We're getting on into primary season (the first one's only three months away), and the sporting-minded political buff is already making book on the next presidential race. I'd like to help the novice get in on some real choice action. As the sitting (duck) president is a democrat, the hot race is for the Republican nomination. But first, some important general tips.
The only eventual presidential winner to lose the New Hampshire primary is Bill Clinton. If he loses this year, though, he's toast.
A sitting president is usually a safe re-election bet in recent years (Bush and Carter the obvious anomalies), but with the voters in such a pissy mood, we may end up with Lyndon LaRouche , even though I think he's still in jail.
Once over 90 percent of Americans got personal telephone lines and polling became much more accurate (sometime in the 50's; the lack of phones in poorer-democratic-homes in 1948 caused Gallup's Dewey disaster), the Republican front-runner has always taken the nomination. And this makes my book pretty easy (first odds are for nomination, second for general election).
Please note, for the record, that these predictions were made on October 10, 1995. I will not be held accountable for weirdness after that date. First up, the Republicans. The first odds listed are for the nomination; the second are overall White House odds (pari-mutuel field)
Bob Dole (1-2) and (4-1)
As the Republican party is a haven for the genial reactionary, the grand old party (this name started as a sarcastic insult, but you know how smart these folks in general are…) has always nominated the front-runner since the advent of accurate polling (see above note). Bob is still ahead at the polls, and his "I'll kick your ass if you breathe on me again, and did I mention that I'm a decorated war hero?" television persona plays very well to gun nuts and religious fundamentalists, even if they think he's just a little too close to the commies on a few of the issues. Unless he somehow blows a gasket (a slight, if unlikely possibility), he will slog his way through the primaries and emerge to preside over the Republican convention, which has the potential to be the most hateful meeting of human beings since the last G.O.P. mass gathering.
Phil(do) Gramm (3-1) and (10-1)
Phil's main problem is that he has the television persona of a slug in heat. You can tell that he's kinda worked up about something, but he's so goddamned ugly that you can't bear to watch. Add in his dreadful accent and he'll be lucky to split the rabid conservative vote with Buchanan. He's hot now, but wait until he's caught with a bimbo in his B-mer. Sample excuses for both faux pas: (Sorry, I can't pluralize my French): "You think someone who looks like her would have sex with someone who looks like me?"and "Hey, isn't the EC part of NAFTA?". As for the general race, c'mon. Who the fuck are you kidding?
Richard Nixon (5-1) and (4-1)
If you listen to my father-in-law, you'd come to think that death and the Constitution are no impediment to the trickster. His career has shown a healthy disrespect for the latter, and he'll have a hot bio-pic to ride all the way to Super Tuesday. All hail the big Dick!
Colin Powell (6-1) and (even)
If Colin runs as a Republican, then all bets in the general election are off. But will fundamentalist bigots vote for a nigra? I don't think so. Oh, sure, he'll bleed off Dole's support and maybe throw the thing to Gramm, but those anti-abortion zealots are already on his ass, and his views on affirmative action and immigration will not make him too popular with the current Neanderthal faithful.
Lamar Alexander (20-1) and (15-1)
He's moderate enough to give Clinton a respectable race, but he has no money, no standing in the polls and he suffers from Gore-itis (attractive-but-boring Tennessean disease).
Pat Buchanan (40-1) and (1,000,000-1)
He's short, he's ugly and he's a bastard. No wonder all those Wallace voters love him. Luckily, them folk are dying out fast, and their kids like Phil Gramm. A better choice? No. Pat's at least got some intelligence on his side. But that's not really an asset in a political race. I mean, Jesse Helms has been in the Senate for almost as long as I've been alive.
Pete Wilson (50-1) and (100-1)
Oh sure, he quit, but he's still got a better shot than the field.
The Field (1,000-1) (1 billion-1)
This is where folks like Arlen Spector, Dick Lugar, Bob Dornan, Alan Keyes and the Forbes guy reside. They may have the occasional good idea (with the exception of Dornan, who is a bully and a fool), but no one cares. The only reason people ask them questions is to get funny answers (if you ever get the chance, ask Bob Dornan to give his theory on the NSA, masons and the illuminati).
Well, I hope you take heed. The money is on Dole, so if you get someone to give you 2-1 for the primaries, consider it a bargain and plunk down your money. In the general election, try and work Clinton up to 3- or 4-1, and spend away. Don't waste your cash on Powell unless he gets the Republican nod, and then the odds will be so low that it just won't be worth your time. If Powell sit it out or runs as an independent, the only way Clinton loses this election is if he gets caught in bed with Cindy Crawford, and I think she has better taste.
Other interesting side bets:
Democrats retake the house (2-1)
A lot of those Republican gains were in 51-49 races with 30 percent of the people voting. The Dems are spending wisely and plan to get such troublemakers as Jim Leach (Whitewater representative from Iowa) out of office. Also, loyal Dems have been served with a wake-up call. If they don't heed it, then this third party thing may become the second party.
Democrats retake the Senate (6-1)
This is a long shot that might be worth shooting your wad on if the math works out. You know the racing form; study it well. Right now it doesn't look good, but who knows.
Ralph Reed starts a religious war with his speech at the Republican convention (3-1)
Mr. Christian Coalition has already been guaranteed a spot at the podium by everyone running except for Keyes and Spector (and you have seen their odds), and he'll use it to endorse state-sponsored prayer breakfasts and "Jesus was way cool" clubs in schools across the country. Side bet: John S. Hall and Chris Xefos shoot Reed for using their song (10-1). Remember, they're still too stoned on that major record label money to realy give a shit. But you never know.
The Perot Party nominates Barry Goldwater (4-1)
I like this one. After all, in these times, Goldwater's traditional conservative views (homosexuality and abortion are issues that have no place in politics) make him positively moderate. Plus, he's still a folk hero. Maybe Walter Mondale will look good as veep. Choice slogan: "We can't do worse than last time!"
Hunter S. Thompson keeps the contemptible greedheads out of Aspen (10-1)
The good doctor will put up a great fight, but there are already too many money-hungry fucks in that part of Colorado. One man (not even one crazy man) cannot stop development. Maybe it's time to pack up the Rugers and the ostriches and move out towards Utah. [ed note--despite getting cited for DUI and pitching full drinks at CBS cameras, Hunter and Co. actually won their fight, keeping the Aspen runway just the length it is. Jon, you blew this one!]
I vote for Ice-T (even)
He's rested, he's ready and I think he's old enough. He is the coolest orator in the country these days, and maybe if he gets elected we'll see that Chocolate City administration that other Clinton spoke of 20 years ago. Sure, Ice won't play so well in the South, but if he gets shot that will only help the campaign. Dream veep: Jello Biafra. A duo to outgun even Buchanan's mouth. What a fuckin' ticket!
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