UNBELIEVABLY, it’s less than two years until Americans elect a President to replace Barack Obama; pundits have long salivated over a contest between Republican Jeb Bush — former Governor of Florida, son of former President George H. W. Bush and brother of George W. Bush — and former Senator Hillary Clinton. This column has already expressed preliminary support for Bush — if he runs. That prospect appears to be drawing closer to reality.
It is — by my standards — a very quick post from me this morning, and in truth, really just to share some material with readers.
It beggars belief to consider that it’s now more than two years since we sat glued to FOX coverage of the US 2012 presidential election, when former Republican strategist Karl Rove insisted GOP candidate Mitt Romney could still be elected even as the decisive swing state of Ohio declared for Barack Obama — sealing his historic, and in retrospect completely unjustified, re-election.
I wanted to post this morning to share a couple of articles being carried in the Fairfax press today; after all, with the recent US mid-term elections that saw Republicans sweep control of Congress (and making Obama a lame duck in every sense for the final years of his stint in the White House) attention in the States will now increasingly turn to who follows him into office, and a crowded field of potential Republican candidates appears to be taking shape more quickly than the number of names suggest.
In truth — barring some miracle of judgement on the part of the Democratic Party — the GOP contest is really to work out who takes on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
My motivation to briefly publish comment on this today stems from a report that Jeb Bush — sometimes referred to as “the competent Bush” — appears to be shifting decisively toward commencing a full-blown run for the Republican nomination; common sense and consideration dictates that were he to do so he would automatically assume frontrunner status, and in the interests of expediency I’m not going to canvass his prospects today either for or agin, other than to reiterate the early support for a Bush candidacy I have previously indicated.
After all, this post is really only to introduce the issue to our conversation, having occupied our consideration literally once or twice in the past couple of years. There will be ample time to talk this through in coming months.
And in any case, this piece gives cursory consideration to the pros and cons of any Bush run that I don’t have any quarrel with.
Rather, a second article (and companion to the first in today’s Fairfax papers) that purports to list out GOP presidential contenders may be of more early interest to readers as a possible guide to who might stand as VP on any ticket headed by Bush.
I tend to think that Bush’s frontrunner status is likely to be enhanced by the considerable experience (and success) he has already recorded as Governor of Florida, as well as the obvious positives he brings in appealing to the Republican base.
And this rules out a lot of the neophytes on the second list, although some of those names come into the mix as a vice-presidential consideration.
Either way, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is likely to fare very badly in the upcoming Republican primary season, credited as he is with swinging last-minute votes behind Obama in 2012 with his glowing praise of the President’s response to Hurricane Sandy, and the subsequent scandals of governance he has faced in his own state.
Obviously, today’s piece is meant as an early talking point: and to provide my own input into this, an early musing over who might be selected as Bush’s running mate if he runs and prevails as the Republican to face off against Clinton.
I tend to think, despite the conservative nature of his Governorship in Florida, that any running mate is likely to be someone to the Right of the Republican Party — partly to offset some of Bush’s perceived drawbacks to the conservative wing of the party, and partly as a sop to it.
And it is likely to be, like Bush, someone who brings “experience” to the table: again, someone like Clinton, with the experience and political muscle she would bring to the Democratic nomination, is unlikely to be beaten by a slate of novices.
The obvious name is Paul Ryan, who stood in second spot on the GOP ticket to Romney two years ago, although whether he would do so again is a point of conjecture.
The names I would single out (at a very, very early stage in the process) are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who aside from hailing from the Right would balance a Bush ticket geographically, and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who would provide accommodation (and perhaps perspective) for the Tea Party contingent within the GOP.
In any case, and as I said at the outset, this piece this morning is really only to get the 2016 election into the mix of our discussions. I am certain it will come around again in more detail soon enough: and possibly as soon as the Christmas break, given the odd timing US elections often seem to follow.
I will be back this evening with something a little more topical, and focused on affairs closer to home.