Roger Ailes for President?!

Topping Memeorandum is Mike Allen‘s wild speculation for Politico about a presidential run by Roger Ailes.

President Roger Ailes

Friends and associates are encouraging Fox News chief Roger Ailes to jump into the political arena for real by running for president in 2012, top sources tell POLITICO.

“Ailes knows how to frame an issue better than anybody, and that’s what we need now,” says one Ailes friend who is encouraging the Fox founder, chairman and CEO to seek the Republican nomination to run against President Barack Obama.

Ailes, 69, has an aggessive, winning personality that made Fox News a huge success — and a huge target for liberal critics.

Frank Luntz, the well-known Republican pollster, said Ailes could be a force if he makes the run. “I have known Roger Ailes for 29 years,” says Luntz. “No one knows how to win better than Roger.”

Talk of an Ailes run, which informed sources said is based on more than mere speculation, could escalate the White House war with Fox war in wildly unpredictable — and fun — ways.

This is a befuddling idea.

To be sure, Ailes is a smart guy with good strategic sense and a command of Republican ideas. Presumably, he wouldn’t have trouble raising money.  And, until such time as he actually declared, he could get a lot of free air time on the most popular news network on the planet.

But he’s not exactly presidential material.  While one could make the argument that “media mogul” is better preparation for president than “community organizer,” he’s never sought elective office or held comparable positions of responsibility.  In modern times, no person has ever been elected to the presidency — or to my recollection nominated by one of the major parties — without having been vice president, governor, senator, or  a famous general.

I can’t see Ailes breaking that mold.  And he’ll carry the baggage of every silly thing that Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity has ever said with him on the campaign trail.

UPDATE:  Ailes has already dashed this one, citing an obvious point that I neglected to mention:

Fox News President and CEO Roger Ailes is laughing off the entreaties of some friends and associates and will not run for president in 2012, an aide said Friday.

Ailes replied when asked about the possibility, according to the aide: “This country needs fair and balanced news more now than ever before, so I’m going to decline a run for the presidency. Besides, I can’t take the pay cut.”

Can’t say I blame him.

Correction: The original version said no person had been elected president without holding major office. As two commenters rightly point out, Abraham Lincoln (who ran for senator and lost) did just that.  The circumstances were, of course, rather more unusual in 1860 than 2008.  Relying on more than my memory, I quickly discovered that James Madison had not been more than a member of the House prior to his election.  They seem to be the only exceptions.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Media, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies 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. Schooner says:

    While one could make the argument that “media mogul” is better preparation for president than “community organizer,”

    Nice cheap shot. Let’s forget teaching law at a top school, the state senate and senator.

  2. An Interested Party says:

    This country needs fair and balanced news more now than ever before…

    Indeed it does, but that certainly has nothing to do with Fox News…

  3. floyd says:

    AIP;
    Just for laughs, tell us where you find fair and balanced news?
    “The John Steward” or Keith Olbermann maybe?

  4. sam says:

    Ah, ffloyd, dude, that would be “Jon Stewart”. And as far as Ailes goes, Jesus but the Repubs must be in some deep shit if somebody thinks that’s a good idea. Roger Who? He does what?

  5. sam says:

    And, yeah, that would be ‘floyd’–sorry man.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Let’s forget teaching law at a top school, the state senate and senator

    Neither of the first two count; they’re just not relevant to the presidency. And he was in the Senate for approximately five minutes before starting his campaign for president; he’s not, say, Joe Biden.

    He got elected president because of his unusual talents. But he doesn’t have a president’s resume, which has indeed hurt him as he’s having to learn a lot on the fly.

  7. Schooner says:

    “Neither of the first two count”

    Neither does “community organizer” but that’s the only one you cited.

    And I would beg to differ on the first. Given the complete rollover of congress to the last President it would be helpful if candidates were well versed in constitutional law.

    Unfortunately Obama doesn’t seem to be taking this seriously either but there you go.

  8. My guess is that the GOP will end up nominating… wait for it… none other than Dick Cheney in 2012.

  9. An Interested Party says:

    re: floyd at October 23, 2009 19:33

    How pathetic…wherever I get my news from does not take away from the fact that Fox News is most certainly not fair and balanced…of course, considering that you have compared the president to Stalin, it is little wonder that you would defend that “news” network…your world view is well-established…

  10. floyd says:

    Sam;
    Notice the the word “The” before “John Steward”…. The spelling was intentional.
    Except for your misuse of the Name of my boss, I pretty much agree with the rest of your statement.
    …………………………………………..
    AIP;
    You’re right, my world view is well established, but you are not likely to comprehend it anytime soon![lol] Besides it might be a better use of your time to try and establish a world view of your own,that is other than merely one of the Gadfly.

    BTW, where in my comment here did you see a defense of Fox News?

  11. Herb says:

    “Besides, I can’t take the pay cut.”

    Well I guess it’s good for the rest of us that he won’t be running. Maybe I’m reaching too far back into my upbringing, but there’s a difference between “can’t” and “don’t want to.”

