Has anyone noticed how there's only one real last name among the whole series above, and it's one of their first names? Of course, it's in honor of Ayn Rand, I presume.
This appears to be the field for 2016 for the Republicans. At least they are the ones who seem already to be running for the nomination, and it looks as though, once again, it will be a proper bloodbath.
The one 2016 Republican candidate of significance not included above is Marco Rubio (I'm not including Ted Cruz, if you don't mind--he could not possibly be a serious candidate, even if he is a first-term Senator). Rubio is the exception to the crew, I guess. He could be successful, both with the party and nationally, but I hasten to add the word "eventually"--I can not believe the Republicans would break with pattern so much, so quickly, as to nominate such a young Hispanic (OK, Cuban, not the same as a Mexican, but still....). He will need to wait a few years so this sacrilege of suggesting amnesty for illegal Mexicans can be forgotten.
Then there is Jeb Bush. If he were to run, I would consider him a serious threat, for the nomination and then in a general election, because unlike most of those mentioned above in the title, he has the political talent required. The key would be the ability to forget and forgive him for the family name; personally I think it is very strong among many of us Americans (big brother Dubya's reputation already seems to have improved among the populace). Jeb is reluctant to run until his last name no longer produces guffaws--I think he is wise to feel that way.
I guess Rick Santorum might run, under the mistaken belief that, because he finished second last time, it will be his turn in 2016. He is an extraordinarily weak candidate.
It is way early, but I offer a prediction: Chris Christie as the nominee, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico as the VP candidate. I think Christie will start out with some baggage (not physical, but political) because of his relatively moderate positions on social issues and relatively tolerant view of President Obama, but when he shows his hard-hitting side, he will not be confused for anything but a partisan, while anything resembling a foreign policy question for any of the others would yield Sarah Palin-type ignorance. I think Martinez will be the choice to provide a soggy bone to Hispanics and women; she is a team player and could fit with anyone not too obviously a Tea Party extremist. She's basically a Texan, too, and a superior choice for running mate over Cruz.
With regard to the Democrats, I have nothing novel to say: I do believe it's Hillary's nomination if she wants it, and I presume she will, circumstances permitting. I think she would choose a loyalist running mate who's a solid policy wonk, someone like Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. She wouldn't want anyone too charismatic on his own (and she probably would want a male running mate).
Virginia is to 2016 as the Spanish Civil War was to WWII
There are two significant statewide races this off-year. One is the expected easy win for Chris Christie over Barbara Buono for governor of New Jersey (and an expected easy win for Cory Booker to win Frank Lautenberg's Senate seat there); the other will be the governor's race in Virginia.
The Republicans have a right-winger, Attorney General Cuccinelli, he who originated the concept of the transvaginal sonic probe for pregnant women seeking an abortion. He should be easy meat, but this is an off, off-year, and turnout may be abysmal. The Democratic candidate is Terry McAuliffe, former Clinton campaign manager. He is acceptably middle-of-the-road for Virginia and should have a decent chance to win; polls show the race to be very close.
There are two notable facts about the Virginia race. One is the huge money being raised on both sides; partially this is because the big money has nowhere else to go this year, and there is a lot of effort both behind the fundraising, and which will be needed to move a politics-weary public. This may be especially true in northern Virginia, a key political battleground in 2012, and home to many families of public servants getting beaten up in various ways this fall by the partisan games. McAuliffe should come out hard against Tea-bagging, sequestering government by repeal and default, and I believe his campaign will indeed be highly negative. As for Cuccinelli, he is the mouthpiece for right-wing Republicans to try out their latest anti-Hillary taunts; that's the other key fact. If the Republicans find that Cuccinelli's tactics work, they will apply them more broadly, and continuously, for the next three years.
This is not to ignore the fact that 2014 will be an expensive Boer War itself. A subject for later posts, but I'm just not that keen on the whole thing right now.