It seems odd given that the 2012 election is still 18 months in the future, but it's never too early to look ahead to 2016. In many ways I expect that to be a far more interesting election, given that it is likely to be an open seat like 2008. Beyond that, it looks like a very weak GOP field in 2012 belies the strength of their candidate pool for 2016. On the other hand the Democratic contenders for the post-Obama era do not inspire much confidence at the moment.

Let's assume for now that Obama is re-elected in 2012. Until we see a plausible contender rise to the top of the current GOP field we have to give the incumbent the benefit of the doubt. All the usual caveats apply – Obama is beatable, the election is a long way off, etc. But if you had to bet your life savings on it today, would you pick the incumbent or someone out of the Trump-Romney-Gingrich-Palin grab bag? I thought so.

First, elephant in the room: Joe Biden. He will turn 74 three weeks after the 2016 election. The odds that he will run seem very slim. He's not very popular on his own and unless the hypothetical Obama Second Term is the greatest four years in American history it doesn't seem like he would generate much enthusiasm.

The GOP field will have a good deal of new blood. Most of the 2012 candidates are people who are getting their last shot. Romney is finished if he doesn't win the nomination this time. Mitch Daniels, although you'd never tell by looking at him, is 62 years old and will be 67 on Election Day 2016. This is the best shot he'll get. Gingrich is already old and not very popular. Mike Huckabee is only 55 today but he would run in 2016 as a two-time loser. So it's a very good thing for the GOP that there are some prospects in the farm system. Who makes the most sense?

Marco Rubio – This guy is good. Scary good. If I am a Republican I'm grooming this guy for the big time (possibly with a keynote at the 2012 Convention) and if I'm a Democrat my mind is already working overtime thinking of how to counter him. Rubio has what George W. Bush had – that magical ability to hold far, far right policy positions but to sound moderate, reasonable, and sane to the average person. You never hear him and think, "Wow, this guy is way out there." So he not only appeals to the Teabag crowd but to mainstream Republicans and moderately attentive independents as well. He looks good, sounds good, and would have a stranglehold on a very important state. He'll be 44 in 2016.

John Thune – The quintessential Empty Suit candidate, I can see Thune garnering a lot of support from party insiders and corporate donors. He's a blank slate with good presentation skills. Teabaggers probably wouldn't tolerate him given his support for bailout bills while in the Senate. He seems more like a young John Boehner than a real presidential contender.

Jeb Bush – I don't see it. I don't see this at all. He couldn't even win Florida if Rubio was also in the race, and George W. Bush remains so unpopular that even the ant-like memory of the American public would force Jeb to run with a gigantic weight chained to his ankle.

Bobby Jindal – He never impressed me and I think his charisma is a fraction of what Republicans imagine it to be, but he'll almost certainly run. It's not clear how he carves out a niche or who his coalition would include.

Paul Ryan – You can tell that the GOP thought of him as a rising star, but he has the personal appeal of a desk lamp and once he gets done touting his plan to gut Medicare and Social Security he'll have a tough time getting elected dog catcher let alone president.

Chris Christie – If we're trying to be nice we could say he's a Republican Howard Dean, exciting but too unfiltered and aggressive to be a serious mainstream candidate. If we're being mean we could say he's a braying jackass who will be lucky to avoid being blown out when he runs for re-election in New Jersey.

Mike Pence – He's a strong favorite to be the next Indiana Governor. As a presidential candidate I see him as little more than a Sam Brownback / Rick Santorum / Mike Huckabee type who will get some acclaim from evangelicals and the Religious Right but not much else.

That's nothing to sneeze at. Rubio, Christie, Thune, and Jindal all strike me as plausible contenders if they were to win the nomination. What about on the Democratic side?

Hillary Clinton – She'll be 68 in 2016. Personally I think 2008 was her shot. She'll be the Democratic equivalent of Gingrich by 2016, a name that has been around forever but never made it to the top. She burned a hell of a lot of bridges within her party in 2008. But I don't doubt that she could raise a ton of money and mount a campaign with little effort.

Rahm Emanuel – The name is getting thrown out there but I don't see this at all. Obama clearly saw him as something of a protege, but he just seems like a corporatist tool with no charisma. He has insider skills but it's hard to see who gets excited about him in a presidential race.

