Monday, December 17, 2007

My Presidential Pick

Many influential conservatives, such as Kathleen Parker, Ann Coulter, and of course Sean Hannity, say that the Republican Presidential field one the best in recent years. They point out that our choices include two distinguished Senators, an extremely successful businessman, the best major of a major city in recent memory, and perhaps the most articulate politician in either party. (I am, of course, referring to Mike Huckabee, and if you doubt his charm, take a look at this video). While many Republicans are unenthusiastic about any of these options, many pundits are of the opinion that Republicans should be happy with the candidates they have. They say the current crop of candidates is the best we have had for several election cycles.

That, of course, isn't all that hard. In 2000, it was John McCain against George W. Bush. Neither of these candidates was all that good, especially going on what we knew at the time. (George Bush's inspirational leadership after 9/11 was something of a pleasant surprise for many). In 1996, we had such choices as Bob Dole, Steve Forbes, and Phil Gram, who didn't exactly inspire anyone. And in 1992, are choices were George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot (an Independent, but popular among conservatives), and Pat Buchanan. Nobody to get excited about there.

With Republican precedents like these, it's not really that hard to find a field better than these groups. But even with the campaigns of Republican past as the standard, our present field of candidates is terrible. Some frontrunners are far too liberal, others are unelectable, and others are running decidedly second-rate campaigns. These categories overlap-- some candidates are all three.

Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney are all too liberal (in my estimation), to be acceptable nominees. Rudy Giuliani is effective on the issues of crime, fiscal responsibility, and the War on Terror, but is liberal on abortion, global warming, gay rights, gun control, and immigration. In addition, there is little chance he will get the Republican nomination, especially since his drop in Florida polls. Huckabee is good on social issues, but is weak on global warming, foreign policy, taxes, and immigration. Neither of these candidates is a Reagan conservative.

Mitt Romney is seen as a conservative alternative, but a hard look at his record shows him to be a moderate at best. Some say that he has flip-flopped on gun control. He hasn't. He has been a consistent liberal on the issue. He supports the assault weapons ban, as well the Brady Bill.

On immigration, he is equally weak. He supported the Bush-McCain-Reid amnesty bill, calling it reasonable. McCain's support for this proposal sank his campaign. Romney, conversely, managed to keep his support for it under cover until it was brought up by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. Romney is every bit as bad as McCain on illegal immigration.

John McCain is, of course, liberal, but his primary problem is his moribund campaign. The lingering ill will conservatives have felt for him since his 2000 run, plus his support for the shamnesty bill, make his odds of getting the nomination impossibly long.

The only true conservative candidate in the race is Fred Thompson. Unfortunately, his campaign is in worse shape than McCain's. He was masterful as a non-candidate, and did a good job of playing hard to get over the summer. Now, however, he is running a toothless and miserable campaign. He has been reduced from a national frontrunner to one desperately driving across Iowa searching for votes.

The candidate I support is Fred D. Thompson. He is the only candidate out there who fully supports my conservative principles. However, I live in Ohio, so I will vote on March 4. The race at that point will almost certainly consist of two, perhaps three, viable candidates. Given Thompson's recent performance in polls, he will probably not be a viable candidate. Neither will John McCain, my second choice. My options will probably be limited to some combination of Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney. The options are a candidate weak on social issues, one weak on fiscal issues, or one weak on immigration and gun control. (Though better on both than Giuliani). Abortion is the most important issue for me. Mike Huckabee will probably get my vote, and will probably also get the nomination. (He leads in Iowa, South Carolina, Michigan, Florida, and nationally). That is depressing.

The only bright spot is the fact that Huckabee may have the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Likeability is important in politics, and the candidate the average person would rather go to the ballgame with usually wins. (Bush was more accessible than Kerry or Gore, and Clinton more so than either of his opponents. The last President who would not have easily won the ballgame question was Nixon). The only politician of either party who can even compare with Huckabee's sheer magnetism is Barack Obama. So while Huckabee may not be a conservative, any Republican is better than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. If Huckabee wins, he would at least keep Hillary out.

(As you read this, keep in mind that the Republican race is very votile, and in two weeks everything could change).


At December 17, 2007 at 7:46 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Good analysis as always, Daniel. We Ohioans have historically had much influence on the general elections but not so much in the primaries due to the timing (even though ours was moved up not too long ago). I am hoping Thompson is still a contender come March, but it doesn't look good right now for him based on the polls. I wish Tancredo or Hunter were more viable, I would vote for either one in a heartbeat.

At December 18, 2007 at 5:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At December 18, 2007 at 5:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you said:
"any Republican is better than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama"
And that is exactly how I feel. Too bad some of the others don't see it that way.
It would be great to get a total Conservative in office, but we can not be that stingy.
The main thing in MY MIND is to stop the Dems and get ANY one of our guys in there. Because if we don’’t we are in for 8 miserable years.

At December 18, 2007 at 6:07 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Well done Daniel. The only thing I take issue with is this (quite frankly absurd) assertion:

Rudy Giuliani is effective on the issues of crime, fiscal responsibility...

Any candidate that thinks and then advocates that we ought to expand on corn subsidies for inefficient ethanol production is not an individual who truly grasps "fiscal responsibility".

At December 18, 2007 at 7:43 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Additionally, regarding Huckabee's latest add...

Apparently, he seems to think he's running as leader of the Baptist church rather than for commander in Chief.

I couldn't agree more with the comment that the add ends with his mug right smack dab in the middle of the cross is blasphemy.

At December 18, 2007 at 11:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Ron Paul????

At December 18, 2007 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

I happen to disagree with Ron Paul's analysis with respect to foreign policy. I think in today's world, nor should we invade and occupy every country we disagree with, we cannot simply sit idly by until nuclear threats are knocking on the door of the White House.

However, regarding his position on other matters, I think his judgement is actually very sound and much more deserving of the credibility he has largely not yet been given.

At December 18, 2007 at 2:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Hillary Clinton

At December 18, 2007 at 4:49 PM , Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

I'm still undecided!

At December 18, 2007 at 7:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you saying that we should invade other countries because they have nuclear weapons?
If so, then I wonder if you would object to other countries invading us...
It also seems that you contradict yourself when you say:
"nor should we invade and occupy every country we disagree with, we cannot simply sit idly by until nuclear threats are knocking on the door of the White House."
It seems as if you are saying first that we shouldn't invade, then your saying that we should invade (or take some other action)...

Plus, I've always wanted a president with two first names...Ron Paul

At December 19, 2007 at 6:32 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

I haven't contradicted myself in the least. That a country has nuclear weapon capability does not imply they pose a threat to the security of the United States. The Soviet Union is a nuclear power yet to a large degree we are on fair terms with them and as well they are cognizant of the concept of mutual annihilation. This is why they don't necessarily pose any greater threat to them than they do to us. I'm saying we can't invade every country simply because we disagree with them or their leadership. But we should and quite frankly ought to hold our security in high regard and if we deem that a threat is forthcoming we ought to take the necessary steps to act on it.

At December 19, 2007 at 12:36 PM , Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post Danny,

I think you are right on the money.

Fred Thompson is the only one with what I want also.


At December 19, 2007 at 12:37 PM , Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Anonymous said...
What about Ron Paul????

December 18, 2007 11:20 AM

Get Real!

At December 19, 2007 at 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get real???
Last time I checked, it was Ron Paul, not Fred Thompson, who recieved over 6 million dollars on the 16th through online donations.
Granted, this has nothing to do with his ability to function as a president, but it's still fun to brag about.

Thanks, your comment makes a lot more sense now.

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