For the GOP, 2016 begins now

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The Democrats will need to pick a new presidential candidate four years from now. Will that be Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? Talk about a family cat fight. I wish one of them would invite me to Thanksgiving dinner later this month. 

Things aren't so clear for the Republicans. Who will they pick in 2016? 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry already is on record as saying he'd be open to the idea of running. I scoffed at that notion months ago in a piece in the Austin American-Statesman.  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be an interesting choice. When the drumbeats were building for him to enter the race a year ago, I urged him to ask the four living, former presidents for their advice. 

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who had a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, could truly help the GOP open its tent to women and Hispanics. Ditto Sen. Marco Rubio or several other governors or lawmakers. Sorry Donald, I think you've been trumped for the last time.

Not that anyone has asked, but my choice for the Republicans would be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. His views on immigration and education are thoughtful by any reasonable standard, and his positions on taxes and spending appear to add up. I haven't asked him, but I'd love to hear Bill Clinton's assessment of Bush's arithmetic. He was a loyal Romney surrogate, so the rank and file easily could lean his way. 

The big question mark is where will the conservative faction of the Republican Party line up next time? The neo-cons took it on the chin Tuesday night, so I suspect the finger-pointing will begin very soon, if not already.
       
Has the nation had enough of the Bushes? That's a question only the voters can decide. For now, I'm happy to have voted with my teenage daughter.  There's plenty of time to start talking about 2016. Like a day or two, right?

Freidenrich is a former congressional staff assistant. He is the founder of First Strategies consulting in Laguna Beach, California. Follow him on Twitter @freidomreport.