JebBush.jpg

Could a Late Entrant Win the Republican Nomination?

When I travel abroad, as I do with some frequency, I am nearly always asked who the nominee of one party or the other is likely to be. And when I have my wits about me, if we are not already deep into the primary season, I reply that nobody knows. Politics in most countries is far more predictable than it is in the United States. Who would have predicted in January, 1991 that William Jefferson Clinton would be elected President in November, 1992? Who would have predicted in March, 2007 that Barack Obama would be elected President in November, 2008? Who would have predicted that either would be their party’s nominee? In the United States, politics is a bit like grand opera. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

MitchDaniels.jpgI say this as a prelude to drawing your attention to a blogpost by Rhodes Cook on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball entitled 2012 Republican Race: The Field May Not Be Closed.  It examines with very great care the unfolding logic of the Republican race – with considerable attention paid to the order in which the primaries take place and the filing deadlines. Cook’s contention is that — if Mitt Romney stumbles, or if neither Newt Gingrich nor Rick Perry garners a commanding lead in the early primaries and caucuses — another contender could enter the race as late as Valentine’s Day and win the nomination. This has Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard excited, as well it might.

Paul-Ryan-2.jpgCount me a skeptic, but do not for a second suppose that I know what I am talking about. I thought that Rick Perry would be formidable. I never imagined that Herman Cain would emerge, even briefly, as a front-runner. I did not think that Newt Gingrich, given his record, had a chance. My mistake was that I failed to recognize just how great an impact the televised debates would have.

One of the reasons that one cannot predict what is going to happen in Presidential sweepstakes is that there is always a new wrinkle in the campaigns. Last time out, Mike Huckabee used e-mail lists to mount a low-cost campaign and win the Iowa Caucus. Last time out, Barack Obama outwitted Hillary Clinton and gamed the caucus states. Who knows? Rhodes Cook may be right that this time out the schedule of the Republican primaries and caucuses provides an opening for a late entry.

MarcoRubio.jpgRead Cook’s piece. Judge for yourself. And let me know what you think. And if there were a late entry with the moxie to pull this off, who might it be? Jeb Bush? Paul Ryan? Marco Rubio? Mitch Daniels?

  1. pensworth

    A name missing from this discussion is Gov Bob McDonnell. He remains one of the most successful and popular governors in the country; he is governor of a southern swing state that’s almost a must-win for Obama; he retired from the military as a Lt. Colonel and both he and his wife come from military families; he is smart, articulate and has a non-threatening manner; he is catholic and enjoys very strong ties to the evangelical community; he is unquestionably socially and fiscally conservative; he has an impressively decent family life; he’s solid on policy; he is currently Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association; he gets the entitlement and fiscal crisis facing the nation; he is quite articulate and has had business, legislative and law enforcement experience. Furthermore, his election-and Chris Christie’s- in 2009 can justifiably be considered the very first tea-party victory.

    If our options remain unsatisfactory, and a late entrance is indeed possible, can you imagine a scenario in which GOP governors-at least the ones who haven’t yet endorsed a candidate- all come out to endorse him? 

  2. Mike LaRoche
    Paul A. Rahe

    And if there were a late entry with the moxie to pull this off, who might it be? Jeb Bush? Paul Ryan? Marco Rubio? Mitch Daniels?

    Sarah Palin.

  3. flownover

    In one of the very first podcasts, Jeb Bush made an absolutely wonderful appearance. Just listening to the introduction gave me the feeling that the old saying about “Jeb was supposed to be the one who ran for president” was a dream that might take awhile to come true, but someday….would . Dynasties aside, character and experience always win out and he’s got both in spades.

    As for the tut-tutting class, to heck with them. Imagine what they would say if Tom Jefferson, Jesus Christ or Winston Churchill were running ? They are those who can’t be pleased (except with themselves) and they need to be shunted aside like the mad dogs or smelly protesters that they are.

    Maybe with one of the Cheneys as Veep.

