Looking at the ’16 race, from four years ago

Four years ago this week, I posted the following piece explaining what we could expect from the 2016 race. Just sayin’. Original post is available at this link.

Republicans are an orderly bunch.  For all the excitement generated by the 2012 nominating race, we pretty much know how it ends.  Unless there is a political disruption so large as to challenge the Party’s continuing viability, Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee.

Why Romney?  There are lots of great personal and policy reasons, but those don’t determine the outcome.  He’ll be the nominee because he’s the guy who finished second last time.  Except in races where the previous second-place finisher declined to run this is a pattern that stretches back unbroken for generations.

Why does it work that way?  This preference tends to produce a nominee with the stamina, the experience, the fund-raising heft, and the general gravitas to represent the Party for the long haul.  It means that a GOP nominee has years of vetting and seasoning before he takes the big stage.

Look at the Democrats’ experiences with Obama, Carter, and McGovern, and you get a sense for why the GOP leans in this direction.  Better yet, look at the lone recent exception to Republican Party’s second-place rule, George W. Bush, and the wisdom of the process shines through.

Surveying the 2012 field leads to a terrible realization: with Pawlenty out and Huntsman oblivious to what he’s walked into, there is no credible adult competing for the slot of ‘next in line.’  Daniels and Christie still aren’t answering the phone.  The well has run dry.

The triumph of the fundamentalist/Neo-Confederate axis inside the Party is apparent in this startling checkmate.  Even if we get a solid nominee this time, the presumptive frontrunner for the GOP nomination in the next cycle is pretty much guaranteed to be a loon.

Apart from Romney there is not a single candidate in serious contention who even pretends to have any interest in the reality-based community.  With their warnings about government injections being forced on little girls,  FEMA re-education camps, secession, the tyranny of paper money, the Islamic takeover the of the US, and the ‘weaknesses’ of the theory of evolution, where are we going to look next time for a candidate who isn’t a cartoon character?

If you think this year’s nominating field is ugly…

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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55 comments on “Looking at the ’16 race, from four years ago
  1. Titanium Dragon says:

    So, serious question time:

    The Republican Party, at this point, is dominated by the crazy political machine.

    Might it make more sense for the sane Republicans to defect en masse to the Democrats?

    The economic liberals (i.e. the core of the sane Republican party) and the social liberals (the core of the Democratic party) frankly generally have a lot in common, and a lot of social liberals are pretty economically liberal when it comes down to it, and vice-versa (hence Romney’s calculated “flip flops”). Obviously putting labor AND the businessmen in the same party is a weird fit, but, frankly, most people want to actually have, you know, jobs, and the sane Republicans are more numerous than unionists.

    There’s a variety of advantages of this, the largest being that they’d have a much bigger seat at the Democratic table than they would at the Republican table, I think. Right now, the Republican party is completely dysfunctional, while the Democratic party is only semi-dysfunctional; the businessmen could ally with the functional Democrats and forge an actual functional government, while the fringe Democrats would continue to be nuts and the Tea Party could go on to… I don’t know, give themselves concussions by beating their heads against the walls?

    Really, the reality is that a “liberal” party (socially and economically liberal) would probably more-or-less rule America, because the social liberals plus economic liberals equal over half the population, and the blacks hate the Dixiecrats and vice-versa. It would be a powerful political union and could well pick up some of the other auxillary groups because otherwise they’d have no voice at all.

    In the end, what MOST people want is to have the government do what they have to do, and get out of the way otherwise.

    I mean, it is either that, or find someone as good at manipulating the crazy people as Nixon was.

  2. Griffin says:

    New poll: 80% of the Republican Party approves of George W. Bush, and a plurality of GOP voters (43%) would vote for him for a third term (only 17% of the general population would do the same).

    80 percent. 80. 80 percent of the Republican Party is not on planet Earth anymore. They aren’t even in our galaxy. They’re out to lunch. A few cards short of a full deck. They’re insane is what I’m getting at. That’s a much higher percentage than I predicted.


