The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Candidates

Regardless of John McCain moves further and further to the right, his campaign  to woo the conservative base of the Republican Party (many of whom do not, cannot and will not trust the Arizona Senator) may ultimately prove futile, leaving a rather gaping opening in the race for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Can Rudy Giuliani, who has yet to face real scrutiny for his positions, his lifestyle choices and his post-9/11 business deals, actually emerge as the party nominee? Can Mitt Romney, who was until recently pro-choice and who is running as a non-Protestant in a party that has never nominated a non-Protestant, win? How about Newt Gingrich, who still maintains negative ratings far in excess of his positive ratings? Perhaps Mike Huckabee, who has come under ethics scrutiny of late as a result of his online gift registry, or Sam Brownback, who appears to be even more conservative than Rick Santorum (as if such a thing were possible)? Condi? Come on.

The current slate of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination is among the sorriest of American history. In fact it's difficult for me to think of a weaker group of candidates for either of the major party's nomination (I think you may have to go back to the race for the Democratic nomination in 1904 to find such a lackluster list -- and that was caused, at least in part, by the strength of then-incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt). The apparent addition of Tommy Thompson to the list does not do much, if anything, to mitigate this situation.

Thompson, who was rather popular as Governor of Wisconsin over about 14 years in office, comes into the race with a number of rather large political scars, not the least of which are his service in the Bush administration, which increasingly looks like a scarlet letter for candidates given the President's slide towards an approval rating below 30 percent.

Yet it's not just the fact that Thompson served in the Bush administration as Secretary of Health and Human Services that dooms his candidacy but how he served, as well. The crowning achievement of Thompson's tenure has HHS Secretary was the passage of Medicare Part D, a bloated program that costs significantly more than was necessary and provides significantly less services than is expected. And just as the program itself is a drag on Thompson's record, so too was how the bill was passed, with ethics violations being handed out after the fact for the intense and apparently illegal lobbying efforts on the floor of the House (of which Thompson was an integral part).

In short, Tommy Thompson is just another sorry candidate among a whole list of sorry Republican candidates. And while a party standard-bearer will eventually emerge -- the GOP does have to select a nominee -- the crop of candidates today is rather underwhelming. Unfortunately for the Republican Party, there aren't too many other names not currently considering runs who might otherwise improve the lot of candidates, thus boosting the party's chances at success in the 2008 general election.

Tags: 2008, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

64 Comments

Watch out for Romney

you have to look out for him.

by jkfp2004 2006-11-19 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Watch out for Romney

Why?

by Kalil 2006-11-19 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Watch out for Romney

if you're gay, he'll try to stop you getting married.

by johnny longtorso 2006-11-19 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Watch out for Romney

Him and most of the rest of the luminaries listed above.  I was more wondering what set him apart from the pack.  If anything.

by Kalil 2006-11-19 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Watch out for Romney

Look, the Republican that does the grunt work is most likely not going to support a Mormon.  Most Fundies and not a few Charismatics just don't trust them, especially in the redder Western states.  

He can get all the BYU alums he wants to in various states (which will also potentially cause friction because "jack" Mormons and BYU grads don't always mix well) to fundraise together, but that doesn't guarantee anything except cash.  Forbes had plenty cash way back when, and it just wasn't enough.

Either the Fundies among the Republicans will demand their pound of flesh and get Brownback or Huckabee for 2008, or Jeb decides to throw his hat in the ring.  Guliani, McCain, the right-wing blogs may make noise about them, but I just can't see the ones doing the grunt work falling for them.   It isn't always just about winning for the Republicans, and frankly, the word among them appears to be that they weren't true enough to being doctrinnaire.

My two bits...

by palamedes 2006-11-19 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Watch out for Romney

I think the fundies will tolerate McCain if promised one of their own in the VP slot-- they may not like him, but he still beats any Democrat as far as they're concerned.  And they also sense what far too few on our side do: that McCain's health probably isn't going to hold up until he's 80 in 2016, thus maximizing their chances of getting a Brownback type in the White House on McCain's coattails.

by latts 2006-11-19 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Watch out for Romney

I don't think Romney can win either the Republican nomination or the general.  He's changed positions on abortion, is a 1 term governor with little experience, and he's a mormon.  I'm not terribly worried...

