The "Why the Hell Not?" Presidential Candidates: A Bluffer's Guide

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 24 2011 9:10 AM

The "Why the Hell Not?" Presidential Candidates: A Bluffer's Guide

To my mind there's nothing more boring than asking someone whether or not he'll run for president. Every four years, two people win major party nominations for president. One of them wins. Why spend too much time covering the rest of them? Is there some compelling reason why Buddy Roemer is more worthy of press attention than, say, the scientists who just got their new Hepatitis C drug approved? Go and make the argument. I'll listen.

Still, most Republicans remain bored or unhappy with their presidential candidates. This presents opportunities for Republicans who want some more attention. If you have not kept up on the candidates-who-won't-win-but-are-being-asked:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Advertisement

- Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, 45. Elected in 2002 (a former state senator, he carved out a seat for himself in redistricting), McCotter is known, if he's known at all, as a guest on Fox News's Red Eye and a witty (and affordable!) speaker at conservative events. THE BOOMLET: It began with an April 27 column by S.E. Cupp, who is also a frequent Red Eye guest. THE AGENDA: Making Republicans address "the challenge of globalization, the war for freedom against terrorists, the rise of Communist China and whether moral relativism erodes a nation built on self-evident truth." SELLING A BOOK? Yes. HIS CHANCES: Fox News pundits have been doing more poorly than expected thus far.

- Rep. Paul Ryan, 41. Elected in 1998, rising to chair the Budget Committee this year, Ryan benefits from a little-read provision of the Affordable Care Act which requires the word "courage" to be used in every sentence about his ideas. THE BOOMLET: Bill Kristol can't stop talking about a Ryan candidacy, because the GOP needs "a bold and comprehensive critique, and a grasp of sound political economy" in its next candidate. Republican allies of Ryan mention it unbidden; Rep. Trey Gowdy told me he asks Ryan to run just about every day. Yesterday, Eric Cantor confirmed that he thinks Ryan would be a good candidate. THE AGENDA: He doesn't have one, but when he's asked, he draws more attention to his work on the Budget Committee. SELLING A BOOK? No. HIS CHANCES: Honestly, this is an example of why the draft campaigns (if "mentioning someone on TV sometimes" counts as a draft") are so silly -- Ryan has defined the GOP's agenda for 2011. If you want to see what happens to doubters, look for Newt Gingrich.

- Gov. Rick Perry, 61. He became governor of Texas when George W. Bush left and has won re-election three times, buoyed by the businesses and humans that a low-regulation, warm-weather state attracts. THE BOOMLET: It was ginned up again most recently, last week, by Rush Limbaugh saying Perry could crack the race "wide open." THE AGENDA: He's happy giving speeches about how much better of Texas is without the meddling of the federal government, although thanks for that stimulus money back in 2009. SELLING A BOOK? Yes. HIS CHANCES: He's repeatedly said he doesn't want it, and he's polling at 4 percent in his state , which is rather worse than he needs to do.

- Gov. Rick Scott, 58. He was elected to his first political office in November, after a remarkable career in the health care industry that endured his departure from one company as part of the largest fraud settlement in American history. THE BOOMLET: It comes from "people who have talked to him" who think he thinks about it. THE AGENDA: None; it's just a theory based on his public image. SELLING A BOOK? No. HIS CHANCES: He's ruled it out today.

- Rudy Giuliani, 66. His 2008 campaign blew away the previous record for money-spent-for-one-delegate. But there's no John McCain this year. Thus: THE BOOMLET: He keeps visiting New Hampshire and polling in the single digits there. THE AGENDA: Same as it was in 2008. SELLING A BOOK? No. HIS CHANCES: His friends talk it up, but his praise of the OBL mission were something of an historic break from his old criticize-Obama-all-the-time stance.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?