It’s still too early for the 2016 campaign, but…

The first vote that counts in the 2016 presidential election is still four months away, so I remain committed to the belief that it is still too soon to be caring about this.  Of course, I’m vastly outnumbered by people in both the Democratic and Republican parties, in the news media, and of course in the political-industrial complex which makes its living off the perpetual campaign.  Nevertheless, I found something I want to share in case you haven’t already seen it.

I admit to being a little amused by the specter of Donald Trump leading the public opinion polls among Republican candidates, and bemused by the conceit of the Hillary Clinton camp that the nomination is hers because…well, because Hillary.  As a government contractor employee I’m far more interested right now in whether or not the do-nothing Congress can pass a simple budget resolution and keep the doors open, and at last report that seems a pretty good bet.  If it doesn’t happen, though, the most likely reason will be that some right-wing extremist will have decided that advocating lost causes is more important than good government…thank you, Sen. Cruz.

It’s those guys (and some gals, but mostly guys) who drove John Boehner to decide to give up his speakership rather than try to further advance his career herding cats.  It’s almost heroic when you think about it: Boehner decided to fall on his sword rather than let the loud-mouthed minority of his party seriously damage the overall operation by keeping up their effort to drive him out of the chair.  I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about his courage and selflessness…and nearly giddy when I read the suggestion that this could be a step on the road to the self-destruction of the party that the extremists grudgingly call their home.

In today’s New York Times (“Anarchy in the House”), Geoffrey Kabaservice argues that the Boehner resignation drama can be seen as a symptom of the kind of conservatism led by Barry Goldwater in the 1960s.

The radicals who coalesced around Senator Barry Goldwater’s insurgent presidential campaign were zealots. They had no interest in developing a governing agenda. Their program consisted mainly of getting rid of the New Deal and every other government effort to promote the general welfare…Goldwater’s followers viewed any Republicans who wanted to govern as traitors to be stamped out. They accused their own leadership of conspiring with Democrats to thwart conservatives…They had no strategy other than taking over the party and nominating Goldwater. He would win the 1964 election, they believed, because a hidden majority would flock to the polls when presented with a candidate who wasn’t what we would now call “politically correct.”


The present resurgence of anti-governing conservatism is also likely to end badly for Republicans. The extremists have the ability to disrupt the Congress, but not to lead it. Their belief that shutdowns will secure real concessions is magical thinking, not legislative realism. And the more power they gain, the less likely it becomes that a Republican-controlled Congress can pass conservative legislation, or indeed any legislation at all.

It’s true that sometimes no legislation is better than bad legislation. But the United States faces real problems, including stagnant wages, family instability, infrastructure collapse and long-term indebtedness. If Republicans can’t advance their own solutions, they’ll have to deal with what Democrats — or harsh realities — impose on them. Paralysis is not a plan.

The rebranding of Republicanism as a force for anarchy has spilled into the presidential contest and threatens the general election chances of the eventual nominee.

Does the Republican Party have time to turn that around before the general election?  I think so.  Do the people who run the party these days want to turn that around?  If so they better get started proving it, because soon enough even I’ll be paying attention to the campaign.

5 thoughts on “It’s still too early for the 2016 campaign, but…

  1. Whatever the Republican candidates may offer it is welcome compared to the alternatives. Sanders is a demented little commie fool who would trash the country in a remarkably short time. Hillary is a crook; her administration would put a “for sale” sign on access, laws, influence, and everything within her not inconsiderable grasp. To think that a retreaded court jester like Joe Biden is the least unpalatable offering of the Democrats is nothing short of risible.

    I don’t want Huckabee because he’s too religious. Rand Paul’s foreign policy won’t help the current world slide that Obama has launched. I don’t want Jeb because I don’t believe in dynastic democracies. Trump has a host of prohibitives. But pretty much every other Republican would be a godsend compared to the people the Dems consider as the best they could find to lead the republic.

  2. As far as Huckabee goes, I don’t think he would allow his religious bent to impede his governance if he was elected. I’m not a fan and I don’t endorse him.

    Some of the other GOP offerings are really unpalatable to conservatives because they kowtow to the Democrats too much. They give in too easy. (Democrats don’t believe in compromise unless it’s to their advantage and they know they can always take it back at a later date…kind of like they had their fingers crossed behind their backs.)

    Carson, a likable guy and very intelligent, just doesn’t have what it takes in my opinion. He would make a great surgeon general.

    Bush, absolutely not. And especially not one of my senators, Lindsey Graham.

    If one was to think of America as a corporation, then the argument could made for The Donald or Fiorina as successful business people.

    As was mentioned, Rand’s foreign policy position won’t be good for America. Rubio shot himself in the foot with his position on immigration.

    Christie, Kasich and Pataki…fuggedaboutit.

    In my opinion, Cruz would be the most palatable candidate for conservatives with Paul coming in a distant second, regardless of his foreign policy.

    All that being said, the way it’s going now, I see a Trump presidency with Cruz as his running mate. Even though Fiorina would also make a decent running mate, I don’t see Trump pandering to the electorate like McCain did in ’08 with his selection of Palin.

    There it is for what its worth, YMMV.

    1. Hi Mike, nice to hear from you. What do you think about this idea: putting aside for the moment the argument that Fiorina actually wasn’t a very successful CEO at HP (lot of long memories about that here in Houston), do we want to elect a CEO as president when you realize that America is not a corporation, and no president has the power that a CEO does?

      1. I know America isn’t a corporation. And I know a CEO doesn’t have the power.

        But it’s obvious that the rash of career politicians that have been running the show recently haven’t been up to snuff. Public service wasn’t meant to be a career, thus the title of public servant. A concerned citizen was supposed to serve if elected, then go quietly back to private life after their term of service.

        I’m not a Trump fanatic, but he is definitely a refreshing change from what we have had in the recent past. I know a lot of people don’t like his brash, blunt approach and there’s several things I don’t agree with him on, but at least he doesn’t try to pander to whatever particular group he’s talking to. He says what he means and doesn’t apologize for it when some group gets butt hurt because of what he said.

      2. A blunt and unfiltered politician is a welcome relief from the norm, and he or she takes their chances when being honest about beliefs that most people find unpalatable; but that’s OK, we can just not vote for them.

        I don’t rule out a businessperson as a candidate on the basis of their professional experience, but I don’t buy that they can swoop in and change the way things run in Washington: there are 535 members of the House and Senate who each think of themselves as a CEO of sorts, and they don’t just follow orders. The president and members of Congress have to understand that they have to agree to work together if they expect to get anything done.

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