Saturday, May 10, 2014

Jeb Bush's Path to Victory May Lie Through Rand Paul

Getting conservatives to agree on anything is like herding cats!

With cats, the best methods are to "offer something truly enticing," such as a plate of freshly caught fish. Or, to "approach them with something genuinely unpleasant," such as a large bucket of ice water.

Even then, it still isn't a certainty. Most of the cats will come to the fish platter, provided they trust their noses. Most will run from a bucket of ice water; if they know what is in the bucket. Herein lies the problem!

Cats react. Unfortunately conservatives have similar tendencies.

We are assuming that if Jeb Bush doesn't run, Chris Christie and possibly Mitt Romney will. Supporters of any of the three will be happy with either candidate. This is the Republican Establishment. While smaller than the party base in number, they are narrow in purpose, unified and disciplined.

Most Tea Party members would agree that neither Bush, Christie or Romney should be the nominee. But who should be? Ask ten members. You will likely get eight answers!

2012 should have been a wake up call for conservatives. We can go off in eight different directions, systemically creating a path to victory for the Establishment candidate. Or, we can decide early on an alternative. But how?

Would it not be both arrogant and presumptuous to say, "your guy doesn't have a chance?" How do we honestly know who can or can't win? Perhaps conservatives should create their own nominee litmus test! The test would be based on the following criteria:

(a)Experience. Someone with zero political experience is going to be a tough sell. Executive experience has proven to be superior to legislative experience.
(b)Home state. No candidate has ever won the Presidency who did not win their home state. Can each candidate be certain that they will win their home state.
(c) Resources. It takes a lot of money to run a fifty-state campaign. Which candidate/s will be able to compete with Hillary Clinton's massive war chest?
(d) Organization- To compete in 50 states, it takes an adequate number of staffers to make certain that the campaign is in compliance with the individual state election rules.
(e) Previous accomplishments. A good "report card" from previous positions is always preferable to a bad one!
(f) Name recognition. Not a deal breaker, but it doesn't hurt to have a candidate who is known.
(g) Likeability. Many voters don't even get to the issues or how a candidate voted. If they "like" someone, they gravitate to them.
(h) Demograhpic appeal- America is growing more diverse with each passing day.
(i) Psychographic appeal- Which candidate best "connects" with America based on lifestyle, values and socio-economic background?
(j) Needed more at home. In many cases, presidential candidates would be giving up a Senate seat or would be better off running for a winnable Senate seat. This is truly "big picture," but it is a consideration.

Too cerebral? Maybe! But if we used such a scale, rating candidates on each individual consideration, it would prove interesting to note how the candidates stacked up.

Let's start with (j). Scott Walker should win re-election to a second term as Governor of Wisconsin. In 2018, freshman Senator, Tammy Baldwin will be up for re-election. A successful two-term governor would be difficult to beat! Especially for a Lesbian woman with an ultra liberal voting record!

Mike Pence could challenge Joe Donnelly for the Indiana Senate seat in 2018. A successful governor in a "red state," would almost certainly translate to another Senate pickup.

Ditto for Sarah Palin! Alaskans needs her in the Senate. So does America!

Speaking of "needs," Kentucky needs Rand Paul! The "Bluegrass state" is rich in mineral and agricultural resources. His voice for Federalism is in stark conflict with the traditional "Bill Clinton, Ward of the Nation" mentality that has dominated Commonwealth politics for generations.

In Louisiana, Senator David Vitter will run for Governor. This opens the door for Bobby Jindal to effectively "switch jobs" with Vitter. Jindal has been rumored as a Presidential possibility.

Let's move to (b), home state. While Mike Pence would easily win Indiana and Palin Alaska, would Scott Walker win Wisconsin? Could Rick Santorum win Pennsylvania. "Possibly" on both counts! But not "definitely" on either!

Name recognition,(f) would be topped by former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee. It's difficult to compete with someone having a prime time television show! Of equal importance: "Is that recognition viewed in a positive or negative manner?" More Republicans have heard of Rick Perry than any of the candidates, other than Huckabee. But his 2012 campaign was a bit rocky at times! Rand Paul is associated with Ron Paul. Rick Santorum is linked to social issues.

Experience (b)-Huckabee was last in office in 2007. Santorum's last year was 2006. Allen West served one term in the U.S. House of Representitives. Ben Carson never saw political office. Rand Paul is in his fourth year as a U.S. Senator. Ditto for Marco
Rubio, although Rubio previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representitives. Ted Cruz is in his second year in the Senate.

