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Monday, February 19, 2007

The King is BACK!!! (part 2)

Now that I've had my fun ranting, I think I'll use my forum to assess the 2008 Presidential landscape. On the Democratic Party side, I'm really excited by Governor Richardson of New Mexico entering the race. He's a former Ambassador, a former Senator, and a sitting Governor. Also, by virtue of his location, he has become an expert on immigration and border security. In short, he's probably the single most experienced candidate for this nation's highest office, Democrat or Republican, in the last 50 years. Also, Senator Barack Obama bears a lot of watching. His candidacy speech was almost universally regarded as the most moving, eloquent speech since then-Senator John F. Kennedy announced his bid for the presidency. While I am still concerned with his lack of experience, I will be giving him a long, hard look before I announce my support, as insignificant as it is, for a candidate. With my computer being out, I haven't been able to do the research I have wanted to do on the candidates, their stances on the issues, and their record in actually following through on those principles. Based on my past record, I know this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: There is absolutely no circumstance in which I would vote for Senator Clinton. I would rather vote for a presidential ticket of Bill O'Reilly and Roy Moore, two people I well and truly detest, than vote for any ticket that included the junior Senator from New York.

On the Republican side, I can only think of one candidate who would get my vote: Rudolph Giuliani. As the poll numbers for President Bush continue to plummet toward sub-Nixon numbers, I think he will also look increasingly attractive to Republicans who are interested in fielding a candidate who can win, and as it so happens, he also has a lot of crossover appeal. If the sum of his accomplishments were his reaction and spirit in the face of adversity during and immediately after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on his city, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, that would be enough to earn my respect and garner him a serious look. However, his record leading up to that fateful day was at least as impressive. He inherited a city that was truly in crisis: Record deficits, rampant crime, high unemployment, and gross inefficiency and bloating in the city government. He fought many nasty battles with the Democrats in the New York city government at that time and was routinely crucified in the press... until they saw his ideas worked. Oh, they still fought, but the truth and results won out. He's certainly no Rockefeller Republican. Of all the candidates, he's actually the closest I've seen to a Goldwater Republican in the best sense of the term: limited government and a support of personal freedoms. Ideologically, he's the person whose views I find most acceptable, and he's also tough enough to stand by what he believes is right. Furthermore, he has the proven judgment and reasoning skills to typically make good choices while listening to differing viewpoints and acting on them when appropriate. If, in November 2008, Richardson ends up facing Giuliani for the presidency... it would be very interesting. Upon further review, I may also include Obama, but again, as of February 18, I don't know enough about him to say one way or the other.

The remainder of the Republican field is unacceptable for differing reasons: Senator McCain has become little more than a mouthpiece for the current President, and just a thousand times NO. Senator Brownback is way too far to the right, as is the stance being taken by former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Romney is an interesting situation. When he was a governor, he was one in a line of moderate Republican governors elected by the people of Massachusetts, and he inherited a stable government. He made some good changes, and then went on his way. I'm sure he's an excellent father, friend, and husband, and he was a good governor. However, his expressed politics have shifted to the right, especially on the issues of abortion and stem cell research, and these are definitely non-starters. If he were running as a candidate based on his record and positions as a Massachusetts governor, it would be a difficult choice between him and Giuliani for the Republican Party nomination, though in that situation, I would still go with Giuliani simply because he has been tested by fire and proven that he simply will not crack under the pressure. Romney's religion is utterly irrelevant, though I must admit that I find it refreshing that he's not the one who first broached that subject. In virtually every other case I've seen, whenever a candidate has expressed his or her religious views or done a photo op at a church, it's either been in an attempt to get a quick bump in the polls or as a cynical attempt to hide his or her deep personal flaws. For the latter, who was the president between the Bushes?

On a deeper note, I feel the United States needs another Barry Goldwater, and the saddest part is that, in this time of need, there's no Barry Goldwater waiting in the wings. He said something that was oddly prophetic. I forget the exact wording, but he once said that in the future, conservatives of his ilk will one day be called “liberals”. He was right, and we need a man like him to bring the nation closer to the political center and correct the trend towards the political right that's been happening for about the last two or three decades. Both the modern conservatives and, to a much lesser extent, the modern libertarians claim Barry Goldwater as one of their ideological fathers, but from where I'm sitting, it is the modern libertarians who hold, by far, the greater and more valid claim. In closing, it's good to be back, and I'll see you soon.


Snave said...

I'm quite excited by the fact that Richardson is in the race. I don't like Clinton (too easy a target and too undefined for me), I'm not sure Obama has the experience (although he sure seems eloquent and bright enough), and I think maybe Edwards has Kerry baggage. While I think these three brightest stars who started their high-intensity campaiging a bit too early will burn out during the next year, I look for Richardson to rise in the polls. In my mind, he's easily the best Democrat candidate.

As you might expect from me, I am not enthused at all about any of the GOP candidates. Giuliani, Romney and McCain all bear watching, but from what I have seen so far McCain has just about shot both his feet completely off, Romney's Mormonism may hamper his effectiveness in gaining the evangelical vote, and Giuliani might be in the same boat due to his being a social moderate. I think Brownback may rise in the polls for the GOP as that party realizes it still has to kowtow to the evangelicals if it wants any shot at the presidency in two years. I don't think Brownback would be a particularly effective candidate... I don't think any of the Republicans currently in the field would be that great a candidate (unless the Dems allow Hillary to buy the nomination, in which case I don't think the Dems could get more than about 45% of the popular vote).

