Friday, October 30, 2015

The Republican candidates --- why are they running?

After yesterday's post with brief comments on Wednesday's Republican debate, a natural follow-up is brief comments on why each candidate has chosen to run.  Each one, of course, hopes to become President and thinks that they should be.  That is a reason for pause, and this is an interpretation of that hope.

John Kasich --- He's running to be on someone's ticket as the candidate for Vice President.  He's from a crucially important state in most Presidential elections, and he talks incessantly about Ohio in every debate.  If anyone cares about experience, he does have some credibility as a long tenured elected official in Congress and in his state, and would almost surely have more experience there than any presidential nominee that he was paired with.

Mike Huckabee --- One could guess that he's running for the attention that he enjoys so much and the chance to use that celebrity status to continue his commentator roles and beef up his speaking fees. He of course would like a cabinet post, but unfortunately there is no Department of Suspect Conservative Christian Church Services.

Jeb Bush --- He thinks that he has a chance to be President and is the best candidate.  While he does not have his older brother's difficulties saying the wrong words or mispronouncing them, he is a lazy speaker, with his "stuff happens" comment being just one of many examples.  When he starts speaking, the first thought is, unfortunately for him, "be ready to be bored".  He has no attitude, no edge.  He's falling further behind and if he does not pick up the pace by the time South Carolina rolls around he may be in trouble.  In his back and forth with Rubio in the debate, to some he may have come off as a bully.  All that said, if he can hang in, he can still be the establishment candidate, which strange as it may seem now could be a positive as the middle innings of this contest arrive.

Marco Rubio --- Here is a clever and on the ball speaker who is way ahead of himself in terms of knowledge.  Can anyone imagine this young family man who apparently can't balance a checkbook being involved in running our economy or negotiating with highly educated and experienced leaders of our allies, much less China and Russia,  Rubio has no fear and that has served him well so far in state politics, but that is the scariest thing about him when contemplating a President Rubio.

Donald Trump --- A touch of megalomania here, a dash of grandiosity there, and always a New York attitude, that package has worked well for him with bankers and the real estate industry. How well that would travel in the political world is to some a big question, while others conclude that his candidacy is a bad joke.  He has no shortage of confidence and is a tenacious worker and builder, but a presidential race, even just a race for the nomination, is a long haul. He's definitely running for President, but will he have the staying power or just get bored at some point when he no longer gets the attention that he craves.

Ben Carson --- Carson himself said that he had no ideas about running for President until hundreds of thousand of people approached him to do so.  Luckily he did not get mauled.  At the debate Wednesday he ran through a bunch of numbers about his "economic plan", ran through them fast as if, having memorized them, he was afraid he would forget. To the best of the ability here to understand his rapid recitation, it made no sense at all.  He finished reciting and looked pleased, case closed.   He is serious about running for President but he gives the appearance of being the most unpredictable and quietly uninhibited extremist running who appears to have a chance.  One thing for sure, he appears to be supremely confident, which he certainly would have needed to be in his career.

Carly Fiorina --- She does think that she should be President, but it is unclear what qualifies her.  She has no respect for the truth and no ability to apologize for, or just restate, gross misrepresentations when pointed out to her.  Running as a "secretary who made it to CEO" says it all about how disingenuous she is.  She is from a privileged family whose father was Dean of Duke Law School and once an Assistant U.S. Attorney General.  She attended Stanford.  She did rise in business to head of HP, but it ended badly for good reason.  It does not seem possible here that she will make it through South Carolina or any of the southern states no matter how hard she tries to play the gender card.

Ted Cruz --- He views himself as the most capable speaker of all candidates, of all time really it can seem, but the question is whether he is running for now.  With his bulldog arrogant attitude, he may have made too many enemies in his own party.  At 44, he has time and he has a sinecure in the Senate given the sad state of politics in the otherwise wonderful state of Texas.  Could he break through?  It's not impossible for the Republican nomination but it is unlikely that the chance of a loss to Hillary Clinton in the general election would burnish his resume.

Chris Christie --- Like Kasich, he is running for a Vice President slot.  New Jersey can be a swing state and he has worked on developing supporters with money like Sheldon Adelson, which would not hurt any running mate.  His gift for gab and his sense of humor could be seen as attractive as well by some more studied running mate.

Rand Paul --- Like Cruz, this seems like positioning for the future.  He likes his own ideas immensely, but they are difficult to explain and add up.  Maybe he's on to something that other Republicans could identify with eventually, but it seems that whatever message he has needs much more fine tuning.  Combining a libertarian approach to social issues, an isolationist approach to foreign policy, and an extreme bias against Federal government regulation is bit of a mind twister for many Republicans.  Maybe he will step out of the race at some point and let Bobby Jindal into the prime time bunch.  That could certainly be more entertaining to work with.

Fortunately for the Republicans, it is early in the nominating process.  At the moment, where this is leading is not clear but it is frustratingly entertaining.


Blogger Allen Hengst said...

To quote E. Costello: "I used to be disgusted, but now I'm just amused." EXCEPT when Trump, Huckabee and others (too numerous to mention) claim to be Christians and the agnostic media gives them a pass. If Trump is a "Christian," Carson a "doctor" and Fiorina a "CEO," than I'm a lawyer ... or at least a professor (Emeritus).

~ Allen Hengst, Esq.

2:30 PM  

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