It’s just barely July and we already have fourteen declared Republican candidates for President and two legitimate candidates who are basically certain to run. It’s pretty early on in the proceedings, but let’s take a quick run at these guys (and one gal) and handicap their chances:
- Ben Carson, former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery for Johns Hopkins Hospital: this year’s Colin Powell. Great story and this will really enhance is speaking fees, but no way he’s going to be President.
- Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey since 2010: much too mean to be President. What plays in New Jersey doesn’t necessarily play in the rest of the country. (See the Sopranos if you don’t know what I mean).
- Ted Cruz (campaign), U.S. Senator from Texas since 2013: go back to Canada, where you were born. And rail about immigrants from there.
- Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO from 1999–2005: like Chris Christie, too mean to be President. Doesn’t know as much about the economy as she thinks she does, which her former employees at Hewlett-Packard can tell you all about.
- Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator from South Carolina since 2003: like Richard Gephard before him, a reasonably qualified guy who is likely to leave no impression at all.
- Mike Huckabee, Governor of Arkansas 1996–2007: that “aw shucks” routine kinda worked four years ago, but too late to the party now. And your bass playing sucks. (See Victor Wooten.)
- Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana since 2008: too weird and awkward, as was demonstrated by his response to Obama’s state of the Union speech back in 2009.
- George Pataki, former Governor of New York: reasonable candidate who is likely to suffer the same fate as Jon Huntsman in 2012.
- Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky since 2011: the Republican establishment hates him. At least he’s consistent in his libertarian views. And he has the same chance as Bernie Sanders to be President.
- Rick Perry, Governor of Texas 2000–2015: four years and one “oops” too late. Hard to rehabilitate your image when people have already decided about you. Just ask Howard Dean.
- Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida since 2011: four years to early. But watch out in 2020.
- Rick Santorum, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania 1995–2007: four years and one foot in mouth disease too late. What was that you said about women and rape again, Rick?
- Donald Trump, real-estate magnate and reality TV star: this guy really is the captain of the clown car. Certified to have narcissistic personality disorder. Only in an alternate reality will this asshole get elected. But he may poll well for awhile.
- Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida from 1999–2007: will play huge in the Latino community, and is a guy all progressives should be worried about. Much more articulate than his brother. Or his father. The establishment’s candidate.
Two guys who have not yet declared but who are likely to be real contenders include:
- Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin since 2011: the darling of the anti-union crowd, this guy will be legitimate.
- John Kasich, Governor of Ohio since 2011: this guy could also be legitimate, but right now, know one knows anything about him. Hard to stand out in a crowded field.
So there you have it, the early returns. My money is on Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. The rest of them will have some moments in the polls, and each of them may make a run at something, just like happened in 2012 before the pachyderm’s eventually settled on Mitt Romney.
And I don’t suppose that it’s a good thing that there is a real possibility that it will be Bush vs. Clinton in 2016. That can’t be a good thing.