I am worried about McCain though.  If nostrong Conservative emerges in the field McCain may win by default despite conservatives not liking him.  If that's the case he'll get all their votes in the general none the less.  They won't be as motivates, but this guy will clean house with independents if he runs against Hillary.  

by blueryan 2006-11-19 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

We need more on Huckabee than some illicit silverware. He has a compelling personal story and the potential to speak in dog whistles to the right while obscuring his real positions, just like GWB did in 2000. Evangelicals will say they "know his heart" and will let him get away with it in a way that they won't with Guilliani and McCain. That's the great thing (for us) about those two -- they actually have to court the right rather than winking at them, which hauls their positions into daylight.

by thesleepthief 2006-11-19 11:01AM | 0 recs
Huckabee is my biggest concern...

...he can be very smooth, and with little effort, trained to appeal on the surface to a lot of folks.  

Underneath, yep, lots of warm squiggly things we wouldn't touch on a dare, but, as with other Republicans we're presently stuck with, they will be hidden well from a media that won't want to see them unless they are "appropriately salacious".

by palamedes 2006-11-19 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: winking vs. courting

great point.

And thanks, Jonathon, for bringing this Thompson guy to our attention early.

by msnook 2006-11-19 12:35PM | 0 recs
Beware of Romney

I too am afraid of Romney.  Remember, the Republican primary electorate was able to be brainwashed by Bush, and Romney is much smarter than W.  The Right may forgive his former pro-choice stances because, hey, he really hates the gays.  And as much as this bugs me about the American electorate, Romney looks presidential (why do I have no problem envisioning Chris Matthews gushing over this guy for this looks?)

by alydar 2006-11-19 11:22AM | 0 recs
You might be right.

   Romney, however, is a total piece of shit.  Everyone knows he has used, and still is using, the Massachusetts governorship as a springboard to the presidency.  He announced that he wasn't going to run for reelection practically a year before the recent election.  And now, as a lame duck governor, he wants to convene the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature during their recess to vote against gay marriage.  It's ridiculously obvious that Romney cares not a bit about what Massachusetts residents want, and only cares about his precious political career.  This man is a lying hypocrite.  If he gets the nomination, I hope we can make an issue out of this.

by cilerder86 2006-11-19 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: You might be right.

The fact that Romney pisses off Massachusetts citizens actually endears him to most conservatives.  His video and audio trail on abortion is going to be tough to get around though.  Especially since he now lying about his past statements.

Personally, I don't think Romney would be the strongest candidate because he's so obvious in his positioning.

Anti-Romney post pimp: http://eyeopener.typepad.com/mass_eye_op ener/2006/11/slick_willard_s.html

by MassEyesandEars 2006-11-19 01:27PM | 0 recs
Um, all except McCain

who will beat the tar out of us.

I think we can beat him, and in fact I think any democrat we nominate can beat him.  But it will be a lot of fucking work, and we'll have to hope that the GOP makes him impale himself on the right wing first.  If they were bright enough to let him slide through the primaries unchanged, we'd be toast.  Good for us they're not.

Romney, Huckabee, good nominees whom we'll thrash.  But McCain is scary shit.  Absent him, the field is weak, but given that he's the likely winner... not so much.

by texas dem 2006-11-19 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Um, all except McCain

I don't think McCain will be much more of a threat than any of the others. He has gone too far to the right, the Iraq war will sink him more, and he has a lot of baggage.

by robliberal 2006-11-19 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Um, all except McCain

Anything McCain does to get the base's support for his nomination will compromise his standing with the middle, either by making him seem more conservative, or by making him seem more like a panderer. If by some chance he can get through the primary without sucking up to the base, they won't turn out for him in the general.

