Writings and observations

stapilus
Randy Stapilus
View from Here

Looking ahead to 2016 – yeah, a lot of people are – one of the things we know is that, conspiracy theories notwithstanding, it’ll be an open election: No incumbent president on the ballot.

And probably it will be more open than that. On the Democratic side age considerations may preclude the vice president, Joe Biden, from running, and also former presidential candidate (and Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton. Running for president, as either could tell you, is rugged, stressful, and requires enormous energy and discipline. The Democratic nomination seems more likely to go to someone a few years younger, and there’s no clear telling right now who that might be. But then, Democratic nominations, other than for incumbent president, often are hard to predict very far into the future.

Republicans traditionally have been a different matter. While many contenders may run, the nomination usually goes to someone who has an established claim on it. Leaving aside incumbent presidents, since Barry Goldwater in 1964 (the last more or less out-of-nowhere nominee), Republicans nominated a former nominee/former vice president in 1968 (Richard Nixon), incumbent president in 1976 (Gerald Ford), the previous runner-up for nomination in 1980 (Ronald Reagan), the incumbent vice president in 1988 (George H.W. Bush), an earlier nomination runner-up in 1996 (Bob Dole), a son of a former president in 2000 (George W. Bush), and former nomination runners-up in 2008 (John McCain) and 2012 (Mitt Romney).

Molds can always be broken, of course. But if Republicans stick to their long-running patterns, who is most likely to get the nomination in 2016?

The list has to start with Paul Ryan, the 2012 vice-presidential nominee, and Rick Santorum, the 202 nomination runner-up. And if you want to extend the list, using the logic of recent history, you might add Mike Huckabee (a 2008 runner-up), Jeb Bush (another son of a president) and Sarah Palin (2008 VP nominee).

The last three all seem a little improbable, though Huckabee retains visibility through his cable TV program. But Santorum already is making sounds about running again, and he can argue that he did better in the Republican primaries, with marginal resources, than almost anyone expected him to do. And Ryan is likely to be highly visible in Congress for some time.

There are other contenders out there, of course, such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, both evidently moving toward entering the race. But in trying to reach the nomination, they’ll be running against history.

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Stapilus

rainey
Barrett Rainey
Second Thoughts

There was a time – at the end of four quarters or after nine innings or nine rounds or the last vote was counted – the game was over, play was concluded. Everybody shook hands and got back to work. But no more.

Now parents punch referees – a winning out-of-town high school football team has to run for the bus ahead of an angry home crowd – a pro baseball player charges into the stands – the fat lady stops singing, then punches the orchestra conductor. Losing political parties feast on their own candidates. And some of the candidates don’t get the message that their adoring public has just devoured them. Right, Mr. West?

The amount of anger and mayhem lying just below the surface of our society these days is huge. And it doesn’t take much to set it off once something – or someone – scratches it. Whether it’s sports, lousy weather, bad restaurant service or politics, seems many of us are just looking for a chance to angrily attack someone or something for any perceived slight.

While the picking on Mitt Romney’s corpse has not degenerated into physical violence – yet – the verbal mayhem has become very excessive. Poor Mitt is being blamed by his fellow losers for not only costing the GOP the White House and some seats in Congress, but for angering Christians and making them stay home. That last claim is not true, by the way. Only Franklin Graham thinks it is.

What brings this “it ain’t over” discourse to mind was a headline today saying many on the far right do not accept Barack Obama as President. Not just the outcome of his winning the November election. No, Sir. They don’t accept his presidency. Going back to day one. Period. And some say they’ll fight it every day he’s living in the White House.

The always empty tea “pots” of our times have come up with a new high in low for craziness. An Idaho state senator is circulating a letter from on high. No, not God. The National Tea Party whizbang. He wants all the little baggies to spread the word: “We can elect Mitt Romney if we can get 17 of the 24 states he won to boycott the Electoral College.” It ain’t legal. It ain’t gonna happen. It can’t be done. So he can return to his breakfast routine of Jimson Weed and that weird black brew.

It’s not just the bonafide idiots, we’re talking here. If you check several of the less far-out blogs on the right – the usually accepted RedState.com, for one – you’ll find that crazed rejection crap even there. Ballot boxes have been stored – poll workers have gone home – all votes tabulated and even certified in some places – yet several million folk won’t accept the outcome.

“So what?” you ask. “Most of us do and, even if we don’t like what happened, we’ll live with it for four more years.” Yes. Yes, you will.

The problem is, you don’t run the national Republican Party. And a lot of that ignorant, outright rejection is coming from – wait for it – “leadership” of that national Republican Party! Not just the malcontents and crazies in the basement. No. Some of the people who actually run the place. The ones who decide who gets on future ballots – and who doesn’t. The ones who famously brought you Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum, Cain, Paul, West, Walsh, Akin, Gohmert, Robinson et al.

A lot of Republicans are engaged, once again, in the always fruitless circular firing squad of blame. Romney’s goose has been cooked to a cinder. We’re hearing about bad organization, no organization, lousy demographics, bad polling, needing more Hispanics or African-Americans or Swedish plumbers, raising more money and better candidates. “All we have to do is say ‘We’ve changed’ and they will come” you hear.

For my money, that item – better state and national candidates – is the real key. It’s also likely the one that has the least chance of being realized. In our just-completed Republican presidential primary, who did the party toss in the garbage pile first? Pawlenty and Huntsman – two guys who were probably the most widely acceptable candidates to non-Republicans. And Romney – the guy no one wanted – got the brass ring. That won’t change. Not next time.

Within a day after Obama won, Marco Rubio – the guy who lied about his own life history in his own biography and who hasn’t been in the Senate long enough to know where all the men’s rooms are – Little Marco was in Iowa a full three years before the next presidential campaign filing. He was waving and posing and saying “I’m first. I’m first.” Within 24 hours, Rand Paul told the Party, “Me, too. Me, too.” The line has already started to form. To the right. To the very far right.

Moderate Republican pros nearly all agree on one thing. The Party has no moderate, widely-acceptable “heir apparent” to challenge the hand-picked screwballs of the Party hierarchy. There is no second tier of candidates acceptable to the baggie people who control the nominating process. A moderate.

Try it yourself. Name one they’d accept. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

(Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.)

By the time the filing period for the next presidential race arrives, all of us will be sick of hearing Marco’s name and the media will have eviscerated his candidacy. We’ll have heard more than enough of Rand Paul’s Libertarian lunacy. Santorum, Gingrich, Bachman, Huckabee and unnamed others from the tri-cornered hat club will be vying for a place in the spotlight. Again. Unless, of course, more responsible Republicans can wrest control of the nominating process from the current crowd of looneys.

I’d put my two-bucks on the looneys. They own the national party nominating process. Took ‘em years. But they have it. And it’ll take years for anyone wanting to dislodge them to get the job done. Even if they started today.
This is not the government – or the political process – I was raised to support. Gridlock, extremism, hatred, rejection of valid elections outcomes, totally unqualified candidates vying to lead this nation in very troubling times, voices of reason drowned out by voices of division, “purity” tests and loyalty oaths. But it’s what we have.

Oh, wait! The conductor just hit the fat lady back.

Film at 11!

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Rainey