Is the Republican Presidential Primary Wide Open?

The short answer is….NO.

While there may wind up being around two baseball teams worth of GOP presidential candidates, only three of them have much of a likelihood of facing Hillary:   Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, with John Kasich an additional upset possibility.   That is not just my opinion but also that of Larry Sabato, a moderate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, and Charles Krauthammer, the more well known conservative columnist.

In a piece in Politico, Sabato call’s it a “myth that the giant Republican field is unpredictable.” And then goes on to explain why.   In the Washington Post Krauthammer “handicaps” the field giving major candidates a percentage chance of winning, with the top three candidates mentioned above having a much greater chance than the others.  (Note the links above in case you want to read more).

Krauthammer gives Kasich only a 3% chance, but calls him his “personal long shot wild card”. Sabato calls Kasich “a dark horse element” and regular readers of this blog might recall that I picked Governor Kasich as my long shot possibility in some previous post.  Right now he might not even make it into the Republican top ten candidate debate slated for August 6, so no need to think about him much yet, though you might be interested in why Sabato and Krauthammer give him an outside shot.

While agreeing with the general run down given in both articles, I would say that I believe JEB is a more likely primary winner than either writer seems to think (Note: Jeb is marketing himself as just JEB these days, so as to downplay the Bush part, as if he were an orphan).   Krauthammer gives JEB a 25% chance while giving Rubio a 35% chance.   I’d say it’s the reverse, more like 40% in JEB’s favor and 20% Rubio and Walker somewhat less.

I think Krauthammer leans more towards Rubio primarily because he’s much younger and gives off more energy, a fresh face to juxtapose with that of the same old Hillary.  Krauthammer does point out that JEB ‘s “ bulging war chest, a fine gubernatorial record and a wide knowledge of domestic issues guarantee top-tier staying power.” But I think a better case can be made.

I would add: The “bulging war chest” has been estimated at three times more than any other Republican candidate, and also as more than the rest put together.  To use the old adage, this is a marathon not a sprint and JEB’s campaign is built for the long haul.   He might not win any one of the first three primaries and still be the favorite if he remains close in the second two.

Also, Krauthammer makes too much of Rubio winning a “general acceptability” poll of Republicans.   He doesn’t mention JEB was a very close second and I noticed this morning, now he narrowly leads in that poll.

Finally, two things that are often mentioned as JEB’s primary race weaknesses – a stand on developing a new immigration policy as well as support for a national common curriculum – are both questionable as such. Even a majority of Republicans want to see a new immigration policy enacted and many of them realize the hard truth that without attracting more Hispanic votes, the Republicans can’t win.

Despite Marco being Cuban, I think JEB can attract more new Latino votes because of his stronger stance on a change in immigration policy, his Mexican wife and his embrace of Latino culture as indicated by his fluency in Spanish. Something I never see mentioned is there are millions of voters of Mexican heritage while less than a million of Cuban heritage, and many of them are Republican already.   I think JEB has a better shot at broadening the Hispanic base.

As for an educational common core? In comparison to the bigger issues, who cares?   I’m sure some do, but when it all comes down to picking a candidate for president in a tumultuous world and an economy that promotes wage stagnation, care about “common core” amounts to a hill of beans.

I believe after months of battling it out in the primaries, JEB will be the king of the Republican hill and the one to take on HILLARY.

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The Political Theater Scene is Full of Bad Actors

I don’t know how Broadway is doing these days, but political theater abounds.   Yesterday marked the 37th time the Republican House passed a bill to repeal  Obamacare.   And for the 37th time it will go nowhere in the Senate managed by Democrats, but as House Speaker Boehner has said, it will remind the American people where Republicans stand?

English: Former Speaker of the Florida House a...

English: Former Speaker of the Florida House at CPAC in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone need a reminder out there?  Don’t they stand for everything un-Obama?  Now, courtesy of the administration, they have a bunch more Obama stuff to be “un”, all conveniently tied to a general theme articulated by  Senator Marco Rubio.   He characterized the Obama administration as a “culture of intimidation.”  Obviously it must run very deep as one-third of the committees in the Republican controlled House seem compelled to launch  investigations.

I saw a bit of one hearing on TV this morning dealing with the I. R. S.  kicked off by the Republican chairman saying that this scandal reflected a culture of intimidation and cover-up in the administration.  Aren’t you supposed to ask questions first and then  draw conclusions later?

Listening to the vague answers I. R. S. officials gave the committee suggested to me bureaucratic incompetence was more at play than administration over reach.

Columnist David Ignatius, never shy about criticizing the Obama administration, sees the situation quite differently.    Rather than evidence of nascent totalitarianism, he sees  “a frightenly impotent government”.   And, as for the Republican reaction:  “Another generation would have said:   Let’s get on with it.  We say, let’s have another investigation.”

But what can Democrats expect?   What if these scandals had broken out during a Republican administration?   I can imagine hearing the words “police state” bandied about.   The one high card I can see in Obama’s hand is the Republican tendency to over-the-top outrage, bloviating themselves into phony oblivion.  Already the  “I” word is being tossed around (impeachment) and my own favorite “stone them to death” comment:   “this scandal is Iran Contra and Watergate multiplied by 20.”

As we head into a dreary summer of poorly acted political theater, let’s try to get a laugh or two wherever we can find one.   If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart’s take on this mess watch it below.   Funny stuff.  Unfortunately for  Democrats , the laugh is mostly on us.

P. S. – As always, “followers” receiving posts in your email will need to go to my web site to see video (click gravatar in upper left).