In the beginning of this conflict called a presidential election, I wrote an article titled “The Fabulous Four”. In it, I identified four GOP candidate whom I thought would be there at the end when the smoke cleared. The four individuals were Trump, Kasich, Jeb, and Rubio. I didn’t mention Ted Cruz, who’s had a good week and a rising profile. I published my article on August 13, 2015 so my guesswork two months later can be described as “not bad for an amateur.” Or maybe I should say “not bad for an amateur among amateurs” because the MSM is not doing any better with their constant touting of the flavor du jour and going with whatever sells the most advertising.
The MSM coverage, with rare exception, has been tragically awful. Tragically awful personalities who have mucked things up include the three hopeless mice (#CNBC ‘s Carl Quintanilla, Becky QuicK, and John Harwood) who demeaned the entire democratic process by bringing it down to the level of an 8th grade food fight. Having liberal Democrats ask some questions is okay but this most recent anti-GOP debauchery was pathetic. The MSM conservative establishment has done only a little better with their one-size-fits-all mentality, their oversimplification of complex issues, their hypocritical swipes at a vague abstraction knowns as “The Establishment.”
You could at least say that Rush Limbaugh is one of the pioneers of that type of “journalism,” and his brand of satire has twisted things to the degree that used to be funny. However, funny man Rush sometimes seems so over even when he has occasional flashes of original insight. He repeats himself endlessly, poor man. Of course, the favored technique of the all of these pamphleteers has been to use the bludgeon, to repeat slogans ad infinitum, and to use the label to sell “My Pillow (Hannity)”, to promote a Gold Bug mentality (Levine) and I forget what Rush Limbaugh is selling.
These men are not the worst of the once authentic conservatives who are now marketing a brand, complete with copyright and patents protected. God forbid should you realize that a president must government everyone, and not be like President Obama who thinks his presidency only extends to a narrow but expanding slice of left-wing America hating progressives. The worse of this ilk are the copycats who get their marching orders from on high, with nary an original thought: Anne Coulter (once an ardent admirer of Chris Christie who now is on Trump’s short list for press secretary) and Laura Ingraham, whose sole aim in life is to break out of radio and land a coveted spot on Bret Baier’s Special Report TV where they often have real journalists on the panel—including real liberal and moderate journalists.
But I digress. Another way of looking at my political prognostication is three out of four ain’t bad, but that description is perhaps to give myself too much credit. I suppose accuracy depends on whether we’re talking about winning the GOP primary or whether we’re talking about who is doing well as of today. Shit happens. My man Jeb Bush is not doing so well. Trump is marching in place but still high in the rankings. Rubio has surged primarily owing to his youthful exuberance, his intense preparation, and his adept speaking style. While Kasich has plummeted.
How would I revise my Fab Four today? I think Ted Cruz, and this is difficult for me to acknowledge, must replace Kasich among the Fab Four (I know—very opposite, no compassionate conservativism, kind of a shame). I’d keep Rubio. Trump is still there but no longer as mesmerizing as he once was.
You’ll hate me for this but consider that I’m Sicilian (American first) and genetically loyal to my gang even when we’re shot full of holes. Consider also that I’m not looking for personality or charm or stage presence – I still think colorless, plain vanilla Bush knows most about American governance and would have the least flawed learning curve. That’s what worries me about all the rest. New presidents always blunder so I want the guy who will blunder the least—which to me means more lives saved, more people presented with more opportunities. I think both Rubio and Bush have reasonable, realistic, immigration plans that are far superior to the hyper-inflated claims Mr. Trump is making. It’s the knowledge and competence factor that impresses me, not the flash, not the bombast, not the celebrity.
There is only one danger to nominating Jeb Bush and it is that he has the most enemies of all the candidates. He has so many enemies that it baffles me that anyone should call him the “establishment” guy. The media, whether conservative or liberal-left, never misses a chance to attack him. The Tea Party attacks him at every turn. Click-bait talk radio conservatives slash at him every chance they get. All of this combines to make a Jeb Bush nomination a steep hill to climb, in spite of the fact he has the best chance of all of defeating Hillary Clinton.
People who think a Ted Cruz or a Donald Trump can defeat a woman as studied and familiar with the working of the Washington political machine are delusional. I’ll tell you why in the next chapter.