Monday, February 15, 2016

GOP Candidate’s Desperation Showing

In a race that continues to devolve by the minute, is it little surprise the candidates are getting increasingly desperate in their attempts to stave off a Trump nomination. Among the many absurdist strategies used to date: 1. Stacking the most recent debates with Bush supporters to try to stifle Trump and show him in a negative light (Breitbart), 2. Bush actually turning to his brother, one of the most unpopular two-term presidents in history, to join him on the campaign trail in South Carolina (Guardian), 3. Ted Cruz using porn stars in an ad after claiming there were no actors in any of his ads (YouTube) and then spoofing Office Space to continue feeding the largely dead story of Clinton and her emails (YouTube), 4. All of the candidates pretending they cared about women in New Hampshire, after they determined that more female than male voters were undecided (NYT), even as they have essentially been attacking the interests of women throughout their campaigns (including this peach from Cruz) 5. Cruz telling voters that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race in Iowa even as that wasn’t true (NYT), on the road to victory … though maybe it is good advice for the short-lived candidate of the moment some months back.   

Yet even as an Internet Poll from the Bush supporting Super PAC “Right to Rise” shows Trumps lead cut to a mere two percent over Cruz, a more reliable Politico poll shows him up almost 20 percent on Cruz and 27 percent on Bush. Ultimately, it appears the negative campaign tactics that served his father (Willie Horton Ad) and brother (Swift Boat Veterans for Lies) so well are a Hail Mary by Jeb to try to save his flagging campaign, the desperate move of a desperate man who seems to have even less charisma than his brother, and less of a command over the English language. Cruz, on the other hand, seems willing to say or do just about anything to snatch momentum from Trump after his Iowa victory was subsumed by Trump’s in New Hampshire. Rubio and Kasich have been less likely to delve into the mud, but that shows in their pitiable polling numbers. They may be the sensible alternatives to the madness of Trump and Cruz and the turgidity of Bush, but it unclear that the Republican base is ready to give another “moderate” a shot at an establishment Democrat.

Of course, whether they will be facing an establishment Democrat or a self-proclaimed socialist is still to be decided, and Clinton herself seems to be getting increasingly nasty as she tries to stave off the fate that befell her eight years ago. Ironically, this includes tying herself to the very man who bested her in that race, criticizing Sanders not only for his “radical” and “unrealistic” proposals, but for deigning to chastise the President’s record. We are just getting started in this primary season and the gloves are already off; expect the ugliness to amplify as the most open race in recent memory continues to heat up. On the Democratic side, this at least still involves some specific proposals to address real issues, while the GOP continues to slog in the muck of jingoistic nationalism, anti-choice misogyny, fear mongering and race-bating white supremacism. At least it’s keeping cable news ratings up … 

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