Whatever shakes out, the madness is out of the system, so all hail Reince. If he can pull an eight-to-ten debate schedule out of his hat --say, one the week after New Hampshire, and one the week after South Carolina, and the other six spaced from September of 2015 through January 2016 --with blackout days from Friday December 18 through the end of the year-- he may be carried around the eventual convention site of the convention hall by journalists who spent Christmas 2011 in Iowa and New Hampshire. (Cities wishing to bid for the early GOP 2016 convention must do so by the end of next month with a site selection recommendation coming from this group and a decision in August of this year.) With a rational calendar, the allure of early debates just isn't going to be there for most would-be presidents, but I don't think I'll have much trouble booking the field* when their media teams figure out that 94.5 Conservative Talk covers upstate South Carolina in a blaze of 100,000 wonder, while other affiliates like WJXY-FM 93.9/93.7 in Myrtle Beach cover the coast.
South Carolina is the real winner in all of this, but there is no big loser, which is why the Priebus-led diplomacy pays off big. It is a level playing field. It is a rational one as well, and the candidates who aspire to lead the party and eventually the nation have to nod in agreement that this makes sense.
Now if the selection committee would just hold on to the common sense theme and pick Cleveland with its new convention hall, excellent mass transit from outlying areas, and the expected trifecta of the 2o15 World Series, 2016 Super Bowl, and 2016 NBA Finals appearances of its three major professional franchises providing a tailwind to the convention that summer. (Columbus will counter, of course, that Urban nation will have triumphed in early 2016, and that is most likely right, but it is still 1 versus 3 in the momentum-generating events. And Columbus does not have a beautiful lake or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)
A very good week for the GOP indeed. If there had been such a meeting in January 2010, President Romney might well be clamping down sanctions harder on Iran and markets steadier under a budget accord negotiated by Vice President Ryan.
*The GOP Field (potential candidates who have declared, hinted, or been tipped as candidates, or for whom there is not insignificant acclaim from fervent supporters outside of their families and state): Amb. John Bolton, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. John Kasich, Rep. Peter King, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Rick Snyder, Sen. John Thune, Gov. Scott Walker.
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