Now Running for President, Someone Just Like Me

The early 2016 verbal jockeying has become as unrelenting as it is brazen

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Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Scott Walker aren’t running for President yet — but they think Republicans should pick someone just like them.

“I think [Americans] want someone outside of what’s been going on,” Paul, the Kentucky Senator, said on Monday night on Fox News. “For example, someone like myself who has been promoting term limits.”

Walker, the Wisconsin governor promoting a new book this week, has been telling anyone who asks that the GOP’s 2016 nominee has to — just has to — come from within its gubernatorial ranks, of which he is a proud member.

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor, people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward,” Walker said on Sunday on ABC.

And Christie, recently re-elected as New Jersey governor, used an appearance on Monday to say the problem with Washington is “nobody in this city talks to each other anymore” — unlike, say, in Christie’s Trenton.

“If you’re the executive, you’re the person who is in charge of making that happen,” Christie said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “Members of Congress, members of a state legislature, they don’t have a responsibility to lead, and they always have an excuse if you let them.”

 

 

All of these Republicans are at least a year away from declaring their 2016 intentions. But to a striking degree, the verbal jockeying has become as unrelenting as it is brazen. And it’s noticeable difference from previous candidates-in-waiting.

“You know, you really don’t think about that until the time comes when you need to make a decision,” Mitt Romney, the eventual 2012 GOP nominee, said on Fox News in January 2010. “It’s always a possibility, and you keep the options open, but you concentrate on the task ahead. For me that’s trying to get some good people elected in 2010.” John McCain, the 2008 nominee, noted to ABC in January 2005 that “I have no PAC. I have no exploratory committee. I have no, nothing. I want to work on being a good Senator.”

In short, what four years ago might have been faux pleas of “I haven’t decided” are now giant, fluttering rhetorical flags planted in the ground declaring, “I’m the right kind of candidate.”

It’s the latest characteristic of nominating contests that seem to start before the previous one ends, fueled by the need to win over tuned-in conservative activists, court big-money donors and feed insatiable media interest in a race that’s three long years away.

“Now all these guys have to move the chess pieces much earlier than they used to, to get things set up,” says Republican strategist Rick Wilson. “There used to be fake modesty. Now it’s obvious what these guys are doing.”

Even when politicians make the pretense of deflecting, they are finding ways to shine a spotlight back on you-know-who. In a Politico op-ed published on Tuesday, which professed relative indifference toward 2016 in favor of a focus on the coming midterm elections, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal made sure to brag on the gubernatorial ranks.

“Republican governors are leading the way with successful records that can help us win elections again,” Jindal wrote.

Each candidate doing the early maneuvering has his own motives and is speaking to his own audience. Paul, who never misses a chance to needle Christie as a “moderate,” is trying to make early inroads with the conservative base. Christie is seeking to cement and build upon an early advantage with Republican donors. And Walker is trying to assert himself as the man behind some of the biggest Republican policy wins of the Obama era. What’s changed measurably, compared with some previous elections, is the ease of delivering these broadsides.

“All the friction has gone out of politics,” Wilson says. “It used to be to get a message out a candidate had to go slog through editorial-board meetings all over New Hampshire and Iowa. As the cost of delivering messages has declined toward zero, you have to deliver more of them sooner to make it effective.”

And even as all the White House hopefuls profess their commitment to helping the party make gains in the 2014 midterm elections, don’t expect them to take their eyes off 2016 for even a moment. Every day, campaigning on behalf of a gubernatorial or congressional candidate is an opportunity to tout one’s bona fides to both donors and activists.

“I beg candidates to stay focused on 2014, do not chase the rabbit,” Wilson says. “But they just can’t resist it.”

25 comments
drummerjosh_86
drummerjosh_86

We need a common sense libertarian leaning candidate on the ticket similar to Rand Paul but with more charisma, class, and more relatable. Someone for personal responsibility but is willing to give a hand up but not a hand-out. Someone who is a non-interventionist unless it truly is in the best interest of American on foreign policy. Who is for the middle class, NOT for BIG Business OR BIG Government. Someone who will bring the left and the right to work together for the good of the American People. We need either a CEO or a Governor, someone who has actually ran something (I don't care if it was a bakery or a plumbing business) instead of a lawyer or a congressman.


ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

If this fat tub of lard thinks his flirtatious behavior with his girlfriend Obama would open doors to his Presidential ambitions he better breathe deeply and think twice. When you spend your time criticizing your own party than criticizing the opposition, when you are hiding behind Obama`s creased trousers and refused to say anything negative about Obama Care, and if you do, to compensate you also criticize your own party, when you spend more time criticizing your prospective rivals instead of the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton you better just switch parties. And most of all what is good for New Jersey does necessarily mean it is good for the rest of the country.


mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Chris Christie is the liberal news media's choice for the GOP ... a RINO ... a democrat in a republican suit. McCain & Romney ... two RINO's in a row, two losers in a row. That's what comes from letting the liberal news media pick your candidates for you.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Time and the media obsession with 2016 is stupid and a waste of time. Recall all the so-called front-runner for the GOP during the primary as each flamed out, each more strident and ridiculous than the next. Remember when Ryan was the new face of the GOP and Romney was the great white hope?

