LET THE HORRIFIC SPECULATION BEGIN!
After nearly four years of watching an estimated $6 billion shat away in what we were told would (once again) be The Most Important Election in Human History™, an increasingly impoverished American populace turned out an estimated 57.5% of eligible voters to select one of two guys to be president.
With President Obama now safely at the helm for four more years of Democratic Party-led warfare and austerity, we’ve all returned to our regularly scheduled apathy. Yet, like Christmas, election season seems to come earlier and earlier each cycle. Therefore, to keep you ahead of the curve, here’s a rundown to many of the GOP’s so-called presidential frontrunners who’ll plague our television screens and Facebook feeds for the next four years.
First Indian governor in any state in the United States, and second non-white Governor of Louisiana. Seems young enough to dupe a large portion of the gullible masses into thinking he’ll inject some new ideas or vigor into our political system. Non-threateningly ethnic enough to fit the Republican Party’s desire to “diversify” their base, but his real name being Piyush and his second generation American status might spark up some “birther” hysteria within the GOP base. Already billing himself as the more Sensible Candidate by chirping criticisms of the Republican Party’s war on women and Mitt Romney.
When Piyush Jindal was four years old, he gave himself the nickname of “Bobby,” after his favorite character on “The Brady Bunch.” But based on the way he would live the next 37 years of his life, he should have chosen Jan—the bratty, self-centered middle-child—as his Brady Bunch model.
As a perpetual winner, it’s no surprise Jindal sees the White House as his next destination. A Rhodes Scholar who became Louisiana’s youngest health secretary (at 25) and the state university system’s president (at 28), Jindal spent his twenties building the power-base that would catapult him to the top of Louisiana government in 2007.
Jindal’s desire for the White House is well-known both inside and outside Louisiana. In the past year, Jindal has spent almost one out of four days as governor campaigning outside of the state.
While Barack Obama was carted out in the 2004 Democratic Convention to debut his oratorical skills as the Keynote Speaker for Kerry’s nomination, someone in the GOP decided Jindal’s Big League Debut in our brand-new Post-Racial America should fittingly follow as a rebuttal to Obama’s first SOU address. Coming off like a reactionary Mr. Rogers, the video of his speech hit meme-like status when the interwebs likened Jindal’s speech as a monologue that 30 Rock’s Kenneth the Page might deliver.
Despite his apparent lack of speaking ability and, indeed, sense of humanity, the comparisons between Jindal and Obama are fairly notable and not totally melanin-related.
Both Obama and Jindal carried a lot of enthusiasm on their campaign trail, and both of their entrances into office broke an unprecedented “race barrier.” Both were elected following administrations now infamous for presiding over the massive fuck-up that was Hurricane Katrina. And, like Obama, Jindal’s campaign made a lot of noise about creating more transparency and accountability in government (Jindal also went on to not really do any of that stuff –yet, as far as I can find, Jindal doesn’t have a kill list or drone capabilities at this point).
While his monopoly of power in Louisiana is typical of Louisiana’s history of autocratic governors, Jindal lacks any of the flare, charisma, and basic dignity which make future dictator-like-figures compelling leaders. His administration is notorious for firing pretty much anybody in the state office who disagrees with his policies, and is still seeking to expand the private prison archipelago that is the modern state of Louisiana—the prison capital of the world.
Like the other Republicans, Jindal isn’t one to let reality mar his simplistic view of how the world works. Despite his recent soundbite-friendly criticism about his “stupid party,” in his two terms as governor, Jindal has used his position to do basically what every other figurehead of the “stupid party” wants to do. His attitude can generally be summed up as follows: Fuck the poor, sick, and old, fuck kids and public schools, fuck teachers, and something about the Lock Ness Monster.
(I’m not sure if promoting the existence of the Loch Ness Monster is a Republican strategy across the board, but the Loch Ness Monster figured largely into Monty Burn’ quest for power so it’s absolutely relevant here.)
His goal as governor mostly revolves around turning Louisiana—the second poorest state in the union–into a breeding ground for what the American one-percenter’s “Fuck ‘em” brand of public austerity and corporate power will look like. He’s gone so far as to criticize the stimulus package in 2009, which included valuable funds to support Louisiana’s crumbling infrastructure (he later took a part of it though, to claim as his own lil’ stimulus, straight from his heart to Louisiana), as well as rejecting the recent Medicaid expansion Louisiana qualifies for under Obamacare. In a state which ranks seventh in uninsured individuals, second with syphilitic cictzens, second in low-birth weight babies, and fourth in infant mortality rates, this comes as pretty much a death sentence for some of Louisiana’s most vulnerable (Baton Rouge, Jindal’s hometown, incidentally has the highest AIDS rate in the nation).
