With the announcement today that Governor Scott Walker (R – WI) will join the ever growing number of Republican presidential candidates, I am reminded of the story that Samuel Clemens, better known to us as Mark Twain, the brilliant atheist author known for his caustic wit, used to tell.
I had always heard that there were some animals which were natural enemies. So I decided to put this to the test. I rented a room in a local hotel and brought together a lion and a lamb, a cat and a dog an eagle and a trout. I closed the door and left them alone to see what would happen. When I returned an hour later I discovered, much to my surprise, that these animals were all getting along just fine. So I decided to try this with humans.
I got together a Roman Catholic and a Southern Baptist, a Jew and a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Hindu. I left them alone and when I returned to the room an hour later I found all of them were dead. Apparently, they had a difference of opinion and had taken their argument to a higher court.
Several months ago a friend asked me what I thought the “over/under” was on the number of GOP candidates would ultimately be when everyone had finally stated their intentions. I put the number at sixteen – and with Walker’s and, as I expect, Governor John Kasich’s (R – OH) entry this or next month, I might be right on the money with my estimate. And while I applaud the GOP for having so many people, most of whom have ideas which might well improve the climate both socially and economically in this country, this field, the size of the entrants in the Kentucky Derby, is far too large to accomplish the greater goal – winning the White House in 2016.
I have no doubt that each of the candidates has strengths (and weaknesses) and there is no perfect candidate. Whoever emerges from this large, talented field, will no doubt be preferable to his or her likely opponent in the winter of ‘16 – and a decided improvement over what we have had for the past six and one half years. But the GOP needs to focus on the goal more than the process. That’s what the Democrats will be doing – and have done with success over the past two elections.
So I would suggest to each of the candidates in the GOP race, put aside your personal ambitions, rent a hotel room, sit down and discuss among yourselves who has the most realistic chance of winning not just the nomination but the general election. And be a true patriot, putting all your support behind one candidate who can get the job done.
That would be a great legacy and an act of true selflessness which all of us could admire.