09 March 2015

Sizing up the Republican demolition derby (2)

It's still twenty months to the election, but there's no denying that the race for the Republican nomination is already well underway -- and like a driver passing a horrendous traffic accident, I can't help gawking even though I know I really shouldn't.  Here's how the situation stands at the moment:

Jeb Bush is the man to beat, we're told, but his rivals seem more than willing to rise to the task.  Despite the favor of the party establishment, and raising obscene mountains of cash, polls reveal a distinct lack of enthusiasm among rank-and-file Republicans unhappy at the prospect of "another Bush", to say nothing of teabaggers determined not to let the establishment foist another boringly-sane moderate like McCain or Romney on them.  Almost everywhere, Jeb currently trails.....

Scott Walker, the union-busting, evolution-discomfited Governor of Wisconsin.  He's not well-known nationally, suggesting he may be serving as a blank slate onto which the various party factions -- fundies, libertarians, nationalists, etc. -- can project their hopes.  Some, already concerned about the party's anti-intellectual reputation, are worried by his lack of a college degree.  Does he have a real shot, or is he just the first of a rotation of anyone-but-Jeb placeholders, like the anyone-but-Romney merry-go-round of 2012?  Only time will tell, unlike with.....

Rand Paul, whose trajectory can already be pretty much foreseen.  As his father repeatedly did, he'll stay in the race to the end, but won't get the nomination.  His cult status among libertarians gives him a guaranteed base of support, but his anti-interventionist foreign-policy views horrify nationalists and will prevent his support from growing much beyond its core.  The position of.....

Mike Huckabee is somewhat similar.  He's the candidate of a specific faction of the party -- the Christian Right -- and some in other factions are wary of him.  Still, the growing dominance of the fundies within the party could make him a stronger contender than outsiders expect.  If so, the Maurice Clemmons issue will be brought up.  Fanatically anti-gay and anti-abortion, Huckabee's surprisingly moderate on some non-religion-related issues.  This strongly repels the wingnut-teabagger types, who prefer.....

Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born Latino known for his hard line against illegal aliens (but only the na├»ve find this ironic).  After the debt-ceiling showdown of October 2013 which nearly crashed the world economy, his commitment to using any tactic available to thwart Obama and advance the teabagger agenda is beyond question, but his brinkmanship and blundering have thrown some scares into the saner elements of the party, including the Wall Street guys.  If he starts looking like a strong contender, expect an all-out push by the establishment to stop him -- perhaps in favor of.....

Marco Rubio, a rising star viewed by some Republicans as their party's Obama because he's young and a minority and..... well, the parallels actually peter out pretty quickly.  Said to be a "great communicator", though I have yet to see any evidence of it.  The establishment hopes he can make the party appealing to Latinos, but much of teabaggerdom loathes him for his early support of illegal-alien amnesty.  There's also some feeling that he's simply too inexperienced and should wait to run for President until 2020 or 2024.  Still, if Bush flames out, the establishment is more likely to turn to him than to.....

Chris Christie, the Greek-tragic figure in the race.  Once expected to be the establishment candidate, he ran afoul of Bridgegate and concerns about his bullying character.  Now there's another scandal brewing, and his sinking ratings in New Jersey suggest that his supposed appeal to Democratic voters is fading.  And, let's face it, we haven't elected an obese President in living memory.  Still, even Christie isn't as much of a no-hoper as.....

Rick Perry.  Sorry, Governor Oops is strictly a comic-relief character this time around.  If Walker just being a few credits short of a college degree worries people, this guy doesn't have a chance in hell of living down his 2012 performance.  But even a rigorous education in one field is no guarantee of intellectual seriousness, as is illustrated by.....

Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and flaming religious nutball with no political experience who has mostly been in the news for gaffes about science and homosexuality.  I think much of his strength in polls comes from Republicans feeling that supporting a black guy immunizes them from accusations of racism, just like the whole "war on women" issue went away because of.....

Sarah Palin, who, I'm sorry to say, is not running, guys.  Look, she's no longer a politician, she's a celebrity whose schtick is based on a previous career as a politician.  Thing is, to keep the money coming in, she's got to keep the fans interested, which means she has to make occasional noises about getting back into politics, the way Lindsey Lohan has to stage an occasional wardrobe malfunction to get attention on celeb sites.  But that's all it is.  I wish she would run, for the entertainment value and to diminish the other Republican candidates by association, but it's just not happening.  Still, she'll sit on the sidelines dropping hints and spouting word salad for months yet, trying to hog the limelight, getting her fans' hopes up -- and preventing them from settling for another candidate.

If you think this line-up is embarrassing, remember that Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and (God help us) Donald Trump are dropping hints about joining in as well.  So, what do you think?  Will a year and a half of "more teabaggish than thou" feces-flinging among this motley assortment of primates produce a viable candidate for the most powerful office on the planet?  Or will the party end up turning to.....

.....this guy?  Think about it.  Romney was polling far ahead of anyone else among Republican voters before he dropped out -- which some think he was pressured to do by an establishment that feared he would split the non-crackpot vote and perhaps even rob Jeb of the nomination.  I can understand them not wanting to let us re-live the glory days of the etch-a-sketch, Big Bird, 47%, the dog on the car roof, Bain Capital, and trees that are the right height -- but considering the alternatives.....

5 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I stopped by to catch your link round up since the mainstream usual news has been boring me to death, but checked this out first, and didnt even know all these folks were possibilities ... and what a depressing line up at that! Geeeezzz ... the only temporarily sane one in this bunch is Romney (and I dont even like Romney) or maybe Bush or Paul (dont know much about Bush or Paul though) ... good thing I'm not a Republican these dayz ... I would probably endorse the elephant you have playing in the start of your link round up.

09 March, 2015 05:27  
Blogger Jono said...

They've definitely raided the looney bin for this crop of geniuses.

09 March, 2015 14:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: That elephant would probably do a better job -- primum non nocere and all that. I can see why this line-up makes so many Republicans nostalgic for Romney.

Jono: This isn't even the worst they've got. No Bachmann, Trump, or Gohmert this time around -- so far, at least. But they're wacky enough. I would dread trying to explain to anyone from a foreign country why some of this bunch are taken seriously as potential presidents.

10 March, 2015 05:31  
Blogger Scott McLean said...

Sarah Palin is nice to look at.

However, I really have no idea why the Republicans don't pick better candidates which goes for Oregon statewide races, too. It's a shame, a real shame, to tap into the Andy Griffith Show cliche bandwagon.

Bush vs. Clinton. Yikes! Please help us, they assume we have no brains! It's hard to vote in American elections these days. I'll probably have to think of a name as a write-in because because I'm not for B. or C., I want an "A" level candidate for President.

23 March, 2015 12:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Scott: They don't pick better candidates because they've become so extremist that they can't. Reagan himself couldn't make it through a Republican primary today.

24 March, 2015 18:49  

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