With that in mind, it's interesting to see who Rove favors, doesn't favor and who he thinks Republicans shouldn't even be talking about for the 2016 nomination. Rove's piece in The Wall Street Journal yesterday, "What to Watch in the GOP Jockeying for 2016," makes for good tea-leaf reading.
First are the candidates Rove would like to see run and get early support: Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee and Dr. Ben Carson. Why those six? My guess is that the first four would be acceptable to Rove as the eventual GOP standard-bearer. Huckabee, meanwhile, would be the requisite evangelical Christian candidate who runs out of money soon after Iowa, and Carson would be the token nut job (there's always one; remember Michele Bachmann?) who would ultimately flame out without taking anyone (or the party) down with him.
In Rove's next category are Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and Chris Christie. We already know how Rove feels about Palin: I once heard a political analyst on TV say he "despises" her. So what does that mean for Paul and Christie? Well, Paul's problems are obvious: the establishment sees him as too much of a wild card. They hated his father and fear that his son could somehow win the nomination and pull a Barry Goldwater (taking down other Republican candidates for the House and Senate with him). As for Christie, well, Rove must know something about him that we don't. I read that Romney's vice presidential vetting team reported back to their boss something to the effect, "Don't touch him; he's got too much baggage." So, for whatever reason, the New Jersey governor is also unacceptable to Rove.
The third category is the group Republicans shouldn't even consider: Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal. The first two are obvious Bush family rivals from Texas. Santorum could be someone Rove likes personally but just doesn't take seriously as a candidate. And Jindal may be like Christie: someone whose qualifications/electability are lacking and we should just take Rove's word for it.