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Winning with a “Young Underdog”

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Ten Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, (L-R) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Ohio Governor John Kasich, debate at the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

If Republicans hope to win the White House in 2016 they should consider the success enjoyed by Democrats in winning four of the last six presidential elections. In each of those winning races, the Democrats nominated candidates – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – who might be described as “young underdogs.” The 46-year-old Clinton and the 47-year-old Obama both came from dysfunctional family backgrounds that presented dramatic obstacles to their advancement. In contrast, their Republican opponents were each in their sixties, and, except for Bob Dole in 1996, came from prominent, elite backgrounds: as sons of a Senator, a top Navy Admiral, and a wealthy Governor.

This year, the GOP could turn the tables – nominating their own young underdog from among the many potential candidates to take on Hillary Clinton, the ultimate multimillionaire Washington insider who would be 69 on taking office. That’s a precious and rare opportunity Republican primary voters should consider before making their decisions.

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  1. Ted  •  Sep 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Translation… Get behind the soulless, insular GOP establishment’s plan to dump their empty headed money man Jeb Bush and his Ted Kennedy-like befuddlement for why he wants to run this country (other than the self-entitlement of having a famous name) for a young, slick Marco Rubio and his pre-packaged, focused grouped “gee I’m running for 9th grade class president” answers which are merely recycled, re-calibrated talking points from the stale Weekly Standard playbook used by a dumb G.W. to ruin the conservative movement… a once great movement envisioned by Goldwater and brought to near-fruition by Reagan. Mr. Medved used to rightly ridicule another soulless career politician only interested in power like John Edwards when he droned on endlessly about how, “my father worked in the mill…” but watch Mike swoon as Marco reminds us for the 1000th time that “mi padre came here and worked as a bartender…” Ben Shapiro said it best, Rubio has no edge or soul to him. He is so slick that sadly nothing of lasting value can even stick to him and resonate with people. Sadly, it takes a good movie critic like Mike to keep giving credence to these bad stage managed performances lacking in honesty but filled with sunny optimism while we watch the economy tank and our families and neighborhoods crumble until the next ill-advised war (Iraq, Libya and Syria are doing wonders for the travel industry though) takes us down even further.

    • Andy  •  Sep 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Who do you have in mind? Donald Trump?

    • mike  •  Sep 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Ted!

    • Eddie  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      You write sadly twice.

  2. Ted  •  Sep 2, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Maybe Elon Musk’s one way trip to Mars…

  3. Ted  •  Sep 2, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I say that in jest… but there are not a lot of good options. Perhaps Jim Webb, who at least is a serious thinker, carries real gravitas unlike the “youngsters” Mike seems to think will rescue the party, and, like Eisenhower, is a real warrior who is also a red state leaning moderate. Make no mistake, these are very trying times approaching, people are deeply scared for their way of life, and we need wisdom, not a hipper brand with speeches concocted by Frank Luntz. The establishment seems to put winning as the ultimate goal, i.e. attainment of power for themselves, but whoever “wins” is going to inherit an economic and geopolitical mess that has accrued exponentially over the last 15 years or so. The country desperately needs a sober and steady hand, not one that’s only out for fat donations, which is why people sadly flock to a demagogue like Trump. Webb has also seen war and has an understanding of its far ranging consequences, rather than constantly calling for force as a simple solution much the way the think tank Rambos do… the same neocons who who told us Iraq would be a cakewalk paid for with oil revenues and that the threat of a Suni/Shia civil war was only a paranoid fantasy (thank you for that insightful gem Mr. Kristol). Webb also seems to have a genuine concern about the middle class as well, even though I hate him having the Democratic machine behind him. Those socialists will never allow him to even debate, let alone elect him anyway, so it’s probably moot. He should jump back to us as a Reagan Democrat in the Republican party, but again, the neocons and the crony capitalist bosses would never welcome him, although Trump is breaking their hold on power, which could hopefully give a thoughtful outsider an opening. I’m not optimistic, in fact, I’m starting to realize how the Romans longing for the old Republic felt watching one insane and corrupt emperor after another dispense bread and circus at home and over-extension abroad. Lindsay Graham would have fit in perfectly during those dark days flying hysterically out of the bathhouse in his toga screeching about the capital’s obsessive need for security, whatever the cost. Just pray people… ultimately it’s in God’s hands.

  4. Jim Bird  •  Sep 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I love your insights Ted. We are probably up the creek of no return now and Michael wants a happy warrior. The democrats just want the next thug in line and the old guys in the GOP want to hide. The only people who get totally screwed are the poor and the middle class now. Our GDP is $17.5 trillion, our debt, when BO leaves office, will be $20 trillion and unfunded liabilities are over $200 trillion. There is no recovery from this pile of crap.

  5. Lee  •  Sep 3, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I think you’re on to something Ted. The GOP brain trust has lost the grassroots and are floundering. They can whip up reactionary discontent with Obama care or the Iran deal or Obama’s monarchy of unconstitutional executive orders to pull out a congressional election, but they have not been able to offer any reasonable governing strategy. A sort of creepy Rovian attainment of power is the sole goal now, hence the fixation on a “young face” or “latino appeal.” As you said, that’s merely selling a brand, but the message is broken. Having Goldman Sachs shovel millions of dollars to another Bush heir with a wink and a nod by the party bosses absolutely sent a sad, perceived message of denial, stupidity and that nothing was learned. Trump has absolutely eviscerated them for being so careless. Also, for better or worse, the GOP has to admit its monumental failures in order move ahead. Whether by circumstances out of our control or because of our own undoing, the four main pillars of the Modern GOP (traditional family values, fiscal conservatism, free market capitalism and national security maturity and competence) have been undermined or lost with the grassroots and voters at large. The culture’s acceptance of gay marriage and out of wedlock births has killed the current family values plank as it stands now. George W. and Congress running up big deficits (albeit a fraction of Obama’s, though Democrats make no bones about it) once they finally attained full control of the government shattered peoples view of a basic conservative belief. The crony capitalist bailouts and rampant, continued financial speculation that has ensued following the 2008 crash has people feeling the market is rigged. And yes, the Wilsonian, neoconservative Iraq democracy fantasy was a stunningly naive failure for which people don’t buy us saying, “Obama pulled out too soon” as a mature answer for all the chaos we see. McCain;s rantings in Syria and Ukraine come off as dangerous and foolish. I fear Rubio buys into the same idea that NATO can somehow defeat Russia over Ukraine. It is lunacy. I would also add that globalization was accepted by both parties, but the average guy in the Midwest who lost his factory job to China and sees his schools and hospitals flooded with illegals (once only a California problem), no matter how loving the immigrant’s intentions, isn’t comforting for economically stressed people just trying tp preserve a way of life.

