Saturday, February 16, 2013

2016: What Does Each Side Bring to the Party?

It's early, yes, but it's germane, this examination of 2016, because the Republicans are in the midst of reimagining themselves for the next big fight. 2014 is only the next skirmish. The big guns have got to be assembled by 2016.

It's worth examining the possible match-ups, but it may be a welcome shortcut to just move on to the inevitable Hillary Clinton-Marco Rubio contest, if only because how much different would, say a Joe Biden-Jeb Bush battle, be?

Besides, if Joe Biden somehow ended up the Democratic candidate, fine. It would be the same face of the party, by and large. And, let's face it, Jeb Bush is not going to win the nomination for a whole host of reasons not worth dwelling on here (See George W. Bush).

For the GOP, there are a few different roads to travel down, but there's only one where an actual reinvention likely takes place. Sure, if Ari Fleischer, Karl Rove, and the Koch brothers manage to dominate the game, so be it. And if Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity continue as dominant mouthpieces for the party, okay. But down that road lies electoral disaster. Can the GOP avert it?

Of course, there's a host of potential GOP candidates, from Mitch Daniels to Bob McDonnell to Chris Christie among others. But they're all white with various albatrosses around their necks. And don't even think Jon Huntsman. You know why. No, the Latino problem alone will drive the party toward Marco Rubio.  (Bobby Jindal's national career is still in the crapper.)

Thus examining the Hillary-Marco match-up is the one worth pursuing. Here's Hillary:
  • An mature lioness, battle-tested and proven.
  • A liberal/progressive with centrist cred.
  • A proponent of government-regulated, affordable health care.
  • A supporter of maintaining Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid at current, or better, levels.
  • Strong international experience, with a negative hangover from the Iraq War, making her a chastened statesperson with anti-interventionalist leanings (my assumption, I admit).
  • A proponent of government regulation of markets.
  • Likely falls on the Keynesian side economically, believing there is a role for an activist Fed and an involved government, including public spending on infrastructure and other stimulative programs.
  • Favors gun control, is pro-choice, pro-birth control, pro-stem-cell research, and pro-union. Is pro-gay marriage.
  • Is pro-science and centrist in her education goals and policies.
Okay, now Marco Rubio:
  • A young gun, though inexperienced.
  • Brought to prominence (and the Senate) by the Tea Party but now being offered as a centrist, more inclusive, more pleasant face of the GOP.
  • Believes strongly in limited government ("the government is the problem").
  • Has little foreign policy experience; typical saber-rattling, as in should have gone into Libya sooner, might need to use force in Iran, need a larger involvement in Syria; doesn't like to rely on institutions like the United Nations.
  • Believes in free markets on all levels, is anti-Keynesian economically speaking, believes that government should get out of the way when it comes to business, finance, and monetary policy.
  • Opposes Obamacare.
  • Social Security and Medicare have to be drastically cut to save it, including turning Medicare into a voucher program.
  • Holds -- based on his SOTU response -- the same old views, values, and policies of the Republican Party, not including immigration (except that on Rush Limbaugh's show he said he'd shoot it down it it went too far to the left). Marco Rubio remains a conventional and, in many ways, a Tea-Party Republican.
  • Anti-abortion, anti-birth control, pro-gun, anti-science, anti-stem-cell research. Is against gay marriage.
  • Favors school vouchers and is anti-teachers union (anti-union in general).

In case you wondered, it's Hillary Clinton's. If that means you think the GOP should choose another candidate, then please pick the one that's really different from Marco Rubio? I'm waiting...

Mitch Daniels: W.'s budget director: How'd that work out?

Chris Christie: More likely than Romney to get elected nationally?

Governor "vaginal ultrasound" Bob McDonnell: Win without the ladies? Nah...

Jeb Bush: No ghosts in his closet...

John Kasich: Pushing anti-union bill in union-strong Ohio. Bad move, Gov. 40%.

Kelly Ayotte: anti-choice, anti-free birth control, anti-gay. Run her against Hillary!

The rest of the GOP presidential field.

Note. Some voices are already pointing out that Marco Rubio has peaked. called it over a year ago, and Josh Barro of Bloomberg asks "This is the Republican Party's Savior?" A sample:
He [Rubio] repeated broad anti-government themes, saying, “More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back.” As an alternative he offered the Republican formula of lower taxes, less spending and less regulation, saying that would raise incomes and create middle-class prosperity.
This is the case that Mitt Romney made against Obama in the 2012 election. It’s the case that Republican Senate candidates made all over the country. It is a case for trickle-down economics. And it is a case that Americans have rejected. 
Republicans think putting up a spokesman like Rubio, who is Hispanic and in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, will help them make inroads with minorities. But all of the large minority groups -- blacks, Hispanics and Asians -- look much more favorably on government than whites do, seeing it as an entity that can and should help people get ahead rather than just getting out of the way.
In 2012, the Republican Party’s anti-government message left these groups cold, leading Romney to lose Hispanics by more than 2 to 1 and Asians by nearly 3 to 1. Immigration reform can’t overcome this message problem. As the country gets less and less white, reflexive “I Built It”-ism is only going to become more electorally costly to Republicans.
 So, what do I know? If Marco Rubio has crashed and burned this fast, what's in store for the GOP? Maybe not much in 2016. Jeesh.

Update. I just realized that I forgot to include Paul Ryan in the list of 2016 GOP hopefuls. Wonder how that happened? Oh yeah, he was a fraud before he was defeated, and he's a fraud now that he's, uh, not even a major voice in his party. Or am I missing something? Nevertheless, run, Paul, run! Love to see you debate Hillary (Joe's already bested you).

Update 2. Just thought of something on the plus side for Hillary. She can run with the announced intention of naming Joe Biden Secretary of State. There'd be no argument in the Democratic Party against that choice, and it would bring an added energy to the campaign, as Joe Biden could actively campaign. Imagine the Clintons, the Obamas, and the Bidens all out on the stump for Hillary. Be pretty wild, almost unstoppable. Very ahead of myself here, but fun.

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