Through the looking-glass (part two)

Staff Columnist

Through the Looking-Glass (part two)

Mad Hatter:  “Have I gone mad?”

Alice:  “I’m afraid so.  You’re entirely bonkers.

But I’ll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.”

                                 (Tim Burton 2010 Alice movie)


Anyone following the twists and turns of the 2016 presidential campaigns must feel more than a little bit mad hatterish.

The most recent GOP debate, followed by the second contest in New Hampshire last week defied most normal expectations.

As we reported in our most recent column, Marco Rubio came out of Iowa proclaiming his third place caucus total was a victory, serving not only to help winnow down the original 17 member slate of contestants, but also highlighting his position as the youthful voice of the future.

At the debate, however, Rubio let himself be trapped by Governor Chris Christie, a former Federal Prosecutor, into repeating the same charge against President Obama in the same words three times.

Christie immediately pounced on the hapless candidate, with the charge:  “There it is, the memorized 25-second speech.  There it is, everybody!”

It was a moment reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s charge: “There you go again” during his 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter.  And it had the same effect of categorizing the opponent as out of touch.

Rubio came in a dismal fifth in the Granite State primary, behind his former mentor, Jeb Bush.

In a Washington Post column the following day, Eugene Robinson decried Rubio’s “robotic” debate performance and stated that it was time for establishment Republicans to face the truth about the young man, that “once you got past the façade, there appears to be no there there.”

That’s a pretty harsh assessment.  Realistically, in spite of his good looks, his youth, his articulateness and his drive, it is entirely possible that he simply requires more seasoning – more maturity – for a possible run at some future election.

Or, it is possible that he should have chosen a career for which he is better suited.  His deep religious convictions would have made him an excellent priest, and his drive could have carried him up the hierarchy of his church on an international basis.

New Hampshire had other consequences.  Carly Fiorina and Governor Christie have both dropped out, and the only bottom feeder left in the race is the estimable surgeon, Ben Carson, of whom it may truly be said that there is no there there.

The five top vote getters and Carson will move on to South Carolina, which has a reputation for a difficult electorate.

Trump remains the outsider’s outsider, with a debate facial expression limited to sneers, leers and pouts.

He has made a point of insulting and alienating woman, blacks, Latinos, immigrants and union members, but his poll numbers keep going up, and in New Hampshire he gained an amazing 35% of the vote, over twice as much as his nearest competitor, Ohio’s John Kasich.

From the beginning, John Q. Public has been surveying the Republican slate and has to have been asking himself:  “Which of these clowns seems presidential?”

Jeb Bush is a nice enough individual, but his having presided over a state whose legislature would have been at home in Texas, and for much the same reasons: women’s rights, death sentences, etc., is not likely to appeal to a sophisticated national electorate.

His brother, George W., pulled it off, but got us into unending wars with money borrowed from China, and there is no guaranty that Jeb, if elected, would not follow the same path.  Neither of the boys has the wisdom of their father, who knew when to fight and when to pull back.

Cruz, as we pointed out in last week’s column, is the scariest choice.  Admittedly, he is the best organized on a grass roots level, but his basic attitude would befit a dictator more than a democratically elected president.

One of the readers of last week’s column commented that former Ohio Representative and Governor John Kasich was “the only grown-up in the group.”

That may very well be true, and the man did pull off an unexpected second spot in New Hampshire, significantly ahead of the next three frantically vying for a dismal third spot.

If he can gather the funds and support to support a decent campaign in South Carolina and later, in Nevada, we mad hatters may find out that not all the best people are bonkers.

Richard Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians. He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.












Tags: , , , , , , ,

Longboat Key News

1 Response for “Through the looking-glass (part two)”

  1. ghostrider says:

    …..and none of the candidates are smoking dope or dropping acid.
    In the sixties we had something to blame our behaviour on. Now it’s a circus filled only with clown acts.

    Do you realize that for the last Republican debate the candidates arrived in one VW bug and climbed out the roof.
    I rest my case. 🙂

Leave a Reply