Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2012 GOP Field = 1992 Dem Field?

It's been going around in some pundit circles that the weak field Republican hopefuls for 2012 are similar to the famously weak field of Democratic candidates in 1992. Let's parse that, shall we?

In the Democratic field, we had Bill Clinton, already a rock star in the party with a memorable keynote address at the 1988 convention, a Rhodes Scholar and former two-term Arkansas governor with a Yale law degree; Paul Tsongas, a liberal spoiler with a Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard pedigree who went from city council to congressman to senator within 10 years; Jerry Brown, a former successful two-term governor of the most populous state in the country with a Cal Berkeley and Yale education; Bob Kerrey, a former governor of Nebraska and sitting US Senator, a former Navy SEAL and Vietnam War veteran; Tom Harkin, sitting senator from Iowa, JD from Columbus School of Law, and former Navy jet pilot; and Doug Wilder, the first African American governor of Virginia, a Howard University law school grad, and a Korean War veteran who earned a Bronze Star for heroism.

In the current GOP field, we have: Newt Gingrich, former congressman and disgraced House Speaker, who has a PhD in history from Tulane University and divorced his first two wives while they were in the hospital being treated for cancer; Tim Pawlenty, former two-term governor and five-term congressman of Minnesota, with Minnesota undergrad and law degrees; Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and businessman with a Harvard law degree and three military deferments, who turned around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City from a loser to a profitable one; Herman Cain, successful pizza businessman and radio talk-show host, with a Master's Degree from Purdue University, and a less-than-basic understanding of the US Constitution; Gary Johnson, libertarian former New Mexico governor, BS from U of NM, and former construction entrepreneur; Fred Karger, the first openly gay candidate for the GOP nomination; Tom Miller, flight attendant; Ron Paul, 75-year-old congressman from Texas, who said he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because of its impact on businessmen, and a former obstetrician; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator with a Penn State and Dickinson School of Law education, who has earned the dubious distinction of being the namesake of a particularly disgusting by-product of anal sex; and Vern Wuensche, Texas businessman. And the field promises to get wider, with potential candidates Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, and perhaps even Rudy Giuliani thinking about jumping into the fray.

Yeah, they're exactly the same, don't you think?

I'm frankly sick of the false equivalencies. The 1992 Dem field was full of honored war veterans, seasoned politicians, and success stories. The Republican field is mainly about business and political wonks, with some doses of religious wingnuttery, libertarian extremism, and anonymity thrown in for good measure. God help them if the reigning Queen and Princess of batshit crazy get involved.

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