Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Quiet Nutjob

I have no idea who will win the GOP nomination.  I don't think it will be Donald Trump, because I'm not sure he has hired the sort of people who know how to corral the most delegates during a caucus.  I'm not sure he has the people who know which rings to kiss in South Carolina.  He has obviously hit a nerve, but candidates like that rarely succeed simply by hitting a nerve.

Which brings me to the guy who has come to scare me the most of all the potential GOP nominees: Ben Carson.

First off, let's eliminate the various Beltway Darlings.  Jeb! isn't doing jackshit.  He's lackluster, he's soft of character and soft of mind.  He's fading like, well, Scott Walker.  I had Walker pegged as the Dark Horse favorite, but he's simply so damned stupid and uncharismatic, he doesn't stand a chance.  John Kasich is just a new way to spell John Huntsman.

That leaves a few possible outcomes that take down Trump:

1) Bush or Walker experience a renaissance.  They rise from the dead like McCain in 2008.

2) Rubio breaks through.  Probably the most likely scenario, providing the alleged skeletons in his closet don't come out.

3) Fiorina somehow makes a race of it.  Perfect!  Mitt Romney without the charisma or record of public service.

4) Carson rides his momentum out of a strong Iowa showing to vault himself into the "Not Trump" candidate.

Carson has a lot of support amongst evangelicals.  He's a Bible Thumper through and through.  When Chuck Todd asked him if the Bible had supremacy over the Constitution, Carson couldn't answer.  His policy positions are lunatic.

But Trump is demonstrating something very important: the GOP electorate is sick and tired of GOP politicians.  After decades of GOP elites motivating the rubes to vote against abortion and the gays and so on, those rubes have noticed that no matter who they send to DC, those people wind up voting down tax rates for the rich while failing to end abortion, gay rights and on and on.  In fact, Trump supporters actually LIKE that Trump denigrates Wall Street.

But Trump is a suppurating asshole.  His act cannot help but wear thin.

Carson, on the other hand, speaks in the calm, measured tones of a surgeon talking to a patient before she goes under the knife.  The words themselves are bonkers, just like the rest of the GOP.  But he's so smooth in delivering them, he comes across as more reasonable than he is.  Plus, he has the single most inspirational life story of any candidate.  He's handsome, accomplished and not a complete overbearing dick.  And he is not a creature of Washington DC.  Additionally, he would allow all those Republicans who want to deny services to "those people" a chance to demonstrate that, "See, we really AREN'T racists.  We voted for the black guy."

He has some of the same liabilities as Trump.  When you actually unpack his policy statements, they don't make sense.  He has no experience running a campaign.  He will make gaffes, and unlike Trump, I'm not sure he has the temperament to bull his way through them.

But Carson is kind of a scary candidate, if you're looking at him from the point of view of the Democratic Party.  They would be wise to take him seriously.

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