Right Turn is away on vacation, but continue to check back for some assessments of the 2016 race to date, the future of the GOP and more. Today, we look at the best of the 2016 GOP presidential primary to this point. We will be back August 7.
Best visuals on announcement: Former Texas governor Rick Perry in an airplane hanger surrounded by veterans made for a compelling tableau. Since then, he’s had one of the strongest performances in the field.
Best speech: Tie between Jeb Bush at Liberty University and Rick Perry on race and poverty. Both were thoughtful and humble, a rare combination in politics.
Best logo: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s is bold, memorable and contemporary — an apt symbol of the campaign he is attempting to run.
Best new idea: “Three-out, one-in” is Bush’s formula for reducing the size of the federal workforce. It is specific, concrete and feasible.
Best to avoid: A gay marriage amendment is never going to happen and insisting the GOP should pursue it makes the party seem obsessed with the issue and utterly out of touch.
Best start: Walker came roaring out of the shoot with a solid Iowa speech. From then on out, however, it has been a rocky road. His equivocation on issues, stumbles and timing (entering the race officially just as Donald Trump was sucking up the oxygen) have brought him down to earth.
Best performance since announcing: Bush and Perry have both over-performed, in part because they emphasized their records of accomplishment, did not pander and sounded tough and informed on foreign policy.
Best public show of character: Slamming Donald Trump for comments on Mexicans showed several candidates had both good judgment and personal decency.
Best prediction so far: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would flounder because of foreign policy. He is the wrong candidate at the wrong time and has disappointed true libertarians by trying to fudge his positions.
Best bet now: Donald Trump won’t win any contest. Sure, the media are having a field day. But when real voters make their choices in 2016 it is hard to imagine the GOP primary electorate is going to commit political suicide by nominating someone totally unfit and unelectable.
Best advice that wasn’t heeded: Don’t use national polls to determine debate inclusion. National poll-obsession diverted candidates from spending time on early states and made Trump-mania the main event rather than a sideshow.
Best advice that was heeded: Show voters that Republicans care about upward mobility, poverty, and bread-and-butter issues. Rubio, Bush, Perry and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are showing “Republican” is not synonymous with mean-spiritedness.
Best advice for Republicans: Don’t bet that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. Get started on researching Vice President Biden, who may prove to be a much tougher opponent than the scandal-plagued Clinton.