Given my hobby as a connoisseur of really bad Republican candidates—I once wrote a prayer, begging God to allow milkman Jim Oberweis to run for office yet again, and it worked—I could not pass up the chance to handicap the field of Republican presidential hopefuls. Only 10 will be onstage at the first Republican debate in Cleveland this Thursday. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't examine them all while we can.
Yes, more than a few are vanity campaigns. None are really gold-plated, first rate, Alan Keyes-quality awful. Well, maybe Bobby Jindal. Some campaigns won't live out the month, assuming they're alive now. But we've spent so much time gazing in jaw-flapping wonder at the bloviating bag of bombast that is Donald Trump, we're missing a chance to snicker into our hands at other GOP stalwarts who, each ridiculous in his (or, in one case, her) own special way. I can't say we'll miss them when they're gone, but at least we should glance at them as they flash by.
In that spirit, I present to you the field of 2015 Republican presidential candidates, in order of likelihood of snagging the GOP nomination, from least to most. Drumroll please.
17. Bobby Jindal: No one seems to have told the governor of Louisiana that his national political career died in 2009 after his laughable, amateurish televised response to an Obama speech. The Hindu-turned-Catholic conservative makes headlines with occasional bursts of hate-speech nuttery. But his record in Louisiana is abysmal, and it follows him, quacking like a pull toy duck. Odds: 200 to 1.
16. Jim Gilmore. You haven't heard of him at all because the former governor of Virginia filed his papers last Thursday. Obscure, late and parroting bromides, he flopped out of the gate and lays there, quivering. Odds: 150 to 1.
15. George Pataki. Trump gets more press by pausing to tie his shoe than the three-term governor of New York has gotten since he threw his hat in the ring in late May. Socially liberal, he might appeal to mainstream voters if anybody ever heard anything about him. But they haven't and won't. Odds: 125 to 1.
14. Carly Fiorina. She's a woman, which makes her outstanding in a party that spends a lot of time trying to cook up new ways to repress women that don't involve adopting sharia law. The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard also lacks any political experience whatsoever, a big plus among Republicans. Odds: 100 to 1.
13. Ben Carson. Half of the electorate can't place his name, but he's slated to be one of the 10 on stage this week. An African-American neurosurgeon, his joke about gays finding poison in their wedding cakes is a reminder that a person can be black and yet a bigot. Odds: 90-to-1.
12. Lindsay Graham. Until Donald Trump gave out his cell number, America didn't know the South Carolina Senator was running, and he used his moment in the spotlight to post a video of himself destroying his cell phone. Odds: 80 to 1.
11. Chris Christie. Like Jindal, a walking political corpse. Abrasive personality would be burden enough, but, like Lord Jim, his not-so-secret shame dogs him. Either he knew about closing down the bridge at Fort Lee as political payback and is lying, or obliviously let his staff run amok, and really, which is worse? Odds: 75-to-1.
10. Rick Santorum. Plug "Santorum" into Google and six of the seven hits are references to Dan Savage's wildly successful campaign to punish the former Pennsylvania senator for his brainless anti-gay comments. Odds: 70-to-1.
9 . Mike Huckabee. Former Arkansas governor and Fox News host, this Baptist minister made a name for himself for his faith-blinded. folksy immorality, from claiming immediately after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary that the culprit was a lack of prayer in schools to his recent jaw-dropping Holocaust imagery. Odds: 65-to-1.
8. Rand Paul. The Kentucky senator's Libertarian worldview inspires a fanatical cadre of supporters, but everyone else just views him as strange. Odds: 60-to-1.
7. John Kasich. Ohio's popular governor is considered dead in the water among Republicans for clinging to intelligent policy goals, such as providing a road to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Odds: 50 - to 1.
6. Ted Cruz. The senator from Texas established his reputation as a vicious, say-anything critic with a fondness for paralyzing government. Camille Paglia nailed it when she called Cruz a "smirkily condescending and ultimately juvenile" who gives her "the willies." Odds: 40-to-1.
5. Rick Perry. The former governor of Texas seems to have shaken off his "now-what-was-that-third-agency-I'd close?" gaffe of 2011, and fired back at Trump, calling him "a cancer on conservatism" when most GOP hopefuls were hiding the weeds. But he's still tone deaf: he challenged Trump to a pull-up contest, which really isn't a thing. Odds: 30 to 1.
4. Marco Rubio. He's young, handsome and Hispanic. But actual Hispanics see him as Cuban, a member of a special protected political class. Plus he's a lightweight advocating policies 180 degrees against real immigrant interests. Maybe he'll have better luck in 2020. Odds: 15 to 1
3. Donald Trump. Nothing more need be said. Not top pick only because God wouldn't do that to America. Would he? Odds: 8 to 1.
2. Scott Walker. Wisconsin's Tailgunner Scott has made a career out of demonizing union members, an appealing strategy in Illinois, where government is being gutted by giveaways to unions. His slashing rhetoric excites big money donors like Joe Ricketts. Odds: 5-to-1.
