Monday, December 28, 2015

Who Will Be Top Dog In The Republican Party's Establishment Lane-- And Does It Matter?


Rubio's specialty has always been stabbing his mentors in the back

Except maybe Huckabee, Santorum and, of course, Herr Trump, everyone knows Ted Cruz is going to win among the tiny number of right-wing fanatics in Iowa that are collectively referred to as the Iowa Republican caucuses. And if Cruz comes in first and Trumpf second, it may not even matter much who comes in third-- and that could still be Dr. Ben. The real contest for the Republican Party establishment lane will be the following week, February 9, at the New Hampshire primary. The latest polling from CBS still shows Trumpf way ahead there:
Trumpf- 32%
Cruz- 14%
Rubio- 13%
Christie- 11%
Kasich- 8%
the poor Jebster- 6%
New Hampshire lets anyone vote so at least Trumpf won't have to contend with his fans being prevented by the GOP from casting ballots, the way the Virginia Republican Party is doing it. Yesterday Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the right-wing Union Leader, in a front page editorial, bashed Herr Trumpf for his "public descent into bathroom humor and verbal bullying" and predicted he would lose the NH primary. He sees Herr as Hillary Clinton's ticket to the White House. "Trump has shown himself to be a crude blowhard with no clear political philosophy and no deeper understanding of the important and serious role of President of the United States than one of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowds. He reminds us of the grownup bully 'Biff' in the Back to the Future movie series. Lo and behold, the screenwriter says that he based Biff on Trump. On Feb. 9, we trust New Hampshire Republicans will send 'Biff Trump' back to somewhere-- anywhere but on the road to the most important elective office in the United States at a most crucial time for this nation."

Predictably, Herr took the the airwaves to try to dehumanize McQuaid for opposing him. Today he was on WMUR saying "He’s a real lowlife, there’s no question about it... He’s a very dishonest man." And he blames... Chris Christie. Lucky for Herr he's cultivated the lowest-info segment of the American electorate. They don't care. They're just angry and ready for revenge.

But the real race in New Hampshire is to see which of the establishment candidates survives. Just as Huckabee and Santorum are likely to drop out after they lose in Iowa, the New Hampshire primary is likely to winnow the more establishmentarian lane. At some point candidates like Christie, Jeb and Kasich have to wonder if there's a pathway to anything for them aside from ridicule.

Right now, though, the three of them plus Rubio are all basically ignoring the frontrunners and savaging each other for the right to be named the establishment or "relatively mainstream" candidate. Christie knows it's all over if he can't make something happen in New Hampshire, so he's been turning more and more vicious in recent days, particularly towards Rubio. The Christie, Rubio, Jebster and Kasich SuperPACs have crowded the airwaves with ineffective TV and radio ads, which seem to just make voters dislike the candidates even more. You don't hear Reince Priebus bragging about the GOP's "deep bench" anymore... and even "clown car," seems to benign a term.

Most of the GOP establishment billionaires-- as opposed to the psycho, non-establishment billionaires behind Cruz-- who have already committed have gravitated from poor Jeb to Rubio. But if Rubio doesn't look like he's made an impression in New Hampshire with at least a second place finish, that could dissipate. If Trumpf and Cruz beat him, things start looking shakier, unless someone is foolish enough to think Trey Gowdy's support is going to help him win South Carolina February 20.

"Marco," Cruz crowed, "is perceived by many to be the most formidable candidate in the moderate lane. But he has serious competition in the moderate lane. Look, the winner of the moderate lane has to win New Hampshire. And at this point it is not clear to me who will win."

Unless the establishment candidates coalesce around one candidate, it will soon be too late to stop Cruz (or if you still see Herr as a contender, him too). But, they won't coalesce around any one candidate because they all labor delusions of grandeur and have persuaded themselves that New Hampshire will turn everything around for them. If the Jersey pig-man, for example, were to drop out today and endorse Rubio and stay up there and campaign for him... it could work. But if you think the Jersey pig-man cares about anyone or anything other than the Jersey pig-man, well, then you don't know squat about the Jersey pig-man. Instead pig-man is tearing Rubio down the same way the poor Jebster is.

And Rubio has his own unique problems. Billionaire sugar-daddies seem to like him a lot more than anyone else does. As Digby explained at her blog Sunday, "He is very robotic and without any sense of spontaneity. What made all the GOP professionals and extremely rich billionaires think guys like Perry, Walker, Rubio, Bush and Christie were such dreamboat candidates? I assumed they had to be fairly good from what the TV gasbags all said about them. But once you see them in action yourself you really have to wonder what in the world they were thinking. Sure, they may look good on paper. But they are actually all so... bad." She quoted a reporter who spent 20 minutes listening to him and came to the conclusion that Rubio has all the charm of "a computer algorithm designed to cover talking points. He said a lot but at the same time said nothing. It was like someone wound him up, pointed him toward the doors and pushed 'Play.' If there was a human side to the senator, a soul, it didn't come across."

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, a far better speaking to begin with, has been working hard to persuade Republican voters that he has a human side and a soul. It may be working; the objects, remember, are... Republicans.

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At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Primary on both sides has become the equivalent of watching a horrific accident happen in slow motion while you know there is nothing you can do to prevent it. You just hope that the minutia of tolerances provides just enough of a margin that the right outcome happens.


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