The Unbearable Lightness of Being a 2016 Republican
Marco Rubio, in what I can only assume was an attempt at gravitas, went on the Sunday circuit to discuss serious issues like immigration reform, guns, and North Korea. He came off sounding like what he is–a lightweight who is up past his bedtime.
Rand Paul, in what I can only assume was an attempt at “political bravery,” went to Howard University to speak truth to power–except he came off looking like a cake eater, and the Howard students took his lunch money and sent him on his way.
This is the field. This is what remains of the 2016 hopefuls for the GOP nomination. Bobby Jindal is in trouble in his own state, Chris Christie is disqualified because he’s too reasonable on the surface for his own party, and he has the herculean task of needing to lose 200 pounds in order to be a serious candidate for president: if Christie’s governor race is any indication he’s gaining weight not losing it. Jeb Bush seems a man behind the times, like Bill Clinton in 2007-08, Jeb is always just a hint off, just an idea or phrase or technology out of sync with the world in which he finds himself.
That leaves Nikki Haley, Gov. Martinez of New Mexico (who had the best convention speech), or a retread candidate like Huckabee, Bachman, or Pawlenty. In other words, the GOP doesn’t have a serious candidate. Frankly, Martinez scares me but the GOP isn’t bright enough to nominate her.
That means they don’t have a legitimate contender. They have a collection of fools and lightweights and the core of their party hating President Obama. That’s it. Except President Obama isn’t running and ObamaCare will be a huge success. So there goes that issue. The economy–as ugly as employment in the black community is–is getting better. The wars will be over. The GOP, as it stands now, doesn’t have a real chance in 2016.
But don’t tell them that. They think they’ve found the magic formula. They think they’ve found a silver bullet. Marco Rubio, a Cubano who lied about his immigration background, and a Kentucky blue blood who wants to repeal the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution while also ignoring or repealing the Civil Rights Act.
The clown car of candidates on the right has little actual chance. Hilary Clinton will mop the floor with them. Joe Biden will mop the floor with them at 72. But frankly, I think we’re going to see Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Gov. Devaul Patrick (D-MA), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), or a western Governor like Sweitzer (D-MT), or Hickenlooper (D-CO) rise up and take the nomination. And our younger candidates will wipe the floor with the GOP lightweights. It won’t even be close.
What we have to do as a party, as concerned citizens, and as a progressive activist base, is raise money and energy, and effort for 2014. It is crucial that we hold on to the Senate this election cycle. It is essential that we attack the House as though we can win–because folks, we have a real chance. A real chance.
And while it is a long shot still, even getting closer in the house in 2014 positions us for 2016. It is time to consider the long game. It is time to consider how we are going to resist the GOP over time. We are living one election cycle to the next, fighting a holding action against insurgent GOP forces, hellbent on destroying us and, frankly, the country. Our goal has to be, at its core, to join the fight. To take it to them. To stop ceding initiative and push back, but also push first against the GOP. Watching Marco Rubio sound like a babbling idiot encouraged me. It reminded me that on substance and on policy we’re right and they’re wrong. We’re serious and they are dilettantes. It reminded me that we’re better at this than they think and that we have a path to victory we just have to fight for it.
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J. Christian Watts
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