Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dubya's Choice


George W. Bush should decide who best is qualified to serve as his successor in the White House, and should make his opinion known to that candidate and in due course, provide his full and unwavering support for the campaign.

Democrats would be outraged by such a bold decision on the part of the President, even though it has a long and valid presidential precedent. They would claim it plays with the political process, when in fact it would not harm the process one bit, except making clear to Americans how to continue the programs and policies of George W. Bush. And that, in my opinion, would be a serious blow to any Democrat’s hope to grabbing the White House.

The first President, George Washington, made clear that he considered James Monroe something of his protege. It in no way subverted the electoral process, and in these days of popular votes, for Dubya to note whom he likes is no threat to the voice of the people. Also, throughout pesidential history, many Chief Executives have played their preferences or supported the Party’s choice. Dubya’s father enjoyed a healthy margin of victory in 1988, in large part because Ronald Reagan supported him, so that GHWB appeared to be Ronnie’s pick. Before that, in 1964 LBJ enjoyed a landslide victory, in large part because he appeared to JFK’s right-hand man. It’s worth noting that because Reagan did not make his personal preference known ahead of the campaign, he was more or less stuck with the party choice, whom he backed loyally. And because Kennedy never anticipated his demise, he did not make public the choice to kick LBJ off the boat, and so America was misled about what Jack Kennedy wanted.

Ordinarily, there would be small value to pressing to have a President name his personal choice to follow him, but the stakes are extremely high for 2008. The Global War on Terror will be continuing, and in a different aspect. Just as the majority of Americans in 2004 understood that no issue was as important as the War on Terror, they will be looking for the right leadership and direction in 2008 on that same issue. by 2007 it will be necessary, even critical, for Bush to name an individual who is best-qualified to meet that challenge. Personally, I do not doubt for an instant that the best candidate is not the one who knows the Economy best, or the Abortion or even the Court issues best, would ideally be a candidate known for handling pressure and complex issues, someone with direct experience in National Security, and someone who has worked in addressing our relations with other countries in the context of the threat from Global Terrorism. The sole candidate so qualified is Secretary of State (and former National Security Advisor) Condoleeza Rice. If President Bush has someone else in mind, it would be important to know his preference, but this is absolutely an instance where America should know the mind of George W. Bush.

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