Let me begin by saying that I am expressing my opinions, so feel free to disagree with me.
There’s a lot of talk about how many Republicans are dissatisfied with the current field of GOP Presidential candidates. Personally I think that’s ridiculous. If anything, you’ve got a wide variety to choose from. There’s really somebody for everybody. And we have to keep in mind that chances are, whoever wins the nomination will still likely be supported by the traditional Republican electorate anyway.
So I’m going to go in random order and toss out a few thoughts and observations on each candidate. I’ll try to be fair, but obviously, I have my own prejudices towards each of them.
Mike Huckabee – I like him. His recent statements regarding the 2nd Amendment are refreshing to me. He’s a Baptist minister from Arkansas, but I assure you that he’s not just some obscure pistol-toting redneck. He’s articulate and likeable. And I believe he’s got the right stances on just about all the issues. I just wish he appealed to the rest of the party in a broader way. He reminds me of Clinton in that he’s a Baptist, he’s from the same town, he was governor of Arkansas, and he is running for President out of relative obscurity. Maybe he can rise like Clinton did. After all, Clinton was booed at the 1988 DNC Convention and went on to win in ’92. Now may not be the time for Huckabee, but I think he’s got a good future.
Tom Tancredo – The representative from Colorado… Does he have supporters? I haven’t really come across any. He’s got very strong stances on illegal immigration, which is good. I think he may be a bit too extreme though. If you watch him in the debates, he comes off as the least prepared, the least articulate, and the least eloquent. That may be fine for Colorado, but I think the country needs more than that.
Ron Paul – If you examine my previous blog posts, you know what I think of Ron Paul. I really wouldn’t say he’d be bad for America. He’s a sharp guy with a lot of good stances. He stresses small government and I love that. But I’ve seen him dodge issues like legalization of marijuana, gay marriage and others by simply saying that the states should decide. And I can’t believe he actually voted No for establishing a nationwide AMBER alert system. He also wants to dismantle the Department of Energy, Department of Education, and the Department of Homeland Security. While his ideas may not be so bad for America, I don’t think he’ll be able to gather the support from the party and the American people.
Rudy Giuliani – “America’s Mayor.” Rudy’s done a lot of good in his lifetime. As mayor of NYC, the crime rate fell dramatically. Although some have questioned his leadership on 9/11, I think he did an overall good job handling such a catastrophe. He appears to be fiscally conservative. And if you look at his Twelve Commitments, you’d think he was a typical GOP candidate. But the fact is that he’s pro-choice, pro-gun control, and pro-gay rights. I believe the reason he has so much support is because many Republicans believe that no other candidate has the chance of winning the White House. That may be so, but I’d like to see the Republican party stick to its guns (figuratively and literally) and nominate a real conservative candidate anyway.
John McCain – The Senator from Arizona does have some positive aspects. His time as a POW in Vietnam is a terrific story about the triumph of the American spirit. He’s generally conservative although he has done some things that have alienated him from the rest of the party. Most recently, his support of the failed McCain-Kennedy immigration bill has cost him big time. And failing to raise as much money as Ron Paul in the 2nd quarter has put him in a downward spiral. I’d like to see him drop out as soon as September, but I think the old man’s still got a lot of fight left in him. It’s just a matter of how much longer he’s going to be wasting our time.
Tommy Thompson – Just like Tancredo, I must ask, “Does this guy have any support?” The former governor of Wisconsin is dry, although conservative. I’m not in the least bit intrigued by him, but I think he’s got a fairly legimate solution to Iraq: let the Iraqi people vote to decide whether they want American troops to leave or stay.
Sam Brownback – About 2 years ago, I figured Brownback would take a stab at the White House. And honestly, I felt like he’d be a good candidate. But so far, he has failed to generate any significant interest on a broad level. His stances are fairly good, but his solution for Iraq is idiotic. His plan would include separating it into 3 states: Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish. Let’s just divide people based on their religion and ethnicity. What a terrible idea.
Mitt Romney – Out of all the candidates, Mitt seems to be the one taking the most heat right now. He’s been called a flip-flopper on abortion, gay rights, and tax pledges. And if that’s not enough, he has been criticized for his religion! I’d go into all that if I hadn’t already done it before in my previous post: “The Case for a Romney Victory.” But I will say this again: four years straight, he balanced the budget in the state of Massachussetts without raising taxes. That kind of success for a Republican in the bluest state in the union is unparalleled. He saved the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. He’s a successful businessman and he has the best marital career of any top-tier candidate. He’d be good for America if he was able to win.
Fred Thompson – I like Fred Thompson. The Senator from Tennessee has a fairly conservative background and he was born in my home state of Alabama. He also has religious beliefs that are extremely close to my own. His acting on Law & Order has given him a “household-name” status. However, the recent dirt on him is that he supposedly lobbied for a pro-choice organization. I don’t think he was that well connected to it, but whenever someone puts the term “pro-choice” in the same context with a GOP candidate, it hurts his reputation. My beef with Fred is that he hasn’t declared yet. He’s already missed 3 debates. I’d like to seem in the exact same arena as the other candidates. If he’s going to declare, which I believe he will, he should go ahead and do it. There is no point in delaying it.
Duncan Hunter – The U.S. Representative from San Diego has some great viewpoints. His support of a border fence is very good. I like his platform, he just doesn’t come off as winnable. He’s an important figure in the Republican party where he is right now and I would like to see him continue his career representing the state of California. I just don’t think he’s quite cut out for the White House.
These are my two cents. I think every candidate in this race has some admirable quality. However, there are only three that I think have a shot at winning the nomination and the White House. They are Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson. I would be content with any of them winning the White House. But I do have a preference.