Martin O'Malley – Who? Keep an eye on the two-term Mayor of Baltimore, current Governor of Maryland, and chair of the Democratic Governors Association. Currently 48, O'Malley is one of the few sitting Democratic governors who qualifies as a youngish up and comer. He presents well and has cred among different factions of the party. You heard his name here first.

Andrew Cuomo – The very polished Governor of New York, now 53, seems like the strongest candidate at the moment but I have reservations. As we saw with Kerry, the Republican Party is basically a machine designed to destroy New England liberals (especially, in Cuomo's case, "ethnic" ones).

Brian Schweitzer – The Montana Governor and former DGA chair is a great candidate on paper, moderate and popular in a typically Republican state. However, he's dull and moderate to a fault. It's unclear who would get excited about a pasty Montanan who talks about centrism even more than Obama.

Is that everyone? Of course not. More names will come and go over five long years. Just for the fun of making a long-term forecast, though, I'd say the odds are with Marco Rubio and Andrew Cuomo based on what we know today. In that match-up I think Rubio would have the upper hand, although obviously much depends on how the Obama second term goes…if there is one.

Who else seems like a contender?

51 thoughts on “FARM SYSTEM”

  • Middle Seaman says:

    2011 is way too early to say anything meaningful about 2016. Almost nothing valid today will stay valid in 2016. In 2007 it was "Obama who?" In 2011 it is "oh god, not Obama."

  • The Middle Seaman is right about questions of timing. Losing governorships in the 2010 election hurts from that angle, BUT, the GOP burned a lot of options in 2010 by running teabagging assholes like Kaisch, Walker, Snyder, Scott, and Corbett. That's burning down a lot of battleground states for no reason; it also bleeds your seed corn in those states.

    I'm floored that you think that Rahm wants to run, let alone, would get anywhere. No Mayor or House member has made the raw jump to President since McGovern-Fraser, and very rarely before, if at all.

    Your GOP list needs:

    -Sandoval of Nevada

    -Martinez of New Mexico

    -Haley of SC. She'll make a fine undercard come 2016.


    There's less to Rubio than you seem to think. He seems smart enough to hold that seat, but not to be a successful Presidential nominee. I'm sort of not sanguine about GOP conduct toward Hispanics going forward.

    Democratic list:

    -Gov. Hickenlooper of Colorado. Green energy, technocratic, funny.

    -Kamala Harris of California. (admittedly hard to see how she qualifies by 2014 or so)

    -Patrick Murphy (D-PA) as my dark horse

    -Offhand, the Senate appears to lack an obvious "President-to-be" on the Democratic side. That'll change as 2016 approaches; one of the Udalls or something as yet unseen, Tim Kaine or Sherrod Brown. One non-trivial option would be that the 2014 election returns a lot of the currently GOP held governorships back to Democratic hands and then runs for office, but that's a REALLY TIGHT turnaround.

    A Hickenlooper-O'Malley ticket would be pleasant, with an outside shot at Bev Purdue or Jay Nexon providing you regional-ideological balance.

    Other options: former Obama cabinet members who were governors or senators (Sebelius–though ACA probably kills it–Salazar, Janet Naplitano, Vilisack).

    But, as Harold Wilson you remind you, a week is a lifetime in politics.

  • Martin O'Malley? The guy from the Wire whose ambition disallowed him to do anything positive for his city?

    I wonder what kind of attacks Republicans would run against O'Malley – would they put O'Malley's face on that poster of Chris and Snoop saying "Don't wind up in a vacant?"

  • Except for the grating NY accent I'm with Fuzz. Wiener certainly wouldn't be a shrinking violet if he wanted to get something through. He's not above calling BS on someone and then sticking a banner on them w all their faults for all n sundry to see.

  • If Obama has a successful second term as far as economic performance, the current mix of governors will have decent opportunities to boost their popularity and build-up their resumes, right?

  • Just curious. How many of the candidates on this list, other than Jeb, speak Spanish fluently?

