Do Republicans Care About Winning?

 

DebateThe question dogs any woman who writes about politics: “Don’t you want to see the first woman elected president of the United States?” The unstated premise, always obvious, is that you are some sort of traitor to your sex if your hand isn’t itching to pull the lever for someone with the correct chromosomes. My answer has always been, “That depends upon what she believes.”

Hillary Clinton banked on the First Woman President effect from the start — an understandable gambit for someone with no substantive accomplishments and many flaws. Her sex may be the only thing she hasn’t lied about. She doubtless lulls herself to sleep at night by lovingly eyeing the cross tabs of election data showing that women are an ever increasing share of the total electorate (53 percent in 2012); that single women in particular lean hard to the Democrats (67 percent voted for Obama in 2012); and that marriage is on the decline among younger voters.

Two things will disturb her reverie. One: In the past two months, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, Mrs. Clinton’s support among Democratic women voters has dropped by 29 points, from 71 percent to 42 percent. Two: Carly Fiorina demonstrates what a true leader looks like.

Clinton has played the woman card until it’s dog-eared and faded. Fiorina knows it’s useful to be the lone female in the Republican race, but like Margaret Thatcher, the figure she most resembles, her sex is the least interesting fact about her. Like Thatcher, Fiorina is self-made. She did not ride to success on a man’s coattails. Her rise from secretary to CEO would already be the stuff of legend if she were a Democrat.

Also unlike Mrs. Clinton, Carly Fiorina seems to have actual beliefs, not poll-tested positions.

How long have Republicans yearned to see a candidate frame the abortion question as Mrs. Fiorina did at the CNN debate – daring Obama and Clinton to watch the video in which a former clinic worker described how a fully formed fetus, his heart beating, was killed by a technician who cut open his face to harvest his brain? That is the ground on which this battle must be fought. The press and the Democrats would prefer to blow smoke about “women’s health” and, if pressed, to focus on rape and incest cases. It’s up to steely candidates to present the reality of abortion. Fiorina didn’t flinch from doing so.

She described defunding Planned Parenthood as a challenge to the “character of this nation.” There’s another challenge that deserves mention.

Most of the candidates on stage at the Reagan Library have done their homework. Senator Marco Rubio was the standout, in my judgment, particularly on foreign policy (with Fiorina a close second), showing the fruits of careful analysis and long study of the strategic situation. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee, have all, to varying degrees, immersed themselves in policy and now offer the American people their considered views on the difficult (even dire) state of the nation.

The people have a job to do as well, and so far this year, they have been shirking it. Their role is to take politics seriously – to reward merit and to shun mere flimflam men.

The two top-polling candidates are unfit. As much as Dr. Ben Carson is a winsome, admirable American (I’ve read his autobiography and seen the movie based upon it) and an ornament to the Republican Party, he is clearly not sufficiently schooled in public policy to be a credible president.

Mr. Trump, a balloon held aloft by hot air, was asked how he would handle foreign policy. He declared that if he were elected, he’d study up. “I’ll know more about the problems of this world when I sit” in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, his instinct is to “get along with Putin.” If that sounds familiar, it should. In 2008, Barack Obama promised to sit down with all of our adversaries. He did. The reset with Putin has led to Russian troops in Ukraine, Crimea, and now Syria. The détente with Iran threatens mushroom clouds from Tel Aviv to New York.

A Marco Rubio/Carly Fiorina ticket (or Fiorina/Rubio) could win in 2016. So could some other combinations. Democrats have not had this much to fear in more than a decade. Nor has their own slate been so vulnerable. One of the real estate scion’s favorite insults is “loser” – an apt description of the Republican Party if it fails to wake from the Trump coma.

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  1. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Hmm there is another angle… Trump and Fiorina are cut of the same cloth, outsiders with a later-in-life interest in politics, hoping for a grand finale to stroke their ego before retirement. All hot air and rhetoric but no applicable track record. I am as shocked by Fiorina’s appeal as by Trump’s.

    There is no comparison between Fiorina and Thatcher. Thatcher loved the world of ideas and entered politics at the age of 25 and climbed the ladder. Fiorina is 61 and has never held office. But she wants the big prize for her first experience. As this article says, addressing Fiorina, “if you think the board of HP was dysfunctional, wait till you see Congress.”

