The NY Times Magazine cover of "planet Hillary" got me thinking recently about the field for the Republicans in 2016 and how laughable their potential candidates are.
Mitt seems to be self-deluded into thinking that he just had the wrong advertising, forgetting that it's going to be tough to shake off his image as an out of touch billionaire after his leaked video fiasco. I don't see Mittens running again.
The RNC did a straw poll of potential candidates and none seem to have any realistic chance of succeeding.
The other potential candidates appeal to the Tea Bagger crowd - Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin. Others went down in a blazing flame of incompetence in the primaries - Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, for example. Still others, like Mike Huckabee, have a strong appeal for the evangelicals and practically no one else. Of course, the recent implosion of the Chris Christie administration is taking him out of the equation for 2016.
It seems to me that we might be looking at the "powers that be" floating a serious campaign by Pat McCrory in 2016. At least one blogger and several friends have speculated as much.
In 2016, the Republicans will find themselves at an uncomfortable crossroads. They need to find a candidate that, on the exterior, is bland and plays well to the cameras and doesn't come off like a loon in order to appeal to "middle of the road" voters. At the same time, the candidate needs to have "street cred" with the Tea Bagger and evangelical voters to get them out to the polls. Most importantly, the candidates needs to not have a high profile nationally - they don't want a candidate with "baggage", like Scott Walker, that would be a handicap coming out of the gate.
Pat seems tailor-made for the role.
While we here in NC know that Pay for Play Pat is an incompetent boob, seemingly willing to sell out the legacy of his father, a respected Democrat in local policies in his home town, to get ahead. But McCrory's not really made an impression in the national news like other Republican governors, Congressmen or Senators. National voters probably don't have much of an impression of him. And that's what the Republican's money men really need - a candidate that they can mold and sell to the public.
Pat's really good at mumbling about being a moderate, at the same time, working behind the scenes to enact the Pope extremist agenda, dropping clues to the Tea Bagger and evangelic base that he's really on their side. He's also good at blaming the "previous administration" and foisting responsibility for his problems on others, a pre-requisite for any Republican candidate. The Republicans would no doubt point to Pat's switch in party from Democratic to Republican several years ago as another "plus", selling him as a "moderate" to the public at large and a "born again conservative" to the base.
Pat hired a pr expert a few months back around the time of the "cookie fiasco", but I'd keep an eye out for little clues that more might be in store for Pat in a couple of years. Take note of any mentions in the press of meetings by Pat with big money national donors or consultants from the national Republican Party or the Koch brothers.
If some corners of the Republican pundit class start dropping his name here and there and talking about the "conservative revolution" in North Carolina, be worried. The last thing this country needs is Pat McCrony anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The most important issue we would need to think about in North Carolina, if Pat runs for President, is how that might impact the race for governor here. It looks like Cooper's the likely candidate on the Dem side, but a Presidential run by McCrory would create the opportunity for the Republicans to run a less well-known candidate for the office, someone without Pat's "baggage" in the mind of voters.
Considering Pat's record so far and dropping poll numbers, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Republican power brokers in Raleigh would like to get someone in the governor's mansion that at least give the appearance of being competent. A Presidential run would foist their problem on someone else.
So, what does everyone think about the possibility of Art Pope as the Chief of Staff? You know, Pat does remind me of Bush with his governing abilities and bumbling demeanor and Pope's underhanded political style does bear an uncanny resemblance to Karl Rove.