The right horse? 合适的人选

2024-05-18 09:48:48

Reader question:

Please explain “right horse” in this sentence: Many voters wonder if President Joe Biden is the right horse that can go the distance.

My comments:

US President Joe Biden is 82 years old and, understandably people wonder whether he’s too old.

Too old, that is, to run for reelection. If he wins reelection in November and finishes the second term, he’ll be 86 years of age at that point.

Many voters wonder, hence, whether he’s the right man to back this time around.

Or, as it is phrased in our example sentence, the right horse.

Here, Biden is likened to a racing horse. To win money, people bet on a particular horse to win a horse race. And if the horse you put money on wins the race, then you can literally say you’ve picked the right horse. If the horse you bet on fails to win, on the other hand, you’ve picked the wrong horse.

Figuratively, as in our example, Biden is likened to such a horse running in a race. Biden’s race, of course, is the race for the Oval Office one more time.

Whether he’s the right horse or the wrong horse is, ultimately, for American voters to decide.

So, we’ll quit worrying about that for the moment. Instead, let’s read a few media examples of “the right horse” or “the wrong horse”:

1. Rick Santorum is not going to be the president of the United States.

He is not going to be the Republican nominee for president.

He may not even win a primary.

Santorum could not beat Mitt Romney in the Iowa Republican caucuses. And no one in Iowa liked Mitt Romney.

Santorum could not beat Newt Gingrich for fourth place in New Hampshire’s Republican primary. And Newt Gingrich was not campaigning, he was throwing a tantrum.

Santorum is dueling with Ron Paul for third place in the South Carolina polls. Both are behind Newt Gingrich and the dreaded Romney – whose unacceptability is being confirmed by news that the closest thing the GOP race had to a moderate, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, will on Monday exit the competition and endorse the eternally-suspect frontrunner.

So why did the crême de la Christian right just decide to throw the movement’s muscle behind the Santorum “juggernaut”?

Because they’re smart.

Frustrated social conservative leaders flew into Texas Saturday to try and figure out what they were going to do about a presidential race that had made them seem like they are either irrelevant or the gang that couldn’t shoot straight – or both.

While the candidates who appealed most aggressively to the Christian right – Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann – took 40 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, Romney took advantage of the split and finished eight votes ahead of Santorum.

Then came Iowa, where an insufficiently conservative Mormon, a libertarian, an even more insufficiently conservative Mormon and a fellow who is on wife number three beat Santorum.

The 2012 campaign season has been a disaster for the movement that – before the Koch Brothers and their pals faked up a Tea Party movement – formed the fearsome and feared grassroots of the Grand Old Party.

So 150 Christian rightists – including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Gary Bauer of a comically unsuccessful presidential race and the real political powerhouse in the room, former Focus on the Family head James Dobson – gathered at the Brenham, Texas, ranch of Paul Pressler. (Pressler, a former Texas appellate court judge, was a leader in the fight to politicize the Southern Baptist Convention and has since become a key player in Christian broadcasting circles.)

The stated purpose of the session was to choose a candidate that the Christian right could back.

The unstated purpose was to clean up the mess that most of the same political players made of things when they bet last summer on Rick Perry to win.

Perry has not even placed or shown.

So back to the drawing board – this time with a bet on Santorum, who won the group’s endorsement by a 114-to-85 vote over Gingrich.

But Christian rightists have wised up.

Despite kind words thrown Santorum’s way, they’re not really betting on the defeated former senator from Pennsylvania to win. (If anything, the significant vote for Gingrich confirms they are not even sure that the former senator from Pennsylvania is the right horse.)

- Christian Right Ordains Santorum to Block Romney, Prays for a New Candidate,, JANUARY 15, 2012.

2. U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyoming, ripped movie and TV star Kevin Costner during her speech at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on Friday, saying the star of the hit show “Yellowstone” should stay in his lane politically.

“I really liked Kevin Costner better when he made baseball movies and stayed out of politics,” she said, drawing laughter from audience.

Costner endorsed Hageman’s Republican opponent during the 2022 campaign, former congresswoman Liz Cheney.

Last August, Cheney tweeted a photo of Costner on the set of the Dutton Ranch in the show, wearing a shirt that promoted her candidacy. Costner wore a white T-shirt with the message, “I’m for Liz Cheney” emblazoned on it.

“Real men put country over party,” Cheney said in the post.

Hageman poked at Costner’s support for Cheney on Friday, saying that Costner doesn’t know much about Wyoming politics and backed the “wrong horse” in her election.

“We sent his candidate back to Virginia where she belongs,” she said with a smile.

- Hageman Mocks ‘Yellowstone’ Actor Kevin Costner: He Backed The ‘Wrong Horse’ In Cheney, Cowboy State Daily, June 9, 2023.

3. Everton’s former chief Keith Wyness has suggested West Ham owner David Sullivan and Premier League boss Richard Masters have “backed the wrong horse” by opposing an independent regulator.

Speaking on the new edition of Football Insider’s Inside Track podcast, the 66-year-old – who served as CEO at Goodison Park between 2004 and 2009 and now runs a football consultancy advising elite clubs – claimed the public nature of the discussions surrounding the issue is “frustrating”.

Despite saying he will “engage with it positively”, Masters has warned that introducing an independent regulator is a “big risk in a successful industry”.

He was speaking before the second reading of the Football Governance Bill in the Houses of Parliament this week.

West Ham owner Sullivan has also spoken out about introducing a regulator – warning it could mean the Premier League is no longer the world’s best and “ruin an asset that we have”.

Wyness suggested both he and Masters may find it difficult to win Labour over if they gain power at the next general election.

He told Football Insider‘s Insider Track podcast: “Masters had previously said he would not argue against a regulator, and we’re now seeing that he’s lobbying against it.

“The House of Commons held a drinks reception last week, trying to get support behind the bill.

“It’s frustrating because this should all be done behind the scenes. We’re now playing these battles out in public.

“The reality is, when you look at the polling – Labour will be in power. We know where they sit on the regulator, they are for it.

I think Masters has backed the wrong horse.

“I think Labour will be really strong on a lot of the fan issues.

“Masters now has another fight, another distraction – and he’s got enough to do with running the Premier League.”

- West Ham’s David Sullivan has got it badly wrong after Government news,, April 28, 2024.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)