Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The 2008 Republican Primary Race Begins!

And already we’re into the 2008 Republican Primary. Just like Christmas displays at the mall, it seems these things come earlier every year.

Well, I guess we're not truly into primary season yet. But Tradesports is taking bids already. And they proved a heck of a lot more credible than Zogby, so they deserve our attention.

Plus it’s a lot more fun when it’s pretty much wide open again. Dick Cheney won’t run due to health. So we’ll have some bright new face to run against…. Hillary. We all know the Dem candidate will be Hillary, right? Can you conceive of Evita's devoted disciples turning her down?

So let’s take a look at the current Tradesports list.

Senator Bill Frist. Senate Majority leader. From a southern state. Obvious contender. But I certainly don’t pick up much buzz in his favor among the grassroots, and he’s not rich enough to buy his way into that sort of support. I’d consider him a long-shot. The current bid for Frist is 10.0 at the moment. The ask is 14.0.

Then we come into one of the heavyweights. Senator John McCain. The bid is 21.2. The ask is 28.3. Highest priced contender of the lot. I understand the popularity and the appeal. But my gut tells me he’s too old. McCain will be 72 in 2008. His appeal reminds me of the excitement Jack Kemp brought the the Dole ticket in ’96… right up until everyone realized that he didn’t have the same vigor he did in the early 80’s. This won't be the McCain of 2000 anymore.

Next is Mayor Rudy Giuliani. A tremendously attractive candidate with some strikingly deep potential flaws. He’s my personal front-runner at this point. But I can’t figure out a certain plan to get him past the issues of being pro-choice, and his messy public divorce while serving as NYC mayor. If he can get past those (big if), he’ll fire up the grassroots like no other and scare the pantsuit off Hillary. Trading currently shows a bid of 20.2, and an ask of 24.5.

Then comes Governor Jeb Bush. No, no, no. Americans don’t like dynasties. Two of the last three presidents have been Bushes, which is pushing it far enough. Jeb might be a nice guy, and he’s certainly qualified for the job after two terms as a big state governor. But his family needs to take a break. Trading with a bid of 5.0 and an ask of 8.9.

Next is Secretary (and former Governor) Tom Ridge. Nope. He combines Giuliani’s pro-choice flaw with none of Giuliani’s charisma. An able politician, but not enough to stand out in the pack. The potential to carry Pennsylvania is seductive though. Trading with a bid of 1.5 and an ask of 5.9.

And then we come to National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. And a bit of an aside to get on my soapbox for a moment...

If Condoleeza Rice looked like Dick Cheney – or Tom Ridge for that matter – no one would be talking about her as a candidate for president. A National Security Advisor who has never held elective office? Are you kidding me? Of course she’s smart, and strong. That’s the expected resume of the NSA. But we all know why she’s so favored – because she’s black and female, and Republicans are lusting after the idea of capturing those demographics by running “one of them” at the top of their ticket.

Won’t happen folks. Just like the Democrats thought they could steal the military vote by running a “war hero,” some Republicans think they can get the black and female vote by running Condi. And just like the Democrats, they’re wrong. Condi will get the Clarence Thomas treatment, painting her as a “race-traitor,” to great effect within the black community. And the recent success the GOP has had with women has come by being strong on defense and the economy, not by pandering with “affirmative action” candidates.

Condi is a smart, solid Republican, who needs to win a couple of lower elective offices to get some campaigning experience before running for the biggest office in the land. Current trading has her bid at 1.4, and ask at 3.0.

Governor George Pataki is in there. Yawn. Sorry, he’s not really bad, but he's clearly number two among the two New York politicians in the running. I wouldn’t rule him out, but he’s not among the leaders. Bid is 2.0 and ask is 5.9.

Colorado’s Governor Bill Owens is also listed. I don’t know a lot about him, but I have heard him described as one of the only “movement conservatives” potentially in the running. I think this means he actually believes the stuff he’s running on. A novel idea. A cynic might even call it a handicap. His bid is 11.0 and ask is 15.0.

Then we have Governor Mitt Romney. No guys. Massachusetts is not going Republican just because we nominate their governor. And do we really want to feel what it’s like when our guy is the one painted as the Massachusetts liberal? Bidding at 2.1, asking 6.0.

