Quote of the Day – GOP Future Edition

In order to rebuild, Republicans need to identify the people who have something—good ideas, popularity, vision, and a good record. Mark McKinnon and Jon Henke

Upon seeing the quote at InstaPundit, my initial thought was, “Duh.” Followed by, “Unfortunately, nobody comes to mind” (or words to that effect).

They proffer six candidates.  Three, I’ve never heard of: Rep. Tom McClintock of California, Delegate Chris Saxman of Virginia, and Sarah Steelman of Missouri. The last two have yet to get elected to statewide, much less national office. Two I’ve heard of but know very little about: Rob Portman of Ohio and Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana. The last is a potential superstar who had an embarrassing debut on the national stage: Governor Bobby Jindal.

I’m sure there are plenty of young Republicans out there who have what it takes to rebuild the party from within over the next few years.  Out-parties, especially those who have lost a couple of elections in a row, tend to find such people.  But what about a plausible contender for making Barack Obama a one-term president?

Let’s dismiss the first three out-of-hand for 2012.  Obama’s meteoric rise from the Illinois state senate to the White House in four years notwithstanding, these people don’t have the name recognition or organization.  (Obama had already become a household name by this point in 2005.)  Both Portman and Daniels have the resumes to make a credible case they could be president.  Daniels says he’s not interested in running for office again and, unless he changes his mind by next Tuesday, it’s too late for him.

Portman is well regarded by young GOP insider types and U.S. Representative, Trade Representative, and OMB Director provide a very interesting experience portfolio.  He’s running for the Senate and, if he wins, he could be intriguing, indeed.   True, governor is a better platform than senator.  But Obama was a senator and won, so it’s doable again.

Jindal is a genius, an amazingly competent executive, and has a personal story as compelling as Obama’s.  He’s got some baggage, notably the weird exorcism thing, but who doesn’t?  And he’s clearly toying with the idea of running.  He’s going to have to get much, much better at reading a teleprompter, though, if he’s going to have a shot.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    He’s got some baggage, notably the weird exorcism thing

    Baggage? Crikey, James, that’s a full cargo hold.

    I can just picture a Jindal press conference.

    Reporter: Governor Jindal, we know you’re very big on self-reliance, as evidenced by your strong support of home schooling, so could you give us your opinion of Demon-B-Gone Home Excorcism Kits. I note the website says:

    When you or someone you love has been posessed, you want to get them to a professional excorcist immediately. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Some of us do not have the time or money. If this is the case for you, you might consider purchasing one of our fine Home Excorcism Kits. It yields professional quality excorcisms at a fraction of the cost! And with the detailed, step-by-step instructions, human error is almost impossible!

    From your experience, would purchasing the kit be worthwhile?

  2. Davebo says:

    Jindal is a genius, an amazingly competent executive, and has a personal story as compelling as Obama’s. He’s got some baggage, notably the weird exorcism thing, but who doesn’t?

    Dude, that’s a feature, not a bug.

  3. superdestrouyer says:

    None of them have a track record of conservative based performance. Jindal is just another big government pork barreller who cannot say no to spending. The others have zero record. Even Gov. Daniels grew is budget faster than inflation and population growth. In addition, Daniels served in the Bush Administration and that marks him as incompetent .

  4. Radley Balko says:

    Mark Sanford?

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    My advice to the Republicans is to stop thinking about Washington and start thinking about fifty state capitols. Put a hard court press on controlling as many state legislatures as possible after the midterm elections. If things look as they certainly look now as though they will in 2010, there will be openings, including some in unexpected places.

    2010 is a census year, followed by reapportionment and redistricting. One map drawer is worth a half dozen candidates.

  6. Mark says:

    Jindal is a genius, an amazingly competent executive, and has a personal story as compelling as Obama’s

    I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t think of information to support most of this. Maybe the last item, although I can’t say I’m as familiar with Jindal’s story.

    Can you provide some basis for the first two?

  7. James Joyner says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Jindal attended Brown University, graduating with honors in biology and public policy.[12] Although he had thought of a career in medicine or law, he went on to study at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar and received an M.Litt. degree in political science from the University of Oxford in 1994 for a thesis on “A needs-based approach to health care”. Later that year, he was reported to have been accepted at Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, and to have the option of returning to Oxford for a D.Phil. in politics.

    […]

    In 1993[at age 22] Republican U.S. Representative Jim McCrery (for whom Jindal had once worked as a summer intern) introduced Jindal to Republican Governor Mike Foster.[15] In 1996 Foster appointed Jindal to be secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, an agency that then represented about 40 percent of the state budget. During his tenure as secretary, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million.[citation needed] Jindal was criticized during the 2007 campaign by the Louisiana AFL-CIO for having closed some local clinics to balance the budget.[16] In 1998, Jindal was appointed executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, a 17-member panel charged with devising plans to reform Medicare.

