Sunday, June 14, 2015

Krauthammer: The Republican Candidate Racing Form - Second Edition

The Republican nominating race is a mess: a strong field, but with 10 declared candidates and a half-dozen more to come, we need a bouncer to keep order.
I've given myself the job. Rope lines separate the four categories.
(C) Second tier, with a chance to jump.
6. Ted Cruz. Candidate on the cusp. Has the best chance to join the leaders. Only 16% "would never vote for." His claimed $40 million raised (campaign plus super-PACs) suggests a serious presence throughout the early contests at least.
Chances: 5%.
7. John Kasich. My personal longshot wild card. Jack Kemp on steroids, a bleeding-heart conservative, articulate and voluble, but somewhat less disciplined than Kemp. Which can be a problem. It's entertaining when he says, "I'm not going to have Bush money; Wells Fargo doesn't have Bush money," but not when implying that if your policies don't match his on the Kasich compassion index, you have no heart.
Chances: 3%.
8. Carly Fiorina. Has proved strong and steady on the campaign trail. The question is: Can you reach enough of Iowa and New Hampshire with just a car and a clipboard? To jump, she needs to get into the debates. But to get into the debates, she needs to jump (to the top 10 in the polls). Catch-22.
Chances: 2%.
(D) Second tier, in need of a miracle.
9. Rick Perry. Energetic launch. Spoke well, looked good. He's learned that you don't run for president right after back surgery and that you need an answer to "Why are you running?" His 2011 statement that his wife said to him "get out of your comfort zone" (as governor) was the worst since Teddy Kennedy had none at all in 1979. After four years of studying and prepping, Perry looks ready. Achilles' heel: After his 2011 "oops" moment, he is on 24-hour gaffe watch.
10. Chris Christie. Damaged by Bridgegate, boxed out (ideologically) by Bush. Shows guts in openly advocating entitlement reform. It's a gamble because that's what voters say they want, but rarely vote for.
11. Mike Huckabee. A dead-set-against-entitlement-reform populist. Major social conservative appeal, but given the leftward ratcheting of the nation's cultural center, it may be less of an asset, even in the GOP primaries, than in 2008.
I've done no justice to Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, all eminently likable and highly qualified, but yet to make their move. If they do, The Racing Form will be there.
To find Krauthammers Top Tier Candidates (1-5) you'll have to go HERE. If you haven't seen his First Edition, You'll find it HERE.

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