The best situation is one where he panders hard to suck up to the base, fails, but wins with a plurality because the hard core fundies split their vote. Then he has to go face a general election where the Democrats can run ads saying "In 2000 McCain said this, but this year he said this. I guess he'll say anything to get elected." or "If John McCain is willing to cave in to his extremist base now, how much will he sell out as president?".

by Gpack3 2006-11-19 01:58PM | 0 recs
Dems for McCain

I don't know about anyone else, but I know a surprising number of progressive Dems who go all weak-kneed for McCain.  I've been pointing out all the bullshit he's pulling and just how much they disagree with him on the issues, but in the end they still finish with: "yeah, but there's something I just like about him."

Intellectually, they know he's not their man, but he's got them emotionally.  Couple that with the millions in free advertising and spin from a press corps that loves him like a bunch of moon-puppies and he's a very dangerous opponent.  

by benchcoat 2006-11-19 04:01PM | 0 recs
moon-eyed puppies

is what I meant--but, now that I think about it, I kind of like moon-puppies

by benchcoat 2006-11-19 04:03PM | 0 recs
Is McCain the anointed one?

Because you can kinda forget everything else.  The GOP likes to anoint its winners in advance of the primary process, which then ratifies the choice of the insiders and moneymen.

Looks like McCain's rolling up the big bucks, the way GWB was doing eight years ago.  Is there one shred of evidence that the party insiders are moving towards Huckabee (or anyone else)?  Because without their approval, he's no more than 2008's Guy Who Gives It A Good Shot But Falls Short, the way McCain was in 2000.

McCain will run a well-funded, 50-state campaign for the nomination and win it; anyone else will run an underfunded, insurgent campaign and will lose lots of states simply because they don't have the money to do a 50-state campaign for the nomination.

George Allen was the only guy who really had a chance to contest McCain for the insiders' anointing, and he's politically dead as a doornail.

The insiders will get enough evangelical leaders to sell McCain to their flocks so that he's not at a disadvantage in the primaries, and they'll have nowhere else to go in November.

Barring McCain having a heart attack or something, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

by RT 2006-11-20 04:16AM | 0 recs
The Press Corps

That may be McCain's biggest asset.  He doesn't even have to waste time trying to spin them because they're already doing it for him, and will continue to do so.  

A question: is the GOP evangelical primary vote really so monolithic?  Or is it possible they'll split their votes among the various candidates wooing them (e.g., Huckabee, Romney, Frist, Brownback), making the path that much easier for McCain or Giuliani?

by lonemorriscodem 2006-11-20 04:25AM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

"The current slate of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination is among the sorriest of American history."

I'd like to agree, but this analysis strikes me as wishful thinking. For one thing, you seem to be conflating the separate questions of candidates appeal to GOP primary voters and their general quality as candidates. McCain and Giuliani may have trouble for various reasons in getting their pary's nomination, but both of them would be very strong candidates in a general election -- much much stronger, in terms of basic charisma, than any potential Democratic candidate (with the possible exception of Obama).

The democrats have fielded charisma-poor candidates in every single national election since Johnson, with one exception: Bill Clinton, who managed to slip in only because Bush I was considered so "undefeatable" in 1992 that almost every major Dem candidate stayed out of the race.

If we are to win the presidency again, we have to be realistic about what we're facing -- GOP candidates who have broad and powerful appeal as people and personalities, McCain and Giuliani expecially -- and counter that threat with charisma of our own. If we keep on fielding the Carter-Mondale-Dukakis-Gore-Kerry type of candidate, we will just keep losing.

by syntag 2006-11-19 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Couldn't agree with this post more.

by blueryan 2006-11-19 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

McCann has a heroic personal story and a maverick image which would help in a general election.  Giuliani's image a leader and a tough cookie is seared in everyone's head.  A ticket with McCann and Giuliani would be very tough to beat.

Actually I would say that the Dem field is one of the weakest in a while.  

