Wednesday, October 8, 2014


After witnessing the prolonged political and public flogging of George W. Bush and Barack Obama for the past decade, one wonders why any sane American would want to be President. But a select few actually do aspire to the office, and right now the foundations of several campaigns are being built, as each and every potential candidate denies he or she is running. Adamant denials, evasive answers to reporters’ questions, comical teases on late night talk shows – these are the signature moves of candidates who would rather lie to the electorate as long as possible, just so they don’t have to carry the weighty responsibility of labeling themselves candidates. So, who are this year’s liars? Who will don the mandatory navy suits or fashionless corporate ensembles on the debate stage lineup in 2016?  Who’s running for President in 2016? Let’s review:

MITT ROMNEY: Roundly defeated last time, and perhaps not the most gracious loser, Romney said as recently as last week that he is not running. He lost the nomination in 2008 to John McCain, and he lost the general election in 2012 to Obama. How much rejection can one guy take, huh? If you’re a guy with an ego that has been fed for decades by titles such as President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Organizing Committee, and Governor of Massachusetts (2003-2007), rejection may be interpreted as a mere blip on the radar screen. Romney, however, is reported by Bloomberg to have attended a power-gathering of Republican party donors at the $75 million Manhattan duplex of fat cat Republican and NY Jets owner Woody Johnson. What was Romney doing there? And Bloomberg reveals he had a hush-hush tete-a-tete with billionaire Rupert Murdoch.  Hmmmm….whatever could they have been discussing?
PROS:  Political animal, knows how to walk the walk with the big boys and girls; has been through the campaign rigors more than once and proved he has the stamina; many Republicans with big money feel comfortable supporting his aspirations; looks like a matinee idol – come on, you know it’s true.
CONS: Political animal, knows how to walk the walk with the big boys and girls; has been through the campaign rigors more than once and proved he has the stamina; sore loser, who has made a number of snarky comments about Obama since his 2012 defeat; may never, ever, ever live down his infamous 47%comment.   

HILLARY CLINTON:  Speaking of billionaires, Business Insider reports that none other than Warren Buffett said recently, “Hillary is going to run. Hillary is going to win. I will bet money on it, I don't do that easily." One thing you can say for Hillary: she’s got chutzpah and she has staying power. Most interesting about her play for the 2012 nomination was that people were not really yammering about the fact that she is a woman. Up until then the big deal was whether we should or should not elect a female, but when she ran that was not the main topic anymore. Clinton is predictably coy about her intentions for 2016, but hey, it’s more than two years away. Still, in September Hillary and Bill Clinton journeyed to Iowa – yes, Iowa.  When asked if she is running, she said, “Well it is true, I am thinking about it.” Translation: “Yes, I’m running.”
PROS:  The Clinton rock star aura is alive and well; she has a global perspective now that many of her would-be opponents do not have, simply because they have not had the opportunity to interact with world leaders across the globe; already knows her way around the presidency; if you’re a Bill Clinton fan, you’d like it that he would be her co-president (come on, let’s be real here).
CONS: Hillary Clinton is without question, a polarizing figure in America. People love her or they hate her; In 2016 she will be 68 years old. Is it a good job to take on when you’re going to be in your 70s any minute?;  She made some questionable moves as Secretary of State. Benghazi looms large over her.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: It may just be that Chris Christie has good timing. Despite his multiple missteps as Governor of New Jersey, he comes across as an everyman, which has wide appeal to voters. He’s had much-publicized struggles with his weight; he’s married to a regular woman, not a glamour queen or fashion plate. During Hurricane Sandy he showed a willingness to reach across the aisle to collaborate on restoring his state; in fact he boldly and effusively praised Obama’s efforts at that time, which was a risky public move when you’re trying to gain Republican support for a presidential run. Christie publicly stated that he is considering a run, and that he would announce his intentions by the end of this year.
PROS:  Billionaire founder of Home Depot Kenneth Langone has publicly stated he thinks Christie is the man to beat in 2016,. And Langone is more than happy to help bankroll part of the effort; Since 2013 he has been chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
CONS:  Bridgegate. Enough said; by October, Christie’s approval rating in New Jersey was at its lowest level in three years, 49 percent; in September, Standard and Poor downgraded New Jersey’s credit rating, the eighth downgrade since Christie took office. That does not bode well for the potential leader of the free world at a moment when China just overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest economy.

JEB BUSH: #Dynasty; #3sacharm?; #whatwouldGeorgesay? Are we ready for another Bush White House? The buzz was always that matriarch Barbara Bush, 89, opposed the idea of Jeb being president. But reportedly she has softened to the idea. So, that, coupled with the ever-present macho Bushboy bloodline would seem to portend another Bush candidacy.  But even though he is highly regarded in Florida, the rest of us do not exactly know where he stands on a number of other hot issues.  The thing is that we voters only know three things about him: 1) Florida seems to really like him – a lot. 2) He has some pretty moderate views on immigration; and 3) He’s big on education and has reportedly made remarkable progress in upgrading public schools in Florida.
Pros: Name recognition – internationally; national reputation as a success in his home state of Florida; he his married to a Mexican-American woman and has done very well with Hispanic voters. Reminder: Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S.
Cons: Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba, is known to be intensely private and one who avoids the spotlight—not a characteristic that fits well with the expectations of a contemporary first lady; the Bush name could actually work against him since it brings back murky memories of  George W.'s last term.
In Part 2, we’ll take a look at three potential candidates who could be described as…ahem…a bit more extreme in their views on certain issues, and that’s putting it mildly. Next time we’ll look at Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Hey, if nothing else, it’s going to be a colorful couple of years in the wannabe presidential arena. Stay tuned.

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