Republicans are a curious, mercurial lot.
They claim to really loathe and despise the government because “it never works,” and yet you can’t help but notice a whole heaping helping of them lined up every election season to run for office. I’ve always wondered if they hate government so much why they bother running at all, but another really fascinating quirk in Republicans is their vacillating nature toward executive experience. When Barack Obama was running against Senator John “I Don’t Need Viagra Because I Have Warfare” McCain, the big knock on him was that he was a “junior Senator who used to be a community organizer” and would therefore be a terrible neophyte in the White House and lead us to degradation and ruination.
So how come they stacked their candidate pool this year with people that have either the same amount of executive experience, or even less than Obama? Oh, right, because they’re silly hypocrites. But let’s examine this a bit further.
While you have former governors like Christ Christie (NJ), John Kasich (OH), and Jeb! (FL), running for the GOP’s nomination, the overwhelming majority of the candidates are either Senators who have been in office for about the same time Obama had been, or they are literally not even politicians at all, and have never, ever held an elected office. I’m starting to really believe that the reason Republicans don’t think government work is that they don’t understand the concept of “you get who you vote for.” In other words, it’s a garbage in, garbage out proposition; a self-fulfilling prophecy of corrupt politicians more concerned with their campaign coffers and post-political K Street careers than they are with, oh you know, serving the people and shit.
Ted Cruz was elected to the Senate in 2010, as was Marco Rubio. They both rode in on the Tea Party wave, which makes the preference of some establishment Republicans for Rubio all the more hilarious to me. But regardless, while Obama never finished out his first official term in the Senate — as he had been elected to the presidency — the truth is that Rubio and Cruz are literally just wrapping up theirs. If anyone is seriously going to argue that Rubio or Cruz are now more qualified to be president than Obama was in 2008, I’d love to hear the argument, because it’s been awihle since I willingly exposed myself to nonsensical verbal diarrhea.
Then of course you have the candidates that are very popular among Republican base voters that have never, ever held a public office. Donald Trump? He’s a billionaire real estate mogul turned reality-TV star. Dr. Ben Carson, while an accomplished brain surgeon (because irony isn’t a finite resource after all), has never run for or won an election, maybe even for class hall monitor. Then you have Carly “The Baby Smiled at Me” Fiorina, whose main claim to fame seems to be that she lost a California Senate race and also totally tanked Hewlett-Packard, which of course totally makes sense why you’d put her in charge of the entire fucking country, right? Right.
Republicans aren’t alone in being hypocritical from time to time, it’s just that it’s so much easier to call them out for it because it’s usually so damn glaring. For instance, the trope about Obama’s lack of experience juxtaposed against their sycophantic devotion to Cruz, Rubio, or Trump. Of course, this is a party that idolizes Ronald Reagan, who had been California’s governor, but hadn’t exactly achieved some stellar record of success that would make one think he was ready to lead the damn nation, so we shouldn’t be at all surprised that people who are just as, um, qualified, to be Commander in Chief are garnering support from Republicans now.
Undoubtedly, having someone with experience making decisions and dealing with the consequences is a good thing in the White House. Just how much experience of that kind that Obama had prior to 2009 is hard to quantify. But clearly his judgment, despite what Republicans say, is at least sound enough to not start an illegal war and to not keep taxes artificially low in a vain attempt to salvage Trickle Down economics.
Essentially, Republican primary voters are now choosing between bombastic, mendacious fools with some experience in politics, and bombastic, mendacious fools with no political experience. And before you close this piece with a snicker, just remember: They vote. They always vote.