I don’t know who the nominee will be – and that goes for both Democrats and Republicans.
To be sure, I don’t expect a surge for Lincoln Chafee on the Democrat side and Hillary is still polling way ahead…but, then again, she was polling way ahead at this time in 2007, as well. She’s a lousy candidate and no one likes her. Her campaign slogan should be, “Let’s Get it Over With: Hillary, 16”. That she has the inside track to the nomination and an even money shot at being elected President shows how empty and meaningless the Democrat party has become, and how confused and divided the GOP currently is. Hillary is the front runner and the likely nominee, but she’s so terrible that anything can happen…and if a credible female candidate enters the race, she’ll lose the nomination (Warren is the most likely – but she might be cagey enough to realize its a tall order to win with the Obama millstone around Democrat necks…maybe better to wait until 2020).
Other than that, there isn’t much else to be said about the Democrats. They won’t have any new ideas; they won’t run on a specific set of policy proposals; they are all creatures of the Establishment and won’t dare change anything. Whoever wins the nomination won’t win it on merits, but just on appearances…which is why Hillary is so far ahead: she’s a woman. Were she male (or never married to Bill Clinton), we’d never have heard of her.
On to the GOP side. Geesh, what a mess, so far. In no particular order:
Donald Trump: certainly the most interesting person out there but he’s never going to win. It is useful to have him shaking things up and the GOP Establishment should pay attention to why Trump is shaking things up: he’s talking about things our Establishment is too chicken to talk about. To be sure, there are better ways to talk about things, but if we never even raise the subject we’ll never get anywhere. We do need someone with Trump’s willingness to mix it up, but without Trump’s baggage.
Chris Christie: his moment was 2012 when everyone was casting about for a credible Not Romney. He should have jumped in then – he could have won the nomination, and might even have beaten Obama. If he lost the nomination to Romney in 2012, he’d be the front runner in 2016…and even if he lost in the general to Obama, he’d still have a shot at it in 2016. He missed his moment – and that embrace of Obama after Sandy will never, ever be forgiven by the GOP base. He could win the New Hampshire primary, but I don’t think he’ll win much beyond that. But if he does and he goes up against Clinton, I’d figure his chances at winning the general in the 10% range. He’s too Establishment and has no real way to differentiate himself from Hillary.
Jeb Bush: I like him. He’s a good man. He’s a good executive. But he is also way too Establishment and the fact that his last name is Bush and the fact that he and his family are close, personal friends of the Clintons means he is an absolute, bet your last dollar on it loser in the general. But I don’t think he’ll last too long in the primaries – he won’t win Iowa, probably won’t win New Hampshire, will not win South Carolina and with Rubio competing with him in Florida, I don’t see much chance for him there, either. 0-4 is not the way winning candidacies roll forward.
Lindsey Graham: are you kidding? I mean, seriously: what on earth makes him think that a Senate back-bencher who routinely ticks off TEA Party types can win the GOP nomination? Or that the eventual nominee would pick him for VP?
Ben Carson: arguably the first or second smartest person in the competition, and that goes for both sides. A lot of great, common sense. Never ran for office before. Won’t win a primary. Slight possibility of a VP pick.
Mike Huckabee: might win Iowa. Won’t win anything else. Evangelicals love him, but will want to back a winner. Huckabee ain’t it.
Rand Paul: Not a person to be President. Sorry, but his dad’s craziness just makes you wonder how far the apple fell from the tree. To be sure, he is clearly a lot smarter than the old man, but you still wonder. Any GOP President who doesn’t make him Attorney General and eventually put him on the Supreme Court has done a great disservice to our Republic; but he’s not my guy for President and I don’t think he’ll do well in the primaries outside of Iowa where his dad’s legions are probably still available for caucus night.
Rick Santorum: he’s actually just about what anyone would want in a conservative, Republican President. Have to admit that as a Catholic I’ve got a lot of liking for the former Senator. In less insane times, he’d probably have a good shot at it – but he’d be ripped to shreds in the general by an Establishment (GOP and Democrat) who would fear his overt social conservatism and populist rhetoric. By August of 2016 the Establishment would have the LIV thinking that Santorum would revive the Inquisition.
George Pataki: a bit like Santorum in that he’d be a good candidate for less insane times. He was a pretty decent governor and he would have some appeal in the Northeast which would help the GOP in the general election. He’s far more substantial on every level than any of the prospective Democrat candidates and if we were to have a race based upon reality, Pataki would be able to win. As we’re in Progressive la-la land we need, however, someone who can better stand up to the lunatics who are running the asylum.
Rick Perry: what’s not to love? Long term governor of a big State with massive economic success behind him while being someone who has been both tough on border security while also being humane about illegal immigrants. He might surprise us all and emerge from the pack. It would be a difficult thing to do – and if he does it, he’ll prove formidable in the general election. The question is given the embarrassing wealth of talent and appeal from the various GOP candidates, just how does Perry shake off his 2012 melt down and gain traction? I don’t see how he does it – if he does, then he deserves to win.
Carly Fiorina: where was this version of Carly when she was running for Senate in California? She’s just brilliant in her attacks on Hillary and the Democrats. Great stuff and the base loves it – and will love it more as the primaries approach and everyone starts to pay more attention. Can she make the jump from failed Senate candidate to successful Presidential candidate? I doubt it.
Ted Cruz: just a great, great man who demonstrates the enduring strength of the United States. But firebrands have a hard time of it in Presidential primaries which tend to sift out such people. Cruz is no more conservative than Reagan, but Reagan wasn’t a firebrand. There is actually a way to do this, and I don’t think Cruz is doing it right. To be sure, he’d get my enthusiastic support if he’s nominated, but I think he’s a person too easily slandered by the left. It’d be difficult to imagine him getting to 51% in the general election.
Bobby Jindal: you all know I like the man. He’s been a successful everything-he’s-tried. He was thumpingly re-elected to the governorship and has presided over the utter destruction of the Democrat party in Louisiana. With Carson, he’s either the first or second smartest person in the field. He’s got a good reform record and in spite of Progressive attempts to paint him as some sort of traitor to his ethnic background, race-based attacks on him will probably fall flat – people just won’t buy it. But does he have the grit to really go toe to toe with the Democrats and their MSM lapdogs? We’ll only find out if he’s the nominee – and to get there, he’s got to strike early. By the time the votes are tallied in Florida, he had better have won a contest or he’s probably out of the race.
Scott Walker: he destroyed the left in Wisconsin. Three times. He’s frozen college tuition for four straight years. He’s ending tenure. He broke up the government unions. And he’s done it without antagonizing anyone but kook leftists. If he wins Iowa and then wins New Hampshire, it might be all over but the shouting in the GOP contest…the Establishment will swing behind him while plenty of TEA Party types will also come over to him. Of all the GOP candidates, I think he’s in the best position to win in the general, especially if matched with Governor Martinez or Senator Rubio as VP.
Well, that is how I see it for now – I’ve no dog in this hunt, really. We’ll all have to see how it goes.