“Come on, men! Follow Me!” cries Robert Ryan as he leaps from his foxhole, waves his rifle above his head, and takes his first long steps over the not-yet forgotten bodies of his fallen troops. World War II in all its Cinemascope glory.

For entirely unknown reasons – after all, we’ve had plenty of close calls – we haven’t reached World War III yet. We can thank thoughtful diplomats, or recalcitrant Congresses, or enemies who at the last moment cave. Not to mention John Wayne, Tom Hanks, George Clooney.

Now we’re lining up a slate of leaders who, like an even longer list of movie stars, will never give a thought to the idea that while he jumps forward over sandbags and bodies, there is no one behind him.

Seriously how many of these personalities do you think have the brain power, the experience, the drive to lead the Western World to peace, prosperity, sharing the load?

This is rather more serious than George W. Bush’s triumphant statement to a graduating class that, so there! there is room in the world for the C student to become president.

What is perhaps most distressing about all this preening in front of mirrors is that the world seems generally in rotten shape. These men and women, should they wish, could help repair it. But it’s too much fun playing make-believe. Besides, this keeps us from having to deal with any of the real problems the world faces. Why, after all, does Congress work two days out of seventeen?

As the members of the Republican crowd step forward one by one – if he’s running, why shouldn’t I? – we begin to get the feeling that these elephants are hanging onto the tails of the one ahead, period. Few of them have experience enough, or even basic reason enough, to imagine themselves truly as leaders of their nation.

We still have another dozen men and women ready to step from the wings onto the stage.

Which of these people would we consider seriously going over the top for or with?

A lot of these putative leaders are, and we know this sounds harsh, losers.

Would we carry Chris Christie’s ammunition? His own organization can’t define clearly Christie’s level of foreign affair knowledge, not to mention his economic missteps as governor of that state which, surprise, has made New Jersey poorer and shakier than ever before.

Bobby Jindel has hardly ever stuck his nose out from behind a barricade to take a stand, but for his repeated anti-feminist stands on abortion.

Ted Cruz all his life has imagined himself Zeus, or Hitler, take your pick. Only Ted knows every answer, and while it seems he wants to share them, he doesn’t. He’s too busy hiding behind a heavily ivy-planted wall. He won’t even talk to men and women who didn’t graduate from an Ivy League haven.

Rick Santorum has led a charge before, and died. He will again.

Donald Trump has turned into the tease of all time. All Trump roads lead to Trump hotels, Trump Towers, Trump water. What he seems to want is to rename the nation: Trumpland.

Jeb Bush can’t decide, anything. If his brother was the “decider,” Jeb is the kinder, gentler version, called the waffle-er.

Scott Walker is an anti-union governor from Wisconsin whose intelligence is backed only by ill-gained confidence. If he can handle voters in a recall election – well-deserved – he can handle ISIS. Oh, yes?

Lindsay Graham just wants to bomb the MidEast for fun and profit. More for profit, probably.

Carly Fiorina was most recently fired. So to kill a little time, she’s running again.

Rick Perry, if he could find the site for the debates, might show up. Might not, too.

George Pataki actually has the chops. But who knows him? And he’s pro-choice, death to the Republicans at this time.

Ben Carson has no political or international experience whatever, but he’s the guy you want to handle a scalpel. Who’s going to teach him where to make that first cut?

These are only our own opinions, and only then just a part of them. We still have Rand Paul, Mario Rubio, and that one enormous (it seems) impossibility,
the Great Honest Man who is authentically armed with ideas, deeds, dreams

To show we’re not as biased as we sound, we think Hillary is no longer relevant. If she runs, she loses.

Bernie Sanders is adorable, and old, not a great combo.

Jim Webb has no sense of humor, or of timing, or of purpose. Too bad.

Martin O’Malley is a former mayor of Baltimore, which today is going to sink him.

And meanwhile, we ask ourselves that one recurring question: is this a man (or woman) I want to follow into combat?


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