Commentary by James Turnage
Several months ago I believed that the battle for the Republican presidential nomination would be boring, as it was in 2012. The 2016 run for the White House now may be fun to watch; possibly hysterical.
For more than a year a few Republicans and several members of the TEA Party were considered very likely to enter the race for their party’s nomination in 2016; but there was no ‘shining star.’ No individual stands out among the hopefuls now, but with two recent additions it appears that two members of the ‘old guard’ are the front runners.
One year ago the front runners were considered to be Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, followed by Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz.
Chris Christie has fallen from favor. His combative attitude and inexperience with foreign affairs have removed him from the top of the ladder. The Governor is a popular guest on late night television; he is affable and outspoken. These qualities make him appealing to television audiences, but these talents do not necessarily transfer to traits Americans require from their President.
Rand Paul began his presidential campaign from the first day he took his seat in the Senate. He is a TEA Party darling, but his political views are libertarian. He has amassed a talented and experienced inner circle which will make him formidable during the debates. He may be too radical for the majority of Republican voters.
Marco Rubio, another TEA Party darling, has been a voice for the GOP more frequently than any other party member. He will very likely throw his hat into the ring for 2016. His weakness is a personal agenda which lacks common sense as he ignores reality. The time to renew a relationship with Cuba has finally risen to prominence. A policy of isolationism towards our closest offshore neighbor has not worked in over 50 years; and the only victims have been the people.
Ted Cruz, once more a member of the TEA Party, has been removed from serious consideration because he is just too extreme. He refuses to deliberate any issue with Democrats; his motto is ‘my way or the highway.’
These four men were likely dealt a ‘death blow’ when former Florida Governor Jeb Bush began obvious moves indicating a run for the 2016 White House.
Although Bush’s own mother does not approve of ‘another Bush in the White House, his actions indicate a choice to seek the Republican nomination. And voters favor him in recent polls; but he is their second choice.
Is a third presidential campaign a reality for Mitt Romney? It appears extremely likely. Romney spent the previous weekend reassembling his 2012 campaign staff and making phone calls to donors. And that recent poll placed him first among likely voters.
Romney’s bid is already experiencing bumps in the road. Jeb Bush has begun fund raising efforts; this week in California. Some of these events are being hosted by former donors to the Romney campaign in 2012.
There are others who will certainly be in the debates. Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin will be standing with the others when the battle for 2016 begins. Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas will once again be among Republican hopefuls. For his sake we hope that he will fail to slur his speech this time. And once again there is a returning contestant; Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has not moved into the 21st century yet, and that will remove him from consideration by GOP voters under the age of fifty-five.
2016 will truly be a battle between these and more wannabes. It is unlikely that any one of these men will be an early front runner; none of them excite the electorate. For those of us who love politics, this will be fun. Who will become a laughing stock? Which one of these men will be exposed for personal or public misconduct? One of them will likely utter a gaff which will be repeated over and over by the late night comics. Enjoy.
By James Turnage