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Monday, October 24, 2016

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg View) — The New York Times has a well-reported article today outlining the desires of various Republican Party donors and bundlers to get behind a single establishment candidate in the 2016 presidential primary. There’s only one problem: That doesn’t seem remotely possible.

Yes, it makes sense to try to limit the intraparty war. The three potential establishment candidates — former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey governor Chris Christie and 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney — would presumably compete for the same donors and voters if they all enter the race. But each of the three has his own personal ambitions, core set of loyalists, individual and institutional strengths, and potentially fatal flaws. Why should any two such candidates cede to a third? And what of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker? Ohio governor John Kasich? Florida senator Marco Rubio? If they run, each will depend in some degree on establishment support as well.

Bush has all but dared the party to nominate someone else, saying that, if he runs, he won’t court Republican base voters so eagerly that he alienates the general electorate. He refuses to abandon his commitment to Common Core educational standards, which the base has come to perceive as ideologically sketchy and governmentally oppressive. Worse, he is unabashedly pro-immigrant in a party that has concluded that, at the end of the day, it really prefers a good deportation. Bush’s description of illegal border crossing as an “act of love” will prove a constant temptation to the devil perched on the party’s shoulder. Which of the candidates competing for the base’s roar of approval will resist the temptation to label Bush a quisling in the existential war against the Other?

Christie may be even less of a sure bet. A Department of Justice investigation into his subordinates’ creepy “Bridgegate” activities is yet to be concluded. Christie’s presidential calling card — his “character” — rides on his aggressive demeanor and the results of that investigation. But a long presidential campaign seems unlikely to serve his ambition. I have never been able to get over this Christie television ad from 1994 in which he sits with his wife and baby, and proceeds to lie to the camera about two Republican primary opponents. Yes, the ad is old. Yes, the office he sought was relatively small potatoes (a county board seat). But find me another top-tier presidential candidate who has used a family tableau with his wife — let alone his infant child — to falsely attack opponents. (Christie was subsequently sued by his opponents and, remarkably, settled out of court.)  Bridgegate. Babygate. All that shouting at regular people. Something is not right about this guy. A presidential campaign will almost certainly expose it — if the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey doesn’t first.

That leaves Romney. He’s competent, tried, true, tested. And the base — convinced that Romney’s 2012 outing proves that establishment candidates lack the real faith to win — will have conniptions if party elites try again to force him to the top of the Republican heap.

So if you’re a big Republican donor, or an ambitious bundler, who do you get behind? And how do you convince rival donors to join you? There is no favorite among the three, no overriding case to be made for any particular candidate. Which means that there is no overriding argument to rally Republican insiders representing various industries, regions and personal loyalties to abandon their personal stakes in one candidate and support a different candidate.

The only people who can clear the field are the candidates themselves. That’s usually the purpose of a primary. And it’s always the outcome.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • ericlipps

    Republicans may end up with another clown-car primary, with candidates competing on a “nuttier-than-thou” basis, as in 2008, with the eventual winner being the establishment candidate (likely Romney or Jebbie) who can convince enough voters he’s the sane one.

    If that’s how it plays out, it will go hard for the GOP in 2016. The party will have to work extra hard to convince the elecorate that the Democratic candidate is the Antichrist, and if it fails, a lot of its core voters may simply sit out the election.

  • Dominick Vila

    Christie, Rubio, Walker, Kasich, Paul, Cruz, and the rest of the field don’t have a chance to win the GOP nomination, which is likely to be fought between two prominent Republicans: Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. Portman would be a logical choice, but like Bush, he is too moderate and lacks the name recognition and credibility that Jeb has.
    As a Democrat, I would love to see Romney nominated, but I have the feeling that the GOP establishment will have no choice but to nominate a moderate Republican, who embraces education and pro-immigration policies that are nothing short of manifestations of evil to the GOP base. I expect Jeb Bush to be the GOP nominee in 2016. His biggest problem is likely to be convincing the GOP base to vote for him.

