August 10, 2015

My Thoughts on the Republican Presidential Candidates

This post contains quite a few links to The Reformed Libertarian as I rarely disagree with their analysis. I don't claim to have anything particularly original to offer, but here are my thoughts on most of the Republican presidential hopefuls:

Jeb Bush is the establishment candidate du jour. Some think his victory is a foregone conclusion. I disagree. Enthusiasm for Bush is so low that the power elite will probably end up backing another horse in this race. It's not like there aren't plenty of other candidates willing to play ball.

Ben Carson seems like a nice guy. Not very charismatic, though. His evangelical credentials are suspect (link). He's not much of a conservative either, apparently (link). If that weren't enough, his position on vaccines (link) is a deal-breaker for me.

Chris Christie is not a true conservative (link). He's also a very unlikeable guy who has zero chance of being nominated. I honestly don't know why he's even bothering to run. Probably the worst of the bunch except for Lindsey Graham.

Ted Cruz talks a good game, but he's really just another smooth-talking neocon (link). His wife is a member of the CFR for all you conspiracy theorists out there.

Carly Fiorina will not get the nomination (link). I don't know any of her policy positions, but I assume she tows the GOP establishment line. She is also a woman, which means, if the eventual nominee has any political savvy at all, he will ask her to be his running mate.

Lindsey Graham is a nutcase (link) who wants to start World War III (link). This guy is such a warmonger he makes his buddy John McCain look almost sane. Good thing he has no chance of getting the nomination. The worst of this dirty dozen by far.

Mike Huckabee is a typical warmongering, mildly socialist, populist, neocon establishment figure (link) who also happens to be an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He represents just about everything that's wrong with the GOP and the SBC, which might be impressive (but not in a good way) if it weren't so typical.

John Kasich is another establishment fallback candidate. I'd never heard of the guy before last week. I don't believe I'm alone. This does not bode well for his chances.

Rand Paul is a far cry from his dad, and he seems to be getting worse as time goes on (link).  He's also the best of this bunch by a wide margin. He's far from perfect, but he's the best bet for libertarians (C. Jay Engel disagrees; he makes some good points here). Paul is probably the most libertarian senator since Barry Goldwater, and he's at least as libertarian as the last two LP presidential candidates. I think a lot of the negative backlash from the libertarian crowd is a direct result of unfavorable comparisons to the elder Paul.

Marco Rubio is a typical neocon chickenhawk (link). He is also the younger, better-looking GOP establishment candidate who appeals to the Fox News crowd. I think he'll eventually get the nomination.

Donald Trump is the token business candidate (link). He does this sort of thing every so often to get attention. The most surprising thing is how well it's working this time. I think Trump is as surprised about it as anyone. He is the worst kind of populist, appealing to the American electorate's irrational fear of immigrants. Despite this, he might still be a better choice than many of the other potential candidates. Scary. Also, I have to wonder if there aren't certain powerful people hoping for him to run as an independent candidate thereby ensuring a democratic victory in the general election (link). Even scarier.

Scott Walker has no chance in a field this crowded. He's bland and does nothing to stand out (for better or worse). But, then again, he might have the Koch brothers on his side (link), and, with that kind of money being thrown around, anything can happen.

For more analysis, follow these links:

For what it's worth, I think whoever gets the Republican nomination will probably win the general election (assuming that Trump doesn't mount an independent campaign and ensure a democratic victory) These things tend to be cyclical, and we're due for a "conservative" president. Will it change anything? Probably not much, if at all. Some might think that makes me cynical. I like to think I'm a realist.

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