    The only people on stage worth considering were Kasich and Rubio. Everyone else was playing “If I were dictator, this is what I would do”. But we are not electing a dictator. Kasich knows that politics is complicated and requires compromise and allies at home and abroad. He was the “adult in the room” as the NY Times put it this morning. And Rubio has much going for him, smart, articulate, but not as ready imo.

    • #31
  2. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    CuriousKevmo:I too have been impressed with Fiorina — Mr. Carson as well. But is President an entry level position?

    Hah. Exactly.

    • #32
  3. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    I agree with all these comments, even though I tuned in last night [and am still a wavering] Kasich supporter. I’d like to add a couple of points;

    If Rubio’s standout performance doesn’t shift the momentum in Florida, Bush’s “firewall,” I don’t know what will.

    I think Christie deserves Attorney General if he wants it with his strong appeal last night as well.

    • #33
  4. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Roadrunner:If you want to win then immigration should be at the top of your list. If it is not you will live in a country much like California. Conservatism will be irrelevant. Carly, Jeb! and Marco have already shot themselves in the foot. I don’t think they can recover. The Republican Party is in jeopardy of going on the ash heap of history. Large amounts of labor and citizens freely moving across borders is not a recipe for a country, it is a recipe for civil war.

    So Hillary or Sanders will be much better on immigration than those you mentioned above, right?

    • #34
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Marion Evans: The only people on stage worth considering were Kasich and Rubio. Everyone else was playing “If I were dictator, this is what I would do”. But we are not electing a dictator. Kasich knows that politics is complicated and requires compromise and allies at home and abroad. He was the “adult in the room” as the NY Times put it this morning. And Rubio has much going for him, smart, articulate, but not as ready imo.

    Please. Look how well it’s worked for Obama.

    • #35
  6. Solon JF Inactive
    Solon JF
    @Solon

    Western Chauvinist:In any case, it does seem insulting to suggest there are Republicans who don’t care about winning …

    It is fair to suggest that people who are supporting Trump are doing so due to more to frustration and need for catharsis than because they actually think he is a good presidential candidate who can win and then govern the country well.

    • #36
  7. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Western Chauvinist:

    Marion Evans: The only people on stage worth considering were Kasich and Rubio. Everyone else was playing “If I were dictator, this is what I would do”. But we are not electing a dictator. Kasich knows that politics is complicated and requires compromise and allies at home and abroad. He was the “adult in the room” as the NY Times put it this morning. And Rubio has much going for him, smart, articulate, but not as ready imo.

    Please. Look how well it’s worked for Obama.

    If John Kasich is the pick of the NYT, who would dare quibble with their selection of the next spiritual and ideological leader of the Republican Party, certainly not Iran or Greenpeace. Of course, if through some cosmic error, Kasich were the GOP nominee, the NYT would quickly uncover facts proving John Kasich was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.

    • #37
  8. Drusus Inactive
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    Marion Evans: As this article says, addressing Fiorina, “if you think the board of HP was dysfunctional, wait till you see Congress.”

    Congress doesn’t get to fire the President, though, do they?

    • #38
  9. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    jetstream:

    Western Chauvinist:

    Marion Evans: The only people on stage worth considering were Kasich and Rubio. Everyone else was playing “If I were dictator, this is what I would do”. But we are not electing a dictator. Kasich knows that politics is complicated and requires compromise and allies at home and abroad. He was the “adult in the room” as the NY Times put it this morning. And Rubio has much going for him, smart, articulate, but not as ready imo.

    Please. Look how well it’s worked for Obama.

    If John Kasich is the pick of the NYT, who would dare quibble with their selection of the next spiritual and ideological leader of the Republican Party, certainly not Iran or Greenpeace. Of course, if through some cosmic error, Kasich were the GOP nominee, the NYT would quickly uncover facts proving John Kasich was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.

    He is not the pick of the NYT. They had a brief comment on each candidate’s performance, with pluses and minuses for each. Here it is: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/09/17/us/politics/second-republican-debate-candidates.html

    • #39
  10. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Drusus:

    Marion Evans: As this article says, addressing Fiorina, “if you think the board of HP was dysfunctional, wait till you see Congress.”

    Congress doesn’t get to fire the President, though, do they?

    No but if you can’t work with a dozen board members, good luck with Congress.

    • #40
  11. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    EThompson:

    DocJay:You mention the top two, both of whom aren’t going to be around in the end anyway yet ignore the person who will be around and will likely but the nomination. Why is this? Jeb can’t win the general but he will likely win the nomination over the will of most of the base.