    In 1999, at the request of the Louisiana Governor’s Office and the Louisiana State Legislature, Jindal volunteered his time to study how Louisiana might use its $4.4 billion share of the tobacco settlement. In that same year Jindal was appointed to become the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana System. In March 2001 he was nominated by President George W. Bush to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation.[17] He was later unanimously confirmed by a vote of the United States Senate and began serving on July 9, 2001. In that position, he served as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.[18] He resigned from that post on February 21, 2003, to return to Louisiana and run for governor.[19]

  8. Jon Henke says:

    For the record, the goal wasn’t to suggest Presidential candidates. Just people who could be considered “the good guys”.

    The “who have something” line makes a lot more sense in context, since the preceding line is “Democrats may be wrong about important issues, but you can’t beat something with nothing.”

  9. Eric Florack says:

    Henke has it correct, so far as he goes. However, as usual, the devil is in the details. The problem is agreeing on what is “good”. He and the number of others, thought that McCain was ‘good’. that’s something that not even a majority of republicans could agree upon. Until such time as we give up this solution that being “democrat light ” is “good”, we’re not going to win elections. Hell, we’re not even going to have any visible leadership.

  10. Jon Henke says:

    Um, I worked for Fred Thompson. AGAINST John McCain. Other than FDT, I didn’t really think we had any really “good” options.

  11. Eric Florack says:

    Sorry, Jon, I’d forgotten that point. And we agree; he was.

    The general point, however, remains.

  12. Eric Florack says:

    And to that point ;

    I submit to you that the reason that the republican party has no clear leaders at this point is the last twenty years in which we spend all of our time and all of our effort leading left in our futile attempt to “gain the center “. As a direct result of that, the leaders who came up through that system no longer fit the political mantra. What we’re suffering from is forgetting who we are though that period. As a result of that, we now have the problem of identifying a real conservative and identifying them as a leader in the party.

    Thompson is a fair choice politically, but I wonder about the age factor at this point.

    There are a number of other wannabes that are better positioned but are not nearly as attractive politically speaking, being holdovers from the GOP’s left-leaning years. Interestingly, a lot of these are making serious noises to the conservative side of the party, noises that do not mesh with their own records. Again, the result of the last twenty years or so.

  13. Conservatism has largerly morphed from a philosophy of government to an identity group. As long as they remain the latter, a large number of former conservatives who don’t see group identity as a basis for political action have no use for it.

  14. Brett says:

    During his tenure as secretary, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million.[citation needed] Jindal was criticized during the 2007 campaign by the Louisiana AFL-CIO for having closed some local clinics to balance the budget.[16]

    Good for him, but how was the quality of the program affected? All the above suggests is that he’s a good pinch-penny, and capable of cutting a program that tends to be front-and-center for cuts whenever there’s a state budget gap anyways.

    He’s got some baggage, notably the weird exorcism thing, but who doesn’t?

    He’s also a creationist.

  15. Eric Florack says:

    Conservatism has largerly morphed from a philosophy of government to an identity group.

    Rather the reverse.

    Politics, be it left or right, is not a game unto itself; politics is a reflection of the individuals deepest held beliefs. The political structure is a tool to keep that morality in place within the society.

  16. superdestroyer says:

    Eric,

    One of the problems with the Republican Party is that the Bush’s seem to have been determined to ensure that no new republican stars developed who could have challenged the next generation of the Bush Family. In addition, the Bush Administration seemed unable to develop talent or mentor the next generation. Also, Karl Rove convinced too many Republicans that they could get elected based upon gimmicks and niche marketing instead of developing a governing philosophy.

  17. Eric Florack says:

    While I will admit that there is a certain truth in what you say, at least insofar as the then current Republican establishment managing its rising stars in its own image (Democrat lite) I don’t know as I would so quick attribute it specifically to the Bush family per se’. Or to Rove, for that matter.

    I’ve watched Rove, for some time, and have even chatted with him occasionally, and have found his politics to be less objectionable than that of Mr. Bush.

  18. superdestroyer says:

    Eric,

    Rove is one of the reasons that Bush screwed up on New Orleans. Rove believes that everything can be handled with photo ops and niche marketing. Rove had a horrible affect on policy implementation during the Bush Administration. Does anyone really believe that Republicans should be cutting taxes while expanding entitlements? Look at how Rove pushed for open borders and unlimited immigration without a thought about the long term consequences.

