Is Carly Fiorina the new Michele Bachmann?

The GOP presidential primary field, once again, looks like a Hollywood ensemble cast. But this time, the list includes two black conservatives and, in a nod to changing times, two Hispanic prospects. 

Jim Cole/AP
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks during a business luncheon at the Barley House with New Hampshire Republican lawmakers, in Concord on April 28, 2015.

It has now become obligatory for the Republican primary field look more like a Hollywood ensemble cast.

This is the second election in a row that follows that script. This year’s version is new and improved.

It’s important to have a woman, of course. Carly Fiorina replaces Michele Bachmann in that role, an improvement in my estimation. 

Equally important is the black conservative. Ben Carson and Herman Cain have about the same amount of actual political experience, which is zero. I get more questions from folks outside the beltway than anybody else about Dr. Carson this time around. Last time, I would get the same questions about the Hermanator.

Can he win? Ummm, no.

A Republican field is not complete without a Libertarian, a spot taken up by first Ron Paul and now Rand Paul. It’s a family tradition.

A new feature for the Republican ensemble cast is the Hispanic, a nod to the changing times. The GOP has gone in overdrive on this cast member and now they have Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Of course, you need a blustery big mouth. Newt Gingrich filled that role quite nicely last time around. Chris Christie gets the nod this time.

Last election, the social conservative/economic populist role was filled by Rick Santorum, who ended up placing second to the eventual nominee. Making a return appearance and knocking the former senator out of that role is Mike Huckabee who is a more authentic Bible beater (he is Baptist, not Catholic) and more authentic economic populist (he rose taxes on the rich as governor).

And of course, you have to have the establishment choice, the guy who will most likely be the nominee. Last time, it was Mitt Romney, the one candidate everybody loved to hate. This time, it’s Jeb.

A new category has been added to the GOP ensemble cast, Midwest governor and there are plenty of folks auditioning, including Scott Walker and John Kasich.

Like any ensemble cast, it’s not easy getting enough lines to become the one true star. But I do think this year’s group represents a dramatic improvement over the folks who ran in 2012. One of them has an even shot at actually being president, too. Which is nice.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at

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