Tag Archives: GOP presidential field

More major culling to occur?


It’s beginning to look as though the Republican Party primary presidential field is going to endure another serious thinning out … maybe soon.

The South Carolina primary is coming up. Donald Trump continues to lead the pack — for the life of me I don’t know how.

Ted Cruz is in the mix. So is Marco Rubio.

That leaves the three also-rans, one of whom I had high hopes could resurrect his campaign.

Ben Carson should leave the race. John Kasich — my favorite Republican and possibly my favorite candidate in either party — needs to score well if he’s going to continue. Jeb Bush? I fear that he’s done, too.

That will leave us with three men running for the GOP nomination.

Two of them are serious, although none of them — for my money — should be the nominee.

It’s looking like one of them will survive the dogfight.

It’s been said that the primary system is a grueling battle that determines whether the “fittest” of the candidates will survive. I’ve called it a form of political natural selection.

This election cycle is proving to be a test of conventional wisdom, which used to suggest that the fittest candidates were those with the most experience, the most knowledge, and who are the most articulate in explaining their philosophy.

That’s not the case these days.

The fittest candidates are those who scream the loudest and who appeal to the fears of an electorate that has been told they have plenty to fear.


GOP contest is a two-man match race


Will Rahn, writing for the Daily Beast, has concluded that the Republican Party presidential primary campaign has settled into a two-man race.

It happens to comprise perhaps the two unlikeliest candidates of the field . . . but there’s a third highly unlikely guy out there who’s been left in the dust.

Donald J. Trump vs. Ted Cruz.

That’s who the GOP has left to decide in this primary battle, Rahn writes.

A part of me is saddened  by that possibility. Another part of me wonders if either Trump or Cruz really and truly can defeat whomever the Democrats nominate.

It’s looking a bit dicier at this moment for one-time prohibitive Democratic favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton. She once was thought to be invincible. No longer.

Still, I am trying to grasp the notion of either Trump or Cruz being able to defeat Clinton in a national election. I cannot get there.

Both men represent the so-called “outsider” wing of the party, even though Cruz has been a member of the U.S. Senate since January 2013; I guess that means he isn’t an entrenched member of Congress.

The once-enormous GOP field had a number of highly qualified individuals seeking the presidential nomination. My favorites, if you consider their skill and experience, were John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Rand Paul. They remain my personal favorites.

Then we had Ben Carson, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon seeking election to the only public office he’s ever sought. He isn’t qualified and that’s all I intend to say about that.

The rest of the field? I’ll just shrug.

We’re going to be left with Trump and Cruz fighting it out to the end, says the Daily Beast writer.

It appears to me at least that the Republican Party is morphing into a political organization that some truly great Americans — Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater — wouldn’t recognize.



Time for some candidate ‘culling’


I know it’s still early and that anything can happen in this 2016 campaign for the presidency.

But that ol’ trick knee of mine is throbbing and I’m sensing it’s time for some serious candidate culling to occur in both the Democratic and Republican primary fields. No, I don’t mean “culling” in the way you “cull” a herd of elk.

But it’s becoming clear that the public is focusing on a select few of these folks seeking to succeed Barack Obama as president.

The Democrats:

Say so long, please, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb. No one is talking about any of you fellows.

It’s still all about Hillary and Bernie. Hillary Clinton shined at that Democratic joint appearance. Bernie Sanders stumbled a bit, but played to his base. He had ’em standing and cheering in the Las Vegas “debate hall.”

Oh, and what about Vice President Biden? Stay tuned for that announcement — whatever it is.

The Republicans:

Where do I begin?

Chris Christie? You’re toast. Jim Gilmore? You never were in the game. Rand Paul? You had us then you lost us. John Kasich? As much as I like you, hit the road, sir. Bobby Jindal? B’bye. Lindsey Graham? See ya. Mike Huckabee? You, too. Rick Santorum? Your time is up. George Pataki? Pfftt!

Rick Perry and Scott Walker already are gone.

We’re left now with, um, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and I’ll throw in Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz.

The first three are the “outsiders.” Rubio is a young Senate gun. Bush is, well, a Bush. Cruz is the TEA Party’s current favorite son.

It’s a bit sad, actually, that some of these folks are being ignored by the media — and that means the public. Some of the Republicans running are thoughtful, experienced and nuanced individuals who have a lot to say.

The public, though, is being swept away by the outsider cadre, led — so far — Trump, whose major claims to fame are his wealth, his reality TV gig, his gorgeous wives … and his big mouth.

The rest of the large combined bipartisan field, though, is ready to be thinned out.


Fiorina: business miracle worker or misfit?


Carly Fiorina is giving me fits.

I happen to think several good things about the Republican presidential candidate.

I like her stage presence. She’s a commanding individual. She’s articulate and unafraid. She holds up well when asked tough questions. She claims to be friends with several world leaders.

I believe Fiorina has acquitted herself beautifully during those two joint appearances with the other GOP candidates.

