When it comes to 2016, conservative activist Grover Norquist has seven Republicans in mind.
All of them are governors.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Caller, Norquist listed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as potentially serious contenders in 2016.
“The following guys could raise the money and have governed well enough to be able to straight-faced say, ‘I’m running for president and you should consider me as a Reagan Republican,’” Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, predicted.
The Christie argument, according to Norquist: “Northeastern national candidate would have name ID, and in a blue state, swam against the current enough to convince most people, I think, that his heart is with the Reagan Republican guys.”
Summing up the argument for Walker, he said: “Tough as nails, good guy, tax cutter.”
Norquist cited Walker’s success in changing labor laws and pushing through new school choice and concealed carry laws.
As for the current Texas governor and former 2012 candidate, Norquist said: “Perry, looking to run again, will have been governor for 14 years. Can raise money out of Texas, fine governor, governed well. He just needs to be able to demonstrate in a hundred speeches that when he’s not taking painkillers, he’s pretty good at speaking.”
Speaking of the Louisiana governor, he said: “Bobby Jindal turned a blue state into a red state. The changes in the anti-corruption law that he got passed, the tax cuts, the school choice for a half million kids. All sorts of stuff.”
Norquist also pointed out that Jindal might be able to fundraise from Indian-Americans, the wealthiest per capita ethnic group in the country.
As for Jeb Bush, Norquist said he can boast of eight years “as a serious governor” but “the down side is his last name.” He said the Bush name problem is “fixable” if he distances himself from his dad’s history of raising taxes as president. Norquist suggested Bush say something to the effect of, “I love my dad, but he shouldn’t have raised taxes.”
“That’s not so difficult,” Norquist said. “But he hasn’t done it yet.”
Added the conservative activist: “Now watch for Brownback in Kansas and Pence in Indiana. Two of the more recent governors, but phenomenal governors.”