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      I don’t think Jeb Bush will be put out there by the GOP. The Bush name is forever linked to the debacle of GWB. The GOP will do what they usually do. Keep their “real” candidate under wraps until the Dems declare theirs. If you know anything about the GOP, it’s that they are always in “upstaging” mode. You see that every time the president speaks. Right away, they send out one of their so-called “honored” orators like McConnell or Boehner to get the last word. The “last word” being their idea of forcing it to stick in everyone’s mind, forgetting the words of the president we elected twice.

      • Dominick Vila

        True. The problem for them is that they don’t have anyone else with the record, relevant experience, credibility, or name recognition as Jeb Bush. Bear in mind that for most “conservatives” the name Bush is not synonymous to domestic and foreign policy disaster. He remains very popular among Republicans. The problem for Jeb will be convincing Democrats and Independents to vote for him. That concern may be dismissed by the establishment when they take into consideration things such as Jeb being married to a Mexican-American woman, his pro-immigration record, his focus on evil education, and other centrist policies. The biggest obstacle for Jeb is going to be overcoming the ire of the far right.

        • Dominick Vila

          I left one person out of my short list of potential GOP nominees: Michael Steele.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Interesting…I tend to agree…Steele is a possibility.

          • plc97477

            Not really. The gotp has not been very nice to him and the racist base would never go along with it.

          • 788eddie

            I like Michael Steele, though I don’t always agree with him on issues. I do think he got the shaft from the GOP, when they ousted him in favor of the current bozo.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          I was a Republican for 33 years. I left that party when I began to see Pay to Play growing more and more prevalent. The thing about the GOP is their secrecy. They only divulge what “they” want known. That secrecy is their weapon. I’ve seen that all too many times in that 33 years not to testify to it as fact.

          Jeb Bush is a red state politician who says one thing and like his brother does another. There’s a reason for that. Like most of the Bush men, they wear well concealed puppet strings. The GOP candidate for 2016 will be the white, male who can take marching orders without batting an eye. He will be from a southern or midwestern state as usual. He will have enormous connections to Big Business and Wall Street…That describes Chris Christie, Bush’s US Attorney appointee and his numerous ties to North Jersey and New York Big business.

          The last bastion for the GOP to conquer is NY. New York City in the control of the GOP is the final stroke of government takeover. With NY City in their pocket, they have access to Wall Street, an entire business community with non-stop growth and takeover of a transit system, turnpike and parkway authority that earns billions upon billions in profit a year. Smell the money and the noses in the trough are always GOP bulls.

          • plc97477

            They even have a name for it, etch-a-sketch.

      • FireBaron

        Eleanore, as the “challenged” party, the Democratic party will hold their nominating convention after the Republicans. In the Republican’s case, the likely nominee for them should be determined by the beginning of May. That will be when everybody else runs out of money and you will have one big-money “establishment” candidate, and one “ankle biter” as they did with Romney and Santorum in 2012. So the Democrats can safely NOT rally behind a single candidate until then.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          I hope you are right. I just think that at the present time, the GOP knows that Hillary Clinton is a shoo in. She was a shoo in until Barack Obama came out of no where and upset that apple cart.

          One reason Hillary is deliberately not declaring herself is her keen sense of how the GOP bulls operate. Hillary is a power woman, who like all power women, know handing their opposition predictability is like handing them a weapon. So she will withhold her candidacy to force out the GOP candidate.

          The GOP doesn’t care what the American voters want. They care about what their campaign donors want. So their candidate will come from the creme de la creme of deep within the south or midwest. Since the number of red states outnumber blue, the GOP is banking on that voting majority to make their GOP candidate a shoo in not even Hillary can trounce.

      • idamag

        I find it absolutely juvenile, that they have to rebut the state of the union message which is a message from the president to the people. Michelle Bauchmann, the dingbat, started it.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    I’ve lived in the US’s biggest and most artfully crafted Pay to Play State in the nation…NJ. Let me tell you how Chris Christie and his GOP operate their Pay to Play strategies and how and why it engenders such mistrust in the court of public opinion in NJ.

