Tuesday, September 22, 2015

If only ...

With the very likely prospect of being reduced to the second tier of candidates, Scott Walker quits the Presidential race.  This was the guy the conservative media was fawning over earlier this year and at one time led in the polls, at least in Iowa.  It seems his problems go beyond suggesting a wall be built between the US and Canada.  His campaign began drying up earlier this summer, and he is strapped for cash like Rick Perry, unable to keep his campaign going.  What these GOP candidates are learning the hard way is that it is not enough to have a Super PAC in your corner.  You have to get out and stir up individual contributions and Walker has virtually no "sex appeal" despite the efforts of pundits to make him sound like a political Adonis.

Walker cast his decision to drop out of the race as an act of "selfless sacrifice," urging other candidates to do so in an effort to defeat Trump.  The basic problem is that the anti-establishment Republicans, which Walker was hoping to appeal to, have consolidated around Trump, Fiorina and Carson.  The three command about 50 per cent of the GOP electorate, leaving the other half of the vote to be divided up among 12-13 "Establishment" candidates.  You really can't count Jim Gilmore, who has yet to even register in any polls.   Walker had dipped to a miserable one percent.

The highest polling Establishment candidate is now Marco Rubio, who scored 11 per cent in a CNN poll, not far behind a slumping Ben Carson.  The new "It" candidate is Carly Fiorina, who for some reason viewers saw as the "winner" of the latest debate, and vaulted ahead of Dr. Ben.  Not bad for a candidate who started in the second tier, and barely squeezed into the CNN prime time debate.  Trump still holds the commanding share, but his numbers slipped as well.  This is shaping up to be a repeat of 2012 where Republican voters pick a new flavor each month.  Jeb lurks in the distance at 9 per cent.  Is he the candidate Scott Walker hopes the other candidates will rally around to defeat Trump?

My guess is Kasich, who Walker silently is hoping will rise to the top, but Kasich isn't faring very well either at 2 per cent.  His campaign has similarly failed to take hold, although on paper he would appear to be the best option the Republicans have.  Here is a fairly popular Ohio governor (a crucial electoral state) with slightly more moderate views than his opponents, and has the potential to win cross-over voters.  He actually supported the expansion of Medicaid in his state.  But, Governor Kasich also has almost no "sex appeal."  What is it with these Midwest governors?

Marco Rubio is an accident waiting to happen.  You expect him to pause for a water break at any moment.  Apparently, he had a pretty good debate, and got quite a boost.  Not as much as Carly, but enough to vault him past Jeb.  I suppose there is still a freshness to Rubio that some find appealing, but his positions are all over the place and he hasn't exactly distinguished himself with his rhetorical skills.  Mostly, I think he has yet to register on Trump's radar screen and has managed to avoid the barbs that have stung the other candidates.  Rand Paul took quite a few Trump stings at the latest debate, and finds himself sitting near the bottom of the polls with 4 per cent.

I don't know how these candidates get past Trump.  It seems he has to self-destruct at this point, which remains a very real possibility.  Fiorina is this year's Michelle Bachman, so you can expect her meteoric rise to flame out pretty quickly, especially now that her record at Hewlett Packard is coming to light.  Her surge seems largely predicated on her position on Planned Parenthood, which has become an all too convenient foil for Republicans this election cycle.  She also seems impervious to Trump's barbs.  Maybe the others should ask what she is using as a repellent?

Anyway, Scott Walker will be quickly forgotten except for the poor folks in Wisconsin, which will have to endure him until 2018, unless they mount another recall vote.  Fortunately, he has Lake Superior between him and Canada, but maybe he can build a wall between Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I heard they have a liberal Democratic governor there that has become very popular.  You don't want those socialist policies spilling over into the Badger State, especially after Walker's great effort to strip workers' rights in the state.  You go, Scott!

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