Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Recent Tweets @
Posts tagged "2016 Election"
Asker Anonymous Asks:
could Biden have any success against Hillary in 2016?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Joe Biden could absolutely win the Iowa Caucus.  That’s 100% retail politics and Biden is one of the two-best retail politicians in the United States.  Of course, the other one is Bill Clinton, but I think Biden could definitely beat Hillary in Iowa.  After that, things would get tough.

What will be interesting to see if Biden and Hillary both run in 2016 is how their campaigns are built.  Even though Biden has been his Vice President for two terms, Obama will almost certainly sit the primaries out and remain neutral.  Will some of the people who helped build the Obama political machine jump in early and, if so, who will they join?  Will Hillary open things up and bring in outsiders who are new to Clintonworld?  The nominating process isn’t about winning votes; it’s about winning delegates.  That’s a mistake Hillary Clinton made in 2008 and I doubt she’ll make it again if she decides to run in 2016.

In last week’s cover story, Chris Christie’s Loss Is (Someone’s Gain), Politico Magazine asked leading Republicans and Conservative thinkers who might be able to take advantage of the troubles facing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and become the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. Many of those who answered mentioned people like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, or Scott Walker.

Except for Tom Ridge. The former Governor of Pennsylvania and first Secretary of Homeland Security gave the best answer, the smartest answer, the right answer — the answer which should make Republicans wonder, “What about Tom Ridge?”:

With due respect to your premise, I’d prefer we focus on our party’s message, not our messenger. If Republicans wants to govern, we must win national elections. To do so, the narcissists and ideologues within our party need to understand that Americans are more conservative than liberal, but are more practical than ideological and more tolerant and open-minded than judgmental. They are also looking for real, not rhetorical solutions. Let’s focus on the message now and the messenger later. If we don’t get the former right, the latter won’t matter.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Thoughts on Elizabeth Warren? Can she compete with a 2016 Clinton campaign for the Democratic nomination? The media seems to think she'll give Hillary a run for her money, but I'm not so convinced.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Yeah, I saw an article somewhere (maybe Politico?) that said Senator Warren is Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare for 2016.  No, Hillary’s worst nightmare is a Bill Clinton sex scandal and a strong challenge from Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

I like Elizabeth Warren.  I think she has a bright future, but I also think 2016 is too soon.  She doesn’t have the national base or appeal that Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden does.  She doesn’t have the same rockstar potential as Governor O’Malley does once the rest of the country gets to know him.  She doesn’t match up well with anyone on the GOP side except for Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum, neither of whom are getting anywhere near the Republican nomination in 2016.  I’m definitely not convinced, either.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What do you think of the new reports about Obama and Biden's relationship from 'Double Down'? It seems the two still clash a lot in private.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I’m looking forward to reading the book.  I didn’t get an advanced copy of Double Down: Game Change 2012, so I probably won’t get a chance to read it until the beginning of next week.

I’m not surprised that the Obama campaign thought about dumping Biden for Hillary — it’s politics, and while Plouffe said they never seriously considered it, I’m sure they did because there was a point where it looked like Romney could actually win the election.  But as I said last year when I was asked whether they SHOULD dump Biden for Hillary, Joe Biden has been a hard-working, loyal, and incredibly influential Vice President.  They only reason that they should have done the switch and made Hillary VP and Biden Secretary of State is if Biden wanted to do it.  He deserved that much.  Biden has been the closer on several significant pieces of legislation with Congress.  Obama has needed Biden, no matter how much Biden might tend to go off page (and I think his tendency to speak his mind if both overrated and refreshing).

