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Why Are These People Running For President?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Is there anyone in the entire universe who isn’t Lindsey Graham, John McCain, or Lindsey Graham’s mother who thinks that Lindsey Graham should be president?

He has always reminded me of a pudgy, scheming elf, angling to screw-up Santa’s workshop by forming some bipartisan elf gang and “working across the aisle” to help the liberal elves prevail. Except on questions of war and peace, where Lindsey is the elf who is constantly agitating to invade the Island of Misfit Toys.

This is the guy who backed Hillary on Libya and he’s supposed to be a serious foreign policy guy? Did this guy ever meet a war he didn’t want to get into and lose?

Now, everyone knows that Lil’ Maverick isn’t going to get the nomination. The GOP rank and file detests him for his blowhard speechifying, bipartisan posturing, and sanctimonious sellouts. He votes to confirm every nimrod Obama sends up to the Hill, adores amnesty, and generally gives you the impression that he should be dressed in a blue sailor suit with shorts and a cap covering his flowing golden curls, clutching an oversize lollipop.

It’s hard to see why he is running. Is it simply a case of inflated self-regard? Does Lindsey really think that the answer to America’s woes is more Lindsey? Or does the human cowbell of American politics have another motive? Is it ego? Is it the final act in some personal psychodrama? Maybe he’s trying to blow up the South Carolina primary and derail a real conservative’s momentum on behalf of some establishment guy whose name may or may not be Jeb.

It’s almost unfair to mention the accomplished and compelling Dr. Ben Carson after talking about a non-entity like Graham (Yeah, I know he was a colonel. Who wasn’t?), but we need to ask: “Dr. Carson, why are you running?”

He has a great life story, and he is an amazing example of American grit and determination. But you don’t go from running a hospital to being president. We elected an amateur in 2008 – though admittedly one with a fraction of Dr. Carson’s character and achievements – and it has gone poorly. There’s a Senate seat coming open in Maryland, where Dr. Carson lived and worked for decades. He should move back there, run for that, and demonstrate that he can do the most important thing a conservative must do – win a tough race. Oh, and he will also have a chance to learn through experience how not to make gaffes about little tiny issues like guns and NATO.

To avoid that Senate race gives the impression that his presidential run is really just “Newt II: The Enrichening.” We don’t need another pseudo-candidate out there using the primaries to build up a public presence to sell books and nail down a Fox News gig. Dr. Carson, you are better than that. Go run in Maryland. Show you can do it and we’ll see you in 2020.

How about Mike Huckabee, soon to be played by Sorrell Booke in the upcoming film “Elmer Gantry: The Revenge”? In a time when the GOP base is maneuvering to fight the overreaching metastasization of government, Huckabee is embraces the bloat. He doesn’t object to big government; just wants to use government to impose his own weird populist authoritarianism. Don’t count on him to repeal Obamacare – he’ll expand it to cover that snake oil “diabetes cure” he peddled to the same slack-jawed head-nodders he hopes will vote for him. Go away, Huckabee, and take your stupid bass with you.

Let’s not forget Rick Santorum. Apparently, the GOP desperately needs a failed ex-senator who couldn’t win reelection in 2006 and has spent the last decade modeling sweaters and railing against sodomy. He probably doesn’t like rum either, though I expect he’s open to the lash.

George Pataki. Hell, sure, why not? Everyone else is running.

And then there is Jeb Bush. Jeb has an aura of seriousness because a long time ago he was the governor of Florida and didn’t utterly fail. But let’s be real – Jeb is running for two reasons. The secondary reason is that he always thought he was the smart Bush brother and he watched as George walked into the Oval Office that Jeb thought should be his. Now it’s Jeb’s chance to fix that oversight.

But the primary reason Jeb is running is because he can. He’s got the Rolodex of supporters and enough of them will write him checks that he is a serious candidate simply because he happens to be sitting on the highest pile of money.

Policy-wise, Jeb is utterly out of step with the GOP base – which, to make it even worse, he thinks is a good thing. He loves amnesty and common core and you know he’s just itching to buy into the global warming scam. Jeb appears to be the first major candidate whose campaign strategy consists entirely of trolling the very people he needs to vote for him.

Jeb, like the rest of these guys, is a certain loser. But at least the others might fight Hillary before being crushed. With Jeb, you get the impression that his twisted sense of noblesse oblige requires him to lose without a struggle.

Some of them have an occasional good idea. Some mean well. But the simple fact is that none of these candidates is going to win, and therefore their candidacies are a distraction and a waste of time and focus. Santorum and the Pataki are just jokes. Dr. Carson’s candidacy is disappointing. Huckabee actively makes the GOP look bad. Graham is sinister, and Jeb is actively destructive. His ego trip could very well blow up the GOP because the base is never going to turn out to choose between Hillary or the guy who hung a medal around her neck.

Let that roll around in your head for a moment: Jeb gave Hillary a medal for her “public service” – and there are Republicans who think that nominating him is a good idea. They’d probably also think letting her husband babysit their 17 year-old daughters is a wise move.

It’s time to get serious. It’s time to fill up the clown car and drive it far away.

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