presidential candidates, random thoughts

My current thoughts on the presidential race: the rush to start early benefits the prior unknowns, given they have a chance, the most. I would say Mitt Romney benefits the most this go round. I find also-rans odd. If memory serves, though, Bill Clinton wasn’t a favorite in his first race. However, there are a lot of candidates in the current field that just don’t seem to have a chance. At some point, aren’t they just wasting money trying to run? Does a campaign donor put money on just the candidate or would the donor be willing just to support the message knowing the candidate will lose? Maybe a campaign should accept money with a checkbox: once we’re 99% sure we’re not going to win, is it still ok to spend your money on campaigning?

The early beginning favors one or two late arrivals. It seems like Fred Thompson gets the benefit here. The reason is he gets publicity for doing a ‘non-campaign’ campaign. By delaying, he sticks out. The shadow horse. Bloomberg also is getting this coverage. If he does run, he seems to be playing this card more masterfully than Thompson who has practically said he is running. Even if Thompson pulls out, most people know he’s in the race in spirit. Bloomberg, however, is sending mixed signals. If he doesn’t run, it won’t seem like he pulled out. Thus the Bloomberg non-campaign is more intriguing.

I think the presidential administration/executive branch is so complex, it seems limiting to elect only a President/VP ticket. I guess it would be difficult to do it another way, but the ‘rest of the administration’ seems at least as, if not more, important. Look at GW Bush. Particularly in the first term, his administration was basically a slightly updated version of G Bush Sr’s, esp in the senior roles — esp those dealing with foreign policy and military.

This brings up questions: would, for example, Barack Obama’s cabinet look like Hillary Clinton’s? Would Hillary Clinton’s look like the Bill Clinton cabinet? What about Romney’s, Guliani’s, others’? I suspect you could learn a lot about a candidate and his/her future administration by seeing how they would stack a cabinet.

I don’t consider myself an average Republican because I greatly separate fiscal, military, and social/moral issues. (I generally subscribe to less government, strong military, and investment in technology (cleantech, nuclear, medical, space, etc) that benefit from gov’t backing. I’m mostly libertarian when it comes to domestic issues, from healthcare to gun ownership. I do think the current admin is too narrow on foreign policy and could benefit from a broader Kissinger-like approach, in addition to greater leadership on popular issues abroad.) Anyway, the question is, do most self-described Republicans and Democrats tow the party line 25, 50, 75, or nearly 100% of the way? Also curious what percentage of “one-issue” voters are out there? And of those, how many would vote the other way in a candidacy were the one issue not present?

I don’t recall past elections where popular leaders expressed intelligent support for a candidate that made a huge impact, but I would be interested in this as a phenomenon. For instance, I happen to think Bill Gates is quite smart, and his wisdom reaches beyond software. So, I would appreciate his analysis of why he would support a particular candidate. Warren Buffett? Steve Jobs? I suppose, these are super-wealthy people, but the reason I would appreciate their thoughts is that they are somewhat plain spoken and capable of nuance at the same time. And they have a track record of being right a lot! Also, this kind of commentary/analysis would be appreciated sooner than later, since by the election, we’re deciding (generally) on two, max 3, candidates who often polarize the choice on their own.

The election system is tricky. Let’s say you are a die-hard Democrat. Then what you would actually prefer is a far right Republican winning the nomination. And vice versa. Further, the truth is, if you are a far left Democrat, what you really want is a centrist Democrat winning the primary, giving a greater chance at the popular vote (by state, resulting in the electoral vote win….). The only way a far right or far left candidate wins is if they ‘mobilize’ their base SO MUCH that the turn out overwhelms the polls. I don’t see that happening. Even though GW Bush was fairly far right (esp the way he ran his campaigns), he was center enough. To me, one way to not be too far one way or the other is to not disrupt issues that have previously been decided. IOW, even though he is a pro-lifer, he didn’t campaign on reversing Roe v. Wade. I think the more a candidate tries to change or undo something, the more far-wing the candidate is. The candidate can get away with stances, positions, and future-talk that is more left or right, as long as the “concrete” of the past isn’t messed with. I think this also says a lot about why Social Security reform was a failure and remains a Gordian knot.

This leads to another thought: would the far left Democrat actually prefer a candidate running a center campaign who would then swing to the far left after election? It would seem so, but I guess this leaves the second term in great jeopardy, given the ‘betrayal’ of those voting in the candidate based on their centrist campaign.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: