You know that things are not going well for the Republican Party when the Koch brothers – scions of an uber-wealthy family – declare they are disappointed with the current crop of potential nominees. Given that it is claimed that they are prepared to spend $250 million to buy, er, I mean, support, the eventual nominee (if they find him or her remotely acceptable), that is a significant condemnation. To put that in perspective, that is ¼ of the total amount spent by the Romney campaign (plus various Super PACs) in 2012.
That is a lot of dough. While Donald Trump would be able to match that all by himself, it would be a significant amount even for the Donald to make up. Besides he’s now on second place after leading the race for months. And one really doubts that he is the guy the Kochs are looking at.
So why are there still 15 or so (depending on who you count) people still vying for the nomination? Surely some of them most have come to the same conclusion as Rick Perry – that there is no chance they will be the eventual nominee, or even the VP, let alone hold a Cabinet post where you actually have to have a certain amount of talent. Did someone say Donald Rumsfield? I stand corrected. Maybe they do have a chance.
The leading candidate this month is Ben Carson. Really? People like the rag to riches story – a right wing black man who rose from a poor family to become a neurosurgeon and you can’t blame them. He’s the kind of black man that white republicans can support. He has all the right stereotypes – he loves Jesus and he doesn’t seem too bright or too concerned with the other members of his race. And he’d be the perfect guy to be in charge of the nuclear football. After all, a guy who can cut into people’s brains without blinking would have no trouble pressing the big red button and ending the world.
But don’t be too worried – Ben Carson is not the type the Koch’s will support either. And, mark my words; neither he nor The Donald will be on the final ballot. Unless they run together as a third party – now that would be interesting!
So who are the serious candidates? Jeb Bush is serious, even if no one currently takes him seriously. He has largely flubbed his campaign so far but Mitt Romney had his problems too and still recovered. Jeb does have history on his side as America increasingly turns toward family dynasties to rule its… oh right, I guess as a Canadian whose country just elected the son of a former PM, I can’t point too many fingers.
Of the rest, Mark Rubio seems the likely mainstream candidate right now. He’s Hispanic but not too much so and he’s young, well-spoken and not too extreme – though probably extreme enough for most Republicans. He could probably get elected if he chooses a rational far right running mate, people who can’t win the nomination themselves but represent a significant block (good luck finding that: Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are far enough right but rational – I remain to be convinced). Still I wouldn’t count out Chris Christie and (maybe) John Kasich either.
As for the rest (all polling consistently below 5%), I suspect they are just in it for the speaking fees – you can command a lot more money on the rubber chicken circuit as a former Presidential candidate than whatever you were doing before.
And that’s ten minutes.