Thursday, May 03, 2007

See How They Run: Reagan Impersonators?

The first debate of the Republican candidates for President will be on hallowed ground -- the Reagan Library (image) in California. Ronald Reagan is an icon that was larger than life when living and he casts a huge shadow in death. For 20 years, Republican candidates have tried desperately (and unsuccessfully) to fill those shoes. Tonight, they meet at the Reagan library to debate and I assure you his name will be mentioned early and often.

I have known many of the candidates for years and many are excellent at what they do, but few are even Presidential timber, let alone worthy of being spoken in the same breath as Reagan. The list of candidates include Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jim Gilmore (former Republican Governor of Virginia), and Congressman Duncan Hunter of California. There are a few others that you may have never heard of before. Seriously though, it is a huge list of unheard of candidates and the "big three" (McCain, Giuliani, and Romney) appear to be on a roller coaster ride and are having difficulty getting traction.

One of the most popular Republican candidate, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, hasn't even declared he is running and will not be participating in the debate tonight. Described as "Southern Fried Reagan," he has many of the characteristics necessary to win the election. A solid (but reasonable) conservative, Southern (a virtual prerequisite it seems), and high visual and name ID (because of his movie and TV career), many Republicans are waiting for him to jump in.

There is no Ronald Reagan in the lot, even with the entrance of a Fred Thompson. I'm not sure if we will ever see anyone of that stature again. But if the Republican Party is going to be taken seriously, someone like Thompson is going to have to get in this race.

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