There are a number of serious Republicans interested
in running for president, at this early point, in two years.
Some of them, such as Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and
Marco Rubio don’t seem to have a broad enough base to
enable them to win the nomination, but they have motivated
and vocal supporters, and if they run, they will be notable
factors in the Republican primaries and caucuses.
Others, including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and
Rick Perry might be seen as figures of the past, and might
not run (although Governor Perry is making serious
noises about another run in 2016).
2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Governors
Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and John
Kasich are frequently mentioned, but have yet to indicate
their serious interest in 2016.
The two figures who would probably be frontrunners if they
ran, Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Jeb Bush,
have current political problems to overcome (although it is
more likely than not that one of these two men will be the
On the other hand, if the field is large, the primaries and
caucuses very bitter, AND the frontrunners falter, the
resulting stalemate might propel forward a name which has
not recently been mentioned seriously, 2012 nominee Mitt
Romney, back into contention.
Romney was perhaps the wrong candidate for 2012 because
his persona played into the negative Democratic media
campaign that year, and because he did not, at the end,
assemble as competitive campaign as did Barack Obama.
But 2016 promises a very different political environment.
After two terms of Mr. Obama, the voters may be weary of
any Democrat (as they were in 2008 of any Republican).
We must await the results of the 2014 midterm elections to
draw more precise and verified conclusions, but Obamacare
almost alone seems to be moving the electorate to the GOP,
and threatens to spoil the Democratic Party brand for years
In spite of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan,
changing our approach to the Middle East by diminishing our
long alliance with Israel in a trade-off for (so-far) feckless
relationships with other players in the region, and reducing
our military and defenses, Mr. Obama’s numbers are very
low in polls about his performance in foreign policy. He has
been out-dueled so far in his relationship with Russian
President Putin. His first term secretary of state, Hillary
Clinton, is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic
Party in 2016, but, although she will surely try to do so, it might
be difficult for her to separate herself from Mr. Obama and
her own actions (including her “re-set” with Russia) when
working for him. (Remember Hubert Humphrey attempting
to do this in 1968?)
Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia and Mr. Putin were a
major problem for the U.S., an assertion he made in the 2012
campaign and subsequently ridiculed by Mr. Obama, looks
rather prescient these days. So do most of his views on the
domestic issues he ran on in 2012.
Only twice in the past 100 years has a defeated Republican
presidential nominee been renominated by his party. Thomas
Dewey lost in 1944, and lost again in 1948. Richard Nixon lost
in 1960, but won in 1968 (and again in 1972).
In spite of his recent public visibility, there are no indications
that Mitt Romney is even thinking about running again in
2016, nor under present circumstances, would he now be
considered a serious candidate. But in spite of the large number
of major GOP candidates, the Republican field is not yet in
focus for one of them to win the nomination.
Considering Mr. Romney’s stature, it is not without some
curious interest to speculate that, in certain circumstances,
he might resolve a GOP convention stalemate, or even earlier,
return to the campaign field.
I’m just saying.
Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.