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.