    • 1mime says:

      Yougov polls are online and therefore not as purposefully grouped by the standard measures (gender, race, etc). So, there is that. Still, it doesn’t surprise me. Probably would surprise W tho. Guess he’s hoping time will cleanse all wounds. He may be right.

  3. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Holy (pun intended) crap.

    Ben Carson is finally making sense, and he is taking a position that I can absolutely endorse.

    Dr. Carson, finally in a fit of sanity for the GOP party is calling for presidential candidates to, and I quote, “subjugate their religious beliefs to our Constitution” before being elected to the White House.

    Thank Jesus (the deity, not my accountant), and Carson elaborated:

    “…What we should be talking about is [religion], and the tenets of [religion], and where do they come from…You know, and if you go back and you look at — what I would like for somebody to show me is an improved [religious] text…Let me see — if you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this. But right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?”

    God bless you Dr. Carson, and I suspect you will be calling Kim Davis, Santorum, and Huckabee shortly to share your thoughts on this issue with them.

    Oh, wait, sorry about that, he wasn’t talking about all Christians, just Muslims, so never mind, and carry on with your backwards, hypocritical, bullshit.

  4. 1mime says:

    Tutta, This is for you. Our lives are filled to distraction – from politics to soccer mom, but it’s important that we savor beauty whenever and wherever we find it. It helps balance the uglier side of our world a little.


    • tuttabellamia says:

      Thanks, Mime! This kind of ties in with some recent thoughts of mine. People don’t take time to notice and acknowledge beautiful music, but they do find the time to notice and pass on to others the latest ugly thing said by Trump or others of his ilk. (No wonder the crowd in New York called him FEO.) It’s sad that people are more drawn to ugliness than to beauty.

      If anything or anyone has taken the wind out of Trump’s sails, it’s been THE POPE’S VISIT. It warms my heart to see people focused on the beauty and nobility of the Pope’s presence. Even John Boehner had a spiritual, life-changing moment as a result.

      Perhaps now we can wave goodbye to Trump and his brand of ugliness. Forgive him, forget him, hold no rancor, and move on.

      • 1mime says:

        Joshua Bell is a fabulous violinist. I was fortunate to see Itzhack Perlman perform and, of course, have several DVDs of his music. Music really takes you to another level. In the WaPo experiment with Bell, I was intrigued with the fact that identities and fame are so transient. If only more in politics understood this. I can’t say that John Boehner impressed me as a strong and wise Speaker, but he seemed like a good man. Who knows!

      • Tuttabella says:

        Mime, on the subject of transience … there’s no substitute for music performed live, and we should remember that our dearest musicians won’t be around forever. I’m more of a jazz fan, and I’ve had the honor of attending a concert by Sonny Rollins at Boston’s Symphony Hall and also several concerts by Tony Bennett. These wonderful, classy elderly gentlemen poured out their heart and soul for their audience, and we are blessed to still have them with us.

      • 1mime says:

        Since the guys are glued to FB, guess we girls can go OT on music….Some of my favorite performance memories are seeing the trio Sammy Davis Jr, Liza Minnelli, and Frank Sinatra in New Orleans, Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Lane, Louis Armstrong, the 3 Tenors and Sarah Brightman. I like instrumentalists, especially the trumpets of Arturo Sandoval and Chris Botti…and smooth sax of Gato Barbieri and David Sanborn, but I also like Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Michael Jackson and Barbra Streisand (Her ” Return to Brooklyn” Concert with Botti and her son is unique). If you like the Ray Charles, a little known album is one entitled “Ray Charles and Betty Carter”. Their duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is downright wicked (-: Could go on and on….I’m not as focused as you are, just love great music, whatever the venue. Makes me happy.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Could I just jump in to say that this is the only mention I have ever seen online of Ray Charles and Betty Carter singing Baby It’s Cold Outside.

        It is perfection.

        Ray’s voice is so persuasive, I always find myself singing, “Forget about her, Ray. Take me!”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I like all kinds of music myself and have attended concerts since I was about 4, when my mom used to drag me to the Music Hall and the Coloseum to see the major stars from Mexico, whom I eventually grew to love.