By the way, there’s no way Hillary Clinton would have taken the Vice Presidency in the second term of an Obama Administration.  She spent most of her time as Secretary of State traveling the world, and the best possible strategy for her potential 2016 run was getting the hell out of government.  If she was Vice President, whoever her opponents are in 2016 (both Democrat and Republican) could tie her to whatever goes wrong in Obama’s second term.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Its been said Jon Huntsman is telling friends that he won't be running again in 2016. Might he be gunning for the next Republican Secretary of Stare instead?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

First of all, I know it was an innocent typo and I’m totally not one of those people who likes pointing typos out, but Secretary of Stare would be the greatest Cabinet position ever.  I would be an amazing Secretary of Stare.

Huntsman would be a fantastic Secretary of State in a Republican or Democratic Administration, but I hope he runs for President.  Hillary Clinton would be great.  I love Joe Biden.  I am completely intrigued by Martin O’Malley.  But Jon Huntsman is the type of President that this country sorely needs right now, and I would love to see it happen.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Republicans tend to go with their second choice from the previous election (ie Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney), or someone in a dynasty (George W. Bush). So do you think the 2016 Republican election is between Rick Santorum and Jeb Bush? Also, why does New Hampshire tend to be the deciding contest for the GOP?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I had gleefully forgotten that Rick Santorum existed until you sent this question, so you can go to hell for bringing him back into my life.  The fact that Rick Santorum lasted as long as he did in the 2012 Republican primaries is one of the most disgusting things in American political history.  Santorum is a despicable person and, as former Senator Bob Kerrey famously said, “Santorum is Latin for ‘asshole’”.  If he is a viable candidate in 2016 (while Jon Huntsman gets no love), the GOP should really be disbanded like the the Baath Party in Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Jeb Bush, on the other hand, could be potential contender in 2016 if he jumped into the race.  Bush Fatigue has died down enough that Jeb could probably make a go at the Presidency.  As smart of a guy as Jeb Bush is and with as solid of a resume as he has, he could be a formidable candidate in both the primaries and general election.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that the New Hampshire primary tends to be a deciding contest for the GOP nomination.  The frontrunners for the nomination usually win New Hampshire because they pour so much time and effort into the state and it’s not as unpredictable as the Iowa Caucuses.  But let’s not forget that Pat Buchanan actually won New Hampshire in 1996 and John McCain CRUSHED George W. Bush in New Hampshire in 2000.  

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Jerry Brown ran for president three times - 1976, 1980, and 1992. If you had to pick one, which instance would you say "fit" the best? Which Jerry Brown campaign was just at the right time?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

None of the campaigns were at the right time.  That’s the problem.  Poor Jerry Brown has been the victim of terrible timing.

In 1976, Brown had only been Governor of California for one year and was just 38 years old.  In reality, it was way too early for him to make a step toward the Presidency.  Oddly enough, it was also the closest that he ever got to winning the Democratic Presidential nomination.  Brown had name recognition because he was making headlines in California, was a fresh face who appeared to be at the forefront of the next generation of American politicians, and was the son of a former California Governor.  He made a good showing in some of the Democratic primaries in 1976, but he entered the race too late.  Jimmy Carter had too much of a head start and Brown simply couldn’t catch him.  Despite all of that, 1976 was probably his best shot.

The 1980 bid was rough because he was challenging an incumbent President for his own party’s nomination.  Governor Brown wasn’t the only Democrat challenging President Carter in 1980 and he wasn’t the most exciting or buzzworthy with the media — that was Senator Edward Kennedy.  Brown also faced backlash back home in California because it was the second time he sought the Presidency since being elected Governor.  Californians wanted him at work in Sacramento rather than hitting the trail in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Even if he had overcome Carter for the 1980 Democratic nomination (not an easy task despite Carter’s unpopularity since Kennedy couldn’t beat him, either), Brown would have most likely been trounced in the general election by the man who preceded him as Governor of California — Ronald Reagan.