His current strategy for presiding over one of the most economically-fucked states in the country is to abolish the state’s income tax, an action which amounts to a blatant form of wealth redistribution from the bottom up. The plan—if one may cynically call it that—is fucking ridiculous. The thought of a cretin so heinous as Jindal drafting a bill so reactionary while salivating over a future seat in the White House should be enough to justify an exorcism of this man and all of his ilk from any kind of political office.
Physically resembles a mix between a Mr. Potatohead and a Ken Doll. The quintessential small-town Midwestern high school suck-up turned small town Midwestern Koch-backed suck-up congressman. Lifts weights and runs marathons (in literally unbelievable time) and shit. According to Gawker, “Paul Ryan shirtless” is Googled 9 times more often than “Paul Ryan Budget Plan.” His famed Path to the Apocalypse (or whatever it’s called) is a nonsensical jumble of numbers and figures meant to be taken in earnest, because that’s the kind of guy Paul Ryan is. He’s Earnest. All in all, Ryan’s whole approach appeals to, as Bhaskar Sunkara called it in Vice, “what stupid people think a smart guy sounds like.” And, despite his man-boy erection for renowned
asshole atheist Ayn Rand, he supposedly has a lot of appeal to the religious right. He’s also, like, really into Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine and shit too, brah.
As a former conductor of Oscar Meyer’s Weinermobile, Paul Ryan drove onto the mainstream political scene in the most boring and white-guy way possible. In our post-Obama, Post-Racial America™, the Republican Party is working double-time to rewrite themselves as not just the party of the Rich White Guy. Not blessed with the brownness of a Jindal or Rubio, Ryan sees his place in the new equation as the self-styled intellectual “Numbers Guy” who can write up ideologically driven budgets and shit.
Ryan was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 at age 28. During the dark years of the Bush Administration, Ryan mainly operated as a reliable GOP lackey, offering votes than ran pretty much straight down the party line. During his fourteen years in Congress, he saw only two of his drafted bills pass: one to rename a post office in his district, and another to change the law surrounding how his arrows are taxed (Ryan is also a big fan of archery too). Yet, despite of this notable lack of accomplishment, in 2007, after 13 years in the House, Ryan eventually became the ranking Republican member of the House Budget committee. In 2011, after Republicans took over the House, Ryan picked up the title of chairman.
Like many Obama-era conservatives, Ryan saw the Teabagger movement as an opportunity to reinvent himself (despite the fact that he voted for the bagger-hated bailouts). His courtship with the Baggers involved Ryan preening a new budget-hawk persona and in 2012, using various channels to spread the word through Washington about how his Magical Budget Plan will totally fix the deficit, brah.
To quote Connor Kilpatrick, “worrying about the deficit is how dumb people have tried to sound smart since the days of FDR. And most people are dumb.” The truth is Paul Ryan’s 2014 plan is very dumb, and, if he actually believes it will do a lick of good to anyone other than the 1% or the defense industry, well, then he’s dumber than we all already know. While most Americans would rather leave the math up to a “Numbers Guys” like Ryan to figure out, all you really need to know about Ryan’s plan is that it follows in the vein of the Bush-era tax cuts: cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, gutting social programs like Medicaid, and keeping defense spending bloated.
His entire schtick seems to revolve solely around getting supposedly intelligent and serious people to label him “wonkish.” In our supposedly post-ideological age, certain sections of the liberal commentariat seem to hold a weird mixture of respect and envy towards any conservative who can unselfconsciously hold onto a singular worldview—no matter how warped and inconsistent it may be.
In keeping with his easy-to-mock persona, Paul Ryan has your typical frat-boy sensitivity to women as well. He’s recently drafted a new “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” giving human zygotes all of the legal rights enjoyed by everybody else (excluding women, one imagines). One of the provisions of his bill will ensure that rape victims can be fucking sued by their rapist if they terminate a pregnancy resulting from their rape.
Despite being second banana to the guy who lost the last election, Paul Ryan is still central to all the budget bullshit going on in Washington. As House Budget Committee Chairman, he will continue to draft bill after bill outlining the millions of different ways Republicans can make massive cuts to social programs in the holy name of Balancing Budgets or Cutting the Deficit or Whateverthefuck they’re doing all this shit it for.
