Election 2016

"The GOP's Long Love Affair With Schmucks"

From Sarah Palin to Donald Trump to Ben Carson, Republicans Just Can't Get Enough of obviously unqualified presidential contenders.

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As the silly season of Election 2016 starts cranking up, nothing is sillier and more pathetic than the quadrennial dance of Republicans with manifestly unqualified candidates vying for the party's presidential nomination.

In the past, folks such as Herman Cain, whose resume boasts management stints at two of the rottenest fast-food chains world history, and Alan Keyes, a junior varsity ambassador to the very United Nations that conservative Republicans love to hate, have soaked up the spotlight in ways that boggle the mind. Does anyone else remember the brief 2004 boomlet around Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose year in office as California's governor hadn't yet revealed what an awful, awful leader he was? At the time, his only qualification for president was threatening to shove Arianna Huffington's head in a toilet and yet some Republicans floated the idea of changing the Constitution to let the Austrian Oak occupy the White House.

In a new Daily Beast column, I survey the current crop of fake candidates who are captivating Republican events and news media. Sarah Palin, who quit being a governor after about two-and-a-half years, is "done," according to hard-core conservatives. The word-salad speech she gave at the recent "Iowa Freedom Summit" turned off the last Mama Grizzlyites. But there's still Donald Trump (who spoke at the Iowa event and is a fixture on Fox News) and Ben Carson in the mix. From my piece:

While the GOP struggles to crack double digits in terms of votes from African Americans, the party's overwhelmingly white members seem to have an unending appetite for high-profile, successful black men whose very presence on a debate stage softens charges of hostility and indifference to issues about race. This helps explain whyThe Weekly Standard is officially "Taking Ben Carson Seriously," as Fred Barnes' recent cover story puts it.

Even as sycophantic and try-hard a journalist as Fred Barnes admits that Carson has absolutely zero qualifications for and no shot at becoming the Republican nominee. At best, the retired brain surgeon might make a possible Surgeon General (of course, a Republican administration truly devoted to shrinking the size, scope, and spending of government would eliminate such a useless position). But Barnes is game to make the case for Carson, employing what George W. Bush once famously chided as the "soft bigotry of low expectations." Carson, after all, "has substantial name identification," avers Barnes. "He can raise money. His poverty-to-prominence story is compelling. He has a grassroots following. He is fluent on national issues."

And, perhaps most important, notes Barnes, Ricky Skaggs thinks highly of Carson: "You ask him a question and he knows how to answer." Finally, a candidate who knows how to answer.

As it happens, the GOP has a deep field of candidates who are serious and plausible if not preferable. I don't agree fully with any of them (though Rand Paul is by far the most-libertarian politician currently serving in the Senate) but the longer Republicans and conservatives jerk around with candidates who are slightly less funny jokes than Pat Paulsen ever was, the more likely they are to lose in 2016.

If history is any guide, Republicans will prevaricate as long as possible and make goo-goo eyes at candidates who have no meaningful experience and no real shot at winning the presidency. That's their right. It's a free country after all. But the longer they wait to get serious about vetting their party's candidates for president, the more they will lose support among the independent voters who will decide the 2016 election. And if they lose them, they will only have themselves to blame, regardless of who the Democrats put up to run.

Read the full article here.

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  1. Given their dislike of ‘elites’ which is in some part a healthy distrust of know it all technocrats this is a bit understandable. The problem is that rejecting technocrats doesn’t necessarily mean embracing simplistic messages or mind sets.

    1. Sometimes, I want know-it-all technocrats. I’m fond of nuclear power, but the idea of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission being run in a manner similar to the local school board shrinks my nut-sac.

      1. What should shrink your “nut-sac” is the idea of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission, period: along with the incompetent job at actually regulating nuclear energy to make you safer, they are doing a very competent job in terms of funneling money to industry and exempting industry from liability.

        We’d be far better off without a commission but instead legal liability that has teeth.

    2. They don’t reject technocrats. They’re pushing Jeb Bush, for Christ’s sake. They just want THEIR technocrats.

      1. Um no actually. The people pushing Jeb are not the people pushing for Ben Carson.

    3. What does “simplistic” mean? Does it seek to imply that complexity is (somehow) a criterion of truth and knowledge?

      Oh I won’t make you get into a discussion of epistemology (in which you would embarrass yourself), we’ll just leave it at the fact that “simplistic” is a bromide parroted by pretentious dullards like yourself to make yourself sound enlightened.

