Monday, June 11, 2007

See How They Run: Sizing up the Three Tiers of Republican Candidates

The current discussion of two groups -- the "Big three" (or is it four now?) and everyone else doesn't accurately size up the break down of the Republican Presidential hopefuls, in my opinion. The following is my spin on the eleven candidates for President, what tier they are in, and what chances they have (if any). Again, this is my perspective, I look forward to the comments of others.

Tier I (in alphabetical order)

Rudy Giuliani. Rudy's strengths are that he is attractive to libertarians who favor the war and traditional conservatives who are willing to over look his positions on social issues "for a time such as this." He would be unacceptable in 2000, but must be taken seriously today. His negatives are that he is untested on national issues, people will have reluctance about choosing a former mayor, and NYC mayor has a history of being a "dead end job."

My view: He has access to deep financial pockets. He goes in deep in the election and I wouldn't be surprised if he's on the ticket, some where.

John McCain. On the up side, he had a strong organization and high name identification. Furthermore, his strong position on the war is attractive to traditional conservatives who might other wise dislike him. On the negative side, he's old and sounds old. His total lack of understanding on tax policy is unacceptable.

My view: He is sinking fast, many supporters or going to be bailing out in the days to come. Check back next week, the "Big Four" could be a "Big Three" again, minus him.

Mitt Romney. Romney is attractive (maybe too much so?), was able to get elected in the most liberal state in the country as a Republican (can you say Reagan Democrats?), he is a former governor (historically one of the strongest positions to run for President), and has virtual unlimited access to money (like his own pockets). On the down side, he "matured" on issues too late in life to make most Conservatives comfortable, his religion makes many traditional Conservatives nervous, and he's from Massachusetts.

My view: His money will have him last quite a while in this race, but I don't see him ever "catching on" to the Party in general. However, if a Giuliani gets the nomination, he might be seen as a good balance on the ticket. He won't be, however, because Republicans will have a very difficult time winning without a Southerner on the ticket. This, of course, leads to...

Fred Thompson. Thompson (photo) has access to significant amounts of money, is a very solid Conservative, is from the South (crucial for anyone to win the Presidency these days), is a former Senator (meaning he has proven ability to win bigger races), and knows how to act like a leader. His negatives are less obvious, but I'm concerned about how he will do on the campaign trail. Also, the Senate is not nearly as strong as the governorship for getting elected President (the chief executive role seems to be very important).

My view; Fred Thompson is the guy to beat. Period. His numbers are stronger than people who have spent millions and he simply comes across as more Presidential.

Tier II

This is were I am sure I will get some arguments. All those who believe there guy should have been in "Tier II" will be upset. However, it should be of comfort to all of you, that "Tier II" dwellers won't likely get the nomination, unless something seriously wrong happens to the group above. Again, this list is in alphabetical order:

Sam Brownback. The Kansas Senator is, in my opinion, on the bottom part of the Tier II list. He is a fine as US Senator and should really do us a favor by staying there. We can use quality people in that body. He lacks the maturity and ability to relate to be a serious candidate. Furthermore, he seriously lacks access to money.

Jim Gilmore. The former Virginia Governor comes from the South (a big plus) and had that crucial chief executive role. These are two major pluses. Beyond these two big positives, Gilmore simply doesn't cut it. I think he may be running for an appointment in a new administration. He also seriously lacks money.

Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is a relatively young Southern (recently) former Governor, who comes from a state that has strong, Democrat roots. If you keep your observations to this brief overview, he looks excellent, but his chances are really quite poor. He has a mixed fiscal record as Governor, very limited access to money, and doesn't come across as particularly Presidential. He's on the high end of the Tier II and could pull off a miracle if the top Tier implodes, but don't hold your breath.

Tommy Thompson. I like Thompson, personally, although he is not Conservative enough and he fails to come from a region that has produced a popularly elected President in decades. Thompson is innovative (his views on Iraq are very interesting, in my opinion) and he is a former Governor, which is very important in politics today. His down sides include limited access to money and a weak connection to voters (he's something of a technocrat). In many respects, running for President of the US is more like running for "class president" than virtually any other political office. He simply doesn't get the popularity factor.

Tier III

This is the group that would do us a collective favor by getting out tomorrow. These three candidates are two traditional right wingers (Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo) and a libertarian (Ron Paul) and they are only diluting the support of the real Conservatives in the upper tiers. I wish there were a couple liberal or moderate Republicans in this group.

I could easily dismiss these three for one simple reason -- they are members of the US House of Representatives. We haven't elected a US House member since 1880 (James Garfield who was assassinated just a few months in his office) and I honestly think we are less likely to elect someone from that spot now than then. The office doesn't give potential supporters much hope that he can muster the national support essential to win. They have extremely limited access to money, poor organization, and simply don't look serious.

Duncan Hunter. The California Congressman is actually an old friend of mine (I mentioned that to a campaign member and they now count me as one of his supporters). When I was involved with a think tank I helped to start in DC, he served on the Advisory Board and had a study I wrote with Dr. Larry Adams (who is now with the University of Virginia) published in the Congressional Record. I like him, but I can't support him. He doesn't have a prayer and I believe he is too pessimistic on economic policy to be a successful President.

Ron Paul. I was an early member of Young Conservatives of Texas (back when I made my first vote for Ronald Reagan) and Ron Paul was a very good friend to that organization. I believe he has a great deal of personal integrity and I have liked his position on many domestic policy issues. However, his "blame the US" views on foreign policy are a disaster that discredits many of his positions on the economy. I wish he would get out, but I'm afraid we might see him running as a Libertarian again. He's a sad story, in my opinion.

Tom Tancredo. Tom seems to me to be a single issue candidate -- immigration -- in a party that is still divided on the best approach to that issue. In many ways, he is just like Duncan Hunter, but if you put the two together you still wouldn't have a dime. He's a fine Congressman, I wish he would stay there.

That's how I size up the candidates, I look forward to seeing the comments of others.

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Blogger Bret Moore said...

Libertarians support Giuliani? Since when? What kind of crack are you smoking?

I'm glad RP is in the race, he exposes the rest of those clowns for the shams they are. I'd rather see a debate between Huckabee / Tancredo / Paul as the top three, rather than the media-anointed goonsquad.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Kevin Price said...

Normally I wouldn't publish a comment (crack? Your open minded), but I decided that it reflects more poorly on you and it is your liberty to do such.

Libertarians for Giuliani? Check these out:



There are plenty of libertarians who concerned about his positions and I would say he is the choice of more "pragmatic" libertarians (AKA, those who want to win and not merely complain about the elections).

10:23 AM  

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