The Fiscal Cliff talks have cooled and so that means I can turn my eyes to 2016, again.
1. Chris Christie- That didn't take long, did it? 2016 is a long way away. But, unless something catastrophic happens over the next 3 years, Christie should be the prohibitive favorite for not only the Republican nomination but the presidency, itself. Christie blasted Congress, recently, over the fact that he hadn't passed aid for Hurricane Sandy. Christie has been praised by both Republican and Democratic commentators for his actions. Christie is already one of the most popular politicians in the country, behind only Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. Among Democratic party identifiers, Christie is behind only Biden and Clinton. Christie's favorability among Republicans is very high as well 57/25. The Republican party would be wise to have Christie as their nominee. He appeals not only to Republicans but to Independents and Democrats, as well. He stands a strong chance of, not only, being the Republican presidential nominee in 2016 but being the next president of the United States.
2. Marco Rubio- Rubio has been in the news lately, being a spokesperson for the Republican party during the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. Rubio remains a popular choice among the Republican base. His favorability among those who identify as very Conservative is 75/11. Among Republicans, his numbers are fairly high, as well 62/8. Rubio voted no on the Fiscal Cliff Senate deal. Some have speculated that Rubio voted no as part of a strategy for later. As big votes like this will certainly be a subject in the Presidential primary debates.
3. Jeb Bush- Bush has remained elusive about whether he will run in 2016. Stating to Charlie Rose that he has not made a decision about whether to run in 2016. He also maintained that the demographics of the country are changing and the Republican party needs to catch up with these changes. Bush cautioned that how the Republicans message their view needs to change, as well. Bush's name will come up again and again over the next three years.
4. Mike Huckabee- Huckabee raised a bit of a controversy when he stated that the Sandy Hook shooting was, at least, partially because God is not allowed in schools. This claim was mocked by most center to center-left of the commentators. Huckabee's favorability is 38/39 overall. With only a 27/47 among moderates. But those who are Conservatives really love him. I imagine it will grow. Among those who are somewhat Conservatives (60/21) and very Conservatives (77/12), he is very strong. His recent comments will likely make him more popular among those groups. If the Republican party decides to run a more Conservative candidate, Huckabee might be the guy.
5. Bobby Jindal- Jindal has been out of the news recently except for his somewhat recent notion of advocating for women to be able to buy birth control pills over the counter. A majority of Americans support birth control and Jindal wants to stop the politicization of it. This issue would definitely be brought up in a presidential primary debate. Jindal could easily be a vice-president to shore up social moderates, at least in that regard.
6. Rand Paul- Paul was another Senator who voted against the Senate proposal to the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. Paul slammed the Senate deal. Paul was named to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been courting many pro-Israel advisors and politicians. Paul is also visiting Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which have had some commentators questioning Paul's national intentions.
7. Paul Ryan- Ryan's vote in the Fiscal Cliff talks might haunt him three years from now. Ryan voted with Obama and against a majority of his GOP colleagues and voted to end the fiscal cliff. Ryan also voted against the bill to help relieve victims of Hurricane Sandy. Both of these things will be thrown in his face if he ran in 2016. He can be attacked on both sides for these votes.
8. Kelly Ayotte- I'm kind of spitballing here. Ayotte hasn't been mentioned recently, as far as I can tell. More of the hardcore Republicans are excited about her for her to place a hold on the Secretary of State nomination. She might appeal to more of the hardcore Conservatives out there; she has been called the most anti-environmentalist Senator out there. In 2011, she also tried to pass an amendment that would allow us to torture suspects, again. So, there's that.
9. Bob McDonnell- McDonnell has been sliding down this power ranking since I started them. McDonnell's biggest stand-out recently has been his tacit endorsement of Wayne LaPierre's statement that we should have armed officials at schools. Maybe not a endorsement. But he wants a discussion of it.
10. Brian Sandoval- Sandoval was the first Republican governor to back Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Yep. I don't think he'll be in the running. Let's try it again.
10. Scott Walker- Apparently, Walker's top ally in the Wisconsin state legislature made some ridiculous comments about Kwanzaa. So, he should probably be higher on this list, right? Walker's biggest campaign promise was to get to 250000 new private sector jobs and is not exactly doing a great job with that. So, there's that.