Whether it’s frustration or desperation, a few of the GOP’s bottom-feeder-candidates are trying to be heard above the din.
You know shit’s gone crazy in the Republican presidential race when actual sitting governors and senators start to do anything to be noticed. This week we saw a few highs from candidates whose poll numbers are so low it’s a serious concern as to why they’re even in the race. But that’s the thing -- some of these lower tier candidates are actually (in theory and on paper) very good, well-established politicians. My dear home state of Ohio’s buttfaced governor John Kasich has spent almost a lifetime in politics, Senator Lindsey Graham has served in the military and Senate for decades, and former New York governor George Pataki was a Republican chief executive of a liberal state. One would think in terms of political service that these guys would be very competitive for the GOP nomination, or at least somewhere near the top of the heep. But this is 2016, baby! No one wants to see establishment political hacks running in either party anymore. This election is about personality, not political resumes, so what do candidates like Kasich, Graham and Pataki need to do? Turn on their own party, of course! Be brasher like Donald Trump. Be funnier and more memorable like Carly Fiorina. Heck, be more scientific sounding like Dr. Ben Carson! Yes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
So that’s what these lower tier guys have decided to do. For example, Kasich made headlines this week when he lashed out against the race’s frontrunners at a rally, asking “what happened to the conservative movement?” He referred to some of his opponents’ positions as “crazy”, clearly highlighting Carson’s stance on cutting Medicare, as well as Trump’s admittedly unrealistic immigration plan. Similarly, Graham’s biggest moments of the week came when he added a little more sass to his remarks, delivering “some of the most memorable lines” of the kiddie table debate. Graham also showed off his “fun side” by playing coy bar games with CNN’s Dana Bash (awkward!) I mean if talking about hunting with Sarah Palin, marrying Carly Fiorina for her money and murdering Hillary Clinton doesn’t make you the frontrunner in the GOP race, I don’t know what will. Meanwhile, at the same kiddie table debate (and agreeing with Graham on climate change) is Pataki, who said he’s tired of the GOP “questioning science everyone accepts.” Pataki even went so far as to say he’d fire conservative religious icon Kim Davis for not doing her job. Unfortunately for the former governor, that kind of talk won’t get you Mike Hucakbee or Ted Cruz numbers, and the only science Dr. Carson talks about is very questionable. But then again, that must be it -- when your numbers are as low as these guys’, you really don’t have anywhere to go but up and have nothing else to lose. It’s like they say -- if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And if it is broke, just throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.
Time will obviously tell if this strategy works or not (it probably won’t) and as the months wear on, we’ll see who does stick around. Whether these lower tier candidates are vying for cabinet positions or a VP slot or just facetime on national television, there won’t be much use for them soon. Just ask Scott Walker. This week the New York Times called for New Jersey governor Chris Christie to come home, and the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel said Sen. Marco Rubio should resign for missing so many votes in the Senate. How much longer until other reputable publications in Ohio, South Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky and Texas start to make the same claims as well? And aren’t they completely justified in doing so?
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