    4. The “Conservative Base” is obsessed with competence and intelligence. They believe Obama was just incompetent – he was not, he has been a ruthlessly effective ideologue and demagogue.

      So conservatives want a candidate who is “smart” and “reads books and stuff”. They are looking for someone who “can talk”, who can beat Obama in a debate, deliver a conservative message and look good doing it.

      So they end up enamored with these motivational speaker types they know from tv; Trump as symbol of business management leadership, Carson confronting Obama on healthcare, slick Harvard lawyer Cruz, senior citizen’s favorite tv host Huckabee, etc.

  2. So, aside from irredeemable disregard for human agency, what exactly are the necessary qualifications to be POTUS?

    1. Whatever Nick the One True Libertarian arbitrarily decides they are.

      1. Glad to see that tired line is multi purpose.

      2. Nick the One True Libertarian arbitrarily decides they are.

        We had a thaw here in Idaho today which is, of course, more proof of a libertarian moment.

    2. You have to be black.

      1. Unless you are a Republican.

        1. There’s no such thing as a black Republican.

          1. They can be black on the outside.

    3. First, separate all prior presidents into “competent” and “incompetent” in terms of exercising their constitutional duties. Then determine what experience, skills and temperament made the competent ones successful. The present incumbent dramatizes what one gets when he or she has no demonstrated abilities to handle the office.

      1. By that standard, how many competent presidents have we had in US history? One, if that?

      2. Column One: George Washington, William Henry Harrison.

        Experience and skills: Leading a ragtag gang of plucky ruffians and driving out the British tyrants and their Hessian bully boys.
        Dying 30 days into the his presidency.

        Column two: all the rest of those bastards.

        1. Gerald Ford wasn’t bad…

        2. What about Calvin “cool cat” Coolidge?

          1. The guy who poisoned industrial alcohol and killed off thousands of people as a result?

            1. How about Andy “trail of tears” Jackson?

  3. Of course I agree that they like to include some idiots in their elections, but how is that one iota different from their compatriots in TEAM BE RULED? I mean, come on, the current president and vice president aren’t total jokes? What fucking planet is this again?

    If Carson has zero qualifications, how much more so did Obama? In fact, given his resume right now, he’s even less qualified than he was when he took office.

    1. I can disagree with nearly everything Obama decided but say that he comes off better than Cain, Trump or Palin.

      Carson, I don’t know much of frankly, but what I have seen doesn’t suggest he’s the ‘character’ the others are. I mean, his profession is synonymous with being highly intelligent (‘it doesn’t take a brain surgeon…’)

      1. In the end, all that matters is that we put competent and at least somewhat ethical people in office. They can have wacky personalities all day if they have those characteristics.

        Of course, I personally would like candidates dedicated to limited government, free markets, and individual freedom tossed into competent, and I also personally insist on fully ethical when I vote. Caesar’s wife, you know.

        1. Uncontrollably wacky often comes with questions of competence.

          1. Who said anything about ‘uncontrollably’ wacky?

            1. Cain, Trump etc are just wacky.

          2. Let me ask you a question. How are you defining “competence”? Because, it strikes me that, in the context of a candidate being “serious and plausible”, that translates as political (as opposed to policy) competence. I think a broad distaste with the fruits of such competence is precisely why so many people are willing to look at whacky personalities.

        2. Willingness and desire to be the President would seem to preclude possibility of being ethical.

          1. Yes, well, who can argue with that? I will say that maybe a couple of people might run on ethical principles–you know, to fix things–but they are a rare, rare breed. Who, incidentally, never get elected.

      2. He does? Why?

      3. his profession is synonymous with being highly intelligent (‘it doesn’t take a brain surgeon…’)

        That quote has always puzzled me, because neurosurgery is far from being among the most intellectually demanding specialties in medicine. I suppose people think there’s some super-intelligence because the word ‘brain’ is involved. In reality, neurosurgery is much more about having talented, steady hands than being a genius.

        At least when I went to medical school in the 1980s, the top students all went into ophthalmology — but I guess “it doesn’t take an eye doctor to…” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

        Interestingly enough, of course, Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist.