  19. Eric Florack says:

    No.
    The fault their lies directly at the feet of Mayor Nagin and the governor of the state of Louisiana at the time. Response to that was directly theirs and no others. The Federal government is supposed to be a backstop in situations like that not the prime area line of defense. That is further demonstrated when you read the agreement that New Orleans signed with FEMA A few years before.

    I have many problems with the presidency of GWB. New Orleans is not one of them.

    Does anyone really believe that Republicans should be cutting taxes while expanding entitlements?

    This, however, was one of the problems that I had at the time.

    In fairness, Bush had an overwhelming majority of, in combination, RINOS and Democrats running Congress, and it is they who have the purse strings. I think that said, however, the real fault lies on trying to satisfy both ends of the political spectrum as opposed to doing what’s right from a principled perspective. Here we go again, with trying to reach for the middle at all costs. McCain, being slightly to the left of that, would have been substantially worse. That said, McCain wouldn’t hold a candle to what we’re seeing with Obama on budget right now.

  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    He’s also a creationist.

    koo….din’t know that…

  21. The reasons there’s so many “RINOS” is because conservatives don’t actually believe anything*, they just want people who are like them and willing to rob people not like them on their behalf and force them to act the way “conservatives” want them to.

    * – And merely saying you believe something while acting in the complete opposite manner doesn’t count

  22. An Interested Party says:

    The argument continues to be made here and elsewhere that the GOP has lost power because too many of its representatives were RINOs and not conservative enough and that the only way that the party can achieve power again is to go hard right…I still await the answer as to which hard right candidate could possibly have any chance against the president in 2012…

  23. steve says:

    Define hard right. If it includes the social issues group, it will be hard to win again. It will be hard to win without them also. Republicans/conservatives also need to figure out what they want to do on economics. They gave us years of increasing our debt, even when the economy was performing well. When given a chance to offer suggestions for budget CUTS, they came up with $5 billion a year (CATO figures). They may be at the point where they cannot just talk about being in favor of small government, they may need to act on that belief.

    Steve

  24. Nathan says:

    Jindal won’t make Obama a one term president unless Obama screws up royally, which, as of yet, he hasn’t. I expect to see much more of Jindal for the 2016 election.

  25. Eric Florack says:

    He hasn’t?

  26. An Interested Party says:

    He hasn’t?

    Only to people like you…who, thankfully, are only a very small part of the population…

  27. G.A.Phillips says:

    Only to people like you…who, thankfully, are only a very small part of the population…

    lol, dude how could you possibly drink that much kookaid………….

    Jindal won’t make Obama a one term president unless Obama screws up royally, which, as of yet, he hasn’t. I expect to see much more of Jindal for the 2016 election.

    And this dude must be just dipping his finger in the pack……

    Sorta like the Iraq voters, he got kookaid stains….

    kookaid, poopaid, stupaid, whats your flavor flav?

  28. superdestroyer says:

    I doubt i President Obama can screw up enough to lose in 2012. Even if unemployment and inflation are both double digit, President Obama will be re-elected in a route. Short of being caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, President Obama is a lock to be re-elected.

    The next question is whether there will still be a Republican party around in 2016 to challenge whoever is hand picked to succeed President Obama.

    Considering that there may be only 35 Republican Senators and less than 150 Republican Congressmen, why would anyone want to invest their time and efort into a failing party.

  29. James Joyner says:

    Considering that there may be only 35 Republican Senators and less than 150 Republican Congressmen, why would anyone want to invest their time and efort into a failing party.

    I doubt we’ll see those numbers. But the GOP came back from something around that in 1994. And the Democrats were pretty close to that early this decade. Bubbles burst.

  30. As it becomes increasingly clear that the Obama administration is steering this country in the general direction of socialism, the 2012 presidential election has the potential to become a repeat of the one in 1980. There is only one key ingredient missing: Ronald Reagan. For republicans to regain the Whitehouse, they will need a candidate who is well spoken, charismatic, and firm in his or her convictions. This candidate must be capable of articulating the republican message in an eloquent, yet simple, manner. This candidate must come equipped with a sensible strategy for moving this country in the right direction and the ability to motivate the public to stand behind that strategy. He must be able to stand his ground and move his plans forward with little or no compromise once elected. He must be a leader. He must be likeable. Most importantly, he must not be any of those who have so far been seen angling for the spot.

    With three successive very close elections in a row, (by electorate, not necessarily by electoral college), it will take a far more decisive victory for a republican president to effectively move his platform forward. Some of the people I am about to discuss, while electable, would lack sufficient support as president to be effective.

