I think it's pretty clear that the next two years are going to be a disaster for the GOP unless they somehow come up with a really strong presidential nominee. Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell apparently intend to be little more than punching bags for President Obama. They do not seem capable of putting together a coalition of members who can pass laws that would be popular (remember that whole "consent of the governed" idea that the Framers mentioned in the Declaration?
The so-called GOP leadership has put forward no persuasive (or even coherent) responses to Obama's numerous attacks on them and their party. They seem to have been hoping to work with Obama on a bunch of pro-business items (corporate tax reforms, new trade agreements, open borders), and get him to give them political cover (and Democratic votes). But as he showed in the State of the Union last night, he doesn't like them and he doesn't want to help them. Instead, he intends to fight them on every issue except for trade and immigration (both of which will split the GOP), and he plans to lay the groundwork for a big Democratic victory in 2016. Under these circumstances, the GOP's plan for 2016 – which is apparently to silence all of its most articulate members and have Jeb win by running a bunch of attack ads against Hillary – will not succeed.
Here's what they should do instead:
- They should go back to fighting Obama on every issue, and not simply sit there and let him pound them.
- They forget any Jeb coronation plan so that the best current GOP governor who runs the strongest campaign wins.
- They should make sure that their base is fired up and enthusiastic for 2016. But none of this will happen as long as the GOP is led by people who dislike the Tea Party more than they dislike the Democrats.