Top Republicans Describe Their Ideal President: Me

Ask a Republican about the GOP’s perfect 2016 candidate, and they’ll read you their résumé.

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the podium ahead of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The RNC is scheduled to convene on August 27 and will hold its first full-day session on August 28 as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens disruptions due to its proximity to the Florida peninsula.
National Journal
Julie Sobel
See more stories about...
Julie Sobel
Nov. 22, 2013, 10:34 a.m.

Wis­con­sin Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Scott Walk­er dis­missed talk of the 2016 White House race as he pro­moted his new book Fri­day—but de­scribed an ideal can­did­ate that looks just like him: “An ideal can­did­ate to me would be a cur­rent or former gov­ernor,” Walk­er said. “Just be­cause I think gov­ernors have ex­ec­ut­ive ex­per­i­ence and, more im­port­antly, I think there’s a real sense across Amer­ica that people want an out­sider.”

Walk­er is hardly the only one these days deny­ing a fo­cus on the White House race, while at the same time de­scrib­ing the per­fect can­did­ate as someone a lot like him­self. The hope­fuls may be play­ing coy about their own in­ten­tions at this early stage, but they’re cer­tainly will­ing to paint a pic­ture of what the GOP nom­in­ee should look like—and if it comes out as a self-por­trait, then so be it.

A run­down from the past week:

— Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in an in­ter­view on Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion’s Polit­ic­al Cap­it­al With Al Hunt: “What I think the next pres­id­ent should be is someone who’s lead­ing the fight for free-mar­ket prin­ciples and the Con­sti­tu­tion, and someone who’s listen­ing to the Amer­ic­an people—not listen­ing to the es­tab­lished politi­cians.”

— Rep. Paul Ry­an, R-Wis., at The Wall Street Journ­al‘s CEO Coun­cil, after stat­ing that the nom­in­ee did not need to be a gov­ernor: “I would like to make sure we get a per­son who is a stand­ard-bear­er who can go the dis­tance,” Ry­an said. “I am fa­mil­i­ar with what go­ing the dis­tance means, and it means a lot. It is not easy to do.” He ad­ded that the nom­in­ee should “be strong on prin­ciples, in­clus­ive on ideas,” and show people “the full spec­trum of con­ser­vat­ism.”

— New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, also at The Wall Street Journ­al‘s CEO Coun­cil, said the can­did­ate seek­ing a path to vic­tory in a na­tion­al race must avoid “fo­cus-group-tested” speeches. “You need someone who’s clear, dir­ect, and au­then­t­ic and says what they think,” he said.

— In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence, at the Re­pub­lic­an Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation meet­ings in Scott­s­dale, Ar­iz.: “When I look at 2016, and I don’t have a can­did­ate that I’m back­ing, I’m go­ing to be look­ing not for some­body that says I want to go to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and run it like I ran where I came from. I want some­body that says I’m go­ing to go to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and make it more pos­sible for the next per­son run­ning where I came from to do it with more free­dom and flex­ib­il­ity.”

— And fi­nally, give Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., some points for be­ing straight­for­ward: On Monday, he bluntly told Fox News that he thinks Amer­ic­ans want someone like him. “I think they want someone out­side of, you know, what’s been go­ing on. For ex­ample, someone like my­self who has been pro­mot­ing term lim­its,” he said. “Someone who says we shouldn’t have, you know, dec­ade after dec­ade longev­ity up here.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×