Obama may be popular with Dems, but not nearly the same with independents and Republicans, plus it is only a matter of time before something tarnishes his image.  On top of that, he will have so little experience compared to McCain and Giuliani and after Bush the public will not be in the mood to take chances.

It is easy to scoff at conventional wisdom, but Clinton would have the Republicans and Republican leaning independents come out en masse against her, so her chances of winning against a McCain or Giuliani are slim, even in NY. (Conventional wisdom said that Kerry being a northeast liberal with a cold personality and overplaying 6 months of military service with a convention in Boston would likely not be able to win - strike one up for conventional wisdom again!)

Giuliani though may have some problems as 9/11 fades and his Benard Kerik behavior is revealed to the public (having the police escort him to his good friend Judith) and that he told the public he was divorcing his wife before he told his wife.

by edonyoung 2006-11-19 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

This idea that HRC is a weak candidate is absolute nonsense. The republican base vote anyway. They did so in 2004 and indeed in 2006; they turn out to vote.

If HRC brings enough women to the polling stations she wins. The female turnout if she runs will be enormous in both the primaries and the presidential election.

by kundalini 2006-11-20 06:13AM | 0 recs
Jeb in '08?????

How certain are we that Jeb Bush won't change his mind and lock up the GOP nomination with a single sentence, like "I'm running for President"?

My guess is that if Dubya's approval rating by Labor Day 2007 is at 45% or above, Jeb will run, believing he can clear the primary field, and defeat Hillary Clinton (presumably) in November.  Jeb will not run unless he feels he win in the general election.  After all, he already has the GOP nomination if he wants it, irrespective of the incumbent's approval rating.  

by CLLGADEM 2006-11-19 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Jeb in '08?????

That is a concern I have. The GOP could purposely be setting up a scenario where they have nothing but weak candidates and at the last minute Jeb Bush comes in to save the party.

by robliberal 2006-11-19 01:14PM | 0 recs
Jeb is waiting for 2012

Let some Democrat come in and try to clean up the federal budget and other messes W made--then four years later Jeb will come riding to the rescue, saving us from tax-raising Democrats.

That's the Bush plan, anyway.

by desmoinesdem 2006-11-19 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Jeb in '08?????

I called Hillary vs. Jeb back in 2004, but since then W's approval has nosedived. I think Jeb would have a very, very difficult time getting past the Bush name at this point. And I hope I'm right.

As a native Wisconsinite, I can verify that Tommy Thompson is a bumbling idiot. He has negative charisma, and in that way he would be their version of a normal Democratic candidate.

I still think McCain is formidable.

by the wanderer 2006-11-19 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Jeb in '08?????

Two words knock Jeb out of 2008 regardless of whatever Shrub's rating happens to be in 2007: Terry Schiavo.

I, too, don't see McCain getting out of the primaries. Republicans have had three (or more?) chances to push McCain to the general and failed to do so each time. (But I also thought Lamont would pull it off, so...)

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-11-19 04:27PM | 0 recs
Flawed field...

I think any Democrat could beat any of the current GOP field. The major GOP candidates have a lot of flaws and for various reasons will not sell well in some of the red states.

by robliberal 2006-11-19 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

I agree with Syntag that this is wishful thinking. The most important thing to GOP primary voters is the same important thing to Democratic primary voters in 2004: Who can win the White House.

I think its possilbe that conservative Republicans will hold their noses and support Sen. McCain because they'll think he'll win. And if not him, then they may go with Romney and fundraising ability. Either way, the Myth of McCain would be tough in a general to beat and the Romney money is enough to be weary.

Whatever happens in the primaries, I think we should prepare for the worse - McCain - and hope for the best.

by jmstarnes 2006-11-19 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

The Repubs are not doing any worse than the Dems at this stage. I worry we'll be stuck with a bunch of underwhelming candidates from both parties and then voting for trhe lesser evil. Not the kind of dynamo we need to get us out of the ME mess, can tackle the huge economic problems from trade to outsourcing to wage income stagnation. Someone that can be a real leader in rebuilding America. Because we are going to have to do that.

