While on vacation, Right Turn is running a series looking at the GOP contenders for 2016. We’ll be back August 12.
Former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is by no means a certain candidate for 2016. Nevertheless, he’s getting out on the national political stage and will be leading a debate on national security. What does he have to do to position himself for 2016 (understanding he’s far from made up his mind to run)?
1. Decide if he really wants to run. If he is serious, then he should go all in. He has a while to decide, but by early 2015 he’ll need to start building a team.
2. Talk economics as well as national security. Before going to the United Nations, Bolton had a long and distinguished career as a lawyer, think tanker, State Department official and Justice Department lawyer. Most people don’t know how sharp he is on domestic matters.
3. Carve a spot for himself as the domestic libertarian/foreign policy hawk. He may be one of the few.
4. Craft a tough foreign policy vision that is neither an imitation nor a repudiation of George W. Bush. As an Arab Spring skeptic, he’s brought a critical eye to the Middle East.
5. Show his sense of humor. He’s a very witty guy (think Bob Dole with a fabulous moustache.) One of his best lines: “The Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
6. Show some muscle in helping to elect pro-defense lawmakers in 2014.
7. Embrace the tough guy image. In an Oprah-ized political environment, it is refreshing to see a no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase politician.
8. Write a book about something other than foreign policy that shows his policy reach and his wit.
9. Get some experience out on the stump helping candidates in 2014.
10. Make the case that there are few people with as much government executive experience as he has and therefore as much skill in attacking bureaucracy, cutting waste, etc.