(Providence, Rhode Island) – I have an exciting movie project to tell you about, concerning an issue that has stirred a lot of political debate. More about that in a minute, but first I promised I would handicap the 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls as of now, just as we looked at Democrats last week. Here we go!
Bush v. Clinton – It's not outside the realm of possibility that we could see another Bush-Clinton "family feud" ala 1992. Right now Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner, and Jeb Bush has a realistic shot at being the Republican nominee if he chooses to run. Bush is a potential powerhouse for a number of reasons. He could put Florida (and its 29 votes) back in the GOP Electoral College column. Bush, who is fluent in Spanish, has polled well among Hispanic voters (his wife is Colombian). So he could help close that voter gap for Republicans. The bottom line, this race would just be plain fascinating to cover. It's the best headline maker among the possibilities.
Candid Camera – The outspoken and gruff Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is also a good bet to run in the GOP primary. He's candid, quotable, colorful and spontaneous (which can be good and bad). The bottom line, he's a refreshing change from rehearsed speeches and canned sound bites that dominate American politics. He's the Forrest Gump "box of chocolates" candidate because you never know what you are going to get. People like his brash self-confidence and bravado. The fact that he was recently in the ultra-liberal San Francisco Bay Area for a fundraiser tells you he's serious.
Si Senor Rubio – Marco Rubio, who might be Vice President right now had Mitt Romney picked him, is a top-tier candidate. Then again he might be president of the Poland Spring water company after that awkward drink of water during the State of the Union response! I think they should call that controversy, "Watergate!" Ok, I'll stop with my stand-up comedy routine. But seriously, Rubio could be the Hispanic version of Barack Obama. He's young, energetic, and bright and has a compelling personal story. People like the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" stories. It's truly American! One caveat: if Jeb Bush runs, Rubio won't. The two are close and Bush is his mentor. In fact Rubio ran for the Senate at Bush's encouragement, after Bush passed on the race.
Ohio Rules – I seriously think we will have a contender from Ohio. Either Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman will run. Why? Because the GOP cannot win the White House without Ohio – never has, never will. Both men are budget experts, and we will likely come out of the Obama years with a federal deficit in excess of 20 trillion dollars. I'm not saying the GOP can fix it either, but Kasich was House Budget Committee Chairman and Portman was Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. These guys are number crunchers, at a time when it's going to be an asset to have that experience on the resume.
There She Goes - A big problem for the GOP may continue to be the gender gap. Republicans don’t have to win the female vote; they just need to be more competitive. I don’t think Sarah Palin will run (because she can't win); and I don’t think Condoleezza Rice will run (even though she could win). Look for a female VP candidate to get serious consideration. Rice is plausible, as is Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, a female Republican on the ticket is almost a certainty.
Longshots – Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has the right mix of political and private sector acumen. He's a possibility. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky made headlines by teeing off on Hillary Clinton in the recent Libya hearings. He really skewered her, without coming off as a bully. But, he's too closely allied with the Tea Party, and its power is starting to wane. Paul may be viable someday, but I don't think that day is on the 2016 calendar. Paul Ryan would have to give up a safe House seat and the Budget Committee Chairmanship. Look, he could not even carry his home state of Wisconsin for the GOP in 2012, and the party needs to win the Badger State to get back into the White House. Like Paul, Ryan may be viable another year, but likely not 2016.
Amazing Ops: Siege at Benghazi – As mentioned at the top, I am doing some of the public relations work for a film now in production, "Amazing Ops: Siege at Benghazi." It is being produced by some friends at HistoriVision LLC (www.HistoriVision.com) and is an important film aimed at explaining what happened in Libya on September 11, 2012. If you've ever wondered about how special operations and intelligence forces operate this is the film to watch. Look at the movie trailer and click on the link if you’d like to help make it reality! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/historivision/amazing-ops-siege-at-benghazi.
As always, if you have opinions, questions or disagreements, just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.