      4. I can disagree with nearly everything Obama decided but say that he comes off better than Cain, Trump or Palin.

        As a candidate, yes. If any of those people were magically whisked into the presidency, they’d be better than Obama by a mile. Well, Trump’s a wild card.

        1. “Well, Trump’s a wild card.”

          You spelled retarded dickhead wrong.

    2. TEAM BE RULED (an anagram of BLUE RED) is both Democrats and Republicans, so these candidates are also part of that TEAM.

      1. Of course. That was my point. They’re so not different, especially when in office.

    3. The current administration is quite competent at being corrupt crony capitalists; look at the trillions they have managed to funnel to banks, car companies, and the healthcare industry.

  4. I didn’t think I’d be saying anything nice about Carson, but I should think being a brain surgeon beats being a community organizer, one-term Senator, and autobiography author.

    1. Democrats are always going on about how brainy their candidates are. Can we think of *any* President with a brain quite like Dr. Carson’s?

      The only one I can think of is Jefferson, but he was more of a Renaissance man, not someone who focused on, and mastered, a subject in depth.

      Wikipedia says – “In 1987 Carson successfully separated conjoined twins, the Binder twins, who had been joined at the back of the head, making them craniopagus twins. The 70-member surgical team, led by Carson, worked for 22 hours. At the end, the twins were separated, both survived.”

      But tell us again about the intellectual powerhouses in the Democratic Party.

      1. “Can we think of *any* President with a brain quite like Dr. Carson’s?”

        I accidentally made a sort of joke.

      2. Jimmy Carter legitimately had engineering smarts, which were absolutely necessary to be part of Rickover’s sub program. He just didn’t have the hardheaded common sense you need to be able to handle rough and tumble international geopolitics.

        1. He’s always seemed like an incredibly naive man to me.

        2. In what sense. In spite of all the crowing about Reagan, it was Carter who really got the whole Afghanistan thing going and he also had Contras. He just didn’t jump in with both feet. Of course to me those are mistakes for both Carter and Reagan,

          He also appointed Paul Volcker who really was the one responsible for ending inflation.

          Carter was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The problem is the media megaphone – way too much Jimmy was a dummy and Ronnie was a warrior king.

        3. Never trust an engineer with executive political power. Engineers will purely fall into the tendency to “do something!” They’re used to “mechanical” control over whatever systems they work in, the economy, or society, is no different. Hoover is portrayed as a do nothing president, but he was anything but.

          1. Computer engineers excepted. From my experience, they recognize how fucking hard it is to get glorified light switches to do what you want, let alone dynamic elements like a human being.

            1. Herman Cain, MS in Computer Science, Bachelor’s in Mathematics, and actually ran going concerns.

      3. I’ve worked with him several times in the past and I’ve seen him operate tirelessly for hours without a break and been present when he has calmly managed more than one near disaster everwhile being kind and respectful to those around him. Politics aside, those could be pretty handy character traits in the White House.

    2. I think Nick means he had no executive qualifications? Of course Obama had none either.

      Brain surgeons are synonymous with being highly skilled and intelligent but that’s not necessarily proof they’d be a good executive leader.

      1. Yes, but look at what else *isn’* evidence of being a good executive leader:

        -largely writing the Bill of Rights (Madison)

        -being a professional diplomat (Buchanan)

        -Being a professor and President of a university (Wilson)

        -Wrecking a submarine (JFK)

        -Working on a nuclear sub (Carter)

        1. You forgot

          -Having polio

          1. Going up a hill and going down again (TR)

            1. I forgot engineer (Hoover).

              Sorry, H&R guys.

        2. I doubt it’s a matter of what isn’t a qualification but what is.

        3. JFK lost his PT boat, not a sub, when his posted lookouts failed to detect a Jap destroyer bearing down on them in the dark. It was never clear to me how a highly maneuverable PT boat could be jumped so successfully unless the captain and crew was derelict.

          1. Oops, I stand corrected.

          2. PT boats are very low and bobbing around, making it very hard to actually look for things. The engines, even idling away at low speed to reduce the wake, make hearing anything impossible.

            PT boats that early on did not all have radar. I think it was usually one in three or four, with the radar boat supposedly leading the others. But it was very easy to get separated.

            Destroyers aren’t big ships, but the lookouts are higher up on a more stable platform and have binoculars, and even a slow moving PT boat leaves some wake to see.

