Hey, GOP presidential candidates, just asking: "What makes any of you think you're remotely qualified to be the leader of the Free World?"
Howie wrote earlier today about the, er, "qualifications" of GOP "presidential candidate" Carly Fiorina -- as well as those of GOP "presidential front-runner" Donald Trump. So I couldn't help but throw in yesterday's Doonesbury.
DOONESBURY by G. B. Trudeau
[Click to enlarge.]
But in my own mind, I can't shake the question Mike D hears the mythical moderator ask the three "amateur" candidates: "What makes any of you think you're remotely qualified to be the leader of the Free World?" Except that, again in my mind, the same question applies to the entire field of 60 or so (however many there are -- it sure feels like 60) GOP presidential candidates. There is, in addition, the issue of their being uniformly such horrible people, but forget that for a moment and focus just on "qualifications."
I mean, is The Donald really "less qualified" than aberrant life forms like Scott Walker or Jeb! Bush or Rick Perry or Rafael "Ted from Alberta" Cruz? In what way(s), exactly? Surely no one is going to advance their "government experience"? Isn't their "government experience" the first reason why they should not only be kept as far as possible from government service but, ideally, set adrift on an ice floe on a frigid sea or ocean somewhere? You know, while there still are ice floes and frigid seas or oceans somewhere?
I still can't help thinking that there's some generally hidden but tangible benefit to setting oneself up as a GOP presidential candidate, like a generous discount plan for national-chain movie-theater admissions or parking garages. Maybe a four-year free subscription to National Review or The American Spectator? Big price breaks on slasher porn, or under-age escorts of the gender of your choice?
Once upon a time there might be a logic to a long-odds candidacy for someone who stood to gain in name recognition for some future political candidacy, or some future job opportunity? But for these people, what future political candidacy could they be thinking of, or what future job opportunity? They can't all be taken on as paid Fox Noisemakers, can they? And a lot of these people, like Rick Perry or Booby Jindal, who can barely put a single sentence together, let along string together two or three.
LET'S ALL SALUTE "COLONEL" GRAHAM
What's more, it's not as if there's no cost to mounting such a campaign. And I'm not even thinking about the cost in dollar terms, since that's a matter of tapping into the overflowing pockets of right-wing profiteers with more money than they know what to do with. No, I'm thinking more in terms of the price of exposure.
Take SC Sen. Lindsey Graham, for instance. To politically aware Americans he is at least reasonably well known, but of the people who are aware of him, how many have ever thought, "You know, that Lindsey would make a heckuva president"? He certainly doesn't have many fans among the fabled mouth-breathing "GOP base," and to the rest of the U.S. electorate he is, I suspect, totally unknown. He can't possibly believe he has any shot at winning the nomination, can he? So beyond some kind of vanity thing, I just can't imagine What Makes Lindsey Run. And the fact is that by doing so, he has opened himself to a measure of scrutiny he might well have gone the rest of his career in public office without incurring.
My case in point being what struck me as a fairly devastating report by the Washington Post's Craig Whitlock on the "military career" of "Colonel" Graham, "Sen. Graham moved up in Air Force Reserve ranks despite light duties." To a normal human being, the story would likely be profoundly humiliating, so you'd like to think that even to Senator Lindsey it would be at least embarrassing, and it's embarrassment he probably wouldn't have had occasion to suffer if he hadn't presented himself as a "presidential candidate."
But now that it's out there, it's something we probably ought to take a closer look at, given the senator's pretense to some kind of special "national security" credentials. Maybe tomorrow.