Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election

As is too often the case, Republicans are busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Despite the fact that the Obamacare debacle has been playing out before Americans’ eyes for more than three weeks, the RNC has done absolutely nothing to capitalize on the fact.  Jonah Goldberg suggests at least sending out a letter:

If I was writing it, I would say something like, “The president vowed to you on numerous occasions (see attached document) that you could keep your insurance and that you would save money under the Affordable Care Act. This was untrue. Whether it was a well-intentioned mistake or a more deliberate deception, what the president and his party told you was flatly untrue, and we said so at the time.”

I then might go on to promise something like “the party will do everything it can, within its power, to alleviate the burden the Democrats have imposed on you and the country. We are of course limited by the fact that the president and his party control the agenda in Washington. If you think we’re due for a change, we’d love your support. If you think these changes are good for you, your family or the country, then obviously we politely disagree. If you think — as we do — that there’s got to be a better way, we hope you’ll give us a fresh look.”

That’s a nice letter.  Without condescension, it reminds voters that the Republicans predicted and tried to stop this train wreck, it offers that Republicans will do whatever is in their power to help remedy the situation, and it reminds voters that the best remedy is a Republican majority in 2014 and again in 2016.

Goldberg’s good advice notwithstanding, Republicans are silent — or, if they’re not silent, they’re still engaged in a bloody internecine war that leaves innumerable openings for Democrats to blame everyone from Cruz, to Bush, to Nixon, to generic Republicans for Obamacare.

Last night, 60 Minutes, while coyly keeping both Hillary’s and Obama’s names out of the story, revealed what conservatives have long known about Benghazi:  it was a carefully planned al Qaeda attack; al Qaeda warned everyone and his mother that it would take place; embassy security in Benghazi was a joke; the administration had been told repeatedly about the attack and about the security situation; and the administration did precisely nothing before or during the attack.

Now that 60 Minutes has broken the wall of silence, this should be a headline story in every paper and on every TV show in the land.  But of course it’s not.  And with the exception of Lindsey Graham, who’s doing some huffing and puffing, Republicans are sitting there with their thumbs in their mouths.

John McCain is going one step further, and praising Hillary to high Heaven.  (Could it be that McCain is being Machiavellian here?  One could argue that McCain hasn’t abandoned the idea of running for president in 2016.  He wants an opponent who will be easy to beat and, with the Benghazi albatross around her neck, McCain thinks she’s that opponent.  Did I just hear you say that’s an insanely stupid idea that gives McCain too much credit?  I think you’re right.  Forget I ever said it.)

We tend to see the Democrats as winning through lies, chicanery, media manipulation, and outright fraud (not to mention the whole IRS thing).  I do think, though, that we have to acknowledge that it’s not just that the Democrats win elections.  The Republicans lose elections.

McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 were both abysmal candidates under any standards.  This isn’t to say whether they would have been good or bad presidents (although I suspect either would have been significantly better than Obama).  The problem began and ended with their campaigns:  both were boring speakers; both were flat-footed debaters; both were utterly incapable of articulating core conservative values that bind together everyone from libertarians to the fading Reagan Democrat coalition; both failed to recognize the internet’s importance in their campaigns; and both were afraid to get their hands dirty in dealing with a black man (although McCain has always been happy to fight his own political family).

My feeling now is that if Chris Christie or Ted Cruz throw their hats into the ring, and if they can survive the inevitable circular firing squad from fellow Republicans fighting in the primaries, one or the other will top the ticket.  This has nothing to do with whether they’ll be good presidents (although I’m sure each would be substantially better than anyone the Democrats dredge up).  Both, however, will be good candidates.  Unlike McCain and Romney — and unlike Obama, Hillary, and Warren — these guys are so fast on their feet that they can wow people by giving extemporaneous speeches without teleprompters and notes, and they’ll never fall into “um” or “uh” land the way Obama, McCain, and Romney did.  Debates will be enjoyable blood baths, with the Democrats doing the (rhetorical) bleeding.

When it comes to articulating a conservative position, Cruz will have the edge over Christie.  Christie has proven that, for the most part, his conservative beliefs begin and end with defanging the unions.  I respect that, I really do, but it’s going to leave him rudderless and speechless when it comes to articulating ideas that can actually win people over to something grander than union bashing.

