Said the other day that I would do this for the GOP side after trying to summarize the market basket of looney tunes on the Democrat side. The first thing you notice about the Republican side is the diversity, accomplishment and that none of them has a foundation specifically designed for enriching themselves. We have lawyers, doctors, private business people, career government folks and a range of ages and ethnic backgrounds.
No scandals either – compared to the Democrats, these folks look like the Heavenly Hosts. Even the GOP fringe candidates are stronger in accomplishment than the putative Democrat nominee, Her Majesty, Madam HRC. Any of the GOP candidates (except Trump) would be better that any of the Democrats.
Given this is Derby Day, here are my personal picks as of today (we are still a long way out):
Win: Walker, Kasich
Place: Cruz, Rubio, Fiorina, Perry
Show: Paul, Carson, Bush, Jindal
Also Rans: Huckabee, Christie, Graham, Pataki, Santorum, Trump
Here we go with my snapshot analysis (only my opinion – others may agree or disagree):
Ted Cruz – First term senator, Harvard Law, as combative as he is intelligent, definitely not part of the establishment GOP, McCain called he and Rand Paul “wacko-birds”, very strong in his convictions and takes principled stands. Might need a little more time on the grill, deal making isn’t his style and the squishy GOPers in Congress would hamstring him. Right man, wrong time (maybe). I really like Cruz personally but the truth is that the media has already cast him as too acerbic and he has put too much butt hurt on the GOP moderates too many time. He would make a helluva Senate Majority Leader.
Rand Paul – Another first termer in the Senate, a libertarian with some liberal cross-over appeal, strong on many conservative points, isolationist on foreign policy, his DNA is a negative. Have to wonder how strong the gravitational pull from the Planet RonPaul is with this little moon. I see him influencing party direction but not as a viable presidential candidate.
Marco Rubio – First term Senator, nominal conservative/borderline establishment, soft on immigration no matter what he says now – a little inconsistent, young and talented but maybe too politically immature for the Big Show this time around. He is the GOP pretty boy Derek Zoolander as much as Rick Perry is the GOP Chuck Norris.
Mike Huckabee: Former governor of Arkansas, Big Government Compassionate Conservative, if you liked George Bush’s spending, you’ll LOVE the Huckster. Former pastor who might be seen as too religious for some tastes. Too much talk show host superficiality for me. Positions are as pudgy and soft as his belly.
Ben Carson – Black man, a surgeon, super intelligent and solid in his beliefs, it’s just that some of his beliefs are more moderate than conservative. For all appearances a good man with solid principles but no experience in governing. May have come out of the starting blocks too soon, there seems to be a little Carson fatigue setting in.
Carly Fiorina – Perfect counterweight to a Hillary candidacy. Smart as all get out, matriculating from Stanford, attended UCLA Law (withdrew) and holds dual MBAs from the U of Maryland and MIT Sloan School of Management. A California Republican, lots of commonality with Reaganesque ideology, strong businesswoman who has shouldered tremendous responsibility and accepts accountability (CEO of HP), a rarity in government. Hurt by a lack of experience in government – looks to me to be more of a VP possibility.
Scott Walker – Governor of a blue state who has ass whupped the Teacher’s Unions, successfully repelled recall elections with the weight of the progressive movement behind them. Strong executive experience as governor, strong budget experience. Maybe a little weak on foreign policy and immigration but a “regular guy” and very sound candidate.
Jeb Bush – establishment moderate all the way. Former governor who governed quasi-conservatively in Florida, a gold mine of electoral votes, but seems to be “moderating” as he tools up for a run. Appears to me to be to the left of his dad and brother. Hurt by the Bush royalty thing.
Chris Christie – progressive, Nelson Rockefeller, northeast corridor Republican. Flamed out after his post-Sandy walks on the beach with Obama. Done and done. Candidate I would pick as “Most Lileky to Switch Parties”.
Lindsey Graham – Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Maverick junior can’t be serious. This is a joke, right?
Bobby Jindal – Southern governor with an interesting multi-ethnic heritage. Strong conservative cred, just don’t know if he can capture imaginations and catch fire – another VP possibility, I think.
John Kasich – Former US Representative and now governor of a key swing state. Very popular in Ohio, moderate leaning conservative (he took Obamacare money) but could be a dark horse. Smart guy who was behind a lot of conservative legislation while in the House and was chairman of the Budget Committee while serving there. Strong on defense and a spending cutter.
George Pataki – Noise. Won’t be able to win a primary or attract enough money to stay in.
Rick Perry – Former Texas governor, battle tested from 2012. Strong on immigration and state’s rights, a confident, tall Texan with a similar record to George W. Bush except more conservative. Hasn’t made a lot of waves yet but based on last time around, could be a contender. A man’s man and Vlad Putin’s worst nightmare. Think Bush as a cowboy? Get a load of this guy!
Rick Santorum – Santorum is strong on religious freedom and opposition to abortion but seems to used up his 15 minutes of fame. He would have been a better match to the issues of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Shelf life has expired.
Donald Trump – narcissistic provocateur. He’s in it for the entertainment value. He’s gonna get FIRED!