Over at CNN, Ed Morrissey takes time to opine on the state of the 2016 field such as it is. Morrissey offers some proper caution about young rising Senators as presidential candidates:
Cruz, like Rubio and Rand Paul, have only barely arrived on the national stage and are many years younger than their sell-by date. None of the three has held executive office yet. Both Paul and Cruz have only won one election in their career. All three have made an extraordinary impact as freshmen senators, but they are still mainly untested outside of a single electoral cycle.
That’s true and truth is conservatives have gotten worked up about three guys who have barely been arrived or even been tested. Some caution is needed. But then he goes on to suggest that conservatives need to focus on Governors and cites the executive experience offered by candidates like Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Susana Martinez, and Scott Walker.
In some ways, Morrissey’s advice to Republicans really comes to a pretty tired retread, “Look for a fresh faced Governor.” Yet last time, the race came down to an ex-Senator and a former Governor who’d run before. So much for conventional wisdom.
We are now in the midst of the fantasy campaign where a few unfortunate souls who may or may not run for President are all treated as candidates by writers hungry for fodder. Every statement is seen within the context of this absurd pseudo-campaign. The truth is that running for President is work. If you’re going to be the nominee, you’re looking at more than a year and a half campaigning on the road with intermittent access to your family while being under constant observation.
This isn’t easy and that’s why most of the candidates cited will not run. It’s tough for a sitting Governor to run for President. Chris Christie will almost certainly do it, but given that only three sitting Governors have run in the last four cycles (Bush, Richardson, and Perry) , it really is too much to expect we’re going to get two in this cycle. Unlike being in the House or Senate where you can stop doing your job and no one will miss you, being Governor is fundamentally different. It’s harder to bail for a year and a half when you’re chief executive of a state.
In addition, Ted Cruz has two very young daughters at home. While a trip to Iowa may be a good way to raise your national profile, is he really going to want to spend a year and a half running?
In addition, the value of being a fresh faced newcomer is simply overrated in Republican presidential politics. When have we ever nominated a “fresh faced” newcomer? Fresh faced means really that fresh meat for the media. With an established candidate like Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, we really know everything about them-the best and the worst. All these other people, we have no clue about their entire background, what minor deviations they’ve made from conservative orthodoxy that can be turned into a campaign ad by the establishment candidate, or what issues can be blown out of proportion into scandals.
Plus, I’d add to a political corollary to the saying that “the proof is in the pudding.” I’d say “the campaign is in the running.” There are lot of candidates that look good on paper but fail miserably when it comes to dealing with real life voters, think of Elizabeth Dole in 2000 or Tim Pawlenty in 2012. A lot of ink spilled talked about their campaigns which just didn’t connect with voters.
Rather than focusing on imaginary candidates that can divide us, conservatives should focus on principles that can unite us.