From the Hart: handicapping the expansive GOP field

tsj column writers - from the hartBy Ron Hart

It’s that time again. Every four years, the GOP interviews presidential hopefuls to determine who will be their nominee, who will have a show on Fox and who will be doing reverse mortgage commercials on TV.

So many candidates are running this time that the Republican debates won’t have room for a moderator on stage. Instead, they will need the fire marshal to OK that many folks in the building.

Here is my early take on the candidates:

Given his libertarian roots, Rand Paul has the best appeal to broaden the GOP’s base. He is truly for minimal government and has set himself apart from the war-hungry hawks in his party. He took a principled stand on the NSA snooping on us, protecting the Fourth Amendment. Any time you make both Democrats and establishment Republicans angry, you have probably done something right.

Paul must win New Hampshire to get early traction. He won’t win Iowa, since he does not favor calling out the National Guard to arrest gays wanting to marry. Over half of Republicans are OK with gay marriage; the others are running for president. Libertarian Paul approves legalizing pot and not prosecuting prostitutes. At a minimum, he will have the best post-election party.

One glitch: his social media advisor had to quit when a Washington newspaper outed him as a secessionist (which I like). It all began on his Facebook page. When asked what country he is from, his answer was “It’s complicated.”

I like Scott Walker second. He can appeal to Reagan Democrats and blue-collar midwesterners. He is proven, and experienced at beating back overreaching public sector unions.

Next, Marco Rubio. His is a great American story, and he’s likable. He’ll appeal to the burgeoning Hispanic community. The leftist media struggle to take shots at him.

Then there is the leader in the clubhouse, Jeb Bush. He’d be fine, but we can do better.

Also running:

Lindsey Graham. If elected, he would be the first bachelor president in the White House since Bill Clinton. He has subpoenaed Hillary Clinton to testify several times, once only giving her a week’s notice—barely enough time for her to get a concussion.

Ted Cruz.  One wonders if our nation is ready for a bi-racial, Harvard Law School graduate, one-term Senator born in another country. He futilely filibustered against ObamaCare for 20 hours. Where was Kanye West when we really needed him?

Hispanics Cruz and Rubio will have a real chance for impassioned pleas to the Latino community—you know, those they are trying to deport. In their first moves as president, both vowed to deport themselves.

Donald Trump is a sideshow, about as subtle as a Super Bowl ring. His hair wouldn’t even vote for him.

Chris Christie, disliked by the GOP, is running behind Lindsey Graham. Lindsey seems to like it.

Bobby Jindal gathered extensive data on his chances of winning the White House and decided to run anyway. The Louisiana governor will have a hard time raising money. I suggest he do it the New Orleans way: Lift your shirt and show your breasts.  Folks will throw money at you.

Rick Santorum, who won Iowa last time around, had “Santorum 2016” posters made. That is not only campaign material, it is also how long he thinks the earth has been around. He won’t settle for the VP nod because he thinks two men running together is gay.

With the country becoming more secular, GOP candidates may not have to tack way right to get nominated. All GOP candidates who want to win must appease evangelical Iowa and South Carolina, so they take the social conservative pledge: They will defend the rights of the unborn, right up to the point that they want to gay marry.

The GOP has a deeper, sharper and more diverse field than the Democrats, including Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio: a woman, an African-American, and two Hispanics.

The party that preaches “diversity” has former Maryland Gov. O’Malley, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former RI Governor Lincoln Chafee and Hillary Clinton. The only thing whiter than the Democratic candidates is a brunch.

(Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio     commentator can be reached at or visit

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