This is going to be a good month. The American people are ready for something completely different, and a year and a month from now they will be offered a clear alternative. Every month that goes by in which the current narrative of the 2016 campaign is not changed is a good month. A worn out political party, a spent force, and a deeply flawed field on one side, versus a resurgent, confident conservative movement riding an historically powerful political tide, with at least two very attractive candidates. That’s what I see.
The Donald bears watching. He’s obsessed with polls, and he’s starting to slip. His fragile ego may, at some point, wilt in the face of public rejection. If he starts to look like a loser he’ll pull the plug. Trump is above all else a winner, and at some point he’ll declare victory and withdraw. The Parson will get a boost when it happens, maybe even getting to the top in some polls.
The other two media candidates will glide along, and that’s a good thing. The kindly doctor and the Lady of Steel are good faces of the Republican Party. I hope they stick around through February.
I gather the big media buys by Bush 3 and some others don’t start until November. If that’s true I can’t see anything that would boost Jeb! As the Mideast unravels his embrace of Bush 2’s foreign policy there will backfire on him. He’ll continue to languish and his donors will be restless. He thinks as people get to know him he’ll do better. I think he’s wrong. He’s not a strong candidate, and people can see it. In most of the pictures of him that accompany news stories he looks a little befuddled, as if he’s asking, Why am I not winning? He doesn’t have it, he doesn’t get it, and he doesn’t know it.
I have the feeling that the Parson’s “blow up the government” strategy is going to blow up on him. It will if Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Kevin “Irish eyes are smiling” McCarthy get their way, and they’re in positions where they can make it happen. The rage vote won’t care, and will celebrate with him in his defeat. But they are only a third or less of the party, and the rest of Republican voters will not be impressed.
Kasich and Christie will be ramping up in Iowa. Ohio sells better there than New Jersey. In its political culture, Iowa is a colony of the Midlands, and Kasich will feel comfortable there. And like Midlanders everywhere, Iowans are not drawn to people from New Netherlands, and I doubt Christie will do that well. If he can’t bump his numbers up here or in New Hampshire he could be gone after the next debate, on the 28th in Boulder.
Depending on how the that outcome is perceived, it’s possible Paul, Gilmore and Pataki get out as well. Paul needs money for his Senate reelection, and he needs to bow out soon to stop bleeding cash. Huckabee, Santorum and Graham are vanity candidates and will probably stick around. They are not factors, except to the extent that they muddy the waters.
Based on his remarks in Iowa yesterday, we might see a new, aggressive Kasich in this debate. The timing is just right. People have watched. Now they may be ready to listen. Kasich knows exactly what he wants to say, and he knows how to say it. I’m looking forward to this one.
I don’t know what he’ll say about Russia. I hope he doesn’t start beating his chest. Leave that to the Parson, Don Juan and the rest. Realpolitik says work out an understanding with them. That won’t happen with Obama in the White House. They have no respect for him. But the next President needs to sit down with Vlad the Impaler and divide the world into spheres of influence. Russia and America have a great deal in common, even though our societies are radically different. We’re both continental nations, the only two in the world if you leave out Australia. We have no reason to ever fight the Russians. They’re east of the Hajnal Line, but they’re a Christian country again, and not our enemy.
People seem stuck in the past, when Russians were communists and we needed Mideast oil. Those are world historical shifts, and we need to adjust our view of the world accordingly. Russia is a great nation, which should be respected, not fought. They don’t want to rule the world. Puitn is not Hitler, or Stalin, or Napoleon. And the centuries long war within Islam, taking place before our eyes in the Middle East, is of no interest to us. None. We’re humanitarian, and want to limit the bloodshed. And we want to kill as many terrorists as we can, the more the better. But we don’t want to get into a war to do it. If Russia does, they’ll do better at it than we could. They’re ruthless, and we’re not. The media sees to that.
I don’t read many novels, but I liked Hunt for Red October, and when Babbie and I were in Hawaii 30 years ago, and she asked me if I was so smart how come we didn’t have any money, I told her I’d write a book, and I did. If Tom Clancy could do it, so could I. It was an Alan Drury kind of book, a cold war thriller called Brinkman. A big time literary agent in New York named Jay Garon liked it, and he told me I reminded him of another young client, a guy in Mississippi who was a lawyer who had also served in the state legislature. One of his editors was assigned to help me spruce it up, but he said he’d get it published. Then the Cold War ended and my plot was obsolete.
Yeah, that guy from Mississippi was named John Grisham.