Then I run into this little thing about her business experience, specifically her tenure as head of Hewlett-Packard.

Fiorina boasts about her leadership of the computer giant. I can’t understand why.

She was forced to quit by the H-P board. Why? Board members said the company stock value had declined precipitously; earnings were down; they disagreed with her about the company’s overall performance and, finally, they disliked her refusal to delegate more authority to division heads.

Fiorina sweeps all that away.

However, I keep coming back to the fundamental question: If Fiorina is such a brilliant business mogul, why did her bosses on the Hewlett-Packard board of directors feel the need to push her out of the way?

If the only Republican woman running for president intends to stay in the game, she’s going to have to answer for that — and explain in detail how her business history at H-P doesn’t disqualify her from taking command of the world’s greatest economy.

I’m all ears, Carly, er, Ms. Fiorina.


So much for predicting The Donald’s future

Roll this around for a moment.

President … Trump.

Yep, Donald Trump did what I truly didn’t think he would do. He declared he is running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

On the one hand, the idea of a President Trump could render me catatonic if I were to give it too much thought. On the other hand, the idea of The Donald having to answer questions about public policy, diplomacy, the nuance of governing and balancing the powers of government makes me shiver with anticipation.


“I want to make America great again,” he declared today. America’s not great now? We’re not the world’s pre-eminent military power? We’re not leading the fight against international terrorists? We haven’t recovered from the Great Recession of 2008-09?

The Donald doesn’t think so, I guess.

The GOP field is full of serious individuals. One of them, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, joined the field Monday, bringing the total number of GOP candidates to 11; the Democratic field has four of candidates.

Donald Trump is not a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States.

But you know? Given the guy’s celebrity status and the infatuation of such status fostered by today’s pop culture, well, almost anything can happen.

I fear that anything just might occur.


Let's define 'ideal GOP candidate'

The Daily Signal has put out an online survey asking folks who would be their “ideal” Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

It wasn’t until I looked carefully at the bottom of the survey form that I realized it is a sincere question.


It gives poll takers a chance to subscribe to Heritage Foundation material. So, there you have it. The poll comes from one of the nation’s premier conservative think tanks. So, the poll is meant to be taken seriously by those who answer the question.

But regular readers of this blog know my own political leanings place me far from the Heritage Foundation. I lean left. So, when I saw the question, I thought it could be laced with trickery.

I’ll declare here (maybe I’ve done so already; I don’t remember) that I’ve voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1972. I wavered once, teetering between voting for President Ford or Gov. Jimmy Carter in 1976; I ended up voting for Carter and I’ve come close to regretting it in the years since.

I’ve gotten a bit more hardened in my presidential choices over time. I do split my ticket generously, however, and I’ve been proud of the many votes I’ve cast for Republican candidates.

Who would be my favorite GOP candidate in 2016 be? Oh, man. How do I answer that one?

Maybe it would be the most extreme candidate running. Who would that? Ted “The Cruz Missile” Cruz? Marco Rubio? Rand Paul? Mike Huckabee (who’s not really running — yet)?

The more extreme the right-wing candidate the better it appears that a centrist Democrat — such as, oh, Hillary Clinton — would win the election.

I’m acutely aware that the Heritage Foundation is now being run by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, one of the TEA party godfathers. I’m guessing DeMint personally might favor one of the extremists running for president.

So, think about this one: I agree — potentially — with the guy who runs the Heritage Foundation.

We might want the same candidate to run as the Republican nominee for president next year.

I suspect, though, that our reasons differ wildly.


Now it's Sen. Graham thinking about '16 bid

Oh boy, I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for the upcoming presidential campaign.

The potential Republican field just got another name to ponder: Lindsey Graham, the senior U.S. senator from South Carolina.


Why is this such an interesting development?

Graham is a noted conservative from a deeply conservative state. He and fellow Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona take turns bashing the dickens out of President Obama, particularly on foreign policy — which is understandable, given that the domestic economy is starting to rock along. Heck, sometimes Graham and McCain are singing together.

However, Graham has had this annoying tendency — if you’re a Republican — to say nice things about some of the appointees the president puts forward to fill key administration posts. While many other GOP senators were slamming Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general, Graham said she’s a solid pick, highly qualified and he indicated his intentions to vote to confirm her when the time comes.

This is the kind of thing that’s going to make him a target among other GOP White House contenders when they line up to debate — if Graham decides to run, of course.

He’s a sharp lawyer. Remember when, as a member of the House, he managed the Republicans’ successful effort at impeaching President Clinton? Well, the Senate decided correctly to acquit the president of those “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

So, as he told “Meet the Press” today, he’s thinking seriously about a presidential bid. He told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he has “set up a testing-the-waters committee under the IRS code that will allow me to look beyond South Carolina as to whether or not a guy like Lindsey Graham has a viable path.”

Just one request, Sen. Graham, if you take the plunge: Stop referring to yourself in the third person.