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Tuesday April 26 2011

Samizdata doesn’t do politician endorsements.  They’re all scroundrels.  But I personally do get excited about mere political personalities from time to time.  I would have been totally horrified had Gordon Brown contrived to remain Britain’s Prime Minister after the last general election, and now I feel just the same about the ghastly prospect of Barack Obama remaining in the White House for another term.

Is the Obama Presidency a plan to do good that is going wrong because it is a bad plan to do good, because it is a good plan to do good that is going wrong because it is being done badly, or a bad plan to do bad that is going all too well?  Keystone President or President Evil?  It really doesn’t matter that much, does it?  The point is to get him out of the White House and put someone else - pretty much anyone else - there instead.

To that end, BrianMicklethwaitDotCom is now going to endorse a Not Obama politician for the Presidency of the USA, and support that candidate until his campaign collapses in whatever mixture of incompetence, incoherence, insincerity, incest, or just plain ignominy or ineffectuality forces him or her to return to normal life.  Or until I am persuaded that, although my hitherto preferred candidate is still in the race, there is a better candidate out there who I should switch to.  At all stages in the discussion it will a simple this-guy-or-that-guy argument about which guy would be better at replacing Obama than the other guy, either because the better guy is good or because he’s more likely to win, or maybe even both.  Winning is vital.  A guy I like who enables the Obama Presidency to carry on wrecking America and the world is not a guy I like, if you get my drift.

It’s a bit like those behind-the-scenes telly shows that Brit TV sometimes does about the FA Cup, where they start with some tiddling non-league club, and when they get beaten, they switch their attention to the club that beat them.  And all the way through to the Cup Final.

If Obama himself chucks it in earlier than in the Cup Final, I may chuck this in myself.  Don’t know.  But my belief now is that Obama is so stupidly-evil, so evilly-stupid, that despite all his grumbles about his job he wants another four years trashing America and the world, and won’t walk away gracefully.  He will have to be ejected.

So, step forward Gary Johnson, my first stab at a Not Obama man who I can get behind.  I know very little about him, apart from that he is Not Obama.  If you know something more than that about Gary Johnson (more here and here), either to his credit or to his discredit, feel free to enlighten me.

Amen, brother.

America really has trouble letting one-term worthy presidents be one-term presidents.

The TV-value alone of a Republican debate line-up: Paul, Trump, Gingrich and Johnson would be worth plenty!

Johnson wants to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… but not end the Fed. Very interesting.

Posted by Samantha on 26 April 2011

Paul, Trump, Gingrich, and also Palin, all strike me as admirable in their various ways, but liable to fail, in various ways, under the kind of spotlight that Presidential Candidates have to survive.

Being famous already is not necessary.  Once your campaign gets going, you get famous.  Can you handle it?  That’s the question.

How might Johnson do under the national spotlight?  Will his drugs legalisation thing doom him to fail too?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 26 April 2011

As for Johnson’s wish to end foreign wars, I don’t see how anyone who is serious about cutting government spending, really cutting it, could leave those wars untouched.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 26 April 2011

Charlie Sheen… if even a man fitted the Zeitgeist, it is the Sheenster.  He is The Man of Destiny, mark my words and deserves to be in Pennsylvania Avenue as quickly as possible… and Kiefer Sutherland for Veep, or better yet, Sec Def.

Posted by Perry de Havilland on 27 April 2011

I voted for Obama and I’ll vote for him again unless the
Republicans come up with someone really exceptionally good. O is not the savior that the more naive voters were hoping for but he’s also not as bad as many people make him out to be. He really hasn’t done very much at all, which is disappointing in some ways but there are worse kinds of politicians than those who do nothing.

Posted by Lynn on 27 April 2011

Biggest budget deficit increase in US history, but “he’s also not as bad as many people make him out to be"… well all I can say is I am very happy that I no longer have any investment in the USA or in US Dollars.

In truth Lynn the sort of politician the USA (and indeed jjust about everywhere) needs are PRECISELY politicians that ‘do nothing’, but I am sure that makes no sense to you all all :-)

Posted by Perry de Havilland on 27 April 2011

If anyone can find a candidate that wins California and doesn’t lose elsewhere, the Republicans walk the election. I don’t think a drug legaliser wins, though I’d personally vote for one.

Apart from Obama (and can see how well that’s going) the best presidents tend to be either current or recent governors. The reason is simple, each state has a scaled version of the U.S. federal government (down to the armed forces) and the sort of person who freezes when faced with a decision (or who makes bad decisions quickly) will be found out.

He/she may even decide that the limits of incompetence have been reached and refuse to go higher.

The Senate on the other hand… There’s no end of corruption, narcissism, incompetence or just lazyness that can be covered up. Any Senator with more than two terms must have voted a dozen times to kill an amendment that (out of context) looks like it should have been supported. So we can’t judge them well. A new Senator is perfect for campaigning (not much dirt) but could be hopeless once in the job.

