My life is complete–I managed to work Strother Martin and Barney Fife into the title of a post. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Strother Martin Bracket
Gingrich is our winner. A very interesting result. By far the most credible arguments in the comments section were made for Huckabee–commenters agreed he’s likable, generally competent, and seasoned while Gingrich is brilliant but carries more baggage than all the airlines in the world put together. Still the wisdom of the voters says that somehow Gingrich will manage to emerge from this bracket in the lead. Implicit in that, I suppose, is a belief that either the backing of the Tea Party is not the trump card most Huckabee-fans think it is, or more likely that all the carpetbaggers chasing that vote (Palin, Trump, Cain, ad nausem) will cancel each other out. Interesting.
Now on to our next bracket, the Barney Fife bracket, better known as the “who gives a shit about these nerds” bracket. We could have also called this bracket the “battle of the consulting firms” bracket, since the three top management consulting firms are all represented here–McKinsey (Jindal,) BCG (Romney,) and Bain (Romney again.)
Barney Fife Bracket
Here’s this week’s scouting report.
Mitt Romney. On paper, Mitt is the perfect candidate–son of political royalty (George), Harvard, successful businessman, successful governor, handsome, wealthy, scandal-free (unlike Newt and John Edwards, he actually stood by his wife during cancer.) But as they say about football, they don’t play the game on paper. Simply put, nobody trusts this guy. Maybe it’s the flip-flopping on guns and healthcare, maybe it’s the fibs, maybe it’s the Mormon thing with its Stepford Wives-vibe, maybe its because people like Barney Frank have accused him of having “no political principle whatsoever…the most intellectually dishonest person in the history of U.S. politics.” Maybe it’s his quote that his sons were serving their country by campaigning for him in Iowa–which either devalues military service or equates his candidacy to fighting for our country or compares Iowa to Iraq, take your pick. Whatever it is, he gives folks the creeps. Bottom Line: Great looking bid, but likely some other candidates will have to knock each other out for him to slip through.
Herman Cain. Never heard of Herman? Obviously you’re not spending enough time at Tea Parties. He’s a bright, very successful black former corporacrat (Coke, Pillsbury, Burger King, Godfather’s Pizza) and radio/Fox News host who appears to have lifted his whole campaign strategy from the scene in Blazing Saddles where Cleavon Little points a gun at his own head. Has made a splash on the Tea Party circuit with electrifying speeches that are pro-god, pro-gold, anti-abortion and anti-Muslim. Biggest weakness is he is a political neophyte–promising things like not to appoint a Muslim to his administration. That may make him popular with the base, but it is also un-Constitutional. Oops. I suppose the Tea Party folks get that a lot. (Of course, when they get called on stuff like that, they demand to see the real Constitution, not the fake in the National Archives.) Bottom Line: Should have learned from Michael Steele and Barrack Obama–the base loves black people who say what they want them to say, but they don’t actually like them in positions of power. No chance.
Bobby Jindal. You thought Barrack was a tough name to work with, how’d you like Piyush, Bobby’s real (and legal) name? In fact, this guy is a lot like Obama–brilliant, centrist (by Republican standards), flexible (converted to Catholicism–did I mention that Louisiana is heavy Catholic?) and reasonable. Very bright, very well educated (Brown, Oxford,) managed to get elected to multiple offices in Louisiana despite his name, skin color and a humiliating early loss. Competent and does what he says he will do–he’s cut taxes six times. Appeared to be the Next Big Thing in 2009 until he bombed his debut on national TV, coming across like an eighth grader afraid a football player is about to shove his head in the toilet. Bottom Line: Disciplined, excellent shot selection, track record of coming back strong after bad losses. Formidable in a low scoring contest.
Bill O’Reilly. Who would have ever thunk that Fox would go so far that Bill O’Reilly would seem to be the voice of reason? These days O’Reilly’s exaggerations and statistical misrepresentations seem almost quaint. And who in the world would have dreamed that the Today Show would let Donald Trump’s birther nonsense slide and it would fall to O’Reilly to call him out? Go figure. But that’s the case. O’Reilly is who we think he is: a staunch Catholic conservative. He is also lifetime journalist (with some real journalism creds, believe it or not). To his credit, he actually admitted he was wrong about Iraq, although not about George Tiller, the abortion doctor who was murdered possibly because of O’Reilly’s on-the-air rants. A very public sexual harassment suit was settled out of court, but that was pretty tame by Republican standards, and is probably old news. Bottom Line: At one point might have been a contender. Now too old and too slow for a serious run.
Now, it’s time to comment and vote!