On the Campaign Trail (mid-June)

Time to look in on the presidential campaign trail – a trail, by the way, that’s getting so congested it may soon need traffic signals. Some of the expected candidates have announced that they’re running since the last time we visited and some are still doing the “I’m still exploring my options” dance while raising money and barnstorming through Iowa and New Hampshire and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

But first, we have a few new contestants in our game. Let’s take a look.

Rick Perry? Didn’t we just finish giggling about his 2012 run?

George Pataki? In what alternative universe does George Pataki believe there’s even a passing interest in seeing him as president of the United States except perhaps – perhaps – in the Pataki family?

buckinghamRick Santorum? (Laughing…too…hard…to…type…)

John Kasich? (Actually, The Curmudgeon is rather fond of Kasich even though he thinks the guy is dead wrong on virtually every issue.)

Lindsey Graham? How do you run for president when ninety-seven percent of the electorate has no idea who you are?

Now let’s look at some of the more entertaining things that have happened on the campaign trail since our last look.

Ted Cruz

Never one to back away from doing something that’s colossally stupid just to prove he’s his own man, the Cruz missile introduced a bill in the Senate to overturn a new Washington, D.C. law that would protect people from being fired for their reproductive rights choices, such as such as a decision to use birth control, get an abortion, or use in vitro fertilization. In the World According to Ted, a woman could be fired for having an abortion or a guy for having a ten-year-old condom in his wallet.

Because it turns out that some Republicans only want to keep government out of your life some of the time and not all of the time – and especially, not when your values aren’t in lock-step with theirs.

When police officers in Texas killed two gunmen who were widely thought to be inspired by the Islamic State, Cruz declared “We saw the ugly face of Islamic terrorism in my home state of Texas, in Garland where two jihadists came to commit murder. Thankfully one police officer helped them meet their virgins.”

So at a time when we’re all a little sensitive about police use of deadly force, Cruz is urging them on.

Way to keep your finger on the public’s pulse, Ted.

Poor Bobby Jindal

jindalPoor Bobby continues to struggle to find a way not so much to remain relevant as just to get a very little attention, so when commenting on the same incident in Garland, he explained that it probably wasn’t a good idea for the Muslims to try to pull off an attack in the south, where people take their guns more seriously, because “In our states, we think of gun control – we think that means hitting your target.”

Very enlightened and always a crowd-pleaser.

Poor Bobby’s official announcement of his candidacy is scheduled for June 24, and we can expect even more fun from him thereafter.

Mike Huckabee

Doesn’t it often seem as if Mike Huckabee is running to be the head of some church rather than president of the United States? Maybe that’s why he’s not real big on, you know, facts and policy; too busy pointing out our spiritual shortcomings. In announcing his candidacy, Huckabee offered a few of those “what the Huck?” moments Americans have come to expect of him.

Like pointing out that 93.9 million Americans don’t have jobs. What he didn’t say was that his figure includes people like The Curmudgeon’s eighty-year-old mother; a regular visitor to this blog’s two pre-school grandchildren (one of whom still isn’t potty-trained, which can be a real barrier to employment); and as far as The Curmudgeon can tell, Huckabee’s own wife.

In announcing his candidacy, Huckabee boasted of engineering ninety-four tax cuts while governor of Arkansas. What he didn’t say was that he also raised taxes twenty-one times – something to which The Curmudgeon doesn’t specifically object (the raising of the taxes, not the failure to mention that he did so).

huckabeeWhile a guest on Face the Nation, Huckabee was asked about diet supplements he once endorsed, saying they could reverse diabetes.

“I don’t have to defend everything that I’ve ever done,” Huckabee said.

Actually, Huck, when you’re running for president, you do.

Like fellow candidate Ben Carson, Huckabee isn’t a fan of the Supreme Court. He told one gathering that he “…cringes whenever he hears people call a court decision ‘the law of the land.’ ”

You see, Huck believes the bible – his bible and not the constitution – should be the law of the land.

Ben Carson

Carson’s candidacy is so utterly ridiculous that it probably shouldn’t even be mentioned, but the guy is just so…so…fun.

Recently, Carson raised the possibility that he wasn’t paying attention during social studies class in school when he questioned whether the president must obey the Supreme Court.

“It is an open question. It needs to be discussed,” Carson told Fox News. Even Chris Wallace, the reluctant apologist for the Fox empire, was taken aback.