    Doc, calmes-toi. Although I actually harbor respect for Bush, I believe he can’t win it; the country club establishment Republicans I know here in Florida aren’t even interested. :)

    I know folks from different country clubs that are still quite convinced Bush is the guy.   Money is power but hopefully people want to win more than put a stooge in ( I do not respect him as you do).

    Mona mentioned wanting to win and Bush has a better chance to win the nomination than Trump in my mind despite the current pointless polls.    There is a game going on behind the scenes and if you’re not writing 7 figure checks, you’re not in the know.   I will be relieved when Bush is gone and not until then.

    • #41
  12. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    DocJay:

    EThompson:

    DocJay:You mention the top two, both of whom aren’t going to be around in the end anyway yet ignore the person who will be around and will likely but the nomination. Why is this? Jeb can’t win the general but he will likely win the nomination over the will of most of the base.

    Doc, calmes-toi. Although I actually harbor respect for Bush, I believe he can’t win it; the country club establishment Republicans I know here in Florida aren’t even interested. :)

    I know folks from different country clubs that are still quite convinced Bush is the guy. Money is power but hopefully people want to win more than put a stooge in ( I do not respect him as you do).

    Mona mentioned wanting to win and Bush has a better chance to win the nomination than Trump in my mind despite the current pointless polls. There is a game going on behind the scenes and if you’re not writing 7 figure checks, you’re not in the know. I will be relieved when Bush is gone and not until then.

    I’m thinking beyond the primary and looking only at the national election. I think Fiorina/Rubio or vice versa can win on a grand scale.

    I have admittedly enjoyed The Donald show because I’m a sucker for braggadocio but I’m getting serious now.

    Additionally: If the CCRs in Florida aren’t enamored, I wouldn’t worry.

    • #42
  13. Solon JF Inactive
    Solon JF
    @Solon

    DocJay:  I will be relieved when Bush is gone and not until then.

    Amen brotha.

    • #43
  14. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Did anyone else look at the lineup on “stage” last night and see a truly impressive Cabinet?

    Here’s what I’ve been thinking:

    Cruz – Attorney General

    Rubio – Secretary of State

    Walke – Secretary of Labor

    Carson – Surgeon General

    Christie – Press Secretary

    ???

    (I had other thoughts, but I had to get up at 4am to fly to Phoenix, so I’m not quite there right now…)

    • #44
  15. Roadrunner Inactive
    Roadrunner
    @Roadrunner

    Frozen Chosen:

    Roadrunner:If you want to win then immigration should be at the top of your list. If it is not you will live in a country much like California. Conservatism will be irrelevant. Carly, Jeb! and Marco have already shot themselves in the foot. I don’t think they can recover. The Republican Party is in jeopardy of going on the ash heap of history. Large amounts of labor and citizens freely moving across borders is not a recipe for a country, it is a recipe for civil war.

    So Hillary or Sanders will be much better on immigration than those you mentioned above, right?

    I will support all of the Republican choices and don’t intend to vote for Trump in my primary.  I would support Walker but he probably won’t be around.  I think I understand the problem though and our long term prospects are dim.  Given the nature of the Republican Party, really dim.  I know that the constant barrage of insults is not a good strategy for party building and is doing some pretty severe damage.  I have a feeling that this crew will be telling me how good Hillary or Sanders is if Trump gets the nomination.

    • #45
  16. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    HHS has by far the biggest budget in government. Why do we keep talking about Carson as Surgeon General while neglecting to make a pick for HHS? Maybe not Carson, but someone willing to nuke HHS from the top.

    • #46
  17. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Jindal for HHS

    • #47
  18. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Petty Boozswha:Jindal for HHS

    I knew I missed something. :) Definite, and perfect choice.

    • #48
  19. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Frozen Chosen: So Hillary or Sanders will be much better on immigration than those you mentioned above, right?

    Sanders actually would be better than Jeb on immigration.

    Of course there’s that little matter of every other issue.

    • #49
  20. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Western Chauvinist:HHS has by far the biggest budget in government. Why do we keep talking about Carson as Surgeon General while neglecting to make a pick for HHS? Maybe not Carson, but someone willing to nuke HHS from the top.

