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The GOP Presidential Field

  

The current crop of GOP hopefuls are a fairly impressive bunch with much experience, good range, and, in general, good policy ideas.  The only one of the top tier who scares me is McCain because he has been wrong on so many things.  Especially immigration where he hooked up with none other than his esteemed colleague from Massachussets, not to mention campaign finance reform, a real debacle.  He is good also on the war in Iraq and in general addressing our underfunded and undermanned Military.  He has called for more troops, which are clearly needed.  But on so many other issues he has been a letdown.  His positions have obviously hurt him as well with Republicans and it is only a matter of time before he bails out of the race.  He would however make an excellent veep candidate for a Rudy presidency if he would agree to do so, which i doubt he would. 

Romney is an attractive candidate, well spoken and very quick on his feet.  He would speak to the Republican base on social issues and has led the kind of family life that allows him to promote such issues unabashedly.  I know the Mormon thing doesnt help, but i believe people will look past that.  That he was a popular republican governor of the penultimate east coast liberal state is a large feather in his cap and demonstrates his obvious ability to attract normally democratic voters. 

I believe that the Fred Thompson boomlet has passed.  He too is an attractive candidate, has great name recognition ("law and order," and so on), and is a conservative.  He would champion the principles the Republican base favors and do so in his folksy, straight shooting, down home way that would make them appeal to the country at large, a la Reagan, but i just don't get the feeling there is enough fire in his belly for the campaign, and i believe he will start to fade.  If he ever does get rolling then i believe he would be a viable - and good - candidate that conservatives will be able to support. 

Tancredo and Hunter are excellent on so many issues but it sure seems hard for a congressman to make it into the big leagues in terms of recognition and serious consideration for President.  Somehow the House doesn't seem to be enough of a platform to wave your flag from.  I am glad that their brief runs for Republican Presidential nominee have at least given them a well deserved opportunity to get their ideas out, especially on immigration and the military - probably the two most important matters affecting the country. 

There is Gingrich, hovering about, the great conservative icon and symbol, author of the gingrich revolution of '94 of blessed memory, casting lightning bolts from on high when the minions forget their conservative principles, but i don't suspect he will get in, especially if Rudy continues to hold his high poll numbers.  He would make a great Secy of State (i'd love to see that) or Secy of Education in a Guliani cabinet.   As much as we love Gingrich for leading his revolution and giving us the congress in '94, as much as the one man think tank for conservative ideas that he is and probably our brightest, most articulate spokesman, he is not very popular with the gen'l electorate, carries alot of baggage, and would be a walking bullseye for the liberal media.  He would not do well in a gen'l election. 

So, we're left with the man who will be President, Rudy.  As i said in my last blog, he is the man of the age.  he will remake the nation and history.  Future generations will look upon his time as President as the "age of Giuliani."  He has the know how, toughness, intelligence, experience, ability, and credibility to do it.  i would argue that turning around nyc as he did is every bit as difficult as turning around the country with just as much media scrutiny, cynicism, competing power interests, partisanship, and personal attacks.  He has also attained national hero status after 9/11. 

The country wants to succeed in iraq and elsewhere.  They will see in Rudy a man who can get it done.  He is also a meticulous, thorough, systematic wonkish kind of individual with the intellectual capacity to manage it all in a way that Bush never was.  He will not repeat Bush's mistakes, his gross mismanagement and lack of planning and oversight of what in particular was his signature issue - the war in Iraq.  Bush also failed to deliver on Soc Sec reform when he had maximum political capital, right after his 04 win.  Why?  Probably didn't take the time and nor had the ability to see the difficult legislative process through - in the old fashioned, time honored way: phone calls, meetings, arm twisting, planning sessions, building coalitions, and using the most powerful weapon a President has: the power to persuade.  

Giuliani is simply a much more capable individual than Bush.  He will finish the job Bush started (and has made much more difficult because of mismanagement) and restore the Republican brand name for limited govt, low taxes, fiscal restraint, military toughness, growing economy, and general competence.  Rudy also has what Bush obviously does not: a functioning conservative governing ideology - without which one inevitably veers leftward towards ever expanding government - as witnessed most disappointingly by the current incumbent. 

On the other hand, when I look at the Democrat field, one can't help but notice, quite apart from partisan perpective, how thin the talent really is.  There's really no one that's done anything, other than perhaps Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, who actually does have an impressive resume.  Not that his ideas are good or novel, I mean, what else can today's Democrat really say but that they will raise taxes and spend it - in so many words.  But the rest are really lightweight contenders, a collection of one termers (at least the top tier) with no achievements. 

Hillary is running as wife of Bill, first woman Pres, and so on, but what has she done?  Yes, she's bright and reasonably articulate.  She is also shrill as all get out, panders embarrassingly, and deeply polarizing.  She has very high unfavorable ratings.  Inside Democratic power brokers, I would have to imagine, recognize that in Hillary, their likely nominee, they have a deeply flawed candidate who is unelectable.  None will say this for fear of upsetting the applecart and retribution from Bill, but that is the truth.  She will not hold up in the general election especially if the war moves north.  Then again, no Dems will do well if the war moves north, given their investment in surrender and defeat. 

Obama runs as the first black President.  Wonderful.  What has he done in his two years as Senator except vote to the left of Ted Kennedy?  He is basically a state legislator with a brief stint as Senator, and no qualifications to justify his run for President.  Edwards, the one term Senator, multimillion dollar trial lawyer who lives in a lavish mansion and gets expensive haircuts, is convinced there are two Americas,  which from his perspective there probably are: the one he lives in and the rest.  His is not an optimistic unifying uplifting vision for the country.  And coming from him, the same old, stale, populist, class warfare, politics of envy, us vs them tactics just don't ring true.  Again, we can ask, what did he do as Senator?  No signature achievements. 

They may not realize it, nor their admiring throngs, but they are out of their depth.  Rudy will give them a spanking, whomever it is.  It will be an embarrasment.   

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