Not that I’m counting the
days until Barack Obama is no longer president but ... since it’s
only 17 months until the presidential election, I guess it’s time to
start paying attention to the race for his successor.
It’s hard to find a place
to be serious about the Democratic primary, with the choice among a
woman who thinks she’s entitled to the nomination despite layers of
financial scandal, a self-described socialist, and the recent former
mayor of dysfunctional Baltimore. I must say that if I see one more
woman-in-the-street interview with someone who has nothing to say
but “I support Hillary because it’s time for a woman president,” I
may have to consider one of those sex-change things to separate
myself from silly women.
What on earth does that
mean, “it’s time for a woman president?” Any woman? Hillary, Carly
Fiorina, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, the present mayor of Baltimore,
(Bruce) Caitlyn Jenner, Joan “hike the income tax rate” Lovely, me?
Any one of us is fine as long as she’s not a man? Good grief.
One does occasionally hear
men make that same statement, but my theory is that they are
pandering to silly women in order to get (considered for mating).
I’ve heard that former
Virginia Sen. Jim Webb was considering a run; he’d be a good
candidate for the rational wing of the Democratic Party. I also
don’t dismiss Vice President Joe Biden, who has dealt so admirably
with so much family adversity. Five people on a primary debate stage
would be about right.
However, the Republican
debate stage is already a tad crowded, with nine declared candidates
(as I write this) and at least seven more who seem to be serious
As a serious voter, albeit
an independent, who always looks forward to political debates, I
feel I should try to be useful to the Republican Party and debate
sponsors, who are struggling to find a format that can work.
The first debate, on Aug.
6, is on Fox News; the plan is to include just the top 10 candidates
in an average of five national polls. So, what we’ll see is
candidates doing something intense, possibly even crazy, to hit the
news cycle during the polling of citizens with, in general, the
attentions span of goldfish, except when watching “American Idol.”
Wait! I have an idea! Let
me run this by you: “American Idol President.”
Say there are 16 declared
candidates. First, eliminate the ridiculous, like Donald Trump. I’d
have a criteria: no hairpieces. We need a president who is totally
focused on the United States of America, not his hair. Bald is fine.
I know there’s been
discussion of avoiding “social issues” but that’s probably asking
too much of some candidates. Voters have a right to know who might
use the abortion issue as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees,
but hopefully all Republicans realize that the gay marriage
discussion is over and any question about contraception by a
moderator should be scornfully dismissed with “Who do you think you
are, George ‘the hack’ Stephanopoulos?”
I’d use just one criteria:
all debate-included candidates must accept the theory of evolution,
along with the theory of gravity. These are not controversial to the
rational mind that a president must have. Man-made climate change is
still controversial and worth including in debate; I’d like to know
what each candidate thinks about it.
Assuming that even those
who once expressed doubt about evolution have since read Richard
Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth,” there are now 15 candidates
for my “American Idol Presidential Debates.” If the Democrats have
five, I’d break the Republicans into groups of five each, for three
prime-time, heavily advertised debates in September. You could do it
alphabetically. Debate One: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie,
Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina.
Debate Two: Lindsey
Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and George Pataki.
Debate Three: Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and
Voters would call in their
choice each time, which isn’t scientifically perfect but gives a
sense of a candidate’s organizational ability as well as popularity.
If despite Rand Paul’s best efforts, the NSA is still around, it
could report any number that called more than once.
Imagine this: The rest of
the primary debates among the three “Idol" winners (write in your
own present favorites here). Maybe add the two other highest votes
in the series.
Alternately, you could set
up the “Idol” debates by categories: can’t-win-the-general-election
social conservatives Huckabee and Santorum. Constitutional
conservatives: Carson, Cruz, Paul. Governors Bush, Christie, Jindal,
Kasich, Pataki, Perry, Walker (seven too many even with Huckabee not
included?). Not sure where to put Rubio, Fiorina and Graham: maybe
move Bush, Pataki in with them for a fourth “Idol” debate?
If this were Democrats
there’d be a politically correct, choose-for-the-wrong- reasons
category: Fiorina (woman), Cruz and Rubio (Hispanic), Carson and
Jindal (other minority). But Republicans wouldn’t consider this
So with my plan, final
primary debates would be among three or four “Idol” winners, one or
two others who are doing well in national polls. Primary voters
would have a good choice among candidates they’d had a chance to get
to know. Others, including newcomers, could still be on the ballot,
During a recent appearance
in New Hampshire, broadcast on WRKO, Ted Cruz was given another good
idea by a woman in the audience: declare that if you win the
primary, you will appoint other Republican candidates and popular
qualified activists to work in your administration (e.g.; Ben
Carson, secretary of Health and Human Services; Carly Fiorina,
secretary of labor; John Bolton, secretary of state), thereby
keeping their supporters enthusiastic workers in your campaign.
Sen. Cruz thought this
sounded great; he said he never says anything negative about the
other candidates anyhow.
Chip went to see him at an
event held at state Rep. Jim Lyon’s barn last weekend, and was very
impressed. I am still undecided, waiting for the debates.
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem