The Charm of Being an Unlikely Candidate
Mar 04, 2015 | 5581 views | 0 0 comments | 95 95 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is something exciting about the idea of a George Pataki presidential run from a political science standpoint. There is also a lot of eye rolling that comes with the specter of it since the former New York governor toys with running for office now and again.

Pataki is one of those candidates that is interesting to people who study politics because he has never lost an election. That is something to which Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and all three Bush's cannot lay claim. He defeated Mario Cuomo, America’s progressive answer to Ronald Reagan.

He is now putting out feelers for a presidential run, which is unlikely – but so what?

The down-shot for Pataki is that he has been out of politics for too long. He is from a state that – if he were the GOP nominee – he may not win. He is a pro-choice Republican, which will make winning conservative primaries a challenge.

Pataki will most likely not run because he would have to raise a lot of money ahead of time, and even if he had old friend Alfonse D’Amato helping, it may not be enough.

Running for president is most difficult in the early stages. Those caucuses and primaries are never-ending and highly partisan. They take place – for the most part – where they do not always take kindly to New Yorkers.

So what makes a Pataki run exciting? Rudolph Giuliani was able to get the endorsement of conservative evangelical preacher Pat Robertson. If Giuliani can get that support, then Pataki could probably get some help from the right as well.

Pataki is a different kind of candidate. He is much more formidable than opponents think.

There is also an advantage to Pataki being out of politics for a little while. He can spout off about PACs and special interests because there is no recent history of having taken any of that money.

He has not been in the Senate voting for tax increases. He has not benefited from earmarks. He is not a Bush. He has gotten union support in the past. He has won the Catholic vote in the past, something Republican presidential candidates have had a hard time winning in recent elections.

Pataki is not a flashy politician. But he finds a way to surprise people. Count on your hand how many major national politicians have never lost an election, let alone in a state that tilts heavily toward the candidate’s opposition party.

House of Cards and its Putin Obsession House of Cards, the political drama on Netflix, returned last week for its third season. Without giving anything away, there is a lot of activity between the American president, Frank Underwood, and the Russian president, Victor Petrov, who is a Vladimir Putin clone.

Petrov likes to surf and have his picture taken. Petrov is also divorced. This is not new for fictionalized political television, but it is new territory for House of Cards.

House of Cards is way too dark and creepy to be realistic enough for political junkies, but it's still a great show. It’s a great show because it gives us story lines that are nutty, like having a vice president manipulate his way to the Oval Office without being elected.

By introducing this Putin-esque character, House of Cards defaulted to a common formula. The bread and butter of this show is how atypical it is. Okay, maybe I gave something away.

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