LAMBRO: Skirting the lane-closure issue

Christie still leads the GOP pack for 2016

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

We’re getting closer to the 2015-16 presidential-election cycle, and for many White House aspirants, it’s already begun in earnest.

The talk among Republicans, especially in the nation’s capital, is about the early leaders in the GOP’s presidential sweepstakes and who stands the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton.

There are many forecasts floating about, but here’s one that seems certain right now: Republicans will nominate a governor who has had experience running a government, getting policies enacted in a divided state legislature, and leading.

If there is one lesson the voters have learned under the incompetent presidency of Barack Obama, it is that the job of chief executive requires a lot of training and experience. This is no job for a freshman legislator who has never run anything, but thinks he can run our country by just giving speeches.

We’ve had six presidents since the mid-1970s, and four of them have been governors. It’s a safe bet one of the major governors now grappling with the problems in their states will take the presidential oath of office in 2017.

The Republican Party has a lot of gubernatorial talent to choose from. Twenty-nine of the nation’s 50 governors are Republicans, many from big states such as Florida, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan and, of all places, New Jersey.

This brings us to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who many politicos see as the GOP’s front-runner, despite the political scandal behind the disastrous lane closings that led to traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge.

There are investigative hearings to come and ongoing law enforcement inquiries, too. If none shows Mr. Christie had any role in that tawdry business, or knew anything at all about it, he remains a major contender with a strong, national following.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he has plans to campaign across the country this year for his party’s gubernatorial candidates, picking up IOUs and broadening his national political appeal.

However, he’s going to have a lot of political company on the campaign trail. The top tier of major challengers will be fellow governors who are also testing the waters, polling voters and sizing up their chances in the party primaries.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich has presided over a much-improved economy, pushing the unemployment rate down two points and adding 125,000 jobs to the state’s payrolls. Mr. Kasich calls his state’s recovery the “Ohio miracle,” and a majority of the voters in this pivotal electoral state seem to approve of his policies. His job-approval polls shot up to 52 percent late last year.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is also seeking re-election this year, has taken a high-unemployment state and pounded its jobless rate down to 6.3 percent over his term.

Mr. Walker has become a folk hero in his party for surviving a union-funded recall election after enacting major reforms in government spending. Supporters say his agenda has broad, nationwide appeal among voters concerned about the federal government’s crushing public debt.

Others have been mulling a presidential run, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who ran a disastrous campaign in the 2012 primaries, but may try again.

But political handicappers such as The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, writing Thursday in a blog, said he still thinks Mr. Christie is “the front-runner for the Republican nomination despite his recent traffic troubles.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts