Who's The Likely Nominee in 2016? No One, that's Who. Now Stop.

| December 9, 2012 | Reply

No. We are not going to do this now.

Hillary Clinton is among the most popular politicians nationwide and is the clear choice for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, according to recent polling data.

A new poll released by Public Policy Polling found 51 percent of respondents have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton, while 29 percent view her unfavorably.  On the Republican side, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie received a 48 percent favorability rating, with 26 percent of respondents viewing him unfavorably.

These polls, which are worthy only of our ridicule, exist for two reasons: 1) A bunch of consultants have tossed considerable coin to the pollsters to conduct them, and 2) because media knuckleheads eat them up like a bunch of kids on Free Jellybean Day at the candy store.

I can understand the first reason. Consultants have candidates to prop up and foundations to build for an election four years’ hence. They also have millions of dollars to throw around like they’re trying to set a record for most boobs flashed during Mardi Gras. They’re not spending their own money, so why not toss a few grand at pollsters desperate to make up for the debacles of the last election? That second reason, though? I don’t quite get that. Sure, journalists have to cover something, but aren’t there other stories they into which they could dig? The more than 300 people killed by President Obama’s Fast and Furious guns are still dead. Our Ambassador to the United Nation still lied through her teeth about who killed our countrymen in Benghazi. The debt is headed toward $20 trillion dollars faster than a BB shot from an orbital rail gun.

There are other things to talk about.

But reporters love this sort of stuff. It makes them feel smart, like they’re actual thought leaders instead of easily-replaced thought repeaters. They love it more when none of us hold them accountable for their empty journalism. Here is a story from December 5, 2008 featured on CNN’s website.

Barack Obama is more than six weeks away from assuming the presidency, and the next Iowa caucuses are more than three years away, but a national poll out Friday suggests that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin top the list of potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls.

Huckabee leads in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Friday. The survey is an early measure of possible support for the next GOP presidential nomination.

So, how did Big Huck work out in 2012? How far did the Palin avalanche roll? More importantly, what price did CNN pay for commissioning this poll and running this story?

Here is another article, from the WaPo blog The Fix, dated November 21, 2008. You’re going to love the headline.

The Friday Line: Ten Republicans To Watch

This “I gazed deeply into my crystal ball of awesomeness and this is what I saw” piece chose ten Republicans who “will emerge to rebuild the Republican party following its decimation at the ballot box in 2006 and 2008″? First, though, a caveat.

To be clear, this is not — and should not be taken as — a list of potential contenders to take on Barack Obama in 2012. Some of the people on this list will certainly be in the Republican field in four years time but others almost certainly won’t.

Fair enough. I consider “some”, by the way, as four or five. How many on the list ended up as major players in the Republican nomination? Let’s see, shall we? Here’s the list.

10. Steve Poizner
9. Haley Barbour
8. Jon Huntsman Jr.
7. Eric Cantor
6. Mark Sanford
5. Bob McDonnell
4. Mitch Daniels
3. Mitt Romney
2. John Thune
1. Bobby Jindal


Chris Cilizza, who is accorded quite a bit of authority as an astute political observer got two out of ten, and I am being charitable considering that Jon Huntsman dropped out of the race almost 11 months before the election. Twelve people actually ran for the nomination and Cilizza accurately picked two of them.

Why is he an expert again? How does he have credibility as a political commentator, especially of the Republican Party? He would have been much better off had he written this:

Look, my editors really want me to write a piece about what the Republican field will look like in three years or so. I can’t. I don’t have the prescience to predict the future. Quite literally anything could happen between today and the Republican National Convention in 2012. A potential candidate might suddenly announce he was having an affair with a fashion model, for instance. Or perhaps a Governor might decide he’s just fine where he is for now and not leap headlong into what is likely to be a bruising primary battle. I could throw up a list of a dozen randomly-picked Republican politicians and make up some cock-and-bull story about why they’d make a super-awesome nominee, but it would carry as much weight as a gnat with a wicked case of consumption.

I don’t know who the real players will be. I know who they could be, but that list would be a couple of dozen names long. Four years is an awfully long time and my Magic 8-Ball isn’t the Oracle at Delphi. If it were, I’d have won the lottery years ago and this column would be datelined from somewhere on a lovely tropical beach.

Here is my advice. Ignore the “who will run in 2012″ articles. They’re all guesswork, and bad guesswork at that. No one knows, including the people who will eventually run for the nomination themselves. Relax. Prepare for the inauguration and President Obama’s historic term. Watch him carefully and hold him accountable for his campaign promises. See what we can do to pull ourselves out of a dreadful recession. Seek out those doing good work in Congress and look to replace the ones who aren’t doing what you want. Enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Day. Get into a snowball fight with your kids when the flakes hit the ground. Live your life. The 2012 race will still be here when you are finally ready to pay real attention to it in 2011. For my part, I will keep my eyes on the big list of potentials I have, cross some off and add others. When the time is right, and I can make a reasonably intelligent prediction about who the true movers and shakers will be, I’ll put it right here so you can read it and judge me accordingly. Today, though, is not that day.

I would respect a column like that. I would consider the journalist who wrote that honest and worth my continued readership. Cilizza didn’t do that, though. Neither did CNN. And that, among many other reasons, is why I pay attention to neither one when election time rolls around.

And I won’t pay attention to any media outlet that handicaps the 2016 race today. Neither should you.

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Category: Political Pontifications

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