GOP offers varied contenders

Published 10:17 am Friday, July 24, 2015

What happens in August stays in August Rick Santorum said wisely this week. Rick is right, with so much time before the 2016 election what happens in August 2015 will be long forgotten by next fall. But it sure has been fun in an otherwise beachy type sweltering summer month to watch the Republicans in particular each planning their path to the presidency

Sure The Donald has soaked up most of the air in the gaggle (definition: a disorderly, noisy group of people) of Republican candidates, now at 16 announced with one or two more to come. Trump has managed it in his usual way of speaking loudly and saying nothing containing truth.

When Trump spoke out on Mexican rapists and murderers, the Washington Post did the research to disprove all of his claims. When Trump called John McCain not a war hero, then said he called McCain a hero, the facts remained Trump called McCain, a much decorated veteran and an American hero, not a hero.

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But Trump will not be the Republican nominee as almost two thirds of registered Republican voters say they would never vote for Donald.

So he can bask in his headlines, shout out Lindsey Graham’s private phone number and insult Rick Perry all in a days’ work and, in the long run, it will not matter.But there are some serious contenders who would be president, not the least of whom might be John Kasich of Ohio, perhaps the key electoral state in 2016 and Kasich its popular governor. Kasich is a funny guy, prone to think and speak in several directions at the same time, noted for his anti-Republican support for the poorest citizens, and his eclectic music tastes. Kasich is authentic and voters seem drawn to the unscripted this season.

Likewise, Scott Walker seems likely to find a path to the nomination if his performance in Wisconsin is not too closely considered economically and his divisiveness there is set aside. But Walker has the type of intelligence that is often poorly served in national elections. Walker is not quick on his feet and that may mean heavily scripted speeches or a series of gaffs, ala Joe Biden. Still, a high upside and a high risk downside is Walker’s potential path.

Marco Rubio is interesting. Rubio is young, attractive, witty, but not deeply a policy guy, more surface than depth. Still Rubio is the one guy the Clinton campaign does not want to run against. The visuals are bad for Clinton.

Jeb Bush may be the Mitt Romney of 2016. Best funded, best team of advisers, best chance to win the nomination…but not liked much by any Republican.

Huckabee appears to be the only religious Republican candidate, though Jindal has this element to his speeches as well. Huckabee could surprise and do well but more likely in a field of too many he will not rise again.

Santorum, the last man standing against Romney in 2012 does not have the support this time he had in 2012. Hard to see how he recovers.

Carly Fiorina has spunk, attacks Hillary strongly, but lost a Senate race and was fired at HP, which means LOSER probably, but could win the VP nomination.

Lindsey Graham is in it to lose it, and just needs to talk about national defense then retire from the process quietly.

Rand Paul was rising in the polls until Trump came on, now Paul is having trouble finding traction. Look for Paul to have a strong first debate to re-start his candidacy.

Pataki, Jindal and Christie are just not going to make it at all. Romney has a better chance to be the nominee in 2016 and he is not running.

Next week let’s talk Democratic contenders.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.