    And just because Roger Ailes “don’t want to” take the pay cut doesn’t mean he “can’t.”

  12. floyd says:

    Mr.Finel
    Although, Dick Cheney has all the necessary qualifications for the presidency, I don’t think he has the heart for it!

    [For those who seek inference… this was meant to be taken literally!]

  13. anjin-san says:

    But he doesn’t have a president’s resume, which has indeed hurt him

    Lame. Bush ’41 had the greatest resume of any President in history. Aside from his fine performance in Gulf 1, he was mediocre at best. Clinton had a thin resume, and he was a damn good President. It’s a learning curve everyone struggles with. You sound like a hack.

    But hey, Ailes is looking pretty charismatic, at least by GOP standards…

  14. Franklin says:

    I’m slightly left-of-center, but the actual *news* shows on Fox News are mostly just regular news shows (at least they were when I last watched). But 94% (made up number) of the programming is opinion shows with college-dropout hosts – that’s the problem.

    And no, the other news channels aren’t much better. MSNBC is probably worse.

    And Bernard – you’ve got to be kidding! Aside from the fact that his heart is a ticking timebomb, he’s also been proven wrong on almost everything that matters.

  15. Mel says:

    Mr. Ailes has the next poss. president in his pocket anyway. Former Gov. Huckabee has both a Fox show and a daily pre-noon radio spot. Mr. Huckabee has the lead in the latest polls.

  16. sam says:

    @floyd

    Sam;
    Notice the the word “The” before “John Steward”…. The spelling was intentional.

    Ah crap, doubly sorry, man.

  17. James Joyner says:

    Bush ’41 had the greatest resume of any President in history. Aside from his fine performance in Gulf 1, he was mediocre at best. Clinton had a thin resume, and he was a damn good President. It’s a learning curve everyone struggles with.

    In hindsight, Bush 41 was pretty damned good. Especially considering he had a Democratic House and Senate all four years.

    Clinton had been governor for 12 of the previous 14 years. It was still amateur hour for the first few months before he settled in.

    Obama has the least experience of anyone elected president, arguably ever. But he actually hit the ground running strong in assembling his team and issuing executive orders early on. I think he’s stumbled unnecessarily since.

    And I don’t argue that having expertise in ConLaw isn’t useful for a president, just that it’s not direct preparation for the job. Most state governors could be president; most conlaw profs couldn’t.

  18. DL says:

    “No person has ever been elected to the presidency — or to my recollection nominated by one of the major parties — without having been vice president, governor, senator, or a famous general.”

    Gee that sounds to me like politics as usual to set up such silly criteria. Obama promised a whole new politics and merely showed he was better at the old than most.

    The score: Politics 1, leadership and the nation, (-1)

  19. anjin-san says:

    Clinton had been governor for 12 of the previous 14 years

    Ummm, Yea. Of Arkansas. Population 2.5 million, with a tiny economy. Hardly prep for the most difficult job in the world.

    And I need to give ’41 more credit, he also handled the fall of the iron curtain well. As for the Democratic Congress during his term, how is that a handicap? Under Clinton, a divided government gave us the best governance of my lifetime.

  20. This is just another example of the complete unseriousness of the Republican Party.

  21. odograph says:

    Just for laughs, tell us where you find fair and balanced news?

    The BBC is pretty good when they cover us. If you are going to choose one source, maybe them.

    Otherwise you have to construct a set of almost balanced sources. I’d say NPR is almost balanced right now. (They recognize that they have a liberal bias, and often overcompensate.) You could pair them though, say with a major slightly-right newspaper.

    Better yet, NPR plus Google News headlines.

  22. odograph says:

    Let’s forget teaching law at a top school, the state senate and senator

    Neither of the first two count; they’re just not relevant to the presidency. And he was in the Senate for approximately five minutes before starting his campaign for president; he’s not, say, Joe Biden.

    Huh. Studying and teaching the Constitution is “not relevant” to the Presidency.

    And being familiar with the working of state governments would not be “not relevant” to a President in a federal government.

    Those both strike me as silly claims.

  23. anjin-san says:

    Huh. Studying and teaching the Constitution is “not relevant” to the Presidency.

    Well, certainly not to the Bush Presidency…

  24. anjin-san says:

    No person has ever been elected to the presidency — or to my recollection nominated by one of the major parties — without having been vice president, governor, senator, or a famous general.

    I am working from memory here, but I am reasonably sure Abraham Lincoln was none of those things. You may have heard of him…

  25. Honest Abe says:

    ” No person has ever been elected to the presidency — or to my recollection nominated by one of the major parties — without having been vice president, governor, senator, or a famous general.”

    Not true. See Lincoln, Abraham.

  26. James Joyner says:

    I am working from memory here, but I am reasonably sure Abraham Lincoln was none of those things. You may have heard of him…

    True. Then again, the Republicans weren’t a major party when he was nominated. And he won under, shall we say, rather unusual circumstances.