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On radio this morning, Glenn, Pat, and Stu found themselves in a conversation they didn’t expect to have so soon: What does the Republican candidate pool look like for 2016?

“We’re having a fascinating conversation, not one we planned to have today, but I think we should. We’re talking about 2016 and Ted Cruz,” Glenn said. “Here’s what the field is going to be next time around, the GOP candidate will be Marco Rubio or Chris Christie. That’s who the machinery is going to want.”

While many conservatives, Glenn included, have had their ups and downs with Sen. Rubio (R-FL) over the last few months, Glenn allowed Stu to make the argument for Sen. Rubio as the 2016 GOP nominee.

“And if you look at Marco Rubio, he was speaking a few minutes ago. He’s a great candidate,” Glenn conceded. “And I listened to Stu for about five minutes in a commercial break go on and on and on. And I’ve got to be fair, he was saying, ‘I just want to look at him as the way everybody always looks at candidates.’ Make the case.”

“I mean, this is the guy,” Stu said. “You might not think he’s conservative enough, but take all that out for a second. And this is going to sound a little man‑crushy, but I’m willing to go there. The guy’s a good looking guy. He’s young. He’s energetic. He’s Hispanic. He is bilingual. He is also not an idiot. He’s a very smart guy. He’s well spoken. He can take on debates. Things off the top of his head come out not like the famous George W. Bush or Harry Reid the other day. It’s not like that. I mean, Marco Rubio, if you could insert Ted Cruz’s politics into Marco Rubio… Now, that’s not to say, you know, look, Ted Cruz, you know, I’m sure he’s very sexy as well. And I don’t mean to take away anything… he has a lot of the same qualities that Marco Rubio has.”

“But Ted Cruz is not a heartthrob. Ted Cruz is more of a prosecutor. Ted Cruz is the guy that shows up in court and he’s against you and you go, ‘Oh, crap.’ You know you’re going to jail,” Glenn added. “And that’s who Ted Cruz is. And, quite honestly, that’s what the country needs. But I will tell you that for me, Marco Rubio, this is all about your stripes. All this is this time, it always has been, ‘Well, I kind of feel good about this guy.’ That’s not the way it’s going to be for Republicans. They are not going to be like, ‘I kind of feel good about this guy.’ They’re going to know. We’re going to know.”

Watching Sen. Cruz take a strong stand on the Senate floor last night, Glenn found himself believing he could be the person to lead this country out of the “dire straights” we will find ourselves in by 2016.

“Can this guy do it? Can he stand up against the whole world and everything else? Can he do it? I think the answer so far is yes,” Glenn said. “So here’s your field. Your field is going to be your GOP favorites and it’s going to be Marco Rubio and it’s going to be Chris Christie. Chris Christie I think actually will probably be the one that is over Marco Rubio, quite honestly, because Chris Christie is so well spoken. However, that didn’t help Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich is a progressive, but Newt Gingrich had all this other baggage going on but he was well spoken… And Chris Christie’s going to be good in the debates because he’s just kind of like, he’s a fat man. He’s like, ‘I don’t care what you think. Here’s what it is.’ And that’s going to be refreshing after all of this bullcrap from Washington. Then you’re going to have three other candidates, all of which I think could be president. You’re going to have Ted Cruz, you will have Rand Paul, and… Paul Ryan. I think Paul Ryan is a waste of time.”

With those names in mind, the American people will have to decide who is the best person for the job. Making that decision, Glenn explained, will come done to trust.

“You look at Rand Paul and you look at Ted Cruz. They are proving themselves now – ‘I’ll stand in the hard times. I will stand when all the odds are against me. I’ll stand. And I am not going to waiver from what I told you I would do. No matter what the political elite say,’” Glenn said. “What America’s looking for is somebody just saying, ‘This is who I am. This is what I believe and this is how we’re moving.’ I think that’s so refreshing [compared to] the people who are making these backroom deals because people don’t trust anybody anymore.”

“Who do you really trust? I don’t trust people like Mitch McConnell. I don’t trust John Boehner. I don’t trust the GOP leadership. I don’t trust them. And if you do trust them, that tells me something about you and I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but it tells me I’ve got to watch you because I’m not sure who you are now. And that is a tough position to be in, but I think that is where America, especially in 2016, will be,” he continued.

The reason Glenn sees a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul having an advantage in 2016 (even without the help of the GOP establishment) is because of the way these guys are positioning themselves now. They are taking strong stances on issues that will resonate far beyond 2013.

“And if you didn’t go balls to the wall to stop universal healthcare, by 2016 I don’t know how we have an economy. I don’t know how you have healthcare. I mean, I think this is the best campaign ad for 2016 because things are going to be so bad with healthcare by 2016. [Ted Cruz] is the guy now who’s the poster child who can say, ‘I stood against it.’ It will be a great ad because things will be so bad,” Glenn explained. “Look at what’s happening with Brazil, where the president of Brazil yesterday at the United Nations stood up and said, ‘I’ve cancelled my trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the U.S. government because they’re spying on us.’ Who’s the poster child of that? It’s Rand Paul. These are poster child moments and this one is going to be something that affects absolutely everybody by 2016.”