Election 2012 is in the books and President Barak Obama is sitting in the lame duck seat, thanks to a nine million fewer votes mandate. His conquered foe, Mitt Romney, can take consolation that he came closer (percentage wise) to Mr. Obama than his predecessor in 2008 but Republicans must still be scratching their heads that their 2012 nominee pulled in two million fewer votes than four years ago.
Forget all this wondering what went wrong. Both guys managed to underachieve with their electorate. Let's look ahead. And while we do so, let's accept one fact about 2016: The race for the White House has already begun, and it will be a competition between two parties that will be changing daily.
So who will be packing their bags and heading to Iowa before the ink dries on the confirmation papers in the Electoral College?
On the Republican side, we're hearing enough prospective candidates to fill a medium-sized football stadium. Seems it's popular to go ahead and get that name out there. Apparently four years is only a drop in the political time bucket, and we must get our fundraising mechanisms churning.
To the business at hand: see if this list of Republican wannabe nominees matches yours. We're limiting the number to what we believe are the most obvious, but in no particular order.
(1) Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan: It seems a given that the losing number two person in the previous election is given a leg up for the next go 'round (Sarah Palin thankfully excluded). Ryan can keep his name in the forefront as a Congressional rabble rouser, and he will fit the mold of the new Republican Party which will be uber conservative.
(2) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: All His Heaviness has to do is successfully remove from Republican memories that image of him giving President Obama a big hug during the Hurricane Sandy visit. That may be quite a chore. The very conservative wing of the party, which will most likely become the mainstream, has a long memory. Still, Christie has a national following that may be tough for other challengers to match.
(3) U.S. Senator Marco Rubio: The man who many thought would make an excellent VP nominee this time around is definitely in a position to make a run. After all, he comes from the Land of the Eternal Vote Challenge, Florida. That fact will come in very handy if he wins the top spot and has to take on certain Democrats.
(4) Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: This Bush could very well be the number one contender out of the gate. He has a conservative record, but whether or not it's conservative enough for the Tea types will remain to be seen. His record as governor would most likely offset any criticism of his genes. And, Bush could be the only Republican on the horizon who could appeal to the growing Hispanic population in the country.
(5) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Tea-type Republicans love the guy, and that particular segment will become even more powerful as the party becomes more conservative now that another moderate has failed to win the White House. Walker survived a recall against Democrat activists and unions, two groups that make conservative Republicans foam at the mouth. That may be the only item on his resume that means a thing.
(6) South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley: A female of Indian descent. What else needs to be said as Republicans seek to shake the "Party of Old White Men" label. Haley is loved by conservatives. Her big worth to the party may be as someone's VP, but it seems Republicans must have at least one woman in the mix for the top spot. Haley passes all other potentials.
Other Republicans who may put their pinky into the political waters: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul and Condoleeza Rice. Surely there will be others.
Now, the $64 question. Who will Democrats pick to continue their control of the White House for at least another four years? Out of courtesy for Hiz LameDuckness, no one will begin talking in earnest for at least a year. That will not, however, limit speculation.
The top two possible contenders will be no surprise. What may be a little testy, though, is the number of candidates who will come piling out of the woodwork in year two or three of the final Obama administration. See if you agree.
(1) Vice President Joe Biden: It is only natural that the number two guy will want to be numero uno. In fact, at a campaign stop in this year's election Biden told listeners they would be voting for him in 2016. His only problem is that orifice between nose and chin. It will take a lot of self control, a lot of managing and a lot of silent treatment from an adoring media on any Joe-isms that pop outta the pie hole. That may be a very tall order, especially over a four-year period.
(2) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: When won't her name come up in the 2016 conversation. Forget it when she says she isn't running. Remember it when she says she's being asked and hasn't decided. Believe it when she announces. Clinton has one major negative to overcome when she runs: if the Republican Party is defined as that of old white men, will her name at the top of a ticket make Democrats the party of the old white woman?
(3) Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Emanuel could very well put Obama in the delicate position of having to choose between a long-time friend and supporter and his own vice president. It's no secret Emanuel is always thinking up. The challenge would be to shift political power in the country from D.C. to Chicago. Never, ever count out Chicago when it comes to politics.
(4) San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro: Castro made quite an impression at his party's national convention. Even his mother was impressed. And, if a nation can elect a Hussein to the White House it can surely choose a Castro.
(5) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Like his dad Mario, young Cuomo wants bigger and better things. All he has to do is improve on his father's political record (a particularly easy chore) and his stock should continue to rise.
Without explanation, other Democrats who may decide to stake a claim at the nomination include U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. O'Malley and Patrick, both African Americans, may find themselves at the top of the running mate list if either decides to forego challenging for the top spot.
There will be no end to the 2016 "who's it gonna be" hype. One factor which may determine who does and doesn't could be the 2014 mid-term elections. If the President's programs do not show improvement and if Republicans make gains in both houses of government, even more candidates could read the voters actions as signs they should enter the fray.
Our desire is to see as many run as possible. The more who run, the more who will be covered in mud. They deserve it.
In a time when voters seem reluctant to come out in support of their candidate it's always a pleasure to see people who believe in exercising their right. Thus said, we want to offer our sincere congratulations to the fine people in Florida's (naturally) 18th Congressional District. There, Democrat Tim Murphy edged out Republican incumbent Rep. Allen West by just over 2,400 votes. In this race, we're told 141 percent of the persons registered to vote showed up to cast ballots.
We do not have information at this time telling us how many of that 141 percent were deceased.