December 22, 2006

President '08: Looking at the GOP

Marc Comtois

I suppose we at Anchor Rising may as well start talking about the 2008 Presidential Race. For right now, focusing on the GOP side of things, it seems to be a McCain/Giulianni race with a little Romney--and even Gingrich!--movement here and there. McCain's chief appeal is his "independence" and his resolve on issues, whether he agrees with the most in the GOP or not. This makes him a stronger general election candidate than a primary. The same can be said about Giulianni, who has the requisite resolve on terrorism and war and a reputation as someone who will get things done, but his stand on social issues lay outside of the GOP mainstream.

Romney is socially conservative--if only relatively recently--but is an unknown quantity when it comes to foreign affairs and general "toughness." Then there is Gingrich, the man with strong ideologically conservative bona fides, but someone who will probably be unable to overcome his established negative reputation.

To my mind, probably the best (fantasy) candidate happens to be a Bush, Jeb Bush. Too bad about the name...As Ross Douthat explains, Jeb Bush, or someone like him (Catholic, big state governor), would probably be a solid bet to win for the GOP:

Nominating a socially-conservative Catholic, if one is available, has seemed like a no-brainer for the GOP for some time, and I'm slightly baffled why there isn't more effort on the part of the party elders to find one to unite around. It's not just that there's clearly a large bloc of persuadable Catholics that swings back and forth between the GOP and the Democrats depending on the political winds (something that isn't true of, say, Mormons and Evangelicals), it's that Catholicism has been mainstreamed in American society to an extent that Evangelicalism hasn't, really - just compare the number of Catholics in the journalism business to the number of born-again Christians - and so a Catholic candidate is immune to a lot of the slings and arrows that the media has sent George W. Bush's way over the last six years. For the Democrats, of course, nominating a Catholic is a dicier proposition, as Kerry demonstrated, because you run into the whole abortion quagmire. But the GOP doesn't have that problem; most voters already expect that it's going to nominate a pro-lifer of some sort no matter what, and so a Republican Catholic nominee doesn't have to try to split the difference between his Church and his core constituencies.

The trick, of course, is to find the right candidate. Figures like John Engler and Thompson never generated much momentum, for a variety of reasons, and while everyone swooned over Tom Ridge, he was pro-choice, which defeated the purpose, and of course he turned out to be a disaster on the national stage...Sam Brownback, of course, technically fits the bill (and may be thinking of his candidacy along these lines) but he's a convert, which is less than ideal, and a convert from an Evangelical culture that's he's still deeply enmeshed in, which is definitely less than ideal. My gut is that most Americans consider conversions kind of weird in general, which is one of the reasons that Evangelicalism is regarded with suspicion by the rest of American Christendom - it's a tradition that basically requires conversion, if only of the "Jesus changed my heart" variety. If you're going to convert and then run for President, I think's better to have done it for reasons that the lukewarmly religious understand, like the fact that your wife is a Catholic - which, of course, brings us to the most ideal Catholic Republican candidate of them all. Alas, Jeb . . .

There, now that I've gone on the record about who I'd like to see run (Jeb Bush), I'll focus from here on out on the actual candidates.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Read my lips: no more Bush's running as conservatives and governing as RINO's!

I'm too weary of being politically betrayed to risk yet another Bush in the Oval Office.

Posted by: Tom W at December 22, 2006 2:26 PM

Face it -- No one named Bush is going to be elected president in 2008 (vice-president -- maybe, but not president).

I think Jeb could have been an excellent candidate in 2000, and could be at some point in the future, but not in 2008.

I think the most important thing we can do now is listen to all of these potential candidates and not just treat McCain as the presumptive nominee (ala Bob Dole in 1998).

I want to hear someone tell me what he or she would do as president, what the priorities will be, and how he or she will deal with issues such as terrorism, illegal immigration, the economy, social security, etc., etc.

Posted by: brassband at December 22, 2006 2:59 PM

I am not Catholic but do have an interest in political history.Only once in GOP party history has a Catholic been nominated for the ticket: William E.Miller for Vice President in 1964,.
The Democrats have nominated three Catholics for President:
Alfred E.Smith,1928;John Kennedy,1960; and John Kerrey,2004;.They have nominated a few for Vice President:Edmund S.Muskie,1968;Thomas F.Eagleton later relaced by Sargent Shriver,both Catholics; in 1972;and Geraline Ferraro in 1984;.
Tommy Thompson is a Catholic and Freemason.There are Catholic Freemasons which may surprise some people.The last Freemasons nominated by either party was Bob Dole for President and Jack Kemp for Vice Presidentin 1996;both were Freemasons and were Protestants.The last Democratic nominee for President to be a Freemason was George S.McGovern in 1972;.The last Democratic nominee for Vice President to be a Freemason was Lloyd M.Bentsen,Jr.,.
See Rhode Island Monthly,January,2007; issue of Freemasonry in Rhode Island.Freemasonry is NOT a political organization.People of various faiths belong.
Check out Catholic,Freemason,and other facts about political figures at ,.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 22, 2006 4:09 PM

The 3 leaders in the NBC poll are McCain
Guliani, and Gingrich.They have eight wives total. (the GOP protecting marriage?)

Posted by: steve at December 23, 2006 10:01 AM

One would be absolutely, politically, tone-deaf to think another from the Bush clan has a chance anytime soon.

Posted by: Jim at December 23, 2006 10:11 AM

I support Sam Brownback for pres.

Have a great Christmas,

Posted by: Chuck at December 23, 2006 1:16 PM

Gee wiz, guys....I thought I'd made it clear that even though I like Jeb I realize that there is no shot he can win in this political (anti-Bush) climate. That's why I wrote "fantasy" and that I'd "focus from here on out on the actual candidates." Not sure that that qualifies as being tone deaf. Cripes, relax willya?

Posted by: Marc Comtois at December 23, 2006 1:45 PM

It goes against all conventional wisdom, but my dream team for 08 would be Rumsfeld/Gingrich. I don't believe there is anyone in government, including GWB, CR or the VP (forget the senators, who are like children watching the grownups at work), who has a such a clear understanding of how the world works, a true conservative philosophy, and the proven leadership qualities to lead our nation through the dangerous years ahead. Rumsfeld's public communications are some of the best speech in the past decade. He is direct, honest, clear, and respects the intelligence of the people. I think Rumsfeld is the uber-Reagan.

Gingrich is sort of a placeholder: any genuine Republican on the undercard with Rumsfeld as President is ok with me. Newt has valuable understanding of how to work with the Congress, and could play that role effectively. Even better than Newt would be Dick Armey, not only because he is less controversial and has no baggage, but because of his track record on economic and government waste/corruption issues.

Our own Carcieri would be a great VP as well.

Posted by: Bob Newton at December 25, 2006 9:23 PM
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