Looking over the slate of Presidential candidates and what we’ve learned about them recently, my opinions are little changed.
On the GOP side, I find Romney a little bit unctuous. He seems to be the groomed savvy candidate who says what everybody (in every audience) wants to hear. I’m disappointed that he’s backed off from his previous support of gay rights and abortion choice. It illustrates yet again that the anti-gay agenda of the GOP doesn’t come from the politicians themselves. There is ample documentation that they are perfectly fine with gays in private life. It’s a cold, mean-spirited attempt to drum up anti-gay votes. And that’s not only disgusting and cynical, it’s insulting.
I’m starting to dislike Giuliani. His slam of Ron Paul on the legitimate question of blowback was not only disgusting, it illustrating his intention to run on the ghost of 9/11.
I have been very impressed with Ron Paul. He’s the only one up there actually saying things. And the ire he has stirred up among the Right only makes me like him more. Anyone who can reduce the Right Wing Echosphere to their standard “you want the terorrists to win!” memes so quickly is in my good books.
And I’m sorry, I have to agree with Sullivan. The support for torture and the weasel words and moral equivalency being used to justify it by the GOP candidates is driving me away. At the present time, only McCain and Paul would earn my support.
On the Democrat side, the only candidate I really like is Bill Richardson, if nothing else than for his great ad. Yeah, he’s a little conceited. You have to be in this game. The others haven’t made any impression on me other than Hillary getting more repugnant and Obama veering leftward.
So what do I think is going to happen? As I see it, the GOP choice will be Romney or Giuliani, although that could change if Fred Thompson throws in. The Dems are down to Obama and Hillary, obviously. The Democrats would never nominate Richardson because a) he’s the best candidate; and b) he would have the best chance of winning. And we can’t have that. The Dems have a pathological need to self-destruct by picking the worst candidate, as they did in 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2004.
Anyway, it’s a fools’ game to predict who will be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in two years. But I’m a fool, so I’ll play. The conventional wisdom is that Bush will put the Dems in. I don’t see it that way. The convential wisdom also said that no Republican could win in the wake of Watergate, no one could beat Bush in 1992 and no one could fail to beat Clinton in 1996. And if the Dems forget that Bush isn’t running in 2008, the race is wide wide open. 2008 will be decided, as all race are, on the merits of the actual people running, not the outgoing Administration.
The way I see it, we’re looking at four potential November Smackdowns:
As you can tell, I’m not terribly optimistic. Romney and Obama cross me as having the best chance to be President come January 2009. They’re slick, optimistic, well-spoken and avoid nastiness. God knows what we’ll get with either of them. But I suspect they will be better than what we’ve got now.
It would be hard to be worse.