Rudy Giuliani was a brilliant can-do executive who transformed the fortunes
of what was supposedly one of the most ungovernable cities in the nation. But on
guns, abortion and almost every other social issue he’s anathema to much of the
party. Mike Huckabee is an impeccable social conservative but, fiscally
speaking, favors big-government solutions with big-government price tags. Ron
Paul has a long track record of sustained philosophically coherent support for
small government but he’s running as a neo-isolationist on war and foreign
policy. John McCain believes in assertive American global leadership but he
believes just as strongly in constitutional abominations like
So if you’re a pro-gun anti-abortion tough-on-crime victory-in-Iraq
small-government Republican the 2008 selection is a tough call. Mitt Romney, the
candidate whose (current) policies least offend the most people, happens to be a
Mormon, which, if the media are to be believed, poses certain obstacles for
elements of the Christian right.
A lot of diversity amongst the nominee’s. Which can be a good thing as Mark points out by looking at the Democrat race:
Over on the Democratic side, meanwhile, they’ve got a woman, a black, a
Hispanic, a preening metrosexual with an angled nape — and they all think
exactly the same. They remind me of “The Johnny Mathis Christmas Album,” which
Columbia used to re-release every year in a different sleeve: same old songs,
new cover. When your ideas are identical, there’s not a lot to argue about
except biography. Last week, asked about his experience in foreign relations,
Barack Obama noted that his father was Kenyan, and he’d been at grade school in
Indonesia. “Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations,” he
said, “is the fact I spent four years overseas when I was a child in Southeast
Asia.” When it comes to foreign relations, he has more of them on his Christmas
card list than Hillary or Haircut Boy.
Let me ask a question of my Democrat friends: What does John Edwards really
believe on Iraq? I mean, really? To pose the question is to answer it:
There’s no there there. In the Dem debates, the only fellow who knows what he
believes and says it out loud is Dennis Kucinich. Otherwise, all is pandering
and calculation. The Democratic Party could use some seriously fresh thinking on
any number of issues — abortion, entitlements, racial preferences — but the base
doesn’t want to hear, and no viable candidate is man enough (even Hillary) to
stick it to ’em. I disagree profoundly with McCain and Giuliani, but there’s
something admirable about watching them run in explicit opposition to
significant chunks of their base and standing their ground. Their message is:
This is who I am. Take it or leave it.
That last sentence spells out exactly what I respect about most of the Republican nominees. They don’t pander and change positions depending on which way the polls swing ala Clinton. They tell you how they feel about issues and that’s it. Either you agree or you don’t.
Now, on the other hand, the Democrats running really have no opinions on the issues it seems. They say they want the troops home but won’t vote to bring them home. They want an end to the war supposedly but vote to refund it every time. They don’t dare disclose how they really feel, and how they would really rule, because they know the nanny-state they want won’t win them the general election. So they hem and haw.
In the end the GOP have ideas. They have some serious intellectual and
philosophical differences and put forth some very valid arguments for their positions (excluding Paul of course) while the Democrats all think alike.
They don’t dare go against their base.
Now, is the differences among the Republicans a good thing?
There is an argument to be made that if a party is divided we could all fail. United we stand and all that jazz. In 2004 it was all about ensuring that a man like Kerry doesn’t get into power, in 2008 I’m praying the Democrat nominee is Hillary so we have a similar unity.
If not, the differences could spell doom.