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February 5, 2007

Will a Real GOP Nominee Please Stand Up?


As far as the 2008 presidential election is concerned, it is not too bad to be a Democrat right now. No matter what flavor of liberal you are, there will be a candidate who will at least moderately satisfy you in the primaries. And in many cases, it is a candidate who stands a respectable chance to win in November 2008 as well.


Most popular among Democrats are Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, satisfying their constituencies’ diversity fantasies. Obama is the perfect choice for those looking for a young, intelligent, energetic liberal (overlooking, of course, the vast insecurities about his religious and partially white background). This is not to mention Obama’s unique status as a “clean” African-American, in the words of yet another solid Democratic candidate, Sen. Joe Biden.


Hillary is there for the peaceniks and the radical feminists who are smart enough to support a candidate who for two years will pretend to be a hawk “under the right circumstances” and a Christian respecting traditional values. Then you have former Sen. John Edwards, running exclusively on his extensive six years in government and his pretty smile.


Because this field is apparently not sufficiently liberal, Congressman Dennis Kucinich is running to proudly catapult the debate to the left, potentially along with the inarticulate, dim and unclean Al Sharpton. (Why won’t Senator Biden get out of my head?). Sen. Christopher Dodd, Gov. Bill Richardson and former Gov. Tom Vilsak are running for the more reasonable Democratic voters, most probably to be soon dragged by the others into a debate over who wants to withdraw the troops first and who can universalize health care the fastest.


With this all-star lineup, however disturbing to the average Republican, the Democrats are not short on – at the very least – decent choices. They have a variety of candidates who both share a liberal view of the world and are good at hiding it until they land in the White House. The Grand Old Party, unfortunately, is not doing so well with its candidates.


“But… but… we have John McCain,” some might argue. That’s true, but how is it good? A member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the umbrella organization for Republicans who could easily get elected as Democrats, McCain has been enough of a maverick to raise serious questions about his allegiance to conservative principles.


Being a fan of amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, an outspoken opponent of the tax cuts that are currently energizing our economy and a big help to Senate Democrats in retaining their ability to filibuster President Bush’s judicial nominees, McCain has done a fantastic job pushing away both social and fiscal conservatives. The senator can only proudly wave his foreign policy flag to Republicans, though it remains doubtful that his solid position on the war would make up for his vast deficiencies elsewhere.


Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is, for all intents and purposes, a waste of resources. He will cost Republican donors significant money both to support his dead-end campaign and to oppose him through other candidates. The fact that he sincerely believes he can become the Republican nominee as a social liberal is enough to question his political and analytical abilities.


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the last of the GOP’s “Big Three” who both claims to “stand up” for conservatives and can subsequently proceed to win the general election. Though Republicans might be able to look beyond his Mormon faith and his relative inexperience in government, Romney’s problem is that, well, he “converts” a lot. Being unstable on social issues, he will most probably spend his campaign fighting flip-flop allegations akin to those that helped to sink John Kerry in 2004.


While McCain, Giuliani, and Romney have poor records on many issues important to conservatives, they at least have an excellent chance at winning the general election. Our actual conservatives, on the other hand, are a bit more uncertain on that front. Take Sen. Sam Brownback and Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo, who will be fighting an uphill battle that will do little more than shift the debate to the right – something the Big Three will already be trying to do.


Others, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel, have catered to Democrats so much, and sunk so low in the eyes of Republicans, that they would be lucky if they’re not physically thrown off a primary debate panel. Others still are too big on government (former Gov. Mike Huckabee), too libertarian (Congressman Ron Paul), relatively unknown (former Governors Jim Gilmore and Tommy Thomspon), or simply won’t announce their candidacy when they really should (former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich).


That’s the list. No Hillaries, no Obamas, no one who truly excites his ideological base while at the same time appealing to independents. Where are they? Where are Newt, Jeb Bush, and Michael Steele? Will one of them please stand up?


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