    Christie has a chummy relationship with NJ’s private lottery vendor, Northstar. Early this year, the state, with Christie’s urging, was willing to approve an adjustment to Northstar’s contract potentially costing millions of dollars. Shortly after, a 6-figure donation was made by GTECH Corp., part of Northstar’s New Jersey Lottery Group consortium, to the Republican Governors Association led this year by Chris Christie.

    Since 2011 GTECH, headed by Christie crony, David Samson, has been Christie’s top ally. Of course, Christie arrogantly denies any conflict of interest or political patronage.

    But, you can all see that if Christie’s GOP buys the White House in 2016, all taxpayers will have a say in is how much of our paychecks will end up in GOP cronies hands as part of their massive Pay to Play.

  • FireBaron

    Jeb Bush has stated it very well – the Republican Candidate who can win the primaries is unlikely to be the candidate who can win a national election. They have spent so much time purging anyone they call a RINO from consideration that even with the platforms they supported, it is unlikely that Barry Goldwater, Robert Taft or Ronald Reagan could gain their nomination. After all, look what the Conservatives did to William Buckley – they forced him out of his own magazine for not being “Conservative enough”.

    • Whittier5

      Barbara Bush stated it even better, “… we’ve had enough Bushes.”

  • Theodora30

    Yes, so much distrust that he handily won reelection in a blue state. And that was after he wasted a pile of taxpayer money ona completely unnecessary special election so that he would not see his margin of winning votes diminished by a large turnout of African American voters who support Cory Booker.
    The MSM’s crush on Christie may have been damaged but I doubt it is gone. These fools love bullies like Bush the Second, Cheney and Rummy so don’t count on them informing the public about lies in a long ago campaign anymore than we could have counted on them to tell people that Bush was far from a successful businessman, he was a guy whose companies went bankrupt and who almost certainly was guilty of insider trading when he was in the board of Harken Energy. You know, old news…..get over it.

    The big question is Jeb. I guarantee the power brokers in the party want him because he is a rabid free market fundamentalist and the Bush family is a lot more powerful than they let on. (Read KevinPhillips “American Dynasty”). The military industrial complex always gets richer when a Bush in power. It remains to be seen if they can sway the base enough to get him them nomination.. I would put my money on Christie because the base, like the media likes swaggering bullies, not matter that they are, like all bullies, dishonest cowards.

    • Theodora30

      I posted this in response to a comment that seems to have vanished which said Christie and Co. had engendered a lot of mistrust in NJ.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Christie has several things going for him among his GOP cronies. Bush appointed Christie a US Attorney. Christie is tied to the notorious North Jersey GOP Boys with deep pockets. He also has several major lobbying groups in his back pocket who support’ll never guess why…

        Where Ted Cruz might have been the link for Keystone, Chris Christie was in Calgary last week brokering the Keystone deal with the Alberta province premier. This shows how important Keystone will be as an issue to the GOP.

        I posted that comment. I live in NJ all 68 years of my life. There is nothing I don’t know about NJ Pay to Play politics of which Chris Christie is a major player.

        Christie won re-election because he was smart enough to make a big display of photo ops kissing up to President Obama when NJ was under water and badly damaged from Super Storm Sandy.

        He was only elected the first time because he was the choice between Wall Street Corzine and his money boys and a Bush-appointed US attorney put out there by the GOP.

        The last meeting Chris Christie had with victims of Sandy, who after 2+ years still had not had their claims settled by the state, was a telling commentary on the voices he didn’t want to hear.

        It’s the reason as the head of the GOP Governors Assoc., he has spent more time out of NJ than in. Particularly after that skanky tactic he used to get out of BridgeGate responsibility.

        I’m sorry but Christie was the first to blame Obama’s leadership on several issue but then Christie can’t accept his role of leadership in BridgeGate? Who’s BSing whom here?