            1. they are also not that maneuverable either, they draw so little water that if you do try and turn them sharply the boat will heel over. Also if there is no/little moon it is pretty much impossible to see shit in open water.

              1. This^ I spent hours on the small arms combat team standing watch for pirates or small boat attack, without a NV scope you couldnt see your hand in front of your face on a dark night let alone a ship miles away (horizon at sea is Appx. 25 Nm)
                I actually spent an entire watch repairing my radar because it was more useful than me sitting on a gun mount and not seeing anything.

          3. You’d be surprised how suddenly a larger vessel could close in on you if you were doing amphibious operations at night with no lights and no sleep for a few days. When driving landing craft I had a few very close calls.

  5. Anybody who takes The Weekly Standard seriously is a walking argument against universal sufferage– Back in the day when Alan Keyes was his roomate, editor Bill Kristol’s first choice for President was Jimmy Carter.

    1. In 80 or 76? Because 76 doesn’t seem that awful.

  6. I, for one, look forward to all the non-racism sure to be heaped on Dr. Carson for daring to go against the grain.

    the independent voters who will decide the 2016 election.

    I agree with the overall thrust of what’s written here (the GOP primary is huckster city), but this bit is wrong, IMO. National politics at this point is about generating your base and getting moderates, not the unaffiliated, to vote for you. There’s a decent bit of overlap between the two, but they’re not the same thing.

  7. They hate Washington elite so they are enamored with anyone who isn’t. Then they remember they don’t actually vote the way they think.

  8. “Sarah Palin, who quit being a governor after about two-and-a-half years”

    And that’s better than being a Senator who quit mid-term (after serving as a state legislator and opposing a bill to protect infants who were born alive)?

    At least a governor has executive experience, which is relevant to being a President.

    1. Love how you work your hobby horse into the topic of general qualifications

      1. I didn’t know protection for infants born alive was so controversial. Most Democrats profess support for it.

        Ah, Bo, we keep trying to quit each other, but really how would we live without each other?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnK-EmZME3Q

        1. Ride that wooden steed, Eddie! Ride like the wind!

          1. That was probably meant as an insult, right? I had to guess because I don’t understand it.

            1. Just add it to the list then.

              1. So, you want a job much of which involves communicating effectively, but if someone doesn’t get what you’re saying it’s *their* fault? Sure, you’ll go far.

                1. There’s always going to be some that don’t get a point. The retarded, for example.

                  1. And lawyers with two-digit I.Q.s.

                    1. Whatever Lennie.

                    2. Can I call you George?

                    3. No but you can call me Al

                    4. Artificial Intelligence?

                    5. Not a Paul Simon fan?

  9. Keyes is a professional talker, which one might *think* would be inadequate to get voter support, but history shows otherwise.

    “Herman Cain, whose resume boasts management stints at two of the rottenest fast-food chains world history”

    This a country which elected a failed haberdasher (Truman).

    1. Keyes comes off as a bit unhinged, even by people who might agree with him. That’s what Nicks talking about. I’m guessing for you unhinged in the defense of embryo life is no vice and all, but some of us might have a higher bar that perhaps there are people out there who can support our values AND not act unhinged

      1. Come on, Bo, you know that if one day I didn’t show up you’d miss me.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdXCUHk1pg8

        1. You’re always good for a laugh Eddie, and laughter is important.

          1. I’m glad you weren’t offended by the parallels I was drawing by linking to the video.

      2. Libertarians talking about people coming off a bit unhinged.

    2. Ans a failed actor?

    3. Yeah, Truman’s the example usually given for the proposition that anybody can become POTUS, and when you look at Truman, that’s scary! The guy was just very lucky & had a knack for political surfing, jumping from one base of support to another at just the right time, kissing ass all the way until he had to stab you in the back. Policy-wise, he was awful in a way that affected not only the USA but the rest of the world adversely for generations.

    4. Truman was also a successful artillery officer.

      1. And WWI veteran.

  10. Trump, of course is an egomaniac who spouts nonsense and whom you wouldn’t want to work for.

    Obviously the voters would never elect someone like *that*!

  11. The only qualification for president is believing in liberty. So neither party has put forward a qualified candidate in a very, very long time.