  4. A.J. Chianese

    Can’t be Palin.  It would have to be someone who would unite the establishment and tea party wings of the party, and Palin cannot get the establishment.  Nor can Newt.  And Romney can’t get the tea party.

    First, let me join Prof Rahe in his skepticism.  I do that partly to prevent myself from getting my hopes up.

    But second, Bush just will never run this time around, I think, because of his name.  Christie would have a hard time, given his final denial and endorsement of Mitt.  I can see him having some trouble getting tea partiers on his side for fear of RINOism, but I’m not sure.  I have similar thoughts on Daniels, though his problem will always be that he’s a short bald man, however accomplished he’s been.  To my mind, though, he’d be better than Newt or Mitt.

    Ryan or Rubio, both so young, but maybe if pushed?  Particularly Ryan.  Even, I should say, Christie, if he were really strongly pushed.  I happen to think Christie-Rubio would be our most electable general election ticket.

    Again, none of this is at all likely to happen.  I just hope it does.

  5. Mike LaRoche

    Lest anyone think I brought up the former Alaskan governor’s name just to stir things up, consider this from Cook’s article:

    To be successful, a late-starting campaign needs to feature a candidate with considerable fund-raising and organizational ability who is capable of quickly grabbing national attention. Charisma helps, as does a campaign message that can evoke widespread support.

    Also:

    The entry of any of these Republicans [Daniels, Ryan, Jeb Bush, Christie] would cause waves, and because of their high profiles they would have little trouble raising money or attracting establishment support. On the other hand, if Romney gets off to a strong start in January’s opening round, then there might be pressure on the right to enlist former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to pick up the anti-establishment baton.

  6. Blue Yeti
    C

    Electrical-Plug-with-Cord-KH-99221.pngShameless plug: Mitch Daniels will be on the Ricochet Podcast week after next.

    Paul, would you like to be on with the Governor?

  7. Scott R

     Bobby Jindal would be spectacular: He’s now freed up from his reelection run in LA, he clearly has long-term presidential ambitions, he’s got a resume a mile long for one so young, and now he has a substantial and great record as an executive.

    He’d probably require a public “recruitment drive” so he could accept without seeming to go back on his claim that he had no intention of running.

  8. Duane Oyen

    I still want to run former Florida governor Jeb Clinton.  Who cares what his name is, he is the right man.

  9. A.J. Chianese

    To Scott’s and Duane’s points: I think both Jindal and Jeb would be great, and I wish Jeb’s name wouldn’t be the liability for him that (I suspect) it is, because he’d be great.

  10. Mendel
    Scott Reusser:

    He’d probably require a public “recruitment drive” so he could accept without seeming to go back on his claim that he had no intention of running. · Dec 9 at 2:59pm

    Wouldn’t this be necessary for any candidate making a late start?

    Jumping into the race in early February would be a harsh slap in the face to the front runner.  I imagine it could only be done if there was a deafening grassroots call for a new candidate. 

    And what better place for such a grassroots movement to start than…Ricochet.

  11. Louie Mungaray (Squishy Blue RINO)

    Jeb Bush would be my first pick, and if he picked Rubio to run with, even better.

    Make no mistake, there is as grim and resolute a resolve against Newt Gingrich among some Republicans as there against Mitt Romney among others.

    The upshot is delegate count vs momentum, Bush Rubio by Valentines Day would drop Newt-mentum like Clay dropped Liston and there would still be plenty of delegates up for grabs.

  12. katievs

    The only scenario I can imagine possibly working–and the odds are about as long as long odds get–is a successful write-in campaign for Marco Rubio in Florida.

    He’s too young and unseasoned to announce for President.  But, being a man of faith with a passionate desire to serve his country, I think it’s not impossible that he would interpret a successful write-in campaign coupled with strong support from DC power brokers as indicating that whether he feels ready or not, Providence is calling.

  13. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Blue Yeti

    Shameless plug: Mitch Daniels will be on the Ricochet Podcast week after next.

    Paul, would you like to be on with the Governor? · Dec 9 at 2:56pm

    Edited on Dec 09 at 03:01 pm

    Sure. That would be a pleasure.

