Sunday, November 04, 2007

The dilemma facing the Republican party - Rudy or?

- The conservative radio talk shows are buzzing (pehaps fawning) over the various GOP candidates for president, all salivating over the possibility of another Republican in the White House and spending as much time as possible demonizing Hillary Clinton.

No surprise there, of course.

A local radio station features three national hosts daily: Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt whose various patters are all pretty similar, though if you didn't allow the use of the words unbelievable, astounding, amazing or incredible, it's doubtful they could get through a 15-minute segment, let alone the hours-long programs they put on day after day after day after...

But these shows are interesting to listen to now because they wrestle daily with the GOP's awful dilemma this year of selecting a candidate who the most conservative elements of the party will back.

And that is a huge problem.

Topping the voter polls is Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who only wants to talk about 9-11, and not that he supports a woman's right to have abortion - a position that makes him a real problem for the majority of conservative voters. When you add his three marriages and the photos of him in drag, his family values credentials are pretty weak and many evangelicals (who hold tremendous sway) say they can't vote for this guy.

Rudy Giuliani in drag
Rudy Giuliani - presidential candidate?

The other candidate that has generated a lot of excitement is Mitt Romney whose Mormon faith keeps him off the boards for most Christian Evangelicals who consider Mormonism to be practically a cult. Romney's 'family values' credentials are impeccable, but a recent San Francisco Chronicle story points out that some of the evangelicals are reconsidering how stident to be - more afraid of a Hillary Clinton than someone who might believe in polygamy.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney - his Mormon faith has him in trouble
  • Chronicle story on Evangelicals and voting

  • Rounding out the GOP field are John McCain (considered to be too old and perhaps too liberal), Mike Huckabee, a trained Baptist minister who opposes abortion but who is unlikely to have enough money to be a serious contender, and Ron Paul, a congressman who in GOP debates has taken on the war in Iraq, saying it's a mistake and should be ended right now.

    Paul has been pilloried on the talk shows for that view, though the talk show hosts are fascinated with the guy and can't get through a show without taking at least a few cheap shots.

    Mike Huckabee
    Mike Huckabee - former governor and short on cash

    Ron Paul
    Ron Paul, the candidate talk show hosts hate

    And then there is Fred Thompson, an actor-turned politician (does this sound familiar) who is so unenthusiastic in public appearances that people are starting to compare him to the late Gerald Ford when it comes to charisma. The best things he has going for him so far are his gorgeous (and young) wife, and the fact that most people remember his acting roles on Law & Order and as a commander in films like The Hunt for Red October.

    Fred Thompson & wife Jeri
    Fred Thompson and his wife Jeri

    The Democratic convention will be fun to watch this year, even if it is just a coronation of Hillary. There will be some antics. They're Democrats, after all.

    It's the GOP confab where the catfight might take place. We might have a real GOP convention for the first time in, well, I can't remember. Perhaps since Barry Goldwater grabbed the nomination, only to lose disastrously to Lyndon Johnson.

    Can we hope for a repeat of history?

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