Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Personal Aside: The Republican Debate—While He Likely Won’t be the Choice, Mike Huckabee Shines Brightest. Then Giuliani. Then Romney. Get the Hook for Tommy Thompson.


The first conclusion I made after watching the two-hour Republican debate on CNN last night was: how fortunate this tattered old party is to have the quality of candidates we have produced—and that includes even Congressman Ron Paul. Here we have a party with great talent and diversity…Paul providing most of the diversity…while the Democrats all sound like they came out of the same ideological dye pot…all for socialized medicine, all for pulling out of Iraq without demanding victory…all, or seemingly so, for canceling the Bush tax cuts. I know I’ll be accused of blind partisanship but here goes: the quality of all the candidates was head and shoulders over the candidates shown a few nights earlier on CNN. And this with one…maybe two…candidates who are ready to come in.

The second was that the most engaging candidate—the candidate most comfortable with himself, most at ease, the wittiest, a rival to be a latter-day Will Rogers--was not in the first tier…Giuliani, McCain, Romney. It was Mike Huckabee, the Baptist preacher who was governor of Arkansas for ten years. The third conclusion was that the most eloquent sound bite came from Huckabee where he defended his belief in God—one of the great down-to-earth yet inspiring presentations I have ever heard. The abjectly secular Democratic party which shies away from religious overtones…negating the general view of the American people…could be actually stood on its head when this Baptist preacher gets through.

The third was that it is very unlikely that Huckabee will be the choice—but that any candidate who is chosen as the nominee should turn to Huckabee first-off as running-mate. He is that good. And it’s not just me. One of the legal-political analysts on CNN, Jeffrey Toomin, made the same observation about Huckabee. He is the most genuinely folksy, witty, engaging and interesting political figure since Ronald Reagan. And I have been with Reagan one-on-one. This guy Huckeabee’s got it, let me tell you. Don’t let anybody tell you this guy is a rube and a jester, nothing more. Time magazine earlier this year named him as the best governor in the United States.

The fourth is that Giuliani did very well in this debate—far better than /when he tried to waffle on abortion. He seems to have mastered the knack of holding a pro-choice position in a solidly pro-life party without sounding apologetic, uncertain or hazy—an attitude I got from the very first debate where he floundered. Giuliani comes across as one who will be in the first-tier for a very long time, and may just survive the cut to take the nod.

The fifth is that Romney’s articulation and presence is almost eerily perfect…looks, persona, in presidentiality…in deftness in handling difficult positions. From the standpoint of content, delivery and professional aplomb, he was unmatched.

The sixth is that McCain made the best pitch of his life…and probably the best summation of all the candidates…at the conclusion and helped himself greatly. Second best was his pitch for a return to thrift which was superb for McCain who is not particularly an oracular candidate.

The seventh is that Ron Paul helps the Republicans very much overall because he proves the party is not intolerant of diversity, because while he’s a libertarian, his view of Iraq is almost identical to that of liberal Democrats. His views are authentic Robert A. Taft of two generations ago when Taft’s views dominated the conservative firmament. Paul’s presence in the debates gives the paleos hope that someday their views will dominate the Right once more—and I’m not sure they won’t. Can you imagine the Democrats having a pro-Iraq War candidate? Or a Democratic pro-life candidate? Or a Democratic Voucher candidate? Or a Democratic candidate who has crafted a reasonably private sector health care bill? Won’t happen because its netroots exert a fascist-like stranglehold over the party.

The eighth is that Tancredo vastly improved his presentation this time and comes through as a credible exponent of a view that is majority opinion in the nation—for which his prescience must be credited.

The ninth is that Tommy Thompson really doesn’t belong there.

The tenth is that Duncan Hunter would be probably everybody’s choice for secretary of defense (except for Ron Paul, of course). Hunter comes over very well as certain for that post if any of the logical presidential candidates here win (Paul would probably be his own defense secretary).

The eleventh is that Sam Brownback has lots to offer but thus far he hasn’t come to life on the stage (although in a personal meeting with him a few months ago I was impressed)…although his command of the subject matter is impressive.

The twelfth is that Jim Gilmore, as a former Virginia governor, former state attorney general and former general chairman of the Republican National Committee should be more impressive than, say, Mike Huckabee…he isn’t.


  1. Hi! This blog post you wrote is great, and I agree with it. I'm a Ron Paul supporter, and this is the first blog post by someone who didn't really like him to treat him fairly, so I applaud you.

  2. Take a look at how Tommy Thompson answered that first question about what the country should do if General Petraeus says it's not working in September. “…demand the al-Maliki government to vote as to whether or not they want the United States to stay in Iraq. We've been there four years. Give the government the responsibility of voting. If they vote "yes," how are they going to help us win this war? If they vote "no," we should redeploy our forces outside….”

    Not bad for a GOP candidate. Three or four years ago Ralph Nader suggested something similar in the form of a referendum for all Iraqis.

  3. Sorry Paul, any guy that Bill Maher loves sits about as well with me as a Pauley Shore film festival. Keep God in the Cupboard?

    My guy did pretty weel. John McCain was Presidential - I prefer him more 'lead with the chin.'

    Obama might have done himself in last night with his Hampton Remarks.

  4. ...on Tommy Thompson.

  5. I meant Tom Roeser's call. Kudos to Tancredo as well. He is improving his presentation (thanks to Bay Buchanan)?

  6. So Today, your 'boy' McCain voted with Kennedy, Obama, and the Democrat gang to ALLOW ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO ARE FELONS TO BECOME CITIZENS under the Immigration bill. Hickey what is wrong with you?

    Maybe you forgot McCain's involvement with the Keating 5.

    Answer this: Just why would McCain vote against an amendment to the immigration bill that would keep illegal felons from becoming citizens?

  7. When one runs down the list of the last half dozen VPs, we could do well with a Christian Will Rogers. He might have to take certain tests, being from Arkansas.

  8. Sorry but a person with a name like Huckabee can only get elected in the south near Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, etc.

    Vice President.... maybe....

  9. Lawrence, Sir--
    Please Note that I was writing about VP possiblities. As to not getting South boys elected, return to the thrilling days of the WORST President, James Earl Carter. How about Slick Willie, and his sweet wifie? Think now about the proposed monster Edwards, etc. Are you resorting to name discrimination, or the Christian spin?LBWPO
    Please let me know your brand, as it more potent than mine.

  10. My Huckabee post was done before looking at yours. I saw your 6:59 post after I posted mine. Anyway, names are important. Just look at John Wayne aka Marion Michael Morrison. The name "Huckabee" has a Jed Clampett ring to it. Sorry but it there.

  11. The GOP has a far more throughtful bunch of candidates. I could be happy with any number of them... I don't Huckabee could make the top slot but he certainly should be everyone's choice for VP.

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