Sunday, February 18, 2007

Horse Race, Part 3

February 18, 2007

The major Republican candidates are squaring off, defining themselves, and generally trying to look Presidential while carving out firm constituencies. None has emerged as unbeatable, but any one of them could beat Hillary Clinton in a general election.

Take John McCain. Please. This man’s day has come and gone, and while he suffered a painful trouncing at the hands of Karl Rove’s Fundamentalist Christian kneecap-breakers in the South Carolina Republican primary scene in 2004, he was the candidate who had the nation’s respect and would have won the country in a landslide in a general election that year. You remember that Al Gore won that one, and the Supreme Court gave it to Bush in some kind of shell game that has not fully been explored or expiated.

McCain had his fans from both parties, and I was one of them. This was a man of principle, who talked straight and saw things clearly. Supremely human – he could be prickly and he could be amusing – but he was a man who clearly had the country’s best interests at heart and had the fire in the belly of an honest-to-God leader. If his party had not seen his very integrity as a threat, he would have been President for 9/11 and it is likely he would have gone after Usama bin Laden instead of Saddam Hussein. The country would be better for it.

But this time around, he has seen the inevitable light – that the only way to get the job he wants and deserves (or did at one time) is to knuckle under to the enemy. After all, he didn’t want to be seen as a sore loser, and he needed a party behind him or he would have gone the Third Party route a few years ago. He has trusted the Republican Party and he has laid down his high standards in order to get the mantle this time. Religious Right? Oh, yeah, he’s with them. Bush hacks? Bring them over, we can use them! He has taken a stance in support of widening the war against Iraq, even though he seems to know it is too little, too late; he is seeking the nomination of the party that got us into this, and he will not make a statement against that untenable position.

He has even gone so far as to hire the ad agency that created the Swift Boat debacle and also the man behind the racist ads that sank Harold Ford. He’s gonna play hard ball this time out, and, although he is not a Republican’s Republican, he is going into the fight of his life, and he’s going in swinging.

Rudy Giuliani, who has always gone in swinging, has had a worse time of it with his party. A tough mayor of one of the major cities of the world, he alienated its Liberal Establishment, apparently by force of his abrasive personality. I no longer lived in the city when he was mayor, but was perplexed that when I visited and found it clean, pleasant and thriving, yet my New Yorker friends abhorred the man who made that happen. I still don’t understand it. New Yorkers reacting negatively to someone who is opinionated, combative, and arrogant?

It was more than that, of course. His politics was harsh, Conservative, pro-police and seen as anti-citizen. Never mind that such was needed and that his policies improved the city, he was still not a local hero until his take-charge stance on the 11th of September, 2001, while the sitting President and Vice President ran for cover.

Giuliani has a way of rubbing everybody the wrong way even when doing the right things. He has strong stands which are in opposition to those of other Republicans; namely gay rights and abortion rights. A brilliant mind, a ready smile, but very little charm to win over the ever-important religious wing of his party, he will make the race interesting although he has little chance of winning its nomination.

Mitt Romney is the mystery candidate at this point. He is youngish and good-looking, and clearly looks like the man for the Vice Presidential nod. His opponents cite his Mormonism as if that would matter in a national race. I think that type of battle has long since been won. It’s not as if he supports bigamy.

Although his opponents suggest he has flip-flopped on crucial issues, this has not hurt a candidate since the days of George McGovern. We don’t know anybody who hasn’t changed his mind in his professional life. The fact is, at the present time he espouses all his party’s positions – he doesn’t believe in homosexual marriage, nor in women’s right to choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, or in open national borders. He has succeeded in business and in politics and comes across as a can-do kind of guy, which suits him for high office, and, as far as Republicans are concerned, would make him a very appealing Vice President.


Benedict S. said...