While Walker and Pence have Executive experience, no one holds a candle to Rick Perry on this front! His is finishing his 14th year as Governor of the second largest and one of the most diverse states in America. Most of his 63 years were spent as a "dry wheat farmer" in West Texas. "Captain Perry" also flew C-130's in his five-year Air Force tour.

Which takes us to (e), "previous accomplishments." Arkansans will quickly tell you how much "better Governor" Mike Huckabee was when compared to Bill Clinton. Bill's strategy was based on procuring more money from Washington. Huckabee took advantage of Arkansas' vast agricultural resources and brought industry to the state. Working with a skeptical, Democrat dominated, state House and Senate, he did wonders! But Perry's accomplishments in Texas may be remembered as the "greatest single exibition of governorship in the history of American Governorships!" No other candidate is even close in regard to previous accomplishments!

Organization?(d) At this juncture, it is doubtful that any of the candidates will be prepared to compete with the Establishment choice, other than Perry, Paul and possibly Huckabee. Paul will run. Odds are that Perry will run. Chances are, Huckabee will not run. Fielding a nationwide organization takes money and a lot of it! It also takes time and planning. Perry will have a lot of the former on his hands once he finishes his term this December. That will result in more time for fundraising.

Resources(c) may be the single most important factor in launching a successful campaign. Perry will have backing from the Energy sector. He will be supported by defense contractors and business leaders. Rand Paul has a proven fundraising strategy his father dubbed "money bombs." The rest of the field looks suspect, including Governor Huckabee.

On considerations (h) and (i),"demographic" and "psychographic" appeals, a running mate can be crucial. Rand Paul does extremely well with Millennials(voters under 30 years of age). But he has had little exposure to Hispanic voters, who will likely decide the 2016 Presidential race.

Marco Rubio is seen by Millennials as a "rock star." He also polls superbly with immigrants. Better yet, he is especially liked by "females under 40."

Governor Huckabee is a non-threatening, reassuring voice. But many associate him(correctly) with the religious right. This in itself, isn't bad. But, it may not be enought to lure mercurial Hispanic and Millennial voters...

Perry tallied 44% of Hispanic votes in the 2010 Texas General election. Due in part to his own modest background, he connects with "blue collar" Democrats. While Paul does well with the latter, he is extremely suspect with the former. Same holds true with Evangelicals, whose turnout is crucial for a Republican victory. Where Paul is dry, factual and analytical, both Perry and Huckabee are warm and charismatic.

Which brings us to (g), "likeability." All too often, voters base their decision on which candidate they like the most. This could be the single greatest intangible in the 2016 race. Hillary Clinton is not liked by much of her own constituency. An opportunity exists; if the Republican candidate is someone voters simply like!

Have we concluded our "connecting of the dots?" If so, we should have an answer!

If Jeb Bush runs, odds are Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio and likely Rick Santorum and Scott Walker will not run. It's all but certain that Cruz and Jindal will not enter the race if Perry runs.

At that point, assuming that Huckabee stays out, we will be down to three choices: Bush, Perry and Paul. Bush's path to victory will surprisingly be through Rand Paul!

Paul and Perry would split the conservative vote. This could be pivotal in Iowa and South Carolina. Bush's supporters will be solidly united, game to watch Paul and Perry attempt to convince the base that their vision is the correct one. Meanwhile the delegates will pile up. Fox News will "shill" for Jeb Bush and we will have a repeat of 2012.

Conversely, if the race is only Perry and Bush, a single argument will be on the table: "Is it better to leave all decision making to Washington? Or, should we allow the states more discretion?"

Bush fears a one-on-one face off with Perry. He knows that it could be a repeat of the 2010 Texas Republican Gubernatorial primary. For those who remember, the entire Bush machine supported then Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Her message was "look what we(in Washington) have done for you." Perry positioned her as a "big government, Washington knows best," Republican. In the end, he crushed her!

In short, Republicans can nominate Jeb Bush for President; and be content that he is not Mitt Romney! Or, they can clear the field, choosing the strongest, best qualified alternative.

Unlike Bush or Paul, Perry can unite the party; the entire party! The Establishment will open their coffers for Perry. The Tea Party will embrace him. The Evangelicals will turnout for him.

Marco Rubio represents the finishing touch! He will bring his younger, more diverse followers to both the ticket and the Republican Party. In the end, Repblicans will win in 2016. Handily.

It would appear that the only thing standing in the way is Senator Paul, who likely couldn't win anyway!

Any questions?

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