And the Republican nominee for 2016 is…
By John D. Turner
10 Mar 2014

So who is the Republican front runner for President in 2016? Who cares! It’s March 2014 right now; we haven’t even had all the primaries for the 2014 mid-term elections yet! The elections aren’t until November and the new congress won’t be seated until next January. What difference does it make who the Republican front runner is now?

Do you know who the Democratic front runner for 2016 is? I don’t; those polls aren’t being taken. The only thing I know for sure is that Mr. Obama can’t run again and the media seems pretty sure that Hillary is the heir apparent. One thing I do know however is that, if she does run, someone will run against her in the Democratic primary. In fact, I would expect multiple “someone’s” to run. But the media doesn’t seem too interested in who those “someone’s” might be.

The media is all gaga however on who the Republican front runner will be – over two years before the election cycle even begins. Why is that do you suppose, when it is a dead certainty that the majority of them wouldn’t vote Republican if you paid them? (Well, maybe if you paid them enough…) And why such little interest in the Democratic side, when that is where their money, sympathy, and votes lie? If I were a bit more cynical, I might think that what I am witnessing is what the intelligence community calls “intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB)” on the part of partisans in the media. But of course, that can’t possibly be…

This weekend, CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference had its straw poll, which asks various questions of those attending the conference. Among the questions is who of the following would you like to see as president? And once again, Senator Rand Paul topped the list, blowing away the competition with 31 percent of the vote, almost three times the total of Senator Ted Cruz, who came in second. This out of a field of 25 potential contenders.

And I have to ask myself, why?

Not of course that I object to the straw poll. It doesn’t really mean anything anyway. Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul won the poll multiple times and he never became the nominee, although he did run.

No, the why has nothing to do with the poll itself. My why has more to do with Rand Paul himself; don’t get me wrong. I think Senator Paul is a fine senator. I hope he stays in the Senate a good while longer. We need voices like his in the Senate. I am just not so sure that he would make as good a President. And I am not all that sure that at a time when Republicans are trying to take back the Senate we should be all that keen on removing a Republican from the Senate to run for President.

This goes for Senators Cruz, Rubio, Portman, Thune, Ayotte, and Scott as well – all contenders in the 2014 CPAC straw poll. Great folks all, but has anyone thought that, just perhaps, it is best at this time for them to remain in the Senate? We need good, strong conservatives in the Senate. They are doing a good job in the Senate. If one of them were to be the nominee, who is there to replace them if they do happen to win?

In the first place, there is no guarantee that their seat would be filled by a Republican. This happened multiple times in the Clinton administration when he picked a representative or senator to fill a place in his administration; the open seat, which had been filled by a Democrat was picked up by a Republican. Can we afford to do this when we are trying to gain the Senate? Even if we do take it in this election cycle, it is likely to be by a razor thin margin. Why risk that?

Secondly, these folks, while good conservative folks, have not held their present jobs all that long. Wouldn’t it be nice for them to get a little more experience under their belts? We just elected a guy with very little experience – do you think that has worked out well for us?

And what does one do after one has been President of the United States anyway? Most of these candidates are quite young, politically speaking. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio (just to name the three most popular) have years of useful, productive life in the Senate representing their States and Conservative causes. Why cut that life short for a four or hopefully eight year stint as President?

In the entire history of the country there have been just two instances of a former president returning to congress; John Quincy Adams won a seat in the House after having been president, and Andrew Johnson won a seat in the Senate after being president. I guess that just because it hasn’t happened in 140 years doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen again. After all, George H. W. Bush was the first sitting vice president elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836. So anything is possible. Likely? Not really.

Thirdly, I really don’t like the idea of electing legislators to be the chief executive of what is still the most powerful country on the face of the Earth. There is a vast difference between being a legislator and an executive. The last time we elected a Senator (before Obama) was Richard Nixon. And before that, Lyndon Johnson. Those didn’t turn out all that well either in my opinion. My preference would be a governor; someone who has experience running something and making executive decisions. I would particularly like to see their track record making such decisions.

Of course, being a governor doesn’t guarantee a good president either; consider Jimmy Carter. On the other hand, Ronald Reagan was a governor too.

Now if a senator or representative had independent executive experience exclusive of their being a legislator, that’s fine too. Heck, I would settle for a legislator that has experience running their own business, medical practice, or perhaps who has been a commander of a military unit or organization. We have elected generals in the past; some have been good, some not so good. At least though they did have experience at actually running something and making executive decisions. But as far as I know, none of the current crop of senators and representatives touted as “contenders” on the Republican side have such experience.

I like the folks that were in the CPAC straw poll. I would vote for any of them should they become the Republican nominee in 2016. I might have to hold my nose when it came to Christie, and I hope he isn’t the nominee – but I would vote for him over any likely Democratic Progressive candidate. Having said that, even Christie has some good things to say and some good points to add to the debate; his voice needs to be heard. And as much as I may disagree with him on many issues, he has been good for the people of New Jersey; better than the Democratic candidate would have been. And let’s face it; there is only so much you can do in New Jersey. It will take years, possibly decades before you could hope to elect the sort of conservative there that one might elect in, say, Utah or Texas.

However none of them is my first choice at this time – it’s way too early. Perhaps some “dark horse” candidate will emerge that will blow them all away. And should you think that this is impossible, I have just two names for you; William Jefferson Clinton and Barack Hussain Obama. Nobody saw either of those coming.

Then again, perhaps the fact that no one saw them coming is just good IPB on the Democrats part. Keep the media focused on the Republicans and no one pays attention to what the Democrats are doing. And in the meantime, between the media focus and the Republican primaries, the Democrats have plenty of opportunity to dig up deep spadesful of dirt on the Republicans (or have time to either make stuff up or blow small things totally out of proportion).

And it gives them plenty of time to attach the label, in the general public’s perception, “extreme right wing” to any Republican candidate who even looks like they are going to get any traction. Heck, most Republicans are toast before the election cycle even begins whereas, it seems, Democrats skate into their primaries pretty much unscathed.

In any event, I am more concerned about the 2014 mid-terms. Talk to me about “Republican front runners” sometime in January 2016 at the earliest.