  • I was wondering how easy/hard it was to keep the same party in the White House after a two-term presidency. I made a little chart of two-term presidents (or their equivalents, like JFK/LBJ or Nixon/Ford) to see if their party could hold on after their eight-year term, or if the position flipped to the other party

    1900-1908 T Roosevelt (R) followed by Taft (R) —–
    1912-1920 Wilson (D) followed by Harding (R) FLIP
    1920-1928 Harding/Coolidge (R) followed by Hoover (R) —–
    1932-1944 FDR (D) followed by Truman (D) —–
    1944-1952 Truman (D) followed by Eisenhower (R) FLIP
    1952-1960 Eisenhower (R) followed by Kennedy (D) FLIP
    1960-1968 Kennedy/Johnson (D) followed by Nixon (R) FLIP
    1968-1976 Nixon/Ford (R) followed by Carter (D) FLIP
    1980-1988 Reagan (R) followed by G Bush (R) —–
    1992-2000 Clinton (D) followed by GW Bush (R) FLIP
    2000-2008 GW Bush (R) followed by Obama (D) FLIP

    Interesting. In the last 70 or so years (since the passage of the 22nd Amendment in 1947), there have been seven elections held to replace a president (or his elevated successor) after a two-term reign. Six of those seven led to the other party's candidate taking the White House. This is a new phenomenon – the four times before this, the party held the White House three times, and between Grant and T Roosevelt, there were no two (consecutive) term presidents. Also, the Dukakis campaign really was as terrible as you remember.

    Long odds for Team Blue in 2016.

  • I also made a chart of presidential re-elections after a four-year term.

    1904 T Roosevelt – WIN (landslide)
    1908 (no incumbent)
    1912 Taft – loss
    1916 Wilson – WIN
    1920 (no incumbent)
    1924 Coolidge – WIN
    1928 (no incumbent)
    1932 Hoover – loss
    1936 FDR – WIN (landslide)
    1940 FDR – WIN (landslide)
    1944 FDR – WIN
    1948 Truman – WIN
    1952 (no incumbent)
    1956 Eisenhower – WIN (landslide)
    1960 (no incumbent)
    1964 LBJ – WIN (landslide)
    1968 (no incumbent)
    1972 Nixon – WIN (landslide)
    1976 Ford – loss
    1980 Carter – loss
    1984 Reagan – WIN (landslide)
    1988 (no incumbent)
    1992 G Bush – loss
    1996 Clinton – WIN
    2000 (no incumbent)
    2004 GW Bush – WIN
    2008 (no incumbent)
    2012 Obama – ???

    So I count 18 elections since 1900 featuring an incumbent president, and the president has won 13 of those, more than half of those landslides. I'd argue that Ford in 1976 shouldn't count as an incumbent (he was neither elected President nor Vice-President) but you could also make the case that LBJ could have run in 1968 but refused to because he knew he'd lose (meaning it should count as a loss). Overall, it's pretty strong evidence that it's hard to lose re-election.

    Conclusion: In the modern era, most presidential administrations should be regarded as eight-year terms with a not-especially-difficult vote of confidence at the halfway mark, and at the conclusion of that eight-year term, control of the office almost always switches to the other party. It's hard to lose re-election after your fourth year, and it's even harder to have your party succeed you after your eighth.

    I also need to learn more about Taft's loss in 1912. Wikipedia tells me he went from getting 321 electoral votes as the Republican nominee to winning EIGHT electoral votes four years later. Yowza.

  • My guess is that we see a rising Democratic star enter the Obama cabinet in 2012. Clinton likely steps down, and whomever gets her job becomes a plausible contender. The shuffle of people within the Cabinet could be interesting, but is there a governor out there (or ex-gov) who gets groomed?

    Sebellius interests me, but only if people decide they like ACA.

    I just have to wonder if Hickenlooper can overcome the fact that his name is Hickenlooper.

    Long term, Chris Murphy of Connecticut is a comer. I bet he wins Lieberman's seat and he's still in his 30s.

  • When the Citizens United ruling is extended to allow corporations to run for public office, I think that 2016 will see a titanic political campaign that culminates in Walmart defeating Google by a comfortable margin.

  • Mark Warner, Senator, Virginia. When he was Governor he was a rock star. Can light up a room and get the god and guns crowd, business crowd and liberals all to vote for him. Born in Indiana.
    He thought of running in 2008, but wanted to have time for family.

  • I love Anthony Weiner, and has anyone mentioned Issa for the GOP?, but what passes for juicy political gossip around here is that Clinton is stepping down as Secretary of State in 2012 so she can run as Obama's VP instead of Biden. This will presumably set up the dynasty, and Clinton will run in 2016. After three drinks, the conversation turns to Clinton and Clinton in 2016, and can a former President run for Vice, anyway? — Which shows just how hard up we are.

