John Bolton (AP/Steve Ueckert)

An in-depth Salon investigation: Is any Republican besides John Bolton not running for president?

The Mustache of War pulled an old-fashioned move: Announced that he *wouldn't* run. Will anyone follow his lead?


Jim Newell
May 18, 2015 4:00PM (UTC)

John Bolton's announcement that he wouldn't seek the Republican presidential nomination had the potential to be a watershed moment for the prospective GOP field. Here was a long-shot who surveyed the grounds, determined that it would be difficult for him to win, and opted not to run. This is typically what happens! A prospective range of about a dozen candidates tests the waters, and then maybe half of that number actually declare, and then maybe half of that number actually matter and make it past Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Bolton announced his decision Thursday. What happened Friday? This event invitation went out.

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Zuhh? Rick Perry has tested the waters and his conclusion is that he should go through with it? (At least so it would seem, unless he just wants to drag everyone for no real reason to Dallas -- a cruel and unusual punishment if ever there were.) Don't get me wrong, this is fine from my viewpoint as a politics writer. Perry is hilarious and gives out great swag and in general is always a delight to have around. But no one wants him to be president! Yikes!

There's a whole batch of certain losers set to declare in late May and early June. Rick Santorum, May 27, Pittsburgh; Lindsey Graham, June 1, somewhere in South Carolina; George Pataki(!), May 28, New Hampshire.

Assuming they all do run and aren't just trolling, the declared field would include: Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham and Rick Perry, and whoever the other one is that I'm forgetting right now.

Will any of the other undeclareds go the way of the Bolton?

Scott Walker: Oh, of course he's going to run. He's in the top-tier, even if he may have cooled off a bit from his heights of a couple of months ago. He just spent a week in Israel and managed not to make a complete embarrassment of himself, as these overseas trips usually go. The Koch brothers, who own Wisconsin and the rest of the country, love him.

Bobby Jindal: He's still out there, even though no one cares. He's like Rick Perry but not funny. He should not run, but he probably will, because everyone except John Bolton is running.

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Donald Trump: Donald Trump is not running. He never runs. He is using it to get publicity for his new building projects, television shows and lines of merchandise. He is a liar and a fraud. He is the personification of lies. That said: He is probably running, because everyone except John Bolton is running. And we hope he does, because it would completely ruin whatever hopes the RNC had for orderly debates.

Jeb Bush: So yeah ... this is awkward. He sort of has to at this point, right? He's raised all this money, and then ... last week happened. His four-day Iraq saga was the most painful thing we've seen a quasi-candidate endure this year. Just, wow. He should declare and then spend all that money on ice cream, or whatever makes him feel better.

Chris Christie: Now here's a guy whom the gods are screaming at not to run. Even his wife is commenting publicly, Ehh, we sort of suck. Anyway, Chris Christie will probably run because everyone except John Bolton is running.

John Kasich: Whatever. Interesting guy, no chance, probably running, etc., etc.

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Whatsisname: Running.

Whosisface: In.

Mitt Romney: Just waiting for the right moment. You'll all see one day! YOU'LL ALL SEE! AND THEN YOU'LL LOOK LIKE FOOLS!


Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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