Sorting the Republicans’ 2016 Kingdom


29pataki-sub-2-superjumboThe GOP presidential field continues to swell like Elvis’ waistline in the 1970s. Former New York Governor George Pataki jumped into the fray on Thursday, a day after former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 contender Rick Santorum made his intentions known.

Does either candidate stand a chance of making it all the way to the nomination?

Don’t bet on it. Pataki is the longest of long shots – he cut crime rates and taxes during three terms as head of the Empire State, but he’s also a Roosevelt Republican and social liberal. Santorum was the surprise winner in Iowa the last time caucus-goers voted. But this time around, it’s a far more crowded field.

There are at least three ways to sort the Republican candidates.

You can do it by national polls, such as this most recent one by Quinnipiac University.

Or you can look at what’s going on in the early-primary shaping/re-shaping states, such as this CNN New Hampshire poll from earlier in May showing how various GOP contenders stack up versus Hillary Clinton.

Here’s yet another way to divide the field: taxonomically – i.e., by the many phyla that exist within the political kingdom that is the Republican Party.

Here’s my attempt at being a poor man’s Linnaeus/Watson/Fleming and sorting the dozen-plus Republican hopefuls along more biological lines.

That would include:

Grow, Grow, Grow Your Boat. A group headed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Defining traits: lots of realpolitik speeches (at times, bordering on lecturing and scolding) about inclusiveness, outreach, making the party less monochromatic and the GOP brand less, shall we say, confrontational. In theory, this phylum is engineered to survive and flourish in both red and purple voting habitats. In Latin: Amici Latino

“State” Your Best Case. A group that features Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Chris Christie (though lately he’s been more about national topics like entitlement reform), Pataki (he cites his record in response to 9/11), Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Defining traits: lots of talk about strong executive skills transferable to a leadership-starved Washington, banking on GOP voters’ natural attraction to governors (Reagan, Bush 43) more so than sitting members of Congress (Dole, McCain). In Latin: Semper Provincials

Attack/Retreat. A group that includes Senator Lindsey Graham and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Defining traits: the polar extremes of U.S. foreign policy as viewed through a Republican lens – no one rattles a saber quite like Graham (he think it’s time for a new surge in Iraq), whereas the non-interventionist Paul would have you believe that it’s his own party that paved the way for ISIS’ land grab in Syria and Iraq (in his words, GOP hawks “created these people”). In Latin: Bellum Ostrichus Nukum Avoidum.

Got Them Blue-Collar Blues. A group that includes former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Defining traits: in addition to falling back on faith and a moral code, candidates who, because they were raised in a working-class households in non-urban America, have unique insights into the economic and cultural concerns of everyday, church-going, pro-life, Fox-viewing Americans. Latin name: Paula Deena Maxima

Apple Pie/Humble Pie. A group that includes former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Defining traits: straight-talking candidates whose rags-to-riches lifestyles are the quintessential American dream – and whose dream is a Washington run by someone from the outside, with no governing experience. In Latin: Horatio Algera.

The Cochrane & Cockburn Crowd. In honor of Alexander Cochrane and George Cockburn (the British admirals who led the torching of the White House and U.S. Capitol in 1814), a group that includes Texas Senator Ted Cruz and business mogul Donald Trump. Defining traits: bombast, bravado and the oft-stated belief that there are times when the only way to save the federal government is by blowing it up – the IRStaxesthe Texas border, you name it. In Latin: Irritata Media Incredibla

So there’s your Republican field.

Guess we could do the same for the Democrats. But given the low stature of Mrs. Clinton’s rivals, wouldn’t that be more like microbiology?

Published in Elections, Politics
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 7 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus

    I think the only thing here that I disagree with is the grouping of Cruz with Trump. I’m not a fan of my Senator as a Presidential candidate, but he’s light years ahead of that Capitem Recto Insertus.

    • #1
  2. CuriousKevmo Inactive

    A couple unrelated thoughts.

    I have to assume all these people see this as a golden opportunity which means they don’t think much of Mrs. Clinton

    In theory I’m in favor of a diversity of choices and having the debates about important topics but this has gotten a bit ridiculous — are these people just vying for Veep or a cabinet spot?

    Can someone, anyone, give me a sense for why this Pataki guy thinks he has any shot at all?  I can see no compelling reason for a Republican to vote for this guy.

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Member

    I have tried to think of a witty, educated response to this.  So many thoughts, so little time. I will just add to the conversation by playing the Fox News game of who should be in, and who should be out.  My sense is that it would draw consensus agreement

    IN – Walker, Rubio, Kasich Christie, Perry, Cruz, Paul, Jindal, Fiorina, Bush

    OUT – Everyone else. Everyone.

    Carson is a great man, but can lay no claim to being BETTER qualified than any of the top tier candidates.  I leave Bush in reluctantly.  I would like to see him not win a single primary state, so we can put the final nail in the Bush Era coffin.

    The fact that we are revisiting Huckabee and Santorum is infuriating to me.  Any unmentioned names have no chance of winning, and only turn a competitive primary into a brutal, extended side show.

    • #3
  4. Songwriter Inactive

    Ben Craigs:

    The fact that we are revisiting Huckabee and Santorum is infuriating to me. Any unmentioned names have no chance of winning, and only turn a competitive primary into a brutal, extended side show.

    I would add Trump to the list of infuriating names on the list. He hasn’t got a prayer of getting any votes. He is an unserious candidate – and it drives me nuts that he gets any air time at all. He’s just throwing his name in the hat for the attention it gets him.

    • #4
  5. Butters Inactive

    smart of Bill to lump Trump and Cruz in at the end so we wouldn’t have a chance to stop reading

    • #5
  6. TKC1101 Member

    To beat Hillary, we need someone less than 50 years old who looks like a nice guy.

    We also need Carly to beat the snot out of Hillary.

    Anyone over 50, go raise money for someone under.

    Carly, measure the Veep office for drapes of your choice.

    Our slogan “He is half her age!” (remember, most of the electorate went to American public schools, the math is beyond them. Those who do, a lot will just assume Hillary s 95. She looks it.)

    • #6
  7. user_740328 Inactive

    I’ll follow Ben Craig’s lead:

    IN: Walker, Rubio, Perry, Cruz, Jindal, Fiorina

    OUT: Everyone else. Especially Bush. I actually really like him, and I love what the man says. But I think the LIV’s will be too easily played on that one.

    Dream Ticket (as of now): Walker, Fiorina.

    • #7
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.