Jerry Brown’s 1992 campaign for the Democratic nomination was a very interesting one, largely because of the genuine animosity between Brown and the eventual nominee (and President) Bill Clinton.  There was a nasty confrontation in one of the Democratic debates where it looked for a moment like Clinton might actually punch Brown.  Because of his low-budget fundraising, Brown shouldn’t have done as well as he did in 1992, but he started picking up some momentum in the later primaries.  Unfortunately for Brown, he needed some of the earlier primaries to keep Clinton from clinching the nomination from the convention in order to force a brokered convention.  The dislike between Clinton and Brown was apparent at the Democratic National Convention when Brown refused to endorse Clinton during Brown’s speech.

Of the three bids that Jerry Brown made — 1976, 1980, and 1992 — it was the first attempt in 1976 that was probably the closest Brown came to winning the Democratic nomination.  The best chance that Brown might have had to become President was actually in a year that he didn’t run — 1988.  The field was wide-open for Democrats and Republicans because the election of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was no sure thing.  As I said, however, Brown’s timing when it came to seeking the Presidency has been rather unfortunate.

That hasn’t changed, by the way.  Right now, Jerry Brown looks like he will easily be re-elected as Governor of California in 2014.  From what I have read (granted, I haven’t lived in California since 2010),  Brown has been doing a better-than-expected job and his popularity is high.  Because of the size of the state, its worth in the Electoral College, and the nature of the job, California’s Governors are always potential Presidential contenders.  Unfortunately for Governor Brown, the man who was once the youngest Governor in California’s history is now the oldest Governor in California’s history and he’ll be 78 years old in 2016 — way too old to be a serious contender for the Presidency.  If he were 15 years younger, Brown would be a frontrunner in 2016

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Your answer to the Syria question got me thinking, do Rubio or Paul have any chance of becoming the GOP nominee?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Not in my opinion.  There’s a possibility that Senator Rubio could end up as a Vice Presidential nominee — he seems like a classic ticket-balancing pick — but I don’t see it happening in 2016.  

I imagine Senator Paul taking his father’s place as the GOP’s “outsider” candidate who creates a nice buzz, catches some headlines, raises money extremely well, and yet somehow doesn’t have it translate into votes when folks go to the polls.  A potential nominee needs more than a buzz with the voters — he or she actually needs votes.  And they also need the support of the core of the party and many of the party elders because that’s how the game works.  Appealing to those bases of the Republican Party is not one of Rand Paul’s strengths.  He is better at it than his father, but he’s not good enough at it to earn the GOP Presidential nomination.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Are there any particular media-speculated 2016 candidates you DON'T think are likely to run?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

As I’ve said before, it’s even a little too early to start speculating about who is going to run in 2016 and I really don’t want to jump the gun on what will almost certainly be a ridiculously long campaign anyway.  But to speculate about which speculated candidates in the 2016 political spectrum are specifically going to go against speculation is especially speculative at this specific second.

Did that last sentence give anybody else an aneurysm, or just me?

Asker oceanicsteam Asks:
Instead of asking about history, I'm going to ask about the future. Who do you think look like leading contenders to run in the 2016 primaries for both parties?(excluding Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio since at this point it'd be surprising if they didn't run)
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

It’s still so early that I really don’t want to start getting into too much 2016 speculation yet, but I’ll answer your question.  

First of all, it’s important to remember that since there is no incumbent on either side with a lock on a nomination, 2016 is going to be what the ancient, classical political scientists might call a “clusterfuck”.  Remember 2008 when the primary campaigns basically started in December 2006?  Yeah, same thing here, so get ready for a dozen candidates on each side (unless Hillary jumps in early and basically ends the discussion among Democrats, in which case there will be two candidates on the Democratic side and a dozen on the Republican side).  Also, get ready for 600 debates during the primaries in which the candidates say absolutely nothing.  Who’s excited???  Oh, that’s right, nofuckingbody.

Okay, here’s your answer, excluding Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio, as you requested, even though I don’t see Marco Rubio being much of a serious Presidential candidate in 2016.

