2015-09-17 / Opinion

Handicapping A Wide Open Dark Horse Race


Republican presidential candidates have finally stopped multiplying, for the moment, and Rick Perry has finally displayed some reasoned leadership by bowing out of further public embarrassment, but who knows who might step forward to fill that void. The Grand Old Party certainly has no shortage of those willing to assume executive command of our nation.

What is it about this election cycle that encourages so many on the right to commit to such a long haul for such a long shot, especially those lacking any experience even remotely comparable to the job, like being previously elected to any office? Somehow, that’s branded as a selling point rather than a telling point worth major consideration. The enchantment of political circus is all about misdirection of serious attention to what should be glaring shortcomings.

It’s as if eyeing the initial competition the rest decided that their own skillset could at least match that threshold of competency. It’s difficult to recall such a wide open race by so many gambling on winning an office none seem to hold much respect for, exhibited not just by their disdain for the sitting president but by their selfbestowed exaltation as worthy contenders easily more qualified. Not all the Republican candidates are bush league, but the exceptions remain largely overshadowed by constant fascination with a possible Bush trifecta on the one hand and a media frenzying wild card carny attraction in the other.

On the Dem side of the race, would-be candidates still seem wary of taking on the sacrilege of defying a party decree that the Clinton dynasty is not over. Hillary may have troublesome issues of accountability and trust, but she is never out of her depth, especially regarding deep pockets. Big money is decried when used between parties by conservative foes, but big money influence within the Democratic party to crush all internal competition gets voiced not at all.

That Hillary bankrupted her last war chest, twice, and then asked the Obama campaign to assume her debt speaks volumes as to her capacity for handling a nation’s economic well-being. Romney’s campaign had similar fundamental difficulties balancing its budget.

I’ve always been amazed by those who desire personal advancement so much that the consequences of their possible failure on those around them isn’t even considered in pursuing their own opportunity. They will take their best shot regardless of cost, to anyone.

All the above being said, and given the humiliating gauntlet we force everyone willing to serve as president to endure, one has to love anyone that makes the attempt just a little for their sheer chutzpah.

Ben Carson is especially endearing in expecting the electorate to sign onto the premise that a credentialed neurosurgeon lacking any discernible political prowess, yet seeking politics' highest position, isn’t as suspect as a politician, with no experience in medicine, suggesting they be your choice in performing brain surgery.

Political science might not be rocket science, but having no experience in politics, let alone a formidable skillset in leadership qualities, apparently takes an Einstein to figure out that isn't such a great resume, really, when leadership of the greatest, meaning most powerful and wealthy, nation on earth is the position sought.

Of course, political experience isn’t everything.

Could Jeb Bush’s candidacy be any more inept? He can barely mouth the scripted words off the prompter. He smiles inanely and inappropriately to the message he’s trying to convey. His solution to our troubles is to revisit his brother's mistakes and suggest force fitting those policies even more forcefully a second time. Torn between smiling and wincing, he stumbles through making policy points which are very hard to believe he had any substantive part in formulating. Rather than appearing presidential, he comes across as the most unskilled applicant to ever apply as spokesman for the State Department.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, or if the world made sense, Donald Trump would be clandestinely working for the Dems. It’s as if someone decided: “Let’s find the most off putting, ill qualified, boorish and divisive candidate and run him as our opposition to dismantle Republican credibility.”

In reality, The Donald pontificates and all other Republican hopefuls must reckon with his ever growing allegiance on the right, repositioning themselves in relation to their party's precedent setting low bar now established for the presidency.

A year away, we’re going to choose someone new to lead our nation. As Nixon would say, we won’t have Obama to kick around any more.

Eight years of great promise will have been largely squandered by opposition for the sake of opposition. We can and must once again find a candidate of Hope and Change, left leaning or right.

Listen to all the candidates and consider who among them actually champions all Americans. All. Those legal and those denied legality, those like us and those some of us will never like, those who make money from money and those that work for a living.

The alternative is to re-elect the status quo, and that status can hardly be called a fulfillment of our desired greatness.


Gary Anderson lives in Bath.

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