Certainly there will be candidates with little chance at the presidency, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former senator Rick Santorum, who may be urged to run. I see no path to the GOP presidential nomination for any of them. Here are 10 reasons why they won’t make it, even if they try:
1. We’ve had a president long on rhetoric and short on executive expertise. Enough already.
2. Hot-button rhetoric may play well on talk radio, but under the glare of national media and in a race where the most critical job in government is at stake, the act wears thin. (Santorum’s folly on the Devil, contraception, etc. is a prime example.)
3. They personify the strident, angry Republican whom voters in general elections disdain; GOP voters hungry for the White House know this.
4. None of them have demonstrated the ability to work well with others or field an expert team of advisers.
5. Paul and Cruz are too new to the scene; Santorum’s been around too long.
6. They appeal to the tea party, but not the vast swath of mainstream Republicans. In GOP primaries, the winner is almost invariably not the most radical candidate. Barry Goldwater is the exception and the warning for 2016.
7. Quite simply, none of them is as impressive as any of the seven candidates (Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, John Bolton and Gov. Rick Perry) I’ve discussed this week. I mean what have these characters actually done?
8. They lack self-awareness. None of them have good antennae for sensing when they have gone too far and/or are sounding downright nutty.
9. None of them exude the forcefulness and steady hand we expect of a commander in chief. Sorry, but when Rand Paul says he wants to dismantle anti-terror programs that have prevented attacks, he’s going to get slaughtered in the debates.
10. They might think twice about even trying for the White House in 2016. If Cruz or Rand Paul run and lose (as is extremely likely) they risk lowering their stature (as happened to Sarah Palin) and permanently damaging their brand; Santorum risks doing worse than he did in 2012 and cementing his image as a has-been.