        Anyone who saw Sinatra in concert has my undying respect. My favorite live album may be Sinatra at the Sands in Vegas with Count Basie, from 1966. I have it on vinyl and CD. And as I type this post I am listening to Gerry Mulligan live in Newport, from 1960.

      • 1mime says:

        We had to travel for the Sinatra/Minelli/Davis show but boy was it worth it! My husband loved Vegas and visited frequently during the years when the performers would jam after their shows in the lounges (for all who could stay up that late). He saw many, many great impromtu performances by America’s great artists – all free! Satchmo was one of his favorite performers. (His version of “I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues and What a Wonderful World, are classics. Here’s a link to the Charles/Carter duet and then promise I’ll get back on topic(-:

        Apologies, Lifer and others – a pleasant trip down memory lane….

      • WX Wall says:

        Wow, coming to a political forum, and leaving with a smile rather than anger. That’s unusual 🙂

        I agree about live music. I’ve been a blues fan for years, and my most cherished concert was watching BB King a few years ago. He was already frail and sat down on the stage for the whole thing, but it was amazing. King intersperses stories from his life, and jokes about the modern world as interludes and introductions for his songs. There are no fancy production values except for a simple stage for the band. The setting was a fairly small, intimate venue, and it felt like sitting at the knee of an old grandfather as he entertained you with stories and songs from his life. My regret is I never got to go to another one (something about being too busy; the curse of the modern world, eh?)

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Is there something wrong with my ears, or is Betty’s voice off-key? Her high notes, especially. I mean no disrespect, but seriously, am I missing something?

        Ray is excellent, as usual.

      • 1mime says:

        I had to search through a bunch of links to get this one that offered the double track. I have the CD and the vocalist quality is better, tho Charles is definitely he stronger vocalist. (I got to see him live about 25 years ago…great performer) Carter has a soft, whiny kind of voice with nice cadence. I thought theirs was the best rendition of this particular song. If you look for Carter’s links on this song, you’ll hear her voice clearly and get a better idea of her real voice quality. With you-tube, recording quality is dicey. My greatest regret is passing on an opportunity to see Whitney Houston live. As WxWall said, time….now she’s gone forever and all we have left of her soaring voice are her recordings. Carpe Diem!

      • 1mime says:

        Another thing – I listen with ear buds plugged directly into the computer vs using the external speakers of the computer. Huge difference.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Interesting article Mime. I was struck by this part:

      “It didn’t used to be like this for the GOP—in fact, fifty years ago, it was congressional Democrats who were riven by internal dissent, as they battled over civil rights, social justice and even economic policy. The segregationist Southern wing of the party was so implacably opposed to action on civil rights that Democratic liberals had to forge compromise with Republican moderates to make any major progress—and in those days, the Republicans still took seriously their legacy as the party of Lincoln.”

      So the bigots and racists used to belong to the Dems. When they could no longer stop civil rights from happening, they jumped ship to the GOP who let them in like a Trojan horse. They then began to cause strife and UnAmerican behaviors from within the GOP, where it is as bad now asbits ever been, and their departure allowed the Dems to enjoy relative peace ever since.

      These ppl are a blight on America.

      Infuriatingly, the more disingenous ones will point to “their” legacy as the party of Lincoln to deflect criticism about their racism. They would have despised Lincoln (and been a democrat) if they were alive 100 years ago. They almost destroyed the democratic party. When that situation proved untenable, they moved on and now have almost destroyed the GOP.

      These people despise America today. The America they think they love hasn’t existed for 150 years, if ever.

      • 1mime says:

        If they “loved” America, they would focus more on reaching accord than on sowing discord. The current attitude is exactly that of a bully – my way or no way.

        The history in the article was most interesting, especially since I was following politics for most of this time. It is revealing that so many of the GOP speakers have had to resign. I have never seen a comparison between the parties on infidelity but it appears that the GOP holds the record. Also interesting is how stable the leadership has been for Democrats who held the speaker post.

