Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pre-Debate Thoughts

The Republican Presidential candidates are having a debate on Fox News tonight. Some of the Sunday political scuttlebutt has been about Huckabee's strong showing at recent a "value voters" event. Huckabee blew away all the other candidates by far among those attending the event, and came in second (to Romney) when internet votes were included. One Fox News Sunday panelist (Kristol I think) called the race a five way contest - Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, Huckabee, and McCain. I think that was too generous.

There is palpable uncertainty about who the "Real Conservative"® candidate is. Giuliani isn't it. Some other candidate is likely to emerge in response to Giuliani's ascendancy. I can't bring myself to see Huckabee or Romney getting the nomination.

Without over-thinking things, we know that GOP voters are looking for a real conservative because that's what the candidates (McCain and Thompson in particular) have been hammering on lately, and we know that they all have polling data that is telling them to do just that.

Huckabee is the anti-Thompson. Thompson is conservative in philosophy and demeanor. The proverbial and literal "old white guy", if you will. He's not rabidly religious. He's an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of conservative. Huckabee is a more activist sort of Republican, in my opinion less philosophically pure, and he's a Baptist minister, which is almost the definition of rabidly religious.

Romney has his Mormonism to contend with. If it comes down to the Mormon or Hillary the Red, I'm booking my ticket to Salt Lake City, but I hate to think it might get that far. Romney also falls short as a "true conservative" because he hasn't been "true" for very long.

That pretty much takes it down to Thompson and McCain. McCain has so angered the base that the moniker of "Real Conservative"® is Thompson's to lose.

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