Monday, September 14, 2015

Republican Tsunami

Carly Fiorina
I believe that there is a Republican tsunami sweeping over the country. It began when Republicans took  over the House of Representatives despite the re-election of President Obama in 2012. It increased in intensity in 2014 when Republicans took control of the Senate. This political upheaval only mirrored what has happened on the state and local level in the past few years. In the past few years Republicans have gained control of almost two thirds of the govenorships and state legislatures.

The Republican surge is illustrated this year in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election. No matter what one thinks of individual Republican candidates, it is obvious that the Republican party has put up an unprecedented array of talented experienced candidates. The youth, vitality, and new ideas of the Republican candidates contrasts with the age and old fashioned ideas on the Democrat side, where Hillary Clinton seems so yesterday, and the Socialism of Bernie Sanders harks back even further. The Democrats seem so desperate that many are calling on old Joe Biden, a man who has never had an original idea, to run.

I did not watch the first Republican debate but here is my initial impression of the Republican field.

Donald Trump has taken the early lead in what promises to be a long race for the Republican nomination. So far, Trump seems impervious to criticism. He is the "bad boy" in the campaign and voters love a "bad boy." Just look at the continued popularity of Bill Clinton. Nevertheless, I suspect that like most front runners, Trump will run out of gas. His insulting comments about Carly Fiorina's face may be the beginning of the end for him

Speaking of Carly Fiorina, Trump's criticism has only helped her candidacy. Her response demonstrated that she is a candidate that must be taken seriously. She argued that the upcoming election is not entertainment but is about issues that will really matter. She also gained stature when she said that there are no "women's issues" but only issues that pertain to all of us. She is intelligent and experienced and even her ouster as CEO of Hewlett Packard will not work against her, since the Directors of the company have admitted that she was right and they were wrong.

If Trump is the "bad boy" in the campaign, I think that Ben Carson is too good a man to go the distance. In fact, in TV appearances he appears to lack the fight and aggressiveness that is so important not only in gaining votes, but also in dealing with the terrible enemies that we face all over the world. Also, he has never been elected to any position of power. One of the great things about America is that there are thousands of men and women like Dr. Carson but they are best suited for the private sector.

Mere election to office does not necessarily qualify someone for the duties of President of the USA. Senators like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul should have established themselves in the Senate before seeking the Presidency. They are intelligent thinkers and good vote getters but do not have the necessary experience as yet. President Obama is a good example of a first term Senator who attained the Presidency on charisma but turned out to be not ready for the job.

Governors seem to be more qualified than Senators for the Presidency, and the Republican field contains a number of present and former Governors. Of these, I think that Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida, and John Kasich, the current Governor of Ohio, have the experience and qualifications. I think a Bush/Kasich ticket would be very electable since both Florida and Ohio are key states in any Presidential contest. Bush lags in the early polls but he should not be counted out.

Governors like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Chris Christie of New Jersey do not appear to have enough experience as yet.  It is doubtful if Christie could even
carry his home state of New Jersey. In general I question the ethics of sitting Governors running for the Presidency. They promised a lot to the people who elected them, and it doesn't seem right for them to turn their attention away from their home states. Scott Walker still has a long way to go in Wisconsin so why doesn't he want to stay and complete the job.

Politicians would do well to follow the example of Ronald Reagan who after two successful terms as Governor of California retired and proceeded to groom himself to become a national figure. Jeb Bush has followed the Reagan example. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the race once the front runners come back to the pack.


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