Saturday, December 29, 2007
The Republicans have bigger problems and disparities between their so-called frontrunners, which just about change as often as the headlines on Fox’s news ticker.
I have to admit… I am disenchanted. Just about every time I think I’ve found my man for the job, I am left wondering what I was thinking.
First there was Fred Thompson. What with all the buzz about how strong a candidate he’d be and all my years of watching Law & Order, I thought, now there was someone who could get the attention of people on both sides of the political fence. That illusion was shattered when I watched him deliver his address via Jay Leno while the other candidates were duking it out in New Hampshire. He ceased to be taken very seriously after that. I waited patiently for him to make a comeback but he seemed as drab and unenthusiastic as the pundits had characterized him to be. That ship has since sailed for me.
Then there is Guiliani. Now, I have to be honest… Everytime I think of voting for him, I recall the phrase about not trying to beat the Democrats by acting like them. Guiliani leaves a lot to be desired in terms of social policy from where I sit (which is far to the right of him). Nevertheless, as a former New Yorker who lived through 9/11 and who saw him go from the cover of every tabloid bashing him to being a great leader during a crisis and going on to be Time’s Man of the Year, I have to admit that I have a lot of respect for Guiliani as a person and a leader. Also not to mention that he is a fellow Italian-American and so a little part of me roots for him to succeed. But I can’t really factor that in, can I? Then I would be no different from all the women who will vote for Hillary only because she shares the same anatomy, or from all those who will vote for Obama or Richardson, Huckabee or Romney just because they are of the same race or religion. I’ve come to believe that there is a lot more to being a good President than sharing such characteristics with supporters. Nevertheless, I respect Guiliani’s no nonsence, honesty. I disagree with him on abortion but I admire his honesty and that he does not change positions just to get votes like some others in the ring (See Mitt Romney). Nevertheless, I fear that a Guiliani Presidency would take Republicans too far from our core issues and move us ever closer to being little different from the other side.
Then there is Mitt Romney, who I must admit, I have not for one day entertained as being a candidate I could support. For all his money and spending in Iowa and for all his negative attack ads against anyone who presents a challenge in the polls, I cannot help but distrust him. Now, I know this is just intuition, but I can’t help but feel like I’m being conned every time I hear the man speak. I don’t believe that he has a genuine bone in his body. He is too much of a politician for me. Far too polished. And I’ve heard him sound a little more like Bill Clinton than I ever expected a Republican candidate to sound like. (See his argument for the definition for the word “saw” after his gaff on the campaign trail during which he said he saw his dad march with MLK).
Then there is Mike Huckabee and I have to admit that I’ve all but been a walking Huckabee ad since far before he was characterized as a frontrunner. While watching him in the debates, I was enchanted with his wit, his sense of humor and his passion. Of all the candidates, you could really see that he believed what he was saying. And I believed him and in him. He made me want to just get up off the sofa and do something… I dunno, maybe hold a sign or something like that. He motivated me unlike any of the others that he shared the stage with and the more I listened to him speak, the more convinced I was that he could motivate the rest of the country. (I am naïve, aren’t I?) That was until last week when two things dawned on me and the rest of the country. First it was his bashing of the Bush administration’s handling of foreign policy which spurned even Condaleeza Rice to speak out as to how absurd his remarks were and then it was his blaring inexperience with regards to foreign policy following the assassination of Bhutto. No longer could I look at Huckabee as that next great hope. He began to become like Romney for me, someone I could not help but doubt. Both politicians yes, but both lacking in too many ways to count.
And now, I find myself liking someone that my father would likely disown me for liking. The last in the bunch. The candidate who had all but dropped from the radar until now: John McCain. He has the toughness and brutal honesty of Guiliani, the foreign policy chops that everyone else seems to lack. The years and years of experience that no other candidate can match. He’s been serving in the Congress since I was a year old. He has an honorable record of service and can honestly say he fought and suffered for our country. And he has electability and the ability to draw people from the left and center. But he, like the rest of the flock, leaves much to be desired with regards to his views on amnesty for illegal immigrants, not to mention his former enterprise with Feingold that I will not even get into right now.
In short, I have no idea who I should support. I don’t know what issue is my hill to die on, so to speak. If it’s abortion, that rules out Guiliani. If it’s illegal immigration, that rules out Huckabee and McCain. If it’s foreign policy, that only leaves McCain. It’s a really tough call to make when so much is at stake and I hope that eventually the right can make up its mind and rally around someone to the extent that the Dems have. I just hope we make the right choice in the end.