    1. That can’t be it. A fool who believes in liberty might be wrong about how to best promote or preserve it. Surely the bar can be set higher than that in this country.

    2. The only qualification for president is believing in liberty.

      (shudder) That would also fail as President of GM, a MUCH smaller organization.

      Might be nice to have a platform with a fucking plan and specific policies, ability to select skilled senior positions, convey his/her vision of a greater America. And executive management skills and/or talents. Know how to get elected without saying things as fucking dumb as Paln.

      1. The best plan is to dismantle the government bit by bit by dissolving the government enforced monopolies and turning things like Health care, personal security, and economics back over to the people.
        Spontaneous order is the only order, central planning is always a bunk philosophy.

    3. Well if Reagan is any indication, you only need to hit your mark and repeat the lines somebody else wrote for you and look “presidential”.

      1. Another useful idiot of the Progressive Theocracy.

        Reagan wrote and heavily edited many of his speeches. He was an eloquent writer even in his personal letters.

    4. That might be nice, but if you look around the world it’s too easy to find examples of leaders whose policy ideas were nice but had no clue how to get them across. Sometimes that resulted in the rejection not only of the leader but also of the ideas.

  12. Every election means picking the least stinky turd. It is good to keep that i n mind when pointing out how stinky one particular turd is.

    1. Or you know, vote for yourself….
      What would happen if the majority decided to just write their own name on the ballots.
      It says I feel that I am the best to manage MY existence, MY personal well being, and MY wallet

      1. I’ve done this multiple times. Even got my wife to write my name in once (or so she says). I’d be a great president.

      2. I almost won the position of tax assessor like that. I lost when drawing straws.

  13. So I found this somewhere on the interwebz. Seems reasonable.

    No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

    1. You left out the part about good hair.

      1. Post-WW2 presidents, good-hair variety: Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II
        bad-hair: truman, Eisenhower, Nixon (debatable), Ford
        fence-sitters: LBJ (his post-presidential hair was awesome, though), Bush I, Obama (a single bald spot would make him king of the bad hair)

        Conclusion: Good hair conveys a significant advantage in post-TV elections, though not nearly so much as having the broad, genuine smile of a closeted sociopath hiding in plain sight.

    2. See, this is the problem. Those are the MINIMUM requirements.

      1. Right. I don’t see the problem though.

        1. Why would you limit yourself or be excited about coming up with a candidate who merely meets the minimum requirements? This is taking a healthy distrust of technocracy and turning into a foolish form of anti-elitism.

          1. Hey don’t blame me. I didn’t write it. But I think the idea is to not limit the pool of candidates based on arbitrary qualifications like…birth status, to name one. You know, anything elitist.

          2. You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?

      2. At the time the requirements were written, this wasn’t quite as bad since the presidency and the fedgov as a whole hadn’t yet become the vast meddlesome nest of power-mad shitstains that they now are.

        The presidency has grown into an office that nobody is sufficiently competent or ethical to hold.

        1. Vote for Nobody then
          Nobody Listens!
          Nobody Cares!
          Nobody deserves to run the country!

          1. Nobody’s Perfect!

  14. I think it’s all a big joke and they’re just pretending to take certain candidates seriously. In the end they’re going to settle on Jeb Bush or Bob Dole again or some other useless dullard, so they just spend some time having a lark beforehand.

    1. Jeb Bush & Bob Dole were at least effective in the offices they held.

    2. I frequently sit on a screening committee for candidates for public office for the Conservative Party in the Bronx. Our task is to screen out those who are not “minimally qualified” for the party’s nomination. Although occasionally someone may fail that screen for ideologic reasons, it’s actually hard not to pass ideologically. Far more frequently a rejection is because the candidate is a doofus, doesn’t know why s/he wants to run, etc. Anybody can have the right opinions, but that’s not the same as the right stuff you need to do the job or even campaign for it.

      1. Like, I’d rather you demonstrate you have knowledge about an issue than that you come to conclusions that agree with me on it. The conclusions can always come later if you have the right tools.

        1. Also importantly, it’s easy enough to butter someone up or flatter them by assuming a certain posture. That’s not what I’m looking for, and not what the better members of the screening committee want either, so it’s best not to ask leading or conclusory questions. Too many people sit on screening committees to flog their hobby horse, telling the candidate & everyone else in the room how to vote on the issue, meanwhile giving no guidance on how to vote on the candidate!

