incumbents) Obama, Clinton, George W., Reagan, Carter, Kennedy, Eisenhower… six years before their election as president, none of them were famous outside of their home state *as politicians*. (Kennedy was modestly famous as a “war hero” and favored son of a famous family; Reagan has some lingering fame as an actor; Eisenhower was revered for commanding the troops in WWII).

    I think that’s not coincidental. When people stay in the limelight too long we tend to either tear them down or get bored with them. Which means that the next president, ironically, is probably someone who hasn’t gotten a ton of national media attention yet. Unless, that is, Hillary or Biden can pull a George H.W. (which probably requires a significant bump in Obama’s popularity) or some old-guard Republican steps up at the last minute to pull a Nixon (I’d be shocked… but hey, stranger things have happened).

  3. Rock stars? Really? Rock stars? Wow. I mean I get what you’re going for, but at a time when there are serious challenges to America, American interests in the international arena (nuclear-break-out Iran, I’m looking at you) , a huge swath of the country seeing small real income growth, I’d hope voters know better than to pick a rockstar or political scientists recommend that they do so, or paint the past with that stroke.

    Economic hardship and international turbulence, have for a long time led to demagoguery (as for instance, the 1930s). Rock stars? Wow. I would not wish for that and don’t see America’s history in those terms.

    I am pretty cool headed, but I’m shocked, flabbergasted, and, frankly, appalled that an educated person could describe this great country’s past that way.

    Clinton was charismatic, but he did not embrace the bread-and-circus cult-of-personality that rockstar implies. Obama pushes the line quite a bit further — definitely in the conventions he portrayed himself in some ways I found disturbingly demagogic (e.g. “this [my election] can be the moment when the rise of oceans…”), and visits to The Gap and Between Two Ferns in the middle of an international crisis are showy, arguably, invidiously so (my point is that had Kennedy gone on Johnny Carson in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis to crack jokes and make a minor pitch for a social program, more eyebrows would have been raised). But Obama’s intellectual defenders have always emphasized his coolness, his education, his intellectual qualities, and his dispassionate appraisal of arguments, not his populist demagoguery. He was a U.S. Senator — that’s not a man-from-nowhere. His tenure of public service in Illinois and prior to it were touted for the relevance, not for its absence. Romney, McCain, Kerry, Gore, Dole, Clinton, H.W. Bush, Dukakis all were in the public eye for a meaningful amount of time before they were elected. Don’t write off primary voters as idiots who don’t know a thing about American politics when they nominate a McCain or a Dole or a Gore.

    I think this idea that candidates with no records do better arises more out of judicial nominees, where a too clear policy stance can be a rallying point for Senate objections (sometimes justifiably). But the opposite can also be true, as in Harriet Myers, and almost always there is a record that gives insights into how the nominee reasons, which is adequate for judicial candidates — meaning it’s not that they are out of nowhere.

    I’m trying to catch my breath, but not succeeded so I’ll end it there.

    • Agree with most everything I said above, but realized that rockstar is used in some sense to say “inspires fanboys” and in another sense, like Sheena is a Punk Rocker, to mean “kinda a badass, cool by me.” I guess people use the metaphors that they choose, but I think rock star is a really really bad metaphor. I’m the sort of person who is bothered when I go to a shooting range and see that a popular targets people practice on are depictions of zombies, since it trivializes a serious thing that a gun is. Using rock star for politics strikes me as having that problem but in a scarier way.

  4. Loganberry Books: Solved Mysteries: M

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