Larry Hogan, Independent?

Larry Hogan Not Ruling Out A Third Party Presidential Campaign

Good luck with that.  It’s hard enough for someone with a national following to run a credible third party campaign, let alone a former governor who is unknown to the majority of the country.

There’s a lot of ego involved here.  Hogan’s smart enough to know that he could never win the Republican nomination but I’m going to guess he’s got some undoubtedly well-paid consultants who want to keep their grift going for as long as possible.

As I said when he announced he wouldn’t be entering the Republican primaries, Larry Hogan has a legacy that he can be proud of.  He was elected and re-elected, as a Republican, in one of the bluest states in the Union.  Because of that, some people said he was the future of the GOP.  (Strangely no one said that when John Bel Edwards managed to get elected and reelected governor as a Democrat in Louisiana.)  Hogan was a good governor.  He has a lot to be proud about.  The last thing that legacy needs is to be ruined with a vanity presidential campaign.

Twilight of the Kennedys

Robert F. Kennedy Jr ‘thinking about’ launching Democratic challenge to Biden for 2024 White House nomination

That RFK, Jr. has presidential ambitions has never exactly been a secret.  Right now, he’s best-known for being an outspoken opponent of vaccines but people forget that, before he embraced that particular cause, he was one of the most strident environmentalists in the country.  He was promoting the Green New Deal long before AOC ever made her way to Congress.  Before he was encouraging parents to leave their children vulnerable to deadly diseases, RFK, Jr. was arguing the the CEOs of companies that pollute should be tried as war criminals.

Before even that, a young RFK Jr. was a member of the Manhattan DA’s office.  Like his brother David, RFK Jr. developed an addiction to heroin.  David would die of an overdose.  RFK Jr. was merely arrested and spent two years on probation.  If not for his name, RFK Jr. would probably just be another unknown activist with a difficult personal history.

But RFK Jr. does have the name and, as a result, he is treated as serious person despite his history of spreading conspiracy theories.   And now, RFK Jr. appears to be poised to be the latest Kennedy to enter a presidential race.  In some ways, it would be a case of history repeating itself.  The last time a Democrat as incompetent as Joe Biden ran for reelection, he was challenged by a Kennedy.  Ted Kennedy won at least a few primaries against Jimmy Carter.  I doubt RFK Jr. will be able to make that claim.

But I have no doubt that he will try and it will be interesting to see where his votes come from.  Will RFK, Jr. be the candidate of the Green New Deal or the candidate of vaccine skepticism?

Larry Hogan is Not Running For President

Larry Hogan, the former governor of Maryland, made it official yesterday.  He will not be running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Like a lot of former Marylanders, I’m breathing a sigh of relief.  It’s not that I felt Larry Hogan had any chance of winning.  And it’s not that I don’t feel that Hogan did about as good of a job as any Republican could possibly do in a state that is as blue as Maryland.  Hogan was a good governor and he’d probably be a good Cabinet secretary in either a Republican or a Democratic administration.  Personally, I’d rather see him in charge of the Transportation Department than Mayor Pete.

What I was dreading was watching Hogan ruin his legacy by running an obviously doomed and ego-driven presidential campaign.  There was absolutely no path for Hogan in 2024, regardless of how much the Washington-based punditry claimed otherwise.  There was a chance that Hogan would have served to split the anti-Trump vote though it seems more probable Hogan would have been humiliated in much the same way that former governors like George Pataki and Jim Gilmore were humiliated in 2016.  No one wants to end their political career as an asterisk in a poll.

Hogan should have run for the Senate in 2022.  If Ben Cardin retires in 2024, Hogan will undoubtedly be courted by the NRSC but I doubt Hogan will take the plunge.  Just as some politicians are born legislators, Hogan was a born administrator.

Hogan served two terms in a state this usually hostile to Republicans.  He ended his term as one of the most popular governors in Maryland’s history.  That’s not a bad record to go out on.


President John Bolton?

It will probably never happen but it does sound like John Bolton is determined to run against Trump in the 2024 primaries.  I think he’d be better off just supporting a candidate who actually has a chance to defeat Trump but I think, in Bolton’s case, his opposition to Trump is more personal than political.  Bolton took a job with Trump, at a time when many other establishment types were going out of their way to disassociate themselves from the President.  Trump responded by telling everyone that Bolton’s advice was worthless.  Much like Al Haig in 1988, Bolton’s campaign will be about trying to win back the respect that he feels was stolen from him.

Have We Been Spared A Newsom Presidential Campaign?

Newsom vows to finish four-year term if reelected governor

That’s according to the AP, of course.  Everyone knows that Gavin Newsom wants to be President, even if everything about him seems to remind people of why no one trusts a politician.

If Biden runs again, Newsom will be able to keep his pledge.  If Biden doesn’t run, there’s no wat the Newsom is going to be able to resist jumping into the fray.  It is said that every politician, even the mayor of the smallest towns in the smallest states, wakes up in the morning and sees a future president in the mirror.  That seems doubly true for Gavin Newsom.

