Sunday, January 31, 2016

On This Wintry Iowa Caucus Eve

'Twas the night before caucus, and all through the House (of Representatives),
Not a politician was stirring, not even to grouse.
Overcome with fear of status quo nightmare,
They hoped that some solution would soon be there.

Hope is the key term tonight. Both the democratic and republican establishments are a little stunned right now. For months, they have waited for the initial excitement traditionally given to political newcomers to wear off and allow the tried-and-true insiders to take the lead. They got their wish with Ben Carson, whose foibles and inadequacies were exposed in the long, hard grind from last summer to the Iowa present.

But this return to the mean just hasn't happened with Trump and with Sanders. Trump has held onto a lead which he only briefly shared with Ben Carson. Sanders has actually climbed up from decent also-ran numbers to a shockingly competitive level of interest among likely Iowa voters. In New Hampshire, he leads.

Heads are spinning in Washington and elsewhere. To tell the truth, even I am surprised. I have referenced Jeb's money on several occasions with the open belief that his treasure chest would carry him through to the end. Only in my most secret nihilist dreams did I think that one of these two upstarts would cause some interesting chaos in primary season. I never expected to have both of them pissing off the nancy boys in their respective parties.

Still, it's not over till the fat lady sings. In question are not just the sincerity of Trump supporters to to turn out and vote on Monday night, but a possible snow storm will complicate matters even more. Candidates like Cruz have die hard supporters that will show no matter what and Clinton has an establishment network ready to work the party machinery and clinch the nomination for her.

A lot is at stake tomorrow night in Iowa. Will we have revolution or will we succumb to traditional party politics?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Iowa Caucus Approacheth!

Since the beginning, this blog has focused on the numbers more than the quality of the candidates. Hopefully, that can begin to change as hordes of candidates drop out of the race.

For the democrats, the nature of the coming battle is essentially decided.There is the status quo candidate in Hillary Clinton and the radical left candidate in Bernie Sanders. Personally, I have despised Sanders since he played pussy to the BLM protesters back in August. However, I am glad that he is on stage because I have long felt that the hard left of the Democratic Party has been ignored.

Both parties today are really amalgams of groups which have little in common. Clinton represents the status quo party but Sanders represents the significant segment of society that thinks that America is long overdue for socialist reforms. In fact, I have a crush on him simply because some of what he says resembles my dreams when I was a young democrat who still believed that the party represented blue-collar workers and their families. However, walking away from pond scum that should have been sent packing at that meeting in August soured whatever lingering sympathy I had for him. I am not interested in an America in which BLM protesters have any say.

On the republican side, the equation is only starting to become clear. While some are already calling for a Trump fait accompli, I am more cautious and, as always, remember the power of money, of which Bush has a lot.

Nevertheless, things have become more clear. At the very least, that fucking zombie candidate George Pataki has dropped out. His continuing candidacy was a sign that the republican party was still playing around and not getting serious about the election. The number of real republican candidates can now be counted on one hand:

  • Donald Trump. Liberals long discounted the seriousness of his campaign because they are unable to imagine a world in which people do not agree with their views on some visceral level. In the minds of liberals, conservatives would agree with them if only they would engage in dialogue. Trump's ongoing popularity may finally be beginning to show libs that some Americans are simply out to get them, with no apologies.
  • Ted Cruz. Long seen as an unofficial ally of Trump's, Cruz is starting to distinguish himself from the billionaire by courting evangelicals. He is increasingly looking like the hard-right Christian candidate, though his eligibility to be POTUS is even more in question than Obama's.
  • Ben Carson. His star is definitely falling and I do him a favor just including him on this list. The era of white-guilt voting is over. Carson will not be the GOP candidate unless somebody literally kills three or four other candidates.
  • Marco Rubio. The press tried hard to give the candidacy to this young Latino months ago but his appeal has waned. He is not the Christian candidate and he is not the white-anger candidate. In the GOP today, this means - no votes for you!
  • Chris Christie. I am not a fan but but I commend him for sticking it out, fighting his way up from the kiddie table debates to be included in the final selection. He actually has more merit than many candidates in that he has held executive office and acted as a national figure for years now.

Notice that I forgot Jeb Bush? Okay, I admit that this was intentional. I do not want another member of the ruling Clinton-Bush-Obama dynasty to win but I actually think that his chances are decent. Money talks and Bush can hang in there for months to come. It does not matter if he loses Iowa and New Hampshire. He has the cash to wait in the wings and exploit any chaos in the electoral process to his own advantage.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

GOP Candidates Slogging Their Way Into Winter

As much of the Midwest, a hotbed for Republican politics, was snowed in or iced over this last week, the slightly less numerous candidates for the GOP presidential nomination reached the end of the beginning in their election campaigns. Just two months to go until the Iowa caucus voices America's first decision with regard to each candidate's legitimacy.

There are not quite so many of them now and the dynamics have changed somewhat. Donald Trump is still a leader among them but his primary rival of just a few weeks ago, Ben Carson, has seen his star decline a little. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have gained significant support in the polls. Jeb Bush has remained hobbled with single-digit poll numbers while some others, such as Bobby Jindal, have given up in the face of nearly non-existent support. Unbelievably, George Fucking Pataki is still officially in this race.

Here are the candidates that remain believably in this race. While Jeb Bush's numbers suggest he should possibly bow out, I will continue to include him. As I have stated before, his money can keep him in this race while he waits for one disaster or another to overtake his less-milquetoast competitors so that his blandness can finally shine.

  1. Donald Trump continues to lead the pack with percentage of support somewhere in the mid-twenties. It depends on where and when you poll. Some polls have shown him briefly as high as the low 40s but these gains seem to be ephemeral. Furthermore, the Donald continues to say things that alienate, at least for a time, his less entrenched supporters. For example, he has come out in support of waterboarding and apparently made fun of a handicapped reporter's disabilities during a press conference.
  2. Ben Carson has been brought down a few notches, particularly as a result of various statements he has made with regard to religious topics. He has said openly that Muslims should be prevented form holding the Presidency and he was ridiculed for speculating that the pyramids of Egypt were for holding grain rather than the corpses of deceased Pharaohs. In general, someone has made a point of degrading Carson's intelligence. I suspect that this was Trump, who has frequently bullied people with regard to their intelligence. Just look at the way that he hounded Perry out of the race.
  3. Marco Rubio has certainly made a run for Golden Boy if not for the presidency. Some competent work in the debates has brought the spotlight to this young senator for Florida. In addition, his willingness to take on his former mentor, Jeb Bush, has earned him kudos from some voters.
  4. It has been said in some circles that Trump is really running interference for Ted Cruz. The idea, apparently, is that Trump will eventually drop out and his supporters will have nowhere else to go but the Cruz camp. By then, Rand Paul and other potential recipients of Trumps support will have all dropped out. Whether or not such a conspiracy exists, things may play out that way. Cruz rivals Rubio now for 3rd place.
There is still a pack of others but there viability is lessening. Carly Fiorina has not made any headlines recently. Jeb Bush is still a gelding among stallions at this point. Chris Christie has managed to stir the pot with regard to certain statements made by Donald Trump but he has repeatedly replied that he is getting sick of being asked about Trump. He should be wary of getting what he wished for. The Donald is the only issue that gets him in the news.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Democratic Debate: Tag Teaming Hillary Clinton

The Democratic debate rolled around again and it was a little more interesting this time because there were only three candidates on stage, the other likely contenders having resigned from the race. While this potentially created the opportunity to just increase the focus on the two ongoing leaders, Clinton and Sanders, it probably provided much more attention for Martin O'Malley, who was practically invisible prior to last night.

Diverse They Ain't

I have mentioned before that the Republican field of candidates is much more diverse than the Democrats' round up of the usual suspects this time around. A picture of the three contenders looks more like a klan rally than anything else.

OK, maybe that's a little unfair. After all, these three are only "white" in the very loose definition of race that exists today. Sanders is, after all, Jewish and O'Malley is Irish. The Irish were not really considered white even a century ago. Remember who was building the railroads alongside blacks and the Chinese in the 19th century?

Nevertheless, the GOP does come off with more points for diversity this time around. They've got multiple hispanics, a very viable black candidate and a woman.

How They Did

Hillary Clinton

  • The other Democrats finally took off the gloves and lashed out at Hillary. Many analysts have stated previously that Hillary was going to run away with this nomination unless somebody manned up and started criticizing her. 
  • Both Sanders and O'Malley were able to take the high ground diplomatically because neither of them can be tied to voting for the Middle East debacle. Clinton joined with other Democrats to vote for the controversial invasion of Iraq which undeniably led to the present chaos in that region  and in Europe.
  • They were also not afraid to bring up her ties to Wall Street. However, most seem to agree that her defense was adequate. Still, it was a defense and it shows that Clinton is no longer untouchable. She is going to have to defend herself if she is going to get this nomination.
Bernie Sanders

  • The biggest advance for Sanders came simply with his willingness to attack Clinton's record. Providing this contrast will undoubtedly improve his long-range chances of taking an electoral lead. 
  • He failed to utilize the email issue, though, and that is perhaps Clinton's greatest weakness. This sort of cooperation among the candidates stinks and leads me to wonder if the race isn't simply an opportunity for Clinton to air out a lot of issues publicly and make voters bored of them before her cakewalk to the national election.
  • Sanders also did not look good when Clinton ridiculed his idea of free college for everybody. She pointed out that this policy would use taxpayer money to pay for Donald Trump's kids to go to school. Hopefully that is the end of that piece of idiocy,
Martin O'Malley
  • Martin O'Malley wins big simply for having a lot of face time with the public. This was a great opportunity for voters to hear an option to Sanders and Clinton. He presents a major threat to these other two simply by showing up and potentially leeching off undecided or less fervent voters. 
  • He also joined in the attacks on Clinton. He called her a flip-flopper on gun control.
  • In particular, he benefits by having had nothing to do with her war record and her participation in regime changes, such as that in Libya which has obviously destabilized the country.