1. Jeb Bush. The former Florida governor is seen as the brains in the Bush family, which is like being the tasteful Kardashian. But his moderate policies, his reluctance to say the stupid things that other GOP hopefuls spout all day, and his Mexican born wife all speak well to his chances. When the smoke clears, he'll be the one who hasn't shot himself in the foot, twice. Odds: 2-1
So that's it. You can cut this out and keep score Thursday.
The rumor is that Trump is running because the Koch Bros. want him there to make Scott Walker look sane.ReplyDelete
As for Ted Cruz, if he got on the ballot, look for the Democrats to try to get revenge for the Obama birth certificate idiocy & challenge him as he was born in Canada & held Canadian citizenship until recently.
Between Cruz and Justin Bieber, maybe Trump should worry more about Canadians than Mexicans.Delete
I wouldn't put anything past the Koch Bros. Some mod Repubs might see Rubio as a choice.Delete
Yes, I'd like to see Cruz get some payback ribbing on his birthplace.Delete
Peter, you may have a point.
You are correct on all the republicans (except for your strange comment about "giveaways" to unions in Illinois--in Illinois, a fascist governor is actively attacking and suppressing unions, who need to shut this state down in response). But the vile Democratic candidates are just the same and just as bad--all serve the rich and this system, the vilest there has ever been.ReplyDelete
Exactly what is vile about Bernie Sanders?Delete
Other than Bernie or Liz (and she's not running), I'm thinking he may mean that many other Dems are part of the same big money, bank tied association. Pres. Obama was willing to rock the boat and look how he was hog tied at times. Perhaps real change can't come from either major party, though one is slightly better than the other, imo. Who or what can control the Koch bros and their ilk? Look how conservative courts ruled on campaign spending.Delete
No wonder a former President recently said our nation is more of an oligarchy than it's ever been. (though I'd counter that the age of the robber barons was worse, but we're getting there)
Obama never rocked the boat. Not one of the banksters have been indicted for what they did to destroy the economy.Delete
And that former president is an anti-Semitic asshole named Carter who wants the terrorists of Hamas to destroy the democracy called Israel.
Clark, well Obama rocked it some with ACA at least. Remember some times his hands were tied with Repubs in Congress.Delete
I'm usually not a Carter fan, but he's right about the oligarchy comment.
banksters, that's a good oneDelete
Marvelous! You have to do the Democrats too, though I'm sure it won't be half the fun.ReplyDelete
Or half the length. Or even a quarter. Actually, it'll just be Hillary. And Benrie Sanders.Delete
(Tate/ off topic but as per the restaurant blog yesterday, I have a suggestion for a Greek rest. for you, please re-check there.)Delete
Some talk of late regarding Joe Biden making a run...ReplyDelete
I've come around some on Joe Biden. I'm pretty sure I'll vote for Mr. Sanders in the primary though, and hope DEEPLY that I am not forced to vote for HRC in the general.ReplyDelete
Mr. Z, I feel the same as you, in part. However, if Hillary is the dem . nom. winner, I will either not vote for the Pres. slot, or vote for Socialist USA party, even if it's a waste of vote. She's too closely tied with big banks and I don't trust her nor her decision making. I also think Billy boy will be at work behind the scenes and who knows what else he'd be up to. I'd like to see a lady Pres. but not her.ReplyDelete
Mr. S, a curious question of newspaper procedure- do you chose the file photos that accompany your story or in today's case, with the numerous pics, the editing staff takes care of it?
Can't agree that Illinois government is "being gutted by giveaways to unions,"and am a bit surprised you think so. Unions are not blameless, but the "gutting" is due to politicians, acting, it's true, on behalf of the taxpayers who voted them in, failing to meet obligations created by fairly negotiated labor contracts.ReplyDelete
Some of these guys are good talkers and seem plausible on first acquaintance. Like clean-cut, good Christian Rick Santorum. Sometimes you have to listen carefully to discover he's a religious fanatic. He graduated from a high school near us and when we found that out my wife and I thought of holding an exorcism on the spot. But we're Presbyterians and wouldn't know how to go about it.
I suppose it is more accurate to say, "being gutted by failing to be fiscally responsible about meeting their contractual obligations to unions." I'm certainly not blaming the unions. In capitalism, you take what you can get.Delete
Yikes on those puppet photos. Some are creepy looking.ReplyDelete
Good analysis Neil. The only quibble, I place Rick Perry at 14, and Carly Fiorina at fifth place. The only way trump could sustain his position is if some democrats and independents are bored with the Democratic primary, and cross over to vote in the Republican primary.ReplyDelete
I see your point. I guess I put him at 5 for his name recognition. I doubt one voter in five has heard the name "Carly Fiorina."ReplyDelete
"In capitalism, you take what you can get". I disagree with this statement.ReplyDelete
The compensation and benefits that public employee union members receive is not the result of capitalism. That compensation and benefits are the product of one group of Democratic insiders sitting in a room with another group of Democratic insiders and dividiing up the pie in a way that taxpayers cannot and should not be expected to sustain.