  15. Elections are beauty pageants for ugly people with ugly souls. The idea that someone is qualified or unqualified to be president is particularly funny, though, in the same way that one might be “qualified” to serve as Dictator for a Day. The role of the office is too big by far for anyone to do it well, which means that the role of a good president today is to minimize the damage done by the people under him.

    Previous executive experience gave us Wilson, FDR, and Bush, among others. Faced with what executive “qualifications” have given us, namely some of the worst, most narcissistic presidents in history, we’d be better off with a slightly taller dwarf who’s spent his life selling shoes in the local strip mall, much less a surgeon or Senator.

    1. Sarah Palin … is “done,” according to hard-core conservatives.

      They’re the ones who attacked her most. Maybe that why she got a “thank you” from the DNC and praise from HuffPost and other liberal media.

      She got a standing ovation at the end, and several instances of very loud applause during her speech.

      The word-salad speech she gave at the recent “Iowa Freedom Summit” turned off the last Mama Grizzlyites

      She got a standing ovation. Perhaps they were ecstatic that she was finally done talking?

  16. In the end, all that matters is that we put competent and at least somewhat ethical people in office.

    You slay me.

    1. That’s all that matters to us. It’s not all that matters to politicians and the people they buy votes and financial support from.

      1. Why do (some) libertarians have a total disregard for … voters?

        1. The power of accurate observation.

        2. Because universal suffrage is a fucking stupid concept in action. In fact electing a ruler is a stupid concept, i give no man such legitimate control over my life and i reject the concept that just because most people went with chocolate i have to eat it too.

          Yes i am an Anarchist, because if we were left to our own devices as a society we couldn’t possibly fuck things up as hard as government does.

  17. Speaking of J Carter’s “naivete”: his real problem seemed to be a foolish delusion that politics is about getting results, on the ground. As a governor, he could get away with it. In the Oval Office, he was doomed.

  18. The GOP is still stuck in a time warp where religious conservatives owned the platform. Either you talked the talk, or you walked the walk of pious infringements on your sleeve. They might kick-start a candidates’ campaign, but they rarely (W.Bush) meet you at the finish line.
    They just can’t seem to comprehend what motivates the young voter. Those cute debasing one liners that encased potential candidates to eternal pun-dom , does not cut it with this tech savvy group. If that’s all they really wanted from a candidate, they could easily elect a thousand or so twitter all-time favorite posts. The wrath of holier-
    -than-thou politicking is obnoxious, irrelevant and always self-serving, which is why their election platter remains eternally empty of substance.

  19. They just can’t seem to comprehend what motivates the young voter

    It ain’t extreme social conservatism.

    1. Getting Polled by reason

  20. Frankly, it’s hard not to chuckle a bit at this when you consider that it’s coming from a guy who voted for Obama because he seriously believed Obama would improve race relations in America.

    1. !?!?!?!?!?!?!?

      Nick did WHAT?

    2. I thought the ballot was secret, so how do you know who Nick voted for? Oh, I bet you’re a mind reader, well in that case, what am I thinking right now?

    3. This was Nick’s answer to the question of who he was voting for in 08:

      “I am not sure that I’ll cast a ballot for president but if I do, I’ll vote for Bob Barr. He’s the closest to my beliefs and I think it’s important to show that third parties have some support and influence in general elections.”

  21. Yes, the GOP has to endure sideshow candidates of dubious qualification for office. In the other camp it’s the main tent candidates who are of dubious qualification for office. La Clinton? Senator Tiger Lily? Having won with ballyhoo the last two cycles Democrats are counting on it again in 2016, no serious candidates need apply.

    1. Senator Tiger Lily?

      I thought it was Senator Feauxcahontas?

      1. I like ‘Liarwatha’.

  22. This is one of the benefits of a Westminster-style system: There is a place for honest schmucks in electoral politics, without nearly as much fear that they will rise to a position of genuine power.

    The impulse to elect an honest schmuck over a dishonest genius can be satisfied by electing the honest schmuck to be your local Member of Parliament.

    That schmuck, being honest, will do a fine job representing their local constituents but, being incompetent, will have virtually zero chance of ever climbing the greasy pole to become Prime Minister.