  • Elder Futhark says:

    Andy Brown,

    Unlikely. Google will have become Skynet by 2015. All bets are off after that.

    Otherwise, Papoon for President. Not Insane!

  • anotherbozo says:

    @Andy Brown: I love it! worthy of Lewis Black, Hicks, any camedian you wanna name. made my day.

    I put Weiner in the snowball-in-hell category, but would love to be wrong about that.

  • I think some people are losing sight of how presidential elections work. Yes, some of these GOP and Democratic possibilities look like stuffed shirts, but we have to think about they will play in individual states, not nationwide.

    All of the current projections for 2012 indicate that if a GOP candidate is going to win the White House, he or she will have to win Florida. I don't see that changing in 2016 (unless Florida becomes a redder shade of purple over the next 5 years), so Rubio (or JEB) would make a savvy candidate for that reason alone.

    Perhaps Schweitzer can put the GOP strongholds in the mountain west in play, although that's not a treasure trove of electoral votes.

    My point here is that the presidential election is not a national contest, it's a regional one. The national party apparatuses are (or should be) acutely aware of this.

  • Also, is anyone else convinced that the Tea Party is going to cease to be a national presence once we "add some milk to our presidential coffee?"

    I mean, elect someone who will cut our taxes. Yeah, that's what I meant.

  • A couple of commenters mentioned Hickenlooper. I’d push back on that. He won in a 3 way race where the second largest vote-getter was Tom-fucking-Tancredo. I love Hickenlooper’s politics, but his feel goody and at times awkward campaign ads would get him eaten alive at the national level.

    Warner is another good thought. Independently wealthy, and centrist, he would have a lot of independent appeal.

    If Clinton decides to run, I imagine she would have a hell of a shot. I honestly wouldn’t rule out a consolation nomination for those Democrats who feel they “owe it to her.” She may have burned bridges, but she’s rebuilt a lot of favor as an extremely competent SoS that isn’t a wildcard or vying for the spotlight, as some might have expected.

    But it’s way too early to tell. It will largely depend on which candidate Obama either openly or secretly gets his muscle behind. Whether or not he officially endorses someone, it will probably be clear by 2016 who his preferred candidate is.

  • I love my desk lamp. (Though we don't have much to talk about.) The hell with Paul Ryan. And wasn't Issa's Super-Fantsastic Good-Time Subpoena Machina supposed to be running full throttle by now? He's got nothing.

  • No one in that GOP field seems far enough to the traditional right. Rubio was part of the "Tea Party tidal wave." The teabaggers aren't very popular right now in some significant swing states – you mean those assholes actually meant what they said when we voted for them? – and will be useless minus Obama hysteria.

    One California Tea Party rally hosted Shurf Joe Arpaio as its keynote speaker, which, to me, bespeaks most teabaggers' secret urge to drop the "libertarian" bullshit and go back to basics – low taxes for squillionaires, instant capital punishment for "illegals" and a mushrooming prison population.

    I guess there's no Bolton this time, but I don't think that retro force will die quietly.

  • Like ADM says, I first heard about O'Malley when he ran against Royce and squeaked out a win. Personally, I hope he's the nominee, just so we can photoshop him into scenes with Clay Davis.

    "O'Malley 2016: Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet"

  • I agree with the person above who expects a cabinet shuffle in 2012 that results in Clinton stepping down as SofS, except in my version Biden also resigns and Clinton fills his spot.

  • @FMguru: Taft's 8 electoral vote performance was due to Teddy Roosevelt running as a "Bull Moose" candidate, and effectively splitting the vote to give Woodrow Wilson a landslide victory.

  • Well, as a Coloradan I can say that people have been discounting Hickenlooper for a long time and he consistently proves the haters wrong. Voters just eat up his whole folksy, quirky, centrist shtick. It works big time. His approval ratings are through the roof and always have been. He may not have had tough competition in the last Gov. race, but he did win comfortably in a Repub. wave year and is always huge with independents. Hard to say how this translates to the national stage (if he "polished" and "presidential" enough for that), or if he's even interested, but his name should be in the mix.

  • terraformer says:

    What, no Al Franken?

    I think he's learning the ropes right now, and given his intelligence, presence, and biting wit I think if properly groomed could be a candidate. But maybe I'm hoping to much for my native Senator.

