Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Goldilocks Election

The GOP Primary this year reminds of the children's tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It also explains how I am looking at the candidates.

No, it has nothing to with Donald's golden locks.

Read on to see what I mean.

If you remember the story, Goldilocks was a young girl who was wandering through the forest when she came upon a small house among the trees.

Seeing that the door to the house was open, Goldilocks peered into the house and saw three bowls of porridge on the kitchen table. Being hungry from her walk, she entered the house and tried the first bowl. It was too hot. The second bowl was too cold.  The third bowl was just right and she ate it all up.

Having finished the porridge, Goldilocks felt tired and wanted to rest. She went upstairs and saw three beds. The first was too hard. The second bed was too soft. The third bed was just right and she laid down and fell asleep.

Soon after the Three Bears,  who inhabited the house, returned home after their own stroll in the woods they found someone had entered their home and eaten their porridge. They went upstairs to see that each of their beds were also messed up and a young girl was asleep in one of the beds.

They roused her from the bed and she quickly sprang to her feet and fled back to the forest from where she came.

How does the story of Goldilocks relate to the GOP primary?

Goldilocks strolling through a strange forest is a lot like Republican voters searching for a candidate they can support. Unlike the past, GOP voters are not looking in the same places. Just like Goldy, they are not quite sure where they are. It really is uncharted territory.

Republican voters have a history of nominating familiar names with establishment records. They rarely veer off the path and support an outlier, an upstart or someone they do not know well. Consider Eisehhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan (1980), George H.W. Bush, Dole, George W. Bush, McCain and Romney. Goldwater is the only GOP candidate in my lifetime who broke that mold (defeating Nelson Rockefeller for the nomination).

Democrats, on the other hand, seem to favor the outlier, upstart or the more radical candidate if given a choice. JFK, McGovern, Carter, Clinton, Dukakis and Obama are examples. They generally beat better known and more established politicians to gain the nomination. The problems that Hillary is having with Bernie Sanders proves the point again.

For a longer explanation of my theory on the differences in the nominees of the two parties, see my blog post, Is 2012 The Year Republicans Start Acting More Like Democrats?

The unfamiliar house that Goldilocks comes upon in the woods represents a house where all the anti-establishment, non-traditional GOP candidates reside. Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Fiorina (she lived there but has since moved out) all took up residence there this time around.

You might question why I even put Rubio in the house. If you look back six years Rubio was the Tea Party candidate in Florida for the US Senate against Charlie Crist. It goes to show you how far the Republican Party has swung towards the Tea Party philosophy that Rubio is now considered an "Establishment" candidate. It is pretty amazing. For example, Rubio's Heritage rating is 94/100 and his ACU rating is 98/100. That is pretty conservative on any scorecard.

The only candidates left in the race right now that are on the outside of the house are Bush and Kasich.  It is also pretty amazing this year is that if you are considered an "insider" are actually on the outside looking in.

From the beginning, I have preferred a non-establishment candidate. I have liked a lot of what all of these candidates have talked about and stood for. I am tired of sending Republicans to Washington and seeing nothing happen.

I think Mark Steyn said it best.

"When the left wins, they're in power; when the right wins, they're in office, and that's all."

Personally, in trying to find the right candidate, I have felt like Goldilocks when she taste tested that porridge. I eliminated Carson early in the debate process. He is a really good man but he clearly is just not ready to make the jump from surgeon to Commander in Chief.

That leaves Trump, Cruz and Rubio. Three bowls of porridge and three beds to consider.

For me, Trump is just too hot. I like where he is coming from on a lot of issues but the rhetoric is over the top and I have real doubts about him delivering on his promises.

His bed is a little too hard as well. He is harsh and haughty. I worry about his temperament as President.

Rubio is too cool. He is articulate and smooth. However, he is a little too rehearsed and robotic.

Rubio's bed is too soft for me, especially on immigration. He keeps saying that immigration reform is not possible until the border is secure. However, he went ahead and joined the Gang of 8 on a bill that ignored that fact. If he knows that now, why didn't he realize that before he undertook that misguided piece of legislation?

Cruz seems about right. He is not too hot or too cold. He has the smarts and he strikes a good balance between being principled when it is required but also being practical when it is necessary.

His bed is also not too hard or soft. I think he will enforce the law, and most importantly, follow the Constitution. I have the greatest confidence that Cruz can be trusted to do what he says he will do. And he will be tough when he needs to be. I don't get the same confidence with Rubio.

There is no perfect candidate for you unless you are running yourself.

Every electoral decision is a question of relativity.

Normally it is an either/or decision. That's the choice the Democrats have now.

The GOP is more complicated.

That is why Goldilocks helped me.

Pick your bed carefully. It is a long four years ahead and we don't need any more sleepless nights than we have had over the last seven years.

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