    Being honest, this lack of advancement will be fine with them, because their primary concern is with serving their constituents (and receiving a nice six-figure salary for doing so).

    One of the downsides of the American separation of powers is that it gives schmucks too many opportunities to reach beyond their grasp.

  23. FTA:

    If you want to be president but can’t be bothered to actually learn how to govern, well good luck with that.

    I thought the article was about the Republicans, not Obama.

  24. So Ben Carson is a schmuck? I know nothing about the man other than the fact that he is a successful neurosurgeon. That means he has at least one useful skill, which puts him ahead of Hillary, Liz Warren, Joe Biden, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and a host of other potential presidential candidates. It also puts him way ahead of our current two-term president whose only skill is undermining liberty 24/7.

    1. Are you seriously, putting a neurosurgeon above a community organizer? Don’t you want to be cool like nick?

  25. Funny thing is, from a political track record and stance on the issues, Palin is pretty dang close to being a conservative Libertarian. She certainly has been anti-Establishment and tackled crony capitalism and corruption in Alaska. Near as I can figure, people don’t like her because of her accent and they bought into the Tina Fey impression of Palin via a constant barrage of anti-Palin coverage that has continued unabated for the last 6 years…

    1. Palin’s dealings with oil companies in Alaska would make Chavez proud.

  26. This is by far the stupidest article I’ve ever seen on Reason. It’s actually stupid enough to be on Salon.

    1. Someone hasn’t read the Richman article. Or any Richman article.

      1. Seriously, that fucking guy needs to just stop.

  27. As it happens, the GOP has a deep field of candidates who are serious and plausible…

    But, I think that gets to the root of the problem. The “serious and plausible” candidates of both parties, by and large, suck ass. What’s more, they seem to suck ass in pretty much the same fundamental ways. In addition, they not only don’t know that they suck ass, they treat anyone suggesting that we refrain from sucking ass like they just took a crap in the punchbowl.

  28. Sadly, you make a good point. That being said, at least the GOP schmucks have been successful at something in their lives that didn’t involve government bureaucracy. Look at the incompetent in the White House who had less leadership experience when he was elected than a McD’s swing manager. Then you look at the smartest woman in the world, heir apparent for the DNC Hillary Clinton, and ask if there is any single thing in her career that didn’t end in a flaming pile of excrement. Her resume is full of nothing but failure at all the jobs she was handed because of her one good decision in her career record, marrying Bill Clinton.

    1. I’m a big believer in success. Not political success, but success elsewhere actually accomplishing something. As opposed to personal, climb your way up the ladder, but produce nothing type of success. Hilary is that, as you point out. Success shows you have some ability to make good decisions. Leaders need that.

      Other than dot-com billionaires, who are the exception to the rule, it is tough to actually be successful consistently without having something going for you.

  29. To eliminate the position of surgeon general, you’d have to reorganize DHHS to eliminate the Public Health Service as a separate entity within it. Looking at their structure now, it seems you could easily do this by putting it all directly under the Ass’t Sec’y of Health. I wonder why they didn’t do that years ago.

  30. “…struggles to crack double digits in terms of votes from African Americans…”

    Reliably at about 95%, election after election….local…state….federal…it makes no difference…Americans with ties to Africa will vote just as hard core leftist as they possibly can.

    If you’re a Marxist, socialist or communist, you’re going to get, easily, the vast majority of the African vote.

    That’s not opinion. That is fact.

    1. I wasn’t aware that CPUSA got 90% of the black vote in the last election. Or ever.

      1. Would you like to make the case that Africans in America do not vote CPUSA because they believe them to be too far left?

        Africans in America are not what you’d call a freedom and liberty bunch.

        Not by a long shot.

        1. Do you have a pathological aversion to saying “black people” or is it just some weird verbal tick to use bizarre language when referring to them?

          1. I’ve no aversion at all. The folks I refer to prefer to highlight their association with the continent known as “Africa” firstly.

            What could you possibly find wrong with that? That I only follow their lead is a problem?

            1. Who are you talking about? I didn’t know Al Sharpton constituted a voting block unto himself.

              1. You didn’t?

                Pay attention!

  31. We’ve had Obama and Bush, and we’re gonna act like these guys are somehow sub-par? Or below some standard we have set? These guys are somehow bigger schmucks than the status quo because why? The left decided it so?

