During the last several days, the field vying for the GOP presidential nomination has narrowed with the withdrawal first, of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and most recently, former NY Governor, George Pataki. One must wonder what took these two so long to grasp the obvious; i.e. across multiple Republican debates, neither had been able to raise their favorability poll numbers above two-percent.

The odds are pretty good that there won’t be anymore drop-outs until after the Iowa caucuses. Both Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee will hang in, hoping that a strong evangelical turnout will work in their favor. That’s not wishful thinking; the former won that vote in 2012 and the latter in 2008. But, if neither does well, one, the other, or both will be gone as soon as they get around to processing that reality. Both are establishment candidates so it will be interesting to see who they cast their support towards. The likely recipient will be either Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush.

NJ Governor, Chris Christie can still count himself among the top-tier candidates. However, since he sits near the bottom of that heap, he has sought to burnish his resume’ by recasting it as something that it never was. Specifically, Christie is now seeking to establish himself as a terrorist-fighter during his tenure as his state’s attorney general. The truth is that while in that office, he was a crusader against corruption. That’s no small thing. But going after a pol that is “on the take” is not the same as dealing with ISIS.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is another of the “bottom-of-the-top-tier” candidates who had better find a quick fix for his presidential campaign or get back to his home state and start running for re-election to his senate seat. His higher aspirations have about as much chance of succeeding as igniting a wet match in a wind storm.

Jeb Bush has gone “all in” with tv and public attacks aimed at both Primadonald and Marco Rubio. He has referred to the former as a “jerk” (his word), and resumed his previous snipes at the former’s Senate voting record. The reality is that any defectors going from Trump’s camp to Bush’s would require a flight into sanity that is about as likely as your seeing an elephant dance o the head of a pin. The best that Jeb can hope for is that some Rubio supporters will bolt and head in his direction.

As noted in the last “Asked and Answered” blog, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) remains committed to his strategy of drafting behind Primadonald, the idea being to pick up Trump’s supporters when the real estate biggie finally falters, if he ever does. But, there aren’t ominous signs that any such thing is going to happen. If it doesn’t, Cruz may end up wishing he’d run his own campaign instead of aping Trump’s.

Finally, at least on the Republican side, there is Primadonald who can claim the exceedingly dubious distinction of having earned the “Liar of the Year” award as meted out by different fact-checkers. Trump’s biggest tall tale involved his claim that standing at the window of his penthouse apartment on 9-11, he could see Muslims just across the state line in NJ, out in the streets celebrating the fall of the twin towers. This original story was later given a second iteration that involved the candidate seeing the same thing, but on tv. Of course, no footage of such a demonstration has ever been found and both local NJ police and the state’s governor (Chris Christie) have flatly denied that one took place.

To conclude, we can turn now to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s status as the Democrat’s front-runner in the party’s presidential sweepstakes. Most recently, she announced that her husband will begin campaigning for her. This is a dicey decision because the former president will forever tote the “baggage” from his extra-marital fling with Monica Lewinsky and questionable behavior with other women. How can Ms. Clinton avoid being tagged as a hypocrite  if she labels Primadonald as “sexist”, but says nothing about his husband’s exploitation of women? Watch for Hillary to dodge that matter by reminding Trump that it’s his sexist behavior in the here-and-now that is at issue, and that he’s running against her, not her spouse.

To end on a happier note, your blogger hopes that you had a joyous Christmas and can look forward to a new year that will be rich in interesting challenges and bountiful rewards.

See you in 2016.

 

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