Peter gives his assessments – Part 2
Last time around, the Republican [GOP] Nomination was a bean-feast for me, and for quite a few other gamblers here, Iâ€™m sure.
The procedure was blissfully easy. You simply layed whoever was the latest clown to inspire the GOP base, safe in the knowledge that when push came to shove common -sense would prevail and the Party would revert to the sensible choice. I donâ€™t think I even bothered to back Mitt Romney, even though it was pretty obvious all along that he was the most likely winner. It was simpler, safer, and more profitable to â€˜Lay The Loonyâ€™, as the drill became affectionately known. Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, Cain (Cain!), Gingrich, Perry , even Donald Trump were all backed in to short odds, if not favouritism, by punters following the lead of a GOP base that appeared desperate for a candidate true to their beliefs, and a little more charismatic than steady old Mitt. All we had to do was lay the buggers to create beautifully green books, and a bonus if and when good sense and the fear of a thrashing at the polls ensured the Party ran with a plausible candidate.
Could we be as lucky again? I asked my mole in California, and it seems there is hope. But letâ€™s start with the likelier suspects.
Marco Rubio 6/1 – Heâ€™s been a bit quiet until very recently, when untilwhen he spoke up on two sticky issues, the Merkel bugging and immigration. He ticks most of the boxes, and double on is a magnet for the all-important Latino vote but heâ€™s not one to enthuse the base. The odds are a bit cramped for me, but I wouldnâ€™t be laying at that price either.
Jeb Bush 8/1 â€“ A lot of commentators are saying will say the surname is toxic, but Jebâ€™s PR has always been that he is the smartest Bush. He has a good record in office and would doubtless carry the swing state of Florida. Does he want to run though? If he does, Iâ€™d be a buyer rather than a seller at this price.
Chris Christie 8/1 – Personally, I have no doubt that he would give Hillary a closer run than any other GOP nominee, and start as favourite if she opts out. He did not however endear himself to the Party – base though with his closeness to President Obama in the aftermath of at the time of hurricane Sandy, nor with his views on gun control or gay marriage. It doesnâ€™t help either that he represents the relatively liberal New Jersey. For many GOP supporters, only New York could be worse. The Partyâ€™s right wing has held its nose twice now and run with a moderate Republican, first McCain and then Romney. I think it is fair to say Christie is well to the left of both. Would the Party it hold its nose a third time? 8/1 looks about right to me.
Rand Paul 8/1 â€“ Heâ€™s no Loony, but Iâ€™ll be laying him anyway. Like his Dad, he has a will not lack for wealthy, enthusiastic and well- organised support. The trouble is that his politics just doesnâ€™tdonâ€™t fit the mould and interesting though he may be, he seems destined to be a lively also-ran, just like Dad. It was generally the case that the old manâ€™s price overstated his real chances. There were even indications that his supporters ramped the price. Good on them if they did. Punters who bet with their head rather than their heart cleaned up. I think the same is likely to happen with junior.
Paul Ryan 8/1 – Heâ€™s a scandal-free , Cconservative who , does little wrong and performed well as Romneyâ€™s VP pick. He isnâ€™t very the most charismatic of performers and the Party – base is likely to find him acceptable rather than inspiring. If the Party , but if it balks at Christie, however, Ryan is an obvious next-best. Heâ€™s a buy at this price.
If these are the most plausible candidates, what of the Loonies?
It seems unlikely that any of those who that stood last time would try again in even more challenging conditions, so we are on the look-out for really looking for a new crop. We may have to wait a bit, since it is normal for such candidates to emerge late and ride a surge before imploding. We do nevertheless already have Ted Cruz (16/1), who has risen to national prominence on the back of popular demand for complete and utter intransigence. I have been backing him down from much higher odds and even at the current price, I would be happy to go in again. There is plenty of scope for his price to shorten further and I confidently expect to be able to lay off at a profit when it does.
Itâ€™s difficult to name any others just yet, but I am sure there will be plenty along in due course. Remember that Hermann Cain was virtually unknown before shooting to prominence during the last nomination round. The trick is to spot them early. What should you be looking for? Well, ideally you want a conservative, preferably with Tea Party and/or evangelical leanings. Governors are good, especially if they are strong on opposing abortion and gun control. The more â€œoutside-the-Beltwayâ€ and, the less they have had to do with hate Washington and the East Coast establishment, the better their chances. Back them at double- digit prices and lay off when the price halves, or at the first sniff of scandal. You canâ€™t go wrong.
The names to look out for may not yet be on any bookieâ€™s list yet, but of those that are, and have some at least of these the right credentials, I would be moderately interested in the following:.
Rob Portman 20/1 â€“ Ohio Senator who was widely tipped to be running-mate to Romney last time around. He has a reputation for being solidly conservative and capable.
Scott Walker 16/1 â€“ Wisconsin Governor.
Susana Martinez 33/1 â€“ New Mexico Governor with strong conservative credentials. A Hispanic on the ticket would undoubtedly be an asset, but that perhaps makes her a good running-mate rather than the candidate.
Nikki Haley 33/1 â€“ Governor S. Carolina. Strong conservative credentials too but has been taintedouched by scandal stories.
Eric Cantor 33/1 â€“ Virginia Representative. Would not get many votes in Gaza but as staunchly solidly conservative as any.,
Good luck, whoever you put your money on
Note: This piece was written a week ago, and since then we have had some interesting elections, notably Christie’s huge success in the New Jersey Govenor contest. Ladbrokes have cut his price to 9/2. That looks about right to me. If you see bigger, take it.
I would also add Bobby Jindal to the list of serious candidates, decent enough value at 16/1. But Christie looks a strong front-runner now