Both will have to tone down their arrogance.  Unlike Obama, who floated through life on an affirmative action cloud, both these men are indeed smarter than most people, and they have the resumes to prove it — not just jobs obtained, but actual accomplishments.  Since the media will not be able to portray them as idiots, as it did with George Bush and John McCain, it will have to go the Romney route with both:  they’re evil plutocrats, a la Snidely Whiplash, just dreaming of ways to tie the American people to some foul capitalist railway track to let them die.  Since both tend to be arrogant, they’re going to have to find some humility, or else this media charge will stick and destroy them.

Significantly, they’re both guys who live for the fight. Christie’s going to have a bit of a hard time overcoming his bromance with Obama, but Cruz is going to come out swinging, and will take no prisoners regardless which Democrat ends up representing that ticket.

The fact that both Christie and Cruz are lawyers is disappointing. It would be splendid to see someone other than a lawyer in the White House. As an ex-military guy, Allen West would be a delightful addition to the presidential roster, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the world of him, I admire his principles, I believe he’s a fighter, and he’s a good speaker, but even by the low standards Obama set, a two-year tenure in the House probably isn’t going to convince the American people to elect West president.

Do you have predictions for 2016?  I know it’s a long time away, but it’s worth thinking about now, both because it’s a pleasant diversion from depressing headlines and because the headlines about Obamacare, Benghazi, and the economy are tarnishing the Democrat brand.

Assuming that the Republicans can stop fighting each other and start riding the anti-Democrat wave, what should they do?  And who would you like to see getting groomed for the 2016 White House?

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    And how exactly do people plan to deal with Democrats controlling the Republican primaries?
    how exactly do people plan to deal with the multiple millions of fake votes the Democrats print up, electronically or not, based upon “equalizing” the difference in numbers and elector votes?
    How on earth will people even deal with the blackmail goodies the Left has on Republicans to begin with, which essentially will turn a Republican candidate into a puppet when the moment is right?

  • Texan99

    I’m getting tons of email like that, but it’s not from the Republican National Party.  It’s from individual candidates and Tea-Partyish groups.

  • dustoffmom

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for Scott Walker.  He’s a bit soft spoken compared to the others but he has quite a record growing up there in Wisconsin and is well thought of.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Walker is also a governor.  Americans may be looking for someone with actual executive experience after the obvious problems arising from Obama’s lack of same.  We warned people that Obama wasn’t a manager by either temperament or experience, but they didn’t want to hear….

  • Caped Crusader

    Dr. Ben Carson. Smart to the nth degree and a good debater.

  • Spartacus

    I await the coming of the one who will be called The Cabbage Whisperer.  Because in 2012, the voters were essentially presented with a choice between a glass of orange juice and a glass of arsenic, and they went for that nice, cool, refreshing glass of arsenic.  It was so obvious that cabbages could have figured that one out.  So conservatives need someone who can communicate fluently with cabbages, in the hopes that he or she might also be able to communicate with Low-Information Voters, who are similar.
    But seriously, there’s little point if it’s still Lucy holding the football.  I’m thinking maybe we kick Lucy instead, grab the football, and run for the touchdown.  Because, with apologies to 11B40 for partial plagiarism, until you change the game, all you have is hope, not a plan.

  • Mike Devx

    I agree that both Christie and Ted Cruz would make effect candidates.
    Christie enthusiastically embraces too many moderate positions for my taste.  It’s the *enthusiasm* with which he embraces them that grinds my gourd.  Yet, I believe he is enough of a conservative to earn my vote.  It is his passion that allows me to continue to consider him.  I’m lukewarm on Christie, but until the next time he pisses me off, I consider him “Good Enough”.  Good enough to vote for, and grudgingly, but I’d do so given any Democrat alternative.  Mainly because of his populist appeal and his ability to deliver powerful conservative messages – when he wants to.
    Ted Cruz is a more solid conservative, and he is one committed and happy warrior!!! I am not sure he has that populist appeal that Christie has – and that Reagan had in spades.  His message, his presentation, his delivery, his fire and passion… can he put it all together into an appealing package that attracts votes?  I’m not sure, but at this point, I’m hopeful, and he’s at the top of my personal list.
    Scott Walker would make an interesting candidate.  He has fought the Democrat establishment, stood firm, stood strong, and beaten them twice.  In his home state.  He did *something* that, whatever it was, worked very well in one State – Wisconsin.  He’s earned the shot at trying to take it national.
    Marci Rubio, I dunno.  He seems to be adopting that “nice Senator persona” that I have no interest in.  I question his ability to take the fight to the Democrats.  And he struggles and flip-flops on illegal immigrants.  I think it’s possible – POSSIBLE but very difficult! – to put together a conservative case for doing something that would turn illegal immigrants eventually into legal citizens without deporting them by the millions.  But if Rubio has that conservative case, I’ve yet to hear it; instead he has been flopping about like a fish on a wooden dock.  He is old enough and wise enough to have formed that conservative position -if it exists – and if he has it, he should just stand up and boldly articulate it, and let the chips fall where they may.
    I like Ben Carson a LOT.  But not as a presidential candidate.  I demand government experience first, of some sort.  That may sound funny, coming from a committed small-government, Tenth-Amendment guy like me.  But the Head of the Executive Branch and the Commander In Chief are not positions for government neophytes.  Obama was, of course, such a neophyte, and he is in WAY over his head; we can probably thank our lucky stars that he is so incompetent at the role.  I’d support Ben Carson for ANY position… except President.  Or Vice-President.
    But then, I don’t support anyone for VP.  Constitutionally, it really isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit, unless you’re  the VP for a President at least as conservative than you are.  In retrospect, that was Sarah Palin’s big mistake and lack of wisdom in 2008 – accepting a VP slot for the execrableness that was and is John McCain.  I know it’s hindsight, but political wisdom demands you never make that kind of a mistake.  She either didn’t care at all, or she horrendously misjudged him as her dominant running mate.  Either is a fault, and shows a lack of wisdom that she owns now.

