Saturday, February 07, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 6

The new year is not fairly in swing, and the first voting of the 2016 Presidential race is less than a year away. However, the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are scheduled to take place about a month later than they have in recent cycles, which perhaps means that the real activity of 2015 will be somewhat delayed.

The odd year before a Presidential election is referred to as "The Invisible Primary", and as such, much of the action continued behind the scenes as yet unannounced candidates staff up and begin working on their message. Of course, that does not stop political junkies from analyzing every possible poll as well as continued speculation as to who may be in and who may be out.

In the aftermath of Mitt Romney's decision to not run in 2016, so much attention has fallen to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is very much already acting like a candidate. He is quite popular among grassroots conservatives and some are already acting as if his nomination is inevitable. I happen to believe that Walker has the potential to be a very potent candidate, but it would be bad news for anybody, especially in a crowded open primary field to "peak too soon." If Walker is to eventually emerge as the nominee, it will not be without many ups and downs and having earned a hard won victory. While he has proven political success in Wisconsin, a Presidential campaign is a whole other ballgame. Another first time Presidential candidate is Jeb Bush, who of course has had the opportunity to watch relatives seek the White House, going back over 35 years ago. As many people may realize, no GOP ticket without a Bush on it has been elected since 1972.

The former Governor of Florida is certainly the choice among many establishment Republicans and donors. He is likely to continue to face opposition though among many in the party for some time. It definitely seems like Bush has no intention of pandering to the right, on issues such as immigration, over the course of the primary, but is intent on running a general election strategy throughout. That is somewhat similar to the tact used by the last two Republican nominees. It is a certainly a risky move, but could pay off if Bush is able to one day win the nomination.

Otherwise, much of the talk this week, beyond the continued horrors of ISIS internationally, unexpectedly surrounded the issue of vaccinations for children . Apparently, the once nearly eradicated disease of measles is on the rise (including a bunch of infants in a day care center very close to where I live.) The narrative is that vaccinations of children for diseases like measles have been down in recent years, due to some unfounded concern about potential effects and fairly unbeknownst to me, there is some paranoia among both the left and the right about vaccinations and the government's role in them.

New Jersey Governor and potential GOP candidate Chris Christie had visited the U.K. earlier this week and was asked a question about government mandated vaccines. Despite his reputation for "straight talk", he gave a pretty cautious response that stated his kids had always been vaccinated but there needed to be some level of choice in the process. All things considered, what he said was broad enough to be fairly inoffensive, but it became a media firestorm back home and ignited a debate. Libertarian leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a physician, went even further in coming out against mandated vaccinations, before backtracking a bit.

This was all an unexpected issue and one the media has tried to use to make Republicans look bad. With that in mind, Christie and Paul fell into the trap, and if they want to be viable Presidential contenders, they are going to have to learn how to finesse all that more. I am just glad that my one year niece got her measles vaccination this week.

Undoubtedly, there will be more flash issues and controversies that will pop up this year and next that will become a part of the Campaign 2016 narrative and the sensationalism of the media will have much to do with that. One would think that the issue of international terrorism and the responses by the current Administration and those who want to succeed it would be a far more important story than a somewhat phony controversy about an issue where probably 90 percent of Americans agree.

For now though, the Invisible Primary continues, for the many potential GOP candidates, as well as those in the other party, including the front-runner, who remains basically invisible.


At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Zreebs said...

I disagree that mandatory vaccinations in not a legitimate political issue While I agree that Christie's comments weren't "offensive", we will never get rid of measles - and some other diseases - if we allow the anti-vaccination crowd to get its way on this.

You are right that the anti-vaccination crowd includes people from both the left and the right, but Hillary gave a responsible solution. So did some of the Republican candidates - but not Christie or Paul.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

I have my sons get vaccination shots all the time!

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

BREAKING NEWS: embattled 4-term Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) resigning from office this morning, which will become effective on Wednesday, February 18th!

Kitzhaber was inaugurated to an unprecedented 4th term on January 12th!


Post a Comment

<< Home