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Does Cincinnati RNC event debut 2016 GOP running mates: Jeb Bush, Rob Portman?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be in Cincinnati Monday with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman in what could be an advance look at the 2016 White House ticket.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be in Cincinnati Monday with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman in what could be an advance look at the 2016 White House ticket.

If you don't know what to do with that spare $64,800 that's earning virtually no interest at the hometown bank, that amount will buy you event-chair status at n event in Cincinnati that just might offer an advanced preview of the 2016 Republican White House ticket.

Next Monday in Cincinnati, Republican stars Jeb Bush and Rob Portman will team up with Republican National Committee [NRC] Chairman Reince Priebus to host an event in support of the RNC. Bush is a former two-term governor of Florida, an important state in presidential elections. Portman is Ohio's junior U.S. Senator elected in 2010, who worked hard for Mitt Romney in 2012 and who many thought Romney should have picked to help him win Ohio, the premier battleground state of them all.

Jeb Bush is the younger brother of President George W. Bush, who many say was elected in 2000 by one vote from the U.S. Supreme Court and who took the country from surplus to deficit mainly by launching two wars and signing billions of borrowed tax cuts into law. Son of President George. H.W. Bush, Jeb Bush is an establishment Republican whose history as a steady state manager who embraces the Hispanic community stands him in sharp contrast to Tea Party Republicans who consider moderates weak links in their chains forged with patriotic blood and liberty. Bush will find the capital of the tri-state region welcoming, but he'll be stepping into a state whose governor is also on a list of 32 potential GOP standard bearers.

Gov. John Kasich is running for a second term this year and automatically passes go for the Republican primary season if he wins this fall. With the fall election schedule less than five months away, polling of the gubernatorial race in the Buckeye State shows the incumbent Kasich leading by as few as a handful of percentage points over his little known and cash poor Democratic opponent or as many as 15 percentage points, based on results from Quinnipiac University's latest Ohio Poll released mid-May.

When Kasich left congress after nine straight terms in 2000, he mustered an amateur campaign to enter the White House sweepstakes but was foiled soon when GW Bush emerged as the anointed one. Kasich has never promised to not run for the White House if the opportunity comes along, saying instead that he's not interested in it anymore. But few believe the 62-year old Kasich will let what could be his last chance to compete for the Oval Office slip by this time, now that he's been a governor of a Midwest state whose recovery from the cataclysmic economic collapse, know in economic parlance as The Great Recession, he has accepted credit for that in turn serves as the footer upon which to build his reputation as one of the GOP's so-called "comeback governors."

Sen. Portman worked for Jeb's older brother in two capacities, one as budget director and then as chief trader negotiator. Portman represented Ohio's 1st Congressional District in Congress before moving to positions in the Bush Administration. Instead of picking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan for his VP, many thought Portman would have been a better choice for Romney in 2012, given the importance Ohio plays in any presidential contest. Richard Nixon was the last president to win Ohio and lose the presidency, a feat he accomplished in 1960 when he lost to John F. Kennedy. No president who lost Ohio has gone on to become president.

A new book by Philip Howard, The Rule of Nobody, explains his thesis that overlawyering and overgoverning permeates our lives and keeps us from improving our lives as much as we otherwise could. Tilting toward the moderate spectrum in Republican politics, Jeb Bush becomes a good spokesman for the kind of common sense attitude in government that Howard likes. Howard founded the nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition Common Good whose philosophy is based on a simple but powerful idea: People, not rules, make things happen. The advisory board for Common Good includes politicians from both parties including Senators Howard Baker, Bill Bradley and even George McGovern, who name is still listed on the website even though he died in 2012. In addition to Alan Simpson and Tom Kean, the former a firebrand spokesman and the later another state steward, comes Jeb Bush on Common Good's board.

Conducting a campaign to redesign legal structures to unleash human freedom and ingenuity, as Howard recommends in The Rule of Nobody, is great territory for Bush and Portman, a possible ticket that could win two states Republicans dream of winning: Florida with 29 Electoral College votes and Ohio with 18, which together account for nearly 20 percent of the 270 votes needed to be elected president.

Whether Gov. Kasich can win the field in two years to be the top of the ticket is purely speculative this far away from the spring of 2016. If he wins this fall, Gov. Kasich will have the luxury to campaign for the White House without fear of losing his job. And since Ohio has no recall provision for governor, Kasich can let others run the state while he's out raising money and adding team members to an already robust group of true believers. But if Kasich can't compete with the likes of Bush or Ted Cruz of Texas or Rand Paul of Kentucky, should they win, he may accept an invitation to run second on the ticket, but he's never run a losing campaign, and that is what many think will happen to whomever Republicans send up against the widely expected candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady and former Secretary of State under President Obama.

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