•Vice President Biden (the only Democrat who I think will stick around and challenge Hillary if she decides to make a run; Joe wants to be President badly)
•Governor O’Malley of Maryland (the more that the country sees of Gov. O’Malley, the more the country is going to like him)
•Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado (ditto)
•Governor Markell of Delaware (if Vice President Biden doesn’t run)
•Governor Cuomo of New York (if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run)
•Senator Mark Warner of Virginia

•Former Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah (hopefully he bolts from the GOP and runs as a moderate, third-party candidate)
•Governor Christie of New Jersey
•Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida (the frontrunner if he makes a bid)
•Former Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana (I think Governor Daniels could have won the GOP nomination in 2012 even though he’s 4’6”)
•Governor Jindal of Louisiana (I don’t think he can hang with the big boys and girls, but he can raise cash and I think he’ll run)
•Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky (Another guy who I don’t think is electable, but he will be able to raise a ton of money and that will let him hang around for a few months and make some noise)
•Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Wasn’t hurt by being on the losing ticket in 2012 — came across well and had his profile elevated; might be better off waiting until 2020)
•Governor Perry of Texas (Arrogant enough to think his “oops” moment wasn’t that big of a deal and that he can still be President)
•Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas (Made a good showing in 2008, didn’t take a shot in 2012, I still think he has a chance to make a bid for the GOP nomination)
•Senator John Thune of South Dakota (A very, very formidable candidate; I’m not sure why he didn’t run in 2008 or 2012, but I think he could absolutely win the nomination and be a tough opponent for any Democrat)

And that’s just a sampling.  I think there are probably 10 other potential candidates on the Republican side.  The only reason there aren’t more Democrats listed is because Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden are powerhouses and not many Dems are going to want to run against one or both of them.  Governor O’Malley and Governor Hickenlooper are strong enough to possibly — possibly — make a splash, capture the national attention that they neeed, and win enough delegates to make things interesting.  Possibly.

But we’re a long way away from 2016.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
it seems like to me that more governors have a better shot at running for president then congress members. i know it's early and your not too into guessing about 2016 yet but are there governors who might have a shot at the nominations?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

A Governor’s office has definitely been a better launching pad for the Presidency — particularly in the last 40 years — than seeking the White House directly from either wing of the Capitol.

You’re correct about me not wanting to contribute to the beginning of the 2016 election cycle just yet and even the primaries are far enough away that it’s almost useless to speculate because so much can happen, but yes, there are definitely some Governors who could be contenders.

Unfortunately for some of those contenders the timing is going to be tough because the strongest pool of potential candidates are on the Democratic side.  There are actually some really solid Democratic Governors who will probably be overlooked during the 2016 election cycle because the Democrats have two big-name, superstar frontrunners in line before they even start to consider other options.  For a current Democratic Governor to break through and contend for the 2016 Presidential nomination, they’ll have to get by Hillary Clinton or Vice President Biden.  That won’t be easy, it might not be possible, and I doubt either Hillary or Biden will step aside.

If so, however, there are more than a few Democratic Governors that would have a shot at making a splash on the nation stage.  Of course, there is a pretty big-name Democratic Governor out there in New York’s Andrew Cuomo.  I’m sure Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, Connecticut’s Dan Malloy, and Colorado’s John Hickenlooper are keeping their eyes on the plans of Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden.  I think Governor O’Malley would be a strong candidate in an open race.

The Democrats also have some lesser-known (maybe even widely unknown) Governors who I think are showing themselves to be fantastic chief executives and who could probably raise some eyebrows if the country had an opportunity to know them.  Governor Markell of Delaware was re-elected with nearly 70% of the vote in November. Arkansas’s Mike Beebe is consistently rated as one of the best Governors in the nation. Steve Beshear has done some good work in Kentucky and Governor Bullock of Montana and Governor Shumlin of Vermont live in states where the spotlight doesn’t shine, but if it did it would show states with citizens very satisfied with their man in the statehouse.

