I was wrong.

Palin for President? Bachmann for President? Why be a piker?

Trump in ’12!

First I thought that Sarah Palin for President was the best hope for the Democrats. Then I set my sights higher, on Michelle Bachmann. But I now see the profound folly – worse, the profound lack of imagination – embodied in  those two ideas.

Granted, either Palin or Bachmann would have been an order of magnitude more ludicrous than any candidate ever nominated for President by a major party.  (Yes, even including William Jennings Bryan.) Nonetheless neither Our Sarah nor Maniacal Michelle could possibly hold a candle to … THE DONALD.

What’s really wonderful is that the dim-witted SOB might be able to parlay his loud mouth, his shamelessness, his name recognition – and a few hundred million bucks – into the GOP nomination. If that happens, I may have to reconsider my atheism.

Update Turns out the thinking above wasn’t wishful enough. The only thing better than a Trump nomination would be a Trump third-party effort. And he’s threatening just that.

Footnote I make it a rule to make one or two mistakes per year; otherwise the burden of near-omniscience would become overwhelming. And I’m glad to have gotten this year’s mistake out of the way early.



Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

18 thoughts on “I was wrong.”

  1. There is no dearth of male GOP candidates to threaten to out do Donald as the craziest, ‘scariest’ and most ruthless, and they may be just getting warmed up. According to Newt, to parpaphrase him, Mark, your ‘secular atheism’ and I suppose that of half of the scientists’ of this country, is equivalent to, and part and parcel of radical Islamic sharia law, which may well dominate America, in half a century, if Obama is re-elected.


    I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

    There is genius in this: no other human had located the secular humanist wing of radical Islam before.

  2. Well, at least we may get the answer to the question we’ve all been waiting for so eagerly: Are the Tea Party members simply crazy, or, as we quietly already know, clinically insane?

    And, now, in the “why didn’t I think of that?” dept:

    1. Bill Iraq $1,000,000,000,000 for delivering Democracy to that beleaguered country; a bargain at only $1,000,000 per dead citizen. Upon payment, they get their country back, but “No way do they get their oil fields back.”

    2. Saudi Arabia: “They’ve been screwing us from day 1, seize their oil fields and make them buy oil from us.”

    3. China: They’ve been right there with the Arabs, screwing us from Day 1 too. When those crooks wake up in Beijing, look out at the ocean and see three carrier groups, they’ll triple the value of the yuan so fast it’ll make your head spin.”

    4. Mexico: (this is getting easier and easier) send in a few Marine brigades and bring back the millions of jobs they stole from us. Of course, blow up their factories on the way out because………well, because we’re Americans, and with me as President no one’s ever gonna screw with us again.

    Is it lunch yet?

    Epilogue: don’t laugh, these were only a few of the positions I remember coming out of Donald’s mouth, and the poetic license taken was more minimal than you’d like to believe.

  3. “And South America stole our name.
    Let’s drop the big one, there’ll be no one left to blame us.”

  4. I don’t think William Jennings Bryan was a bad candidate at all, and it is important to view his appeal in the context of the long depression that existed during the second Cleveland presidency. Alton Parker (the Dem nominee against Ted Roosevelt) is a worse candidate from the same time period, if you want to view candidacies and their effectiveness in terms of how badly the defeat is. That WJB lost against McKinley isn’t surprising; that he was able to secure the nomination at 36 and drive a listless Democratic party that was burdened by the economy into setting the terms of the debate (basically, expanding the money supply) is impressive.

  5. I don’t think William Jennings Bryan was a bad candidate at all

    Winners write the histories, so Bryan looks bad for the same reason U.S. Grant looks bad. They were defeated in their key fights. IANA historian, but I suspect history would have taken a better turn had Bryan had more political success and Grant had more success as president.

  6. I “third” LincolnKennedy in raising a modest voice for Bryan. In 1896, he was far from ludicrous as a candidate. Think of him as the Obama of his day–young, handsome (one of my students said that he looked sort of “hunky” in his early photos), idealistic and the vessel of many voters’ reformist aspirations. No-one accused him, then or now, of being a particularly deep thinker, but that was fine, then (and maybe now); at that stage he had at least an active mind and native wit. The limitations of his thinking came to the fore later, as a repeat candidate, Secretary of State and during the Scopes trial. Limited? yes. Ludicrous? Not really.

  7. It is a sad indicator of our political economy, but I would not be surprised if a bigger clown showed up to campaign for the nomination.

  8. @ LincolnKennedy

    Whether William Jennings Bryant was a good candidate or a bad candidate depends on which election you look at. His campaigns and positions became progressively more extreme with each nomination. By the time of his last run, he was very nearly a caricature. In the first campaign he was much more palatable.

  9. Virginia has open primaries. Next year I will vote in the Republican primary for Romney and if, by some miracle, he gets the nomination, I will vote for him in the General. If he doesn’t get the nomination, I don’t know what I will do. I did not think that Obama would be this bad.

  10. If Trump ran and lost, he would commence a weekly reality TV show, “Shadow President” where he could pretend to do what the President had done the prior week. The show would end with Prez Don shadow firing some White House staff person.

  11. Mark,

    I make it a rule to make one or two mistakes per year; otherwise the burden of near-omniscience would become overwhelming. And I’m glad to have gotten this year’s mistake out of the way early.

    Don’t worry if you fall short. I’m sure you have a substantial carryover from previous years. 🙂

  12. Trump will win the all-important combover vote! I ride the subway in DC every morning, and let me tell you the potential for the combover vote is huge! If he can bring the toupee guys along, it’s victory for sure.

  13. You think Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman could be worse than Andrew Jackson, who trod on the Constitutional rights of the Cherokees, and on the Supreme Court decision in their favor?

    My nominee for consequentially worst President ever is Woodrow Wilson, who brought Jim Crow employment practices to the Federal government, reversed his campaign promise to keep the US out of the European war and provoked a German attack by selling munitions to Britain, who promised reasonable terms to the Germans to get them to lay down their arms and then reneged on that promise at Versailles (contributing to the generation of the Second World War). I suppose a devout anti-imperialist might nominate Thomas Jefferson for his westward expansion, but some European or European-descended government would have assumed control, so I wouldn’t say so. Palin and Bachman support market economics and federalism. I’d vote for either over the rest of the field. I see the anti-Palin vehemence as an attempt to drag down the front runner. Any Republican will get this treatment when they gain prominence. It diminishes Professor Kleiman that he stoops to this.

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