Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appeared on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program on Sunday and as per the norm, he attempted to present himself as the voice of reason in the Republican party at a time former President Donald Trump has become a hot topic for discussion again over an incident (the FBI’s troubling Mar-a-Lago raid) that obviously was not of his own choosing.
As Hogan was peppered with questions by guest host Major Garrett about the raid and the upcoming midterm elections — and 2024, he spent so much time trying to be the palatable, fence-sitting GOPer that Garrett had to resort to trying drag definitive answers out of him on hot button topics, including his possible 2024 ambitions and thoughts on the outcome of the gubernatorial primary in Maryland which saw the candidate he endorsed, Kelly Schultz, get defeated by the Trump-endorsed Dan Cox.
During the course of their back and forth, Hogan tamped down on talk of him running for president in 2024 though he didn’t rule it out. He also told Garrett that what happened in Maryland’s GOP gubernatorial primary was “sad,” and said that this year “should be a really huge year” for Republicans but may not be after all due to certain unnamed “unelectable” candidates winning nominations in their respective races:
LARRY HOGAN: What was really — it was really sad. And it’s what I’ve been talking about for two years, that, you know, this should be a really huge year for Republicans just because of the failures of the Democrats and — who are in control of everything and Biden’s low approval ratings. But we could blow it by nominating unelectable people. And that’s exactly what’s happening across the country and why the wave is going to be more of a – of a ripple rather than a tidal wave.
But this is just — not just Maryland, this is happening across the country. This is something that it’s why Mitch McConnell is saying they’re not — we may not win the Senate. It’s why we were hoping to pick up seats in governors’ races and now we’re not.
You know, after all this time you’d think the GOP ruling class would finally “get it” when it comes to the “electable” question but as Hogan demonstrated above – perhaps knowingly – they still don’t.
Republicans were told in 2012 by the establishment that Mitt Romney was the “electable” presidential nominee just like they were told in 1998 that Bob Dole was the “electable” presidential nominee. Both of them were trashed by Democrats who warned the country would be taken back to the dark ages of slavery and the subjugation of women if either of them won. In particular, they viciously trashed Mitt Romney, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him once he won the nomination with the occasional cheap shot at his wife Ann Romney and other members of the Romney family for good measure.
The latter happened despite the fact that Romney was, like Hogan, a milquetoast center-left Republican in a country where Republicans were rapidly going solid right after decades of being told to nominate Republicans whose most “attractive quality” was in how well they worked with Democrats.
George W. Bush was sort of an exception to the rule, although not long after he won his second term he had quickly fallen out of favor with the Republican base who began viewing him as a “RINO” over issues like illegal immigration and the failed Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination.
In my opinion, the nomination and eventual victory of Donald Trump in 2016 was the result of the base of the party deciding to abandon choosing the supposedly “safe,” “upstanding” pick, instead choosing a nominee with no filter who would take the fight to both Democrats and the media in ways other candidates were too afraid to, regardless of whether or not he was viewed as “electable” by establishment types.
In short, “electable” is in the eye of the beholder. The fact of the matter is that Democrats will try to paint any Republican as a threat to civilization no matter how morally upstanding they may be and no matter how hard that Republican has worked to “build bridges” with Democrats. It’s just who Democrats are and that’s not ever going to change.
As a result, you’re going to have candidates out there who run in the style of Trump, because the days of conservative Republicans worrying about supposed “electability” are long gone. Trump, after all, was presented as “unelectable” (which is why Hillary and other Democrats and MSM types were pushing his candidacy so hard during the primaries) and yet he won.
And while we’re on the subject of “electable,” let’s get another thing out of the way.
Assuming Hogan does run, it’s unlikely he’ll get the nomination, because he does not appeal to conservatives in any way, shape, form or fashion – especially not after receiving Joe Biden’s endorsement:
So if we’re talking about “electability,” Hogan maybe should bow out of the 2024 discussions, because among those said to be mulling a run I can’t think of a more unelectable, unlikeable potential GOP presidential candidate right now than Larry Hogan.