Ah, it’s a great old country. We might only have presidential elections every four years, but candidates may toss their hats in the next ring before the last winner has even waltzed into the Oval Office.
However, in the interests of sanity, I never write about upcoming elections until 21 months beforehand, which makes me a Johnny-Come-Lately, for the fields on both sides are already teeming with candidates.
Still, it looks like 1992 all over again with the Clinton-Bush dynasties squaring up.
There’s a calming quality to these names, in that neither seems likely to drive the car off the cliff. Though, on closer inspection, both already did in a little matter concerning the invasion of Iraq that a Bush initiated and a Clinton okayed.
Toss in the near collapse of capitalism in the financial crisis of 2008 and you get another strike against the Bush clan. But that’s all ancient history, since most of us can barely remember last week, let alone Autumn 2008 or Spring 2003.
Besides what Democrat in their right mind would run against Mrs. Clinton? Oh I forgot - she isn’t even running yet. But she’ll need to decide soon, if only to give her party a viable chance of retaining the White House. So, let’s check out the Democratic field.
Gov. Martin O’Malley could move into the White House right now – he only lives up the road in Maryland. Don’t underestimate this Celtic Rocker. He may not be showing well in polls, but he’s smart and tenacious, and knows all the words to The Fields of Athenry. Besides, he’s principled, pragmatic and a friend of 20 years. I’d vote for him.
Senator Jim Webb is intriguing and may be a dark horse. He’s one of our Scots-Irish brethren and had no problem in standing up to President Bush over Iraq.
Then there’s Vice-President Biden – a decent man, a big ego, and lots of chits to call in, but he doesn’t seem to be anyone’s flavor nowadays.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is the other great lady in waiting! The stock markets would swoon, and she’d put manners on the financial industry; but she’s not running – for now.
What’s not to love about Senator Bernie Sanders - the Vermont socialist from Flatbush? Raise the red flag, comrade! He’ll enliven any debate with his sharp tongue and intellectual heft.
Given the Sheldon Silvers fiasco, it’s unlikely that Gov. Cuomo will even test the waters. 2020 seems a far safer option.
Now I know Mr. Jeb Bush is the most formidable Republican: he’s a Catholic convert, speaks Spanish, will have loads of money, and doesn’t frighten old ladies.
But take a look at Senator Rand Paul. Sure, he’s got loads of libertarian baggage, but heck I’m even drawn to him for his opposition to blowing the hell out of other countries. This ophthalmologist sees what the Bushes and Clintons don’t – a $100 Iraqi IED can destroy a $150,000 American armor-plated Humvee.
The guy can play all sides too: while singing Hallelujah with the God and Guns brigades, he’s not quite Attila The Hun on immigration; and I’ve yet to hear anyone question his integrity.
The Rev. Huckabee will split the fundamentalist vote in Iowa with Mr. Santorum, and both will run out of God and cash in New Hampshire.
Gov. Christie still has the George Washington Bridge hanging over him – besides Mr. Bush will wipe the floor with him in the financial donors department – and having cash to burn on two projected Republican Super-Tuesdays, March 1 and 14th, 2016 will be essential.
Senator Cruz will raise hopes and dreams with the Tea-Party faithful, but he’ll have to watch his back since he’s the most hated man in Congress. Senator Rubio will raise his profile for 2020, but he’s going nowhere with his state-mate Bush at the starting gate.
Governors Jindal, Pence and Kasich will be pawns on the board. However, Gov. Walker, the Wisconsin union destroyer, will be there at the finish. And perhaps, beyond!
Still, it will likely come down to the old guard, Bush and Clinton, and the perception that neither will drive the family car off the cliff. How soon we forget!