Do we have to settle for the same old warmed over candidates??

by ab initio 2006-11-19 02:26PM | 0 recs
lets get real

Let's get real.  I think Chris summed it up the best when he said we need to stop thinking about what the CW tells us.  The person who we nominate needs to be real enough to excite the people, like a John Tester, a Ned Lamont, a Sherwood Brown or Jim Webb.  Our biggest problem had been our candidates have been stupid and afraid to take a real stand on anything.  They have been listening to their high paid consultants who tell them "Oh don't say that you don't want to offend this group or that group". What we end up with is a candidate who comes across as a stiff uncaring, indifferent snob.  

I saw John Edwards on his book tour yesterday and when he was asked some serious questions about health care, education and the environment, he came across as down to earth, passionate, and really caring about these issues.  This is a very far cry from the John Edwards I saw at a VP campaign rally in 2004.  John has said several times he learned a lot in the 2004 campaign but the most important lesson was to be himself and not listen to the media consultants.

If we run a popular candidate, who is willing to talk to the people and not at the people, I truly believe we can beat anyone the GOP puts up.  It isn't about electability or charisma, or whether he can carry this region or that region.  It is about inspiring people with true vision and leadership.  Remember just because one has charisma and a kind of folks charm doesn't make them a leader, just ask "W"

by likesun 2006-11-19 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: lets get real

That is the single best argument for Edwards I have heard.  If he really learned in 04 to not listen to the media consultants and not speak in bland empty pol-speak, then that's pretty damn interesting, cause that's what does us in.  

by texas dem 2006-11-20 02:29AM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can
I live in Northern Illinois and my brother is in Wisconsin.  Thompson is not going to go anywhere.  I suspect when wisconsin voted for him they were probably thinking of the republican governor of Illinois named Thompson and hoped to get as lucky.
I am no republican -god forbid- but, James thompson was a pretty good governor here.
The state of thier nominees is pathic in the republican party.  they are suffering from the purging of the moderates.  They need the independents to get elected.  With the hard right turned of the party (and wanting to go even further if possible) they turned off the independents.  And they will not tolerate Guilliani because he is a despised moderate.
by vwcat 2006-11-19 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Chuck Hagel.

He's completely underrated right now.

phat

by phatass 2006-11-19 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

I agree with that. Hagel is McCain without the baggage or health issues.

by phillydem 2006-11-20 02:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

I didn't think he was really running.  I thought he was only gonna run if McCain dropped out.

Interesting.

By 2007 even the GOP base may be ready for a candidate who was reasonably right about the war.

by texas dem 2006-11-20 02:31AM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Oh, he's running.

phat

by phatass 2006-11-20 09:02AM | 0 recs
A quibble

The Republicans nominated John C. Fremont for the 1856 election.

by Valatan 2006-11-19 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: A quibble

and Fremont was a Catholic.

by Valatan 2006-11-19 03:44PM | 0 recs
Our Side, Thompson, and Romney

Other than Obama, I agree our side of the ledger is none too impressive, either.  

One quible with Jonathan Singer's description of Romney as a "non-Protestant," I am unsure as to whether Mormons consider themselves part of the Protestant movement or not.  And while it is true many evangelicals do not regard Mormons as Christians, this is by no means the universal position, and it may not be even the majority opinion.  That said, I do not believe Romney will win the nomination.  

Tommy Thompson is a literally bloated gasbag who may still be enormously peopular in Wisconsin, but who also left the state a fiscal wreck.  He is also a megalomaniac who flirts with running for Senate or Governor every two years, much to the chagrin of the WI GOP.  Ultimatley, I doubt he will run, but if he does, he will get as far as Duncan Hunter.  

by madorskytapir 2006-11-19 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Our Side, Thompson, and Romney

What evangelicals and fundamentalists think of Mormons is more important than what Mormons consider themselves. And I'm sure there are plenty of Christians who consider Mormons Christian too, but the kinds of people who worry about whether a candidate is the right religion are also the kinds of people who don't like Mormons.

