Amy Walter at the Cook Political Report expresses what I believe is a rapidly forming consensus position on who will likely win the GOP presidential nomination.
At the end of the day, when you put all the assets and liabilities on the table, it’s hard to see anyone but Rubio, Bush or Walker as the ultimate nominee. Sure, one of them could stumble or come up short in a key early state. It’s also highly likely that someone like Huckabee, Paul, Cruz and even Perry could win in Iowa. But, when you look at the candidate vulnerabilities instead of just their assets, these are the three who are the most likely to win over the largest share of the GOP electorate. Winning the “Evangelical” or the “Establishment” or the “Tea Party” lane isn’t how you win the nomination. Cobbling together the broadest coalition is the key.
And of Walker and Bush, she writes:
Scott Walker is on top in the polls, but just about every Republican not associated with the Wisconsin Governor argues that the polls are underestimating his weak candidate skills. Just about every room Bush walks into contains a pretty high degree of skepticism. However, I’ve witnessed that skepticism melt away once he’s had a chance to make his case. It’s not that the Republicans in the room are in love with him, but they are at least open to hearing more from him and about him. That’s about the best he can hope for at this point in the campaign.
And Rubio? I’m just not feeling it. What can I say? Maybe that will change.
Look, I strongly agree with Walter that it’s easier to like Walker if you haven’t seen him perform, and it’s harder to like Bush until you’ve watched him at the front of the room, which voters will have a lot of time to do.
As for Clinton v. Bush in 2016, I wouldn’t have the courage to bet a nickel one way or the other.