  5. 1mime says:

    This comment from a very frustrated Boehner ally, Charles Dent, R – PA, says it all:

    ““Any jackass can kick down a barn door. It takes a carpenter to hang one. We need a few more carpenters around here. Everybody knows it,” Dent said off the House floor.”

    Let the games begin!

    • 1mime says:

      And this from The Week:

      “By the end of September, as his allies openly spoke of having to rely on Democratic votes to survive a leadership challenge, he evidently decided that he had had enough. The party he represented was not the party he governed. His resignation was a surprise, but it was not a shock.”

      It used to be that getting votes from across the aisle meant compromise had succeeded, that both parties found enough agreement that they could support a piece of legislation. Today, for hard right Republicans in the House, needing Dem votes is a sign of weakness. THEY have to control it all and their agenda must dominate. Rational people keep saying this has to change, yet, it seems to be getting worse.

      I was also saddened to read Rubio and Cruz’ public remarks about Boehner’s resignation. Both were openly, publicly ugly when they could have been dignified, and in the process, showed us how they would behave as Commander in Chief. Regardless what his colleagues think of him, Boehner’s resignation was not a time to grandstand.

  6. Griffin says:

    Let’s not forget your other prediction about 2016: https://goplifer.com/2014/12/08/predicting-the-2016-gop-nominee/

    About 90% of your above post was correct in its predictions, with the only mistakes being about Rob Portman running and not predicting that Chris Christie would go full wingnut (and perhaps slightly underestimating how much the rest of the establishment candidates would pander, though that would require psychic abilities).

    Though I imagine that when you said the “Race for the Base” would be a “TLC reality show” you didn’t mean it quite so literally as it turned out thanks to the current frontrunner.

  7. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    A wacky liberal journalist is visiting with the Values Voter Conference in DC and has come to this conclusion based on today’s events:

    “The most shocking revelation from the morning by far is that Cruz is not the neutered wacko that he sells in the GOP debates. He is full of fire and hate and, more horrifically, actually has a shot. He is a fringe candidate, but he is king of the fringe.”

    This has been Lifer’s point about Cruz, and Ted would fill TThor’s need to have a “real conservative” run on the GOP side.

    • 1mime says:

      And that is what really scares me. Remember when I posted Cruz’ strategy which he is so confident about, that he released it publicly. He expects the GOP field to be a 3-some with the two top runners splitting the vote and him taking the majority. That has been his plan.

      I also stated that if I had to, I would vote for Trump over Cruz, and that should speak volumes.

      • flypusher says:

        So, when Cruz gets his ass handed to him in the general election, will we still hear the excuse of “he wasn’t conservative enough” in the postmortem analysis?

      • 1mime says:

        I have felt that the GOP would nominate Jeb/Kasich. If the party crazies go with Cruz, all bets are off as to what the base will do. If it ends up being Cruz, and IF he loses, the lament will be that the base didn’t turn out….they will never get to “why”. Does the hard right Ever get to why? With the turmoil within the Republican Party that is in full array, who can predict anything anymore?

        On the subject of the religious right, it is official: Lifer, welcome the newest member of the Republican Party – Kim Davis.


      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I dunno, honestly.

        There is a major disconnect between what voters want and what the candidates say – and this is with both parties, although it’s definitely worse on the right.

        I’m going to guess that it depends on how badly they lose

      • Firebug2006 says:

        “So, when Cruz gets his ass handed to him in the general election, will we still hear the excuse of “he wasn’t conservative enough” in the postmortem analysis?”

        Fly, you got that first part right for sure. I foresee an electoral landslide if Cruz (or Trump) is the GOP nominee. I won’t try to predict what the wingnut base would do in the aftermath, but perhaps that would be enough to motivate the Republican party to finally be rid of them.

      • Sir Magpie de Crow says:

        I saw that the Kim Davis news story… about her becoming a Republican. Giving the outrageousness of her actions, the tediousness of her “plight” and my complete lack of surprise at her decision my immediate response could be best summed up by a line delivered by the great character actor Powers Boothe in the movie Tombstone.

