Jonah Goldberg

To say that the GOP base has soured on this next-in-line thing is an understatement on par with "Dennis Rodman wouldn't make an ideal baby sitter." Talk to a conservative audience about the "next-in-line" habit and you'll likely hear the sorts of boos and hisses you'd expect at a sports bar when you change the channel to a C-SPAN hearing on rural electrification.

Republicans want an outsider, which is why the senators aiming for the nomination -- Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio -- spend much of their time denouncing the city they work in. The governors -- Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Mike Huckabee, formerly of Arkansas -- have it easier, but they certainly never miss an opportunity to express their disappointment in Washington. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate in 2012, is the one candidate who could claim next-in-line status without setting off a riot, but he's unlikely to run. Jeb Bush is beloved by the party establishment, but nothing short of a legal name change would appease the Tea Party.

Meanwhile, it's not clear what the Democrats actually want. They certainly expect Clinton to be the nominee. But should they? She's easily one of the most overrated political talents of the last quarter-century. Both McCain and Romney were hobbled by the fact that they couldn't distance themselves from an unpopular GOP president. Having served as Obama's secretary of state (never mind being the "grandmother" of Obamacare), Clinton would probably have a similar burden. Perhaps the possibility of a female president will substitute for the thrill of nominating an actual outsider.

But given where the country is -- and likely will be in 2016 -- I'd put my money on the real thing.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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