        • Whittier5

          World Oil surplus driving down prices, combined with the Truth that Red China is the #2 Investor and future owner of the resultant “oil”, Keystone is a dead turkey. The sheiks are intent to render North American oil unaffordable.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            That’s good to know. I saw the Hardisty AB tar sands. When you drive near it, you see huge areas of buttes and mountainsides gouged out as you might expect to see in the old mining towns. What you also see are a dozen or more water cannons used as oil/water separators. This oil is dirty when it leaves the sand. It will be refined further in Galveston which means trekking it through MT, NB and part of Manitoba so it can be shipped south to Galveston. Note that Saskatchewan and British Columbia wanted no part of this dirty tar sand oil and both refused to allow it to be transported into their provinces. Ergo the northward AB to Manitoba route and then south through NB to Galveston.

            The reason so many of these oil corporations are buying up water is due to the millions of gallons it will take to further purify tar sand oil. Even when it gets to Galveston, it still contains enough Alberta sand to require water to further refine it.

        • Theodora30

          My point is that nine of this will matter if the media is on his side. Bush II had at least as bad of a record/background but the media still preferred him to boring ol’ Al Gore. When questions were asked about Bush’s insider trading or his going AWOL from the National Guard the media allowed Bush to get away with saying it was “old news”. Yet when Republicans started saying Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet, which was clearly untrue, the media gleefully went along. I even heard Chris Matthews admit it was not true but he kept repeating it anyway.

          Yes, people who read sites like this know the truth about Christie but that does not mean that most people will hear about him. And very few seem to know about Jeb’s disturbing record. The truth makes no differnce if people don know what it is and our MSM is interested in playing games, not informing voters. If you doubt it read Gene Lyons’ book “Fools for Scandal”.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            I’m not disagreeing with your basic premise. I just hold no confidence in today’s media. I read several NY papers every day in hard copy. I read their online e-news, watch the House and Senate proceedings on Cable. It’s a mistake to think Americans cannot form their own opinions of when media is biased and when it is as close to propaganda and indoctrination as it can get.

            I’m sorry. But, those who adopt the attitude that “truth makes no difference” are enablers of lies, deception, corruption and total mass takeover of their own freedoms.

            I live up north. We are fully informed on NPR, PBS and a host of other non-biased sites.

            The media-crippled in this country are in red states that “control” what their citizens can and can’t have access to in the media.

            This is where the parting of the ways goes between red and blue states. Blue states will never stifle free speech. Red states have every intention of doing just that and it starts by refusing to provide two sides of issues. When you only have access to the side of issues control freaks decide, you can’t be informed. It’s time the south and midwestern red states stopped their march to control the entire country. It isn’t going to happen up north. We are not Confederates all jumping to the hoop to “follow” blindly like sheep.

          • Theodora30

            I have lived in DC, NJ, Texas, Ohio and now North Carolina. We get the same news as you do including NPR. We have liberal/mainstream papers like the Raleigh News and Observer and the Charlotte Observer. But just like the papers up north they have done little to counter right wing propaganda. For example the news out last week that health care costs went up by the lowest rate since records started being kept was buried I’m the back of the A sections or just ignored. The AP dismissed it as the result of the recession which ended some time ago.
            People up north have elected guys like Boehner, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie (even after the facts came out about to bridgegate) p. Even liberal Massachusetts elected Scott Brown. The Republican propaganda machine is powerful and extremely effective and the MSM does little or nothing to counter it.
            This problem is a lot more pervasive than just a problem with the South.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            That’s not quite true. Healthcare costs have not gone up. That’s a lie and the media is paid by Americans for Prosperity to keep shoving that lie in our faces. If the ACA costs so much, do explain why 15 million formerly uninsured Americans can now afford healthcare insurance they pay for.

            The GOP is no more or less powerful than they have ever been. More desperate to take total control of the media and government? Maybe…but that isn’t going to happen. That’s too Doomsday for my tastes.

            You have to remember WHO owns today’s media: Rupert Murdoch, an avowed ultra conservative who has publicly stated numerous times, “I print what I want.” Add to him, Zuckerberg, Adelson, Turner and of late Charles and David Koch.