President McConaughey?

According to the Daily Wire, Matthew McConaughey says that he’s open to running for President sometimes in the future.

Of all the recent news that I’ve read, this is the least surprising.  It was obvious, when he was flirting with running for governor, that McConaughey was enjoying both the adulation and people asking him for his opinions.  Plus, the election of Donald Trump has caused a lot of people to look in the mirror and ask, “If he can ride his fame into the White House, why not me?”  Presidential campaigns aren’t just for governors and senators anymore.

McConaughey’s not even the first celebrity to talk about running on 2024.  Howard Stern declared his candidacy, though I’m not sure if he’s said anything about it recently.  Kanye is still talking about running again.  Dwayne Johnson obviously wants to run but I think he might be too savvy to risk his box office potential by becoming too associated with one issue or another.  Jesse Ventura has been talking about running for President since 2000.  (In Ventura’s defense, he actually has served as governor.)  If the Constitution had been amended to allow him to run, there’s little doubt Arnold Schwarzenegger would have thrown his hat in the ring for 2008.

If McConaughey runs, I wish him the best of luck but I’m not looking forward to the inevitable rehashing of the time he got arrested for naked bongo playing.  Hopefully, someone will cast McConaughey as a president in a movie and it’ll satisfy his curiosity.

Suarez … for real?

Scoop: Miami mayor eyes White House

Last year, I laughed off the rumors of Francis Suarez running for President but it sounds like he’s really serious.  The idea of someone jumping for mayor to president used to be preposterous but I get the feeling that it’s going to happen someday.  There really is a feeling now that just about anyone can become a serious presidential contender.

Questions of the Day

Is Howard Stern still running for President or has he moved on to something else?

Who among us every believed that there would be a time when news moved so quickly that a major media figure announcing his presidential candidacy would be forgotten within a month?

If Howard is still running, the Forward Party could probably use a candidate.

Trying Not To Laugh

I’m trying not to laugh at this Politico headline. It’s a struggle, though.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen an article promoting Jon Stewart for the presidency. They used to pop fairly frequently back when Stewart was still doing the Daily Show. Never mind the fact, of course, that the Very Online Left (as opposed to the Normal Left) was recently calling for Stewart’s head because he suggested there might be some validity to the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory. Stewart got into a fight with Andrew Sullivan and, for now, he’s back in their good graces. Who knows how long that will last.

Asa Hutchinson For President?

I was as shocked as anyone to hear that Asa Hutchinson was thinking about running for President.

Who is Asa Hutchinson?  He is one of the most forgettable Republicans out there.  The only thing that shocked me more than learning that he was thinking about running for president was learning that he was still governor of Arkansas.  I was under the assumption that he had served as governor during the previous decade and had long since gone into retirement.  That’s how little of a national impression that Asa Hutchinson has made.

Asa Hutchinson has been around for a while.  He’s served in a number of distinguished positions, even if he’s never made much of an impression.  His older brother, Tim, served a term in the Senate, from 1997 to 2003.  (After a messy divorce, Tim was defeated for reelection by Mark Pryor, who was himself later defeated by Tom Cotton.)  When Tim moved up to the Senate, Asa inherited his seat in the U.S.  House.  In 2001, Asa left the House to serve as the head of the DEA under George W. Bush.  Asa first ran for governor of Arkansas in 2006 and lost to Mike Beebe.  He ran a second time in 2014 and was elected as a part of the Republican wave.  He was reelected, by a record-setting landslide, in 2018.  If Asa runs for President, he’ll point out that he was reelected despite the Democratic wave but Arkansas has been trending so red that I think any Republican would have won the 2018 election.  It’s going to be a long time before even a moderate Democrat like Mike Beebe or Mark Pryor can again run a competitive campaign in Arkansas.

And now, Asa has announced that he’s exploring running for President as an explicitly anti-Trump candidate in 2024 and potentially competing with Tom Cotton for the right to be Arkansas’s favorite son.  In 2024, Asa will be 74 and, as a result of term limits, he will also be out of office.  Most people don’t have the slightest idea who Asa Hutchinson is but I think every Arkansas governor thinks that he can be the next Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee.  (Even Mike Beebe considered running in 2016.)

I’ve read that every politician — whether they be a Congressperson, a governor, or just a city council member — wakes up every day and sees a future President when they look in the mirror.  That’s probably true.  If Jim Gilmore and George Pataki can both run for President, why not Asa Hutchinson?  At least, that’s probably what the governor is thinking.

Myself, I wish Asa luck but I doubt he’ll make it to the first caucus.  If he runs, he will not only be largely unknown but he’ll also be competing with all of the other anti-Trump candidates, people like Larry Hogan, Will Hurd, and probably Adam Kinzinger as well.  And even if Hutchinson does somehow break out of the pack, the explicitly anti-Trump primary electorate is so such a small part of the body that he’ll still be lucky to be much of a factor.  On paper, Asa is the type of non-flashy candidate who could have done well 20 years ago but times have changed.  Voters want more than a resume now.