Can she Overcome Memories of 2008?
Well, I guess she’d been out of the spotlight for too long. Sarah Palin has raised the possibility of running for the Senate next year. The former Republican vice presidential candidate told conservative talk show host Sean Hannity she has considered a possible challenge to incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska. She says it’s because people have asked her to consider it.
Palin said Begich, a moderate Democrat, should be replaced and hopes “some new blood, new energy” will emerge on the Republican side in Alaska to challenge him. But it sounds like if that doesn’t happen she’s thinking about it herself.
Palin went from an early sensation as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in 2008 to fodder for “Saturday Night Live” skits and late night television comedians. She has been a regular commentator on Fox News and it seems she likes the life of celebrity speaker and conservative guest star at conferences and on right-leaning radio and television programs.
She’s presumably making a lot of money and has her fan base intact. A Senate bid, even in Alaska, could be risky. Palin would face renewed criticism for her decision to quit as governor before her term expired and she’d have to defend some of the loopy comments she made during the 2008 presidential campaign.
It seems a lot of analysts don’t see her taking the chance next year. But then again, is Sarah Palin capable of surprises? You betcha!
Rick Perry’s Future
Let’s see, the last Texas governor before Rick Perry? Why that would be George W. Bush! Perry has been in office since Mr. Bush won the presidency in 2000 and recently announced he will not seek another term. Predictably, that has sparked speculation about Perry’s political future and whether he would make another run for president in 2016.
Some pundits would love that and have the laugh-track machine ready on pause. How can we forget Perry’s momentous gaffes from the 2012 campaign, especially his inability to remember one of the three agencies he would cut from the federal government during a televised Republican candidates’ debate.
So far, Perry is being coy about his political future, but the recent history of presidential contenders is that candidates like to get going earlier and earlier in advance of a presidential campaign. An early start may be fine but a key question for Perry is did his 2012 performance do him permanent damage with Republican voters?
Perry will have plenty of competition if he decides to get into the 2016 race, including the possible candidacy of fellow Texan and freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are also getting a lot of mention as Republicans begin to put together their White House wish list.
Hillary versus Christie in ’16?
The latest poll from our friends at Quinnipiac University shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton besting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie by a margin of 46 to 40 percent in a potential presidential matchup in 2016. Clinton also easily defeats another potential Republican White House contender, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, by a margin of 50 to 38 percent.
The news is not as good for Vice President Joe Biden in the Quinnipiac poll. Biden trails Christie by 46 to 35 percent in a head-to-head matchup, and is dead even with Rand Paul, 42 to 42 percent.
Pollster Peter Brown told me he’s impressed with Chris Christie’s favorability rating in the latest survey. Christie is viewed favorably by a margin of 45 to 18 percent among all respondents, and Democrats are favorably disposed toward him by a margin of 41 to 19 percent. So there is lots of good news for Christie in this latest poll. Now if he can just find a way to convince enough fellow Republicans that he is the party’s best hope in 2016. What say ye, Tea Party fans?
Waiting for Hillary
Speaking of the former secretary of state, senator and first lady, Clinton is getting a lot of media attention as speculation mounts about her plans for 2016.
On one hand, who wouldn’t want the attention? But Clinton has been down this road before and it didn’t end well. Remember, she was the prohibitive favorite for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and though she waged a fierce campaign, she was ultimately upset by a political newcomer, Barack Obama.
This could be a challenging period for Clinton. She has to keep up enthusiasm among her base supporters but not whip them up into such a frenzy that momentum for her peaks too soon. And of course if she doesn’t run, she will disappoint millions of Democrats and leave a much more open primary field in 2016 led presumably by Vice President Biden.
So for now, she may adopt the Goldilocks political strategy—not too much interest, but just enough to keep her name out there while her supporters keep their engines warming, waiting for the “go” signal.