Senator Obama was the perfect candidate (ignoring all competence once in the White House): studiously avoided most votes for three years and made sure the ones he cast pleased the right interest groups.

I think that the best Republican candidate in terms of likely to have a local track record will be New Jersey’s Chris Christie. It’s a jolly useful state for Republicans to win, being visible from Manhattan and likely to panic Democrats into spending many millions into East coast states they wouldn’t normally worry about. Especially if New York state is going bankrupt while New Jersey is recovering, thanks to a reduced budget.

I’d put the new Florida Senator Marco Rubio (who won that state quite easily in 2010) as Vice Presidential candidate. He won’t help much in California or New Mexico, but he should bring back Florida with 29 electoral votes, the joint third highest with New York.

Between them, I think they open up a lot of Obama’s gains in 2008 and make inroads where George W Bush didn’t.

New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Hampshire, have 108 electoral college votes (the Republicans need 91 more than last time to win, after added the six they picked up from the 2010 census).

Really long shots on that coast include New York, Connecticut, and one of the Maine districts (37 votes, 29 of them in New York).

Any of Ohio, Indiana, the rogue district of Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa (56 votes between them) would simply add cream.

However, just a little nudge further by independent voters could lead to meltdown for Obama to Jimmy Carter 1980 levels.

It’s just as well for the Chicago man that the election is fought using a hopelessly corrupt/incompetent voter registration system and the counting will be less reliable than anything in Africa: left wing media outlets will be calling results while most of the country hasn’t voted yet in order to influence the turnout in the western half of the USA, a situation that would be regarded as intolerable in Nigeria.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 27 April 2011

Kiefer Sutherland for POTUS, Perry. He has the talents for the job.

Seriously, I have heard of this Johnson guy before, and he sounds good; I mentioned him on my own FB account a few days ago. Mitch Daniels is also fairly good, as they go.

As you say, Brian, Obama has proven to be spectacularly bad. The root of the problem is that he does not like America, or most Americans, very much. And it shows.

Posted by Tom B on 27 April 2011

Given how popular “24” is in the Middle East, the whole Kiefer Sutherland thing is quite amusing.

A funny thing is that my native Australia has a federal system based on the US in the sense that the federal government has a scaled up version of the arrangements that exist in the states, and yet state Premiers in Australian *never* become Prime Minister. State based power bases never scale up. Maybe it is the difference between parliamentary systems and direct election.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 27 April 2011

Indeed. In Australia’s federal government, I imagine the Prime Minister has a function more similar to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in terms of steering legislation. So skill at handling the Federal parliament will be more significant.

Kiefer Sutherland’s comments on the DVD of “Phonebooth,” in which he expresses sympathy with the phycho gunman’s ethical worldview, suggest he’d be an interesting President.

If he stood as a Republican, I’m sure he’d beat Donald Trump, win California and therefore almost certainly the election.

The problem with any celebrity candidate is they tend to have a “don’t you know who I am?” approach to the world. I don’t think this works, most of the time.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 28 April 2011

If you’re looking for the dirt the Democrats will throw at Gary Johnson: they will claim that he killed his wife while he was on drugs.

In May 2005 he dumped her. Soon after, he started using marijuana for pain control after a paragliding accident (don’t expect that order of events to be repeated in any attack ads).

)A couple of days before Christmas 2006 Mrs Johnson died from an undisclosed illness (sounds stress-related). Nearly three months later a heart condition was blamed. The stress of being dumped and being alone at Christmas could be plausibly claimed as the trigger for Mrs Johnson’s death. Frankly, from what I saw, I’d be worried it sounded like a suicide that was covered up to avoid family distress.

A more damning allegation would imply that Mr Johnson, had dumped his wife because she had health problems and he was regularly using drugs. That’s the one I’d try to pin on him and force him to quit, if I were a Mitt Romney activist or a hired Democrat strategist.

Expect allegations of an affair, if possible with a young man who smokes dope (was initiated would be best of all). The good news is that Republicans won’t believe most of the U.S. media if they uncover real dirt.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 28 April 2011

Regarding Obama:

“Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.”
—(J. Porter) Clark’s Law

I like Gary Johnson, but I’d happily settle for Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie.

Posted by Peter A. Taylor on 29 April 2011

The problem with Johnson is that he’s boring and makes Ron Paul look like Ronald Reagan, when the tow are on TV.

A second problem is that he doesn’t look like an Obama defeater.

A third problem is that he hasn’t done anything since 2003, a long time to be out of the spotlight. By comparison, President Obama was a sitting Senator, George W Bush and Bill Clinton were the Governors of Texas and Arkansas, respectively, George HW Bush was Vice President, Ronald Reagan had been Governor of California until five years previous to his election as President.

Finally, he splits votes with Ron Paul, so that if they both stand, neither gets the nomination.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 10 May 2011
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