Saturday, January 24, 2015

Does the GOP have ANYONE considering a run who isn't a fraud, a lunatic, a bully, a narcissist, or utterly devoid of compassion?

A foreshadowing of the GOP primary debates?
So I was running through the list of potential candidates for the GOP presidential primaries -- that is, those Republican luminaries who have already indicated that they will, or might, be throwing their hats in the ring...and I can't think of a single one who is not dishonest, insane, a joke, or utterly lacks compassion toward his or her fellow man. Here's the list I've got. Please tell me there's someone I'm missing, some shining star of rationality and humanity to lead the GOP out of the caves they've so happily inhabited these last six years. Because this is a pretty sad list.

- Sarah Palin. I'm not sure I have to say too much about this because, come on, it's Sarah Palin. When Palin first broke onto the political scene, she was an eager, albeit green, politician. My, what six years can do. Since then, Palin has devolved into a sort of Ted Cruz with a drinking problem -- irresistibly drawn to the spotlight, good at the sort of stunts that consistently keep her in the media's spotlight, highly skilled at divide-and-conquer politics, but seemingly incapable of putting forth anything meaningful or useful for the nation.

- Speaking of Ted Cruz. The Junior Senator from Texas who consistently inspires headlines like "5 craziest things Ted Cruz just said at the Values Voters Summit" and "The Eight Craziest Things Ted Cruz Said At Values Voter Summit". And, keep in mind, these were different Values Voters Summits, in different years. The senator who championed a government shutdown. And then blamed Democrats, when it didn't play as well to the public as he thought it would. Future President Cruz? No thanks!

- Scott Walker. Since I mentioned divide-and-conquer politics above, it seems a good time to mention my state's Scott Walker. I've devoted a lot of space on my blog to our governor, who ridicules public workers, attacks unions, is so in love with fetuses that he doesn't think pregnant women have a right-to-life, and has a long history of crooked politics and making favorable deals to donors. And that seems to barely scratch the surface. Suffice it to say, if you're not wealthy, Republican, male, conservatively Christian, straight, and white, you're at best not on Walker's radar -- or, worse yet, the focus of his brand of "small government". Despite assuring Wisconsinites that he would finish his second term if re-elected, as the Magic 8 ball might say, all signs point to "yes", he's running.

- Donald Trump. This one doesn't even need further explanation. Trump has a history of publicly speculating on runs, so this might be just a(nother) bluff. Pretty please?

- Ben Carson. Dr. Ben Carson, the GOP's favorite plagiarist and ISIS-fanboy, thinks God is eying him for a presidential run. On the other hand, he would probably end up one of our most quotable presidents. "It came to me just this afternoon that four score and seven years ago..." "Don't you know, we have nothing to fear but fear itself..."

- Mike Huckabee. In past lives, Huckabee has been a preacher, a politician and a right-wing television personality -- and he seems to be a walking embodiment of the worst aspects of all three. He believes we live in a "humanistic, secular, atheistic, and even antagonistic toward Christian faith" theocracy. He thinks people can just ignore Supreme Court rulings they don't like. And those are just a few of the insane comments he's made in the past week or so.

Visual approximation of Republican presidential
candidate Rick Santorum
- Rick Santorum. Speaking of religious nutjobs, there's Rick Santorum. The guy who thinks the Pope is too liberal and out of touch with the Holy Spirit on reproductive rights. The man whose obsession with gay sex earned him his own place in Urban Dictionary. If you hate birth control and gay people with a consuming passion, or really crave the rise of the sweater vest, Santorum's your guy. Otherwise, probably not so much.

- Mitt Romney. Remember Mr. 47%, who definitely, absolutely, without a doubt was not going to run again? Alas, not necessarily true. Romney might have taken the "third time's the charm" phrase a little too literally, but can we at least hope he lives by "three strikes and you're out"?

- Jeb Bush. Another Bush. Really, do I have to explain? I didn't think so.

- Chris Christie. Christie hasn't officially confirmed his intentions. But it looks like he's on track for a run. Whereas "Cruz" and "crazy" are headline companions you'll see a lot, "Christie" and "bully" are a match made in New Jersey hell. This professional has no problem berating the people he's (supposedly) serving as "idiots" and more. If you want a president who is as likely to stuff you in a locker and swipe your lunch money as listen to your opinion, Christie's your man.

- Carly Fiorina. While conservatives might love her for her opinions that war on women is "shameless, baseless propaganda", and her own shameless rehashing of Benghazi lies, at least one GOP strategists has identified her as a potential secret weapon to defeating Hillary: "The most effective way to criticize a woman is to have another woman do it."

- Rick Perry. I've only got three things to say about Perry: he's a typical anti-woman, anti-education, anti-science, pro-monied interests Republican; he is a man made for the internet age; and...that is...I can't, the third...oops!

- Marco Rubio. Jon Stewart knows that Rubio is a thirsty man, but it seems he's also hungry -- power hungry, at least. The biggest problem with Rubio seems to be his do-anything-for-power attitude. When it's cool to be dumb in the party, Rubio feigns ignorance of science -- although he often struggles to bring himself to outright denial. His positions on immigration are constantly seeming to evolve. He's the kind of candidate who says whatever sounds good at the moment. And then walks it back or re-frames to the next audience.

- Rand Paul. Another prominent Republican who seems to have his eyes on the presidency, Paul is more savvy at appealing to general audiences than many of his colleagues. He, for instance, tries to frame himself in interviews as more-or-less moderate on issues like abortion...while attacking abortion rights and supporting legislation that is anything but. Still, every once in awhile, the inner Republican breaks when he suggested the other day that "over half" of disability claimants are essentially fraudsters. Or how the solution, or a primary part of it, to poverty and violence in poor communities is a spiritual one.

- Bobby Jindal. The biology major who somehow just can't bring himself to have an opinion on evolutionary science...although he wants his kids to learn it. Who can't make up his mind about common core. Who wants to cut education funding so much in Louisiana that even some Republicans are in opposition, saying it'll set the state "back generations". Why? Because (like Scott Walker, in WI, and Chris Christie in NJ) his masterful governing is leaving the state with massive budget shortfalls. Republomics are amazing, aren't they?

- Steve King. While King has been doing a lot to raise speculation, he says he's not running. But he's not ruling a run out, either. King is perhaps most famous for his defense of dog fighting. Which started out crazy, and got even worse, resulting in a follow up rant in which he declared that he thought dog fighting should be legal, since it was legal for a man to rape a child and force her to get an abortion. Which is not only totally wrong, but, well, just a little batshit crazy. Which, really, is a pretty accurate general description of King.

- Allen West. West is another one of the folks God has his eyes on. According to him. West is a friendly guy, whose only downsides are that he likes torturing prisoners. And hates atheists. And Muslims. And women. And...well, you get the point.

This is, I think, a comprehensive list of Republican presidential hopefuls at the moment. I repeat, please tell me I've overlooked someone brilliant and thoughtful, or at least not a selfish, greedy, egotistical, malicious or insane person, because this is just...scary. 

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