12/3/15

I have been meaning to write this post for months now, but every time I sit down to write it I become depressed and cannot bring myself to do it.

Well, it is time now…

In a year that should have shown the Republican Party at its best—following a miserable seven years of Democratic presidency, a convincing mid-term election in 2014, and one of the best slates of candidates ever—the primaries have turned into a nightmare. The main reason, of course, is due to the meteoric rise of this most controversial of candidates, Donald Trump. Another reason is the many stupid nonsense candidates who have zero chance but are cluttering the airwaves and making everything look like a circus.

Here is my view on the main candidates:

  1. Jeb Bush: I have written before that I am not in favor of Bush because what we will need, after eight years of the Obama disaster, is a revolutionary candidate and Bush is an evolutionary candidate. Trump, for all his shortcomings, put it much more succinctly when he said Bush is a low energy person. He is right. I do not believe that Bush will recover from his slump and the best thing he can do is to realize it, withdraw from the race, and put his considerable support behind his former protégé, Marco Rubio, rather than trying to attack Rubio as he and his supporters are doing now.
  2. John Kasich: While Kasich has a great record, he also has an annoying personality—a patronizing, holier-than-thou, angry attitude. I just do not believe that he has a chance.
  3. Rand Paul: In the past two election cycles I said that if Ron Paul (Rand’s father and model) would become the Republican nominee I would vote for Obama. Knowing my total opposition to Obama, that says a lot. It is very easy for me to say that if Rand Paul becomes the nominee this cycle I will vote for Clinton. Paul has zero understanding of world affairs and is a captive of his isolationist tendencies, no matter how hard he is trying to camouflage it. Not on your life. Luckily, it seems that the Republican primary electorate understands this.
  4. Ted Cruz: For a brief moment I oscillated between favoring Senator Cruz to bewilderment of his actions. For the last 4-5 months my position has been clear: he is an opportunist lacking moral conviction on some matters (within a general framework of strong conservative views) who is not hesitating to throw his party and the other contenders under the bus and tread on them in his ambition-driven run for the presidency. He will lie and twist his own words and those of others. Having said that, if he gets to be the nominee he could be a good president . . . if he had a party to work with which, given his shenanigans, is unlikely to be the case.
  5. Chris Christie: Christie is an interesting dilemma. Judged by the state of affairs in New Jersey, his record is awful. One of the worst governors on record in the country. He is defending it by pointing out that New Jersey is, to start with, the worst state in the nation from many respects due to its decades of total Democratic governance and, even now, Democratic control of the legislature. Basically, so goes his case: he as a governor has been successful because he was less terrible than his predecessors. He is right on that, and there is some merit in this defense. But it is hardly a strong record to be the foundation of a presidential run. We will never know what he would have done if he could have done it, right? On the plus side, he is clever, a very talented speaker, and what he says makes huge sense in many respects. Yet, I am not enamored with his continual emphasis on his experience in fighting terror. His experience is that of law enforcement. The war on terror is NOT a law enforcement matter. It is a WAR. Indeed, the only other person on the national stage who believes that the war on terror should be a law enforcement matter is . . . President Obama. The other thing that I do not like about Christie is his lack of personal discipline. If you do not have enough self-control to not be obese, I doubt that you will have the necessary control and discipline to be a good president. I am ambivalent about him.
  6. Carly Fiorina: I have no hesitation to say that Fiorina would be an excellent president. She is probably the best of what is on offer and pretty good on an objective non-relative test. I just do not believe that she will be the nominee. If she would be, she could win versus Clinton. I do believe she would be an awesome vice presidential candidate, especially if the candidate for presidency is a Latino. This would be a winning combination and she would be able, if allowed, to be a very consequential VP.
  7. Ben Carson: What an impressive man with a history of simply doing God’s work on earth! Yet, what an underwhelming candidate. Unfortunately, Carson is the living proof that the idiom “this is not brain surgery” is simply wrong. Based on Carson, it seems that even “brain surgery” is not, well, “brain surgery.” While he was a most talented brain surgeon and at the top of his field in the world, he is simply not clever enough to be the president. If you are planning to be “interviewed” for the top job in the world, get ready! Study! His total lack of understanding of any of the issues—not only foreign affairs, economic too—is flabbergasting. How could such a talented and ostensibly clever man be so unprepared, so lacking in knowledge and understanding on any of the issues? No, I do not think Carson will get the nomination. He should not.
  8. Donald Trump: What can one say? Trump has many, many negatives but I will sum it all up by saying that he is clearly a clinical narcissist. While I too am against the PC nation that the US has become and believe that this culture is corrosive, you do not have to be rude and vulgar about it. Trump does have two very strong positive sides to him: however much he exaggerates/lies about his business track record, he was able to recover from basically total bankruptcy in the early 1990s to own a major business now. This type of experience and turnaround ability is very valuable. The other point about him is that, in a total contrast to his projected personality and what one would expect from this pompous person, he seems to be a great father. That is both telling about the real man and a very important test for anyone. On balance, I am shocked, dazed, possibly even traumatized by the fact that about 25% of the Republican primary voters will give this candidate the time of day, let alone their vote. It is only overtaken by my shock, daze, and dismay that 60% of Democratic primary voters will give their vote for the corrupt liar that they do NOT think is an honest person, yet they would vote for her. What is this country coming to??? What a sad state of affairs that this great country is down to probably offering a choice for the most important position in the world between two so flawed candidates: Clinton, corrupt, dishonest, and lacking in any achievements and Trump, a clinical narcissist. Of the two, I would go with Trump, (says he, I in this case…, with VERY heavy heart). I keep asking myself why Michael Bloomberg does not run? I am not a big supporter of Bloomberg, but compared to these two . . .
  9. Marco Rubio: I left him to the end as I support his nomination. I think that of the whole bunch he is the best. He is not perfect, far from it. I would have liked him to have some executive experience, but he has a number of good attributes that I think, on balance, make him the best nominee.
    • He is young and thus should be more open to revolutionary ideas than older candidates (like, say, Bush) who are set in their ways.
    • He should have the best chance—and the polls indicate as much—to defeat Clinton.
    • He is fairly articulate and photogenic; an absolute requirement in our media dominated age.
    • He shows the ability to study and learn. When he is not fully briefed on a subject, he will recede into the background, study it, and come out with a strong understanding and a clear policy prescription.
    • He is Latino, which should give him a little leg up in the fight for minority votes.
    • I like his vision for the US, for the world, and for US role in the world.
    • He is practical. He has shown the ability to be a pragmatist and get results. Be it the immigration bill (in spite of being pilloried by the extreme right wing about this), his tax reform proposal, or his anti-ObamaCare provision (that is the ONLY one that was able to pass congress and cause real damage to that crazy plan), he has shown the ability to do practical things and get things done as opposed to being pure and get nothing done. That is very important given that the next president is unlikely to have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, if a majority at all.

I believe that Rubio is the best candidate that Republicans can come up with. If he wins the primary and takes Fiorina for his VP I think this will be as close to the “dream team” as Republicans can come up with in these “worst of times.”