California’s Jerry Brown is a big-name and is the Governor of a big state where he has done a far better-than-expected job — not because people doubted him, but because people doubted that anyone could turn things around in California.  Unfortunately for Brown, he’ll be 78 years old in 2016.  Vice President Biden, who will turn 74 a couple of weeks after Election Day 2016, will have enough trouble with the age issue.  It’s something Brown definitely won’t be able to overcome.  If Governor Brown were ten years younger, he’d be a front-runner for the Presidency (even with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in the race).  

On the Republican side, New Jersey’s Chris Christie is going to be a contender if he steps into the race for the GOP nomination in 2016.  Rick Perry (Texas) should be too damaged from his disastrous primary bid in 2012 to ever run again, but he can probably rehabilitate himself and Republicans will give him a pass because he looks like a President is supposed to look and is from Texas.  Governor Kasich of Ohio is from a battleground state that the GOP needs, but Kasich might not even be able to win Ohio’s votes for Governor if another election was held tomorrow.  Michigan’s Rick Snyder is in a better position, but it would be pretty tough to say, “If you want to fix the economy, elect our guy — the Governor of Michigan.”  

The Republican Party’s movers and shakers love Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and would love for him to be the new face of the GOP because he’s from the South but he’s brown and changes the perception of the party as one of old white men.  Unfortunately for the GOP, everytime I hear Governor Jindal speak, I get angry because it sounds like he’s being condescending and reading me a bedtime story.  Jindal simply doesn’t come across well on anything that I have ever seen him on.  He did the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address a few years ago and I still remember it solely because I thought he could be a contender in the future and it ended up being so terrible that I actually felt bad for him.

He’s not flashy or exciting or all that well-known, but the Republicans have a very solid executive in their ranks with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.  He looks like the type of guy that the GOP would nominate for President, and I know that the GOP is actively trying to avoid that and shake things up, but Governor McDonnell does his job well, doesn’t rock the boat, has really good approval ratings, and has the credentials and the resume to lock up the base.  That’s the type of candidate that I’d be afraid to run against.  Also, I think Nevada’s Brian Sandoval is a potential superstar for the GOP.  Again, like McDonnell, he’s not flashy or anything, but Governor Sandoval is Hispanic and young and if you don’t think that’s enough for the Republicans to want to put him on their posters, well, you haven’t met Reince Priebus (who sounds like he was named after a Norwegian hybrid car).  Sandoval still needs to do more, but he has potential for the Republicans, and he would definitely be able to be a top fundraiser.

But if the Republicans really want a chance at winning in 2016, they need to nominate a former Governor — Jon Huntsman — and just let the nation get to know him.

I’m pretty sure that I don’t remember what it’s like to not live in the midst of an all-encompassing political campaign.  Then again, considering how campaigns seem to begin earlier and earlier in 21st Century American politics, I wouldn’t be surprised if the midterm cycle kicks off this afternoon.

(P.S.: I better not see stories about potential 2016 Presidential candidates until AT LEAST Inauguration Day.  In a perfect world, we’d be safe from starting that discussion until late-2014.)

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If you're doing Bergen-2016 who is your runningmate?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Well, I’ll only be 36 years old — Constitutionally eligible to be President, but just barely — and woefully inexperienced, so I’d need someone who is respected and has a solid resume.  How about Leon Panetta? 

Actually, Panetta would be a damn good running mate for someone (not just in the hypothetical “Anthony for President” silliness).  Panetta served eight terms in Congress, was President Clinton’s OMB director and White House Chief of Staff, and is now President Obama’s Secretary of Defense after serving the first two years of the Obama Administration as CIA Director.  That’s about as solid of a resume for a present-day American public servant as I can think of.  Any Democrat running for President in 2016 should have him on their short list for Vice President.

So, there you go, that’s my ticket: Bergen/Panetta 2016 (although “Bergen/Panetta” kind of sounds like the name of a concentration camp.)

(And the previous sentence is a clear example of why I could never be President.)