Tag Archives: 2016 presidential campaign

Gov. Pence, we hardly knew ye

So much for Mike Pence’s White House aspirations.

The Indiana governor had been considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. His state’s economy is in good shape. He’s a “telegenic” fellow, meaning he looks good on TV. He’s an articulate politician.

Then he put his name on a piece of legislation that has created a serious political firestorm that is engulfing his state.


The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been viewed as a pretext to allow businesses to discriminate against gay people. It protects business owners from being sued if they refuse service to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs.

The backlash has been ferocious. Other state governors have banned non-essential government travel to the Hoosier State. The men’s collegiate basketball Final Four tournament to be played in Indianapolis is facing enormous economic pressure.

Gov. Pence wants to tinker with RFRA to exempt the LGBT community from discrimination.

The damage is done. RFRA has become synonymous with discrimination and, yep, it has Gov. Pence’s name on it.

A potentially crowded Republican presidential field has been narrowed — more than likely — by one.

Who's going to jump in '16?

It’s getting fun watching the prospective candidates for president in 2016 start hedging whether they’re actually going to make the plunge.

The latest apparently is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who might run for the Republican nomination in two years.


Rubio says his decision won’t depend on whether former Florida Gov.Jeb Bush decides to run. Rubio says he hasn’t talked to the former governor, but the fact that he’s talking about it at all suggests — to me, at least — that he’s got Jeb on his radar.

So, let’s ponder these other possibilities:

* U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says he likely won’t run if his 2012 Republican presidential nominee running mate Mitt Romney jumps in. No word from Romney what he plans to do if Ryan goes ahead with a run.

* Vice President Joe Biden likely will consider backing out of the Democratic contest if former senator, former secretary of state and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to go for it.

* Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas wants to seek the GOP nomination, but will he go if another talkative Texan, lame-duck Gov. Rick Perry jumps into the race?

* And is Perry going to make the leap if Cruz decides it’s his time to run?

Of all the fascinating what-ifs to ponder, I’m interested mostly in the Texas two-step that might play out between Perry and Cruz.

Perry’s been to the well once already. He flamed out badly before the first primary took place in New Hampshire. He’s trying to re-craft his brand. Cruz is the still-quite-new junior senator from Texas who entered the upper congressional chamber in January 2013 with his mouth blazing away. He hasn’t shut his trap since.

Both of these guys have never seen a TV camera they didn’t like. Cruz is especially enamored of the sound of his voice and the appearance of his face on TV.

It’s going to be tough for both of them to run for president, each trying to outflank the other on the right wing of their already-extreme right-wing party.

Who will jump in first? And will the other one back away?

And what about Ryan and Romney, Biden and Clinton, and Rubio and Bush?

This is going to get tense.

'I am not running …'

Here’s how you parse a statement and keep certain political speculation alive.

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told a radio talk show host the following: “I am not running for president. But I know a lot of my colleagues are, and I think that you have to be — you probably have to, if you are going to get serious about it, get going pretty early.”


Did he say he won’t run for president in 2016? Did he offer that “Shermanesque” statement about refusing to accept his party’s nomination if offered or refusing to serve if elected? Again, no.

He said “I am not running,” meaning that he is speaking in the present tense. No mention of the future.

This is the kind of word game that political watchers play in Washington, D.C. Thune had been thought to be a candidate in 2012. He didn’t run. His name has surfaced yet again as a potential Republican presidential candidate for 2016. And why not? He’s a physically attractive guy. He’s well-spoken and has been a quietly effective senator for his South Dakota constituents.

Sen. Thune’s name will continue to be mentioned as a possible candidate until he declares categorically that not only is he not running, but that he won’t run, no matter what.

Hey, the campaign has begun. It’s only two years and five months until the next presidential election. Time will fly by.

Tell whole truth about weight loss, Gov. Christie

Congratulations belong to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who cruised to re-election Tuesday.

As The Business Insider website reports, the governor has just “basically” launched his 2016 campaign for president of the United States.


Which brings me to the point here: He has lost a good bit of weight and says he is about halfway to his weight-loss goal. My question is this: Why not tell us the complete reason for losing the weight, governor?

Christie underwent weight-loss surgery several months ago. He proclaimed then it was to ensure he sticks around for his family. He doesn’t want to die early because of conditions associated with being significantly overweight. I accept that stated reason. But my sense is that he has more “political” reasons stashed away that he’s not telling us.

Allow me this bit of candor. I believe he is losing the weight because he wants to present a more physically appealing image to Americans across the land if he chooses to run for president in 2016.

