POLITICS

Trail To The Chief: 2016 Perks Of Being A Wallflower Edition

03/30/2015 05:52 am ET | Updated Mar 30, 2015



2016 Perks Of Being A Wallflower Edition


Here at Trail to the Chief, we are not cynics. Far from it. We actually think that politics and government can be positive forces. Why else would we report on their shortcomings? We can’t help but admire those who have the guts to immerse themselves in the miserable, and at times humiliating, process of running for president. Nor do we dismiss the possibility that the candidates are motivated, at least in part, by idealism, by desire to do good, and by the conviction that they have the talent, vision and patience to lead this all-but-unleadable country.

But surely there is more -- or rather less -- to it than that. Most of the people running have only the dimmest chance of winning. The Republican field alone has at least 14 candidates, which makes for forbidding odds; on the Democratic side, the chances of knocking off Hillary Clinton are steep, too.

So why are these legions of men and women running, or toying with running or talking about running in 2016? Well, there are, shall we say, Lesser Reasons. It doesn’t take a cynic to find them. It only takes a short while of hanging around in the Augean Stables of Campaign World, where the reeking stalls are full of vanity, blind ambition, narcissism, business networking and the plain old need to make a buck.

So here is our Trail to the Chief list of the potential perks of being a wallflower in 2016:

RANK PERK PRIME EXAMPLE
1 SPEAKING FEES
One good behind-the-curtain debate anecdote can double your fee.
Gary Bauer
2 MULTIMEDIA EMPIRE
Follow the Newt Gingrich guide to a multimedia industry -- books, DVD, lecture series, alternate history. You name it; he's got it.
Newt Gingrich
3 TV TALKING HEAD
It's so much easier to be a TV commentator than an author.
Mike Huckabee
4 PLACE IN THE WINNER'S ADMINISTRATION
Not charismatic enough to win the big prize, but you walked and talked enough to make it to the No. 2 spot or Cabinet position.
Lindsey Graham
5 GOOD LOBBYING JOB
All about the Benjamins -- Chris Dodd added presidential campaign to his resume and ended up as head of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Chris Dodd
6 "GOD CHOSE ME"
Mission from God means you never truly lose, and you boost your show's profile in the meantime.
Pat Robertson
7 INFLUENCE IN THE PARTY
Arguably can have a better impact elsewhere within the party than as a candidate.
Howard Dean
8 MEET RICH PEOPLE
Your hedge fund Rolodex will be set for life.
The Clintons
9 SEE THE COUNTRY
Only Iowa and New Hampshire, but it's fine. And people have to listen to you play guitar.
Martin O'Malley
10 SECRET SERVICE BODYGUARDS
Ego-boosting phalanx of bodyguards that turns into the Secret Service. You can really impress the geeks at CPAC.
Bobby Jindal
11 CRITIC-IN-CHIEF
Armchair quarterback with nothing to lose.
Mitt Romney
12 THE BEST PERK OF ALL
You can quit politics altogether and move on to another life.
Al Gore

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press

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