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Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Politics | 7 comments

2016 Crystal Ball

126228_600 (1)2016 Crystal Ball
by Peter Funt

It says here that Jeb Bush has the best shot at the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, while Hillary Clinton might not be the Democrats’ candidate — and if she is, she’s no sure thing.

Picking a president has become a tedious and expensive non-stop exercise. Those of us who dwell on it, especially years before the voting, are probably doing ourselves and the process no service.

Funny thing: a phrase heard frequently on Capitol Hill nowadays is, “We shouldn’t be a nation that picks winners and losers.” Yet that’s what we do. As far as the public is concerned, picking an American president seems at times little different than picking an American Idol.

Barring full-scale war, economic collapse or other catastrophes in the next few years, Americans are likely to look for a candidate in 2016 who seems the most “normal.”

Richard Nixon was outside the norm, and was replaced by the supremely normal Gerald Ford, by process, and Jimmy Carter, by vote. Then we had Ronald Reagan, who was as far removed from DC politics as geography and philosophy would allow, followed by the straight arrow George H. W. Bush. Next came the maverick Bill Clinton, leading us to the plain vanilla terms of George W. Bush, positioned as, “the guy you’d most like to have a beer with.”

Some explain this as a swinging of the pendulum, a course correction. But it’s also a pattern in which daring choices are followed by a collective deep breath.

Electing Barrack Obama was the boldest move American voters have made in decades. Regardless of what you think of his presidency — and I believe history will view it far more favorably than current opinion polls do — America is ready for another time out.

That’s probably the biggest thing Hillary Clinton has going against her. The nation is not likely to elect its first woman president immediately after selecting its first African American president — even if doing so would be a fine idea. Americans also don’t like seemingly preordained candidates and, in the minds of many Democrats, Clinton might just as well skip the election and go straight to taking the oath.

Among Republicans, New Jersey’s Chris Christie is damaged, and probably wasn’t going to score nationally even before his bridge scandal. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is too extreme, and Kentucky’s Rand Paul too toxic. Florida’s Marco Rubio and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal are not ready for prime time. Texas’ Rick Perry had his chance in 2012 and self-destructed.

They will all be heard from as the campaign takes shape, but none provides the comfort level that GOP voters — except, perhaps, those at the Tea Party fringes — need this time around. Ohio’s John Kasich and Indiana’s Mike Pence are real possibilities. As governors, they’re properly positioned away from the stench in Washington that has left voters holding their noses, but neither has much national recognition.

Enter Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who, according to CNN, has quietly started talking to fundraisers and is taking a “very serious look” at running in 2016.

A third Bush in the White House? Even some center-right Republicans might blanch at that after what, to put it kindly, was the less than glorious presidency of George W.

Then again, Jeb was always a smart administrator and a savvy politician. Although his mother, Barbara Bush, has come out publicly against it, the Florida Bush might be the candidate best suited to repair serious splits in GOP ranks.

Don’t be surprised if, come 2016, the nation decides that a Bush in the hand is worth two in the polls.

Peter Funt’s book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com.©2014 Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.

  • dduck

    I think JB and JK would make a formidable and moderate team, that could win.

  • The_Ohioan

    dd

    I think you’re absolutely right. And I expect the money guys think so, too. But it’s those darn primaries….. And I don’t see Paul or Cruz being gentlemen (or realistic) about it, either.

    A lot will depend on the Democratic ticket. Any real moderate would probably rather wait for an easier opponent. The Republican crew are all young enough to tread water for a while.

  • sheknows

    Jeb Bush??? Are you serious?? There is a great photo of him standing with Wayne La Pierre and Marion Hammer ( the NRA lobbyist responsible for pushing SB-436.) all smiles after he signed the Stand your ground bill in Florida. He and his daddy go back a long way with the NRA and they put a lot of bucks into his gubernatorial campaign.

    Moderate? I don’t call him moderate. Just because he doesn’t swing from chandeliers and spew racial slurs doesn’t make him a moderate. He is as right wing as they come.

    Sorry, the Reps are scraping the bottom of the barrel again IMO.

  • JSpencer

    Although his mother, Barbara Bush, has come out publicly against it,

    He should listen to his Mother. It’s probably a fools game at this point to predict how 2016 will shake out, but I seriously doubt this country wants another Bush in the White House. Would the latest incarnation of the crazy right even support him?

  • The_Ohioan

    Yep, serious. As with every candidate, he’s more complex than opponents like to paint him. He’s not as right wing as they come as this article explains:

    http://nymag.com/news/politics/elections-2012/jeb-bush-2012-10/

    As far as the NRA, Bush I resigned from the NRA and Jeb said the Trayvon Martin shooting was not a case of stand your ground, but of following and shooting.

    I’m confused; another Clinton is OK but another Bush is not? Just because of their name with no consideration of their qualifications? When did that start?

  • sheknows

    “As far as the NRA, Bush I resigned from the NRA and Jeb said the Trayvon Martin shooting was not a case of stand your ground, but of following and shooting”.
    I’m sorry,does that make him a moderate or just a person with common sense? Neither of which the Republicans seem too strong in.

    Well the first Clinton was WAAAAY better than the second OR first Bush so the second Clinton should be way better than the third Bush. Although maybe people are hoping for “third time’s the charm”…..and hope is the operative word. 🙂

  • slamfu

    Jeb Bush??? Are you serious?? There is a great photo of him standing with Wayne La Pierre and Marion Hammer ( the NRA lobbyist responsible for pushing SB-436.) all smiles after he signed the Stand your ground bill in Florida. He and his daddy go back a long way with the NRA and they put a lot of bucks into his gubernatorial campaign.

    Since when has a pro gun stance hurt a politician? You forget after 20+ children were shot to death by a crazy person we tried to pass a law requiring background checks to keep crazy people from buying guns and it didn’t pass. Also, the politicians who voted against it are not going to lose their jobs as a result or even close. American people don’t care about gun control, at least not enough to sway elections.

    And while I despised Bush Jr, the first President Bush I thought was pretty good. I do think that the name is too tainted now by the disastrous administration of the last decade to win another election for some time. Meanwhile, Clinton’s name has only been polished during that time.

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