  • Mike Devx

    As to VP, I think Paul Ryan made the same mistake that Sarah Palin made.  Mitt Romney eventually, towards the end, began to form some strong conservative messages, but it was too little, far far too late.  Paul Ryan is much ore conservative than Mitt Romney, and by the rule I stated above, such a conservative must not accept the VP slot for a presidential candidate who is much less conservative.  That was the case when Ryan accepted the VP nod from a far-less-conservative Romney.
    Reagan did *not* make that mistake in 1976 when Ford offered him the VP slot.

  • Mike Devx

    Spartacus, I just saw your #6, which you posted while I was figuring out my #7.  You said:
    > So conservatives need someone who can communicate fluently with cabbages, in the hopes that he or she might also be able to communicate with Low-Information Voters, who are similar.
    You have my winner for the week, Spartacus!  Or the month!  That’s just plain wonderful. 

  • Gringo

    I have noticed that my yellow dog Democrat friend hates Ted Cruz. If Democrats hate Ted Cruz, there must be something good about him

  • Texan99

    He makes my liberal neighbor INSANE.  She was pretty horrified to lean I’d sent him money and was thrilled to death with him.

  • Charles Martel

    What Mike said about Spartacus.

  • Michael Adams

    I detect no arrogance in Ted Cruz.  He speaks up, before a crowd, to be heard, but is quite soft-spoken in conversation. He does, indeed, think like a lawyer, like Fred Thompson, and I always like that. He understands why so called Conservatism works and why socialism does not, can not. I’d rank his ability to communicate that with or near Reagan’s. Probably he and Walker should flip a coin, and the loser campaign like a grand crusader for the winner. They are both magnificent. and neither one would undercut the other.  John Drogin, Cruz’s likely campaign manager, is definitely as Conservative as Cruz, and not in the least ashamed of it, so there would be no apologetic genuflection before the Lying Stream media, or the Leftie elite talking heads.

  • jj

    Got no use for Christie.  But, like most in his position, he doesn’t care.  He knows people will vote for him in preference to whomever the democrats regurgitate, so he doesn’t have to do anything except be someone else.  Like all fairly worthless republicans of the recent past, his campaign slogan need be no more nuanced than: “I’m not her.”  (Bush Sr., Dole, McCain and Romney all had the same slogan: “I’m not him.”  They expected this to turn out republican voters in droves.  Christie may need to be a bit more imaginative (or grounded in reality); his may have to read: “I’m not her.”)
    Other than that, I see no reason to vote for Bayonne Fats.  I saw no other reason to vote for Dole.  Or McCain.  Or Romney.  But I’m not as hard-assed as a lot of people: I voted.  A whole lot of republican and conservative votes didn’t bother to show up – a lesson the republican party seems to have not yet taken on board.  They are remarkable only for slowness.
    I can state with certainty right now, three years in advance: Rheince, you run Fats, he will lose.  Even I will stay home.  On Ambergris Caye.

  • Texan99

    From Ian Welsh this week:
    “The Tea Party, say what you will about them, gets a great deal of obeisance from Republicans for one simple reason: they will primary you if they don’t like how you’ve been voting, and they’ll probably win that primary. They are feared. Progressives are not feared, because they do not believe enough in their ostensible principles to act on them in an effective fashion.”
    The only thing that protects us from that kind of impossible choice in November is to be passionately involved in the primaries.