    Those of you on the far right salivating at the prospect of a Sarah Palin bid please be seated she’s not the one. Not only would she be rendered ineffective as president, she is not even electable. If the republican far right base foists this candidate upon us, the general election will be lost.

    Sorry Mormons, Mitt’s not moving into the Whitehouse anytime soon either. Not that I think he’d be a bad president, but losing the primary in ’08 will work against him. I do think he’d be a good choice for VP though.

    Huckabee is out as well. Get over it bible thumpers; the general public is not going to elect a Baptist pastor. He’s likable and funny, but his pastoral past will act as a lead weight around his neck in a general election.

    Many republicans are looking favorably on Piyush “Bobby” Jindal. Forget it, we’re just not ready. Enough said.

    David Patraeus is another potential being eyed, but despite the fact that we all love a decorated veteran, he isn’t likely to shock and awe in the 2012 race. He definitely has the most impressive resume of the lot. What he lacks, however, is the needed charisma. He’s a star, just not a super star. He has also claimed to have no political aspirations, and in my opinion he might even be a little too smart for the job.

    Rudy Giuliani? Well… just no.

    Then there’s Ron Paul. As an originalist myself, I like the idea of an originalist for president. Unfortunately I am also a realist, and I have long ago come to grips with the fact that the U.S. is never again going to be the country it was intended to be. So… nope.

    Charlie Crist has been posturing for a national ticket since the day he got the keys to the Florida Governor‘s mansion. Charlie is what conservative bloggers refer to as a “RINO” (republican in name only). This guy is barely to the right of Barack Obama and would never get the nomination. Thank god for small favors huh?

    Newt Gingrich could probably win with the right VP, but lets face it, his day has come and gone. Although I see him as the strongest contender currently on the market, moving into the Whitehouse is only half the battle. His 1994 congressional coup was nothing short of miraculous, but his lack of follow through on the much lauded Contract With America will always haunt him. Powerful promises are great, if you can deliver on them. Newt, however, went from a driven leader with a purpose, to the great compromiser in a matter of months. Sorry Newt.

    If there is a Reagan in the making out there, republicans had better find him soon. Considering the strides Obama has already made towards socialism in his first 5 months, imagine what a second term could bring. The steady march into socialism could easily become a dead run for communism when reelection no longer hangs over his head.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    re: G.A.Phillips June 14, 2009 02:08

    Perhaps you could refrain from your usual juvenile baby-talk for a moment and actually refute the points made…Eric feels as though the president has “screwed up royally”…who believes this other than people like you? Also, at this point, who in the GOP could defeat the president in 2012? Now, if you could answer these questions without your usual ranting nonsense…

    With three successive very close elections in a row…

    How was the 2008 election “very close”…

    The steady march into socialism could easily become a dead run for communism when reelection no longer hangs over his head.

    It’s a shame that your sensible analysis of the potential 2012 GOP field is marred by nonsense like this…tell me, if the president does win a second term, what are some of the specific horrible things that will happen? Reeducation camps, perhaps? The banning of opposition political parties? Maybe even gulags and show trials…

  32. Eric Florack says:

    My take is that regardless of what the republicans offer up the democrats are going to be rejected in large numbers in much the same way that the Europeans rejected the left there in large numbers. The honeymoon, as James has observed, is decidedly over.

    I don’t know if you saw my piece on that point, but it was my read based on the numbers and what I’ve seen of the election process over there that it was not so much a victory for the right as a defeat for the left. Republicans, in my view, can come out in front of that particular Lynch mob when it happens here in another year and a half, and for many of the same reasons.

    As a result of those reasons, even absent serious leaders on the part of the GOP they’re going to pick up a number of seats regardless of what else happens. I’d prefer they had real conservatives so it was a genuine victory for the Republicans vs simply a defeat for the Democrats, but we’ll see what happens.

  33. superdestroyer says:

    The Republicans currently have 40 seats in the Senate and 178 in the House. The Republicans are a lock to lose seats in the Senate in 2010 and the Democrats will redistrict at least 20 Republicans out of the seats before the 2012 elections. As Mike Murphy has said, the demographics are all against the Republicans. You could run Ronald Reagan today and he would not win. Single women, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, homosexuals, government employees, academics Will not be listening and do not care about a conservative message. Even Reagan himself was too stupid to see the adverse impacts of open borders and unlimited immigration. Remember, Reagan carried California twice, Today, no Republican stands a chance of winning California.

  34. Our Paul says:

    James, there is a fly in Jindhal’s candidacy that has not been mentioned.

    John Kerry was savaged by more than one Catholic Bishop over his abortion position, and during the 2008 election cycle several prominent Catholic supporters received the same treatment(links on request). About 50 catholic prelates decided to raise a stink when Notre Dame conferred an Honorary Law Degree on the President. Conservatives joined the “how could Notre Dame due this” breast beating crowd, magnifying the event, and Obama’s speech.

