As has been well documented, in October 2007, my daughter and I visited New Hampshire to follow Republican and Democratic candidates around the state as they pursued their respective party’s nomination. It was a good year to be on the ground since both parties were fielding dozens of possibilities. We knew that on any given day of our visit, we were bound to run into someone and that someone could be a future President. We were hoping for quality but settled for quantity. We enjoyed a full buffet of Giuliani, McCain, Edwards, Huck, Hillary and Kucinich, which is quite a lot to swallow in such a short period of time. Overeating can make you sick and we were stuffed with platitudes for 4 long days.
2016 is shaping up to be the same kind of year with a wide-open smorgasbord of choices from both sides of the aisle. It may be too early to bite into the presidential race at this point, but we can set the table at least, can’t we?
The 2016 presidential field deserves a few seconds of consideration so I will grant the various names that have been floated their just desserts –a few seconds each:
On the Republican side (in no particular order):
Rick Perry – Seriously, whoever keeps whispering in Perry’s ear that he’s got a chance at the nomination, have a heart and stop torturing the guy. He’s a cartoon. He’s Yosemite Sam without the beard.
Paul Ryan – This is assuming that he can completely rid himself of The Stench, and that no one takes the time to delve into the details of his Plan to revive a new and improved Dark Ages. That said, he’s even odds.
Marco Rubio – He’s the GOP’s personification of “Hey, some of my best friends are Hispanic.” He is the national frontrunner as of a news report today, which means he won’t survive the Iowa straw poll.
Chris Christie – Now that he’s been outted as a RINO, his prospects have dimmed. He’ll need to apologize to Iowa caucus goers for once complimenting Obama and he’ll have to have a Huckabee weight loss conversion story to tell by 2014…and write a book about his acceptance of personal weight responsibility as a model for the nation.
Jeb Bush – Because someone has to repair the family legacy, and he can win Florida.
Michelle Bachmann – She’ll have a new book to promote by then and Newt Gingrich proved that the best way to sell books and schedule paid public appearances is to add “former Presidential candidate” to your CV.
Rick Santorum – If the idea of a theocracy is ever going to catch on in America, he’s your sweater-vested poster child for the cause.
John Thune – The vanilla candidate from South Dakota. His name keeps coming up, mostly because the mere mention doesn’t make anyone cringe. No one knows if it should. No one outside the 20001 zip code knows who he is.
Bob McDonnell – The perfect GOP choice for 2016 if women lose the right to vote for the 2016 presidential election. Let the disenfranchisement campaign begin! His candidacy will surely revive the 2012 pithy catch phrase “transvaginal probe”.
Kelly Ayotte – Now that McCain and Lindsay Graham are too old to run, Sen. Ayotte from the electoral vote-rich New Hampshire could be their heir apparent. She likes getting her picture taken with them. As a woman, GOP primary voters may assume that all women will vote for her, regardless of her positions on the issues.
Rob Portman – Because they can’t win without Ohio and he is from Ohio. Of course, that didn’t work for Romney who lost both of his home states, Massachusetts and Michigan, but one can dream.
Nikki Haley – The odds of her saying something stupid and disqualifying before 2016 are 3 to 1. The odds of her saying something stupid and disqualifying before 2016 and winning the Iowa caucus are even money.
Bobby Jindal – He made the heroic move of being the first to cast stones at Mitt Romney’s ridiculous campaign positions after the election was lost. Clearly he has the character to make tough decisions.
Jon Huntsman – Regardless of his popularity or stand on the issues, his face would look good on money someday. Don’t discount that fact.
Tim Pawlenty – I mean, what else can this guy do at this point? Might as well run.
Herman Cain – Herman is the proverbial moth to the flame. He will not be able to resist the clarion call from within his own ego. I fear that we have not heard the last of 9-9-9.
Scott Walker – Is there something weird about his eyes, or is it just me?
Jon Kasich – His popularity in his state may be polling below the United Nations by 2015, but he’s still a longshot to form an exploratory committee.
Rand Paul – Because dad is too old to go again, and those pesky Libertarians need one of their own.
Condoleezza Rice – Republican? – check; woman? – check; minority? – check; international experience? – check. She’d have it all if only she hadn’t championed wildly destructive and unpopular Bush administration foreign policies for 8 years. When I think of her chances at the nomination, I think of a giant mushroom cloud.
Susana Martinez – She spoke at the GOP convention before the Empty Chair fiasco. Republican? – check; woman? – check; minority? – check; international experience? – check (if New Mexico counts as a foreign country). Some smart Democrat will nominate her for a Cabinet post as a demonstration of bipartisanship and thereby destroy her credibility with the radical Right base. “If they want her, she must not be one of us!”
Mike Pence – He’s the 2016 version of what Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter were in 2008. Never heard of them? Exactly.
On the Democratic side (in no particular order):
Hillary – Any questions?
If Hillary chooses to run, it’s over. She would swamp the competition before they got out of the harbor in a flood of money. While she paraded through town hall meetings wearing her crown of inevitability, she could bask in the warmth of the Republican field of 20 burning down each other’s houses, one debate at a time.
Since you never know, I’ll mention a few other options:
Joe Biden – Hard to win when your nickname is Crazy Uncle Joe.
Martin O’Malley – He possesses one of the key ingredients to a successful run – he really wants it. National ambition is not a policy position, however, so he’ll play the role of Howard Dean in 2016, excite the Far Left and get caught on YouTube screaming like a madman.
Mark Warner – He’s the early favorite to be the Adult in the Room. He has kept his head down and worked hard to establish across the aisle relationships. His business career makes him feel like a Republican. He’ll suffer from the pundit class constantly asking, “Does he have the fire in the belly?” before settling for a Cabinet role.
Andrew Cuomo – His last name is familiar because his dad gave a really well-received speech once. In the end, he will do whatever Bill Clinton tells him to do.
That’s it for the Dems. The Obama Wave has not created a deep bench of future stars in his party, and since the battle for the White House is a battle of personalities above all, that should give the GOP some hope for 2016.
2008 was a good year to be on the ground in New Hampshire since both parties were fielding dozens of possibilities. 2016 should be more of the same.
“Hello, Manchester Radisson? I’d like to make a reservation for October 2015 please.”