This week's blog is inspired by informed reader and long time friend Dick Greenwood of South Carolina. The premise: When the Democrats search for someone other than Hillary as a nominee or spokesman, the cupboard is bare. The risk with Republicans is that they have so many well qualified potential candidates that the media will be able to orchestrate a "war of attrition" if they focus their attention on each other. For the moment, let's engage in a "what if" - perhaps the 2016 election season can be managed as a united party, with candidates and "party elders" focusing on areas where they have credibility, and some perhaps joining a future Cabinet.
- Doctor Condi Rice has consistently disavowed any interest in running for office, but she has better polling than Hillary on foreign policy, and relationships in all of the foreign capitals that Hillary and Obama have alienated.
- Mitt Romney failed as a candidate, but there is no doubt that he is among the most knowledgeable people in the country on what makes the economy work - and he is showing a willingness to help the Republican team.
- General David Petraeus was knocked out in 2012 because of an affair with a biographer, but he is the most prominent military leader of a generation, and should have a point of view on ISIS, the broader Middle East, and the Ukraine.
- Doctor Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, can provide a credible alternative to Obamacare.
- Governor Susanna Martinez of New Mexico can speak with direct knowledge on immigration.
- Most Americans cannot name anybody in the current cabinet other than John Kerry and Eric Holder - a reflection on the management style of the Obama White House. Similarly, Democratic Congressional leadership is made up of limited "has been's" - Pelosi; Reid; Durbin; Schumer; who else? Governors? - there is nobody other than 76 year-old Jerry Brown. Despite controlling the White House for six years, the Democrats have nobody of stature to amplify Candidate Hillary's messaging, or to provide confidence that, if elected, she will bring along a set of competent leaders. She will be running alone. Republicans can offer a stark contrast.
- With the Republicans controlling the Senate and the House, they are in a position to control the dialogue in 2016. The broad task of coordinating the many egos falls to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, with whispers from Reince Priebus. They will have many Congressional and gubernatorial spokesmen, and a "Council of Advisors" outside of the Congress would be a big plus.
- In the UK's parliamentary system where the executive and legislative bodies are merged, the cabinet positions are held by members of the ruling coalition; the opposition has a publicly visible "shadow cabinet" to formulate alternatives. National elections are partially about the Prime Minister, but they are much more team events. Their May 2015 elections will turn as much on the budget debate between Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne and his Labor counterpart as between Prime Minister Cameron and Labor leader Miliband.
With President Obama we have vaulted to a cult of the individual; the country is probably ready for the team effort which will be necessary to dig out from under the legacy of Obamacare, immigration, a $19 trillion debt, ISIS, and a resurgent Russia. Fortunately, the Republican have enough strong, experienced players to field a choir if only they will sing their parts.
This week's video is from a different era - a series of jokes by President Reagan. The video is a bit long, but the jokes are short and you can select as much or as little as you want.
bill bowen - 3/27/15