Alright folks, I know that we just closed out the 2012 campaign, but it is time to stop moping and focus on the next election. So here are my opening thoughts on some of the potential candidates for the Republican nomination:
- Jeb Bush– Jeb is the former Governor of the great state of Florida. One of his greatest strengths is also his greatest weakness. His last name. His donor list is huge and the Republican establishment loves him. He also focuses on the issues that matter, education and immigration. He is a charismatic, smart, bilingual person who genuinely loves and cares for the minority community. While I doubt he would match his brothers success among Hispanics at the polls, he will give us a much needed improvement in that area. His biggest weakness: his name, he is a Bush. While I think most Americans will have moved past Bush hatred by 2015/2016 it could hinder his campaign. Expect him to use just his first name in the campaign: “Jeb 2016”.
- Marco Rubio– Rubio is a young charismatic, well spoken, Conservative, Floridian. He is most likely to be the preferred choice of the Tea Party. He will start with a HUGE groundswell of grassroots support, and he has already established himself as a television superstar. Fox News loves him, Iowa likes him, and he will definitely carry the ‘Santorum voters’. The biggest question is whether he can garner enough of the establishment vote to win the primary. He also hasn’t been really tested in a general election (2010 was an easy race for him), expect that to change in 2016. If he comes through that strong then he could be the man to beat in 2016.
- Scott Walker– Walker is already a veteran of the brutality of the DNC/Unions. He faced them both and won in a VERY purple state. He remains a polarizing figure in politics but is considered a rock star among the GOP (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F7YIF7Z0No and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTL16-ziaWE&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfjQZ0VEYxE&feature=related). He can and will raise as much as anyone else. He can draw both establishment and the Tea Party. The problem is, he does nothing to help with the GOP’s problem among minorities.
- Chris Christie– Christie is a bulldog. He will be blunt and he will be brutal. His problems are 3 fold: 1) He is a moderate. The Tea Party respects him, but they won’t support him whatsoever. 2) Some Republicans won’t forget nor forgive his embrace of Obama 1 week before the election. 3) His weight. Not to be rude, but he doesn’t look the part, get on a treadmill man.
With that being said, he is not a bad pick, but I just can’t see him winning the nomination.
- Paul Ryan– Paul is a household name, he is a star among Conservatives, and he is a great fundraiser. I just don’t think he wants to be President after this past election cycle (I think he wants to be Speaker of the House). And I think that if Walker runs, Ryan will automatically not run out of respect for him.
- Rand Paul– I respect Rand, I appreciate his support of Romney this past election cycle, but the fact is that I think he will have a hard time coming out of the shadow of his father. He will never be fully trusted by either the establishment or the Libertarian wing. He does have a few things going for him: He is young, smart, a Paul, and he is a national brand already.
There are going to be a lot of other potential candidates, the GOP bench is LONG, and we will discuss them at length in the weeks, months, and years to come. It is going to be a lot of fun.