by Gpack3 2006-11-19 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Our Side, Thompson, and Romney
I have Mormon convert cousins and I would say the Mormons are more pro-business conservatives than anything. While the prosylitize(sp?), they really
strike me as more right of center libertarian than crazy fundies.
by phillydem 2006-11-20 02:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Our Side, Thompson, and Romney

That's an incredibly astute observation.

phat

by phatass 2006-11-20 12:38PM | 0 recs
Don't ever count McCain out

John McCain is one of the smartest (or perhaps craftiest?) politicians in Washington today.  Don't count him out for a second.  

I also would be careful about the assumption that conservatives don't like him.  I think he's made the most enemies among the business lobbyist community, with campaign finance reform, attacking earmarks, etc.  I suspect that there are many grass-roots Republicans who are crazy about him.  Plus, he can win many independents.  

I agree with all the comments about wishful thinking.  Forget about all these other boobs and keep your eye on McCain.

by Kindler 2006-11-19 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't ever count McCain out

"I think he's made the most enemies among the business lobbyist community"'

It's a good thing for him that the business lobby has no power or influence in the Republican party.

by Gpack3 2006-11-19 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't ever count McCain out

The biggest surprise will be the military won't support McCain. McCain's staff makes a practice of ferreting out and exposing military waste. The military and the Pentagon powers know McCain is the biggest threat to their budget out there.

by phillydem 2006-11-20 02:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

I'm pulling for Gingrich.  C'mon Newt, get that GOP nomination.

by msstaley 2006-11-19 05:30PM | 0 recs
Who has standing to block ahnold?

As we all learned in high school, one must be a "natural born" citizen of the U.S. to be President, which would rule out the one actually popular Goop that they have, Herr Schwarznegger.  

But here's my question.  If Ahnold chose to run, who could stop him?  The matter would have to go to the Supremes, but who would have "standing," i.e. a direct and legitimate interest in the outcome?  Not citizens or taxpayers, precedent is fairly clear on that.  Maybe a primary opponent.  But the Constitution says the foreign-born person can't be President; nothing about running or being nominated by a major party.

The only way I see is if Ahnold ran and won the electoral vote; then his opponent could take him to court on the Constitutional question.  But if he won big, would that be feasible politics?  Even if not, how would the Roberts Court rule? "Natural born" could have several meanings, only one of which is "native born."  Perhaps "natural born" means not "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd," as Shakespeare would have it.  Weak, but Scalia has demonstrated his belief that no argument giving his guy the victory is too weak.

by drlimerick 2006-11-19 06:00PM | 0 recs
Could not get on the ballot....

I would think legal actions could stop him from getting on the ballot in any state.

by robliberal 2006-11-19 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Who has standing to block ahnold?

I would also think he couldn't get elected. Why would any candidate or the media even debate his candidacy on the merits when it would require provoking a constitutional crisis just to get off the ground? If his agenda was popular enough in the party to get him nominated, someone who was actually eligible--like Giuliani--would say, "I agree 100% with Arnold on every issue, and I'm eligible" and that would cost him enough votes to lose.

But if it came to that and it looked like Arnold could get the votes to provoke a constitutional crisis, we could fight fire with fire and just nominate Bill Clinton again.

by Gpack3 2006-11-19 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Although now that I think about it, it might be a good idea to pass a constitutional amendment to allow foreign born citizens who've lived here a while to run for president. Just on the merits I think it's the right thing to do, but I think having Arnold in the race would help us. McCain, Giuliani and Arnold would all cannibalize each others' votes and we'd face someone like Frist or Gingrich that we can defeat in a walk.

by Gpack3 2006-11-19 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Bush was pretty weak too, and we've been stuck with him for the past 6-years.  

