Is it too soon to start talking about Republican presidential hopefuls for 2016? I mean, we all pretty much know that Bill is pushing Hillary to run for President, and that’s she’s almost guaranteed to win, so why not put together a list of some potential candidate for the Republicans. The good news is that in the last few years we’ve at least gotten rid of a few moderates - John McCain and Mitt Romney won’t be running again. Mike Huckabee most likely won’t be running either. There were a number of good potential candidates that people were pushing for in 2011/2012 that were just “too young in politics” to go for the big seat. But in another 4 years that could change.
Potential #1 – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. I’m not personally a huge fan of his. In my opinion he is still too moderate to run for the Republican presidential nomination. His only real claim to fame is that he went toe-to-toe with the teacher’s union in New Jersey and won. That’s great – it shows he has some kind of a backbone. On the other hand, he’s also in favor of cap and trade, and refused to sign onto the lawsuit against Obamacare. After hugging Obama right before the election in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Christie really rubbed a lot of Republicans the wrong way. However, his speaking skills, and New Jersey tough-guy personality could make him a real contender.
Potential #2 – Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Once again, I’m not a huge fan of his. Although he certainly talks a good game, in recent weeks he’s been playing the role of a typical establishment Republican; working to kick conservatives off committees if they don’t support his bills. Although he hasn’t had the strongest record for cutting spending, he is one of only a handful of Republicans to offer a solution to the Medicare crisis that is still unsolved. When Romney chose Ryan as his VP pick in 2012, it basically secured Ryan’s seat on a national level, if he should so chose. Star power.
Potential #3 – Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Although Santorum didn’t win the nomination, he did amazingly well considering that he had virtually no money, no campaign, and no name. He won more states than any other candidate (other than Romney, of course). In my heart I believe that if Romney hadn’t outspent Santorum 50-1 in numerous states, Santorum could very well be President. With Romney out of the way, and Santorum having national recognition, he could take one more run at the Republican nomination. He now has the name, the money, the campaign, and in the grand scheme of things he’s still a pretty young guy. Unfortunately, he still has a record as a big-spender neo-conservative. His strong social conservatism may be able to tie him over.
Potential #4 – Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Sean Hannity was extremely persistant in trying to get Rubio to run in 2011/2012, and then very hopeful that Romney would pick Rubio as his VP. Neither happened, but this time around he could run. He has the name (being a favorite of Hannity, as well as radio giants Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin), and a solid record. He’s a Tea Party candidate, is a minority, and has a great story to tell about his family coming to America from Cuba. He’s also young, good looking, a good speaker, all the essentials. He’s definitely someone I could throw my support behind.
Potential #5 – Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Being the son of Ron Paul, Rand could easily pick up 5% of the vote automatically from the very loyal Ron Paul crowd. He has the Tea Party, limited government, libertarian, true conservative team on his side. He’s also young, is unique in that he has “cool” stances on legalizing drugs, and has stood up strong against the Republican establishment. He’s also the only name making noise about NDAA – the power of government to detain its own citizens indefinitely. His only negative may be that he sort of “sold out” when he endorsed Mitt Romney over his own father in 2012. This left a sour taste with some Ron Paul supporters. That aside, Rand is someone I’d really love to see on the big stage.
Potential #6 – Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Daniels was among those who many thought might get into the 2012 race but never did. He is still popular with conservatives. He’s enacted a state-wide school voucher program, put in place fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants, and ended state funding for Planned Parenthood. Personally, I think he looks like a typical Republican from Washington, and these days looks matter. It would be nice for him to run and influence that race in one way or another.
Potential #7 – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Republicans do seem to have better looking women than Democrats, right? Nikki Haley gave a great speech at the RNC Convention and was received very well by the party. She’s got a number of thing going for her that the GOP needs – she might be able to get more female voters, and she might be able to get more minority voters. In South Carolina she won with the most minority votes in SC history. She’s also a good speaker, is a Tea Party candidate, and has a good record as governor.
Potential #8 – Former Florida Congressman Allen West. Although West only lasted a single term in Florida, the real reason he lost was because he was massively outspent and was depicted as someone who wanted to end Social Security and Medicare; two things that kill a candidate in Florida. Listening to West talk though, you’d never know it. Recent interviews with West still show him as calm, confident, and intelligent. When this guy talks, he doesn’t miss a beat! Being a veteran could certainly help him win people over who want a smaller government, but still a strong defense. They can be confident that he won’t hollow out America’s armed forces.
Potential #9 – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Say it aint so! I know, he wouldn’t be my pick either. And having to chose between another Clinton and another Bush could yield the lowest voter turnouts in history. However, there are people pushing for Jeb, (W’s younger brother) to make a run in 2016. He’s supposedly a better speaker than his brother (but what does that mean?) and more conservative than his brother (again, what does that mean?). For me, I don’t want another Bush – too moderate, too much bad history with the family, and just…. ugh. No! With the likes of Karl Rove behind him, though, the neo-cons could make a comeback.
Potential #10 – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker made international news when he stripped bargaining privileges from public unions. He stood his ground and Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in years. He turned a $3 billion deficit into a $300 million surplus. He’s one of the only politicians to ever actually do what he said. Concealed carry, voter ID, ended state funding for Planned Parenthood, the list goes on. He’s not an amazing speaker, but his popularity with both the Tea Party and the GOP could make him a prime contender.
Right now, I feel like the Democrats have already picked their candidate, and that the Republicans have a lot of potential. There are still more names out there that could make a run – Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Condoleezza Rice, and others. Only time will tell, but one sure thing is that the stage will be filled with big names.