Oh, hello, everyone. My, my -- it seems like only last week that we were all debating whether some candidates belong in the Entertainment section. And then it seemed like only a day later, some candidates (who belong in the Entertainment section) were opening their mouths and saying the sorts of things that finally alienated the rest of their erstwhile primary colleagues.
Truly, is this not entertaining? It’s been at least as fun (and as drug-soaked) as Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” complete with rude mechanicals pointing and laughing at the guy with the head of an ass.
But now that we no longer need to countenance the idea that a certain “short-fingered vulgarian” is going to end up the nominee, where does this leave the rest of field? Who’s spent their summer productively? Which GOP apprentice might benefit from all the angry energy that’s been bottled up? Who among last month’s long shots have positioned themselves for a run at the top tier? The GOP’s midsummer standings (now that you-know-who is headed, inevitably, for the exit) are what we’ll sort out on this week’s First To Last.
|RANK||CANDIDATE||RISING OR FALLING|
|JEB BUSH Looking like the Mitt Romney of 2016. Pallid but sane.||▲|
|2||SCOTT WALKER Looked like a dweeb on his Harley but, hey, it was a Harley.||▲|
|3||MARCO RUBIOStill the best candidate on paper; needs to upgrade at least to cardboard.||▲|
|4||TED CRUZJust as accusatory but perhaps slightly less crazy than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.||▲|
|5||RAND PAULFormer maverick pre-caves on Iran deal -- looks like he really wants the nomination.||▼|
|6||CHRIS CHRISTIEReclaims metropolitan New York loudmouth title.||▲|
|7||JOHN KASICHThe latest project from John Weaver (he brought you “Huntsman 2016”) is getting a late summer launch. (Like “Ant-Man.”) But this moderate budget-balancer has New Hampshire intrigued.||▲|
|8||MIKE HUCKABEEThat "God, Guns, Grits and Gravy" train will get you to Iowa. (And not much further.)||▼|
|9||RICK PERRYReally fought with Jeb for the title of "Trumpslayer." Perry 1.0 set a low bar; we like Perry 2.0 a lot better.||▲|
|10||BOBBY JINDALRaging bull at Evangelical cattle show in Iowa and conservatives on Twitter took notice. He needed this.||▲|
|11||RICK SANTORUM Late to denounce you-know-who, late to pretty much everything.||▼|
|12||LINDSEY GRAHAMMay actually get to be the first candidate to punch out a reality television star on live television (if none of McCain’s other buddies get there first.)||▼|
|13||CARLY FIORINAWe've done a lot of research, and Carly Fiorina is also a candidate.||▼|
|14||BEN CARSONStill looking for an outsider candidate who is not qualified to be president? We still have one.||▼|
|15||GEORGE PATAKIMeet the Lincoln Chafee of the Republican party.||▼|
|16||JIM GILMOREStill has the chance to make history (as a footnote).||▼|
Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press