The sports network ESPN does a series of predictions called “way to early” for things such as predicting next year’s college football rankings. In that spirit, I’ll do something similar for commenting on prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidates.
I remain a big fan of Mitt Romney and have been glad to see his geopolitical and economic predictions vindicated as the Obama Administration second term collapses. Romney would have been a good President and would have been elected if he had been nastier to Obama during the 2012 campaign. Alas, that was not meant to be. While I think he could have run a reasonably credible presidential campaign for 2016, he made a wise and patriotic decision to not enter the field in favor of new blood to present a compelling alternative to the tired old ideological cliches of likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
An apparent immediate beneficiary of Romney’s withdrawal is Jeb Bush. Since I don’t have the infantile anti-establishment mindset of some Republicans and the petulant anti-dynastic rhetoric of other commentators, I’m willing to let former Gov. Bush present his case. However, I have reservations. It’s been twelve years since Bush ran his gubernatorial reelection campaign and a lot has happened (especially social media) in that time period. Will he be able to respond rapidly and effectively due the Democrats adroit and rapid fire use of social media? I have serious concerns about Bush’s apparent indifference to the serious public policy problems caused by illegal immigration. I also disagree with his support for Common Core, though I call on fellow conservatives to come up with conservative friendly national education standards which are needed for the U.S. to successfully compete and prosper in the 21st century economy instead of petulantly carping about Common Core.
I reject Rand Paul as a candidate due to his libertarian isolationist foreign policy proclivities which are a nonstarter in a world of ISIS, resurgent Russia, a potential Iranian nuclear program, and an increasingly assertive China.
I like Ben Carson’s professional accomplishments, sterling personal character, and his bluntness. However, running for President is not something to be done by an inexperienced politician. Carson is likely to make major rhetorical and tactical mistakes, even if he hires a highly qualified and experienced campaign staff. I just don’t see him as having the ability to campaign successfully and professionally at the apex of American political campaigns. He should, however, be seriously considered as a possible Secretary of Health and Human Services.
I also like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s bluntness which is an urgently needed commodity in today’s over sanitized hypersensitive political rhetorical environment. However, he has significant budget problems in New Jersey and I don’t see him having the ability to gain enough conservative support in the primaries to win the nomination.
As of now, I am leaning toward Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. I will attentively scrutinize their rhetoric and proposed policy solutions on social, economic, and foreign policy/national security policy issues in the upcoming months. How will they address middle class economic anxieties, how they will replace Obamacare with a market oriented and consumer focused health care system, how they will protect the environment while taking advantage of the shale revolution to enhance U.S. energy independence. The next President must possess a certain amount of ruthlessness and be able to be brutally honest about our problems. This individual must tell us that our entitlement system is financially unstable and must be drastically reformed. They must also point out the consequences of altering the centuries old definition of marriage, and bluntly tell Americans that ground forces will be needed to defeat ISIS and other enemies we face. The next President must also warn Americans how the emerging geopolitical threat from China and take steps to enhance our defenses against Beijing’s clever and subtle attacks against our interests. The upcoming months are a time for closely listening and scrutinizing these candidates rhetoric and policy statements in the next several months. We must ask tough questions and demand honest and realistic answers from those seeking to reclaim the presidency from the damage done to it by Barack Obama.
Obama’s presidency should permanently destroy the idiotic notion that an individual is entitled to the presidency, or any other public office, on the basis of their race, gender, or conscious sexual lifestyle choice. Merit, vision, intelligence, wisdom, moral character, and policymaker experience and track record must always trump infantile conceptions of diversity in determining fitness for ALL political offices.