  32. Sad that I’m late to this thread. Sadder still that John isn’t here. I want him to watch that monumentally ridiculous performance by Sarah Palin and still defend her as a political supergenius with a straight face.

    1. I think Sarah Palin would have attended the Paris Unity Rally and the Auschwitz event. She wouldn’t be chewing gum sitting next to someone important. Talk about disrespect.

      There’s no SarahPalinCare, right? CBO says deficits will go up by 2018 and per person healthcare cost will explode in the future. That 20% decrease in ACA cost is based on nebulous projection.

      I can honestly say Palin (unqualified to be president) would have grown the size of government a little less than Obama. That’s the best you can get out of GOP candidates.

  33. OK,

    Woodrow Wilson was a former, and not very good, college president who allowed his own appalling bigotry and Anglophilia to make him one of the worst Presidents in our history. The Progressives’ continuing pretense that he was some kind of Great Leader is one of their more pathetic obsessions.

    JFK was a second rate politician with good teeth and nice hair. He had a first rate political machine bought for him by his Daddy. Getting assassinated was his best career move, as it has largely prevented a realistic assessment of his mediocre administration.

    LBJ was a Texas ward heeler who drove himself out of office.

    Clinton was a third generation photocopy of JFK; kind of blurry about the edges. Like JFK he had an advanced case of “Can’t keep his pants on”. Unlike JFK he lacked the intelligence and class to keep it out of the papers. He is generally credited with the ’90’s prosperity, which he had little or nothing to do with, and excused for his foreign policy bungling.

    Obama lacks convincing credentials to be Town Dog Catcher in Muncie Indiana, much less President of the United States.

    Those are just the Democrat Schmucks who actually got elected.

    1. I’m still wondering whether Wilson was the definitive “true progressive” or a creature of the military industrial complex. Same for the Roosevelts and Johnston.

      1. Wilson was definetly a true progressive; racist, elitist, power hungry, egoist, arrogant, and given to believing his own press.

    2. At least JFK was going to Audit the Fed

  34. my best friend’s step-sister makes $70 hourly on the computer . She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her payment was $20578 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can look here……..

    http://www.Jobsyelp.com

  35. Seems like 60% of Nick Gillespie columns are basically politics according to the world’s greatest wine snob. Name a candidate that you think is qualified, Nick. I’ll show you a candidate who hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell. You can pretend you’re not in Rand Paul’s camp, but a President Rand would be far less likely to be a disaster than his father in the same office. BTW, I’d pick a five year veteran restaurant manager from the nearest McDonald’s over most of the current field of presidential candidates regardless of party. So what.

  36. Ben Carson is more qualified than the pizza delivery man, Ron Paul, and the parade of white bread LP candidates who won’t do well in blue states where white population (the Ron Paul crowd is even whiter than the GOP base) isn’t 90%. Trump isn’t revered by any serious conservative groups. Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president. Carson is somewhat pro gun control, but if he’s the nominee, the right will vote for him.

    The libertarians run a lot of ideologically pure candidates who can say whatever they want. If you can’t win, you can be pure as snow. If they win 35% and the swing voters turned off by dismantling min wage and cutting aid to Israel, their tune will change.

    Conservatives like black conservatives. Herman Cain was doing well in the polls before the sexual abuse allegation unraveled him.

  37. We might be “in love with schmucks”, but we don’t make them President like the Dems do.

  38. Not at all like Libertarians love for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, or a host of other people who often say crazy things.

  39. “folks such as Herman Cain, whose resume boasts management stints at two of the rottenest fast-food chains world history,”

    Puhleeze.

    Go see Herman Cain’s wikipedia page. About a jillion times more qualified than the Choomster in Charge.

    Can’t be the president without being part of the government elite, Nick? He was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. Not ruling class enough for you?

  40. Ben Carson would get a lot of the black vote.

    They will, when push comes to shove, vote for a black face over a white face. A lot of them will.

  41. I’d take any of the three mentioned in the sub-head over Gillespie, any of the REASON authors, or posters, as my leader any day.
    Libertarians are, in the realm of foreign policy, a suicide cult.

    1. Because aggression and destabilization of 3rd world nations is way better policy than minding our own damn business….
      Fuck off slaver

  42. C’mon, Nick! Not being qualified didn’t stop Obama from being elected.

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