Even if Paul Ryan didn’t exist, both the Republicans and the Democrats would have to invent him. Austerity is here to stay, people, and our millionaire politicians are going to keep teaching us about “cutting the deficit” or “the necessity of living within our means” and use happy-sounding buzzwords like “reform” and “savings” and all that other shit for a long, long time. It’s coming and will continue to come from both sides of the aisle. On the one side, it’s the Paul Ryan’s offering us bloated defense budgets and outlining Greece-level attacks on social programs. On the other side, we have the Obamas and Jerry Browns offering a slightly more pleasant, more palatable version of the same 1% friendly attacks. Each side gets to blame the other, and we all spiral downwards for eternity (or at least until something even worse happens). That is, unless we directly take over the means of production–which is to say: “Invade China.” Which would be, like, way sweeter than a Paul Ryan presidency, dude.
A young, fresh-faced Cuban-American from Florida, Rubio represents the Operation Git that Mexican Vote!!!!! branch of the GOP’s strategy for 2016. According to the pundits, putting Rubio on the ticket will automatically open the gates of the Republican Party, allowing millions of Latinos to flood within their borders—figuratively speaking. He served in Florida House of Representatives as the first Cuban-American Speaker, and now one term as a Senator. Like many Republicans these days, he’s quick to drop pop and rap knowledge in order show how fucking hip he is.
Every year, our cynical political culture analyzes how exactly each candidate will plan on “reaching out to Latino voters.” While being the party which boasts ties to a militant hate-monger who once considered it an honor to be compared to the Ku Klux Klan certainly doesn’t help, the GOP would rather reach out to Latino voters symbolically by putting one of their own on the forefront of their party.
Romney’s candidacy, in a roundabout way, was supposed to address the Republican/Latino gap. In one of his stump speeches self-consciously catered to Latino, Romney waxed thoughtful over his humble Mexican roots. Romney’s father George (who drew a considerable amount of “birther” hysteria himself when he ran for president in ’68) was born in Mexico to American parents who were fleeing the U.S. Government’s early 20th century crackdown on Mormon polygamy. Which makes Mittens, by birth, about as Mexican as Taco Bell.
Promoting Marco Rubio, a man who was considered for Romney’s VP pick, as a viable presidential candidate amounts to a transparent ploy from the Republican Party to prove that, despite evidence to the contrary, they do care about Latinos—now the largest minority group in the US—in ways other than, like, having them do their dishes and mow their lawns.
As a Cuban-American living in Florida, part of Marco Rubio’s rise in the GOP was the supposedly inspirational story about his parents’ escape from Castro’s Cuba. Turns out, his parents had left Cuba long before that “thug” Castro had even finished plotting his takeover from Mexico. Despite his family’s immigration from U.S.-backed-dictator Batista’s Cuba (over two years before Castro took power), Rubio nevertheless took the story of Castro’s exiles as his own. After four terms of service in the Florida senate, he moved on to the U.S. Senate in 2010. Like Obama, after not even serving one senate term, Rubio had enough unqualified enthusiasm and momentum to at least be considered as a presidential or vice-presidential candidate before 2012.
Recently christened by Time Magazine as the Republican Party’s “savior,” Rubio is branding himself as the (brown) face of the GOP’s timely stab at immigration reform. While rejecting John McCain’s 2010 immigration reform as “amnesty,” Rubio’s views on the subject have since evolved–just as he’s drawn more media attention. His plan, though not written yet, has been called remarkably similar to the bill drafted by Obama in 2011 and by W. in 2007. In the GOP’s narrative, one imagines, if the Republican-backed plan of “immigration reform” passes in the next three years, the GOP—a party typically unapologetic about crushing workers’ rights and minorities’ capacities to live–will again truly embody “The Party of Lincoln.”
GOP’s Great Brown Hope’s only accomplishment in the Senate is a lone bill marking September “Spinal Cord Injury Month.” Although a noble goal, naming a month of the year after a painful physical ailment isn’t perhaps the Señor Smith Goes to Washington story Rubio would have us believe.
In his State of the Union response, he called for a “balanced budget amendment” in order to, like, balance the budget or whatever. The guy apparently has a lot of experience with out of balance budgets, as he was swindled in the Florida housing bubble. He also owes over a hundred-thousand in student loans. And after racking up over $100,000 on his Republican Party-issued credit card, Marco paid back about $16,000 which he claimed was “for personal use.” [That means "hookers"-Ed.]
As he currently travels the globe to build up the façade of foreign policy experience, it should be noted that he’s surrounded himself with Bill Kristol-type lackeys and former Bush-Leaguers like Jaimie Fly. As with Obama, Rubio’s a “blank slate” of a candidate, surrounded by the same old assholes and villains who have been fucking things up all along. Like the other individuals on this list, he has no redeeming human qualities and is about as eligible to lead the free world as an animal-shaped balloon or a dead hamster. Or a former B-movie star from California…shit.
Ben Vitelli is some guy who sent us this article