    Hey, I think I made the perfect conservative choice for HHS. ;)

    More importantly, as a wonk’s wonk, I think he’d take it…

    • #50
  21. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    dnewlander:

    Western Chauvinist:HHS has by far the biggest budget in government. Why do we keep talking about Carson as Surgeon General while neglecting to make a pick for HHS? Maybe not Carson, but someone willing to nuke HHS from the top.

    Hey, I think I made the perfect conservative choice for HHS. ;)

    More importantly, as a wonk’s wonk, I think he’d take it…

    lol

    I swear, I had that idea before I had to catch the flight to Phoenix.

    But hat-tip to @Petty Boozswha for, um, reading my mind and being awesomely awesome.

    (although after this weekend’s sermon at my church (http://skipheitzig.com/teachings_view.asp?ServiceID=3920), shall I say, “being correct where I was remiss.”?)

    • #51
  22. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Thanks for the awesome shout out – how about Perry for Homeland Security while we’re at it.

    • #52
  23. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Petty Boozswha:Thanks for the awesome shout out – how about Perry for Homeland Security while we’re at it.

    *lol*

    Absolutely. :)

    • #53
  24. Al Kennedy Inactive
    Al Kennedy
    @AlKennedy

    Marion Evans:There is no comparison between Fiorina and Thatcher. Thatcher loved the world of ideas and entered politics at the age of 25 and climbed the ladder. Fiorina is 61 and has never held office. But she wants the big prize for her first experience. As this article says, addressing Fiorina, “if you think the board of HP was dysfunctional, wait till you see Congress.”

    .

    I don’t think this analogy applies.  Britain has a parliamentary system, where the leaders of each party are elected by party members, not by the voters.  Therefore Margaret Thatcher did have to work herself up the ladder until she could be considered for party leader.  In America, the voters select the leaders of each party in a series of elections.

    I  disagree with the notion that presidential candidates must come from the established political class.  This model is really the opposite of the model envisioned by the founders.  They expected that talented citizens would temporarily enter government and use their skills and experience to assist with good governance, and then return to the private sphere.

    Carly has very strong leadership skills with a wide range of experiences and has actively negotiated with many world leaders.  Personally, I think she has the potential to be an American Thatcher.

    • #54
  25. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    I think I would choose Rubio/Fiorina over the other way around.  Rubio not only has political experience, but also some leadership experience.  True, Speaker of the House is not the same as an executive office, but it is more than just a voting seat.

    Also, I think Rubio was even more effective than Fiorina when tangling with Trump, not that Fiorina was bad.

    In the second debate Rubio showed a surprising amount of steel for someone who looks like he’s barely old enough to drive.  I can see how he got to be speaker, and how he defeated the establishment to be nominated to the senate.

    Don’t mis-underestimate the guy.

    • #55
  26. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    dnewlander:Did anyone else look at the lineup on “stage” last night and see a truly impressive Cabinet?

    Here’s what I’ve been thinking:

    Cruz – Attorney General

    Rubio – Secretary of State

    Walke – Secretary of Labor

    Carson – Surgeon General

    Christie – Press Secretary

    ???

    (I had other thoughts, but I had to get up at 4am to fly to Phoenix, so I’m not quite there right now…)

    I would put Jeb! in charge of the INS.

    I’ll pause for a moment until the swearing stops …

    Then I would put Trump in charge of building the wall.

    • #56
  27. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    BastiatJunior: Then I would put Trump in charge of building the wall.

    Hugh Hewitt conceded this much: One thing Trump is good at is running construction projects. Let him build the wall, but let someone else* handle the authorizing and funding of it.

    *Preferably Carly or Scott, because I’m not completely convinced that Marco is really all that enthusiastic about it.

    • #57
  28. Robert E. Lee Member
    Robert E. Lee
    @RobertELee

    What’s wrong with Trump for Secretary of Labor?

    The people running are successful in their various areas of expertise.

    • #58
  29. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    Marion Evans: He was the “adult in the room” as the NY Times put it this morning.

    As who put it?

    Exactly.

    • #59
  30. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    Marion Evans:

    Drusus:

    Marion Evans: As this article says, addressing Fiorina, “if you think the board of HP was dysfunctional, wait till you see Congress.”

    Congress doesn’t get to fire the President, though, do they?

    No but if you can’t work with a dozen board members, good luck with Congress.

    She was CEO for more than 6 years, a longer tenure than most CEOs anywhere.  Sounds like she worked pretty well with her board.

    • #60
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