Will Republicans Learn From The Romney/Kerry Problem?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Democrats, Obama, Romney

Disclaimer: I’m going to brag a little bit.

I predicted that Romney was the John Kerry of the Republican party in October 2011…

Do know I think Romney will take it and ultimately lose because he’s the John Kerry of the Republican party…only less politically successful…but it’s an interesting trend nonetheless.

And, in a separate post in January of this year, I outlined the similarities…

And how about between 2004 and 2012? Although this time it’s not a comparison between the GOPers, but between Mitt Romney and John Kerry.

  • Massachusetts politician
  • Super wealthy
  • Base isn’t excited about him
  • Is seen as a flip-flopper
  • Voted for or implemented key policy of opponent. For Kerry it was the Iraq war. For Romney it’s mandated health care.
  • Running as the “Anybody But” candidate

Why am I bringing this up? Just want to brag? Of course…not.

No, but here’s the thing…Republicans in 2012 fell into the same trap that Democrats did in 2004. They nominated a guy who was stiff, cold and didn’t stand for much. And Dems did that TWICE. First with Gore in 2000 and then on to Kerry. But then they got wise. Yes, they could have nominated establishment Hillary in 2008…but they didn’t. They went with the wild card. And they have now won big twice.

So…here’s another prediction I’m willing to make. The Republicans are going to make the same mistake in 2016. The name on everybody’s lips right now is Jeb Bush…and barring any craziness…I’m almost certain he will run. He has a much more progressive outlook on immigration reform so he can court the Hispanic vote and he passed a series of health care and tort reforms in Florida that will make the conservative base swoon. Nobody else is in a position like him. But he’s going to lose.

No, he’s no Al Gore or John Kerry. He’s not bloodless. But he’s not exactly charismatic either. Here’s his 2012 RNC speech.

Basically, he won’t be bringing anything new to the table. Republicans need somebody who they can be passionate about. And I’m betting that in 4 years time our economy will be in a much better place and Obama will have passed a number of moderate policy initiatives that neutralize anything that Jeb would want to do to appear more moderate.

So who is the guy? Marco Rubio. He’ll be 45 in 2016 and he has the energy and passion to get the Republicans fired up again. His speech at RNC 2012 was fantastic and it certainly mirrored the response Obama got in 2004. He would have an obvious appeal to the growing Latino base and he has Tea Party bonafides…without coming off as stringent or cloying.

Now, I suppose Jeb Bush could get nominated and pick Rubio as his Veep. Jeb is already on the record as saying Rubio is ready. But that would feel like Biden getting the nomination and having Obama riding shotgun. Just doesn’t excite the collective imagination.

Republicans, you have been warned.


This entry was posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2012 and is filed under Barack, Democrats, Obama, Romney. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Will Republicans Learn From The Romney/Kerry Problem?”

  1. Tillyosu Says:

    After a total of 8 years with Obama in office, this country is going to be as tired of the democratic brand in 2016 as they were of the republican brand in 2008. And I seriously doubt the republicans are going to nominate Bush in 2016, but even if they did, who’s he going to lose to? Hillary? Biden? O’Malley? Do you really think any of these old white people are going to be able to put together the same coalition that Obama did?

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    They don’t have to put together the same coalition that Obama did. Obama will continue to do that. This is a YOUNG guy. He’ll be 56 when he leaves office and he’s going to campaign his ass off for the Dem nominee in 2016. Just read the newest post to see why Republicans have an even bigger disadvantage than many first thought.

  3. cranky critter Says:

    There will be a favorite of the angry white conservative bloc, and a favorite of the pro-business bloc that is less motivated by social issues, and maybe a proto-libertarian.

    I fully expect Chris Christie to the pro-biz bloc favorite and win the nod unless he has a coronary. I expect Paul Ryan to be angry so-con mob favorite. Jeb Bush? We’ll see. My guess is the nation is bushed-out: Daddy was a tax raiser and little brother was an empty suit.

  4. Tillyosu Says:

    Justin you are seriously delusional if you think Obama is going to be campaigning for the democratic nominee in 2016. And even more delusional if you think his coalition is going to vote for his old, white successor just because he says so. It’s just in America’s DNA. We’re pretty much done with a president after 8 years. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Reagan campaigned for Bush, Clinton campaigned for Gore, or Bush campaigned for McCain.

  5. Jim S Says:

    Tillyosu, Gore didn’t want Clinton to campaign for him (And that was considered a mistake by many.), McCain certainly didn’t want Bush to campaign for him and I don’t think Reagan’s health by the end of his 8 years allowed for it. I can see both Obama and both Clintons campaigning for the Democratic nominee in 2016. And I don’t see any candidate on either side who will be that strong.

  6. Tillyosu Says:

    Right, that’s my point. Why would Gore or McCain not want their predecessors to campaign for them? Because if they did, they’d not only have to sell their own vision for the country, they’d have to defend the former president’s record. I feel like you and Justin may be a bit pollyannaish on how American’s will feel at the end of Obama’s second term. Like it’s the coming of some Golden Age. For evidence to the contrary, I’d just point you to…the last four years.

  7. khaki Says:

    Interesting view of presidential approval polls:

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-presapp0605-31.html

    Only president to end with a higher approval than when he started was Clinton. Facinating. So I would think the answer to whether Obama will campaign for the Dem candidate in 2016 is whether he can be like Bill and have a high approval rating when he finishes his second term, and alson be NOT like Bill and avoid a scandal.

  8. Jim S Says:

    I think that this slow recovery will continue so long as Europe and/or Asia don’t collapse too drastically. If they actually begin recovering at all and the economies in South America and Africa improve any at all then our recovery will speed up and the chances of any good Democratic candidate will be good.

  9. mdgeorge Says:

    Tillyosu: were you one of the folks who was surprised by the outcome of the recent elections? If so you may want to reconsider your prognostications about how everyone will be sick of Obama in light of your prognostications about how everyone was already sick of Obama. If not, I apologize for engaging in guilt by association.

  10. Angela Says:

    Jim, what do you consider to be a recovery? In my view, our economy is adjusting and changing, there will be no going back. In the community where I live we have a company that manufactures those little twist ties you find at the end of your bags of bread. I was surprised to learn that their main material is bought from overseas. Just yesterday there was an ad in the paper “Plastics company for sale.” Some of our meat packing plants are owned by Korean companies. Look around. Where are the jobs going to come from? Where’s the tax revenue going to come from? All our politicians have offered is a band-aid, nothing more. Noone wants to confront the real issues head on.

  11. Angela Says:

    Obama won’t be able to leave office with a rainbow trailing behind him. Its just not going to happen.

  12. Jim S Says:

    A recovery is when things are getting better. I never said it was a great recovery, but it is a recovery. It is true that no one is confronting what I consider to be the real issue, which is what the confluence of offshoring and technology that eliminates jobs is doing to us. But it’s not just one party guilty of that denial of reality.

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