Sean Penn as nutty a presidential candidate as Trump?

Hiya folks,

Over at Slate, Seth Stevenson brings up an interesting thought experiment: what if the weird-ass, unqualified, nutjob candidate weren’t on the Republican side? What if, say, the Republicans put up a somewhat more traditional candidate (Stevenson posits Rick Santorum or Ted Cruz), and the Dems nominate a brash, opinionated celebrity with no actual experience in public office… specifically Sean Penn?

It seems the article is meant to give us pause, for us to consider the horrific possibility that many of us lefties would line up behind Penn as candidate, unqualified and loopy as he may be, rather than embracing the… uh… I guess safer and saner (??) candidacy of a Cruz or a Santorum.

Boy, I gotta tellya, I can’t describe how faulty his premise seems to me. Is it me? Am I nuts? Because of course I would vote for Sean Penn over Cruz, Santorum, Bachmann, Palin, Perry… any number of the crazy-ass alternatives to Trump. Am I missing something? Is there a totally unhinged loose-cannon quality of Sean Penn’s that’s remotely equivalent to Trump’s, that should make me seriously consider letting somebody like Cruz or Santorum anywhere near the West Wing?


Yeah, pfff. Republican candidates who aren’t a completely unconscionable option are like rocking-horse shit.

I’ll take some random off the street in preference any day.


Except Clinton is nothing like Santorum or Cruz. She’s more like a McCain or a Romney or Bush the elder.

Off-his-meds Sean Penn vs McCain/Romney? I could seriously see the appeal of crossing party lines.


Could be Kanye West, or Ben from Ben and Jerry’s. But for the sake of this exercise, let’s say it’s Sean Penn.

Should have stuck with Kanye. Best analogue.

ETA: And yes, I would strongly prefer Cruz in that circumstance, because I’m not trusting any kind of power to Kanye’s ego.

ETAA: Although the whole thing reads like an establishment Republican fantasy.

It’s basically a wank in written form. :fist:


I think his point is that Clinton is as loathed by the right as Santorum/Cruz would be to the left. So that’s what helps Republicans line up behind their particular nutcase, and that we’d do the same with Penn if the alternative would be voting for Cruz or Santorum.

But still: to my way of thinking, for all his faults, Penn would be relatively harmless in the White House, compared to the dingbats the GOP has been puking up in recent years.

I’d at least consider McCain, though I doubt I’d go for Romney. I just don’t see Penn as all that terrible.


Really? I would aaalllmooost prefer Trump to Cruz.


This is only if I believe Trump’s incompetence and lack of experience neuters him once he takes the oath of office. I don’t see any reason he’s going to have less prowess at the pulpit in the Oval Office than he currently has. Hence my reasoning that he’s more dangerous than Cruz. Especially because Cruz has the charisma of a saggy month-old watermelon.


Charlie Sheen.


The problem isn’t Trumps lack of qualifications. It is that he is a horrible person.

The bizarre part is that of all the Democrat leaders I can think of Hillary is maybe the one shot he has to beat. Just about any one else would have been an easier win.

Who ever wins, you have no one to blame but the party leaders for putting up two of the most despised candidates in recent memory. While I can’t say I agree with Sanders on everything, he has 10x more charisma. Obama won with his 18 Charisma and rolling nat 20s all the time.

Vinegar goes good on chips, but after awhile you get sick of it and it leaves sores in your mouth.


Now there’s a dumpster fire on wheels.


With as many as they put up, I didn’t think the Republican’s fielded any viable candidates for this cycle…


I hate to say it, but you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Who are you voting for so far? I know you lean Libertarian. You don’t have to say, I’m just curious how people outside the Dem race see it, and I’m just looking for confirmation you don’t indeed have a horse in the race.

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Given Russia’s…well…the world’s successful and long-lasting use of sex as vector, we’d be done by the end of the month, maybe sooner.


It’s a tough choice we Sophies would have. Part of me thinks that Trump’s narcissism and sense of self-preservation would be more apt to keep us alive, whereas Cruz might be more apt to send us hurtling toward the Rapture if there’s any way he can facilitate that.

Keep in mind I come from California, and we survived the governorships of both Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, somehow. I feel kinda like an immortal teenager behind the wheel of a musclecar. “President Trump? Who cares? Nothing can kill me… I’m only seventeen!!”


West/Sheen 2020.

Just for the inauguration party alone.


We could do a hell of a lot worse than Sean Penn in office. Yes, he has shown he can be a ruthless and unrepentant asshole, but he’s also shown himself to be very learned and politically inclined. With his history of activism he also backs up his words with action.


Neither party has a monopoly on shortsighted, tribal behavior.

Perhaps not, but one party is definitely playing to the dumbarse authoritarian followers, and pandering to every cognitive bias in the book…


This is why he’s a shitty choice for the article. He’s left of center enough to be a bogeyman for a Republican, but I could see him being marginally competent running a country in the same way any relatively intelligent person might. My main issue with Trump isn’t so much that he’s repugnant (which he is). It’s that he’s fucking stupid. I could run the executive better than he could, and that’s really not saying much about me at all. I’d vote for @Donald_Petersen or @Mister44 over a Trump or a Kanye.


You’re right. To a certain extent, they’ve hounded out their best candidates as being too ideologically impure for the base. Right now they have no Reagan around which to rally, no high-charisma halfway-centrist that the hoi polloi can embrace and the elites can stomach.

That version of the GOP, the 1980 model, appears to be dead.


Even at the time, I never viewed RayGun as anything more than a meat puppet, an actor playing the part of being presidential.