Chris Christie

Christie has lost a great deal of weight since his 2013 lap band surgery but his pre-surgery appetite became news recently when it was reported that he spent $82,594 – $82,594! – at the concession stands at Met Life Stadium while watching Giants and Jets football games during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

That, needless to say, is one helluva lot of corn dogs and cheese-slathered nachos.

Jeb Bush

There seems to be a perception that Jeb Bush’s candidacy is in trouble but The Curmudgeon isn’t buying it. That view seems to be based largely on Bush’s failure to scare every other candidate out of the race, but clearly, you can’t scare off people who are too dumb to recognize reality when it hits them smack dab in the face (and yes, The Curmudgeon is talking to you, George Pataki).

They say that those who fail to learn history’s lessons are doomed to repeat them, but Jeb seems not to buy into that theory at all. Even though his father lost his bid for re-election just a year after winning a war and his brother lost the respect of much of the American public for leading his country into not one but two failed wars, Jeb continues to press the war button, telling a gathering in Germany about the threat from Russia that “There are things that we could do given the scale of our military to send a strong signal that we’re on the side of Poland, the Baltics and the countries that truly feel threatened by the ‘little green men’, this new cyber warfare and these other tactics that Russia now is using. I think we ought to consider putting troops there for sure.”

So there you have it: Jeb Bush wants to put American troops along the Russian border.

World War III, anyone?

Bush also ran into trouble back home when, as part of an address about health care, he said the new Apple Watch – a gizmo The Curmudgeon wrote about recently – could be part of an alternative to Obamacare.

Fellow Floridian Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress and chair of the Democratic National Committee, was having none of it.

“I had cancer,” Wasserman Schultz declared. “There’s no app for that.”

Amen to that, sister.

Marco Rubio

Rubio ran into some problems recently over his personal finances. He’s been in public service for a while so his income has been somewhat limited – limited in a rich person’s way, not a normal person’s way, that is, because U.S. senators currently are paid $174,000 a year (The Curmudgeon continues to refuse to say U.S. senators “earn” $174,000 a year). Rubio also reportedly has a sugar daddy in Florida used car salesman (and former Philadelphia Eagles owner) Norman Braman.

Still, Rubio’s inability to manage his personal finances is pretty striking. Last fall Rubio cleaned out a $68,000 retirement account (and took the tax hit for doing so) to address some household needs. We can all understand dipping into savings for something important on occasion, although it’s hard to understand his needing to do so just two years after receiving an $800,000 advance from a publisher to write a book – an $800,000 advance – and one of the things Rubio did with that money was to replace his home’s air conditioning unit.

Something else he did with that money is a little harder to explain – but Rubio tried anyway, noting that “…my refrigerator broke down. That was $3,000.”

$3000 – for a refrigerator? A refrigerator? A guy with financial problems spends $3000 for a refrigerator? (Really, anyone spends $3000 for a refrigerator? And what, exactly, does a $3000 refrigerator do to make it worth $3000?)

One suspects that a Rubio presidency would mark the return of the $600 Navy ball peen hammer.

Rick Santorum

Unlike so many cynics and skeptics, The Curmudgeon is delighted to welcome Rick Santorum to this presidential circus because he is a sideshow unto himself.

And he got his under-the-big-top act in gear recently by telling the pope to mind his own beeswax on the subject of climate change.

“The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focus on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality. And I think when we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, then I think the church is probably not as forceful and credible.”

Now if only we could get Santorum, whose three degrees include none in science, to do that very thing: leave science to the scientists.

The Curmudgeon isn’t holding his breath.

The Donald

trumpDonald Trump has announced that he will make a “dramatic announcement” on June 16. Since today is June 15, all The Curmudgeon can say is that the suspense is killing him. While he’s pretty sure Trump is waaaay too gutless to run and actually put himself on the line, The Curmudgeon hopes he’s wrong because every three-ring circus needs a ringmaster and Trump would certainly add to the campaign’s entertainment value.

Why the hair alone…

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  • Scott  On June 15, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Such great theatre…and it’s only June of 2015! Glad there’s SOMETHING entertaining to watch, what with the lack of a credible baseball presence in town this summer…

    • foureyedcurmudgeon  On June 15, 2015 at 9:05 am

      You mean a team with Cameron Rupp, Dustin McGowan, Jerome Williams, Ben Revere, and Sean O’Sullivan doesn’t have you figuring out how you’re going to get your hands on some playoff tickets?

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