I struggled through last night’s two Republican debates just as I have for the prior four. Since 90 per cent of these affairs are predictable shots against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, little will be lost if we start to narrow the field. Here is one perspective from someone who is highly unlikely to vote for the eventual Republican nominee:
No chance of winning, or can you even remotely imagine one of these as the nominee?
George Pataki – I never understood the rationale for his candidacy from the beginning. Any hope that he could be the oxymoronic “moderate” Republican is long gone. His rare moderation on a small number of issues is outweighed by strident stands that typify this field.
Mike Huckabee – Evangelical voters are not a sufficient base even within the GOP to select a nominee, let alone a President. Some of his positions are as ludicrous as those of Donald Trump – not that that is a serious impediment within the GOP – but when your alternative to Obamacare is curing cancer, it’s time to move on.
Rick Santorum – Hard to believe that he won Iowa last time around, but this field is simply too crowded with like-minded wing nuts for him to spring another surprise.
Carly Fiorina – It’s almost inconceivable that the Republican electorate will sanction a candidate who just makes stuff up – see Donald Trump – but her brief blip following the first “kids’ table” debate sank like a stone after her fabrication about a non-existent Planned Parent video.
Jim Gilmore – I think he is still a candidate.
No chance of winning, but at least they have something to offer:
Lindsey Graham – He may be the only candidate along with Bernie Sanders who has thoughtful positions on issues that are not poll-driven. He also has a sharp sense of humor. He is the lone GOP candidate I will miss when he drops out, but continually polling in the low single digits is not a recipe for success.
Rand Paul – His is a necessary voice in a party that has a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later on what are literally maters of life and death. But there is little appetite in the GOP for a thoughtful foreign policy.
The end is near, even if you don’t realize it.
Dr. Ben Carson – Someone soon will write the account of how a person with a truly remarkable person history – going from the slums of Detroit to the widely-acclaimed Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins – still needed to fabricate significant portions of his background. Along with Fiorina, his lack of credibility appears to have doomed a candidacy that cannot be resurrected by evidence of his ability to do the job.
Jeb! Bush – All you need to know about this woeful candidacy can be gleaned by watching his one-minute opening statement at last night’s debate. You could practically hear the sounds of fat cat checkbooks closing.
So that gets us down to five. John Kasich and Chris Christie need an impressive showing in New Hampshire to move on. Donald Trump. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio appear to have the resources to do well there (and in Iowa) to remain in the hunt.