Is That Even His Goal?

I know it’s a meme going around these days. And it’s definitely Vivek Ramaswamy’s game plan. But this is getting ridiculous.

As I watched Ramaswamy’s performance in the first Republican Presidential Debate, it occurred to me that not a word comes out of the man’s mouth that is not in line with, and in direct service to Ramaswamy’s clear and obvious goal – that of trying to out Trump Trump. His entire campaign, his entire political career, seems to be centered around appealing to the Trump base. And that’s about it.

He seems to have no strategy or ambition beyond that – other than maybe being Trump’s VP nominee. And he can forget about that. Not that Trump wouldn’t love it – a like-minded Mini Me to hang around with, especially one so eager to suck up to him. But even Trump (or at least someone close to him) surely has to know what a disastrous ticket that would be.

After all, the reason Trump picked Mike Pense the first time around, was not because he liked the man, or that the two were skympatico in any way. In fact, it was because Pense was so dissimilar, mainly in the area of political experience, in that Pense had some – and as a member of the US congress no less.

So Trump needed him and he knew it (or at least his advisors did). Not so Ramaswamy. The guy has literally nothing to offer, other than fealty to Trump. Again, not saying that doesn’t appeal to Trump. Because clearly it does. But if there’s one thing Trump’s candidacy does not need, it’s more of the same, including one more narcissist to gum up the works – especially one who’s only real talent appears to be an ability to kiss the collective asses of Trump’s voters.

And the rest of the candidates should take note.

It’s pretty clear that the world (at least the part of it outside Trump’s vacuous brain cavity) clearly knows it does not need more Trump. Even most Republicans know this, including may of Trump’s base supporters. But that is not what they’re getting – even from the non-Trump candidates in the “race.” And that just goes to show what a weak, ineffective and uninspired lot those candidates are. Because throughout the course of this entire election cycle, not a single one of them has come up with a new policy or idea that has gained any real traction – either within the Trump base or without.

And that includes the current number two DeSantis. Everything the man has said which is not a direct mimicry of Trump, has failed – and not just among Trump supporters. The most famous of these gaffs posing as ideas, is his six week ban on Florida abortions. That has gotten him nowhere with anyone (other than perhaps a few in the evangelical community).

And why would it work with the rest of the base? After all, Trump supporters have unwanted pregnancies too. And even they know that a pregnancy could go undetected for six weeks, or close enough to that cut-off date, that it would be extremely difficult to see the doctors, make the arrangements, and wrestle with the often difficult decision of going ahead with an abortion, before that time was up.

Yet that abortion ban is one of the few “ideas” to emerge from the DeSantis campaign that was not reminiscent of the Trump playbook. And the rest of the so-called candidates have done no better.

So perhaps someone needs to tell them that even this fouled-up campaign is not limited to a choice between opposing Trump and alienating his supporters on the one hand and totally sucking up to him on the other. After all you don’t necessarily have to criticize Trump (and therefore set off his base) to propose new ideas.

Or is it just that there are really no ideas these folks can come up with that make sense to the world – yet are not sure to anger Trump and his base? And why is that? Can they really be that incapable of thinking outside the tightly-confined box the Republicans have stuffed themselves into? Is it possible that out of the entire Republican Party there is not a single original idea which the American voting public could get behind that was not inspired by Trump?

After all (to state the obvious) Trump is not exactly a font of knowledge or creativity. How many ideas has even he come up with, which were not already entrenched aspects of the populist conservative milieu?

Sunshine and Clorox bleach are two that come to mind. But I digress.

I know politicians are not a particularly creative lot. That, in a way, is what makes them politicians. Their approach to creativity seems limited to sticking their finger in the wind – all in support of their primary skill – an ability to think, act and talk like everyone else. But at least they generally have a core set of values and approaches they can bring with them to the political table, along with some idea of what they’re trying to achieve.

Not this bunch. What is Vivek Ramaswamy trying to achieve, beyond being Trump’s right hand man? What about Ron DeSantis? What are any of them trying to achieve, besides getting elected? In fact that may be the reason for the problem. They’re all so focussed on avoiding Trump in order to get elected, that they can’t think beyond that singular aspect of the campaign.

And I know it isn’t a new thought – that politicians are more void than substance. But this seems to be a new low.

In fact, about the only idea coming out of this campaign that is not endorsed by Donald Trump, has come from folks like Chris Christie and Nikki Hailey. And it’s not all that original or creative.

It’s the idea of supporting Ukraine. But to me that is such a no-brainer, that it’s not even worthy of debate. I don’t want to get into it here, because that’s not what this blog is about. But I think it needs to be said, if only to help make a point.

How can we not be willing to spend money and ammunition to support and equip a country and an armed forces that is fighting our war for us? And how can anyone dispute the fact that it is our war, the entire democratic world’s war, and one that could shape and define our world for a generation or more? Yet not a single one of us has to go to the war zone to fight and risk death and debilitating injury. All we have to do is financially and otherwise support the people who are willing, if not eager, to do that fighting and dying for us. How can that not be a win-win for us in every possible way?

So if that’s the only “idea” this bunch of Republicans can bring to the table, what a pathetic lot they must be, and what a disaster this campaign is likely to be for the country, if not the entire world.

Sorry, I really didn’t want to end this (or any) blog on such a negative note. But if I’m being honest, I really don’t see any way around it here. The only other thing I can think to say, is that if you want to see what I think we should be looking for in a candidate, especially in this rather singular moment in our history, have a look at Charlie Wyatt, the main character in my book The Contrarian Candidate.

[And sorry again if this seems shameless, but I think it really does need to be said. So just have a look at the sample pages by clicking the link for the eBook version at Amazon].