2016 Presidential ElectionAt VIFreepNational News

The Supersizing of the G.O.P. Presidential Nomination Process





By JOHN McCARTHY/Virgin Islands Free Press

The fourteen Republicans running for president in 2016 are wise to try to make foreign policy the lead issue in the next POTUS election.

Not because Hillary Clinton is especially vulnerable on Benghazi, but because what most people would consider to be her strong suit – foreign policy due to her four years as Secretary of State – is actually her biggest weakness.

If you had to put one person from the United States in a locked room with President-For-Life Vladimir Putin and see who comes out alive – how many of us would chose Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Although Clinton and Putin are in the same height and weight class (Hillary is actually three centimeters taller than Vladimir), the next leader of the free world needs to be someone who really could be locked in a cage with a wild coyote for a week ala the late German artist Joseph Beuys.

When it comes to the high-stakes world that the next POTUS will inherit, ISIS will be ruling the roost in modern-day Babylon, a Charles Mansonian nightmare-vision of interracial and police-state relations will be the order of the day in the United States – and who did America last elect to the highest office in the land the last time its cities were burning on TV in class warfare? Answer: Richard Milhouse Nixon.

To say Chris Christie’s career resembles Tricky Dick’s at this nascent stage is an insult to the statesman Nixon who brokered détente with the former Soviet Union with an historic anti-ballistic missile treaty, opened the door to Red China with Deng Xiaoping and late in life predicted that the Middle East would erupt in religious fervor once the United States won the Cold War and was reduced to lone superpower status.

The difference is that Nixon already had one term under his heavyweight belt before the Committee to Re-Elect the President or C.R.E.E.P. started its political dirty tricks program that would eventually lead to his resignation from office because of the Watergate scandal.

But the similarities are there as well, Nixon and Christie were each people with significant prosecutorial skills. Richard went after Communists such Alger Hiss in the “Pumpkin Papers” during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings as a young congressman and Christie went 130-0 as a federal prosecutor stamping out political corruption, sexual slavery, arms trafficking and racketeering in a six-year career as the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey.

The fact that Christie was undefeated as a federal prosecutor used to be plainly visible on Wikipedia a year ago, but to find such information today one has to Google “Chris Christie’s record as a federal prosecutor” and go to the biography.com website.

Which only goes to show you that although Nixon did not survive Watergate, Christie thus far has not only outlasted the Bridgegate scandal (officially the “Fort Lee Lane Closure Scandal” on Wikipedia) but has dusted himself off briskly and is grandly taking the national stage with a slugger’s swagger that only a heavyweight champion of the world can muster.

All the most trusted indicators suggest that the American economy will be in better shape for Hillary Clinton’s second candidacy than it was when President Obama ran for a second term in 2012, meaning that “it’s the economy, stupid” isn’t likely to be the game changer it was for George Herbert Walker Bush – in any potential campaign by Jeb.

But that only means that foreign and domestic policy matters – in terms of homeland security – will be even more at the forefront. And a milquetoast Jebby-Come-Lately like John Ellis Bush isn’t anyone’s first pick to clean up in that department. A former federal prosecutor who went 130-0 against the bad guys certainly has a track record of performance that could lend an ear in an ultimate prize fight along those lines.

The nation is in the middle of a sense of malaise it has not seen since the days of President Jimmy Carter in the 1970’s – essentially the fallout from the Nixon years with a double whammy of OPEC oil prices that sent gas prices soaring and Iranian hostage-taking that made the American public feel helpless and hopeless.

“Hope” was the prominent word in the campaign poster for Barack Obama that led the most unlikely of presidential candidates from the South Side of Chicago to the right side of the Oval Office and is the place in Arkansas that President Bill Clinton is famously from, but if recent elections are a two-point statistical indicator of where the United States might turn in 2016 – it is unlikely that a Bush or a Clinton will fit the presidential bill.

Chris Christie was most recently quoting as saying that he is tired of hearing about the minimum wage and the mere fact that the two-term New Jersey governor can even utter such a statement is even more proof that the economy will be less of an issue in the upcoming election than even Democrats can imagine.

Christie is not afraid of the New York Daily News reporting that he makes $700,000 per year and is “mocking 16.5 million Americans working for minimum wage.” “His own bank account is well-padded – as is his rear end,” the Daily News opined. But what that says to me is not so much that the governor is bucking to be neighborhood bully, so much as that he is fighting mad about not yet being taken seriously as one of the most formidable candidates in presidential politricks today.

Hillary Clinton has a certain aura about her, based on the fact that she was First Lady, Senator of New York and Secretary of State, but she lacks the gravitas that allows someone to win a fight without actually having to fight it – because the opponent fears the contender. Just wait until Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have to go toe-to-toe with Christie on the debate stage. Hang on to your comb-over!

It will not be a fair fight and it is likely that Christie will be the rare political opponent who could win the argument with his mouth or his fists, although no one is likely to take the former football player (just like Nixon) up on the latter. No one will even question Christie’s gravitas – especially Putin when he tries to make another Hitler-esque land grab in Eastern Europe.

So in a fight to the finish in the death-cage match that is real-world geo-politics, the main event question is: who do we want in our corner? Someone who can ensure our existence for another 250 years? Or someone who could lead to our ultimate downfall?

Prize fights are rarely scored fairly, no matter how distinguished the ringside judges are for the bout.

Good thing it will ultimately be the ballot box that determines the winner in American politics, not who looks best on a horse bare-chested in winter.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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