A very, very long list of possible Republican presidential candidates

After a presidential wannabe cattle call in Iowa last week, today’s edition of the Morning Line, a daily email from the political team of PBS’ “NewsHour,” says at least 17 Republicans have said or done something to indicate a fairly serious interest in running for the party of Lincoln’s presidential nomination in the next cycle (which we might as well start calling the current cycle).

Here’s their list:

John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Scott Walker.

I hate to say it, but they missed at least one — South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.

The NewsHour-ers cited four possible explanations for the huge field:

Money (you have to start early to raise the unimaginable sums necessary); attention (it’s now established that if you run and get even slightly famous, you can cash in with a TV contract or other fun stuff); the “Obama effect” (if President Obama, who was still an Illinois state senator two years ahead of the 2008 election, can do it, why not me?); and “history” (this is the overdone theory that because it is relatively rare in recent history for either party to win three straight presidential elections, this is going to be good year to be the Republican nominee). I’ve previously pushed back against the last explanation, but you’ll continue to hear it.

I’ve also previously railed against the absurdity of having two of the 50 (Iowa and New Hampshire, and nowadays especially Iowa) states hold a permanently outsized role in the presidential nomination process. Just to summarize: it’s absurd.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/26/2015 - 11:48 am.

    I would guess that more than a few of those know in their heart that they don’t have a chance, but are hoping to translate their status in to “king (or queen)-maker”.

    But maybe not, there is a sufficiency of ego in that crowd.

    Why so many re-treads? What will be loved about them now that wasn’t loved before? Name recognition isn’t always a good thing.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 01/26/2015 - 02:58 pm.

      The most amusing thing

      is that some in the GOP are touting their “deep bench.” A bench that in the latest Washington post/ABC poll shows Clinton beating every one of them by double digits. You can cancel out the evangelicals like Jindal, Huck and Santorum. Bolton is outright crazy. The “true conservatives” like Walker and Cruz that the far right really want aren’t going to play well with the mainstream. Christie is a hot head, Paul is a lighter version of the old man. Rubio always looks like he has trouble finding his own car in a parking lot. That leaves Bush and Romney, and I’d lay money that one of them is going to wind up being the nominee… much to the chagrin of the Tea Party/birchers/evangelicals that have ruined their party.

  2. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 01/26/2015 - 12:06 pm.

    It will be an interesting, lively election cycle.

    I think Michelle Bachmann will be missing the spotlight right about now and she will make herself known as well. With this many potential candidates the debates are bound to be destructive – again. With less debates each person will have less time for niceties’ because they will need to make their mark quicker. The GOP can’t have this many loose cannons rolling around the deck without a bunch getting hurt. It’ll be hard for them to stay within the GOP talking points and still sound intelligent. The GOP is already starting to come apart at the seams with GOP Governors breaking ranks and raising taxes. Apparently GOP Governor Brownback’s philosophy doesn’t work that well. It will be an interesting, lively election cycle because many more voters will be voting in 2016.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/26/2015 - 01:06 pm.

    This is not

    …a confidence-inspiring list of names. As Neal Rovick suggests, there’s more than enough ego to go around – an outsized ego being one of the precursors to a presidential run – but the people I didn’t love in 2012 haven’t done anything to make me love them in 2016, and what they did and said in 2012 to endear themselves to “the base” (and had me voting for any Democratic candidate who could walk and chew gum simultaneously) doesn’t seem to have changed. It’s a list that’s pretty much devoid of ideas that aren’t part of RNC and Chamber of Commerce orthodoxy. The exception might be Sarah Palin, who continues in her role as the Paris Hilton of the party, and thus doesn’t even know what the orthodox ideas might be.

  4. Submitted by Roy Everson on 01/26/2015 - 01:38 pm.

    It’s what Republicans do

    They always, almost always (beginning in 1948 with only one exception), nominate a candidate who already has a nationally known name. Sharp contrast With Democrats who are often open to first time national candidates (Stevenson, Kennedy, McGovern, Carter, Dukakis, Clinton, Kerry and Obama).

    The GOP’s categories of biggest names include the following:

    Candidates who were a sitting president or vice president — Nixon (60), Ford (76), George Bush 41 (88); candidates who had already ran nationally for their party’s nod: Thomas Dewey (48), Nixon (68), Ronald Reagan (80), Bob Dole (96), John McCain (08), Mitt Romney (12); commanded troops in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower (52); and son of an ex-president, George Bush 43 (00).

    The exception? Barry Goldwater in 1964 when the establishment already knew the election was lost in November 1963. They’ll only give up on 2016 if Hillary divorces Bill and marries Pope Francis.

    Thus in 2016 you can eliminate as serious contenders the likes of Bolton, Carson, Fiorina, Jindal, Graham and Pataki, Even the publicity drenched Christie, Cruz, Rubio and Walker will be no riper than second bananas in 2016.

    Even if some fit the historical profile one might also safely disqualify as too ridiculous to contemplate Trump, Palin and Santorum. And Bachmann, I hope.

    That leaves the only viable contenders are legacy heirs Jeb Bush and Rand Paul (son of former candidate Ron Paul) and former candidates Perry, Romney, Huckabee and Kasich (he ran in 00), — and Paul Ryan who isn’t running. All the others are running for veep, a Fox chat job or to sell books.

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