After a long period of time, it is the glorious return of Republican presidential power rankings.
1. Rand Paul: Everyone's favorite "civil libertarian." Paul spent portions of the Congressional recess giving away free Lasik surgery to random constituents. During that time, he also tried to say that Lasik surgery is the perfect example of how the free market can impact health care coverage. Obviously, Lasik surgery is an elective procedure and is highly automated compared to say general practitioner of medicine, but whatever. According to Public Policy Polling's last national poll, Paul has received 16% of the vote with Republicans, leading the field. He appeals more to the older set of Republicans and fares just as well with those who consider themselves somewhat conservative or very conservative. Paul also made statements about a week ago stating that President Bashar al-Assad has been a friend of Christians in Syria. While it made many people, including myself, scratch their heads for a second, it also made sort of sense. Ron Paul, Rand's father, did not have much support from the evangelical wing of the Republican party. A lot of people assume that the younger Paul made these statements to help shore up support with the religious right.
2. Ted Cruz: The Junior Senator from Texas who was elected in 2012 as he played up to his Tea Party rhetoric. Casino tycoon and former Newt Gingrich benefactor Sheldon Adelson did not list Cruz as one of his early 2016 contenders. Paul was not mentioned either. Cruz also stated that he's somewhere in between isolationist Rand Paul and hawkish interventionist John McCain on foreign policy. His foreign policy is focused directly on protecting U.S. national security. So, while he does not support an intervention in Syria. He would support an intervention in Iran if Iran was on the verge of creating nuclear weapons. Cruz was critical of Obama for focusing on international standards rather than protecting U.S. national security. But he said that the military strikes would be too small. Of course he claims he would oppose larger action, too. But not too long ago, Cruz stated that we should go into Syria, locate the weapons, secure or destroy them and get out. Cruz continued to show his failure of the subject of history. Cruz stated that the U.S. Senate would be better if there were 100 Senators like Jesse Helms. Helms was not an isolationist like Cruz claims. Helms also argued that gays were weak, morally sick wretches and that every case of AIDS comes from the gays. Cruz criticized a GOP opponent for attending Pride Parade. Helms also bashed interracial marriage, called the Civil Rights Act the single most dangerous piece of legislation, and filibustered the creation of the Martin Luther King holiday.
3. Marco Rubio: Rubio was the original poster boy for the Tea Party and has since distanced himself from the Tea Party. Rubio was one of the key Senators in the Gang of Eight immigration reform, in large part, to court non-Republican voters in a presidential bid in 2016. Since then, Rubio has retreated to the right to fight off the backlash and it seems to be working. Rubio also got to appear in Parade magazine which will give him full view with 56 million Americans. Rubio was critical of not only the Obama administration for the handling of the Syria conflict but also was critical of Hillary Clinton who was the Secretary of State for a large portion of the conflict. Rubio did state that the time for passive engagement in this conflict must come to an end. He also stated it was of national security interest for President Assad to be removed from office. President Obama's call for air strike is not even aggressive enough to remove Assad from office. Rubio voted against the authorization. Good news for Rubio as he has attracted money from seven of Romney's bundlers.
4. Chris Christie: Christie unveiled his first advertisement for the 2013 gubernatorial election in New Jersey. According to most, it's more of a focus on 2016 then anything else. Christie will likely win the 2013 election in a landslide. The goal of which is for him to show how impressive he is, in winning a blue state, being a Republican. Christie is still seen as a moderate by some. Christie's feud with Senator Rand Paul that started this summer has continued. Paul's isolationist foreign policy views has been called dangerous by Christie. But Steve Lonegan's dinner will have Rand Paul while Christie skips it to be with his wife for her birthday. Christie is trying to distance himself from the more right-wing members of his party and will continue to do so for the next couple of years. But something else that will hurt him in the Republican primary, should he make it there is that he signed a law that would expand medical marijuana access to children. While the law is not a giant expansion of medical marijuana, it is certainly something that other Republicans can criticize him for it during the debates.
The just a bit outside candidate:
5. Scott Walker: Walker has been a one term governor in Wisconsin who survived a recall election because of his union busting legislation has gotten a lot of popularity over the last couple of years. Walker is also up for re-election in 2014. The Capital Times reports that Scott Walker is vulnerable in 2014. Walker promised, when he was originally elected, that he would create 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term. He is likely to fall well short of that number. Walker has been ranked 40th by a California business journal ranking all governors in job creation numbers. Walker has continued to face protesters because of his controversial legislation that would strip public sector employees from collective bargaining rights. In addition, some of the Walker supporters are nervous about supporting someone who is likely to leave before the term is over to run for President.
The comeback kid:
6. Rick Perry: Perry was considered a favorite for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination but he stumbled during the debates prior to deciding no longer to run. Perry has also already announced that he would not seek re-election as Texas's governor. But this has not stopped him from attacking Democratic governors by putting commercials on trying to steal businesses away from states. Perry, who was one of the first leaders to propose secession due to taxes, Obamacare, and Obama's re-election, now has a lot more people wanting to secede including parts of Colorado, California, Maryland, and Michigan. Of course, Perry wants to secede from the union because of Obamacare despite receiving $100 million in grants from the federal government. This week, Perry decided to appoint a man who has had problems with the ethics commission for abusing his power, breaking campaign finance laws, and accepting discounts on legal fees to the state's Supreme Court.
7. Jeb Bush: Bush, former Governor of Florida and son of one president and brother of another, has been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate. Bush shared the stage with a Democratic presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, by presenting a medal to her. Bush also has an upcoming speech at Cornell University where he will talk about charter schools and private school vouchers. Education reform you can believe in.
The former favorite:
8. Paul Ryan: Ryan was the Vice-Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney during his unsuccessful campaign for president in 2012. Ryan was considered the favorite by some commentators before he has kind of faded into the background of politics. Ryan has been critical of the Obama administration and their reaction to the Syrian conflict. He believes that any military action will actually make the Syrian conflict worse. Ryan has floated the possibility of a one year delay in Obamacare implementation in a stopgap funding bill that would delay America going over the debt ceiling.
9. Peter King: Not the football writer, but Congressman from New York Peter King announced that he intends to run for the Republican presidential nomination to save the party from the isolationist wing of the Republican party. King was intensely critical of Barack Obama asking for Congressional authority for military authorization stating that Obama was destroying authority for later presidents. He was also critical of the Obama administration for not making it clear how Syria was part of the national security interest. A problem for Congressmen when they're contemplating running for President is a lack of name recognition and King is no different. King will have to make a bigger name for himself if he is serious about running in 2016.
10. Rick Scott: Scott is the current one-term governor of Florida. Scott has done a lot that would make Conservatives a fan of him. He has proposed legislation that would require drug testing of those who receive welfare or unemployment. He has also denied the Medicare expansion under Obamacare and it was only after a lengthy back and forth about what it would cost the state (nothing), that he accepted the expansion. He has also gone through a voting roll purge that seems to target Latinos. He would like there to be proof that they are citizens in order for them to be eligible to vote. It is not surprising that the majority of them are Latinos because, hey, guess who comes here undocumented? He has recently launched a tour called the "it's your money" tour. The tour focuses on his ideas to cut $500 million in taxes for next year's budget. Scott will get more attention, as we get closer, I'd imagine.