Presidential Campaign

Waiting for 2016: Elizabeth Warren, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and David Petraeus

“To win, President Obama and Mitt Romney each seemed willing to say almost anything,” said Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post on Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day.

This is a good day for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who so hoped for an Obama win that he embarrassed himself during the tragic storm in New Jersey by virtually endorsing the president. And it would then be a good day for Jeb Bush, who sees himself as Christie’s No. 2 in 2016. A Romney victory would have prevented that future for the Bush Dynasty.

{mosads}And it is a bad day for Bill Clinton’s wistful and unlikely dynasty, as his hopes are dashed now for Hillary in 2016. No question, the Dem nomination in 2016, the party threadbare after eight years of Obama, will go to that charming Okie grandmother, Elizabeth Warren, the anti-Sarah Palin who brought heart and guts and corn pones and countrification from the hardscrabble heartland to Harvard and got more votes at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention than any candidate ever. But it is a very good day for Palin too, who will now, as she said clearly last month, challenge the very existence of the Republican Party and the Eastern establishment as she has been doing from the first.

It is she who will advance the real themes beyond the insurgent cracker uprising that is the Tea Party: states’ rights, sound money and constitutional government. But Texas Gov. Rick Perry could bring them to the mainstream. Bush is too close to the establishment, Palin too close to the hillbilly fringe.

WHY THE REPUBLICANS LOST: To paraphrase the Divine Miss M, when it is 3 a.m. in LA, it is still 1957 in the Republican Party. The recent Republican primary proved one thing: Republicans are provincial. They hope to hold on to a dead past and it has prevented them from moving forward. My daughter, in high school then, said in watching one of the Republican debates that “they don’t seem normal.” The Beatles have landed and the Republicans are still trying to promote the surefire and steady Perry Como list. They have fallen under the malevolent influence of the few and the strange; the few who work at The Weekly Standard and its tailings with their freakish and nihilist assertions like, “Jesus told his followers to carry swords.” And most in the lineup — Romney in particular — are to culture and politics as Lawrence Welk is to music and dance. Provincialism is a way of saying, “go away, we don’t like you” and voters get the message: And the Confederate subset that decries itself to be “Christian” with signs following, nationalizing the rebel yell of George Wallace and Jerry Falwell, in hopes of a return to the 1800s, carries an odious suggestion.

A third party, for the first time since the 1830s, now has two wings, the one conservative with Ron Paul, the other liberal with Gary Johnson. These are birth pains. But we do not need a new political party. Conservatism needs to build a new party within the framework of the existing Republican Party, just as the Democrats did between the age of Eleanor Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson and the age of Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. The time is getting right for this and the shoe fits Palin, Rick Perry and potentially David Petraeus to bring maturity here in 2016 and for Chris Christie and Jeb Bush to bring opposition.

Tags Bill Clinton Elizabeth Warren

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