Saturday, January 31, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 5

It has been a fairly busy week for me between work and also celebrating the life of my only aunt who passed away this week at age 70. I have a lot of memories of her and her lively personality, but I should also point out that she actually had photos of Barack Obama in her kitchen. Along those lines, my grandmother, who passed away last month at age 102 was also once an ardent Democrat, and the first person I ever had political disagreements with as a child. Despite the memory of these two women, who might have had different party loyalties, I remain a proud Republican and the political events of this week involve the shaping of the 2016 GOP field.

I have not really had time to write much but I wanted to at least get a little bit written about before Saturday is over and then I can continue to talk about the race more in the weeks ahead. For me, the last day of January ends pretty much how the first day of January starts. I guess I am for Jeb Bush to be the next President of the United States, but it is hard to not be at least a bit cautious about that cause, until the campaign really gets under way and we can see just how good of a candidate he might be in the primary process. Truth be told, I would prefer to be once again supporting Mitt Romney. When the month began, I considered it unlikely he would run, but lo and behold, he did put himself out there in a public way for three weeks and it was all fairly surreal. Of course had he run, I would have been loyal to the candidate I had twice backed before. After all, I should be supporting his Presidential reelection efforts, but even during the past month, I was never totally convinced that the Mittster was going to do it and thus did not really get swept up in the "hype."

After all, Governor Romney is a smart, practical man, driven by data. I believe that he looked at this situation very carefully over the last month, after seeing how aggressively Jeb Bush was moving forward, and despite the fact that many of his former financial backers might have already committed to Bush, the Romney team believed they had a conceivable path to the nomination, and by virtue of that, the Presidency. However, it was no sure thing, with a stronger field than the one Romney vanquished in 2012, and a victory in a long primary slog might have left him fairly damaged from the battle, or left others in the party who might have come out on top damaged as well. So, despite the fact that Mitt Romney was leading the early primary polls nationally, as well as in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, as well as running the strongest against Hillary Clinton, in a dead heat according to one poll, the former nominee decided it was best to let others in the party take on the mantle of leadership. When news broke on Friday morning that an announcement was coming that day, I instantly knew it would be a no. Though others would claim to be surprised that Romney was not going to run again, I knew that timing of a Friday announcement on the weekend before the Super Bowl meant he was out.

Romney made prepared remarks in which he indicated his backers were free to sign up with other campaigns, and said it was "unlikely" situations would arise to have him change his mind. True Romney die-hards will hold out hope that perhaps the party might turn to him later in the cycle, perhaps as late as teh convention, but let me go on record and state what I have certainly thought since the results of November 2012, that it is best for the GOP for some first time Presidential candidate to come along and earn the leadership of party.

Political observers took Romney's words from Friday and parsed every one of them with a fine tooth comb. Many of them have looked at his wording of hoping for a "new generation" of Republican leaders to be an overt slap at Jeb Bush. I cannot say that is definitely the case and I think many may be exaggerating grievances for dramatic purposes. Even if Romney is truly peeved at Bush (or vice versa), as an engaged voter and somewhat vocal member of the party grassroots, I will still do what I think is best for the party and the country. We will all find a way to be united when we need to, hopefully.

The conventional wisdom is that Romney's departure from the Invisible Primary is very good news indeed for Jeb Bush, while others will point to opportunities for likely candidates such as Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and maybe even Lindsey Graham. One candidate who will continue to be a very prominent part of Campaign 2016 is Scott Walker. He certainly has his backers, and was said to have accomplished a great deal politically at last weekend's conservative confab in Iowa. A lot of others, myself perhaps included, will say that right now, Walker is my second choice. The fact that so many different "wings" of the GOP are willing to say that about Walker speak very highly about just how promising his campaign may turn out to be. I just wish he was not a Green Bay Packers fan. I guess he cannot help himself.

As mentioned though, I am loyal to the GOP and believe in it's traditions. That being said, I suppose Jeb Bush is the next guy in line. I was proud to back his father and his brother and felt both brought honor and accomplishment to the White House. I have no doubt Jeb Bush would do the same. I just am going to continue to have to keep an open mind about this. Scott Walker and others will be out there as options and whomever ultimately winds up as the Republican nominee, will have certainly earned it and proved his or her political mettle.

The reality is that Jeb Bush and his approaching candidacy is the main reason why I am not going to get the chance to see Mitt Romney get another chance at the White House. It is somewhat disappointing to me, but I have to look at the big picture and hope that this will all work out for the best. That means overlooking the past and being optimistic that John Ellis Bush of Florida will turn out to be the right person to lead the Republican Party and the United States of America into the future. 


At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Zreebs said...

Sorry to hear about the deaths in your family. I thought the way you desricribed "celebrating" their life was quite healthy. I mean that as a genuine compliment.

Of course, Romney's speech hinted that he would prefer someone other than Bush. You don't give an important 3-4 minute speech without being careful about every word you choose. And it was known beforehand that Romney didn't think Bush was helpful during his 2012 run, and that he thought Bush was a second rate politician on several levels. Romney's choice of words that he prefers someone other than Bush was obvious - even though you choose not to accept that at this time.

I was also a little disappointed with Romney's decision and like you I thought that a phone call to key donors could only mean that he is not running, as that doesn't make for good optics on the news,

Romney's withdrawal helps the establishment candidates (Walker, Christie and Bush), and I guess I consider that generally a good thing even though I am probably rooting for Rand Paul for the nomination at this time because of his foreign policy positions. The GOP race is wide open.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Zreebs, I'm expecting a Governor to become the GOP nominee for President in 2016!


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