Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Is the GOP Becoming the Vanity Party?

Somehow or other I continue to suspect that Hillary Clinton will not be the Democratic candidate for president next year. If Elizabeth Warren should decide to enter the race, the giant swooshing sound you’ll hear would be the hot air being expelled from the Clinton candidacy.

Hillary Clinton continues to stonewall the media. She continues to get very bad press from The New York Times.

And yet, it doesn’t seem to matter. When push comes to shove the Democratic Party will unite behind her candidacy… first, because they like the idea of Hillary; second, because they fear a Republican president nominating candidates for the Supreme Court.

As Jonathan Tobin explains:

The left may not like the Clintons, but so far there is no sign that a critical mass of liberals are prepared to give in to the temptation of examining her views or the corrupt manner with which she and her husband have conducted their affairs. Until proven otherwise, this generation of liberals appears to be focused solely on winning elections in a way that many conservatives still are not.

Candidate wise, Republicans have an embarrassment of riches. Or, is their overcrowded field just an embarrassment.

Speaking of Sen. Lindsey Graham, a man who inexplicably thinks he can become president, Dana Milbank writes:

Graham, a senator from South Carolina and one of umpteen Republicans running for president, can take a joke — which is why he appreciates the absurdity that is the GOP field. There are far too many candidates (so many that there are concerns they won’t all fit on a debate stage), and to gain attention they are juggling, tooting horns and blowing slide whistles like so many painted performers emerging from a clown car.

Call them the clown posse if you like, but many Republican candidates seem far more concerned with personal vanity than with electability.

In part, this says that they are convinced that anyone can beat Hillary Clinton. In part, this demonstrates an absence of seriousness. With so many vanity candidates, the Republican Party is beginning to look like the vanity party.

A party that is about the personal vanity of the candidates is not likely to win the American presidency.

You might say that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is about nothing but vanity. If so, it’s not about personal vanity. It has more to do with ideology, with the idea of a woman president. Beyond that, it’s the reward she feels the country owes her for having suffered so many humiliations at the hands of Bill Clinton.

But when you start talking about Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham… you are talking about people who are never going to be elected. In many cases, one does not understand the political rationale for their candidacy.

Milbank is not sympathetic to the Republican cause, but his image of the clown car ought to be a wake-up call for Republicans. If the first Republican presidential debates show two dozen candidates on the stage, each vying for attention, the message will get lost. Citizens will be singularly unimpressed by a political party that does not seem to have sufficient maturity to pre-select viable candidates.

Republicans are not going to win the presidency by portraying themselves as the vanity party.

Too many candidates shows a lack of seriousness about the process, even a disrespect for the office of the president.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Conservative and Left parties always suffer from the same core problem: ideological purity. What we see today in the Republican field is an assortment of positions, not candidates for the office of President of the United States of America. Jeb Bush seems to be the only candidate who is running a larger, general campaign. He's not doing it well, but it's early. And at least he has the courage to take questions. Hillary will be defeated in some capacity by her Left flank, as she isn't morally virtuous enough to lead a gaggle of self-styled, self-congratulatory, "selfless" lunatics who demand sacrifice from others. They're both vain. Warren is the real deal. Jeb vs. Hillary is a scrum over the middle. A Rand vs. Warren contest would bring out the voters of both sides, and could be a compelling exchange that would interest the middle. All American elections are won by winning the middle. That's why ideological purity never wins. Someone should tell this to Lindsay Graham, who is the most pointless candidate imaginable... unless he wants to take on Joe Biden.

Ares Olympus said...

re: If the first Republican presidential debates show two dozen candidates on the stage, each vying for attention, the message will get lost. Citizens will be singularly unimpressed by a political party that does not seem to have sufficient maturity to pre-select viable candidates.

We're in a 100% agreement here, but I keep wondering what sort of process can any party use to select "serious" candidates?

And it also makes me wonder if we even WANT parties selecting candidates. Like why should a president be required to be of ANY party since he or she is supposed to represent the whole?

I sort of like the electoral college approach. Forget candidates, but let each state put forth its combined 538 electors, each state assigned in proportion to state elected offices held by party, and have them DRAFT a couple dozen candidates to be interviewed, and then the electors can each caucus for their strongest candidate, and say any candidate with less than 100 electors is eliminated after 6 hours of debate, and that'll cut us to at most 5 candidates.

Then those 5 candidates can go forward into national debate after each debate, vote one candidate off the island until two remain, and then you can have a straight majority vote for the next president.

At least then the electoral college would have some functional value beyond being faithful to a party.