  8. 1mime says:

    Salon has an especially interesting article on the history of GOP House Leadership. The author warns:

    ” The record…highlights the inherent dangers stirred up by running political campaigns as moral crusades, which simply cannot be sustained as a means of government in a secular, pluralistic system. ”

    And, it could get worse.


  9. Griffin says:

    You just wanted to say “I told you so!” didn’t you? Well you earned it, you told us so!

    I still think the GOP electorate is going to chicken out at the last second and nominate Rubio because he’s “electable” but even the establishment candidates have become far crankier than Romney was forced to be (see Planned Parenthood).

    What is interesting is how quickly Donald Trump destroyed any semblance of a chance the GOP had to win in 2016. Apart from isolating them from Hispanics/women/moderates he has utterly destoyed Scott Walker (once thought to be a strong contender) after causing his collapse in Iowa, and he has made Jeb! look weak to the Republican base so even if he gets the nomination they won’t turnout to vote for him (much like Mitt Romney), not to mention how silly Jeb! looks to sane people for getting in a tussle on national television with a reality tv star. That’s 2 of the 3 “electable” Republicans destroyed in a month and now Rubio is all that remains, and Trump’s picking a fight with him as well.

    The Democrats could nominate a cement block and it would win.

    • johngalt says:

      Trump probably hastened Walker’s departure, but I read an analysis that basically said that Walker had become a one-trick pony (union-busting) and was unable or incapable of doing his homework, particularly on foreign and military affairs, to such a degree that his staff was getting disgusted. He was not long for the campaign trail with or without Trump.

      • 1mime says:

        There were also the legal charges which were discharged by a very friendly WI Supreme Court that people thought was inappropriate….Fundamentally, Walker was always weak. The lack of a formal higher education degree may have also been a factor since he was running for a position in which he would have to engage with very well educated heads of state.

        I keep thinking of Lifer’s Cruz prediction and it worries me. Hillary has been so damaged that I don’t know if she will be able to recover. Personally, I can’t look at or listen to Cruz. I find his tone and manner of speaking incredibly unappealing.

  10. RightonRush says:

    I honestly hate to see Boehner go, I think he did the best he could with what he had to work with. Hopefully his replacement will be somewhat sane, but the moderate (sane) Republicans (the few that are left) will have a fight on their hands. Bobby Jindal is gloating over Boehner, why I have no idea, and telling Mitch McConnell he’s next. Can a Phoenix rise from the ashes of the once proud GOP? I seriously doubt it, the party has attracted too many nuts even for the somewhat moderate squirrels.

    • Griffin says:

      In terms of policy I’m not sure if Boehner was much more moderate though. Even he admitted that his main problem with the Tea Party was one of tactics/tone rather than substance. He only looked mellow next to people who were willing to nuke the world economy over a center-right healthcare reform bill.

      • rightonrush says:

        Better Boehner than a TeaNut. Can you imagine a Speaker Gohmert,
        “A number of conservative lawmakers cheered the news. “We need bold leadership, and this gives us a chance to get it,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas.

        Outside tea party groups also declared victory, underscoring a schism between conservative base voters and establishment leaders that has made Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nearly as scorned in some quarters of the GOP as Obama himself.

        At a meeting of the Values Voters Summit in Washington where religious conservatives were gathered to hear from GOP presidential candidates, attendees and some candidates alike erupted in extended applause and cheers at the news Boehner was stepping aside.

        “You want to know how much each of you terrify Washington?” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz asked the crowd. “Yesterday, John Boehner was speaker of the House. Y’all come to town and somehow that changes. My only request is, ‘Can you come more often?'”

        Several conservatives made clear they would now be gunning for McConnell, and presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, called on the Senate leader to resign”

        Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article36529449.html#storylink=cpy

      • BigWilly says:

        But “Speaker Gohmert” makes me chuckle every time I think it. Remember; he’s not crazy, he’s from Texas.

