Two More White Men to Emerge From the Clown Car

According to TPM’s Daniel Straus, the giant Republican presidential field is about to acquire two new official candidates. Tomorrow Rick Santorum, who seems to be the only one in the GOP who believes the “next in line” theory applies to him, will announce a candidacy that will apparently focus on the fine nineteenth century argument that immigrants are responsible for income inequality in this country. And then on Thursday someone who has bellied up to the presidential bar in the past but never ordered a drink, George Pataki, will announce on Thursday.

The Pataki thing is interesting. Normally former three-term governors of New York are taken pretty seriously in national politics. He should have access to some high-life funding sources, and has a natural launching point in New Hampshire, and even a niche as someone who could replace Chris Christie in the field if the ambitions of the New Jersey governor continue to crash and burn.

But he’s pro-choice in a party that hasn’t nominated a pro-choice presidential candidate since Roe v. Wade, and has favored gun control measures, violating perhaps an even bigger taboo than legalized abortion. And on a more practical basis, he needs to make a positive splash pretty soon in order to qualify for the August and September candidate debates, which will almost certainly winnow the field. Santorum, too, could have problems making the top ten in polling numbers that the first debate, in Ohio, will require. It does help explain why these dudes have gotten off the fence and into and out of the clown car.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.