Sunday, June 17, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Republican Field

I was watching “Meet the Press” this morning, and it was nothing surprising. This morning, they were discussing the 2008 Presidential elections, and divided the discussion, reasonably enough, into the Republican and Democrat fields. They only discussed the major candidates, so I am afraid there was no mention of Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, or Albus Dumbledore. Where the discussion left balance and approach MSM norms, was the way the press panel discussed Republicans as a whole, and how they discussed Democrats as a whole. That is, the press panel focused on negatives, or potential negatives, for the Republican candidates, and considered only relative positives for the Democrats. In the end, though, that sort of thing tends to work for the Republicans, since the eventual GOP nominee will have to address weak areas early on, while the Democrat will not expect it until after the party convention, at which time – unable to address the most difficult questions – the Democrat nominee may be expected to declare that it is a ‘smear’ to challenge his/her/its claims.

As a result, nothing significant was said about the Democrats; the press still prefers them, and won’t say a word against any of them. The fun came before that, when the press was playing, once again, ’Why No Republican Is Any Good’. Going down the list, the panel played true to their favorite routines;

Fred Thompson won’t last, because he’s just an actor;

Rudy Giuliani is a goner, as soon as Republicans find out what he really stands for;

Mitt Romney is not trusted by Republicans, who are suspicious of his Mormon faith and his position flips;

John McCain is “desperate”, and will do or say anything to stay in the race.

I was almost hysterical with laughter when they finished that review. I mean really, I don’t care much for McCain, but to call him “desperate” two seasons before the first primary even happens? Also, it’s a bit of projection, I think, for the left-leaning press to worry about a Mormon running for President – no Republican I have talked to, considers it a deal-killer for someone to be a Mormon and ask for his vote. As for Giuliani, he’s been very honest about what he believes and how he would govern, so the notion that he’s pretending to be something he is not is rather far-fetched. Were that so, Rudy could have played himself as a strong pro-lifer for the support, but he did not do that.

And then there’s Fred. One thing I love about the present situation, is that the Left, well beyond a doubt, is afraid of Fred Thompson. Very afraid. Enough afraid of him, that even folks who don’t know much about him are interested in finding out what has frightened the media mob so much. We have learned over the years, that the press always hates leaders who are really good for America, so it’s an early endorsement, albeit unintentional, for Thompson that the press is determined to sack him if they can.

Don’t misunderstand me, that I would accept a candidate without giving him/her a good hard look. But neither do I rule someone out just because someone else says nasty things about them. To tell the truth, I even considered the candidacy of Barack Obama early on, but his demonstrated positions on the issues has proven he would not be a good candidate for President, especially on the most critical issues of National Security, reforming Social Security and the Income Tax, on Immigration Reform and Border Security, and on America’s position and responsibility in the world. As for Hillary, she was kind enough to make her positions clear in the past four years, and thereby removed herself from serious consideration before 2006.

For the Republican candidates, I would say that while I have preferences, I am open to just about any of them, so long as they are properly focused on, as I said, those critical issues. And since we are still months away from the primary season, it is fine for a candidate to speak in general terms, if he or she prefers to establish his identity and character with the GOP voters. I do intend to find out where Fred Thompson stands on the key issues, but for now I like him because he seems to grasp the priorities better than anyone else. Running for President is not the same as applying to be a company’s go-fer. Even though the party has done a very poor job of it in recent years, when the President is elected he will lead the party and the party has the duty to pursue the course set by the President. As a result, it is essential not only to know where a potential President stands on the issues, but for the party to get a gut feel for who they would most be willing to trust with the helm. The candidate’s temper, stability, judgment, humor, intelligence, faith, courage … all these things matter more in the early going. To put it simply, Howard Dean’s obvious character flaws blew him off the map in 2004, a lesson both parties should consider before plunging too fast into the 2008 primaries. John McCain lost me not when he sponsored McCain-Feingold, but when he lied about what he had done, and about his opponents. But I could be content with a Romney, a Giuliani, or a Fred Thompson in the Oval Office, provided their answers remain consistent and direct as we move on in the primaries. What the press continually fails to grasp, is the need for a good person, not a clever media-savvy one, to serve as President.

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