Just What America Needs: A Bigger GOP Prez Field

I don’t know exactly how Politico divvies up its assignments, or whether individual “reporters” get to launch presidential trial balloons. But in any event, at a time when most Republicans–not to mention non-Republicans–were probably hoping for future options in 2016, along comes James Hohmann to toss another name onto the list of the “mentioned:” Super-Nerd Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, fresh from re-election with a booming 51% of the vote.

The hook for this talk is apparently Snyder’s announcement that having taken Detroit out of state receivership and declared himself the city’s savior, he’s going to step up his travel this next year to “explain the Michigan story to the rest of the country,” since “job-creators,” of course, base their investment decisions on hearing governors of this or that state brag about their job-creatin’ prowess. Hohmann implicitly thinks this rationale is stupid, and thus figures Snyder is testing the waters for a presidential run.

Funny thing is, in defending Snyder’s viability, Hohmann keeps making admissions–even in the words of some of the Gov’s Michigan Republican fans–that make it sound preposterous:

Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who lost the Republican primary to Snyder four years ago, gave the governor “straight A’s across the board” for how he handled the [Detroit] bankruptcy.

Asked whether the governor has a future as a national figure, Cox said the next Republican president should look at appointing him to direct the Office of Management and Budget or maybe as Treasury secretary. “Those are all things that are well in his wheelhouse,” he said….

Jase Bolger, the Republican speaker of the Michigan state House, warned against underestimating Snyder as a potential presidential contender. He said the country is yearning for “a problem solver … who would seek to find solutions.”

Bolger said he remembers seeing Snyder’s first TV commercial back in 2010 when he was an unknown running in a crowded primary field.

“I said, ‘Nice guy, he’d have great experience, but there’s not a snowball’s chance that he could win,’” Bolger said. “The guy I said ‘No way’ about, today I call governor.”

When people are telling you not to “underestimate” somebody you didn’t know was even thinking about running for president, they are acknowledging it’s a real stretch. At some point, the GOP may achieve the previously unimaginable goal of creating a presidential field of 30 longshots.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.