Stonecipher: Ayotte Should Be GOP’s 2016 Presidential Candidate
It was not long after President Barack Obama was reelected president that names for the 2016 race began to fly out as potential front runner. However, Shreveport political consultant Elliott Stonecipher says none of those names will do the job.
According to some of the latest polling, it looks to be a dead heat between potential candidates Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Democrat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the general election.
In the primaries, Clinton is massive favorite with a 58-point lead over Vice President Joe Biden on the Democratic side, while Christie holds a slim 3-point lead over Kentucky Congressman Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.
However, despite the names that are being tossed out there, Stonecipher told 710 KEEL almost none of these names will satisfy what America is looking for.
Specifically, Stonecipher said, "a new type of politician that forces a new system," is what the nation is looking for.
"I don't buy the Clinton phenomenon yet," explained Stonecipher. "I certainly don't buy the Christie phenomenon. I think when people spend 30 minutes, that's all it'll take. Get online, read some good, established columnists' writing about Chris Christie and his background. I don't think the country, Republican or otherwise, is going to like Chris Christie once they really start looking at that."
The Democratic side isn't much better either.
"I understand the Democratic Party believes that Hillary Clinton is the face of the Democratic Party in 2016 and going forward, but I will tell you I'm a little bit cynical about that," Stonecipher said. "I think they feel that and believe that because they assume she can beat any Republican against whom she runs. I don't think that's true, but I think that's what the Democratic Party believes."
And according to that recent polling, she's actually behind Christie.
The political consultant said the support for Clinton isn't about her, "I think it's about making sure they keep control of the White House."
That's part of the problem. It's identifying a problem the party wants to solve for itself, but not what Americans are looking for in a next leader. Americans want change. But what is that?
"When the change is big enough, when something big enough happens, Ronald Reagan being an example, it doesn't matter how many people in America didn't like Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan changed the Republican Party," Stonecipher explained.
Think about it this way: who do most Republicans point to and say they idolize? Ronald Reagan.
Our current president ran his entire 2008 election specifically on the words 'hope' and 'change.'
"The Democrat Party had to change accordingly [following Reagan]," Stonecipher continued. "Barack Obama changed the Democrat Party. Admittedly, he did it more with technology and a demographic group or two than he did party-wide, but he changed the Democrat Party. I don't think he changed it for the party's good, but he changed it."
An easy way to see the difference the 'change' had on both parties is looking at reelection campaigns. Mary Landrieu's first reelection ad bashes Obama for not keeping his word on Obamacare.
Stonecipher elaborated that what will win the presidency in 2016 is looking at what worked for Chris Christie's reelection campaign this year.
"Look at how Chris Christie's demography in his reelection to his governorship in New Jersey, look how different that is than the same state electing him the first time or previous New Jersey governors," Stonecipher said. "And when he did it was when he was running for reelection, although in the early stages he embraced Barack Obama and that was after Hurricane Sandy and it brought out the long knives in his own party. It has now translated into an easy reelection victory."
"It is that kind of, for a lack of a better word, bipartisanship, a new way of doing things that seems to now be catching the public's attention," Stonecipher added.
Looking at the past several years at Congress and the lack of productivity, it's causing frustration among the voting population.
"The locked in right of American politics, the locked in left of American politics, nobody's going to be attracted to that anymore," noted Stonecipher. "But what we are waiting on now is does the country think if Hillary Clinton passes the test? Does the country think a Kelly Ayotte who is in the Senate on the Republican side... is that what the Republicans need to start putting out there?"
And it might just be Kelly Ayotte who Stonecipher thinks should be on the Republican shortlist for presidential candidates, "And I think the Republican Party is foolish if they don't put her on that track quickly."
Here's his logic:
"In terms of elect-ability, whether it's her husband and his military status, I don't care what piece it is, and the fact she's from New Hampshire is very good, not bad, it just looks like to me that's the route they need to go."
Stonecipher continued, "I know she can be absolutely hardcore Republican when she has to be, but there is nothing in her record that suggests she is not just as comfortable getting Democrats in a room as she is getting Republicans in a room to get something done."
That's what worked in Christie's favor in New Jersey. However, Stonecipher doesn't think the New Jersey governor is the right choice as president because of his history, mostly before becoming governor.
A little background on who Senator Kelly Ayotte is if the name is unfamiliar.
She is the junior Senator from New Hampshire, the only Republican in the all female congressional delegation. She previously served at New Hampshire's Attorney General from 2004-2009 under Republican Governor Craig Benson and Democrat Governor John Lynch. She's also been recently named #1 on Newsmax's The Top 25 Most Influential Women of the GOP. And for those who were following the government shutdown, a group of Republicans including Ayotte reportedly went after Ted Cruz for his poor planning on his quasi-filibuster.
She was even a strong favorite to be former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.
Where's the Tea Party in all of this?
"We've also learned that the Tea Party can defeat candidates, but we can't see other than Ted Cruz where there is a great example of a Tea Party candidate winning something," said the Shreveport political consultant. "Ted Cruz did. Look how that's playing nationally. It's not playing well at all. So, it started in the state, Texas in Ted Cruz's case and it was validated in Texas, but it could transfer, did not transfer nationally."
Although Rand Paul is popular in the early polling, Stonecipher said he isn't the one either.
"I don't think the Rand Paul phenomenon can do anything more from the Republican side than it already has," Stonecipher explained. "The same thing with Ted Cruz. I think we are looking for something new."
While the Tea Party brand may work for local and congressional elections, it isn't as valuable as it once was.
"I believe the Tea Party now has negatives high enough that there is no advantage in continuing to try that," reasoned Stonecipher. "In Ted Cruz, and in a sense Rand Paul, we see what truly different, sold out to it, committed to it different looks like. It plays well, but only in certain places. And it doesn't play well enough in enough places for that person to be a president."
But, Stonecipher clarified that it's not that the establishment is right or will win the White House.
"We tried all of that. Just like we tried Barack Obama," stated Stonecipher. "It didn't work. People are going to have to figure out why it doesn't work and they are looking for somebody who is so obviously honest, so provably honest, that that's who they are going to gather around."
And it's not a politician who will just arise on the scene.
"We're never again going to see in our lifetimes another 2008 Barack Obama kind of phenomenon. The country had to try that out. And the country tried it and the country found out that Barack Obama was no different, no better, no worse than anybody else. He was just another Democrat that couldn't do the things he said he could do."
That's why he points to Ayotte as not just a candidate for president, but a change the political system needs. Stonecipher notes her background and record are extremely impressive as a hardcore Republican, a politician who has proven to work well with everyone, and doesn't have the baggage Chris Christie has.