Now that I have listed the candidates I think are genuine contenders for the presidency at this point, I want to list a few candidates who simply aren’t ready. Some might be ready at some point. Others never will be. So here is my list of 2016 pretenders, complete with descriptions sure to be objected to by their die-hard supporters.
Vice President Joe Biden – His first run for president stalled because of serial plagiarism of speeches, family stories and even a paper in law school. His second barely got off the ground after a series of gaffes, including bragging about Delaware having been a slave state, comments about Indian-American convenience store workers and an offensive statement about President Obama in comparison with other black candidates for president. I’m not sure why he thinks he has a chance now.
Biden is a gaffe machine, regularly ridiculed in late night comedy, and for good reason. He is known to say false, inappropriate and dishonest things. He has repeatedly flustered the Obama administration by getting out in front of the president, like when he endorsed gay marriage and forced Obama to endorse the issue before he had planned to address it.
Hypocrisy should be Biden’s middle name. His aforementioned racist comments didn’t stop him from playing the race card on Mitt Romney in 2012. Worse, Biden spends his career positioning himself as an advocate for the poor and working class, but he manages to give far less to charity than working class Americans in spite of his “one percent” level income. Over the last decade, Biden averaged $369 per year in charitable donations, which is dramatically lower than the average American.
The other value he supposedly brought to the Obama ticket was his credibility on foreign policy. However, Charles Krauthammer correctly notes that Biden might have the worst foreign policy record in American history, opposing successful Reagan policies that helped end the Cold War, opposing the Persian Gulf War, supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq and opposing the surge that helped stabilize the country.
A Biden campaign would look like a Romney campaign if it turned out that Mitt mismanaged every business he’d ever run but with more gaffes. I can’t believe the media didn’t crush President Obama for putting Biden on the ticket, nor can I understand why anyone thinks he could win the presidency.
Gov. Sarah Palin – I doubt she’ll run, but Palin is likely to drag things out and make trips to Iowa just to get the attention. That’s what she did the last time around.
I actually think Gov. Palin could run for president one day, but she desperately needs to pull a Hillary Clinton: go to the Senate, stay away from the TV cameras and build a reputation as a serious legislator. Then her charisma could be a serious asset. Unfortunately, she is perceived as someone who simply isn’t intelligent or curious enough to handle the rigors of the presidency.
America has seen far bigger turnarounds that this would be. As previously mentioned, Joe Biden just won his second term as vice president.
Sen. Ted Cruz – When a new senator is elected, there are generally two paths one can take. Serious legislators typically avoid the TV cameras for the first two years and spend time developing relationships to learn their way around the world’s greatest deliberative body. Others head straight for the cameras and become relatively ineffective senators. Sen. Cruz has taken the second path so obscenely that he’s become the bad example in most articles about successful senators. That’s too bad because he could have done a lot of good.
And last but certainly least…
Donald Trump – Seth Myers pegged this perfectly at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. “Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican – which is surprising because I just assumed he was running as a joke.”