            The joke is they actually think they can buy up all of the media in the entire world and we will be insulated from the things they don’t want us to know. That’s how pathetic their mental illness has become.

          • Louis Allen

            Yada, yada, yada, yada, yada !
            You, girl, write so much BULLSHIT !

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Aww….Fat brain no account Louis is jealous of a smart woman…Good, now maybe you’ll leave your DogPatch shack and get a job.

        • idamag

          People, with retiring personalities, often look up to those who are opposites.

  • howa4x

    Christie has more baggage than just the Bridge. Let’s not forget his mismanagement of state finances that has NJ’s credit rating down graded a record 8 times, more than any of the other governors. Don’t forget the Obama hug that cost Charlie Crist a governorship, and the one that Christie gave him on a tour of Sandy destruction.
    Jeb still has the Bush name and all that goes with it. Pundits will ask him to judge his brothers failed nation building attempts in Iraq/Afghanistan, and the base is not ready for education, or immigration reform
    In a era of income inequality, Romney will be seen a symbol of that . His wealth and how he got it will once again come to the surface, and the Gingrich commercial about Bain will air all over again. On Immigration he wants self deportation, so he has to find away out of that
    As for the rest, Rubio went into hiding after Immigration, Walker is stained by investigations and anti union busting activities, and Paul has more positions than the Kama Sutra, and. Kasich is not on the radar yet and is not a dynamic personality
    The other main issue is climate change. Record drought in California will be a crisis state when 2016 rolls around there will be other destructive weather and the more the GOP denies it the worse for them it will be. Only the mid 30% of the population voted in the mid term so that issue, plus income, and women’s issues will bubble up, and of course the major issue of immigration.
    If the republicans can’t educate the base a little which seems doubtful, how is a moderate going to survive the ultra conservative gauntlet. What issues would appeal to them and at the same time everybody else? That will decide the race .

    • Whittier5

      Let’s not forget that Jeb’s Grandpappy was the ringleader of the “Whitehouse Putsch” in 1933 as well as a business partner with Benito and Adolf, and that his Pappy helped launched the cocaine tsunami from South America.
      His brother sank the World Economy. His other brother helped create the S&L Crisis. All 3 brothers profited from the RTC Bailout Fiasco.

      We need to keep reminding the People of just who these people are. Democrats have been terribly remiss in this duty the past 6 years.

      • plc97477

        Jeb was also instrumental in helping his brother into the white house with some funny business in florida.

        • idamag

          Like AG Katherine Harris purging 30,000 franchised voters from the voting rolls.

      • idamag

        Senator Preston Bush fought Social Security and the jobs programs. His grandson took up the fight and proposed putting Social Security on the stock market. Look at the stock market’s history during the bush years.

        • neeceoooo

          Remember that the American people have such a problem with short term and long term memory loss. My bet will be that even the 47% will have forgotten the last presidential election.

  • Whittier5

    Klown Kar Parade III

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    They don’t need to have an Intraparty battle. all they need to do is find two Fresh New faces. The 3 listed are all incapable of beating Hillary. Unless of course, there is a conspiracy amongst the power brokers of the two parties and they are attempting to ensure that Hillary wins.

  • pmbalele

    There cannot be a GOP front runner to beat Hillary. Definitely not Romney, the Mormon who intends to have 2 wives and 20 grandchildren in the WH; Not Chris Christie, the elephant who intends to borrow the cargo military copter to lift him in case he collapses with Asthma again; Not Herman Cain -the white women groper; not Newt -the adulterer; Not Allen West -who thinks Blacks should be re-slaved; Not Ted Cruz-a Cuban-Canadian therefore not eligible for WH job let alone working in this country; not Santorum who wants to be an American little pope; Not the ugly Bill O’rielly who wants all Blacks dead; Not Sean Hannity – a high school drop-out with inferiority complex; Not Sarah Palin who is now wrinkled on her face and neck; not Dr. Carson, like John McCain, who does not brush his teeth; not Gov Jindal-the ugly; not Scott Walker–the young women bully and who may end up in prison soon; Not Perry who is going to jail soon. So we don’t have charismatic GOP candidates like Hillary of Biden. We may as well end-up with either Hillary or Biden as sole WH candidates in 2016.

