Interview with Alabama Liberal

Our old friend Alabama Liberal is back for this blog! It’s been far too long. As with other interviews, my comments will be in black, while his comments will be in blue…after all this is Blue in Alabama. Please feel free to comment below and visit his blog at http://www.alabamaliberal.com. So here we go.

As you know another election is upon us, and sadly our good friend Barack Obama is about to leave office. Sadly that race baiting socialist Muslim can’t run for a third term. But let’s get to it.

Chris Christie announced today that he is running, making him the 14th Republican candidate. I’m assuming Robert Aderholt will be next since he’s virtually the only republican that isn’t running. Is having this many candidates good for the GOP?

Thanks for having me Michael. “It’s great to be here!”–Is something Donald Trump will never have to worry about saying to a White House staff. As for your first question…

When you asked me to speak about 2016, I didn’t know if you meant the election cycle or the number of Republicans running for president since I do believe we’ll see a couple more in there before it’s over. I really don’t see how a big number could be a good thing since it certainly benefited Obama to be the only Democratic candidate in 2012 while the Republican side was chaotic for most of the primary months. Typically, a really competitive primary winds up splitting the base and a lot of GOP voters will be excited for primary candidates that they don’t get a chance to vote for in the general, and if they don’t dislike the Democratic nominee enough then a good number might wind up staying at home.

Most polls have Jeb Bush as the front runner. Of course a lot will be decided after the first debates begin but who do you think is his biggest threat?

Would Republicans really go for ANOTHER Bush? I don’t see it, but it is worth keeping in mind that from 1952 to 2008 only the 1968 election didn’t have the last name Bush, Nixon, or Dole on the GOP ticket. So they r-e-a-l-l-y like sticking to what they know. Even relatively “fresh” names like Romney and McCain were the last cycle’s runner-ups which is why I’m having a hard time believing they’ll really entertain newer (seeming) candidates like Rubio or Ted Cruz.

In general, I break their side into four categories: There’s the token diversity candidates like Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Carly Fiorina who is really just in the race so that the GOP isn’t a sausage fest with 15 men up on the stage taking shots at Hillary and will probably drop out after Iowa. Then there’s self-promotion candidates like Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, or even Ted Cruz who would sort-of like to be president but really just want to increase their brand awareness. Then there’s the “moderates” like Rand Paul or George Pataki who hope to salvage the party from the crazies and will quickly be ostracized because of it. And then there’s the top dogs: Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush.

In my heart of hearts, I think the Christie candidacy will implode and GOP voters will never really take to Marco Rubio. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Scott Walker as the last man standing, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s rumored to be the recipient of the Koch Brother’s massive fundraising. He’s really the only one that would appeal to both the evangelical crazies, I mean, “the base,” the big money people, the Tea Party, and even the establishment, but I don’t like him at all and he’s probably the worst of the top-tier candidates.

How much would you pay to watch a Donald Trump vs. Chris Christie in a fist fight?

Having already seen Evander Holyfield take it easy on Mitt Romney, I would only pay big money to see Donald Trump AND Chris Christie fight Ronda Rousey but in a Thunderdome/only-one-can-leave type environment. Then maybe have Lindsey Graham fight Dakota Fanning in a similar cage match.

I think we can make both of those happen if we can convince Warren Buffet to pay for a couple of campaign ads for each of them. How much of a shot does someone like Rand Paul have? He can certainly be an attractive candidate to some independents but would he ever have a chance at surviving the GOP primaries?

The thing with Rand Paul is that he’s way behind in the fundraising race, and it’s doubtful he can make up the ground he would need. Also, he’s not really drawing the same level of monstrously intense passion that his father did and I think it’s a case of the middle-ground turning into quicksand: he’s not hardcore enough to inspire his father’s apostles but he’s too Libertarian for the evangelical base or GOP money people.

If you had the power to pick the president all on your own but had to choose from the Republican candidates, who would you choose?
Probably George Pataki, and the fact that I would pick him almost certainly means he’ll never win their nomination. The same way my endorsement of Jon Huntsman last time out was close to a death sentence for his candidacy. Right now, it seems like the GOP base would rather lose with Mike Huckabee than win with a Jon Huntsman-type. Out of the people who actually have a shot I would pick Chris Christie over Rubio, Rubio over Jeb Bush, and Jeb Bush over Scott Walker just in terms of my personal preference.

