The Perfect Candidate

by Jim Longworth

A recent CNN poll showed that the majority of Americans will vote for a Presidential candidate even if they don’t agree with all of his views. The implication is that there IS no perfect candidate out there, and that we’ll settle for something less than perfect when aligning ourselves with a potential Commander in Chief. But what if there was a way to construct the perfect candidate to fit our views? As it turns out, most of the people running for President have at least one good idea, so I have attempted to play Dr. Frankenstein and piece together all of their best “parts” into one body. Here then is my ideal composite candidate for 2016.

For me, Bernie Sanders offers a platform that most conforms with my views, so I’ll use a number of his components, among them his belief that in America there should be “Medicare for All”. At present, the overwhelming majority of personal bankruptcies are caused by debt from medical bills. Like me, Bernie believes that no family should lose their home or go bankrupt because a loved one had to undergo expensive treatments for a curable disease. Bernie also wants every student to have access to a free college education at a public institution. He wants to impose a hefty tax on Wall Street speculators, and enact a Pay Fairness Act that would benefit women in the workplace. Bernie is also the only elected official running for the White House who opposed George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, and believes that military action of any kind must be a carefully studied last resort.

In constructing my perfect candidate I would mix in Marco Rubio’s approach to debt reduction. On his website, Rubio quotes Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen as saying, “the single biggest threat to our national security is our debt.” Mullen is probably correct. Our debt now stands at $18 Trillion dollars, or about $150,000 of debt for every family. Rubio is the only candidate harping on the national debt as an impediment to our future safety and economic growth. His solutions include reducing spending, enacting a balanced budget, and having States return unused federal funds to the Treasury.

My perfect candidate would also include several of Chris Christie’s views on criminal justice. Years ago, Christie pushed for a community policing model in Camden which has resulted in a 22% drop in violent crime and a 57% drop in homicides. Meanwhile, as President he would establish federal drug courts to try first time offenders who would receive treatment instead of prison time. And, Christie would protect our border with Mexico by investing in additional manpower and technology. Christie is a bully, and was probably the master mind of the revenge-inspired “Bridgegate” scandal, yet ironically, he also knows how to work with political foes when it comes to the safety and security of his constituents. Remember his hug with Obama during the aftermath of hurricane Sandy? That hug resulted in federal dollars for clean-up.

A few of Rand Paul’s views would also make it into the body of my perfect candidate. For one thing, Paul believes in term limits for Congress. That position alone, if enacted, would go a long way to ending beltway corruption and obstruction. Senator Paul also wants to end government spying on innocent American citizens. He, like Benjamin Franklin, doesn’t support abdicating any of our essential liberties just to buy a little security.

Though she is turning into the biggest flip flopper in history, Hillary Clinton has been consistent in her opposition to Citizens United, and vows to get it over turned if she is elected President. If she accomplishes that feat and also supports Rand Paul’s bill on term limits, we might have a chance to return to an honest system for electing state and federal officials. And so I’m including a piece of Hillary in the mix.

Mike Huckabee’s religious views are a bit too fundamentalist for my taste, but that wouldn’t stop me from using his most popular idea when constructing my perfect candidate. If elected President, Mike vows to abolish the IRS and establish a Fair Tax that would affect everyone equally because it is based on what you purchase, not what you earn.

Most of Ben Carson’s ideas are so far fetched and without merit, that I hesitate to use any of his components in my candidate. However, I must admit that I like his approach to minimum wage. Dr. Carson believes that we should index the federal minimum wage so that it would automatically increase every year based on the rate of inflation. We just better hope his index isn’t also based on the rate of global warming.

Former Governor George Pataki is pro choice and respects the rights of women in making decisions about their own reproductive health. For that, and for his push to enact Gay rights legislation in New York, I will include some of his characteristics in my composite candidate.

Jeb Bush looks and acts more Presidential than anyone else running, so I would naturally make use of his cosmetic appeal in building my perfect candidate.

Meanwhile, Jeb also has the best idea for how we should profit from our own homegrown energy sources. Specifically, Bush wants to lift restrictions on natural gas exports so we can sell them to China and Europe more easily.

When it comes to Presidential demeanor, John Kasich runs a close second to Jeb Bush. But the characteristics I would steal from Kasich for my perfect candidate are more substantial, like his proposal to enact a 3rd grade reading guarantee program. Literacy is essential to building a strong future for our country, so I support his plan. He also wants to make it easier for returning veterans to transition into the workforce, and have their military experience expedite state-issued licenses and job placements.

As I mentioned previously, most candidates have at least one great idea, and for Donald Trump, that idea is to repeal NAFTA and impose a hefty penalty tariff on any company who moves their plant out of America, then tries to ship their goods back into the USA. Spoiler alert: don’t look for executives at Ford and Hanesbrands to support Trump.

There are several candidates who have no redeeming value, and so I cannot in good faith find any reason to include them in my construct. Lindsay Graham has never met a war he didn’t like. Ted Cruz has never met a government shut-down he didn’t like. Carly Fiorina has never met a worker lay-off or golden parachute she didn’t like. And Rick Santorum has never met a family he didn’t value except one that doesn’t look like his, or believe the way his does. Remember, it was Santorum who once said that homosexuality can be equated with bestiality and pedophilia.

So there you have it – my recipe for building a perfect candidate. I just hope I can have him ready before the first primary. Gotta run now. Igor just brought me a brain in a jar labeled “Rick Perry.” Good help is hard to find these days. So are good candidates.

SNL’s Weekend Update of October 10 featured a composite photo of GOP candidates, which the anchor described as “stitched together like some sort of ‘FrankenSpeaker’. Mr. Longworth and YESWeekly art director Austin Kindley submitted this original column and photo on October 7. !

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).