Republican Candidates 2008

Aquarian Weekly 3/21/07 REALITY CHECK

A RELUCTANT GUIDE TO CAMPAIGN 2008 Part II – The Republicans

Rudy GiulianiTime for the Conservative/Religious Right movement to step aside and allow the mavericks a crack. Prepare for the Year of the Republican Social Liberal trying to act more button-down and holier-than-thou. This is especially key for the two frontrunners, both of whom have suddenly found old-time religion and scramble to-and-fro to allay the fears of the GOP’s Big Money. They needn’t bother. With a wounded lame-duck commander-in-chief and a possible recession on the horizon, pretty soon anyone who has the charisma and guts to take on the surging opposition party will be embraced like the Prodigal Son when the bell tolls. And it’s tolling, son. It’s tolling.

The following is the tale of the tape for the more-or-less legitimate hopefuls 18 months from pay dirt. Take from it what you will. We only aim to serve.


Rudolf Giuliani

Key Word: Perception

The image of the Country’s Mayor is clear in the minds of every American. Giuliani’s rock-solid response to and inspired leadership during his city’s nightmare of 9/11 matters now more than ever. Apart from any candidate in the race, Democrat or Republican, Uncle Rudy actually inspires thoughts of victory during these troubled times. It is not a rare breed this Perception Candidate. You will find them in all previous winners: Bush 2 – Righteous. Clinton – Caring. Bush 1 – Reagan Monkey. Reagan – Optimistic. Carter – Squeaky Clean. Nixon – Tough. Etc.

Key Strength: Ruthless

A real arrogant toughness (not the country goon type we currently endure) is especially welcomed in these times, and Giuliani flaunts it with a weird kind of pride. As NYC’s mayor, he took on special interests and the mob, state judges and the Republican Party, and unlike most all-talk politicians he succeeded in nearly all of these battles. Dogfights normally call for big dogs. Here’s your pit bull.

Key Weakness: Loose Canon

Divorced three times, a long record of civil rights abuses, and first amendment pogroms litter Uncle Rudy’s resume. He is a political enigma: a GOP darling that happens to be pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro-gun control, and as mentioned above took on his own party in 1996 by backing Democrat and Uber-Liberal, Mario Cuomo for governor over George Pataki.

Creepiest Moment Thus Far: Roe vs. Wade Dance When confronted recently on his pro-choice stance and its stigma entering a Republican primary, Giuliani bristled and made some off-hand remark about appointing the proper conservative judges.

Outlook: Right now he is The Man, but a closet full of personal skeletons and a shoot-from-the-hip style that served him well running the worlds’ greatest city may wound him on the national stump. But with the entire field faltering around him, could prove the perfect celebrity to fend off an expected Obama or Clinton rush.

John McCain

Key Word: Desperate

The darling of the Independents in 2000 is now the lone hawk in a coop of cooing doves, which has moved him as far right as he could possibly go – including sucking up to every religious nutcase across the fruited plain. He’s been a party lackey for too long and taken back seats to enough thrill-seekers. It’s his turn and he is not apologizing for anything he has to do to grab the brass ring.

Key Strength: Loyalist

McCain’s unwavering support of the troop-surge and manic campaigning for two Bush victories has basically labeled him the incumbent by default here. Therefore he has the odor of the Bush Administration about him, for good or ill. This will garner him much support with Republican insiders and help him in a primary run, (assuming things stabilize in Iraq – a huge assumption) but in the same breath will render him a punching bag for the Democrats in the national race. But it does get him direct access to Karl Rove and other brilliant vipers like him.

Key Weakness: Retread

Fair or not, with the heavy air of “change for change sake” still in the air, McCain is old news. Almost every other candidate beyond Democratic John Edwards is brand spanking new to the arena, and in 2007, new is in. But with a river of time to pass, he may be seen as a steady influence. Again, however, something good has to happen in Iraq and nothing bad could possibly befall the economy, or, again, by default, he will bear the brunt.

Creepiest Moment Thus Far: Letterman “Wasted” Gaff

Announcing his candidacy on a talk show was hokey enough without the slip of the tongue about troops lives being “wasted”. Followed up by the predictable backtracking and qualifying of “wasted” as “sacrificed”. But the message is clear – Mixed. How does the one candidate who defends every crazy war decision the White House sends down make a public Freudian slip about their victims?

Outlook: Time will tell, but for now McCain must continue to move right and force Giuliani to defend every social ideology he espouses.

Mitt Romney

Key Word: Paradox

Romney is a Mormon who used to support gay-marriage and was pro-choice. Now he is openly anti-gay and vehemently pro-life. Some of the weaker sorts might call this flip-flopping, but we won’t lower ourselves to such cheap name-calling. Key Strength: Zealot Romney has transformed himself into the Religious Right’s poster boy in the midst of all this wacky social liberalism. It will be extremely interesting if voters will choose his lack of “electability” over his more appealing ideology like the supposed anti-war crowd choosing pro-war Kerry over less attractive true anti-war candidates in ’04.

Key Weakness: Boring.

If Uncle Rudy is the wild man and Papa McCain is old school, then it only leaves Romney with the scraps. A rare candidate can muscle his/her way into a comfortable niche. Bad news is he does not appear to be one of those.

Creepiest Moment Thus Far: “Meet The Press” Squirming Tim Russert read every bigoted quote attributed to Romney on gays in the past six months and Romney refuted none of them. Instead, he predictably hid behind the Bible.

Outlook: Romney will have a place in the party’s emerging platform, but if he is to be a serious threat, the frontrunners first need to crash and burn, which is not out of the realm of possibility.

Dark Horse: Chuck Hagel – Slyly waiting in the wings to let the early nonsense recede, Hagel is the rarest of breeds, an anti-war Republican candidate. This sets him apart from the pack and gives voice to a growing angst in the party against the doomed Iraq occupation.

Long Shot: Duncan Hunter – Arguably the one true fiscal conservative in the bunch, Duncan could wreck things by screaming about NAFTA and the WTO (jobs), Illegal Immigration (jobs) and insane government spending (money). The Money/Jobs card always win the day.

No Shot: Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, et al.


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