I don’t know any of you very well, but I like what I do know of you all. Let me label you the ‘anti-establishment’ candidates even though some of you play nicely with your GOP peers. I mean this in the sense that Jeb Bush seems to be the establishment candidate and you are not him. I have one concern that I suspect you share. If more than one of you is on the primary ballot, you will split the Tea Party, Libertarian, Independent, right-leaning conservative Republican vote. Jeb will march triumphantly through the primary like the children of Israel going through the Red Sea, with opponents lined up to the right and to the left of him.
I do not dislike Jeb Bush, but I think he is the wrong man for 2016, for reasons I hope to discuss in another Musing. (I said the same thing about Mitt Romney. Had people listened to me America and the world would be a safer, more prosperous and happier place today. What can you do? My application for dictator of the Republican Party keeps getting rejected.) The more there are of you competing for the nomination, the more likely it is that Jeb will be the Republican candidate for president. Even if Jeb is the best choice, it will be unfortunate and threaten his chances of winning the election if the perception among conseratives is that he ony won the primaries by having a lot of money and staying on the side while others quarreled.
I have a solution. I was going to write ‘modest solution’ but I don’t actually believe that. In fact, I think it is rather brilliant though since I am not yet dictator feel free to tell me if you disagree. Very soon, well before primary season begins, anyone vetted as a credible candidate to the right of Jeb Bush (maybe the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Thomas Sowell and a few other respected individuals and groups could choose the list) should sit down for a series of three roundtable discussions. These should be moderated, but I would avoid a severe debate format. Each of you should submit the three hardest individually directed questions you can ask your peers. I imagine there will be duplication so that this won’t be as cumbersome as it sounds. For example, every one in the roundtable will probably ask Ben Carson why he thinks he should be president despite having no government experience.
In addition, certain questions should be posed to each of you, perhaps along the line of, “What past Secretary of State best represents the type of person you would want on your team and why.” “What immigration policy will you pursue?” It is vitally important that there be fact checkers at the event who will politely counter any data they dispute, giving a chance for each of you to further explain your statements. Each statement should be open to polite questioning, pushing all of you to speak in real words, not in slogans and canned statements. Absolutely, no demeaning of anyone should be tolerated.
All of the above, I believe, should be available on the Internet. I think, however, that there should be another part that is private. I am working on the assumption that all of you love the United States of America more than you yearn to be president. Quite frankly, if you don’t, I’m not interested in you. Assuming you do, get together and come up with the best possible answers to the stupid attack questions you know you will face if you are the nominee. These are the questions the press routinely asks Republicans and conservatives that are designed to make them look like Neanderthal bigots. Work together so that whoever the candidate is, he or she has the best chance of actually winning the election.
Finally, after you have spent time together, I would like each of you to independently and simultaneously answer one question whose answer would then become public. The question is, “Excluding yourself, which of your fellow roundtable participants do you see as best suited to becoming the Republican nominee and the next president?” Hopefully, after spending time together, evaluating each other’s ideas, articulation, charisma and integrity, you will have valuable insights. Ideally, you will reach a concensus as to who the best candidate is. On your honor, you would agree to no inside deals, politicking, etc.
Mitt Romney lost a winnable election. America cannot afford for this to happen again. My hope would be that after this event, you all step back and agree to let one of you go against Jeb Bush and any other establishment candidates who choose to run. Allow Republicans to make a clear choice as to who should represent them. American soldiers regularly put their lives on the line for this country. I ask you to willingly sacrifice your ambition as this country teeters on the edge of disaster.