    • Creigh says:

      Yeah, we could get somebody worse than Boehner. But let’s not shed too many tears for the guy who handed out tobacco lobbyist checks — on the floor of the House!

      • 1mime says:

        Boehner handed out checks to tobacco lobbyists in Chambers? When did this happen, and “how” could this legally happen ?

      • Creigh says:

        Checks from tobacco lobbyists for Members, before a key vote on tobacco legislation.

    • WX Wall says:

      There *is* a potential silver lining however. If there is a moderate republican disgusted enough by the tea party folks, and ambitious enough to do it, he could win the speakership with democratic votes. Remember, House Speaker is not the same as Senate Majority Leader. Senate Majority/Minority leaders are elected only by the respective party. Technically, Speaker is voted on by entire House. Usually, though, the majority party decides beforehand who its nominee will be, and they have a perfunctory 100% party-line vote which elects the Speaker. But there’s nothing to prevent a breakaway moderate republican gathering a few dozen insurgent republicans and cutting a deal with the Dems to work together in exchange for their votes for Speaker. This actually happens occasionally at the state level, where state assembly Speakers get elected with opposing party support. No reason it couldn’t happen at the federal level…

      This could be the start of the republican break from the tea party that everyone is waiting for. If it’s done though, it would have to be by someone from a moderate district where the voters won’t throw him out because he was “disloyal” to his party. Sort of like one of the Illinois Reps that Goplifer likes so much 🙂 (BTW, I’m originally from Chicago too, and I sometimes wonder if Bob Michel (Republican House leader in 1994) had not become disillusioned and had run for just one more term and become Speaker instead of Gingrich, whether the Republican party might have saved itself…)

  11. johngalt says:

    Even with that warning about 2016, I bet you weren’t in a dark enough place to conjure up Donald Trump as the frontrunner four months out of the first primaries.

    • 1mime says:

      Or, John Boehner’s resignation….or, for that matter, Cantor’s defeat…

      • goplifer says:

        I’m actually surprised that Boehner held on for so long. With a Google search I found an old chron article from 2011 that didn’t make it over to the new platform. Someone stole it and posted it on their site, so ironically now it’s preserved.

        “As for Boehner, he is almost certainly entering the final phase of his awakening. His failure in a critical moment to pass even the most ludicrous of show-bills is demonstrating to anyone with eyes that he cannot continue to steer that mob. He’ll probably keep his job for the near term, but the smell of that much blood in the water will attract unwelcome attention. The dragon will eat him in due time.”


      • 1mime says:

        The question now is, is the dragon a “good” dragon or a ‘bad” dragon?

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        This is going to be a very weird comparison but

        Saddam Hussein Iraq vs ISIS – although the isn’t fair to Boehner, it’s to illustrate the point that he’s keeping things in check.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        OK, my previous comment just sounds absurd to myself now.

        Sorry 😛

      • Turtles Run says:

        I agree PR. At least Saddam kept his religious whackos in check.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Turtles, every single secular middle eastern strongman that the West has toppled/allowed to fail (Saddam, Gaddafi, Mubarek etc) has seen a dramatic rise in organized, expansionistic Islamic extremism in the region.

      • flypusher says:

        PR, TR, and Rob, that reminds me of a prediction that I got right. This was back in early ’91 (Desert Shield (and my brother was part of that)), and I was attenting a conference in Chicago and went to dinner with colleagues from Europe. They wanted my prediction on whether Bush (the Elder) would topple Saddam Hussein. I said no, for the very reasons you state- fear of religious whack jobs replacing him. I have less than zero sympathy for any of those toppled dictators. But ousting them is just the beginning, not the end, if you’re thinking of reform in the ME.

        I can’t blame Boehner for saying “screw you guys, I’m going home.” I’m amazed he stuck it out this long. The TP caucus is about to get a demonstration of the old adage “beware of what you wish for, because you just might get it.” But given their track record, I’ll predict they double down on the crazy when they can’t get their way.

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