Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

Donkeys and Elephants

The US Primaries continue to be all manner of batshit. Hannah Dunleavy’s back on the campaign trail where it’s all fun and games until somebody gets shot in the birth canal.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.


The Democrats have largely been distracted in the last few weeks by the sad death of Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, who died of a brain tumour and got a rather lovely eulogy from President Obama.

There have, however, been some new entrants to the Primary race.

Former Republican Lincoln Chafee (remember him?) has waded in. The former Governor of Rhode Island and Brown graduate, who has admitted to using cocaine and marijuana in the past, made his announcement to a half-empty (or should that be half-full?) room. He’s made switching America to the metric system one of his priorities. Which makes not one hectare of sense, unless they plan to start weighing their problems by the kg.

The Wire’s team also spilled the beans about how Martin O’Malley reacted when he heard the news he was getting a starring role in the seminal HBO drama.”

Perhaps more interesting is the arrival of Martin O’Malley. Who? Well quite, but if you’re a fan of The Wire your spidey senses might start twitching if I tell you he’s a former Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland. Yes indeedy: David Simon used the photogenic O’Malley as one of the blueprints for the idealistic but ultimately selfish Tommy Carcetti.

Though keen to point out that Carcetti’s wandering eye (and dick) was not based on O’Malley, The Wire’s team also spilled the beans about how O’Malley reacted when he heard the news he was getting a starring role in the seminal HBO drama. (More on that at Simon’s website here: http://davidsimon.com/down-to-the-wire/)

O’Malley has some stuff going for him (gay marriage was legalised and the death penalty abolished under his watch), plus at 52, he’s a lot younger than anyone else in the Democratic race. He’s also got some early jabs in against the Clinton and Bush dynasties. But currently he’s an outsider. Unless he’s got a real-life Norman. Please let that be true.


Since last we spoke there have been additions to the Republican ticket, which now has more people on it than a jetty in War of the Worlds.

Former Governor of Texas (the person that says no to all those death row appeals) Rick Perry has decided to take a second run at it, having ducked out early from the 2012 race. And it all started so well. An early favourite, things went sewer-wards when Perry said he was going to axe three government departments but could only remember the name of two of them. The Republican party have humoured every conceivable shade of stupid over the years, so it’s nice to know there is a minimum requirement for being trusted as a candidate – even if it is just remembering a list with three things on it.

Perry’s served in the Air Force and has picked up a lot of support from veterans and he’s playing the patriotic card so hard he might as well have stapled it to his forehead. But then you wouldn’t be able to see his new glasses, which I’m fairly confident are an attempt to pretend to be a different person. Hey, it worked for Superman.

The guy’s so entrenched in gun culture I imagine he was spraying bullets into the birth canal on the way out. After the massacre at Sandy Hook he said new laws wouldn’t prevent this sort of tragedy but praying would, which reminds me of that scene in Father Ted where they leave a pen and paper outside the tent to see if God will write the answer down overnight. Except it’s not funny.

He also thought that the Deepwater Horizon spill was an act of God. You know what, Rick: maybe it was, but even so, I think you took the wrong message from it.

Lots of media commentary about Perry’s launch speech, held at midday in Texas, causing profuse sweating from the candidate, who ploughed on through a 20-minute speech. Making him the top contender if this all comes down to who’d be good in a time of air-conditioning failure.

“I’m reluctant to use the word ‘best’ in the context of a Republican Primary, but I think I can say Lindsey Graham currently appears to be the least worst human being in this race. Common opinion dictates he won’t get far. ”

Also keen to monopolise on the military crowd is Senator for South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, who also served in the Air Force. It’s a sad state of affairs, but currently the most important issue with Lindsey is that he has no wife or family. As demonstrated by the recent “Chuka Umunna should be married” nonsense, it is a truth universally acknowledged that every politician is in need of a wife. Graham’s bachelorhood has led to rampant speculation and innuendo over the years and is certain to be used against him here.

Aside from all that, he faces an uphill struggle. The Tea Party call him a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and he’s controversial among the GOP for his bipartisanship on divisive issues. I’m reluctant to use the word ‘best’ in the context of a Republican Primary, but I think I can say Graham currently appears to be the least worst human being in this race. Common opinion (and, let’s face it, sense) dictates he won’t get far. Just not crazy enough, Lindsey, sorry. You’ll have to go back to doing that secret and massively deviant thing all us single and childless people do when the married folk aren’t looking. See you there.

So, you’d think that’d be it, but no, there’s been another announcement. Former Governor of New York George Pataki, an extremely long shot, announced his entry into the primary with a lot of talk about the founding fathers and, in case that didn’t register, a slogan – “We the People” – really hammered the point home. In a video accompanying his announcement he talks about America being founded on a miracle. No idea, and in truth I’ve already wasted too much of my life wondering what he means, but speaking of miracles, he’s going to need one.

He’s a moderate; he supports conservation, same sex marriage and gun control. What a big girl’s blouse. I fully expect him to be torn limb from limb by a baying crowd before the first televised debate, which, we learned this week, will only take 10 candidates. And there are already 10 in the race and… dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun der… three new announcements are due in the next two weeks: Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.

Reader, I shat myself.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.