  • Angry Geometer says:

    "My guess is that we see a rising Democratic star enter the Obama cabinet in 2012."

    Cory Booker Cory Booker Cory Booker

  • I don't like to rule anything out, but I have to put O'Malley a ways behind Cuomo. O'M. has been very quiet since his first term as Mayor; he beat Ehrlich less easily than one might have thought, considering Maryland politics and how generally despised Ehrlich was among anyone but the strong right-wing. Having your own Irish band doesn't necessarily play very well in national politics, and it's not clear what else he's got going for him right now. "O'Malley – at least he didn't do anything so awful it made the news!" isn't much of a campaign slogan.
    If you want to put down some early money, I'd go for Cuomo. He's got the name and the New York connections, plus he's going to be more acceptable to the VSP.

  • Didn't Schweitzer loudly wonder during the healthcare debate why we didn't just have a Canadian style single-payer system?

  • Another Luke says:

    Ditto, AG. I'd love to see Cory Booker (Newark, NJ's mayor) get more spotlight. He seems like a rising star and looks good making a lot of sense on the TV.

  • O'Malley went to my high school and so did Cuccinelli from across the river. Shows you how factional my high school was.

  • So I guess Ed is saying the Tea Party is dead in the water? No Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Scott Walker types? I don't think any of those folks have national appeal either.

    What about Gavin Newsom? I know, I know … "San Francisco values …"

    They keep throwing the name of our former governor, Phil Bredesen, around as a "centrist Democrat." But I don't see it. He has the charisma of a doorknob and while people in Tennessee liked him, we aren't exactly mainstream America. We're pretty conservative.

    Deval Patrick? Or do you think two black presidents in a row will set the Tea Klux Klan over the edge?

    Where are our amazing Democratic women?

  • One California Tea Party rally hosted Shurf Joe Arpaio as its keynote speaker, which, to me, bespeaks most teabaggers' secret urge to drop the "libertarian" bullshit and go back to basics

    Oh yeah. Remember the Tea Party's first "national" convention in Nashville in February 2010? It was an assembly of weirdos, wackos & racists. The 10 Commandments Judge, the anti-immigrant Tom Tancredo, tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists, Islamaphobes, you name it.

  • …you heard his name here first…

    No, I heard it back in 2002, when I went to Baltimore for grad school. Everyone white and young there was all starry-eyed about "our next president of the United States, Martin O'Malley," as they'd call him when I asked who the hell he was. He makes a stark, dispiriting contrast with Obama when you see — and listen to them — side-by-side. After winning the election, Obama went to Washington by train and made a pit stop in Baltimore, to thank the people who voted for him. Of course, all the local Democratic big-wigs squeezed themselves into the schedule of speakers, in the hope that Barack's charisma might rub off on them. I was there with my missus, shivering like the poor bastards in the trenches at Stalingrad, and the fuckers made us listen to all this litany of half-witted, uninspired morons blathering through their soporific speechifying. One of them was O'Malley hisself. He mumbled some meaningless shit about hope soaring high with eagle wings or some shit like that — he sounded like John Ashcroft but without the off-key singing — and he made it painfully clear that he was no Obama. I'm with JohnR on this: O'Malley would struggle to keep up with Cuomo.

    Now let's talk about this Rubio pendejo. How's he gonna get past the primaries in the South? What's his strategy gonna be? You know the nativist knuckle-draggers will be there dog-whistling 'bout them brown folks sneaking across the border to steal our jobs and dilute our "cultural heritage." Is Rubio gonna fall for that? If so, won't Hispanics remember that he sold them down the river, when he has to ask for their votes in the general election? If he says he supports a "compromise solution" to illegal immigration, does he have a chance in hell of ever clinching the Republican nomination? I'd be interested to hear your wisdom about that.

  • The O'Malley/Carcetti thing threw me off too. ADM doesn't seem to have been able to remember that they're not the same person. As much as I love me some references and get off on gaping at the dissipated, inert, terminally disengaged snarkiness in the comments here, you need to remember the difference between fiction and reality. Desargue's comment was more interesting, even if it was a buzzkill. Maybe O'Malley should get Aiden Gillen to coach him?

  • Corey Booker is an inspiring urban leader with fresh ideas and deep progressive principles. And that's why he will never be president.

