The dust has not even settled from the 2014 Mid Term elections, and the 2016 Presidential Race is already in full swing. The mainstream publishing houses have been and will continue to be inundated with books written by prospective Presidential candidates. The super PAC's have started raising money. The strategists are scheming, and battle lines are being drawn. The upcoming 2016 GOP nomination battle for President should be the most maddening, albeit entertaining, one to date.
Not since the primary battle of 1976 between President Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan has the GOP been in such turmoil. You have so many factions in the GOP today, that it rivals a family reunion or a small town baptist church. There is no clear direction or leader today in the GOP and the free for all that is to ensue may determine the future of the GOP.
The Libertarian Conservative
Senator Rand Paul is a rarity. He has blended together his father's Von Mises' economic policies, as well his isolationist foreign policy, with traditional views on abortion and same sex marriage. He is a firebrand that fights the interventionist ideas of his friend Ted Cruz, while at the same time siding with Cruz in his fight to repeal Obamacare. He may be the only candidate who get's drug legalization enthusiasts, pacifists, family value conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and civil liberty hawks all in the same room. His campaign will merge coalitions that have never remotely been connected. His appeal will be broad, but he is no lock. His isolationist foreign policy is out of step with traditional conservative policy. His views on foreign policy sound more in tune with doves than the hawks of Reagan and Bush. His views on marriage and abortion are sound, but his flirtation with drug legalization is a turn off to the Religious Right. He will be a force to reckon with. If he is not on the ticket, either as President or Vice President, I will be very surprised.
This Years Herman Cain
I'm sure when Dr. Benjamin Carson gave his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast critical of the President's policies, he never imagined what that would lead to. He is a rockstar to the right. A minority who has traditional conservative values and ideals. His medical background gives him expertise to wax eloquent against Obamacare. Unfortunately, he like Herman Cain of 2012, will face a onslaught from the mainstream media. He is a African American who dares break out of the mold that the liberal left has created for African Americans in politics. He will be derided as a "Uncle Tom" by race baiters Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Rev. William Barber. His past will be gone over with a fine tooth come by the muckraking journalists, to see if they can find his version of Anita Hill. He is a fine candidate, but can her survive the coming onslaught? We will see.
I will not go into detailed analysis of these names, since they have been trotted out before. Mike Huckabee is considering a run. The wise cracking Southern Baptist will win instant point on the religous rights, but some policies from his Arkansas days as governor may haunt him.
Mitt Romney, yes I said it, will probably run again. He will hope that he can run the, "See I Told You So", campaign. It will not work but he is still a potential candidate.
There is a long list of hopefuls from the RGA. Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and even Nikki Haley are potential candidates. All of these candidates will tout their executive experience and leadership as why they should be chosen as the party's standard bearer.
Rick Perry will have to prove to supporters and donors alike that he has pulled himself together. His disastrous run in 2012, cemented when he uttered "Oops", will haunt him until he shows that he is with it this time around. He has a long record of conservative policies that will give him cred, but his views on immigration are more complicated. In 2012 he waffled between saying his in-state tuition policies for illegal aliens was "compassionate" and claiming he was a border hawk. His episode this summer with President Obama and the tarmac got him headlines, but will it be enough to cover his "have a heart" comment on giving in state tuition to illegals?
Bobby Jindal has a long conservative record to bolster his run, but his State of the Union Response Speech was so deadpanned that many feel he is a better governor/policy wonk than Presidential candidate.
Chris Christie will bring with him his Jersey bravado and bluster. He will also bear the scars from the bridge closing scandal, his stagnant polices in New Jersey, and the "hug" and "walk on the Beach" with President Obama, after Hurricane Sandy. His talk and rhetoric will get applause, but will his liberal views on abortion and same sex marriage, along with the aforementioned items, destroy his White House Hopes?
Senator Marco Rubio was a rockstar. His latino background and incredible family story along with his strong conservative views made him the shining star on the right. However, the star has lost it's glow over the last couple of years. His participation with Senator Chuck Schumer on comprehensive immigration reform cost him dearly. He is hoping his harsh criticism of Obama foreign policy, his youth and ethnicity, and his traditional values will catapult him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We'll see.
There are so many others that could throw there hat in, if I tried to list them all I would be here for weeks. The point is that the field is wide open. The traditional battle between Washington and GOP insiders against the TEA Party and conservatives is nothing new. The question is will we as a party learn from 2008 and 2012. We'll see. Either way it will be maddening, sickening, but above all entertaining. This southern boy's opinion is that when conservatism, explained and articulated, is the forefront of the GOP, we see great things. All we have to do is look at Ronald Reagan. When we have political elitism and compromise as a theme, we get candidates like McCain and Romney. I think we all agree that the former is better than the latter.