Thursday, August 18, 2005


2008: Dark Red Horses

A Snowball's Chance....

Well, it's August and I could either attempt more Paris Hilton jokes or perhaps ponder the field of candidates for 2008, both are likely painful, but at least postulating about the Presidency doesn't make me feel like I have to shower. So, lets take a look at the GOP side and some of the people who want to run, but (in my humble opinion) have no chance of winning.

Several folks have already thrown their hat into the ring, or at least said they're considering throwing their hat in the ring. Senator Brownback of Kansas, Senator Hagel of Nebraska, Majority Leader Frist, Senator George Allen, and Senator Rick Santorum.

Historically, something like 15 former Senators have gone on to the Presidency. I like those odds. But can any of the current crop of Senators distinguish themselves enough to break through? Here's a quick assessment.

Majority Leader Frist: I hear that personally, Frist is a great guy. But politically he's damaged goods, especially for the activists in the party on the far right. Last year he was their darling, making medical diagnosis via video tape (hey! there's a solution to rising health care costs) and threatening the kill the tradition of the filibuster. But in just about every task he's been asked to carry water on by the party activists...Terri Schiavo, the filibuster, FMA, things haven't quite worked out. The Dobson/Robertson axis recently showed their thanks by not inviting the good Senator to the recent, so-called, Justice Sunday (Homer: Mmmmmm...Justice Sundae...arghhhhh.)

Advice: Retire to Tennessee and continue your medical career, become and advocate for market based reforms of the health care system.

Senator Brownback:
Senator Who? Brownback, Senator from Kansas is probably the dream ticket for social conservatives, he gives Rick Santorum a run for his money on the right flank when it comes to social issues, but lacks the charm and charisma of Le Santorum. Most people probably don't know who he is, and even Elephant, and inside the beltway kind of guy, can't really recall an issue that he's lead the charge for passage. Then there's Kansas, a state full of nice people, but one that keeps getting into the news because it has some vendetta against science...

Advice: Brownback probably knows his chances are nil, but he can still try to make an impact and anchor the right end of the spectrum (Think Pat Robertson and the Iowa caucuses). If he uses the primaries to help build name recognition, he can perhaps go on to lead some social conservative organization like Focus on the Fambily or something...Potentially the first candidate to drop out.

Senator Hagel: This very blog endorsed Hagel nearly a year ago for 2008. For a while, Hagel was attempting to cast himself as a McCain like maverick. From time to time he still speaks truth to power (Iraq for example). But increasingly his maverick tendencies seem scripted, and his absence from the gang of 14 on the filibuster ws disappointing for rabid moderates like me. (although I'm told he wasn't part of the 14 simply because the other NE Senator was part of it...state politics or something). Hagel in many ways is looking a lot like the John Kerry of the Republicans (did I really just say that! It seems so harsh!)...leaving us wondering just what does he
stand for.

Advice: Stay in the Senate and ally yourself with the moderates. Become a Sunday talk show star. Another potential candidate for early withdrawal.

Senator Rick Santorum: (Please stop laughing) choir boy extraordiare. The good Senator is surprisingly conservative for a Pennsylvanian. His stand on the Schiavo issue, abortion, gay marriage (man on dog sex!), his belief that the government should regulate all sexual activity, make him a darling of the activist right. But the Saintly Senator has more baggage than Liza Minelli on her way to Betty Ford.

His moral positions haven't really been followed up in action. He was caught with hhis hand in the cookie jar, getting taxpayers in Penn. to foot the bill (to the tune of $40,000) to send his kids to some Charter school while living full time in Virginia. Beyond that, his policy positions don't jive with other personal stories. He voted to cap damages on med-mal lawsuits at $250,000, when his own wife won a $500,000 judgment against a chiropractor (later reduced to $175,000). Even the most libertarian minded of us don't mind a little moral lecture once and a while, but what turns our stomachs is "Do as I say, not as I do" moralizing. That seems to be the Senator's gift.

Advice: Start looking for a job, there's a good chance he won't get re-elected. Rick may be the Tom Daschle of 2006.

Senator George Allen: Senator Allen is the only one of this bunch to have, as they say, legs. Senator Allen has enough conservative credentials to pick up the social conservative party activists. At the same time Virginia's long tradition of state rights has the potential to temper the more reactionary, big government-let's-have-a-constitutional-amendment-for-everything crowd. He's got the charm and charisma, with (as far as we know at this point) none of the baggage of Le Santorum. The Senator even taught a friend of Elephant's how to do a one hand snuff at a recent fundraiser. If the social conservatives who control the party machinery want to continue their reign, they should hitch their cart up to this pony. He's a contender.

Advice: The Senator needs to round up the best and the brightest for his campaigning now (if he hasn't already) before they're snatch up by others. The only Senator on this list who can go the distance.
Ok, that wraps up the potential senate candidate. Senator Allen gets to move on to the next round. Next week- The Governors....


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