From Our Inbox

Surprise! I’m tied with Lindsey Graham

Since I announced my candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination a few months ago, the groundswell of support has been overwhelming.

To date, I’ve received at least three or four emails encouraging my campaign. And Thomas and Carol Epstein of St. Pete Beach sent in a $1,000 donation. Unfortunately, it was in the form of fake Confederate currency. But it’s the thought that counts.

But what has really inspired me to find the inner strength to carry on has been the fact that both my political machine and the campaign juggernaut of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are virtually polling neck and neck in Iowa at zero percent.

Think about that. With no money and an organization that solely consists of Gracie my goldendoodle as my campaign manager, I’m doing about as well as a two-term Republican senator. I take that as a mandate.

To be sure, the GOP field of presidential aspirants continues to grow, reaching at the moment somewhere around 837 candidates. It’s altogether possible that Thomas Dewey VIII may have sneaked onto the hustings in between the announcements of Floyd the barber and Otis the town drunk.

In recent days, we have seen the arrival of Donald Trump, the Grand and Glorious Wizard of Ooze, who managed to accuse Mexican immigrants of being so depraved they made the Marquis de Sade look like Beaver Cleaver.

NBC immediately fired the Sun Clod for his offensive remarks, as if the network had just discovered whom they had been in business with all these years.

Quickly following Morris the Cat of the GOP, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal leaped into the primary chase by calling for the abolishment of the U.S. Supreme Court. Now there’s some sober-minded Founding Father thoughtfulness for you.

Next up was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tossing his Odd-Job bowler into the arena, sounding less like a presidential candidate and more like a guy running to become the First Bouncer of the United States. Christie seems to be positioning himself as the“tell it like it is” candidate, lest we forget that the late, insufferable sportscaster Howard Cosell touted himself in much the same way and everybody thought he was a complete horse’s patootie.

Or consider that two chaps running for the presidency are so underwater in their respective states’ approval ratings that neither the pandering Jindal nor the bumptious Christie could get elected court jester in Louisiana or New Jersey.

And my presidential bid seems far-fetched?

I’m sensing some Big Mo surrounding my campaign. So I instructed Gracie to come up with a few position papers and talking points I'll need on the debate stage. The results were, to put it gently, disappointing, the inevitable result I suppose of relying too heavily on a political operative who spends her waking hours rummaging through the garbage and growling at falling leaves in the driveway.

In what might be described as the Doodle Doctrine, Gracie advised taking a resolutely unconditional stand against the proliferation of squirrels. She does believe, however, that detente is possible with cats, even if felines appear to have precious little interest in diplomatic relations, especially those involving â ahem â somewhat unorthodox sniffing practices.

She is a believer in a single-payer universal chewie care system and regards the veterinary cone of shame as cruel and unusual punishment. You do have to admit her suggestion for a campaign button reading “Phttttt! 2016” has a certain existential appeal.

I have no idea how any of this will play in New Hampshire, but I think I have locked up the Lassie vote.

You could make a reasonable argument that as savvy political minders go, Gracie is no Karl Rove of curs. But when you look across the GOP primary chorus line of braggarts, blowhards, retreads, entitled heirs-in-waiting, follicle-challenged oligarchs and arm-chair saber-rattling General Halftracks, this isn’t a serious roster of presidential candidates. It’s 50 shades of bray.

And so my quixotic campaign endures, ever moving forward and onward to victory. Gracie has scheduled a strategy session for later today, right after she gives the neighborhood ducks a piece of her mind.

In the meantime, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, untold sums of unaccounted for money can now freely flow into my campaign coffers. That means those Daddy Warbucks Thomas and Carol Epstein will probably want to send another generous political contribution. God only knows how I'll manage to spend all those Greek drachmas.

Daniel Ruth is a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times.

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