That process is a lot of things, but it is not capitalism.
When a group of Republicans appoint each other to corporate boards and divvy up their pie, is that capitalism?Delete
good point, TateDelete
Shareholders can always pull their capital out of a corporation if they don't think the board is deliverin a good return on their investment.Delete
Taxpayers have no such remedy. Failure to pay taxes has criminal penalties. I have to pay what they so I have to pay. With the way redistricting works, along with the public employee union domination of the Democratic party in this state, I can't pull my money out like shareholder could.
Apples and oranges. You invest in order to make money. You pay taxes in order to live in a civilized society.Delete
I keep hearing about the Republicans' "deep bench," most recently from that fool Camille Paglia. "Crowded" does not equate to "deep." A "deep bench" is what you have when there are a lot of players there who can actually play well.ReplyDelete
Regarding Carly Fiona: Name recognition is not her friend. The more people look into her record, the less they'll like her. She was fired from Hewlett-Packard, and she's trying to spin this by talking about how she "increased revenue." Of course she did, because of the disastrous Compaq acquisition. Any fool can buy an increase in revenue through a major acquisition. The key is what happens to profits and stock price afterward.
If the Democrats lose the presidency to one of these Bozos because certain people don't like Hilary and others can't stand Bernie, it will be a crying shame for sure.Delete
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There was a big shake up in the tech sector when the bubble burst in 2000. Carly did a decent job of maneuvering HP through the turmoil. I've seen her in several interviews, she has a presence, is articulate, and stays on topic. She will also get support from those who believe she will match up well against Hillary Clinton. Rick Perry still has the same meandering manner as he did in the 2012 primary. In my opinion there is better then 50% chance he'll have another brain freeze in the debate.Delete
I agree with Tate. Hillary isn't perfect, but she has the goods to make an effective president. Bernie is unelectable. All we would hear would be "socialist," "socialist." and the electorate would buy it.Delete
I think you give Cruz too much credit.ReplyDelete
I like Kasich, but he makes too much sense to be successful.
Rubio's best chance is hoping someone picks him for vice president.
Walker most resembles the above picture. He's a Koch puppet.
Regarding Fiorina, Scribe has it right.
yes, good use of the puppet picReplyDelete
I don't know if Bush can get past his brothers fiasco in office. People tire of the Bush/ Clinton names.ReplyDelete
Nice job of handicapping the race on the Republican side. I can't recall a major election with so many candidates in one party. Looks like it will be a done deal on the Democratic side for Hillary, but I wonder if the possibility of Joe Biden running against her is just so the Dems have a backup in case Hillary implodes along the way.ReplyDelete
Neil, You will never make it as a handicapper. There are a couple of 1000 to 1 runners in this field. One of many things that struck me is the candidate labeled too late is not (when is the convention?). As there are too many additional off base comments, will just say would have preferred one less snide article, even on politicians,ReplyDelete
"good Christian." In my experience, that's an oxymoron. And I definitely put Carter in with the bad bunch. Habitat for Humanity is lovely, but do people really think that was Jimmy's idea? I think not.ReplyDelete
I'll argue with that one. There are plenty of good Christians but, as with Muslims, the bad tends to obscure the good. Odd that more people don't connect the two.Delete
I know a lot of Jews are mad at Jimmy Carter because he said Israel was practicing apartheid, but he's not pro-Hamas. Or an anti-Semite. Anti-Likud maybe.Delete
And his charitable activities have gone well beyond building houses for Habit for Humanity. The Carter Foundation has been, among other things, credited with eradicating debilitating diseases in Africa. Trying to be a neutral party in his peacekeeping activities has often made him controversial, but when he goes he will, unlike some ex-Presidents, have left the world a better place.
Perchance they do not connect the two, because bad Christians aren't blowing up buildings, airports and bombing public events, Neil?ReplyDelete
Kind of a low standard of excellence you're setting for yourself, eh?Delete
The Santorum definition thing still cracks me up. Well done Dan Savage!ReplyDelete
The photograph you selected for this excellent article is absolute perfection.ReplyDelete
Thanks. The Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. I recommend a visit.Delete
Sometimes, God has a strange sense of humor and so I wouldn't count on Him to keep Trump from getting the nomination. Besides, God may be too busy. After all, He has to spend a lot of time in the next year picking winners in sports events including the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. :-)
As a life long GOP'er I have to yet again face palm at the current crop of candidates. Not all of republicans kneel at the right wing altar. That being said I sure as hell don't want to see Billary as prez. Her and Bill are corrupt liars. They always have been. I would have to verify if Hillary said the sun rose in the east. I am putting my hopes on Jeb. He's a good honest man who would make a good president. Maybe not great as we haven't had a great president since Truman.ReplyDelete