I haven't commented at all on the ongoing Presidential Primaries, mainly because I haven't exactly been blogging much to begin with, and nobody is going to be swayed by what I have to say anyway. However, being a political junkie at heart, I can't let this whole thing go by without chiming in, so here's a couple of pennies worth...
I have studied the candidates rather exhaustively, and they currently rank for me as follows:
1) Fred Thompson - He is the only consistent conservative in the race, and can be electrifying when he wants to be by tossing out smart one-liners and refusing to play the game by the rules of the liberal media (show of hands indeed)! I agree with him on just about every issue, and believe he can easily reunite the fractured Republican base. By emphasizing fiscal responsibility, low taxes and halting illegal immigration without amnesty, I believe he is our one true hope to smoke the Democrats in the November election. Problem is, unless his South Carolina surge is the real deal and not just all smoke, Fred is not likely to hang around long enough to win anything. Yikes!
2) Mitt Romney - While he has emerged as a second choice, it is not by much. Mitt would be vulnerable to the flip-flop label, and the pro-lifers are leery of him, which could spell disaster if they sit out the general election. And then there is the "I will never vote for a Mormon" crowd to be concerned with as well. Mitt does have a string of pluses to point to: successful businessman, the Salt Lake City Olympics, even running the otherwise hopelessly left-wing Massachusetts with some distinction. The problem is, he often comes off as too slick by half and early polling has Mitt getting wiped out by either Hillary or Obama, which means a long, steep uphill climb with a lot of baggage to carry.
3) John McCain - Grizzled War Hero, Maverick Republican. He has betrayed his base on far too many issues to ignore. McCain-Feingold anyone??? Amnesty (though he still refuses to call it that), the Bush Tax Cuts... the list goes on and on. He is however, unflappable on the War on Terror, and the Democrats would never be able to call him a "chickenhawk" without being laughed off the planet! He is also pro-life, which helps with a lot of the base, and many Independents genuinely seem to like the guy. The age factor will hurt him, he would the oldest man ever elected to a first term. (Could there even be a second one?) I just can't help but wince when I think of some of the things President McCain might put forth as far as domestic policy is concerned, however.
4) Rudy Giuliani - Rudy has the credentials on the War on Terror and is a genuine American hero. His leadership of New York City and what he was able to accomplish there despite the howling masses of liberals all around him is truly astounding. Yet, once again, the baggage: First and foremost, he is not exactly a social conservative. While I trust that he would likely appoint conservative judges, he has earned the ire of pro-life crowd, many of whom swear they will never vote for him. Yikes and double yikes! There is also personal baggage, his womanizing and association with some unsavory characters might not hurt a Democrat, but you can be certain a Republican will be slathered with all the mud the press can muster and then some. While he may be able to bring states into play that are otherwise out of reach, he would likely turn off too much of the base and hurt down-ticket races all over the country - a potential disaster.
--- END OF ACCEPTABLE CANDIDATE LIST ---
5) Mike Huckabee - To be blunt, I Do Not ♥ Huckabee!!! The Evangelicals seem to be overlooking everything other than his being a Baptist preacher and being "right" on religious based issues like abortion and gay marriage. Beyond that, Huck may as well be a Democrat! I give him zero chance of winning in November, and do we really need a foreign-policy-inept, tax-raising, high-spending, soft-on-crime President who would likely wipe out the Republican Party in four years??? Gag!!!
6) Dr. Strangelove (aka Ron Paul) - A bigoted paranoid-schizophrenic isolationist libertarian??? No chance! This guy is comic relief and nothing more. Note to his fervent supporters: I cannot be swayed on this, and I know a lot of you are actually Anti-War Democrats masquerading as Republicans anyway! Our only hope? NOT!!!
In short, I can only hope that Fred Thompson is able to ride a cresting wave to victory in South Carolina, or things could get very ugly! Go Fred Go!!!