Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidates - II

Since my initial post on this subject, two have dropped out (Perry, Walker) and a couple are lookin' pretty shaky (Paul, Graham), but the reality show goes on.  Let's get on with it then:

Tier 1:  Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina

For now, they're on top because they get attention, and how.  Trump is going to keep running and running and running given his ego and Fiorina is the only other candidate who can stand up to Trump's braggadocio.  You have to give Fiorina points for the sheer chutzpah of making a lying video after lying about a video in the last debate.  Not that the lies cancel each other out, of course.  I'm afraid it does say some pretty unflattering things about the GOP's base that no one dares call her out for being a liar.  I remember Barry Goldwater's quip about extremism in defense of liberty being no vice, but I do think he'd have drawn the line at baldfaced lying.

Tier 2:  Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich

Jeb falls back after his inept debate performance and lackluster campaign in general, while Rubio moves up as a consequence of Jeb's weak showing so far, as Rubio sort of fills the same political niche as Jeb does - a kinder, gentler face of the Republican Party.  Cruz is certainly not that face, but he is now definitely the Tea Party's darling after Scott Walker's implosion.  Kasich isn't really at the level the others in this tier are at, but as he's still got some real advantages as a candidate geographically coming from a key swing state, so I rate him a bit higher given his potential, even though he's not polling well.  It's still a long way to Iowa though, and we'll see.

Tier 3:  The rest. 

Seriously, if anyone thinks Ben Carson has a chance, please, bet me a dollar and I'll pay you a thousand if I'm wrong.  Sure, he'll stick around while he can I'm sure, possibly longer than most of the other also-rans.  Mike Huckabee is a capable enough politician but has little actual support so he's just grifting, while Rand Paul may have some libertarian Republican followers he's still not exciting them enough to really matter, and I think Paul will drop out in the next month and just be happy to be in the U.S. Senate.  As for the kid's table candidates, I'm wondering why they're even bothering having a warm-up debate myself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Democratic Presidential Candidates - I

As it's the eve of the second Republican Presidential debate tonight, I figure I ought to say something about the Democratic Presidential Candidates too.  Here goes:

First tier:  Clinton, Sanders

Rationale:  The only two currently in the race who are drawing serious polling numbers.  'Nuff said.

Second tier:  Biden

Rationale:  I don't think Biden will run but he is polling better than the rest in response to current doubts about Clinton, IMO.  Essentially, Biden's supporters are likely Clinton backers who are nervous.  I think the upcoming Democratic debates will be beneficial for Hillary Clinton in terms of getting her beyond the faux email B.S. that's been the preoccupation of the press.

Third tier:  O'Malley

Rationale:  The only other candidate who could possibly, if not bloody well likely, be the nominee.

Fourth tier:  Chaffe, Webb, Lessig

Rationale:  Running because they have nothing better to do and heck, look at all the Repubilcans running!

Basically, it's Clinton's race to lose and she won't.  She barely lost out to Obama back in 2008 and Sanders is not Obama - Sanders is from the far left of the political spectrum who is running to the left in hopes of shifting the Democrats leftward, and he's already succeeded in doing that while firing up the white liberal base.  But the cold fact is that Democrats won't win unless they get a big minority turnout, and when the dust has settled on the caucuses and primaries I expect Obama to do everything he can to get out the vote for Clinton, and Obama has considerable popularity where it counts.

The real danger for Democrats is that Sanders may well fire up his base so much that he alienates them from Clinton in the general election and that's when Ralph Nader decides to run again.  Do.  Not.  Want.   I'm sure President Trump's first act as President will be to gild the White House in gold leaf, and lots of it.  Americans deserve a classy President and a classy White House, don't they?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidates - I

Some years ago I did rankings of Presidential candidates on my old LiveJournal (now deceased), and given this cycle's bountiful bounty it would be a shame not to do it again.  Since the Republicans have already conveniently provided an initial ranking of those who get to sit at the adult debate table and those who have to sit at the kids table, let's start emptying out the clown car:

Tier 1:  Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker

Rationale: Trump may not have a chance at the nomination, but for now he's in the running as the candidate who is truly giving the people what they want: spectacle.  Jeb Bush is the old money candidate of the GOP, with an obvious pedigree, while Scott Walker is the darling of the Tea Party.  Of the three, Jeb is the only one who really could get the nomination and win in the general election, as Trump simply isn't credible and Walker is too cozy with the crazy for the comfort of most voters.

Tier 2:  Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Marco Rubio

Rationale:  The "moderate" longshots who are hoping to last long enough to either be there if Jeb falters.  Christie is obnoxious, which helps his moderation go over better with Tea Party types, but I don't think Christie has enough appeal with the crayzee GOP base to last long in 2016.  Fiorina is fashionably conservative and a business executive like Trump and has done better in the debates than expected, which is why she's at the adult's table now.  Kasich is Jeb without all the Bush baggage and in my opinion could win in the general election, but it's hard to see how he gets there given the crowded field and the fact that he's not a Tea Party type.  Rubio, while he looks fine on paper and is from a state the GOP absolutely needs to win in 2016, hasn't caught on despite having some success at fund-rasing.  Well, there's still time for Rubio's fortunes to rise I suppose, and he's definitely VP material since he's both from a key electoral state and Hispanic too.

Tier 3:  Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul

Rationale:  Carson is inexplicably popular but is still just a flash-in-the-pan, so I hope he enjoys the ride while it lasts.  Ted Cruz is explicably popular given his over-the-top performance doing things like going to Kentucky to support gay-marriage hatin' county clerks, along with Huckabee of course, but they're also just part of the sideshow and have absolutely no chance to win.  Rand Paul seems to be the Fred Thompson of 2016 and fallen far short of initial expectations, but he's still got his father's legacy and lingers on for now.

Tier 4: Rick Perry, Rich Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham

Rationale:  The kid's table tier, full of either also-rans like Perry and Santorum, and never-will-be's like the rest.  But they still could have fun taking potshots at the adults as Jindal is now doing with Trump and have some impact on the race.

More after the next GOP debate...