Governor George Allen? I truly know nothing of the man. Impressive resume. Good looks. Southern. I have to say he looks like the sort to make a serious run. But again, I know very little about him, and I’m far more into politics than most. He has a larger name recognition gap to close than most of the serious contenders. Bidding at 3.0, asking 8.0.

Senator Chuck Hagel? Um… no. Bidding 0.5, asking 2.9.

Secretary (and former Governor) Tommy Thompson? Might be able to carry the Upper Midwest for the GOP. Experience as a successful governor and in the Bush Cabinet. But for some reason I just don’t see him as a serious contender. He feels out of his league compared to the front of the pack. Might make a good VP pick though. His bid is 0.5 and ask is 5.0.

And then we finish the list with Secretary of State (and retired General) Colin Powell. Looking at the low bid and ask price (Bid 2.0, ask 3.0), I’d have to conclude most people think it’s unlikely he’ll run. Because if Powell uttered the words: “I am running for president,” he’d shoot to the top of the list in a second. Not that this is necessarily a good thing. People have an emotional attachment to him that has only grown since he successfully Chaired the Joint Chiefs during the first Gulf War. He has a compelling biography, and is an accomplished diplomat and statesman. But I worry that he’d get the nomination too easily without people giving much thought as to where we’d like him to lead us.

And that’s all of Tradesports current list.

Of that pack, I could see myself getting most excited about a Giuliani candidacy. And that’s saying something. Before 9/11 my top political issue was advancing the pro-life cause. Giuliani has been unabashedly pro-choice. This was perhaps a necessary position to run in NYC.

And this gets to what I think is the biggest issue the party must face between now and 2008, and we'd better not wait until primary season to do something about it. 9/11 brought about a serious political realignment we're only beginning to get a feel for. One of the important results was to bring more than a few former Democrats over to the Republican side of the aisle. That requires some big-tent strategizing, or they'll all go right back, and that would spell election disaster.

The pro-life issue is one of the most important, but not the only issue we need to address before 2008. The important thing is that we address them calmly, with a willingness to listen to the concerns of the other side. In some cases we're going to have honest disagreements. But we should not allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. If the Republican Party can't put together a platform that can appeal to the 9/11 Democrats, it will quickly shrink back to being the minority party.


Blogger Flash said...

I posted earlier today my prediciton.

I Gender swapped rematch of 1996

Elizabeth Dole -vs- Hillary Clinton.

Sit down, hold your hat, ready . . . I'd vote for Dole.

Happy with Minnesota, and the tight house, and mom going to the Electoral College. Content with the National result.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wow, Flash! That is some admission. Not that I think Libby Dole has a chance, but that you would hypothetically support her over Hillary! You need to cash in that consolation beer I promised you some time soon to explain it.

9:36 PM  
Blogger R-Five said...

Nice analysis, Doug. Good point about "if Condi looked like Cheney" - needs political experience. I agree McCain might be a bit old, but his snippy mouth is his bigger problem. Rudy is easily my favorite, a real executive, and great communicator.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Flash said...

This is more about not wanting to see Hillary on the ticket. A Hillary nomination would be all Hillary all the time, and there would be
no discussion of what this country needs to succeed. The Right would make it all about Whitewater, impeachment, travel-gate, and the like. It is
sad, I know, that we can't run the best candidate anymore, due to the
Smear and Fear tactics of the Rovian campaign philosophy, but that is
where we have been pushed. We will be stuck searching for a squeaky clean second tier candidate, who has the likability and charisma needed to prevent the Right from attacking them so forcefully. Why did Clinton win, even when faced with his moral failings. Because he was likable, and the smear made the Right look petty.

Just my observation

9:46 AM  
Blogger pinkmonkeybird said...

You've been bitten by the presidential campaigning bug to a nearly cancerous degree. This president has barely had 8 hours of sleep since elected and here you are prognosticating for 2008.
Not to be criticizing you, of course, friend.

I just hope you don't injure yourself.

Thanks for sharing the love.

9:29 AM  

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