By Richard Barry
To hear some people tell it, we're going to go through a lot of trouble just to find out that Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee for president. And maybe I agree with them, but it's not going to be easy.
Yes, Jeb's got that name, which is both a positive and a negative. He seems to be working his butt off. He's able to raise money like few others. And he seems to be a very intelligent and smooth presenter. But as Dan Balz at The Washington Post rightly points out, few rivals "seem to be quaking right now." So, whatever else may be true, it's going to be a long and hard slog.
Bush acknowledged all this when he was in New Hampshire a week ago. Noting his strong establishment support, one voter, concerned about whether he was a true conservative, said she and others don’t want to see a coronation for the GOP nomination in the way Democrats seem to be moving to anoint Hillary Rodham Clinton as their nominee.
Line 'em up, announced and potential: Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rick Snyder, Carly Fiorina, Mike Pence, George Pataki, John Bolton, Peter King, Bob Ehrlich (who?), Jim Gilmore (again, who?), that retired surgeon, the guy with all that money and the bad hair piece who does TV reality shows, and is there a point at which Romney says, what the hell?
An incredulous Bush responded with laughter. “I don’t see any coronation coming my way, trust me,” he said. “Come on. What do you see that I’m not seeing? We’ve got 95 people possibly running for president. I’m really intimidating a whole bunch of folks, aren’t I?”
Surely with this many in the race, few are thinking about the inevitability of Jeb. More likely some still on the sidelines are thinking they can't believe the cast of characters who are already getting press because they have announced or are musing. As Balz write, some of these must be thinking "why not me," especially as they consider that "even those at the front of the pack right now are struggling to get even a paltry 20 percent share of support. They’re stuck in the mid-teens or lower."
We should all remember the 2012 Republican primary race when there was a different front-runner almost every week. We could easily see a different candidate winning Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. We could see polls fragmenting in all sorts of directions.
And let's not forget the expectations game in which lesser known candidates do better than expected and stronger candidates tank.
There are a lot of very experienced and talented people likely to run, a number of whom could catch fire if they are able to up their game when it counts.
There are many considerations, including how much money will be available to allow weaker candidates to continue, polling numbers that thin the field and, as noted above, the expectations game for early front runners who just never manage to distinguish themselves beyond a certain point.
We haven't even mentioned the Tea Party vs. establishment Republican dynamic, and how that will play itself out.
Lot's to think about.
Yes, I believe it will be Jeb Bush, but this is going to be crazy.
Labels: 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Jeb Bush