I completely agree about Huntsman. I would have loved to see him win the nomination but the quota on Mormon candidates was full with Romney…and Romney. Looking at the Democratic side, do you think it’s fair to say the nomination is Hillary’s? Does Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley have any shot at challenging her?

The same way it’s very hard to see who the Republican nominee would be right now, it’s also very hard to see Hillary not being the nominee for the Democratic side. STILL, nobody gave Obama much of a shot in 2008 either and the Democratic side loathes sure-things the way Republicans embrace them. Bill Clinton himself was a very long shot back in ’92 but I really don’t see Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley upsetting her, and especially not that clown Lincoln Chaffee. If an upset were to happen it would likely be because Hillary has a new scandal or a new candidate enters the race that is just on fire, and it’s hard for me to imagine who that would be since the Democrats are rock-star deprived at the moment.

Unlike a lot of liberals, I really don’t see Elizabeth Warren as a shining bastion of hope, and it’s hard to make a case that she’ll be more electable than Hillary, and she would almost certainly get stomped in the fundraising game. In fact, I think Republicans would probably be just as excited at her entering the race as liberals would be since Hillary is really the only Democratic candidate that has a prayer of matching them in fundraising and ad buys. And even if a Warren or Bernie Sanders type managed to get elected President, it’s unlikely they would be able to get anything done, likely suffering from “Jimmy Carter Syndrome.” This is another reason the GOP hates Hillary, she and Bill are arguably the most powerful Democrats (not named Obama) on the planet right now.

Let’s pretend that Bernie Sanders did manage to win the nomination…would he have any shot at winning the presidency? Would America vote in an openly socialist man as president?

Honestly, I’m torn because I love Bernie Sanders but there’s no way in hell he would win the presidency. Him winning the nomination would be the best thing that would ever happen for the Republicans because we’d likely be looking at another Reagan vs. Mondale landslide. He’s very old; he’s a white male who’s also Jewish so you’re not capitalizing the diversity voters but still getting dinged by the bigots; he’s not camera smooth; he’s a socialist; he’s fiercely intelligent and obviously well-educated i.e. “unrelatable” (it is terrible that unhidden intelligence can be a bad thing in a presidential candidate); and he’s an independent so he’s not technically even a member of the Democratic Party. If this were the 1940’s and TV weren’t in every household he’d be a better candidate, but I can only imagine how rough he would look in a debate against a relatively healthy-looking, Mitt Romney-type Republican. If it were Sanders vs. Christie you’d be talking about the sweatiest TV debate of all time.

I think a big part of the love for a Sanders or Warren type is that the left sometimes mistakes who would be a great Attorney General or Senate Majority Leader with who would be a great president. Even FDR was an accomplished governor that knew how to manage people that were very ideologically different than him to get what he wanted, but Warren and Sanders are liberal senators from liberal states that have never faced a truly opposed audience to their beliefs.

Last question, November 2016…who are the two candidates we are choosing between and who wins?

Whew, November 8th, 2016 huh? Well…sigh…let me check my special, Nate-Silver-approved coin detector for the most scientifically accurate–okay, it came up heads for the Democrats and tails for the GOP so we’re talking a Scott Walker/Susannah Martinez OR Marco Rubio GOP ticket (their nominee himself will not directly appeal to Hispanic voters but the second he gets in the general he’ll want a running mate that does, avoiding the Romney mistake of 2012) and a Hillary Clinton/Joaquin OR Julian Castro ticket on the Democratic side. Of course, if Rubio is on the ticket and Florida seems lost then Clinton might want to appeal more directly to Virginia by choosing Mark Warner or a play towards the middle of America could mean West Virginia’s Joe Manchin or even Minnesota’s Al Franken, both of whom have already endorsed Hillary and the Clintons value loyalty. As for the winner…my hope is that Hillary wins, but it’ll probably be a closer general than it was in 2008.

There it is ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first. Hillary 2016 is official. Go ahead and place your bets in Vegas. Thanks again to Alabama Liberal for taking some time out from his movie reviews to talk politics. If only you guys could sit in on the endless conversations that we have. Maybe we will start a podcast during the election season or something…who knows. Again, go check out his page at http://www.alabamaliberal.com. 

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