    John Kennedy stood up and said that he would be President to all people, and would not march to the dictates of Rome. He won that election. If Jindhal runs, he will have to make the same pledge. Guess what, nobody is going to believe him…

    And then, there is this article in that well known (cough, cough) liberal newspaper.

  35. Eric Florack says:

    It’s a shame that your sensible analysis of the potential 2012 GOP field is marred by nonsense like this…tell me, if the president does win a second term, what are some of the specific horrible things that will happen? Reeducation camps, perhaps? The banning of opposition political parties? Maybe even gulags and show trials…

    Oh, I’d say the chances of it are at least fair…

    If yesterday’s Holocaust Museum slaying of security guard and national hero Stephen Tyrone Johns is not a clarion call for banning hate speech, I don’t know what is…

    Not only have we had three hate crime murders within the last two weeks (Mr. Johns, as noted above, Dr. George Tiller a week ago last Sunday, and Pvt. William Andrew Long by an American-born Muslim convert outside a recruiting station just before that.)…

    It’s not enough to prosecute these murders as murders. They are hate-motivated crimes and each of these men had been under some sort of police surveillance prior to their actions. Isn’t it time we started rounding up promoters of hate before they kill?

    Exactly the same kind of totalitarianism you’re mocking, here…

    This is exactly what I predicted in a piece on ‘hate crimes’ some years ago. When we see supposedly ‘responsible’ members of the leftist press calling for such things… exactly as I predicted they would… I know I was right all along.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    re: Eric Florack | June 14, 2009 | 08:28 pm

    The last time I checked, Bonnie Erbe held no positions of authority in the Obama Administration nor is she a policy adviser of any kind to the president…but hey, if you want to invent, out of whole cloth, some kind of fantasy totalitarianism that will supposedly be laid upon us at some future date, I will gladly continue to mock it…by the way, in case you don’t realize the irony, you and those of your ilk are acting exactly like those on the left who were foaming at the mouth at the Bush Administration, talking of conspiracies and such….BDS, I believe they were accused of having…it’s interesting to see that you’ve become infected with the Obama strain…

  37. Eric Florack says:

    The last time I checked, Bonnie Erbe held no positions of authority in the Obama Administration nor is she a policy adviser of any kind to the president…but hey, if you want to invent, out of whole cloth, some kind of fantasy totalitarianism that will supposedly be laid upon us at some future date, I will gladly continue to mock it

    You can certainly do that if you like, but before you do consider this; THere’s been no outcry against it from anywhere on the left. And who, just a few short months ago, could have envisioned such a call being issued, without the left having diarrhea all over it? That’s as good an indication of direction as you will find in this kind of thing.

  38. Eric Florack says:

    it’s interesting to see that you’ve become infected with the Obama strain…

    Amusing… and even fair, if we discount the pattern we’ve seen over the last eight years of blaming Bush for everything. Are you sure that’s to be your complaint, now?

  39. An Interested Party says:

    THere’s been no outcry against it from anywhere on the left.

    You assume that a majority of the people on the left know about this article or even know who Bonnie Erbe is…I will remember to use this same logic whenever any conservative writes something silly that every other conservative doesn’t immediately denounce…

    Are you sure that’s to be your complaint, now?

    If you really believe that the president is a fascist and/or socialist who is leading us down a path to communism and totalitarianism, you are deranged in your thinking of him and very much deserve the label as it fits perfectly…

  40. Eric Florack says:

    You assume that a majority of the people on the left know about this article or even know who Bonnie Erbe is…

    No, I’m assuming that one or two folks on the left have seen the article… certainly enough to elicit a response, particularly since folks like Q&O and Reynolds have seen it. It’s hardly hidden. Yet, silencio, from the left. Nada. Nothing. If someone on the right were to have made such a suggestion as little as 6 months ago, you know as well as I the kind of firestorm that would have erupted. Telling, that.

    If you really believe that the president is a fascist and/or socialist who is leading us down a path to communism and totalitarianism, you are deranged in your thinking of him and very much deserve the label as it fits perfectly…

    Then you’re ready to so label around half the country? Be careful in your defensive efforts, that you don’t overstep. You see, your bigger problem isn’t what I thin, particularly, but what the voters think. And already the polling is suggesting that the democrats are in serious trouble with this guy.

  41. An Interested Party says:

    Then you’re ready to so label around half the country?

    Provide evidence that “half the country” thinks the president is a socialist and/or fascist who is taking the country towards communism and totalitarianism…