Friday, May 01, 2015

The GOP presidential nomination process: Wasting our time raising their profile

By Richard Barry

Last week The Economist ran a piece catagorizing 21 announced and potential Republican presidential candidates under six headings: A-listers, Insurgents, Dark Horses, Publicity Seekers, Job Hunters, and No Hopers.

They consider only five candidates plausible, those they call A-listers (Walker, Rubio, and Bush) and Insurgents (Cruz and Paul).

They also identify three Dark Horse candidates (Kasich, Christie, and Perry), six Publicity Seekers (Santorum, Huckabee, Trump, Bolton, King, and Carson), four Job Hunters (Jindal, Fiorina, Ehrlich, and Pataki), and three No Hopers (Graham, Gilmore, and Lynch).

Much is and will be written about the first three categories, the people who might stand a chance, however slim. But many of the Publicity Seekers and Job Hunters will, unfortunately, occupy our attention despite the fact that we might profitably ignore them if only we consider their motivation.

The largest group is made up of those who have no chance of winning but will benefit from the publicity that a presidential run, however quixotic, brings. Mike Huckabee’s career on cable TV gets a boost from being taken semi-seriously as a politician, and his campaign would double as a book tour. Rick Santorum, a former senator, and Ben Carson, a brain surgeon, have books to sell. John Bolton, a neoconservative intellectual, and Pete King, a congressman, would just like more attention.

The Job Hunters are almost as numerous. These people have better CVs than most of the self-publicists, but also no chance of winning. A presidential bid could remind people that they exist and might be worthy of a post in a new administration, or in a lobbying firm if the Republican candidate loses. 

When did electoral politics at the presidential level become like American Idol in which the chance of winning is realistically beyond reach, but a record deal sure would be nice?

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  • The problem the Republican Party has is that the base takes these people seriously. Fiorina may be a joke, but she polls well enough to make her seem plausible. Remember in 2012 how big a deal Herman Cain was for a while. Since Republicans devalue the job of governing, they think that anyone can be president. So I look forward to a ridiculous Republican nomination process.

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 12:02 PM  

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