Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My thoughts on the Republican field

I thought I'd go candidate by candidate on the current Republican field just to give my thoughts and who I think actually has a chance.  It's becoming clear to me that the race is really between Rubio, Fiorina and maybe Trump, JEB and Cruz though really it will depend on who gets out when and where do those supporters go.  We first need to weed out the non-Trump non-Carson candidates so that we can stop those two and then we need conservatives to coalesce around a non-JEB non-Christie candidate.  Anyhoo, here is what I think though I have a tendency to be completely wrong as I was a Phil Gramm, Steve Forbes, Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich supporter in the past.

Carly Fiorina - As I currently have a Carly banner on my blog it is no surprise that I will have positive things to say.  I think she sounds more Presidential than anyone else in the field.  I've listened to her speak dozens of times and she really does have a very dynamic and interesting style.  When she speaks, she cuts to the chase and it simply is difficult to get bored.  I think her communication skills are on par with Clinton and Reagan and could really convince non-Republicans to vote GOP.  My one complaint is that she doesn't talk about how she will make the economy better, how is she going to improve the environment for businesses and jobs.  I know given her experience with CIA that she is more comfortable talking about foreign policy but Trump can't be the only one talking about bringing manufacturing jobs to the US. Hopefully she will get there. The really big unknowns are her finances and her organization.  Campaigns are not one-woman deals, you need organizations behind you to get out your voters especially in caucus states.  Does she have that organization?  How much progress has she made in building one?  I really have no idea.  My sense is that her campaign has been underfunded up until a week or so ago so it is possible improving poll numbers may not, in the end, lead to real votes, especially in a place like Iowa.

Marco Rubio - I'm really warming up to Rubio.  I've forgiven him for the immigration thing as he is pretty right on in terms of all other issues and has a great voting record.  Plus he is young, eloquent and is someone who can get crossover votes.  He is also about 30 years younger than all the Democratic candidates for President.  My only reservation is that he never really ran anything in his life and I do honestly get annoyed every time he makes a water joke, we get it, you are embracing drinking water during the SOTU response.  Please.  Stop.

Ted Cruz-  Is it just me or does he seem more likeable?  He seems less used-car salesmany than he used to for me but I still don't think he has a chance.  I know he thinks he can get a lot of the Trump supporters when Trump blows up but I'm not so sure.  Cruz is still viewed as extreme by much of the nation and frankly much of the party.  He'll always have my respect for speaking for almost an entire day, still being lucid and even asking for more time but I don't think this is his cycle.

JEB - As he is now polling at #3 in his home state of Florida, I have to wonder why is he still here?  Parental pressure?  I really hope he drops out, otherwise he splits the anti-Trump anti-Carson vote and might kill the candidacies of people who might actually has a chance.  Republicans don't particularly like JEB and guess what, the rest of the country doesn't either.  The problem is he probably has so much money behind him that he can stay around for a long time. 

Donald Trump - I think Trump fever is breaking.  Someone as abrasive as him eventually starts wearing on people no matter how much they like his spunk.  Plus, if you watch his speeches he says the same thing over and over again with no detail.  The only reason to watch him really is to see if he insults anyone and that gets boring.  Finally, if you want someone with spunk, why wouldn't people go with Carly?  She has spunk, discipline and details.  Trump only has spunk.

Ben Carson - I like him as a person, really I do, but some of his views are weird/wrong.  He doesn't think a Muslim should be President?  I really can't think of one that I would vote for today but what if a small government Muslim who is tough on Iran and ISIS comes around.  If there can be Muslim members of Likud in Israel, there can be Muslim believers in small government.  And I would vote for one of them in a heartbeat.  He has also said that he believes Satan encouraged Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.  Give me a friggin break.  He is so not electable.

John Kasich - I could be wrong about his chances, he might be able to get some of the moderate vote and do well but he is really to the left on Iran and I think he can be erratic at debates.

Chris Christie - No matter what his poll numbers are, he is still a jerk.  I also think it was really telling that during the second debate he lambasted Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina for talking about their private sector records.  It seemed to me as if he was looking down on people who didn't spend their lives working in government.  You never heard him attacking Walker or Kasich for talking about their records as Governors.  He is way too left for me and for the party.

Rand Paul - I'm a libertarian but I really find him grating.  Not like his father mind you who never hesitated to air some weird conspiracy theory but grating nonetheless.  He keeps talking about issues that only libertarians really care about instead of issues like the economy which everyone cares about.  He's also lost the plot on foreign policy.

Mike Huckabee - Is it just me or has he ballooned since quitting Fox?  I think he is regretting it now (think of all those lost millions).  Carson seems to be getting a lot of the evangelical vote which essentially leaves Huckabee without much of a constituency.  He needs Carson to blow up fast just to get some oxygen.

Bobby Jindal - I always liked him but he isn't polling well in his home state and Ill never forget his botched SOTU response.  I think he is a great manager but not a great candidate.

Rick Santorum - I think if he had any blue collar appeal, Trump probably stole it.  And to get evangelicals he first needs Carson and then Huckabee to quit.  He is doing so bad that he is polling at 1% in Iowa, a state he won last time.  But who knows, he can be like a bad rash that never goes away.

Lindsey Graham - He was really funny at the last happy hour debate and if the primetime debate was more lackluster, he probably would have received more press for his performance.  But running on sending troops to Syria?  I think he would get more support by campaigning on just nuking them.

George Pataki - Look, he seems like an able guy but I don't know why he is running.  Does he even believe he has a chance?  Did he ever?

Jim Gilmore - Who?  Exactly.


  1. Nice commentary. I agree with your top three in the exact order you have them. I heard a local radio guy for whom I have a lot of respect ( Todd Herman in Seattle) talk about the dream team (Fiorina and Rubio in either order and Cruz as SCOTUS. It made sense, I thought that Christie would be a great AG.. I joke that Donald would be a great "apprentice" but I'd still hold my nose and vote for him over any Dem unless things were settled by the time I had to mail in my ballot. Love your blog!