Don't underestimate the right-wing media's ability and willingness to turn a steaming pile of crap into a strong presidential candidate just because it has an (R) next to it's name.  

by LionelEHutz 2006-11-19 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Bush was never really weak.  He demolished the Democrat in his re-election for Texas Governor and he raised money like no other.  He was an evangelical whom the right wing loved. He was a far more dangerous candidate then say Romney, Frist, or Newt.

by blueryan 2006-11-19 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Can

Well, he was weak in that he was obviously a dumbass.

Other than that, he was strong.  Well positioned ideologically, likeable, attractive enough, great name, seemed predictable, nice rhetorical packaging.

But obviously a dumbass.  Hard to know how to tally that all together properly.

by texas dem 2006-11-20 02:36AM | 0 recs
GOP base hates McCain

Take a look around the right-wing blogs and you'll see an amazing degree of hatred of McCain. Check this post out from Hugh Hewitt on McCain and the Gang of 14. Then there's Rush Limbaugh has called McCain a traitor on numerous occasions. You cannot expect the talk radio circuit to do the dirty work for John McCain.

In fact, the conservative base likes Giuliani more than it does McCain. They know Giuliani is socially "liberal," but they generally trust him to be tough and honest. They think McCain is sellout and a whore.

by elrod 2006-11-19 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re:

Are you kidding?  With a McCain-Giuliani ticket they've got balance in ethinicity, religion, geography, government experience, age, and ideology.  With a ticket like that they don't need anyone else.  And the Mommy Party's Hilary is going to sound like an inexperienced cold scold in comparison, in other words like your Momma when you were 15.

And why the fuck does this thing keep telling me the subject is too long when I use the same subject as everyone else?

by NorCalJim 2006-11-19 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Republican Candidates

Once again I find myself astonished by fellow bloggers believing any GOP candidate has a chance in 2008.  GWB has all but destroyed the United States, both its fiscal solvency for decades to come, and its ability to forge alliances the world over.  

As Bill Maher is apt to point out, America permitted itself to become insane over 9/11, and for all the wrong reasons.  The result has been a loss of civil liberties and a surrender to the most egregious radical elements of our society.  

Giuilani was a has-been before 9/11, and all he has left is the false image perpetuated by Rove and his punditocracy.  But with the Democrats in charge of Congress, and genuine investigations into the most impeachable offenses (what presidential impeachment in the Constitution was all about) by the GWB administration and its acolytes--both Giuliani and McCain being two--do not for one moment believe that any GOP candidate aligned with GWB will have a prayer in 2008.

For those who believe that the GOP is all about winning, well, then, how to account for the selection of Dole in 1996?  The GOP is all about entitlement, thus the inept scion of the Bush dynasty being thrust upon the American people.  Shrub did not win the presidency--neither by virtue of popular vote nor in Florida--but was rather thrust upon us all by a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court, whose majority judges in effect wanted to select their own conservative-leaning successors.  This was, and much of the world has known for some time, a coup d'etat, carried on with the blessing of the anti-Clinton punditocracy.

Remember, too, that Shrub barely made it to reelection--with all the fanfare of Rove and media trumpeting him as a "wartime president," he could garner no more than a 51-49% win over the drab and campaigner-challenged John Kerry. And that assumes that Shrub ganered even that--we in Ohio know differently, which is why Ken Blackwell, who, like Katherine Harris in the election cycle before, nefariously sealed the presidency for Shrub, was soundly defeated in his race for governor.  So if GWB never really won the presidency with all the power of a GOP Congress to anoint him, with the Dems in charge of both houses now, and in an honest election cycle, praytell who can posit success for a GOP long aligned with GWB?

Giuliani has never been vetted in a national campaign.  Once dissected of his Rovian imagery, few outside of the Rovian circle will even want to touch him.  And of McCain?  Dear Lord, this badly aging dinosaur whom Shrub throttled will be lucky to make it out of his home state in 2008.

The great tragedy among the bloggers and many others in the Democratic Party is that they yet fail to understand just how potent a force is William Jefferson Clinton.  She speaks for millions when Ariana Huffington calls Bill Clinton (whom she once loathed) "The most gifted politician of his generation."  Republicans were so terrified of him that they still advanced impeachment against Clinton's then prohibitive popularity polls.  Newt Gingrich feared one-on-one meetings with Clinton, being mindful of the effects of his obvious allure.