I am not a Democrat but I can say that the democratic race is finally starting to look exciting. It seemed like Clinton was locking up the race when Sanders asked everyone to ignore her email dilemma. She may still run away with this one but there is at least the appearance of a real race at the moment. That will probably improve the ratings and, after all, that is all American culture really has any more: Facebook likes and Twitter hashtags.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Let Their Numbers Be Diminished: The GOP Herd Thins

Ignore the man on the far right. Everyone else does.
The first primary is still months a way but a reduction in the numbers of GOP candidates seems overdue. I am not chiming in with Trump to harass underdogs into dropping out. According to the Donald, anybody with less than 1% of the average polling should have already withdrawn. However, it sure seems like some of the men running for office should have taken the hint a while ago.

Who's Out

If you have been paying attention at all, you probably know that the Republican field of presidential candidates was pretty large this time around. Technically, it is always large as there are scores of people running obscure campaigns every time an election rolls around. This time, though, there were about 17 or 18 with recognizable faces and some chance of actually being nominated to the official candidacy of the Republican Party.

Since that inauspicious start, there have been a handful of dropouts and or demotions. Rick Perry was the first major name to drop out. His end was particularly surprising because he made a stronger run in 2012 and seemed to have put much more effort into the race this time around. He even left his job as governor of Texas in January 2015, staking everything on this run.

Scott Walker dropped out a few weeks ago. His early departure was also surprising, considering his background as conservative stalwart and successful office holder.

What is much more surprising, though, is the identities of some candidates who continue to stagger along with absolutely no chance of winning. I mean, for the love of Pete, why in the fuck is George Pataki still in this race? He is like that annoying guy who shows up uninvited to your party and just never goes home.

Nevertheless, Pataki has been shown the door, even if he has not made any movement in that direction. The fourth GOP debate has been scheduled and Pataki, along with Lindsey Graham, is scheduled neither to appear on the main stage nor at the kiddie table where the second-string waits for an injury on the field to let their stars shine, These two have not officially recused themselves ( I am not even sure that Pataki is really alive. He may be a drone) but we can finally count them out and focus on the real contenders now.

Who's In

The big kids' table will now host just eight primary candidates.

  • Donald Trump. Of course, He still has about a quarter of the GOP electorate unwaveringly behind him and garners even more support on specific questions when it comes to who people trust with regard to economic or foreign policy issues.
  • Ben Carson. He was actually leading the Donald in polls out of Iowa just a week ago. Since then, though, there has been a barrage of attacks on his past and his presentation of himself. My gut instinct was to suspect the liberal media of going after a successful black man who was not in their camp. Now that I have given it more thought, though, I have to wonder if Trump is not behind these leaks and attacks.
  • Carly Fiorina. She's still running, even if the harridans on the View think she is ugly.
  • Ted Cruz. He resonated with likely voters at the last debate and has secured a spot at this table until the primaries come, in my opinion.
  • Marco Rubio. The young senator from Florida is surging after smacking Jeb Bush around at the last debate. I think we can also expect Rubio to stay among the leaders until the primaries really begin to cull the GOP numbers.
  • Rand Paul. This was a surprise. I have been daily waiting for him to throw in the towel but he has been given another prime time opportunity. It may be his last but, for the meantime, he is among the leaders.
  • Jeb Bush. His campaign is the very definition of fizzle but he has great big boatloads of money. No one should discount the staying power of cash, I really think that he is vulnerable this time around, though, and probably needs to make a good showing if he wants to be included in the next gathering of the cool kids.
  • John Kasich. Fucking unbelievable. I had even forgotten that he was running. Not sure how this GOP zombie secured a place among the frontrunners.

Who's on the Way Out

There will be just four candidates at the early debate for also-rans.

  • Bobby Jindal. Yeah, I don't get how he is still invited to anything. I have nothing against the man politically or personally but his campaign makes Jeb Bush's campaign look energetic and virile.
  • Rick Santorum. He must still be getting credit for pulling off a surprise win in Iowa some years ago.
  • Mike Huckabee. He seems like a friendly guy but he has made the most effete run for the presidency since Fred Thompson.
  • Chris Christie. His demotion surprised me. I am not a fan but he has sounded pretty good compared to the non-presences of guys like Kasich. If anyone returns from the kiddie table to the front of the pack, it will be Christie.

So the running has been reduced to twelve. I am expecting a few resignations in the wake of this next debate. It will be interesting to see who capitulates and who continues forward with stubborn obstinacy (I'm talking to you, Pataki!).