Will 2012 Ruin 2016?

In 1996, after Democrat President Bill Clinton had embarked on a regime so liberal that he swept Newt Gingrich and Republicans into power in 1994, it seemed for Republicans that it was Bob Dole’s time. However, with Republicans being frowned upon for shutting down the government and Clinton getting credit for reigning in spending, Bob Dole’s clear path became more and more difficult. It didn’t help that a third party candidate was stealing GOP votes or that Dole showed the charisma and enthusiasm of Fred Thompson at 3 in the afternoon.

In 2012 things may not be so different.

Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner that the class of 2012 for Republican candidates may be the weak link in the GOP ascendancy. CPAC showed just how deep a divide exists between the different brands of Republicanism. None of the current field is an across the board favorite, and as I mentioned last week even Mitt Romney scares some conservatives.

Contrasted with the candidates who could be prominent in 2016, the 2012 class seems dull and divisive. As Emery points out, 2016 could see figures who have emerged as highly popular among conservatives and have already proven themselves as leaders. She mentions Marco Rubio. I would add Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Chris Christie, Allen West, Mike Pence, Jim DeMint, and Paul Ryan to that list.

Each of these politicians have become rock stars among the conservatives in their constituency and are starting to build national respect.

As wide as the 2012 field appears right now, it may end up being the year of lost potential. Many candidates who could have injected the young vibrancy of the conservative resurgence into 2012 have made other commitments. Mike Pence will likely run for governor of Indiana. Chris Christie is staying put in New Jersey. The candidate who best embodies the conservative values that swept into Congress in 2010 also happens to be one of the most divisive among conservatives in Sarah Palin.

So what about Emery’s suggestion that Republicans would be better off losing in 2012? Honestly I don’t think we can afford to lose in 2012. And when I say we can’t afford it, I don’t just mean the Republican party.

 

Thanks to a friend who posted the Emery article at u4prez.com

If a Bush were to ever get back into politics…

On November 3rd, 2008 the idea of a Bush ever running for political office again seemed pretty silly. We had a bad taste in our mouth from George H.W. Bush promising not to raise taxes, and then raising them. We had an even worse taste in our mouth from George W. Bush with his wars and deficits in the couple hundred billions. The name had become synonymous with bad politics and even most Republicans knew that the words “Bush” and “good president” in the same sentence was political suicide.

With all that, very little attention was paid to the Bush in Florida who retired five years ago after reaching the state’s term limit on the governor’s office. Jeb Bush left Florida in a far better position than he found it and still enjoys incredible popularity today in the state.

Jeb Bush is still very popular in Florida

I remember going to a McCain rally in NE Florida during the 2008 campaign. When Jeb was announced to introduce John McCain, I wasn’t the only Floridian on my feet enthusiastically cheering. In fact, we cheered harder for our former governor than we did for McCain.

Jeb still maintains great popularity in the state. A few months ago, Public Policy Polling reported that Bush was the only Florida potential candidate who would defeat Bill Nelson for the Senate seat in 2012, if he ran. This was before Nelson walked away from his seat on the Armed Forces Committee which may seal his 2012 doom no matter who he runs against.

George Bush won Florida in 2000 and 2008. In both elections, those 27 electoral votes would have been the difference between a Gore or Kerry Presidency. In 2008, Obama won Florida, but he could have afforded to lose it. I have little doubt that Florida would go the Republican’s way in a Jeb Bush presidential run.

But what about the rest of the country? For the other 49 states, Jeb is not even on the radar and the name Bush still scares a lot of people. On the other hand, as we face a third year with deficits in excess of a trillion dollars and war under Barack Obama, the name Bush isn’t quite as scary as it used to be.

Bush is fluent in Spanish and has a very good relationship with the Hispanic community. He has been quick to advocate for them and to point out how Democrats use that issue as nothing more than a political advantage. He also has been able to maintain a reputation as a moderate and a conservative; a tricky balancing act that voters can easily see through if not done right.

Bush does have some strikes against him with far right conservatives. He opposed the Arizona immigration law and supports state bankruptcy. This puts him in company with others like Pawlenty and Gingrich, but would certainly raise eyebrows in a 2012 primary that is certain to still be riding the TEA party sentiments of 2010.

Bush has sofar elected to stay out of the 2012 race, but has hinted that he may seek the nomination in the future. Given the political landscape going into this race, this may be a wise decision. While Bush is a solid conservative choice and a proven leader, the current issues and divisions on the right do not favor him. So far he has also opted out of the 2012 Senate race. But if a Bush could ever go back to DC in our lifetimes, it would be Jeb.

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