7. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
Chris Christie is arguably more popular nationally than ever. In the wake of a natural disaster, he did what leaders are supposed to do — he put politics aside, worked across the aisle, and focused on getting things back to normal for the people in his state. Whatever you think about Christie’s positions on unions, education and women’s rights, you have to respect his willingness to work with and praise President Obama.
Still, that willingness to work with Obama is a big problem for Christie. Republicans are still struggling with Obama’s victory, and Hurricane Sandy’s impact is considered a factor in that. More than a few Republicans see Christie as a Benedict Arnold, whose kind words for Obama’s leadership helped the Kenyan Muslim Usurper win the presidency. For those voters, Christie committed an unforgivable sin.
Of course, Christie’s base is with the hacks, not the true believers. The political operatives in the GOP know full well that Christie helped himself with swing voters, and they will cut Christie some slack. Because of that, Christie still has a reasonable shot at the nomination. Of course, all this presupposes that he beats Cory Booker in 2013; if he loses, he’s probably done, at least for the 2016 cycle.
Bob McDonnell has made no secret of his lust for power. He was willing to reverse course on abortion restrictions to make himself a more palatable VP candidate, and he’s mentioned often as a GOP player for 2016.
That said, McDonnell earned the nickname “Vaginal Probe Bob,” and he’s unlikely to shake it. That’s not a big problem for the GOP, but it will hurt his chances of winning in the general. More than that, McDonnell simply lacks a strong argument for GOP support; he’s the early favorite to be the Tim Pawlenty of 2016.
Perry’s implosion in 2012 was truly an awesome thing to behold. Perry went from front-runner to national punchline in a matter of months. He was rambling, incoherent, and…uh…I forgot the third thing. Oops.
Still, Perry hasn’t totally given up on the idea of running for president again, and his camp has been blaming drugs he took to manage pain from back surgery for Perry’s decidedly uneven performance.
It’s hard to imagine Perry making a comeback, but interestingly, the thing that really did in his candidacy — his support for the DREAM Act — is something that could be a feature, not a bug, in 2016. Is it possible Perry could return? Well, it will take luck, money, and…er….
Ted Cruz has already begun to be touted as a 2016 candidate, for much the same reason as Marco Rubio — he’s Latino, and the GOP needs to win over Latinos. Unlike Rubio, however, Cruz has not yet learned to moderate his positions to win over a broad swath of the electorate. He’s from Texas, and he’s a Republican — he hasn’t had to.
It’s a bit early for Cruz to be contemplating a run, and I doubt he jumps in if Rubio runs.
Finally, we come to the Rogue herself. Sarah Palin makes the list simply to allow me to say this: Sarah Palin shouldn’t be on anyone’s list. She didn’t run in 2008, when she had every opportunity to. That was her best chance. With every passing day, Palin becomes less of a political figure and more of a joke. It’s pretty clear that Palin has decided that she’s better off cashing in on her 15 minutes of fame, rather than seeking higher office. I encourage her in this — because the country is better off, too.
Palin will not run. If she does run, she will not get the nomination. You can take that to the bank.
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