Via the Hugh Hewitt Show and RCP, I’m teasing you with that headline. He does claim that he intends to run for office again someday but when asked, per Monday’s rumors, if that means the presidency, he says no. True or false? Before you answer, here’s something that Vanity Fair published back in 2012 that got overlooked in this week’s “Scarborough 2016” media flurry:
First, Joe flirted with the idea of running against Barack Obama. An ex–Florida congressman and a moderate Republican, he conferred with fellow centrists just before the primaries, occasionally shuttling around with his friend Mike Bloomberg… After the presidential inauguration in January, Joe (no fan of Mitt Romney’s—”I’ve been very critical”) plans on publishing a memoir that will serve—no joke—as a vehicle to test the waters for a presidential run in 2016.
He did, in fact, publish a campaign-ish book late last year — not a personal memoir but a prescription for the GOP. (Title: “The Right Path,” of course.) But if he’s not going to run for president, what’s he running for?
Senate, pretty obviously, no? If Rubio runs for president in 2016, he’ll be barred by Florida law from running for reelection to the Senate too. Scarborough could jump in, hoping that his name recognition and his endless Beltway contacts would give him an advantage in the race. If Rubio does run for reelection, Scarborough would have two options for Florida’s other Senate seat. If Bill Nelson runs again in 2018, Scarborough could challenge him then; or, if Charlie Crist flames out of the governor’s race and Nelson jumps in to rescue the Democrats, Scarborough could run in the special election to fill Nelson’s seat. His ace in the hole in all of this is Bloomberg, whose political influence is at low tide right now between the end of his term as mayor and the lack of traction he’s gotten in his endless anti-gun campaign. Throwing a few million at his moderate-Republican buddy Scarborough, who attacked the GOP relentlessly after Sandy Hook for opposing new gun-control measures, would be a quick path back to relevance. In fact, depending upon how much money Scarborough thinks he can count on, he might be tempted to run as an independent. (Beltway Republicans might see some virtue in that, in fact, given that Florida’s been trending blue.) That would allow him to bypass the GOP primary, where he’d face headwinds from tea partiers — and thanks to Charlie Crist, there’s a precedent for it in Florida. Makes a lot more sense than running for a presidential nomination he obviously won’t win.