    • Allan Richardson

      If Biden is willing, the 22nd Amendment would not prohibit him from serving another term (in fact, unlimited terms) as VP, and STILL running for two terms as President afterward. Although I believe the ideal team would be Hillary and Elizabeth Warren (in either order), Warren has said she would rather stay in the Senate (and not put that seat up for grabs; she has a better chance of keeping it herself than any new Democrat against GOP money), so Clinton-Biden would be a good alternative, after a spirited but civil debate between them. And if President Clinton finds that her duties give former President and his staff too much freedom, she may forgo a second term to keep a closer eye on Bill. That would give her VP a leg up in 2020 (or, if she does stay on, 2024).

      • pmbalele

        You’re right.

  • elw

    Not according to them. Just ask them, they are convinced that November’s results has guaranteed them the White House in 2016.

    • plc97477

      But then they have never had a good grasp on reality.

      • elw

        HA..very true

  • bobnstuff

    The republicans need to do two thing if they want to win the White House. First they need to silence right wing nuts and second get Fox News to stop being their voice. They have to stop being the stupid party

  • charleo1

    Put simply, what the GOP needs to win, is a better liar. And not one that’s already discredited themselves by previously supporting George W, Bush,
    or voting for some path to citizenship for immigrants, or not having actually been the person who signed the first precursor to Obamacare into law. A candidate that can demagogue big government, and promise lower taxes, without ever threatening two of the biggest government programs ever created, Social Security, and Medicare. Use the issue of National security to wave the flag, brag on the troops, and preach American Exceptionalism, a get tough foreign policy, and of course, sell guaranteed trillion dollar military expenditures, as long as evil exists in the World. And have that curly haired
    Bot Scout demeanor, that virtually oozes Christian family values. As far as the usual candidates being talked about, Jeb, and Mitt, are out for the above stated reasons. Christy, with his open Obama hugging, raising public school teacher’s salaries, and proven track record of working with a Democratically controlled Legislature, as Governor. To the GOP base, which will pick the Party’s nominee… If it walks like a RINO, talks like a RINO… They like his big mouth, like when he tells some Liberal to sit down, and shut up! But, that won’t win him the nomination. No, I’m thinking someone who hasn’t been around all that long. That’s can be a very slick huckster. Ted Cruz, but Cruz is a foreigner, and can’t be trusted. I’m thinking Rand Paul. His Dad ran for President constantly for 50 years, I think. Rand inherits at least part of that organization’s fund raising, and ground game. And Paul can sound extremely radical, and half sane at the same time. And, he also talks about some things I personally want Democrats to talk more about. Like the enormous prison population we’ve developed. Largely due to our drug laws, our muscle bound, parole, probation system. And our system’s insistence on never giving a felon of any kind, a full second chance at a normal life. These issues play very well with young voters, Libertarians, budget hawks, minorities, and common sense Americans of all stripes. Including the T-Party. which is key. Because, if you don’t win that primary. Can’t win over the the T-Party, you’re out of the game. It’s why the talk of shutting down the government again, is suddenly gaining steam? It’s how you win the GOP nomination for President. It’s also how you lose it. But that’s another subject.

  • old_blu

    The Republicans need someone that is a little more toward the center if they want to win any important elections, and that goes for their running mate as well.
    Even when they put someone up that has a chance, they pick a running mate that is so far right they lose any chance at winning like Palin and Ryan, not that I would have voted for either one, but I think they would have had a chance if they wouldn’t have picked Tea Partiers as running mates.
    They only do that to appease the few, of a movement that’s dying anyway. (The Tea Party) IMHO

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    What do we have for our choices: The Take Away Party and The Give Away Party. This is where the lines get blurred. Who’s giving what and who’s taking what and whom are they pleasing or displeasing? Both parties do both, but what they take and give and to whom is the real issue.