Jason Stanford, 6/18/2015 [Archive]

My Stealth Campaign for President

By Jason Stanford

You probably have not heard a peep about my campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. All the attention lately has been focused on Lindsey Graham explaining why he's single, Jeb Bush avoiding his family, and Donald Trump telling us all how lucky we are that he is running for president. The way I figure, the more attention they get, the better I look in anonymity.

So far, my plan is working perfectly. If I can remain largely unknown throughout the primary season, the nomination is as good as won. The Republican Party used to brag that it was a big tent. After the last two weeks, the GOP has become a circus tent, and no one likes cleaning up after elephants.

How unpopular are the Republicans running for President? According to Google consumer surveys and reputable opinion polls, Voldemort—the villain from the Harry Potter novels—is viewed more favorably by Americans than Bush and Trump as well as Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Chris Christie.

You'd think the most notable thing about Graham is that he thinks the problem with America is that we aren't at war with enough countries. Told that most Americans lack his fervor for more war, he replied, "Well, don't vote for me." Given his single-digit standings in the polls, most Republicans are doing exactly that, but it's for a different reason.

It's because he's a confirmed bachelor, or, as Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois was caught saying recently, a "bro with no ho." Apparently this is a problem the Founding Fathers did not anticipate, but Graham is a man with a plan, at least when it comes to not having a First Lady.

"Well, I've got a sister. She could play that role if necessary," Graham said. "I've got a lot of friends. We'll have a rotating first lady." So far, people don't seem all that excited about his plan. He should stick to fantasizing about another land war in Iraq.

It's hard to recapture the majesty of America when Republicans are teasing a United States Senator because he doesn't have a girlfriend. But maybe Americans are easily bamboozled. That's the thinking behind Bush's—I'm sorry, Jeb!'s—campaign to make everyone forget the time we elected his brother. Twice.

Sure, Jeb!—musn't mention the last name, now—agrees with his Brother-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named on high-stakes standardized testing, privatizing Social Security, the Middle East, and a host of other vital issues of the day on which his brother's coterie of experts advise him. Jeb!, though loyal to his unnamed relation, is his own man. We know this because not only did he say, "I'm my own man," but he put an exclamation point behind his first name in the logo: Jeb!

Snappy punctuation might not be enough for Jeb! On the day he announced for president Jeb! was more disliked than liked among Republicans. Ironically, polls now show that his brother is far more popular than Jeb! is.

Trump is a man for whom punctuation for emphasis is superfluous. His announcement covered myriad subjects under the Republican sun but made only one point: Trump is awesome. It would be easy to disregard Trump as a frivolous exercise in ego amplification if not for the fact that at one point in 2012 he was the front-runner for the nomination I now seek. But having worn out his welcome, he is the least liked person running for president, though Trump is still more popular than Congress.

To be fair, Americans aren't making golden calves in the images of the other candidates of either party. While viewed much less unfavorably than the other candidates, the Democrats running for president—as well as Rand Paul and Marco Rubio—are still less popular than Darth Vader and the shark from Jaws. I am not making this up.

To know the Republicans running for president is to loathe them. That's why I steadfastly avoid not only campaigning but refuse to serve if elected. Debates? Don't need 'em, don't want 'em. Speeches? Not gonna do it. TV ads? I'd rather watch baseball. The less I do, the better I'm doing.

America, I think this can work.

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©Copyright 2015 Jason Stanford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Jason Stanford is a regular contributor to the Austin American-Statesman, a Democratic consultant and a Truman National Security Project partner. You can email him at stanford@oppresearch.com and follow him on Twitter @JasStanford.

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