Last year the Republican Party was in great shape. We had a crowded field of candidates, many of them highly qualified. I was looking forward to a stimulating primary season, and the cream rising to the top. That didn't happen. I kept meaning to write a blog post about my favorites, but you'll have to make do with this. I took this article and arranged all the Republican candidates in my approximate, descending order of popularity. It isn't the exact order in which they dropped out of the race. However, it's close enough that I find it depressing. (I'm leaving out Gilmore and Pataki because I'm not sure exactly who they are and I wouldn't likely have voted for them even if I did).
Jeb Bush: what can I say, I've been a Bush loyalist since 1988. Executive experience and class.
Scott Walker: executive experience, nice Midwest buzz
Marco Rubio: solid, energetic, a Hispanic who speaks passionately about values I share.
Rick Perry: executive experience and, you know, Texas
Bobby Jindal: executive experience, articulate and principled
Carly Fiorina: passionate and articulate, better than anyone else on the pro-life issue.
Lindsay Graham: really solid on national defense and foreign policy
Ben Carson: gentle and appealing to our better natures, at least until he endorsed Trump.
John Kasich: executive experience; quirky but hey, he's from Ohio. I'm a little embarrassed I didn't know more about him.
Huckabee and Santorum: I like them both but they had their chances in previous cycles.
Chris Christie: big guy, big heart, fun to listen to until he endorsed Trump
Ted Cruz: Too Tea Party, too prone to fakey stunts like the government shutdown. At least he was good on the pro-life issue, but there were so many better candidates. I only started liking him when he was the only alternative to Trump.
Rand Paul: it's an academic issue whether I could have voted for him.
Donald Trump: He's toxic. I can't vote for him. He doesn't pass the decency test. He belittles, sneers, mocks military heroes and handicapped people, and lies. He's misogynistic, racist, narcissistic, and has no coherent plan for leadership. He would alienate our closest allies and ramp up an atmosphere encouraging constant violence, just to serve his own huuge ego.
Congratulations to Hillary, your spoiler did good work for you. I assume you'll manage to keep indictment at bay for the duration of your White House stay. Maybe you'll be able to pay Trump back some of his expenses with your $300,000 average speaking honoraria. You can take comfort in knowing you are preferable to Ebola. I can't vote for you either, but the country survived the first Clinton presidency and I suppose you're marginally more ethical than Bill.
I've identified as a Republican since 1976, before I was old enough to vote in anything but the 4th grade mock election. I look at those top 7 names on my list and think there are still some decent people left. But there may not be enough decent people left in the country to deserve decent leadership. I'll be interested to watch the Convention. I would expect the principled, decent people to make a significant gesture as they cut ties with the party of Lincoln.
*Utinam is the Latin word indicating a wish; translate it "would that" or "if only" and you can probably guess at the conclusion.