Of course, Ross Perot's 2000 candidacy was a boon to Clinton.  But one must recall that Perot became himself positively disposed toward Clinton--as ultimately did President George Herbert Walker Bush too.  Indeed, it can be well argued that President Bush 41 is now on friendlier terms with Bill Clinton than with his own son!  Such is the potency of Clinton's appeal--beyond the long entrenched adversaries whose hatred was perhaps born of the fact that they were dealing with a force they could not, nor never can, comprehend.

And the bloggers yet dismiss Hillary Clinton because she has some high negatives?  There is no greater force in contemporary American politics than her husband, who would be personally supervising her campaign.  Obama is extraordinary--but he too has never been vetted in a national campaign, and the Clintons have been investigated more thoroughly than any other politicans in modern memory.  Giuliani, and all other prospective GOP candidates save McCain, have never faced the wrath of national press inquisitions, nor has Obama and several other prospective candidates for 2008 on the Democratic side.

McCain would not only escalate but exacerbate the Iraq War.  Not only does he not now "get it," he would never "get it" so rooted is he to a military which, when errant, only a civilian leader could reign in.

No, dear fellow bloggers, McCain and Giuliani and Jeb are all part of the Dark Ages of GWB and company.  The 2008 campaign will be nostalgic for Clinton years of comparative peace and prosperity and of secure alliances on a world stage.  As an antidote, much of the country will turn, if not to the Clintons themselves, then to those potential camdidates who at least understood the magic of the Bill Clinton formula of charm and fortitude.  Which is far, far, from the current crop of candidates for the presidency emanating out of the GOP.

by lambros 2006-11-20 12:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Republican Candidates

Don't sell the Republicans' chances short.  Rudy Giuliani is the most popular politician in America, and John McCain isn't far behind.  Either one would handily defeat any conceivable Democratic candidate.

Conservatives in the GOP may try to prevent either one from being nominated, but Republicans want to win, too, and will do whatever it takes.

Who's leading the Democratic field?  Clinton, Edwards, and Obama?  With 3 Senate terms between them?  Except for Clinton (whom 50% of the electorate would NEVER vote for), they are lightweights.

by Lex 2006-12-08 02:54PM | 0 recs
The press and pundit hierarchies will morph

between now and the run-up to Iowa, something to remember. Blog-borne dialogues will heavily affect how candidates' images are shaped. Keith will take on Rush--sideline skirmishes like that will be part of the pageantry. For Hillary, McCain, Gore, etc., it may not be as powerful a force as for the more emerging candidates. MSM reporters will compete with each other for who figures out what's happening at the 'roots level sooner. It's silly to sit here in late '06 thinking how The Capitol Gang disparaged Lamar Alexander's flannel shirts and think oh-my-gosh, The Capitol Gang and all our other DC kingmakers and kingslayers... how will they wield their mighty influence over the events of 2008? Media influences opinion strongly, of course, but the media cast of characters isn't static.  

by ShagBark 2006-11-20 07:26AM | 0 recs
Abe

Can Mitt Romney, who was until recently pro-choice and who is running as a non-Protestant in a party that has never nominated a non-Protestant, win?

According to Wikipedia, Abe Lincoln had no religious affiliation.  Ulysses S. Grant didn't either.

Ancient history, I know, but "never" is a long time.

by Flynnieous 2006-11-20 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Abe

And George Washington never took Communion.

by joyful alternative 2006-11-21 02:28PM | 0 recs
tommy Thompson

I remember a conversation I had with Rob Portman before Cheney was chosen as Bush's running mate.  He was an advisor to the search and he seemed really high on Tommy Thompson. Then again, Rob Portman WILL be on a ticket at some point ... though probably as a VP candidate initially.

by carsick 2006-11-21 11:09AM | 0 recs

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