  6. Lonnie  •  Sep 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t think Bush can win because of his last name so he shouldn’t be the nominee. But all this Jeb-hate is misplaced. He was an excellent and conservative governor here in Florida, consistent in his views and hard-working. “Entitled” suggests lazy. Not at all a description of Jeb’s terms of offfice in Tallahassee. Also, where does “soulless” come from? I think that description fits better with Trump. He is all clanging cymbal but seems to have no consistent inner core. In other words, no soul. Yes, Bush is old news. But there is no evidence that any of the descriptions of him here are supported by any evidence. As for the Rubio-hate, don’t get that either.

    • Ted  •  Sep 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Anybody who has watched Jeb in the debate or on the stump seems to have noticed not a lot of fire in the belly Lonnie. He comes off as confused and downright catatonic, allowing Trump to call him “low energy.” Whatever we think of Trump, the emasculation peception has worked. Jeb looks like a guy who amassed a bunch of big donors and tried to sleepwalk to the oval office. And yes, it reminds me of Ted Kennedy’s infamous 1980 interview when asked “Why do you want to run this country.”. He hemmed and hawed, stammered and stuttered, but the American people read between the lines… “Because I’m a Kennedy.”

      • Lee  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm

        The only difference being Jeb’s millstone being GW Bush Fatigue and Kennedy’s being a drowned woman.

  7. Sela  •  Sep 4, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Winning with a young underdog may work for Democrats but Republican presidential hopefuls are held to a different standard by the media and the left. If a Republican is young he/she is inexperienced. If it’s a black Republication he/she is a sell-out ‘Uncle Tom’. If it’s a Republican woman, she is forsaking her family, etc.

    • Brian Harmon, Retired Econ Professor  •  Sep 22, 2015 at 2:55 am

      You make a good point, Sela, one of the few I have seen in the foregoing discussion.
      Nevertheless, even when the liberal media have criticized conservatives candidates, often the voters can read or see between the lines. The “Achilles heel” of the media is that they actually think most voters agree with them.

  8. Alex  •  Sep 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Anyone would be young compared with Hillary Clinton. We’ve seen the result of an inexperienced president governing with bad counsel and ideology, I firmly believe that despite his inexperience, Dr Ben Carson could excel by surrounding himself with a circle of like minded military and foreign policy experts. Above all, Carson is a good man, and not on Washingtons payroll, which is what we need most at this crossroads

    • Andrew  •  Sep 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      I agree.

  9. Terry  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Carly Fiorina is the “underdog”. But we still have over a year to go and a LOT of things could happen between now and then.
    Whoever the nominee they will have a BIG mess on their hands. Thanks Democrats and RINO’s.

    • Brian Harmon, Retired Econ Professor  •  Sep 22, 2015 at 3:07 am

      Terry may be congratulated for obliquely predicting the meteoric rise of Carly Fiorina in the polls.
      On the other hand, it is also true that without RINO’s there would be virtually no Republicans in high office. Those of us with long, LONG memories may remember that Reagan NEVER went out of his way to attack RINO’s, or anyone else for that matter. When Nelson Rockefeller ( a real RINO if there ever was one) was running against Goldwater for the nomination, and even when Goldwater was running against Johnson, Reagan kept his message positive, never attacking our opponent personally. Reagan applied the same strategy when running against Jimmy Carter. He kept to the issues.
      And, to repeat, he NEVER went out of his way to attack other Republicans.

  10. merrick300  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Lol does anyone actually believe Medved is a conservative? So you are pushing Rubio or Bush. You are a pompous, arrogant rino twerp with a perverted voice who misrepresents himself on a daily basis with fake callers and efiminate tantrums. Your a Democrat, Michael.

    • Brian Harmon, Retired Econ Professor  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Yes, I believe that Michael Medved is a conservative. I disagree with him on illegal immigration, but otherwise I think is just fine. A RINO? You have got to be kidding. Right this second I can think of 10 issues on which he opposes the Democrats.
      Reining in government spending on entitlements
      Middle East Policy
      Allowing public employee unions to run local governments and school boards
      A strong military
      Allowing private schools to be politically incorrect
      lowering taxes
      cleaning up Hollywood
      I don’t mean to be offensive, but anyone who thinks Medved is a RINO is nuts.

    • Eddie  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Your spelling and punctuation aside, the point you try to make fails. Read Right Turns. And as for his voice, it has changed somewhat after the throat cancer thing.

  11. Brian Harmon, Retired Econ Professor  •  Sep 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    As for Jim Webb, he used his connection with Reagan to win a U.S Senate seat (in Virginia) for the DEMOCRATS. That action strengthened the power of every Dem in the Senate and correspondingly reduced the power of every Republican.
    He certainly can’t be accused of being a RINO, can he?

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