For those of who us who like strange and quirky campaigns, 2016 is shaping up to be a corker. Everybody is running for President. George Bloody Pataki has come out of retirement to run for the GOP nomination. Nobody was demanding a Pataki candidacy, but he looked at the field and said: “Why not me? I took out Mario Cuomo and served 3 terms as Governor in Albany.” He’s not the first former New York Governor to run for President, but he’s the only one to do so nearly 10 years after leaving office. He looked at the field and said: Why not me?
The Republicans have a *huge* field, all of whom looked at the competition and said: Why not me? My own Governor, Bobby Jindal, is on the pander warpath, trying desperately to be the wingnuttiest wingnut who ever ran for President. The problem for PBJ is that the space he’s trying to occupy: hawkish, social conservative, and barking mad is very crowded. He’s competing with 3 candidates, all of whom have more pizzazz and are much better communicators than he is: Cruz, Huckabee, and Santorum. PBJ looked at the field and said: Why nut me?
It’s easy to mock Senator Sweater Vest but, in addition to being a colossal dick, he’s an excellent stump speaker. He was also the runner-up in 2012. Remember: having gone around the track before doesn’t bother Republican voters one iota, it’s the Dems who like new and shiny candidates. Perhaps Pataki hopes people will confuse him with two-time GOP nominee and former four term New York Governor Tom Dewey. Of course, he lost twice but Pataki contemplated the Dewey paradigm and said: Why not me?
Speaking of kind of new and kind of shiny, an Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders, is running as a Democrat. (I’m one of the few people who harps on that whole registration thing but I prefer that Democratic candidates be registered as such. I’m a stickler for very few things but that’s one of them.) There are two schools of thought about Sanders and I belong to neither of them. One school views him with contempt as a rabble rousing no-hoper, the other school thinks he has an outside chance of knocking off Hillary Clinton. The adherents of the second school remind us that Hillary was the frontrunner in 2008 before being knocked off by the current Oval One. Of course, Obama was backed by a powerful group in the party: African-Americans. The progressives who support Bernie, but pine for Senator Professor Warren, won’t be enough to stop Hillary, but that’s not why Sanders is running. In his case, it’s all about ideas and the influence he hopes to have on the debate. That’s why the MSM punditocracy have contempt for him: they wouldn’t know an idea if it bit them in the ass. In essence, Sanders is the loyal or official opposition within the Democratic party. I wish that were my phrase but it’s Josh Marshall’s, which leads me to ask: Why him and not me?
Speaking of Governors who have been out of office for more than a decade, Jeb Bush looked at the GOP field, and at his father and brother and said: Why not me? As a campaigner, Jeb is more like Poppy than Dubya, which is one reason why he’s floundering. It reminds me of what Ann Richards said about Poppy Bush: he reminds every woman of their first husband. Jeb is dutiful. Jeb is dull. Jeb is going nowhere.
I could go on and on about this year’s field, but I’m trying to keep this under 5,000 words. The GOP debates should be fun and very crowded. I love the various proposals to limit the number of candidates at each debate. Here’s mine: I think they should put the candidates on a barge that has a weight limit and if they exceed it, the barge sinks. My sink or swim proposal is the first cousin of John Cassidy’s Republican Survivor. I hope y’all noticed that I didn’t make the obvious Chris Christie joke about the barge thing. I, for one, am proud of myself for not channeling David Letterman when he called portly Dodger pitcher Terry Forster “a fat tub of goo.” Guess I forfeited the moral high ground with that reference but mocking the Dodgers is second nature to me…
I genuinely think that anyone except for Pataki or Jindal has at least a 10% chance of winning the why not me GOP primary campaign. Things are that quirky in the batshit crazy party. In fact, I’m one of the few people who thinks Ted Cruz could win it. He will, however, have to cancel his plans to have Jim Bob Duggar on the ticket…
Marco Rubio and Scott Walker have each had their time as the flavor of the month but one of them is an empty suit and the other is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch brothers. You decide who is who. It could go either way. Just remember: Governors whose approval ratings at home are circling the bowl are unlikely to win their party’s nomination. They may well have looked at the field and said: Why not me? But the voters in Wisconsin, Louisiana, and New Jersey are likely to reply: You fucked us, that’s why not.
In the end, I think the sane party will hold the White House in 2016. It’s one thing to let the batshit crazy party run Congress but quite another to give them access to nuclear weapons. They might decide to nuke Grenada in honor of St. Ronnie or nuke the West Bank to bring on armageddon. To my New Orleans readers, I’m talking about the West Bank in the Middle East, not the one across the river that we call the Wank. I am adamantly opposed to nuking our West Bank, the fallout could drift across the river hit my neighborhood…
The Republican freak show is so entertaining that I’m *almost* tempted to change my registration and throw my Giants cap in the ring and run for President. Everybody’s doing it. Why not me? Oh, that’s right I’m a liberal Democrat, that’s why not.