There are many crucial issues American are facing the great disparity between the rich and poor how from 1979-2006-on thanks to the failed GOP-Reagan "trickle-down economics" incomes for the top one percent went up 275% while the Middle class shrank by 25% and wages for the 99% stagnated. Any reports of the GOP's all-time record number of 430+ blocked bills, blocked appointments, and unprecedented 60-vote super majority filibusters that have cost three or more million jobs and 2% GDP growth. Remember when the media carried a daily tally of the days that Americans were held hostage in Iran? How about a daily tally of how Congress and Americans have been held hostage by a GOP minority in Congress? The cost and failures of our 2.3 million prison population with another five million on parole or probation. How about he cost of maintaining American military bases in the hundreds 700-800 globally.

Instead of flogging the ACA every day, or speculating on the future three years away how about reporting on how much health insurance and healthcare costs and abuses, how two million people are still going bankrupt annually because of medical and hospital bills, abuse of the elderly in nursing homes and Medicare fraud, etc.

jmac
jmac

Don't forget Jeb!    He's declared he's not a moderate - he's a temperate.   Cracked me up.  He can't be a compassionate conservative, he can't be a moderate, so he hauls out the thesaurus and comes up with temperate.

It's as silly as liberals now having to say they're progressives.  

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

This is proof that Republicans aren't intelligent enough to recognize patterns. The clown car is full of clowns, and the clowns are already stabbing each other. Bloody, screaming, knife wielding clowns are gonna bail out of the clown car in 2016 and scare all the children and no one is going to stay for the acrobats.

jamesgordon777
jamesgordon777

I hated the  clintons, yet if the  same  group of  republicans run as in the  last election ,  I can see myself voting  for  Hillary .Not  because of her ,But  because of  the mentality of today's  republican thought  process.

BobJan
BobJan

The problem with the political arena is that they give us the candidates to choose from based on who they want. People vote for a candidate based on one set of criteria and the wealthy who bankroll them to run could care less about abortion or food stamps or gay marriage or term limits, etc. They bankroll them to make sure they are going to get more wealth and that happens and the voters are left out in the cold every time. Social issues never matter to the wealthy, they have their money and power to fall back on.

Tommy34684
Tommy34684

It's too bad we don't get two votes in the Primary for POTUS one for a Republican candidate and one for a Democratic candidate. I think the public and the parties should have a better indication how well so and so would do in the final election.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mary.waterton Just think that Christie will run as spoiler for the Democrats. Just like Sarvis did in Virginia. Whatever respect for this fat tub of lard was lost when the picture of him presenting that teddy bear to his new found crush Obama. That is why I believe Hillary will win in 2016 and maybe when everything does really come crashing down people will start thinking how bad the situation really is. Just think, if Hillary cannot run a department like State effectively how can she run the whole country ? Like Krauthammer asked, just show me one good thing she did as Secretary of State. Just one.

jamesgordon777
jamesgordon777

@mary.waterton right  lets  elect  some  tea bagger  who is  crazier  than  that  Toronto mayor Ford .Wake  up stop  listening to  Flush Limpballs .

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@jmac There's a difference between a liberal and a progressive. They are not interchangeable.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

@jmac ..I've always described my self as "liberal"

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jamesgordon777 Good for you. Just like in 08. They cannot stand Sarah Palin so they jump into the well to support Obama unvetted with sealed records, dubious past. All because he is black, talks and looks good and does a mean impersonation of Al Green. Guess who is crying now.

Libertyformeandmine
Libertyformeandmine

@PerryWhite1 @jmac 

They both suck, so in that case they are interchangeable.


They are both authoritarian bullies attempting to wield the power of state.  They are both lousy at it.


sumitz1207
sumitz1207

@ReneDemonteverde I still don't want Palin.  She couldn't even finish her term as Governor of one of the least populous states in the country.

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@Libertyformeandmine @PerryWhite1 @jmac I assumed when I wrote my post that some low-class troglodyte would make that exact juvenile joke. It was just a question of which one and how fast. Congrats, you win the prize.

Also, I was surprised to see someone from the fascist part project their fascism on me. Didn't see that coming, but in retrospect it was inevitable. Right-wingers project all their faults on others constantly. They're doing such selfish, brutal things, they have to believe others are doing them, too, as a matter of protecting their own egos.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@sumitz1207 @ReneDemonteverde Sarah Palin finished half her term doing more positivity  for Alaska than Obama who after five years done more negativity for America, and the clock is still ticking. Grow up. Nobody is forcing you to like Palin all they are asking is open you mind a little and let the sunshine in. It gives clarity to your closed mind.