  14. Albert Arthur
    Duane Oyen: I still want to run former Florida governor Jeb Clinton.  Who cares what his name is, he is the right man. · Dec 9 at 2:59pm

    Ha! Jeb Clinton. That was a slip of the keyboard, no? I was thinking a Jeb Bush/Liz Cheney ticket, just to drive the left absolutely bonkers.

    Squishy Blue RINO: Jeb Bush would be my first pick, and if he picked Rubio to run with, even better.

    · Dec 9 at 3:26pm

    But they’re both from Florida so they can’t be on the same ticket or else they couldn’t get any electoral votes from Florida. And Florida is a pretty key state, ya know?

  15. Louie Mungaray (Squishy Blue RINO)
    Albert Arthur

    Duane Oyen: I still want to run former Florida governor Jeb Clinton.  Who cares what his name is, he is the right man. · Dec 9 at 2:59pm

    Ha! Jeb Clinton. That was a slip of the keyboard, no? I was thinking a Jeb Bush/Liz Cheney ticket, just to drive the left absolutely bonkers.

    Squishy Blue RINO: Jeb Bush would be my first pick, and if he picked Rubio to run with, even better.

    · Dec 9 at 3:26pm

    But they’re both from Florida so they can’t be on the same ticket or else they couldn’t get any electoral votes from Florida. And Florida is a pretty key state, ya know? · Dec 9 at 3:42pm

    Together on one ticket, Jeb with Marco as veep, I was unclear.

  16. Troy Senik, Ed.

    Bush-Rubio would be a great ticket, Squish. Alas, it can’t happen. The Constitution functionally precludes the running mate from being from the same state as the nominee (you may recall that this was an issue with the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000).

    Edit: I originally said the Constitution prohibits both candidates from being from the same state. It’s actually more subtle than that. As Duane alludes to above, it could happen but there would an electoral vote penalty in the state in question — which, in the case of Florida, would be a near-insurmountable handicap.

  17. Mel Foil

    The trouble is, people who get in this late don’t look like they’re on a holy crusade for better leadership. They just look opportunistic. Certainly to the untrained eye they do. If their goal is to lead America out of its economic crisis, well, they’re a little late.

  18. James Of England
    Troy Senik: Bush-Rubio would be a great ticket, Squish. Alas, it can’t happen. The Constitution forbids the running mate from being from the same state as the nominee (you may recall that this was an issue with the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000). · Dec 9 at 3:56pm

    There’s still time for Bush to move, isn’t there? He’s got claims to both Texas and Connecticut roots and probably has ties elsewhere.

  19. Mendel
    etoiledunord: The trouble is, people who get in this late don’t look like they’re on a holy crusade for better leadership. They just look opportunistic. Certainly to the untrained eye they do. If their goal is to lead America out of its economic crisis, well, they’re a little late. · Dec 9 at 4:04pm

    I think they could look quite altruistic: joining the race only reluctantly, to answer the call of voters and the call of duty.

    Unfortunately this tactic could only work if, in fact, there was an outcry from primary voters demanding a new candidate.  At the moment, I sense a much stronger sense of general resignation.

  20. Mel Foil
    Mendel

    etoiledunord: The trouble is, people who get in this late don’t look like they’re on a holy crusade for better leadership. They just look opportunistic. Certainly to the untrained eye they do. If their goal is to lead America out of its economic crisis, well, they’re a little late. · Dec 9 at 4:04pm

    I think they could look very altruistic: joining the race only reluctantly, to answer the call of voters and the call of duty.

    Unfortunately this tactic could only work if, in fact, there was an outcry from primary voters demanding a new candidate.  At the moment, I sense a much stronger sense of general resignation. · Dec 9 at 4:08pm

    I don’t want anybody entering the race reluctantly, and you shouldn’t either. Being President is like discerning a call to the priesthood. If you don’t crave it with all your heart, you don’t belong there. It’s not a job–it’s a calling. It takes all the mental and physical energy you have, and more. Especially this time. That’s the problem with Obama. He thought it was the ultimate cushy job.