Friday, February 26, 2016


Well, well, well. If the New Hampshire primary is any indication, presidential politics is going to be very interesting this year.

Donald Trump, basking in his “yuge” victory in New Hampshire, is now off to South Carolina. On the surface, it seems like the Palmetto state would be foreign turf for him, but the late January Real Clear Politics poll had him leading the Republican field with 36%. His closest rival, Ted Cruz, was polling 19.7%. 

The South Carolina primary is less than two weeks away, which doesn’t leave much time for Cruz and what’s left of the Republican slate of candidates to catch up. The prospects for Cruz are tough enough, but they’re even tougher for John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson, the only Republicans still in the race. 

Kasich did finish a respectable second in New Hampshire, but he’s going to South Carolina almost broke. With money being the mother’s milk of politics, my guess is that he’s dead meat.

Jeb Bush, on the other hand, has lots of money, but it doesn’t appear to me that his heart is in this campaign. Nancy and I have watched him several times on C-Span. While he’s quite conversant when it comes to policy, he spends a lot of time letting people know he’d much rather be with his grand-children. I don’t think it helps to have his mother, Barbara, on the stump with him. She’s wonderful, but I know how I’d feel if my mother were by my side at every campaign stop telling people to “vote for my son.” If I were Jeb I’d be dying a thousand deaths. It’s painful to watch. 

Ben Carson hasn’t suspended his campaign yet. There must still be a few stubborn evangelicals out there willing to vote for him.

Then, there’s Marco Rubio. He came out of Iowa with a full head of steam. His prospects were sky high, but he was bloodied badly in the New Hampshire debate. Chris Christie appeared to be imitating Paulie Walnuts taking out Big Salvatore Bonpensiero on the Sopranos. He thought a Mafia style hit on the up and coming Rubio would make him the Republican’s “made man,” but he somehow managed to shoot himself in the process as well as the intended target. Rubio was wounded alright, but he survived and managed to stay in the hunt. Christie, on the other hand, didn’t. It was all very clumsy stuff.

Instead of going on to South Carolina after New Hampshire was decided, Christie high tailed it back to New Jersey, with his campaign in tatters and future political prospects all but dead. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find them next to Jimmy Hoffa’s bones someday at the Meadowlands.

Then, we have the Democrats. What a spectacle. I’ve never been an admirer of Hillary Clinton, so I have to admit I enjoyed watching Bernie Sanders give her a real thumping. Good for him!

The signs of the Clinton campaign’s desperation became more and more evident in the final days of the New Hampshire campaign. I knew it was going to be bad when she started dragging Bill from town hall to town hall. God, he looked awful, more like a dead man walking than the Bill of the nineties.

He accused Bernie of being sexist. Talk about chutzpah. This is the Bill Clinton who spent an inordinate amount of time having sex in the Oval Office with an intern while he was on the phone discussing legislation with congressmen. This is the Bill Clinton who had a nasty habit of groping White House volunteers like Kathleen Willey. It was multi-tasking run amok.

Hillary forgave him, I think for the sake of political expediency.

I wasn’t sure the Clinton campaign could get more desperate, but they managed to show me how wrong I was. Madeline Albright started showing up at campaign stops, badgering young millennial women with the now infamous words – “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

It all backfired…badly. Bernie won the young, especially young millennial women. In fact, he won almost every demographic group, leaving Hillary with voters over 65 and people with incomes above $200,000 in her corner. That was bad enough, but the fact that Bernie won about 90% of the vote of people who were looking for an honest politician speaks volumes about what a lot of Americans think of her ethics and fund-raising strategies.

When this presidential season started, I thought it was going to be boring. My, how things have changed. I can hardly wait for the March caucuses. In just a few short weeks, we Kansans will be packing up our blunderbusses, rusty old swords, and pitchforks and heading to the fairgrounds. As we Irish are fond of saying, “It’s going to be one hell of a donnybrook!”