Handicapping the possible 2016 Republican candidate pool

Apparently it’s never too early to start thinking about 2016. The Washington Examiner reports the Republican National Committee is in the process of conducting a 2016 presidential straw poll that included 32 potential candidates. The poll, which asks users to select their top three picks, includes Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), former Alaska Governor Sara Palin, and New Jersey Governor Chis Christie among others. On radio this morning, Glenn, Pat, and Stu handicapped the 2016 pool.

“Well, the Washington Examiner has done is story on the 32-person GOP field for 2016, and we're just looking at it,” Glenn said. “I have a big pen here, so lots of ink to scratch people off… Let's start at the beginning.”

The guys went through the list name-by-name selecting who they are willing to consider for 2016 based on a loose assessment of the individual’s record.

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Below is the list of potential candidates as per the RNC straw poll:

- Sen. Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire

- Haley Barbour, former Mississippi governor

- John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations

- Jeb Bush, former Florida governor

– Herman Cain, a radio host

- Ben Carson, author and neurosurgeon

– Chris Christie, New Jersey governor

– Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas

– Mitch Daniels, former Indiana governor

- Newt Gingrich, former House speaker

- Nikki Haley, South Carolina governor

- Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor

- Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor

– John Kasich, Ohio governor

- Rep. Peter King, of New York

- Susana Martinez, New Mexico governor

– Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor

- Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky

- Former Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas

– Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor

– Mike Pence, Indiana governor

– Rick Perry, Texas governor

- Sen. Rob Portman, of Ohio

- Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state

– Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida

– Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin

– Brian Sandoval, Nevada governor

- Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator

– Sen. Tim Scott, of South Carolina

- Sen. John Thune, of South Dakota

- Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor

– Former Rep. Allen West, of Florida

When all was said and done, Glenn, Pat, and Stu were left with 19 names they were willing to consider. One of the reasons so many names remained on the list is because they decided it was best to further research the people they did not know much about.

Glenn then asked the group to narrow down the field even further to the individuals they would be willing to go to bat for immediately. Needless to say, Sen. Cruz topped everyone’s list. Pat also included former congressman Allen West, while Stu really likes Sen. Paul and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

If the elections were to be held tomorrow, Glenn’s dream ticket would include Senators Cruz and Paul. And believes they could be a very formidable opponent to a Democratic candidate like Hillary Clinton.

“I think a Rand Paul/Ted Cruz or Ted Cruz/Rand Paul, whatever, ticket would excite the conservative base,” Glenn said. “I think Rand Paul appeals to the younger libertarian voters, and I think that's where you are going to get all of your fuel. You will get your fuel this time from people who are just like, ‘I don't want the system anymore,’ and Rand Paul can give you that. I think that's worth its weight in gold right now. And Ted Cruz can give you the real true conservative. You put those two together and I think it is dynamic because there's not going to be passion [on the other side]. Who's passionate for Hillary Clinton, really?”

You can take the RNC straw poll HERE.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!