James Carville once said running for President is kind of like sex, most people want to do it more than once. In this spirit, Rick Santorum has decided to get screwed over once again. The two-term Pennsylvania Republican Senator is going to give it another go in 2016. Santorum, who shocked the political world by winning the Iowa Caucuses and came with about 2 percentage points in Ohio or Michigan from throwing the 2012 GOP race into chaos, will start out as an underdog. However, that is where he began last time.
If he is going to be in the mix Santorum will need the support of social conservatives, who were critical to his campaign last time. Can you get them? He will certainly have challengers in the form of Cruz, Paul and Huckabee. One advantage he has is that this isn’t his first rodeo. Unlike Paul and Cruz, has been through this before so there are no new revelations about him to be unearthed. If you don’t believe me Google it.
Honestly, Santorum is yesterday’s news who caught the anti-Romney wave in the 2012 primary at just the right time. This time he won’t have Willard Romney to kick around so I really doubt he’ll get out of single digits in the polls. He will probably grab the most headlines with his passionate attacks on gay marriage and the GOP becoming more socially moderate. Surely, he’ll go after any candidate who dears to push the party in that direction.
When I listed possible GOP candidates one I forgot to include was Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas Governor is certainly popular with Evangelicals and has one of the more likable personas of the any of the party’s candidates. In many polls he does well. CNN found him to be the leader in Iowa in a September survey of Republicans.
For some reason I just can’t see him running. First, he knows he’s not going to win. Second, there are other candidates who espouse his views on cultural issues like abortion, gay marriage, and guns. Third, and most importantly, he’d have to give up the TV show and the money that comes with it.
Let’s be honest Mike did well by running in 2008. He got a tv show, wrote a book, newspaper columns, and had radio show because of it. All of which paid well for him. He now has a big house in Florida and probably stays somewhere very nice when he goes to the New York City to tape his tv show. Not bad for someone no one outside of Arkansas had heard of this time in 2006.
You think he wants to trade that to work 16 hour days and trudge from event to event in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over the next year?
I didn’t think so either.
Rand Paul may have earned the undying love of Reason Magazine and GOProud but the following quote may kill him in Iowa and South Carolina:
“I don’t want my guns registered in Washington or my marriage. Founding Fathers all got married by going down to the local courthouse. It is a local issue and always has been. Society’s changing. I mean, people change their minds all the time on this issue, and even within the Republican Party, there are people whose child turns out to be gay and they’re like, oh well maybe I want to rethink this issue. So it’s been rethought. The President’s rethought the issue. So I mean, a lot of people have rethought the issue.”
First, this is a no-go with social conservatives. If you don’t believe me go back and watch the Values Voter Summit from last week. You simply cannot win Iowa or South Carolina without the support of Christian conservatives. Exit polls from Iowa show and South Carolina show they made up the majority of voters. You can bet this issue is going to be stoked by people like Huckabee, Cruz and Santorum. They know social conservatives panic when they see the progress gay rights has made in the past decade and are looking for a champion to stand up and fitgh against this.
Third it adds to the narrative that Paul is not really one of them. Take his wanting to eliminate aid to Israel and his position on drugs and a theme starts to form that Paul isn’t really someone social conservatives can call one of their own. Certainly Cruz and Huckabee will push this message.
Lastly, Paul equated himself to Barack Obama in the quote. That’s a not a winner with today’s GOP.
The GOP fight is going to be nasty and Paul has given his opponents some ammo with this one.
You heard it here first. Ted Cruz is the favorite to win Iowa. Oh, I know he is not top of any poll among likely Caucus goers. He certainly is not topping any national polls. Sure there is no Cruz Fever About to Sweep the Country articles about to appear in Time, the Washington Post or New York Times that libertarians seemingly get for blinking these days. But none of that matters now.
As he demonstrated at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, Cruz is emerging at the choice of social conservatives. As Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum showed with their wins in 2008 and 2012 that is the key group in Iowa. Granted both Huckabee and the New Robert Evans will run again (seriously, what else do they have to do with themselves) but they are both retreads. Cruz is a new fresh face and a much more skilled debater and speaker.
As for the crop of younger challengers, this weekend as demonstrated that Washington-media darling Rand Paul has a great deal of work to do. His support for legalizing drugs and cutting foreign aid to Israel will remain barriers for him to build support among this social conservatives. In addition, Paul’s recent ambiguity on gay marriage doesn’t help with social conservatives. You notice he didn’t even come in second in the straw poll.
Before you know it it’ll be January or February 2016 in Iowa and Ted Cruz will be making his victory speech and the Bush Republicans will be freaking out. Just remember you heard it here first.
Over the weekend Christian conservatives in Iowa were treated to pandering to 5 potential GOP candidates. The audience got to hear Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. It seems Ted Cruz got many of the biggest applause lines, it helped that he told the crowd that they were actually winning.
Interestingly many speakers took shots at Rand Paul, who was not in there that day. Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats said U.S. Rep. Steve King doesn’t run from conversations — a reference to King arguing with young Latina who crossed the border illegally as a child while Paul grabbed his beer and hit the bricks. In addition, conservative author Joel Rosenberg said people in both parties “are turning against Israel.”
I am guessing that unanimous approval of increased funding Israel doesn’t count.
Going after Paul shows two things. First, people see him as a threat to the nomination. Second, they know he is vulnerable to attack on issues involving Israel and his inability to take criticism.
It’s early but storm clouds are already starting to brew.
Huckabee on the trail with the Nature Boy, WOOO!!
Stories are surfacing that Mike Huckabee is thinking about running in 2016. In 2008 Huckabee came from nowhere to win the Iowa Caucuses and take primary victories in states like Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas. A pretty impressive showing for a guy who had less money, name recognition, and organization than his more well known opponents like McCain or Mitt Romney.
Part of Huckabee’s success was a mixture of his strong support from religious conservatives and his candidate skills. Huckabee could be funny, engaging, and seemed to be one of the few people who actually enjoyed being on the campaign trail. How many people could get the support of Bob Vander Plaats in Iowa and Ric Flair.
But will it work again? Huckabee is not a fresh face anymore and won’t be coming from nowhere to score surprise wins. No, in 2016 he will be a well known face with very high expectations. The guy has had a tv shows for several years after all.
This time he won’t be the only solid social conservative out there. Do the names Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and Mike Pence ring any bells?
Huckabee had a great run in 2008. It shook up the race and changed his life. To think he can repeat that magic in 2016 would probably require a miracle.
Out of the blue Mike Huckabee started throwing his own name around over the weekend. In an interview with David Brody of CBN Huckabee said:
That would shake things up. Huckabee ran a strong campaign in 2008. He started off with no money and no name recognition against better known candidates like Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, and ended up winning several states including the Iowa caucuses, Georgia, Arkansas, and West Virginia.
His skills as a candidate at working a crowd and putting people at ease with the joking style give him a sharp contrast to more strident figures like Cruz or Santorum. Let’s not forget he has been practicing being the spotlight thanks to his television and radio work. Plus, his popularity with religious conservatives would force candidates like Rubio, Santorum and Mike Pence to reconfigure their electoral coalitions if Huckabee does as well with them this time (if he ran).
Will he do it? I doubt it. Since 2008 Huckabee has made a great deal of money and now has a national forum to say whatever he wants and be a king maker. Why would he give all that up to jump into a very crowded and already competitive race?