Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
I have not been blogging much recently — in part as a consequences of exhaustion (I have been and still am ushering books into print), and in part because I know only one thing about this presidential race: my expectations have repeatedly been proven wrong.
I did write a post on Jeb, expressing my admiration for his accomplishments as Governor of Florida, and indicating wariness, and I did describe the Democratic Party as The Party of the Living Dead. I think that I was right on both counts.
But I will have to confess to you that I did not anticipate the debut of The Donald and, when he appeared on the scene, I figured that he was flash-in-the-pan: this year’s Herman Cain. I read about Ted Cruz’s plan to turn out evangelical voters as never before, and I thought, “That won’t work.” I took note of Hillary’s age and the fact that she seems frequently out of it, and I told myself, “This is a great opportunity for Martin O’Malley. He is the only Democrat in the race with a pulse.”
I did think Rubio had a shot. “He wants it,” I thought. “He has worked for it, he is charming, he is handsome, and the ladies like that sort of thing.” But I thought Rand Paul would be more of a force, and I had high hopes for Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal. Men with executive experience generally make better Presidents than men who have only served as legislators. Senators posture. Governors, generals, and corporate leaders take responsibility. Look at the current President, and you will see what I mean. He has not yet learned to take responsibility, and he stills gives speeches full of references to himself.
When I look at the Democratic race, I think, “Neither of the candidates is qualified to be President. Hillary is obviously a crook, and what she did with her communications as Secretary of State would get anyone else put behind bars.” Bernie Sanders is a joke. My bet is that the Democratic race gets upended, and that Joe Biden, John Kerry, and/or Elizabeth Warren report for duty.
On the Republican side, it is possible that Donald Trump will bounce back after Iowa. But my guess is that his loss there will let air seep out of the balloon. I do not believe that he wants to be President. He enjoys the game. And I do not believe that he will receive the nomination. He is not a Republican, and he has been on the wrong side most of his life.
That leaves Cruz and Rubio. Bush has passed his sell-by date. John Kasich has the support of Pravda-on-the-Hudson, which tells you everything that you need to know. Ben Carson is a fine man but he has not bothered to learn what one must learn if one is to be a credible candidate. Chris Christie is parochial. He opens his mouth, and one thinks, “Joisey! Dat’s a man from Joisey.” I enjoy him but one has to be from New Jersey to really appreciate the man.
Cruz and Rubio have this advantage. Each has a pulse. In the world of the living dead, the man with a pulse is apt to win. They are also both smart, and they know how to get out the vote. I myself would prefer a genuine conservative with executive experience to both of them, but we do not have that option.
Rubio is more likable, and everyone will say that he is more electable — and they may be right. Charm counts for a lot, and he plays nicely with other children. Rubio makes friends; Cruz makes enemies. The regulars really hate the man. It says a lot about the Republicans in Congress that quite a number of those in the House recently expressed a preference for Trump over Cruz. It says a lot about how much they hate Cruz, and it says a lot about their stupidity. “He is a businessman,” they say. “We can work with him. He does not know a lot about the issues. He will follow our lead.” Think a bit about that. Do you really think that a man as vain as Trump would be willing to follow anyone’s lead? If anything, the odds are good that, if elected as a Republican, Trump would play ball with Nancy Pelosi. Over the years, he has given a lot more money to Democratic candidates than to Republicans.
So, two sets of questions remain. What should we think of Rubio? Is he a conservative? Can he be trusted? On close examination, is he as attractive as he seems to be?
And what about Cruz? What would he be like in office? Is he a real conservative? Does he have a capacity for charm? If he is a conservative and he can turn on the charm, could he get the party to dance to a conservative tune?
To those sets of questions, we need to add another. What do our present circumstances require? Can we afford to continue the post-New Deal Republican Party policy of temporizing? Or have we reached the point at which further compromise means that we have lost our country altogether? After all, Barack Obama set out, as he said shortly before being elected President, to “fundamentally change America,” and he called his administration “The New Foundation.” Can we accept that new foundation and move smartly along? Or must we reverse it? If the latter, which of the two surviving Republican candidates has the requisite understanding and the required gumption?Published in