Monday, November 23, 2015

The Primary Field, Part II: Gilmore-Pataki

Jim Gilmore
Former governor of Virginia, cypher
            Pro: I can’t think of any cons.
            Con: I can’t think of any pros.

          Jim Gilmore was actually a thing once- he managed to win one election as governor of Virginia, back in 1997.  (Virginia elects its governors in odd-numbered years, and only lets them run for one term.  Virginia is weird.)  His own state promptly forgot about him, as he lost a Senate race by a 2-1 margin in 2008. 
            Now, he’s running for President for some reason.  My best guess is that visiting all fifty states is on his bucket list and Iowa is the last one he needs.  Since running for President is the only reason to visit Iowa (at least New Hampshire has skiing, leaves, and Mount Washington), he took the plunge and launched a Presidential campaign based on YOLO. 
You do you, Jimmy G.  You do you. 

Lindsey Graham
Senator from South Carolina, John McCain fanboy
            Con: Would have us at war with Mozambique in a week after his inauguration.
            Pro: Let’s be honest, Mozambique needs to be taken down a peg.

            I’m excited about Lindsey Graham for purely selfish reasons.  I’m in my state’s National Guard (My opinions are strictly my own, and not those of the National Guard, a point that I'm going to repeat several times), but I'm looking for a full-time job right now, which is why I can waste so much time with this thing. Senator Graham is a noted war hawk- he once advocated going to war with Congress, while he was an actual member of Congress.  Since war would give me a full-time job (hey, I told you it was selfish), Graham’s got my vote…
            …or at least he would, if he weren’t going to drop out of the race a week before the South Carolina primary and throw his support to secure the post of Secretary of Defense in the Carson or Rubio Administration.  (That's strictly my speculation, of course.  The National Guard doesn't think Sen. Graham has any interest in a Cabinet role.)  Still, Graham has had the best 2015 of any Republican Presidential candidate.  Sure, he’s at one percent in the polls, but thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, he and John McCain can finally get married.

            Fun Fact: When Graham was first elected to the Senate in 2002, his opponent ran an ad promising to “go to Washington and take aim”…right before the Washington sniper shootings.  Oops.

(The National Guard didn't think that fact was fun at all.)

Mike Huckabee
Former governor of Arkansas, professional good-ole-boy
            Pro: Is a Baptist minister, so probably has a difference stance on adultery from the last Arkansan President.
            Con: If elected, there would be a deluge of annoying “I heart Huckabee” jokes.

            Mike Huckabee’s biggest move so far came after Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to marry gay couples, was briefly jailed for contempt of court.  Huckabee appeared as Davis’s warmup act, introducing her as she walked out to “Eye of the Tiger”.  I don’t see the problem here.  Whatever you think of gay marriage, you have to admit- if you’re a true red-blooded American, and you have a chance to walk out to “Eye of the Tiger” for any reason, you walk out to “Eye of the Tiger”.
            The National Guard has always thought "Eye of the Tiger" is kind of overrated, to be honest.
            Apparently, entitlement programs are going bankrupt.  I don’t pay much attention to this, since with my financial situation, I’m on the Pope Benedict retirement plan (work until age 85, get replaced by a guy from South America).  Don’t worry, though, Mike Huckabee has a plan- a simple solution, really: all we need to do is find the cure for cancer, and we’re set.
            Huckabee may be taking a hard line on gay rights, but apparently he’s embracing gambling.

John Kasich
Governor of Ohio, overgrown rage bunny
            Pro: Has the record and experience to present himself as a more conservative version of Jeb!
            Con: Inexplicably, has chosen to present himself as a more liberal version of Jeb!

            The reference is to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who entered the 2012 GOP primaries as a moderate Mormon technocratic governor with business experience, only to find out that the field already had one of those.  So, in a move that can only be explained by some Chinese mind-control trick when he was our Ambassador in Beijing, Huntsman decided the way to win over the Republican base was to become the media's favorite Republican. 
             Kasich, following in his footsteps without the excuse of spending several years in a Communist country, made quite a splash in the most recent Republican debate by yelling at the other candidates to take more moderate stances, such as supporting the Wall Street bailout.  Defending the Wall Street bailout is about as popular with Republican primary voters as defending ISIS (no, not that ISIS, the other one), so Kasich's campaign is having about as much success right now as another Ohio institution.
             (The National Guard, for its part, just can't even with this post.)

George Pataki
Former governor of New York, onetime syndicated host of “Wake Up, Poughkeepsie!”
            Pro: A candidate whose time has come.
            Con: A candidate whose time has also gone.

            George Pataki won an upset election as the Republican governor of a large blue state, then gradually became more liberal than many Democrats.  In other words, he’s a more boring version of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

            The National Guard, of course, thinks a three-term governor of New York is much more interesting than a movie star with a funny accent.  At any rate, Pataki is one of five candidates in this race (the others being Jeb!, Gilmore, Huckabee, and Santorum) who haven't won an election since I graduated from high school.  Gilmore, ever the overachiever, hasn't won an election since I was in elementary school.  For some candidates, the 2016 race seems to be what Branson, Missouri, was for the Simpsons: a way to remind people you're still alive.

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