Be proud, Floridians! With just a tad under 700 days left until the next presidential election, our state is already the clear winner. The Beltway media have all but elected Miamian Jeb Bush, whose campaign boils down to three words: “Not Mitt Romney.” But even if Jeb falters, the Sunshine State boasts plenty of contenders. Let’s list them all.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the Democratic Party has its candidate, and she isn’t from Florida. No matter. With the GOP firmly in control of Tallahassee, they can anoint any of these folks and guarantee a “W,” recount or no:
Marco Rubio: Just as much red meat as Ted Cruz with half the cynical charm, Rubio is the GOP’s prized youth-vote magnet. He just wrote a book about how American politics are hurting for innovative 21st century ideas, like his calls for tax cuts, his complaints about immigration, and his angry fist-shaking at global communism. Expect Marco to be an indefatigable cross-country campaigner, just as soon as he gets a parent or guardian to sign his permission slip.
Rick Scott: Maybe he can put the final nail in Obamacare’s coffin by bankrupting it through billions of dollars in corporate fraud. Everyone is good at something.
Pam Bondi: You may say she lacks the savvy or the stamina to endure a presidential campaign. I say she’ll do fine, as long as you tell her it’s an all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, with a couple of fundraising stops.
Bill McCollum: He hasn’t won anything in a long time. Which means he’s due, right?
Charlie Crist: Whether he runs as a Democrat, Republican or independent, he guarantees a GOP victory.
Gwen Graham: Sure, she’s the daughter of Florida’s most famous liberal governor and senator. Sure, she ran for Congress on a solidly pro-environmental platform. She also just voted for the House GOP’s Keystone pipeline bill, the same as her tea party predecessor would have. With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?
Allen West: Look, if you don’t court them directly, there’s no telling whether or not the sociopathic war-crime-loving Fox News motorcycle voters are going to turn out for you at the polls.
Lebron James: He’s at least as Floridian as Rick Scott. And hey, he puts Ohio into play, too.
Ricky Martin: On the plus side, he’d be the gay-friendliest Republican candidate this side of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. On the minus side, he just took Spanish citizenship. On the way-minus side, he’s still the guy who brought us “La Vida Loca.”
Darius Rucker: Also known as “Hootie” of Hootie and the Blowfish fame, he’s not technically a Floridian, but he does like golf, the Dolphins, and country music, so why not?
Dave Barry: As long as we’re giving a lifetime achievement award to a rich old white guy who said something witty once, we should hand it off to a guy we like.
Laura P., the meat cutter at Publix: Laugh if you want, but her ringing endorsement helped get a local government-hating veterinarian Ted Yoho elected to Congress in Gainesville. It’s worth asking: What can’t she do, other than giving you a discount on the Boar’s Head pimento loaf?
The guy in Key West’s Mallory Square with the trained stunt cats: What, you don’t like cats?
Adam Weinstein is a Tallahassee-based senior writer for Gawker. He has worked for The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, and Mother Jones. Column courtesy of Context Florida.