  • Bobby J, really? Didn't his national star die out some time ago? I'd still vote Edwin Edwards over him.

  • Moonbatting Average says:

    Why no love for Rick Perry? I feel that if he wanted to, he could challenge Obama in 2012, not to mention the 2016 race. The dude is criminally underrated by Democrats, admittedly because he hasn't made any real moves to throw his hat in the ring (yet). Still, that he NEVER seems to get mentioned in discussions like this makes me uneasy, because he's the governor of arguably the most important red state.

    (full disclosure: I live in Texas and my view may be skewed by proximity. Also, I think that by 2016, the Bush Albatross may not be much of a factor.)

  • PhoenixRising says:

    McDevite: Some good ideas there, a couple of quibbles.
    1) Susana Martinez is really, really dumb and mean, so she's like a caramel Sarah!. One can only hope that the 2012 GOP candidate picks her as his beard, I mean VP. But if not, by 2016 she's going to have a track record hanging around her neck. So that's right out.
    2) Kamela Harris just won her first statewide office in CA, but more importantly, the second mixed-race President is not going to follow the first one.

  • Who says Team Obama won't pull a crazy rabbit out of their hat for 2012? Like, Clinton resigns as Sec of State (as she's indicated is her plan). Obama moves Biden over to State, where he's made clear he'd love to be. VP slot is now open. First time round, Obama needed a "gray hair" with foreign policy and some "blue collar" cred to help protect him from the "he doesn't have enough experience" attacks while giving him someone Joe Sixpack could relate to.

    This time around, he's the sitting President who actually found Osama bin Laden and put a bullet in his head. No trial, no song and dance, just D.E.A.D. Biden is superfluous.

    This allows Team Obama to slot someone in with a shot at 2016. With Rubio lurking in the wings for the GOP and his alleged allure to both Latinos and TeaNuts, my McLaughlin Group WAG of the day: Biden moves to SoS and Obama picks an anti-Palin, woman of substance as his VP candidate for 2012.

  • @Dave:
    Maybe, as long as you're not talking about HRC. Rumors of her continued relevance have been greatly exaggerated.

    Bachmann is about to become and international laughingstock. Palin is politically finished. Walker may get primaried. With super-secret Muslim Obama either out of play or safely enconsed in a second term, the Tea Party will evaporate. FOX will move on and take the right with it.

  • You underestimate Schweitzer. He may be moderate but he's definitely not dull. If anything he's over the top, and that's why he's so popular. Dude branded all the tea-bagger bills with VETO branding irons on the capitol steps. Before that he was shooting stuff. He's like the center-left Ted Nugent. I don't know if he'll ever make a serious Presidential contender but I'm sure some sort of campaign-trail hilarity would ensue if he ran.

  • I actually like Schweitzer, myself. Looking purely as an electoral strategist, he helps sustain and build on the headway the Democratic Party is making in the Mountain West.

  • RE: Terraformer's hopes for Al Franken.

    The population is aging. I believe it was Einstein who pointed out that when senescence takes over, the sense of humor is one of the first aspects of personality to be affected. Your idea of Franken's biting wit will invariably be viewed by the "Scooter-Americans" as "That smarta** Jew!"

  • I think overlooking Rick Perry is a mistake. At some point he's going to get bored with his little fiefdom down here and want to take things nationwide. Having a wide open field with no incumbent would be too much to resist. If the crazies are still in control of the GOP (and why wouldn't they be?), he is going to be a force. Rubio could hurt him but he has one thing over Rubio that wingnuts love – white skin.

  • Are we really still at the point where a Jewish person is out of the running because they're Jewish? I'm pretty sure we are, but if were weren't, I'd take Russ Feingold.

  • Cromartie: You're absolutely right, and despite being decidedly non-moderate, I am on the Schweitzer wagon wholeheartedly for several reasons. Besides the fact that he's the only thing that's kept Montana from being thoroughly teabagged (like the rest of the US) I dig his populist shtick. I'm a sucker for politicians who don't act like politicians. My respect for Joe Biden would increase a million fold if he actually did all of those things from the Onion articles.

  • I agree with jjack – I was there when he did the branding stunt and it was all over national news. The guy is not dull, and being centrist in Montana has a different connotation (see wackjob bills passed, and vetoed, and lampooned by Stewart and Colbert). He says he doesn't want the job and who'd blame him. Leave Montana?

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