Handicapping Scott Walker’s potential presidential rivals

There’s something terribly revealing — and inadvertently uninspiring — about the Ready for Hillary PAC’s apt but deadly dull tagline, “Ready for Hillary.”

It evokes a long-neglected, distasteful obligation, like going back to school after summer vacation or getting your first colonoscopy. It may very well be for the best but … hmm.

It’s not just like getting socks on Christmas morning — it’s like getting the very same socks you returned eight years ago, this time with a musty thrift-store smell.

Scott Walker is likely to run for president, which means he could get the nomination, which means he’ll go up against whichever candidate the Dems trot out. That could very well be Hillary, the former Walmart board member who voted for the Iraq war. Yay!

Sure, it’s an easy decision: You’ve got to go with Hillary on that one. But it’s sort of like having to choose between hammering a knitting needle into your skull with a wheel of baked brie or spending the same amount of time eating a bag of expired, unaccountably moist circus peanuts. You’re going to suffer either way, and both could kill you, but you have to play the odds.

It’s not that we aren’t ready for a woman president. We’re way past ready for that. But then let’s encourage Elizabeth Warren to run. You’d get to see Wall Street and the military-industrial complex corrupt her right before your eyes. Wouldn’t that be fun?

But enough about the Democratic hopefuls. Let’s take a look at the most likely GOP challengers to Hillary (or a Dem to be named later), based on a recent CNN/ORC poll (PDF):

Scott Walker: Politico recently reported that Walker is “taking active steps” toward a presidential campaign. In his gubernatorial campaign against Mary Burke, Walker bragged about eliminating the state’s deficit (he hasn’t), being an effective job creator (he isn’t), and putting Wisconsin on the comeback trail (it is, thanks to Barack Obama). So essentially, what Walker has accomplished in Wisconsin is the functional equivalent of tossing some ants in a jam jar, shaking it up, and peeing your pants with laughter as they attempt to eat each other’s thoraxes.

Will national voters see through that? Well, according to the CNN poll, Walker is on the radar, but barely. With 5% support, he’s currently beating “no opinion’s” brains out (3%) but has some work to do to close the gap between him and “someone else” (6%).

But he’s smarter than he looks, so he could come on strong as the election season nears.

(Odds of actually winning the nomination: 20-1)

Mitt Romney: If Hillary is a stale cracker, Romney is a Korean War Army ration that’s been chewed up and spit out. And yet he gets 20% support in the CNN poll from Republican and Republican-leaning independents. Weird stuff.  

(Odds of winning the nomination — assuming he runs: Let’s say 5-1.)

Dr. Ben Carson: He’s a right-wing African-American, a neurosurgeon, and a fierce critic of Obamacare, so naturally many Republicans (10% according to the CNN poll) see him as a perfect replacement for the country’s first African-American president — who, as we all know, is a Kenyan-born socialist who divides us on race and is secretly raising an army of stormtroopers to enforce the ACA’s medical device tax and beat the orange off John Boehner.

Seemingly emboldened by his relatively strong following, he’s recently let his crazy flag fly at full mast, comparing the U.S. under Barack Obama to Nazi Germany and Obamacare to slavery.

(Odds of winning the nomination: 500-1 — unless Obama actually does herd large numbers of U.S. citizens into forced labor camps to pay for his ACA death panels, in which case he will be a shoo-in.)

Jeb Bush: Somewhere in a dark, cavernous underground conference room in Switzerland (think the War Room from Dr. Strangelove), the Illuminati/Lizard People who run the world’s banks, select our leaders, launch false-flag operations (like 9/11) to agitate Americans into a jingoistic furor, and deceive large numbers of people into liking Ryan Seacrest are sitting around placing bets over whether they can put yet another Bush in the White House, even though crippling recessions follow Bush presidencies literally 100% of the time. Tears are streaming down their cheeks, they’re laughing so hard. He’s got 9% support right now, so they’re off to a good start.

(Odds of winning the nomination: 6-1)

Chris Christie: He’s loud, angry, petulant, and takes no crap from anyone. If he were liberal and black, Republicans would be demanding to see his birth certificate as we speak. No, not that one, the real one. He clocks in at 8% support as of this writing, so he has a ways to go.

(Odds of winning the nomination: 7-1)

Rand Paul: Paul, who identifies as a Republican but skews libertarian, recently implied that the real reason Eric Garner was choked to death by police is that cigarette taxes are too high: “… I think there’s something bigger than just the individual circumstances. Obviously the individual circumstances are important, but I think it’s also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive.” 

Never mind the thousands of lives high cigarette taxes likely save.

Also … huh?

It’s just this sort of bizarre, convoluted logic and unrelenting hatred of reasonable tax policy that’s likely to earn him a ton of support among modern Republicans. (So far, he’s got 6% of them onboard.)

(Odds of winning the nomination: 18-1)

Paul Ryan: Another Wisconsin native son, he has the advantage of appearing far less crazy than Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Ben Carson — which, granted, is a little like saying Elvis is less dead than King Tut. He’s often seen as a serious policy wonk who lends some much-needed gravitas to the wobbly-wheeled clown car that is the modern Republican Party, but if you read the critiques of Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, you’ll quickly be disabused of that notion.

Here, for instance, is Krugman in November 2012, shortly after the 47% Twins went down in flames:

The fact is that Ryan is and always was a fraud. His plan never added up; it was never, contrary to what people who should know better asserted, “scored” by the CBO. What he actually offered was a plan to hurt the poor and reward the rich, actually increasing the deficit along the way, plus magic asterisks that supposedly reduced the debt by means unspecified.

He’s currently at 6% in the CNN poll, just ahead of Scott Walker.

(Odds of winning the nomination: 9-1)



Ted Cruz: If he’s elected, look for him to threaten a complete government shutdown on day one to force outgoing President Barack Obama to eat a bug. The CNN poll has him tied with Walker at 5%.

(Odds of winning the nomination: 50-1)

Rick Perry: Before he put on those glasses, his odds were at about 12,000-1. But now he’s super smart and not at all forgetful. And hey, why not elect another far-right Texas governor with more bravado than brains? What could possibly go wrong? CNN has him at 4%.

(Odds of winning the nomination: 30-1)

In related news, Obamacare is (still) working

Sure you want to even consider going back to Republican rule? Despite public sentiment and a torrent of anti-ACA propaganda, Obama’s health care reform plan has been a success.

Let’s see: pointless, costly war that enriches Halliburton or effective health care reform that allows more Americans to afford insurance.

Whose signature accomplishment do you prefer?

Read it and rejoice:

“4 New Studies Show Obamacare Is Working Incredibly Well”

(If for some reason you don’t feel like slogging through the whole article, you should at least read this bit: “Obamacare’s bitter opponents on the right have increasingly trained their focus on measures of public opinion. It is true: Polling on the health-care law remains dismal as ever despite its success. Obamacare’s opponents have won a public-relations struggle. They have not won an argument.”)

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