A Team of Rivals

America is on a precipice, and we are near the point of no return. With over 18 trillion dollars in debt, an unsecure border, a rising threat in the Middle East, an out of control entitlement system, Obamacare, and a looming battle over the future of America’s education system and Common Core, America cannot wait for future elections to tackle these problems.  Every four years, we are told that we are watching the most important election of our lifetimes.  It was true in 2004, because [mc_name name=’Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000148′ ] was going to undo George W. Bush’s largely successful domestic agenda, and cut and run in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was true in 2008, when [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] was going to stop the upstart from Illinois from bringing about a socialist regime.  It was true again in 2012, when every one of the Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare, because after it was fully implemented, there would be no going back.  I would argue that it is equally true leading up to 2016, and if we are not careful, the man leading our party to wage these battles will be John Ellis (Jeb) Bush.  Conservatives must unite in 2015 to pick the Republican standard-bearer for 2016.  We must coalesce early behind a candidate, and politely convince the others to get on board.  This is the only way to ensure a conservative nominee.  I believe that the obvious candidate for conservatives to unite behind is Scott Walker.

But what about the other candidates?  What’s wrong with Ted Cruz?  Wouldn’t Bobby Jindal be a great president?  Can’t we agree that Ben Carson will bring the most unique perspective to Washington?  The answer to all of these questions is that these are all great men, and they would all make great candidates.  Unfortunately, if we have ten great conservatives splitting the conservative primary vote, and one Jeb Bush getting all of the moderate/establishment vote, we will end up with, at best, a President Bush who merely slows America’s decline, and at worst, a President Clinton because, like in 2012, conservatives stayed home in November.

The strongest general election ticket in 2016 will be Walker/Rubio.  Scott Walker has everything the American electorate could want in a president besides foreign policy experience and, arguably, charisma.  [mc_name name=”Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”R000595″ ] has heaps of both.  Also, he likely delivers Florida.  While it’s true that no VP candidate has been able to deliver his state since (Clinton likely would have won Indiana were it not for Dan Quayle, and would have lost Tennessee in 1992 were it not for Ross Perot), Rubio is very popular there and connects well with the Cuban population in Miami/Dade county, who typically don’t turn out to vote.  Rubio should get out of the race early and endorse Walker, and encourage his donors to do the same.  In exchange, Walker should put Marco Rubio on his ticket.  These two will fire up the base, appeal to young and blue collar voters, and provide the starkest contrast imaginable to the Clinton old guard.

The other top-tier conservative candidate is [mc_name name=”Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”C001098″ ].  Personally, I can’t think of a better choice for Attorney General than Ted Cruz.  As a conservative, I’d rather have Cruz as AG than President anyway, because Ted Cruz is a conservative pit bull who will fight tooth-and-nail for conservative values.  While the president has more power than the Attorney General, the Attorney General has more autonomy.  To take a line from Ted Cruz’s announcement speech, “Imagine”.  Imagine Ted Cruz, accountable to, but not restrained by congress.  Imagine Ted Cruz defending the religious liberty of bakery owners across America.  Imagine Ted Cruz investigating Lois Lerner and the IRS.  Imagine Ted Cruz as America’s top law enforcement officer.  Imagine Ted Cruz endorsing Scott Walker for President, and imagine Scott Walker nominating Ted Cruz to be Attorney General of the United States.

Next up, Bobby Jindal.  As Erick Erickson pointed out last week, Governor Jindal is one of Louisiana’s most successful reform governors.  He’s great.  Nearly everything about him is great.  The problem is, he’s got no gravitas.  He can’t buy a headline, and despite his best efforts, can’t get anybody but the most adamant political junkies to pay any attention to him.  However, Bobby Jindal is a reformer, who happens to be the most qualified man in America to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, and to repeal Obamacare.  His entire pre-gubernatorial career was essentially focused on healthcare reform, and his master’s thesis was titled, A needs-based approach to healthcare.  Bobby Jindal would be a great president.  I would be happy to cast a ballot for him.  However, he would be put to much better use as a Secretary of Health and Human Services.  An early endorsement of Walker could give him the boost needed in the south to clinch the nomination.

Benjamin Carson, another favorite in conservative circles, should be a shoo-in for Surgeon General, if he wants it.   The Surgeon General is allegedly a non-partisan post, which is a perfect fit for the world-renowned neurosurgeon who prides himself on being practical, rather than political.  To me, Carson seems likely to be the Santorum of 2016.  The little engine that could, who, beyond all expectations, hangs on until the end and finishes strong.  If I’m wrong, and he’s open to supporting another candidate in time to shift some primary votes, this could be a very realistic scenario.

Last but not least, John Bolton.  While he’s certainly the least viable candidate of any of those mentioned above, his foreign policy expertise, belief in American Exceptionalism, and willingness to call out America’s enemies is second to none.  Were I advising Governor Walker, I would tell him to reach out to John Bolton and tell him that he will be nominated for Secretary of State the day Walker takes office, provided he endorses Walker rather than run for president himself.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the President to nominate the best people for the job, rather than to cut favors for political capital.  However, I believe that these four deals would allow Walker to uphold that responsibility, while sealing the nomination.  With endorsements from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson and John Bolton, Walker gets the nomination, and America gets five great men as cabinet secretaries.