My guess is that the GOP will flounder in 2008, and the Dems will win fairly easily. In the meantime, the GOP will work hard to set itself up for 2012... Jeb, anybody?

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I'm actually considering donating to the Richardson campaign, but I will wait until I know more about him... and I'm less broke. lol As for the Bushes, I don't see another one of them having a serious shot for another generation yet, but the coming generation seems to be learning from the mistakes of their uncle. I'm not quite as pessimistic about Giuliani's chances in this field. After all, Giuliani is uniquely situated among any potential socially-moderate Republicans because he's so well-known and well-loved because of his actions on 9/11/01. As more of his record comes out, the support of the conservative base has a good potential for growth. He already has the support of at least some conservative members of Congress, and with good reason.

gecko said...

I'm glad to see you have come back to blogging. I've been in the dark for a bit, but have seen the light once again. It's good to see a voice of reason among get through the wind.

I want to read the rest of your blog before seriously posting here, though.

A couple of quick thoughts though: It's way too early for me to pine for any candidtate for '08. I am watching Guliani and Obama more closely than the rest. I have a bad impression of Richardson that I need to shake. Research will be needed on his account.

And I have to ask; why do you destest Bill O'Reilly?

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

No reason in particular. I just think he's a hypocritical blowhard who often uses bombast instead of his education when interviewing victims, er, guests. I dislike him more than I dislike the Clintons, and only slightly less than I dislike Roy Moore and Ann Coulter. Also, he gave everyone the disturbing mental image of him attempting to have phone sex. I've wanted to scrub that image out of my brain ever since I heard it. Ugh.

gecko said...

That's good enough reasoning I suppose. I will have to avoid anything to do with him and phone sex. At about 70% he comes the closest in comparison with my own political/cultural viewpoints. Feel sorry for me? :)

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

It isn't so much his ideology, though I disagree with his views at least as often as I agree with his views. Frankly, it's that he's just such an asshole about it. As for me, I'm more of a libertarian or a Goldwater conservative. It really depends on the issue and what I feel like calling it that day.

1138 said...

Right now I view Richardson as being closest to that Goldwater figure.
Everything is a long ways off though.

1138 said...

Oh and tese days Goldwater would be slapped down and ridden out of town by the Republicans for being a Liberal, that's how far to the right the Republican party has swung - and as a result pushed onld time conservatives like myself into the Liberal camp.

Snave said...

It's odd how the definition of "conservative" seems to have changed in politics over the last 30 years or so... the whole spectrum has been shifted around, as I see it.

It seems like what was once "moderate" is now "liberal", what was once "way to the right" is now "conservative", what was once "liberal" is now "socialist", or worse. I will admit I sound like a broken record for having stated this opinion numerous times, but I think a lot of that has to do with how well the AM talk radio hosts have done during the last 15-20 years.

Some of what the radio talkers (and more recently network and cable talkers) say may truly "resonate" with Americans, but I think some of the techniques they use to bring people around to adopting the talkers' views as their own suggest to me that these radio talkers are also master manipulators. Anyway, through all of this, it seems like we have lost the political center as things have cleverly been shifted toward the outer edges of the spectrum.

Goldwater might at least be called a "moderate conservative", or a plain "moderate" nowadays... I'm not sure he could really be called a "liberal". I agree that "libertarian" is more like Goldwater. I think Eisenhower would probably be called a "moderately lefty" if he was in today's political world.

Sad stuff. I don't care much for Giuliani when it comes to his politics, but he might be a leader behind whom Americans could unite. My concern is that it would be kind of like the way in which America united behind Bush right after "9-11"... Bush seemed to be doing what he had to do, and was depicted as being heroic in the process, so people got behind him. It was a horribly difficult time, and he said and did what he had to do and say, and that was reassuring. After a few years of actually knowing what it was like to have him as a president, people began to become not nearly as enthusiastic about him. I fear that Giuliani would ride "9-11" into office as Bush did in 2004, but then it would be politics as usual once people got wise. I think he could unite people at a surface level as Bush did for a year or two, but I'm not sure he could do it at a deeper level.

At least Giuliani doesn't appear to be addled by religion, and he doesn't appear to have thought disorders. Those are both characteristics which make him someone with whom I think I would feel reasonably safe, if he was in the White House. Unlike Bush, Giuliani knows what it takes to be a leader.

Snave said...

I might add to the last long-windedness:

I think it would be beneficial to America to have more "talk shows" that are moderate or left-wing in nature. The whole bunch of these shows seem to have been mostly skewed to the right for some time now. The conservatives are much better at manipulating language when it comes to convincing people to adopt their views, and they are able to express things in simple, concrete terms. The lefties and moderates need to find some people who can express things simply and concretely too, and they need to get more of these people on the air.

I think that a public which has access to a greater variety of opinions will probably reflect such exposure in a number of ways, with being more well-informed one of the primary benefits I see for society. I think it would help to bring the right and left ends of the political spectrum closer to the middle. This is why I advocate continued funding of public broadcasting, and why I advocate the return of the Fairness Doctrine. I realize that at the present time it would be an "either-or" thing with left and right, but I would like to see "equal time" given to all kinds of viewpoints, not just the Dems and the GOP. It think it would be fun to hear talk shows hosted by libertarians, socialists, liberals, conservatives... the entire gamut. I would tune out the evangelical stuff, but I would definitely listen to the rest in varying amounts. Right now, it seems like the people who run the various media don't want us to hear anything but right or left...

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I think that's a brilliant idea.