Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Fourth of July Presidential Candidate Review

The Fourth of July is a patriotic day that honors our democratic traditions and one that should presumably allow for differing opinions. So why not review our presidential candidates with a top of mind approach that is distinguished by a lack of any research. Here we go.


Rudolf Guiliani --- It was startling to many New Yorkers to see Guiliani jump to the top of the polls when he threw his hat in the ring. While generally effective as New York's mayor and a striking national presence on 9/11, he was also seen at times as a tyrant who required the red carpet treatment wherever he went. So far in the campaign he has seemed to behave admirably and in the "debates" he comes across as less wooden than any other serious candidate. His supposed achilles heel, his liberal views on social issues and abortion rights, actually may have the benefit of giving him, without competition from the start, the more moderate and liberal elements of the Republican party. Can he, however, actually get a majority of Republicans to nominate him, and could his personality actually survive a face-off against a Democrat if he were possibly to be nominated?

John McCain --- This early frontrunner is in trouble. His military record, admired independent stance and name recognition certainly gave him a chance, but now with his unpredictable comments(somehow not reassuring when uttered by the oldest candidate) and with his constructive approach to immigration reform that was out of line with many Republicans, his campaign is now damaged. The funds are evaporating and he needs some grassroots support to develop if he's going to come back to the forefront.

Mitt Romney --- So polished he almost shines, so clean he squeaks, so wealthy he could win the nomination and somehow all of this makes people suspect. He's certainly not a "good ole boy". His canned responses on issues also seem more abrasive than the canned responses of other candidates. The track record in business, as Massachusetts governor, and at the 2002 Olympics, however, all suggest that the Republican leadership could migrate his way in looking for an electable candidate, and his money will not hurt. Whether the issue of being a Mormon turns out to be a problem is hard to say, but one or two other candidates may take a behind the scenes low road on this.

Fred Dalton Thompson --- The man with the middle name is showing up well in the polls. In the absense of any of the other candidates really taking charge, he could be the default nominee, reassuring to Christian conservatives and the South, and with his Law and Order gravitas giving him national recognition and to some even credibility.

Sam Brownback --- He has no chance whatsoever unless there is a surprise showing in Iowa, and then maybe a Papal endorsement.

Mike Huckabee --- Huckabee is another long long shot but he's more disarming and straightforward with his comments than most. He asks that that Hope(AK) get another chance and unless it's a VP opportunity it will not.

Newt Gringrich --- He's not a candidate yet but he's wandering around the sidelines hoping that the team needs him. If he shows up with his esoteric, at times odd, and sometimes smart ideas, it's unlikely that he will have any impact with the exception of making the debates more entertaining.


Hillary Clinton --- Everyone knows that Clinton is an intensely hard worker and an ambitious politician. She's the frontrunner for the nomination and her biggest problem now is convincing party leaders and voters that is she is not too polarizing to actually win the Presidency. Her seemingly absolute belief in big government solutions may be too rigid for even some Democrats, her willingness to attack business interests for political points would not especially be a plus for the economy, but she may well be, by far, the strongest candidate in either party on foreign policy, both in knowledge and assertiveness.

Barack Obama --- Recently Obama has kept a lower profile and has simultaneously raised a significant amount of money. These are both good for him, as he was peaking too soon and he needed to demonstrate his viability with powerful party supporters. His ability to intelligently simplify complex issues is a great asset, but despite this and his charismatic effect on audiences throughout the country, his debate appearances have been relatively unimpressive, just not the best format for him it seems. He needs to pick up voter support early and he must win some southern states and California to have a good chance at catching Clinton.

John Edwards --- The trial lawyer background is very troubling, the "good ole boy" posing is a little too much for someone who worked part-time for a New York hedge fund last year and who lives in a 28,000 square foot house(no that's not a typo), but he's a real candidate. He apparently has a shot in Iowa, he did ok in New Hampshire four years ago, and he's the only Southern candidate in Democratic primary contention. If he uses his trial lawyer tactics to work the electibility issues on Clinton and Obama it is not impossible that he could slide in.

Christopher Dodd --- He may have respectable showings in Iowa and New Hampshire but after that there's no chance. Is he really running for V.P. after such a long career in Congress?

Bill Richardson --- He's credible on many fronts but he has no chance---another V.P. possibility.

Al Gore --- Polls show that Gore would be in the fray if he chose to run. It's not out the question that he could be pulled in if later polls showed disarray among the candidates and in the minds of voters. He seems to enjoy the attention of being considered and he also seems to be enjoying his "Inconvenient Truth" role too much to go through a presidential race. It's unlikely.


Michael Bloomberg --- He's not a candidate but there's a real possibility that he could decide to join the fun. Historically speaking of course, third party candidates don't have a chance but if ever one did Bloomberg could be it. He has name recognition, immense wealth to fund a campaign, successful business and government experience, and a reputation for sticking with his beliefs regardless of political fallout and weathering whatever storm developed. He has the advantage, if he chose to run, of not having to go through the demeaning and tedious cycle of debates held for the primaries. He would have the huge challenge of organizing a national organization and going through the rigorous process of meeting state ballot requirements. If he runs he's of course certain to win his primary and he would not choose a numbskull for a running mate, as has been the tradition of third party candidates. His candidacy would change everything as its laid out today even though his chances of winning would be slim to none.

Any comments out there? Defend your favorite.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So could a reader guess that you like Obama and Bloomberg, respect McCain, could possibly live with Clinton or Romney, and don't like Edwards, Guiliani and Thompson?

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Eyes Not Sold said...

Dear anonymous,
Based on what was written in the post I can see how you arrived at that conclusion, but it is not necessarily correct. The purpose of the post was to give an opinion about the state of play now and the chances of each of the candidates. Of course, it is absolutely impossible to write about politics with complete objectivity so my biases come through and in some cases I made them obvious. That said, how many time does one get to vote for a candidate that they are 100% in favor of. It's all relative. For example, if a voter does not like a Democratic candidate but also has a strong belief that another Roberts/Alito type on the Supreme Court would be dangerous, that voter would strongly consider voting for any Democrat against a Republican that supported the Bush/Cheney approach to Court. And on and on. Anyway, thanks very much for your comment.

12:59 PM  

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