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