We just got back from Richmond where we went yesterday to attend the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, a fund raiser for the Dems. There were 3500 of the faithful. more than twice as many as had ever attended before. Why so many? The featured speakers was Barack Obama and Jim Webb. By 930 PM the place was rocking. Still, on the way out of the Convention Center I saw at lest 50 people carrying Hillary yard signs, and this morning all the light standards around the center were festooned with Hillary wrap arounds. Looks like the local Dems haven't read the handwriting on the wall, "weighed in the balance and found wanting." Obama and Webb were both great, with Obama perhaps the more charismatic, but still, in my opinion, Jim Webb remains the man with the best chance to repair this nation, the one purposefully divided by Rove, Inc.

Your observations on The Senator from AZ are correct. He has sold out to the crazies. Mitt Romney has the looks for it, but any an who seriously believes in the Mormon fairy tale has to have a screw loose somewhere. As for Rudy . . . might as well vote for Hitler. His claim to fame in NY was that he jailed jaywalkers. I don't think the mainstream of the crazies will stand for him, even with their taste for Gestapo tactics.

Finding Fair Hope said...

I think the Democrats see Hillary as both a breakthrough candidate, being female, and a winning one. She won't recant on her vote to support Bush taking us to war, (he was wrong but her vote for him was right?) and she's dug in her heels one more time to suggest that she's not only stubborn but blind to her own errors. There is no one out there with the megawatts to unseat her.

I dare not say she can't win the Presidency, even though that's the way I see it. But she will not get my vote unless she becomes a whole other person.

tangerine said...

Until she becomes a whole other person??? And how do you propose she do that?

Angle wings said...

As the facts come in, you do a nice, understandable job of distilling them (IMHO). Your "Cliff's Notes" takes on the Republican candidates was more enlightening and pointed than the one (horserace too) you did on the Dem candidates. I hope, as the race continues, you continue to offer your artistic application of the frosting knife to the cake we are whipping up for our own nourishment (eatification) next November. Maybe you are a political pundit masquerading as a benign little lady from a hicktown in the south. Keep it up, no matter.

Finding Fair Hope said...

And a clever new voice is heard from, and one with some kind of angular wings.

I guess I wasn't pointed enuf pointing to the Democrats, with whom my patience has long since run out. Now that I think of it they're a pretty bland bunch.

As for the comment about the hick town, well, what can I say to refute that? Our Utopian forefathers tried so hard to avoid that, but they've been gone a long time and the town is overrun with newbies, some of whom might be seen as provincial. And at least you didn't say "benign little old lady -- but I bet you had to stop yourself.

Keep coming back, friend. We need a little prodding. It'll help me be more pointed.

sinjap said...

sometimes i think that the people in the so-called hick towns of this country are our only saving pollution to clog the senses, peace and quiet to clear the mind and enough elbow room to really feel free...whether red or blue stater, elephant or ass, we need to understand: all politicians are out for power and i don't know about you, but i'm going to do what i can to give them as little as possible

John Sweden said...

I can't resist.

Your depiction of Rudy and his so-called accomplishments have nothing to do with reality. Many of the things attributed to the rule of “Rudy The Rude”, such as the famous drop in crime, were already well under way taking place under the Dinkins administration and had nothing to with his so called policing tactics. I would refer to the book “Freakenomics” by by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner for a more factual account of the events.

What “Rudy the Rude” did do however was wage petty, disgusting, vile and meaningless war against the poor of the city with the stated purpose of driving them from the city. Only a hint of which can be found at

That this man is even being considered for the presidency shows how bankrupt of ideals and ideas America has become.

Daniel Spiro said...

McCain is the candidate supported by the GOP machine, so he has the early advantage, but I wouldn't rule out Rudy. If the Dems grab a big enough lead in the polls, the GOP might get desperate and go for Rudy as the most electable (i.e., moderate) of the bunch. As you say, McCain used to be electable, but he has sold his soul. Even if Rudy never had a soul to sell, at least his pandering hasn't been as transparent lately as McCain's.

As for Romney, I refuse to believe he's even in the dialogue for President, and Dan Quayle proved a while ago that the VP candidate doesn't much matter.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Probably Romney's counting on the other two canceling each other out with a combination of lost principles and vitriol, and is looking to come through with the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, i.e., Jimmy Carter in 1976.