WASHINGTON, D.C. - James Webb has a picturesque resume and story. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, was a highly decorated Marine in Vietnam, went to law school at Georgetown, served as Secretary of the Navy, was elected Senator from Virginia, left that office under his own steam and has written many books, novels, history and public policy. What a president he would make.
In a radio interview yesterday, Webb said he is in fact thinking about a candidacy. This was a big surprise, as Webb seemed uncomfortable as both a campaigner and a Senator. He just seemed to have a low BS threshold for those vocations.
My guess is that Webb will go the way of William Tecumseh Sherman and Colin Powell and he won’t run. This despite the fact that a Pew poll that came out the very day Webb teased the political stargazers found that military service was the experience Americans most wanted – repeat, most wanted – in a president.
This got me thinking about who else should/could run in 2016 but almost certainly won’t. Suppose Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden scram, who else besides Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Cuomo, Bill deBlasio and Martin O’Malley can boosters fantasize about? If Mr. Christie has a tunnel scandal, Mr. Perry a chain-saw accident and Mr. Paul is reduced to fish sticks, what is the GOP fantasy lineup? How about a third-party maverick or billionaire?
So in the spirit of good clean fun, here are my initial lists:
John Roberts: Nothing gives a person intellectual gravitas and an ethical mantle like being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Roberts is already the most powerful Republican in America. He actually has a political philosophy and an appetite for a fight. He is handsome and wholesome. Justice Antonin Scalia would be the more colorful candidate, but he is too old and cantankerous for this list.
David Koch: He already ran for vice president back in 1980 as a Libertarian so why not now as a Republican? It’s not like running for office would make him more controversial or targeted than he is now - that is impossible. Clearly he and his brother think they know how the world should be run and they want the power and influence. He has already put his money where his mouth is – and there is plenty of both left. He ought to step up to the plate. He’d make Steve Forbes seem like Peewee Herman.
Joe Scarborough: Hold on, is he already running? I get different answers on that one, but I’ll take no for an answer. Morning Joe has already been in Congress. As a performer he’s slicker than puppy poop on linoleum. And he’s got a vision for the party. While I am not a trained forensic psychiatrist, he seems to be a confident fellow.
Colin Powell: For all the same reasons he should have run before, plus redemption.
Condoleezza Rice: See above. Add that she’s a she, the right age, super-famous, super-qualified and has been on the mentioned list forever.
Jerry Brown: Governor Moonbeam, now a grizzled master of realpolitik, has been on the mentioned list since before Pearl Harbor. Almost. He has run the equivalent of the eighth largest country in the world in two different eras. He is seen as incorruptible if a tad otherworldly. Isn’t that more fun than that Maryland governor guy?
Sheryl Sandberg: Hold on, is she already running? The self-made billionaire has done tours in Washington with Larry Summers. With her best-selling book, she has demonstrated she knows how to market herself and be disciplined in public, unlike many moguls who dabble in politics. Lean in.
Al Gore: He’s gained a few pound and a couple hundred million dollars and lost a wife. He’s still famous and maybe he’s loosened up. And he always had a masochistic, Puritan streak. And the planet is melting way fast.
Tom Steyer: This is the Democratic David Koch-lite. The hedge-fund billionaire has been funding environmental causes and candidates at a very high level and is immersed in politics. He has more business experience and success than any Republican since Herbert Hoover.
George Stephanouplous: He started out in politics and had tremendous success. He’s #1 in the morning and still does a Sunday show, which in the TV news world is like playing offense and defense in the NFL. Glamorous wife, fully scrutinized and beyond media-savy, I think he has more Fantasy Politics points than Morning Joe.
William Cohen: A long-serving liberal Republican Senator (kids, you can look that phrase up on Wikipedia if you’re confused) from Maine, Cohen became trans-partisan when he became Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense. Super-brainy, he’s written almost as many books as James Webb. He also has had great business success since leaving government as an international consultant and power concierge. Reserved, he has always seemed to float an inch above the tawdry partisan fray.
Angus King: The independent Senator and former independent governor from the independent state of Maine is very independent. He is popular in Maine. And very independent.
Anthony Fauci: He helped cure AIDS and has been a driver of health science and policy for decades. He is brilliant, can take the heat, has endurance, knows the government and admirable in every way. And he is not from Maine.
Angela Merkel: A tough, experienced, female head-of-state with a great life story and more experience than any American. Oh yeah, I forgot she’s German. Rats.
Eric Schmidt: The ultimate revenge of the nerds at a time when they actually rule the world. Schmitt is a Democrat. But he doesn’t have to be one forever. If he was the choice in Google’s ultimate search, he’s got to be adequate for a legacy company like America.
Have other ideas? Send them in to email@example.com -- but no complaints about this list allowed! Thanks, the management.
DecodeDC's foremost aim is to be useful. That means being a reliable, honest and highly entertaining source of insight and explanation. It also means providing multimedia coverage of Washington's people, culture, policies and politics that is enlightening and enjoyable. Whether it's a podcast, a video, an interactive graphic, a short story or a long analysis, it will be based on this guiding principle: We are in DC but not OF DC.