DAN QUAYLE will be going back to Indiana. Bob Dole is digging
into his job as Senate minority leader. Patrick Buchanan may launch
a conservative foundation. Jack Kemp's plans for the future are
still wide open.
It's 206 weeks until the next presidential election - enough
time to earn a college degree - but already eyes are turning to
Vice President Quayle, Senator Dole, Mr. Buchanan, and Housing
Secretary Kemp, four possible Republican front-runners for 1996.
Out of office for the first time in 12 years, Republicans are
expecting a free-for-all in '96, with a wide range of possible
candidates, from a conservative Christian entry like the Rev. Pat
Robertson to a pro-choice alternative like Gov. William Weld of
The list of potential GOP contenders reads like a "Who's Who" of
Republican politics. There's Defense Secretary Richard Cheney,
former Education Secretary William Bennett, White House chief of
staff James Baker III, and Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas.
Other possibilities include Gov. Carroll Campbell of South
Carolina, California Gov. Pete Wilson, Education Secretary Lamar
Alexander, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy
Thompson, and former Gov. Pierre (Pete) du Pont IV of Delaware.
To that lengthy list, Governor du Pont adds: "And probably three
we haven't thought of yet."
Although it's early, Republican politicians are already looking
at the likely lineup because they will soon be selecting a new
national party chairman. Insiders want someone who will remain
neutral between all potential rivals.
Dole, who moved quickly to become the GOP's leading spokesman
after President Bush's defeat, puts it this way: "I'm going to be
very certain we get a chairman ... who has no ties to any candidate
At least two of the possible presidential candidates also are
being mentioned for the chairman's post, which is now held by
Richard Bond. They are Secretary Cheney and du Pont. Cheney is
reportedly a favorite of House minority leader Robert Michel of
Du Pont says the party chair "must not be a candidate for the
presidential nomination." If he becomes chairman, du Pont promises
he would "absolutely" be out of White House contention.
All this scrambling for position in 1996 would be much different
if President Bush had won the election. Quayle, as vice president,
would have been the acknowledged front-runner, with everyone else
playing catch-up. …