Wednesday, October 22, 2014

David Brooks makes a reference... to a piece in Commentary by Peter Wehner, one of the Republican Party's new intellectuals. (That's them, above, with Wehner -- literally -- on the far right.) And I thought, Great; I've heard of this guy. I'll take a look.

The piece is titled, "America’s Anxious Mood and What it Means for Republicans," and I'll save you the trouble of reading it yourself. Basically, Wehner maintains that -- surprise! -- all of America's problems can be laid at the doorstep of President Obama and the Republicans are poised to take back the White House in 2016. All they need is the right candidate. But this is where it gets interesting:

Given all of this, and assuming that in two years the political environment and psychological state of Americans is roughly what it is now, it’s interesting to contemplate some of the qualities they may be looking for in a GOP nominee.
My guess: A conservative who radiates competence, steadiness, and reassurance; who is perceived as principled, reform-minded, and reality-based; and who’s comfortably associated with a middle-class governing agenda. 

The Republican Party’s standard-bearer certainly needs to be perceived as modern, future-oriented, and understanding the ways the world is changing.

A GOP nominee will also have to speak more to people’s aspirations than to their fears. A campaign that could be symbolized by an angry, clenched fist won’t work. Demonstrating touches of grace and winsomeness probably will. And because Republicans are on a long-term losing streak at the presidential level, including having lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections, they’ll need to find someone who is able to do more than rally the faithful. They’ll have to win over a significant number of people who are not now voting Republican but are persuadable. Which means Republicans might want to look to someone characterized by intellectual depth and calm purpose rather than stridency.

Now, I know what you're thinking: Where on earth is the Republican Party going to find someone like that?

Well, to Wehner's credit, he mentions one, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. The only trouble is, Daniels took a pass on running in 2012 (for personal reasons) and isn't likely to change his mind in 2016. So who does that leave in the GOP that remotely meets that description? I can't for the life of me think of anyone.

So I still say, absent a recession, Hillary is the odds-on favorite to win in 2016.

1 comment:

Ed Crotty said...

Huntsman could have filled that bill. Maybe Pawlenty. They both were crushed in 2012. A principled moderate from teh GOP would be nice. But the GOP base will not elect a principled moderate.