Lots of Lame Horses in This Race

October 3rd, 2011

By Tom Carter

Politics as a Horse RaceLike many other folks, I’ve watched most of the Republican primary debates and read and heard a lot of media reporting and commentary.  Often — too often — political contests are explained in sports terminology, especially with terms drawn from horse racing.  In that spirit, all I can say is that it looks to me like there are a lot of lame horses in this race.

To extend the analogy, let’s say the Republicans are going to pick their candidate not on the basis of a record of proven ability and relevant performance but on appearance and personality.  So they put the candidates all in a corral, let them mill around together, nip at each other’s flanks, twitch their ears and whinny, and munch a few oats if they feel like it.  All the while, oh-so-important media personalities do their best to irritate them.

Would the horse picked to run the all-important race be undersized, knobby-kneed, and given to sleeping and eating excessively?  There was once a horse like that named Seabiscuit; nobody thought much of him for a long time, and he certainly wasn’t picked as the best among his contemporaries.  (Although this may indicate that we should take a closer look at Ron Paul.)

I’ll take the risk of handicapping a horse race between one of the Republicans in the corral and Obama.  At this point there are nine horses in the race; there may be 10 soon, if the media succeeds in pushing Christie forward despite his multiple Shermanesque refusals.  So let’s include the big guy.

Romney.  He’s got executive experience in business and government, good hair, a chiseled jaw, a slim waistline, and he speaks well.  If it weren’t for his religion and Obamneycare, his odds would be doubled.  Odds against Obama, 1-2.

Huntsman.  Great experience in government as an executive and in foreign policy.  Good looks, good hair, nice and slim, speaks well (except for the occasional deer-in-the-headlights thing).  Even he doesn’t take his religion very seriously (smart guy), and it’s probably less of a problem than Romney has.  Odds 1-2.

Christie.  Despite his limited experience, some folks like his rough-and-ready, shoot-from-the-hip approach to politics.  But facing a slick pol like Obama, with the machine he has behind him, Christie will likely fade in the back stretch.  And he’s fat.  Odds 2-1, but only because Obama is so beatable.

Cain:  The folks are playing with him, voting for him and responding to pollsters as a way of saying “a pox on all you guys.”  The more detailed scrutiny he gets, the worse he’ll look.  His 9-9-9 tax idea is weird and can’t be implemented for a vast number of reasons.  Beyond all that, Obama will knock him on his butt in a debate.  Odds 3-1, but only because Obama is the other horse.

All the others:  Sure losers.  Odds range from 50-1 to 100-1.

And one more thing — any Republican presidential nominee with Marco Rubio as his running mate gets his odds automatically tripled.

Will the Republicans pick their best horse from the debate corral?  Maybe, but it’s certainly not a sure thing.  They better keep their eye on the prize because Obama, while he may have been gelded, can still be a closer.


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3 Responses to “Lots of Lame Horses in This Race”



  1. d |

    Compared to the Republican field,I guess I will have to bet on Obama,although,I would rather have a case of founder,than see him win. Those folks need to put their entire field,out to pasture,in my opinion,and start over.
    Isn’t it sad,that today,you can be black,a woman,and a Mormon,and still have a chance to be president,but you can’t be bald or fat? Our society is entirely too infatuated with the pretty people.
    Horse races can be won by longshots,I am hoping for a new contender,one with at least,a little chance of winning,whose not an idiot or pretty. Pretty horses seldom win horse races,Arabians are so much prettier than thoroughbreds,but who is best suited for the long haul?


  2. Dan Miller |

    Here is an interview with LTC/Representative Allen West. He is not currently a candidate. However, the interview is excellent and I agree with every one of the comments appended to it thus far.


  3. Tom Carter |

    I wouldn’t bet on Obama at this point, when he seems even more beatable that Jimmy Carter was. But anything can happen, and Obama might end up looking much better because of something that happens between now and the election. What’s more likely, though, is that the Republicans will once again sacrifice electability on the altar of ideological purity.

    The interview with West is very good. Shows he’s sticking to his guns. But it won’t make any difference if he loses in 2012.


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