While e-mailing a friend recently, I found myself handicapping the 2016 Republican presidential race (my job is basically moving commas around, but since I work at a political magazine, people assume I know what I’m talking about). It grew and grew, and finally I figured I might as well post a greatly condensed version on the Corner. This probably won’t be NR’s most accurate prediction, but it is certainly one of the first; and, as usual with me, it is certified 100 percent free of inside information and relies heavily on the “think long, think wrong” principle. So here goes:
Paul Ryan — Won’t run; timing isn’t right. Will stay in House and burnish fiscal-hawk cred.
Scott Walker — Maybe. Conservatives like, but makes moderates a little nervous. Ceiling is a second-place finish and VP slot.
Bobby Jindal — Solid conservative, bold thinker, very effective speaker. Could surprise. And certainly sounds like he’s running, doesn’t he?
Marco Rubio — Not ready yet, but knows no Republican will attack him too hard. Will hope for good showing and VP nod, or else pull out early and look to 2020 or 2024.
Sarah Palin — Nah. If she wanted to run for president, she wouldn’t have quit as governor.
Rand Paul — Won’t be elected president, and knows it, but will run to spread ideas and increase influence. Will win a small state or two but basically a gadfly.
Chris Christie — Unlikely, though he is eager. Main selling points were appeal to fervent conservatives and being from Northeast, but lost former after Sandy, and latter won’t win any states for GOP. Will work hard for party and hope to be running mate.
Bob McDonnell — Will run because has nothing much else to do. Term expires early next year, so plenty of time to get ready.
Jeb Bush — A shame, but no; still too soon for another Bush.
Rick Snyder — Another rich guy? Longshot, but passed right-to-work in Michigan, so nothing’s beyond him.
John Kasich — Maybe; nobody in GOP really dislikes him. Approaching expiration date.
Mike Pence, John Thune — Solid, but selling points unclear.
Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval — Newcomers like these might have stood a chance if this were 2012, with its field of second-stringers, but not this time.
Dream ticket? Jindal-Walker. Most likely? McDonnell-Rubio.