The Right Resistance: No-name presidential candidates dream the impossible dream – and lose
Fill in the blank: In American politics, you’ve got to be more than just “right”, you’ve got to be…
I won’t spoil the fun by revealing the answer too quickly, but if you’re a citizen of State X, 35 years of age or older and a natural born citizen of the United States who’s resided in the country for at least fourteen years, you’re eligible to run for president. Much was made of Barack Obama’s presidential quest in 2008 by a host of conservatives who claimed the Illinois senator was foreign born (where’s his birth certificate?) and therefore ineligible for the job, but it’s safe to say most souls who get as far as he did in launching a campaign aren’t deterred by the constitutional minimums.
Hint: I meet the requirements, as does my wise mother (it’s her birthday today – Happy Birthday, ma!), but I’m not planning a run for president because I lack many of the other, less obvious essentials. I figure I’m “right” about a lot of things, but I’d have to be -- what? – to make the campaign worthwhile.
How about Rich. Or Famous (or at least well-known). Or Willing to have my life picked apart by the media and my opponents. Or Well-connected to a fundraising and support network. Or really, really smart? Or dumb as a backhoe (applies mostly to Democrats like Beto O’Rourke). Or Crazy? Yet to be determined!
Some of these considerations are currently being weighed by a presidential candidate who’s planning to challenge Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nod. Hardly anyone, including myself, has ever heard of this particular gentleman from Colorado, but that’s not deterring him from shooting for the big prize. And right from the start, he believes he can take on Donald Trump in the 2024 primaries – and beat the former president.
A tall order? You decide. In a piece titled “Why this underdog GOP candidate believes he has a chance to beat Trump in 2024”, Ryan King reported at the Washington Examiner last week:
“Republican Steve Laffey just launched a long-shot presidential primary campaign … and is convinced he has a pathway to achieve an upset victory. Laffey, who lives in Colorado with his family, is planning to move to New Hampshire and embark on a campaign blitz to make inroads with locals in the critical battleground state.
“His message is simple: The Republican Party has strayed from its fiscally conservative roots, and the country is in need of dire structural reforms, or else, the future will be bleak for younger generations, such as his six children. ‘We do not, in our country, directly confront our problems, and we have to. My party has avoided it,’ Laffey told the Washington Examiner…
“Laffey worked as an executive at Raymond James Morgan Keegan and also served as the two-term mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2007. He took over the city when it was in dire financial straits and credits himself for the city's turnaround. Laffey campaigned for the Ocean State's Senate seat in 2006 but was bested in a primary and subsequently moved to Fort Collins, Colorado.”
And there you have it. You’re forgiven if, when you read this, your mind wanders back to the classic movie, “Man of La Mancha” (1972) and you hum to yourself the immortal anthem of optimism, “Dream the Impossible Dream” (sung by Don Quixote -- played, of course, by Peter O’Toole -- in his mission to woo the love of his life). To suggest that Steve Laffey is chasing perhaps the biggest windmill of all – the presidency – wouldn’t be entirely off-base here.
If only everyone could run for president because we think we’re “right”, as Laffey apparently does, while completely bypassing the need to actually convince enough people to vote for you so your name is bandied about in polite conversations as a legitimate contender. I’m sure there are lots of folks who went to Super Bowl parties this past weekend and heard many a blowhard claiming he or she could do a better job of governing our nation than today’s political class.
They might even be correct, but that’s beside the point.
It turns out Laffey isn’t alone -- there’s also a man named Rollan Roberts II (from West Virginia) in the GOP race. Roberts’ claim to fame thus far was his five-months-pregnant wife Rebecca’s fainting in the middle of his announcement speech while the would-be candidate was speaking. Like with Laffey, no one knows anything about Roberts either, but at least the happy couple made national and international headlines for the drama… albeit unintentionally!
As indicated above, Laffey’s battle plan is to relocate to New Hampshire, presumably to hit every diner and coffee shop in every little town he can, beseeching the local Republican populations to forget everything they’d ever learned about Donald Trump or any of the other “major” GOP candidates so Steve can realize his impossible dream and come out on top (or at least in the top four finishers) in next year’s Granite State primary.
In a day and age where no one’s political dream can be dismissed outright, Laffey’s chances of realizing his goals are about as likely as a snowball in h—l lasting more than a few seconds in the devil’s abode. First off, the Iowa caucuses will have taken place prior to the New Hampshire vote and much of the establishment media’s buzz will focus on the top closers in the prior contest. Assuming one of those competitors is named Donald Trump – as it almost certainly will be – how would a no-name hope to ignite a fire in New Hampshire alone?
By the sound of it, Laffey’s platform is something many Republicans might be interested in. King’s article indicates Laffey wants to spread the word about the impending financial collapse of the Social Security system if changes aren’t made to save it in some form now. Laffey lectured that under his plan, current SSI recipients wouldn’t see any benefits reductions, but Americans above the age of 20 would experience a complete turnaround in the way retirement is handled – and those between 43-57 (which includes me) might get less in the way of future government checks.
Judging by the awful way senile president Joe Biden’s mentioning of the current Congress “cutting” Social Security was received a week ago, it’s doubtful many congressmen and senators are open to Laffey’s forward-looking ideas. The proverbial political third rail – the nation’s big entitlement programs – won’t be a major bone of contention for either party in the next election. Unless, of course, you count Democrats demagoguing the issue to death.
As you’d expect, King’s article details a few of Laffey’s platform planks, including to “stop transferring wealth to China,” reforming the Fed, ending corruption in the federal government, tax overhaul, and education reform.
Kind of like Ron Paul with a new face?
If I were a professor grading Laffey’s proposal paper for a presidential campaign, I’d be charitable and tell him what he has is a good start, but what about everything else? How will you raise money? How will you attract volunteers and build your campaign GOTV infrastructure? Are you planning to release position papers on the non-economic social issues like abortion, or fighting the “woke” leftist cultural agenda or religious freedom of conscience, etc. Who would you appoint to the Supreme Court? What about cabinet nominees?
What about foreign policy? Do you claim an expertise in foreign affairs garnered from your residence in Fort Collins, Colorado? Have you ever met or worked with anyone in the upper echelons of the federal bureaucracy? Who is going to vouch for your common sense in solving basic political issues?
Then, what if, by some freakish trick of fate, you end up winning in New Hampshire? How will you prepare to go to South Carolina and compete there, virtually overnight? Will a good showing in one grassroots-dominated small state create the universal name recognition and public relations buzz to not only allow you to talk about your proposals, but convince everyone else that the other candidates – again, almost certainly including Trump himself – are merely pretenders?
Talk about an impossible dream. It can’t be done. Sorry, Steve. Didn’t mean to burst your bubble (or spy balloon?).
One can’t help but think “candidates” like Laffey and Rollan Roberts II are embarking on this presidential run stunt to try and earn political recognition for their own careers or lay the foundation for a campaign for a lesser office in their own states or neighborhoods. They deserve some degree of credit for trying, but how much?
Wouldn’t they be better off working to be elected precinct captain or some starter office in their local Republican party? How about school board? Shouldn’t you learn to walk before you try to (pardon the pun) run?
Donald Trump was the only non-politician to run for and win the presidency on his first try. He was able to do so because he was wealthy – and because everyone knew him already. Those who try following in his footsteps must temper their expectations for a repeat performance – or they’ll merely end up the butt of some fool’s joke.
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