As of this week, the race for the GOP presidential nomination has eight official candidates, and no front-runner. But it has plenty of gaffes, and promises more to come.
The Republican field grew by two more candidates this week, as former senator Rick Santorum and former New York governor George Pataki squeezed into the GOP’s presidential primary “clown car.” With more candidates expected to announce in the coming weeks, the field is only going to get more crowded, which is only going to make the upcoming debates trickier.
Fox News is handling the GOP debates. That’s bad enough, considering that so far the toughest questions the candidates have faced came from Fox News anchors. Fox has limited participation in the first debate — on August 6 — to the top 10 candidates. By then the GOP field may have swollen to at least 16 candidates, as more wannabes stop flirting with the idea of running, and make it official.
That raises a question: Just what kind of debate format could possibly accommodate 16 (or more) candidates? The most likely to work is probably a game show format, but even a Hollywood Squares format would only accommodate nine candidates. That’s one less than Fox’s cut-off point. So, maybe a “reality television” format is a safer bet. Maybe the RNC and Fox should consider borrowing ideas from “American Idol” or “America’s Next Top Model”?
The next big problem will be finding ten legitimate front-runners, in a primary race that doesn’t have any. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, there are currently five leaders in the race for the Republican presidential nomination — Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Dr. Ben Carson — but they’re all polling at just 10 percent each.
The only real front-runner is “Undecided,” polling at 20 percent. That’s kind of a problem, unless Fox decides to have the other candidates debate an empty chair. Then again, maybe not, considering how well that turned out the last time.
It’s no wonder “Undecided,” is the only front-runner in the GOP race. Considering how the actual candidates are embarrassing themselves thus far.
- Ben Carson is already cashing in on his candidacy. In a break with “long-standing practice discouraging presidential candidates from collecting cash at the podium,” the National Review reports that Carson will continue making paid speeches “well into next fall.” At $40,000 a pop, no less.
- Carly Fiorina’s attention-seeking stunt outside a Clinton event in South Carolina blew up in her face. Fiorina got defensive when reporters had a hard time believing that Fiorina just happened to have a previously scheduled event on the same day, time, and at the same hotel where Clinton happened to be speaking. Here’s hoping someone in Fiorina’s campaign has a working knowledge of anti-stalking laws.
- Meanwhile, Fiorina is apparently nobody’s favorite boss. Nearly half of the people who worked on Fiornia’s failed 2010 senate campaign told Reuters they wouldn’t work for her again. “I’d rather go to Iraq,” said one high-level staffer. That’s probably because it took Fiorina four years to pay them for their work.
- Mike Huckabee is stuck defending admitted child molester Josh Duggar. It’s just Huck’s dumb luck that right after the entire quiverful of the famed Duggar clan, of TLC’s “19 Children and Counting,” endorsed his presidential bid, the news broke that eldest son Josh Duggar was investigated for molesting several girls (including one or more of his sisters) during his teenage years.
- “Daily Show” host Jon Steward nailed Sen. Rand Paul’s hypocritical stance on “religious freedom” laws, which allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people on the basis of the owners’ religious beliefs. Concerning bakers who refuse to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples, Stewart asked, “Don’t they sell cakes to sinners all the time?”
- Paul also got himself in trouble for declaring on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,”, and for writing in his new book that the GOP brand “sucks” and is “broken.”
- Bad news for Rick Santorum. Even Herman Cain thinks Santorum’s campaign is “doomed” and a “joke.” Herman Cain.
- Likely candidate, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker defended a controversial bill he signed, requiring women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound, saying in an interview that the mandatory exams are “just a cool thing” for women.
With Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas governor Rick Perry, and real estate/reality television mogul Donald Trump expected to join the fun in the coming weeks, no wonder “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart is reconsidering his retirement.
Writer and LGBT activist Dan Savage wants to do for Josh Duggar what he did for Rick Santorum. Savage called on his Twitter followers to help him coin a new term based on the “19 Kids and Counting” star, who was investigated for molesting under age girls, including some of his sisters, as a teenager.
Clearly “duggary” needs to be a word. Should it mean sexual hypocrisy? Fundy hypocrisy? Child molestation? #duggary
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) May 26, 2015
Savage’s fans did not disappoint.
@fakedansavage duggary: a frothy mix of molestation, church and bad hairdos
— hüskermould (@huskermould) May 26, 2015
@fakedansavage Covering up child abuse. Example: The Catholic Church leadership engaged in Duggary for decades.
— Josh Kelly (@jcoltkelly) May 26, 2015
@fakedansavage the frothy mix of sanctimony and sexual hypocrisy
— Hank Thompson (@Hank_Thompson) May 26, 2015
@fakedansavage the delusion of sexual/moral invincibility as a result of celebrity status and/or cult involvement.
— LEX SIZZLE (@AlexCzysz) May 26, 2015
Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:
- American Freedom Defense Initiative leader Pamela Geller wants to expose Washington, DC residents to possible attacks, by plastering Muhammed’s face on buses and train stations.
- Fortunately, Washington, DC’s transit authority squashed Geller’s plans by banning “issue oriented” ads for the rest of the year.
- Geller also accused Fox News analyst Juan Williams of being the “real” anti-Muslim extremist for his 2010 comment that he felt uneasy when he saw people in traditional Muslim garb boarding a plane.
- Gellar protege and former Marine Jon Ritzheimer told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, in an otherwise incoherent interview, that he plans to hold a “Draw Muhammed” contest in Phoenix Arizona this week.
- On Fusion’s “America With Jorge Ramos,” conservative columnist Ann Coulter repeatedly insulted just about everyone in the building with racist comments, calling Mexican culture “obviously deficient.” Coulter also pointedly refused a hug from immigration activist Gaby Pacheco, to celebrate their “shared humanity.” Pacheco was clearly giving Coulter the benefit of the doubt.
- When pop star Kelly Clarkson told Rolling Stone magazine, “I’m a fan of Hillary. She’s badass,” Clinton returned the compliment. And wingnuts on Twitter lost their minds.
- Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said that a recent Gallup survey that showed liberals pulling even with conservatives in America is due to half the country being “simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.”
- If changing a tires indeed the truest test of manhood, Fox News hosts Brian Kilmeade and Scott Brown failed spectacularly.
- Republican rappers are back. This time with a love song for Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas).