Republicans have not been too happy lately looking over the long row of their Presidential wannabes. It is almost embarrassing—so many outstanding candidates. They all have much to be said for them, but each one seem to have something lacking, to be just not quite right. They are just not “Presidential” enough. But relax Republicans, your ideal candidate has been found at last. He is so perfect he might have been designed by computer. (Maybe he was.) This candidate fits every requirement for the ideal Presidential Republican candidate.
What do I mean? First, the ideal Republican must have the appearance and the intellect of a dreamboat senior class president. He should look like an American, someone you would be happy to have for a next door neighbor. Not a trace of “ethnic” although his love for all races, creeds, and colors and readiness to support them must be unquestionably stalwart. He must be from north of the Ohio River.
The ideal candidate should not have any experience in foreign affairs. He will naturally be a man of the finest good ole American common sense, always chose what is right and just. He will know he will have to rely on the wisdom of the neocons, now well-established masters of Republican foreign policy. (Let’s admit it, Republicans were a little parochial and weak on the mental department until the neocons brought their powerful intellects to their aid.)
The ideal Republican will be a firm and courageous moderate in all things. He will not have any ideas or principles other than making sure the rich keep making money. He will have some policies, made up by advertising agencies, infallibly “moderate,” meaningless, and to be forgotten once the marketing job (excuse me, election) is over.
He will have the one really essential characteristic that always universally reassures Republican voters that everything is A-OK. Respectability. He will not be guilty of any documented felonies that have not been hushed up and he will never, never be guilty of “extremism.” Once the media have exposed a Republican President as not quite the Boy Scout he is expected to be, it is all over. Look at poor Tricky Dick. As the Republican Presidential candidate he will never, never accuse his Democratic opponent of extremism or anything bad. That would be not being a good sport. It was be extremism.
The ideal Republican will recognize, of course, that sodomy is now “respectable,” while anti-gay bigotry cannot be countenanced by any good American. Those Republican voters who have not been paying attention to the progress in recent years in what is respectable will just have to get to with the program and quit their belly-aching. Besides, Republican leaders have more gay relatives than the Democrats. But he must never let the Republican voters suspect that he is not one of them—is anything other than a brave defender of American family values.
So we have the man who will carry on the great tradition of Republican statesmanship—John Fremont, Horace Greeley, U.S. Grant, James G. Blaine, Chester Arthur, Warren Harding, Cal Coolidge, Alf Landon, Earl Warren, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, the Bushes, John Boehner and Mitt Romney.
Let’s not worry about any problem with the Democrats. It seems that Hillary Clinton is finally out of the running. It only took the American public a quarter of a century to figure out that she is Not a Very Nice Person. Of course, the minority has had the White House for eight years and might not want to give it up. There are an awful lot of power and perks there and opportunities galore to stick it to the majority. But surely they will play fair—it’s the Republicans turn after all.
I can just see it now—the Republican convention of 2016—delegates standing on their chairs cheering “the next President of the United States”—Pence of Indiana.
Clyde N. Wilson is a contributing editor to Chronicles. A retired professor of history at the University of South Carolina, he is the author of numerous books, including Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew and Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture. He is the editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun.