Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All good jokes must end

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Mike Huckabee & Donald Trump Drop Out
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We all knew Donald Trump wouldn't stick it out for long. His candidacy has been a joke from beginning to end, a way to publicize Donald Trump, and just incidentally, as Indecision Forever put it, "a race-baiting manipulation of the country's basest instincts."

Then again, you could say the same thing about most of the Republican candidates. Still, Trump was never a serious candidate, except perhaps in Trump's own mind (and I have my doubts even about that).

Mike Huckabee, though, is different. Huckabee is a dangerous theocrat who's as loony as they get, but also smooth. If you don't know much about him, he can seem reasonable. He scares me more than most of the Republicans, because I think he'd have a lot better chance of getting elected. And then we'd really be in trouble!

But note that he said he wouldn't run for president this year. I suspect that Huckabee just doesn't like the odds of running against a sitting president, especially one with the campaign skills of Barack Obama. Yeah, it's a very weak Republican field, which would make it easier to win the primary. But then there's that general election...

So I suspect that Huckabee plans to wait until 2016, when there won't be an incumbent in the White House. Meanwhile, he'll keep campaigning, with the help of his TV show and the rest of Fox "News."

And that's the other thing. Huckabee is making big bucks on Fox - maybe not as much as Sarah Palin, but certainly not chickenfeed, either. And he has a platform for pushing whatever he wants, which also keeps him in the limelight. Why risk all that, especially now, when he can ride the gravy train for another four years or so and probably have a much better chance then?

That's certainly why Sarah Palin isn't running. Of course, in her case, I doubt if she'll ever run, not as long as she's making the big bucks on Fox (and with her relentless self-promotion elsewhere). After all, that's why she quit as governor half-way through her first term. The money is just too big a draw for her. And it's a pretty big draw for Huckabee, too, I'm sure.

Well, I'm happy enough to see Huckabee drop out. Who knows? Maybe America will take a few steps towards sanity in the next four years. Yeah, maybe the horse will learn to sing.

I'll miss the Donald, though. Sure there's plenty of insanity among the rest of the GOP candidates, but Trump just seemed so very proud of his. And as Johann Hari said, Trump was every trend in Republican politics taken to its logical conclusion. Well, I would have said its most absurd conclusion, but no matter. With Trump, you really see what you're getting when you vote Republican.

However, we've still got Newt, don't we? This week, he contradicted himself from one day to the next:
"I agree that all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care. And I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. I've said consistently, where there's some requirement you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you're going to be held accountable."

-- Newt Gingrich, on Meet the Press yesterday, acknowledging his previous support of the individual mandate.

"I am completely opposed to the ObamaCare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and a half years."

-- Gingrich, in a video released today.

That was impressive, even for a Republican. Usually, they take a few weeks before contradicting themselves:
During an appearance on Meet the Press yesterday, 2012 presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) called Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal to transform Medicare into a “premium support” system for future retirees “too big a jump” and suggested that the reform was tantamount to “right-wing social engineering.”

The comments come just weeks after Gingrich praised Ryan for being a “brave” “man of ideas.” Asked by Time’s Jay Newton-Small if he would have voted for the GOP budget, Gingrich responded, “Sure.” “I think it’s the first step,” he added. “You need an entirely new set of solutions.”

And with Michele Bachmann in the campaign, we'll never be short of crazy. Still, I'm going to miss Donald Trump even more than Haley Barbour, and for much the same reason. They're both living embodiments of Republicanism.

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