October 25, 2015

Who is the Least Worst of the Republican Candidates?

Jeb Bush by Gage Skidmore 4

I'm not back yet for regular posting and probably won't be for awhile longer, but I couldn't resist sharing a brief and somewhat random thought. Of the Republican candidates still running for U.S. president in 2016, which would you say is the least worst? I'm not suggesting you do or should support any of them; I'm asking which one you regard as the least objectionable.

Here's another way to pose the question:
Suppose that you were given the power to select the next U.S. president with one big catch: you had to select from among the Republicans currently running. The next president will be a Republican, but you get to pick which one.
This question generated some interesting discussion among some of my Democratic family members recently, with a clear consensus emerging that I initially found somewhat surprising. At least, I found it surprising until I realized that I agreed with it as much as I didn't want to.

Had you asked me recently who I'd pick as the least objectionable of the Republican candidates, I probably would have said Donald Trump. He seems to be the most secular by far, I appreciate his willingness to speak out against political correctness, he's shown a willingness to embrace Democratic positions in the past, and he's certainly entertaining in an Idiocracy sort of way. And yet, I have changed my mind after hearing the consensus from a few family members.

Regardless of whatever advantages Trump might have, his brash and arrogant demeanor and lack of political experience seem to be major limitations. Of course, he could surround himself with good advisers. He might even listen to them on occasion. But trying to imagine him interacting appropriately with world leaders in any sort of diplomatic capacity is difficult. Even at home, I imagine he's alienate almost everyone within only a few months in office. Temperament seems to matter, and Trump's raises too many questions.

So what was the consensus of my family? Their consensus, one with which I now reluctantly agree, is that Jeb Bush is likely the least objectionable of the Republicans still in the race. I was surprised to hear this initially because my family despised both of the previous Bush presidents, especially W. I was surprised because Jeb's campaign has been poorly run and to characterize his performance in the first two debates as bland an uninspiring would be an understatement. And yet, one advantage of his blandness is that he's relatively less objectionable than the other candidates.

Jeb is neither his brother nor his father. I have no idea if he would make a better president than either of them. I do recognize that some of my objection to him has to do with his last name and my belief that we do not need any more political dynasties. I'd certainly never vote for him, but when I compare him to each of the other Republican candidates, I find that he's less objectionable than each. He's religious, but he does not appear to be completely consumed by faith to the point of being fanatical. I don't agree with most of his policies, but he at least has some experience governing.

What do you think? Out of the Republican candidates, which would be the least bad?