2016, here they come

All is quiet in Democratic presidential politics, as Hillary Clinton nestles in to her campaign-to-come, save for Bill Clinton now taking shots at President Obama on his wife's behalf. But in the Republican Party, elected officials keeping their options open are making it perfectly clear that campaign season has already begun.

Note this week that:

1. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie officially took the reins at the Republican Governors Association, the perfect perch for a presidential wannabe, and surprised the other 2016 wannabes and GOP governors in the room with a surprise guest: President George W. Bush. Bush talked about his experiences as governor and president and took the assembled governors' questions. What does this mean? That Christie is making sure to warm up to the Bush family so that should Jeb, who is now flirting with a 2016 campaign, decide not to run, Christie will be the anointed one on the establishment side, with enthusiastic support from Bush-world. Will he earn it? Perhaps not, but its a great strategy.

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2. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) decided that post-shutdown it was time to get back in the news — but in a good way. So he gave a speech about foreign policy, something that distinguishes him from the "defunder" crowd of new, more libertarian  and Tea Party-backed Republicans who have moved away from the belief that the United States must maintain a strong internationalist posture in the world. Rubio, ever the straddler, said in his remarks at the American Enterprise Institute that the old labels are "obsolete" and that the GOP "has no strategic foreign policy view." Take that, Gov. Christie. And Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) too.

3. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is asking for his share of attention with an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled "How to win the Obama-Walker voters." In it Walker suggests the Republican Party need not abandon its principles in order to win over the middle, but that "the way to the center is to lead." You will be hearing more on this kind of leadership from Walker as soon as he wins his second term next November.

4. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) couldn't hear one more word about Christie's front-runner status, now that the governor's won a second term in a blue state with more than 60 percent of the vote, including winning the Latino vote. Why else would Paul, when repeating that he has asked Christie to have a beer to patch up their "feud" carried out in the media, say this week to a radio host, "I have been trying to get him to go out for a beer with me anyway. So maybe you can get that organized. Or if there's a state fair, we can go for a fried Twinkie." So cheap, Sen. Paul, so cheap.

5. Cruz met with Donald Trump. Cheap as well.

WHAT WILL THE NUCLEAR OPTION MEAN FOR THE SENATE GOING FORWARD? AskAB returns Tuesday, Dec. 3. Please send your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.