What’s more, I see nothing wrong with him saying so. What can be so damning for a politician who prides himself on blunt talk and being frank with constituents to actually tell us the whole truth about such matters? Didn’t he once tell a New Jersey woman he didn’t care what she thought when she criticized him for sending his children to private school? Voters forgot about that snarky remark, as seen by the resounding victory this self-proclaimed “conservative Republican” scored in a heavily Democratic state.

Perhaps the governor could tell us what many of us know already: The Media Age requires national politicians to present pleasant images to voters. Such wasn’t the case prior to TV. Imagine someone who looked like, say, Abraham Lincoln being elected today. How about William Howard Taft, the heaviest president in history at 320 pounds?

If the New Jersey governor is entertaining thoughts of a presidential campaign in 2016, he has taken the first step — admittedly a cosmetic one — on that long road.

What’s wrong with acknowledging it?

Scott Brown for president?

I love this country, the land of opportunity — and opportunism.

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who lost his Senate seat after just two years, is “exploring” a run for — yep — the presidency of the United States of America in 2016.


Brown stunned Massachusetts and the nation in 2010 when he won a special election to the Senate seat that was held for nearly 40 years by a guy named Edward Moore Kennedy, the liberal Democratic lion of the Senate and the youngest member of arguably the nation’s premier political family.

Brown lost his re-election bid this past year to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Now the Republican who served a third of a term in the Senate is considering whether to run for governor of Massachusetts or a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire.

But hey, if not either of those, there’s always the presidency.

Some folks believe that the improbable — albeit temporary — prominence shown in the 2012 GOP primary campaign by the likes of U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., and pizza mogul Herman Cain have piqued Brown’s interest enough to consider a run for the White House.

Go for it, Mr. Brown. Enjoy the notoriety while it lasts.

Clinton vs. Christie in 2016

I know it’s early. I shouldn’t even be thinking like this. But I’m starting to lick my chops at the prospect of a 2016 presidential campaign between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chris Christie.

Neither of them has declared their intention to run, although both are beginning to act ever so slightly as though they’re interested in seeking their party’s nomination. Clinton already has run once for the Democratic nomination. Christie has been the Republican governor of New Jersey for three years.

Both are dynamic presences within their own key constituencies. They’re fierce defenders of their records. They’re politically savvy.

Why Clinton?

She might have the most comprehensive resume for the job since, perhaps, George H.W. Bush. Former first lady, former U.S. senator from New York, former secretary of state. Prior to all of that, she was Arkansas’s first lady and at one time was an accomplished lawyer. She’s been close to the center of power, given her marriage to one Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States.

Some pundits have compared her White House inevitability with that of General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower, who was deemed unbeatable during the 1952 presidential campaign. Turns out they were right about Ike.

Why Christie?

He is a no-nonsense guy. Christie is unafraid of the ideologues within his own party. He rolls up his sleeves and works for New Jersey. My favorite moment of the 2012 political season occurred when a Fox News Channel talking head, Steve Doocy, asked Christie if GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would visit the Jersey Shore, which had been battered by Hurricane Sandy … on the heels of President Obama’s tour of the destruction. Christie’s response, in effect, was: I don’t give a damn whether he comes here or stays away; I’ve got a job to do. He added that he wasn’t the least bit interested in how it might affect the presidential campaign.

I ought not to engage in this kind of speculation. I’m doing it anyway with the hope that it comes to pass.

Barbara Bush the Younger ‘endorses’ HRC

Well, that’s a shocker.

Barbara Bush, one of former President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, has declared that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is “unbelievably qualified” to be president of the United States.

Who knew the Bush family had a closet Democrat in its midst?


Barbara, 31, hopes Clinton runs for the White House in 2016. She did stop short of saying HRC would get her vote were she to take the plunge.

It’s interesting in the extreme, though, to hear the daughter of such a prominent Republican make a glowing statement about a prominent Democrat. That sets up the potential for an interesting tussle within the GOP, which already is turning on itself over disagreements on immigration reform, spending cuts, and a possible government shutdown as it relates to the future of “Obamacare.”

George W. Bush has stayed out of the fray. Good move, Mr. President. Now one of his daughters seems to be taking baby steps back into it with her comments about a possible Democratic presidential candidate who, without doubt, is one of the sworn enemies of the tea party movement within the GOP.

How will the tea party wing react to this virtual endorsement? Will it scold the former president for not “counseling” his daughter sufficiently enough? Might the tea party folks declare unofficial war on the Bush family for being so, so, so “establishment” in its Republican orthodoxy?

The big question might be, how will Democrats handle these glowing words if their party nominates Clinton to be their party’s standard-bearer in the summer of 2016?

My guess: very carefully.