The Gang of 25

I could have sworn I saw this picture

[Headshots of Potential GOP 2016 Candidates]

on my local Post Office wall. A portrait of the Republican presidential slate for 2016, a selection of the 25 candidates so far, the fresh faces the party establishment has been listing as a major priority.

Turned out to have been posted on Fox News.

You might recognize some of the candidates. But Mitt Romney? Sounds familiar. What’s he doing here? The unemployed businessman apparently believes he has some unfinished pre-ordained business, according to one intimate.

Basically, they are all dwarfs. The only thing missing from the picture is Snow White.

Dopey, Preachy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Smarmy, Sleazy, and Ted Cruz—whatever their names, we will be able to fill in later in the campaign as they embark on the search for a New Morning in America, something the party has been looking for since Pres. Reagan. I still believe he spent his eight years in the White House thinking it was a movie.

For the next 14 months or so, the 25 GOP dwarfs will be whistling as they go to work blaming the president for many of the problems they caused the last time they made it to the White House. You know, the usual, negating Obama’s so-called achievements, like giving people health insurance so they might live longer, maybe a chance for deportables (a new GOP word) to become citizens. All the while yelling “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.”

These are surely some of the issues that will be raised in the second act of my favorite TV reality show, the Republican presidential debates.

As you recall, these are exercises in educating the public about what the party stands for, while improving recognition factors, and at the same time managing to pump some hot air into a candidate’s favorability ratings, which at this point in the race are in the low one figure percentiles. Once a candidate reaches the two figures he is acclaimed the front-runner, and the others all start attacking him instead of the president.

There will be only nine episodes of The Republican Debating Society this season, down from eighteen in 2012, the party leaders theory being that half of them will be twice the fun.

At first glance, the show’s format traditionally features eight or more candidates—perhaps up to 25 this election cycle—standing on a stage looking like a police line-up. You expect to hear the moderator’s voice: “Candidate No. 4., step forward. Please look to the left, look to the right.”

At any moment, you expect somebody in the audience to shout at the alleged perp: “That’s him! The man who sexually harassed me in his office! He’s the father of my love child.”

No, wait, that was last time when Herman (“999”) Caine was the front-runner, educating the public about breakthrough economic policies. Whatever the problem, the solution was three words: “9…9…and 9” He will be missed.

Unless there is something quite out of the ordinary, the most qualified candidate on the stage once again will seem to be the moderator, Wolf Blitzer. He always seems to be the best informed, most knowledgeable about the issues, articulate and most in command in times of stress, such as needing to break for commercials. Blitzer who looks like a U- boat commander, as Bill O’Reilly put it on his latest book tour, “You expect the periscope to come down.” Wolfie is the most experienced, having served in these debates since the last century.

Despite all of that, this is going to be an exciting Republican show. I can’t wait to see the man who has yet to declare his candidacy– the “Waiting for Godot” of the 2016 campaign, Chris Christie —stand up and attack the other candidates, using his famous New Jersey approach. Will he tell Cruz, “Sit down and shut up, you idiot!”?



Marvin Kitman
Jan. 28, 2015

Marvin Kitman was the media critic at Newsday. His column, “The Marvin Kitman Show,” began on Dec. 7, 1969, a day that still lives in infamy, according to network executives. On April 1, 2005, he stepped down from his position of power. As he explained, “Newsday gave me a tryout, and after 35 years we decided it wasn’t working out.” He is the author of nine books.