Monday, March 18, 2013
"Wild Speculation Offers Insights about 2016"
"Wild Speculation Offers Insights about 2016"
By: J. Hunter
With Presidential elections beginning ever sooner, Republicans and Democrats have already begun weighing potential tickets. Democrats have successfully broken the color barrier with President Barack Obama, and are eager to break the gender “Glass Ceiling” post haste. Republicans, in need of a win, are searching within the conservative tradition to find candidates who best champion more attractive elements of the tradition without surrendering past hard-fought political gains. However wild it is to speculate so early on the 2016 race, early predictions offer interesting insight into the respective movements’ thinking.
Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner posits “the ultimate Grrl Power ticket” will be manifested in 2016 by Former New York Senator and State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama. “It’s not just talk,” Bedard writes. “Bumper stickers reading...‘Hillary-Michelle 2016’…saw a 60% increase…with the largest uptick in March.” He cites Democratic strategists who call Clinton “a lock to get into the race” and who herald her “strong donor network from her 2008 campaign.”
Elspeth Reeve, writing in The Atlantic Wire, says of Michelle Obama that the only thing keeping her out of elected office is Michelle Obama, herself. “The only argument against Obama running is that she doesn’t want to; that disappears if she just…changes her mind.”
A Clinton-Obama ticket would go far to show a Democrat commitment to the Party’s women, according to strategist Chris Lehane and former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile. Lehane is quoted as saying that the ticket “reflects the growing awareness that it is time for the glass ceiling of the last old boys club to be firmly shattered,” and Brazile relishes “a day when a woman can run for the presidency without so much parody and fanfare.”
That said, there is a striking irony in the proposed ticket that does not escape me even as it appears illusive to its advocates searching for Democrats to make a strong feminist statement. Unlike the prominent women in the Republican Party like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Hillary Rodham and Michelle Robinson owe their political good fortunes to men, their husbands in particular.
Moreover, this ticket would only further expose the thin bench on the Democrat side. Whereas the GOP appears to be the Sherman Tank of politics, always ready with credible candidates to replace old ones.
On the subject of the GOP, the recent news is the CPAC poll that chose Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as the conference’s presidential preference. Stephen Dinan and David Sherfinski of the Washington Times note that the poll of 2,930 attendees “skewed toward younger conservatives”—41% of those polled were students. Austin Alexander, a 26 year old conservative quoted in Dinan and Sherfinski’s article, volunteered for Rand Paul’s father—Texas Congressman Ron Paul—and welcomes a more libertarian streak in the Republican Party.
On the other hand, Gary Kim, 62, supported the poll’s close second, Florida Senator Marco Rubio. “Marco’s just a terrific messenger…People get his life story, he’s Latino. So it’s a strategic decision…[he’s] as good a shot as we’ve got.”
At the heart of Kim’s comment is an understanding that the Republican Party is failing to include enough people in its ranks to grow. Indeed, growth requires more than just presenting candidates that look like the constituency the Party wishes to court. Forging a more inclusive ideology is part of the growth strategy. Paul spoke, at CPAC, about the Republican Party focusing on individual liberties above all, a message that worries social conservatives fighting for traditional marriage and rights for the unborn. Rubio, on the other hand did not shy from social issues and was even compared positively to Rick Santorum. The contrast highlights the conversation within the Republican Party that has raged without resolve since the days of Fusionism—is libertarian objectivism compatible with traditional conservatism beyond issues of free markets?
With the 2016 election years away, and interrupted by a crucially important midterm election in 2014, any predictions about the 2016 are obviously premature. That said, the reflexes of the two Parties indicate their priorities and a taste of what is to come.
Photo Sources: "Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama" from http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/images/stories/large/2013/03/14/Hillary-Michelle-2016-97618348.jpg; "Clinton-Obama 2016 Sticker" from http://socialismisnottheanswer.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/hillary_clinton_michelle_obama_2016.jpg?w=500; "Rand Paul" from http://www.ronpaul.com/images/randpaul.jpg; "Marco Rubio" from http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/02/06/151014817_custom-8bff63961185274b85a544cb711ae0d90b29b193-s6-c10.jpg