I can’t say I learned anything new from Hillary Clinton’s interview with Diane Sawyer. Hillary said she hasn’t made up her mind if she’s running for President in 2016. This, of course, is a lie, but it’s a lie we dance around every mid-term. 2006, 2010, 2014 are the years for midterm swings in Congress, but they are also the years for people who have every intention of running for President to issue denials that they’ve made up their mind.
The remark that’s received the most publicity is the one about her and Bill being “dead broke” when she left the White House. Yeah, right. Somehow they managed to make millions back. Even Chelsea made $600,000 from NBC for filing three reports. This is actually one good reason why a Republican needs to win in 2016. Do you value the press? Do you want the media to hold truth to power? They tend to be at their best when a Republican’s in office. I predict Years 9-12 of a Democratic Oval Office will further erode the credibility of the Fourth Estate.
Now I actually think Hillary would have been a better President than Obama. She’s better at building relationships. We needed him for the history, to help us get over the hump and actually have an African-American as President 150 years after Lincoln. We also needed to not have a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton daisy chain. Now that Obama’s been in for two terms, Americans seem to be a little more ready to stomach another President Clinton. It’s her election to lose. Of course, so was 2008’s.
So maybe Brian Schweitzer and Elizabeth Warren will make it interesting on the Democratic side. As for the Republicans, they need their own Obama, that transformative figure that can inspire. Mitt Romney did not inspire. Never mind he was right about Russia and Iraq and several other things. You have to win first.
So who are the 2016 possibilities? Well, let’s see.
NO WAY THEY RUN AGAIN
Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul. Yes, Mitt won’t run again. But I have no doubt he wants to help pick the next nominee.
THEY MIGHT RUN AGAIN
Rick Perry – The Texas governor is wearing glasses now to make himself appear smarter and more stately. Of the ones who ran in 2012, I see him as the most likely to give it another shot. I think this would be a big mistake, but never underestimate Texas.
Rick Santorum – Still a decent chance the social conservative gives it another try. It’d be a huge waste of money if he did.
Mike Huckabee – The host of his own weekly radio and weekend Fox News show will send out feelers to see if he would have a chance. His folksy approach is palatable, but I see 2016 as a year where Republicans do not want an also-ran.
THE “ESTABLISHMENT” NAMES
Jeb Bush – If Americans can stomach the thought of a second Clinton presidency, can they stomach the thought of a third Bush? Jeb’s always been seen as the smarter brother, the one that should have run in 2000 had Florida played along. There’s also no doubt in my mind he would have been a better president than W. But Jeb’s time has passed.
Chris Christie – The press loved the big guy for a while. But without Mitt Romney to kick around, MSNBC decided to become the Anti-Chris Christie channel. Plus many conservatives don’t trust him.
THE LIKELY CANDIDATES
Ted Cruz – The divisive Tea Party hero would certainly be able to draw up passion from his base. He’d face opposition in places like New Hampshire and Michigan who view him as too extreme to win a general election.
Rand Paul – Rand will be an interesting one to watch. He can get some of the Libertarian cred thanks to his dad, some Tea Party cred, and he’s shown the ability to breathe fire one day, then play nice with others the next. He’ll be vulnerable in some primaries for not being as hawkish as other candidates, but in other primaries, that’ll be one of his biggest strengths.
Marco Rubio – The Florida senator would greatly benefit if his friend Jeb would decide not to run and just support him instead. Like Cruz, he’d make history as the first Latino president. He’s facing early opposition from the anti-amnesty crowd.
Scott Walker – The Wisconsin governor could be a real factor in 2016. He won a recall challenge handily in 2012 after slashing the state budget, and that emboldened his GOP supporters. He’s shrunk the deficit there, so fiscal conservatives love him.
Bobby Jindal – Since his disastrous response to the State of the Union, he’s kept his head down in Louisiana, just strengthening his resume. His handling of Hurrican Gustav was far better than how his predecessor had handled Hurricane Katrina. His approval ratings dipped after 2012 but have been coming up this year.
Paul Ryan – He’s a national name now thanks to his Vice-Presidential candidacy, though I think many voters will remember he did nothing to move the needle in 2012 and how he let Joe Biden steal his lunch money during the debate.
John Kasich – I’ll throw his name out there, because he seems to have built a very solid resume as governor. Kasich served in the US House from 1983-2001. He ran for President in 2000 but did badly and dropped out early to support Bush. He had his own Fox News Channel show for a while, and he worked at Lehman Brothers when the stock market crashed. His political rehabilitation as Ohio governor saw that state become one of the first to show true growth post-crash.
WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN?
There are a few women who could get into this election cycle.
Susanna Martinez – Hey, a twofer! A Latina woman. The New Mexico governor enjoys popularity in her state and has strengthened her bonafides in border security. She could get hit in primaries for New Mexico’s low job growth, but between now and 2016 she has time to get that improved.
Nikki Haley – She’s South Carolina’s first female governor, and she’d be the first Indian American president, should she win. She’s young; she’s turn 44 in 2016. She attends Methodist and Sikh services, so she has quite a multicultural thing going on.
Mary Fallin – The Oklahoma governor could be tempted to throw her hat into the ring. She’s popular at home, she (like Martinez and Haley) should be enjoying her second term as governor when decision-time comes around. She has some personal issues that some could make an issue of, but after Newt ran, that just dwarfs anything any other candidate will ever have to cop to.
Sarah Palin – She won’t run, but she’ll flirt with the idea through 2016 as she tries to sell a book or score another reality show.