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GCN Political Analysis

Election ‘08

Who’s Got The Mojo?
Republican Party In Disarray; Lackluster Field Of Candidates Depress Conservatives.

Part 2 of 2

By Perry Hicks- Special to GulfCoastNews.com

Democrats are beyond being giddy over the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; they are ecstatic.  The fact that the two are running about neck-in-neck in both fundraising and poll numbers is proof that the party itself has plenty of mojo.  Either way the contest for the nomination could end, the Democrats are assured of having a candidate with plenty of star power.

To Democrats, it is not a question as to IF there will be victory- that is already a far gone conclusion for them- the outcome will be merely a matter of name order.  Either Hillary will assume the Oval Office while Obama becomes the vice prez, or it will be the other way around.

The Democrat’s expectation for 2008 is not a flight of fantasy.  A minority president could be an idea whose time has come.  Both Clinton and Obama each would make history for no other reason than who they are: Hillary because she would be the first woman to serve as either president or vice president and Obama because he would be the first African-American.

If the Democrat’s mojo is to be countered, the Republican Party had better get busy making some magic of their own.  Sorrowfully, however, the Republican field can be said to be nothing better than lackluster.

To bring to mind even a single Republican candidate’s name one has to put a finger to the lips, stare off into space, and think very, very hard.

Conservatives Lack Mojo

Based on fundraising, the two current front runners are Mitt Romney (photo right), former governor of Massachusetts; and Rudy Giuliani, (photo left) former mayor of New York City.  The problem with these two is that neither is really conservative and they are sucking the oxygen out of the campaigns that are:

  1. Representative Tom Tancredo (photo right) whose lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union (ACU) is an impressive 99 percent.
  1. Senator Sam Brownback (KS) lifetime rated 95 percent by the ACU.
  1. Representative Duncan Hunter (CA) lifetime rated 92 percent by the ACU.
  1. Senator Chuck Hagel (NE) ACU lifetime rated at only 86 percent.

Senator John McCain (photo left) is also in the running but his frequent disunity with the conservatives in his party has made his nomination all but impossible.  McCain has an ACU lifetime rating of only 83.  If he is conservative at all, he is not conservative enough.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has also recently thrown his hat into the ring, and while solidly conservative, a number cannot be assigned to him as the ACU does not rate governors and mayors.

Of course, presidential contests are no longer decided by just qualifications and issues and the president no longer merely the executive and commander-in-chief of the military.  Today, the president must be a cult figure capable of capturing the imagination of the American people.

To win the presidency, a candidate must be able to stride god-like amongst the media.  They must be bona fide celebrities.  To do that, the serious candidate must have mojo: the combination of charisma, gravitas, instinctive political savvy and unabashed luck.

Of the current Republican frontrunners, Giuliani has certainly achieved celebrity status not just because of his leadership in the wake of 9-11, but also his prior vice cleanup of New York City.

His major negatives are mostly social.  First, there is the alleged infidelity to his ex-wife, actress and former radio and TV reporter, Donna Hanover.  The domestic brawl that was their divorce spilled out onto the street when Hanover refused to move out of the city’s executive mansion.

Giuliani is also a proponent of gun control and in the past has voiced support for abortion rights.  He has been often quoted as saying that he would give his own daughter money for an abortion should she decide to have one.

Neither gun control or abortion are issues that are likely to ingratiate Giuliani with Southerners who would already be skeptical of a presidential candidate from the North East.

Like McCain, Giuliani is also on the wrong side of the illegal immigration issue.  This will be THE hot button during the official 2008 campaign season.  Recent Gallop and Roper poles indicate nearly 3/4ths of Americans want illegal immigrants deported.

On face value as a Northerner, Mitt Romney would also appear unpalatable to fried chicken eating Southerners, particularly those on the Religious Right because of his Mormon background

However, as a religious man, Romney could well provide the American voter with a moral code that is more appealing than the latest Washington sex scandal.  Framing their common interests correctly, Romney may well be accepted by the Religious Right as the best hope to reform Washington.

Romney’s campaign headquarters also assured GCN that he is staunchly 2nd Amendment and is pro-life with the usual provisos of incest, rape, and mother’s life. Romney’s greatest negative could actually be the appearance of having insufficient strength, not his Mormonism.

After 8 years of a president who promoted a “kinder and gentler” brand of "conservatism," the American public will likely reject any candidate who cannot project a robust style of leadership.  In short, the public wants a fighter who will use the president’s bully pulpit to keep the country on track.

Baggage

What is denying all of the Republican candidates real mojo is the sink hole that has become of much the Bush presidency.

Republican historians may well poorly label Bush because under his watch the leadership of his party was allowed to be systematically dismantled resulting in his party losing its majority in Congress and- if present trends continue- ultimately the White House in 2008.

Instead of using the president’s bully pulpit to advance the ideas of liberty, to admonish those who demand America lose the war in Iraq (synonymous with the War on Terror,) and to deplore the crassness of pop culture, and to address the issues of illegal immigration.

However his greatest failure has been his inability to establish a vision for where to take the nation as he dealt with the various crisis that have enveloped his administration since 911, which includes his administration's handling the hurricane Katrina disaster.

On the matter of strength, the Bush White House can’t even defend its own.  As Democrats have increasingly sought to criminalize Republicans, Bush has allowed even the closest aides to twist in the wind for “offenses” that ultimately turn out not to be offenses at all- the bogus U.S. Attorney firings controversy and the Valerie Plame affair come to mind.

Moreover, the Republican majority in both houses of Congress was lost because the winning team that kept Republican legislation in the forefront was allowed to be dismembered.  When Democrats went after the House managers for Clinton’s impeachment, Bush made no effort to defend them at all.  Under attack, Bush did not fight to save them but instead laid down under his desk and assumed a fetal position.

Having enjoyed success at eliminating their enemies, an increasing number of Democrats are contriving reasons to impeach both Vice President Cheney and Bush himself.  This would (wink-wink) deliver the White House directly to the Democrats as the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate President Pro Tempore, Robert Byrd, are the next in the line of succession.

No matter how remote it would be in reality, the specter of such an impeachment might be fair play for the president’s role in assisting Democrats in ousting Trent Lott temporarily from the Senate leadership.

The plight for conservatism hasn’t become grave simply because the White House has taken for granted its grassroots base.  The party has lost unity with the president because he has abandoned the very core conservative principles for which the base thought he embodied and the purpose for which he was elected.

The millstone sinking Bush’s presidency is illegal immigration.  He has refused to defend the borders and until recently enforce the laws against employers working illegal aliens.  What we have seen only recently is nothing more than window dressing to hoodwink the public into thinking the government has become tough on this issue.

As a direct result, the voting public is now skeptical of the entire field of Republican presidential candidates.  Each will have to prove their claimed conservatism.

In other words, none of them have real mojo.  None.

Except for maybe Fred Thompson.

Waiting in the Wings

Conservative hopes currently are not on any of the Republican frontrunners, but instead with two figures who are waiting in the wings: former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, (photo left) and former Senator Fred Thompson (photo right).

Gingrich is waiting until September to announce if he will run and Thompson is reportedly watching Giuliani’s and Romney’s bids to see if there is a need for his candidacy.

Thompson is pro-life, pro-gun, and defines marriage between a man and a woman.  For the conservative Religious Right, that is all good.  Moreover, he projects the correct seriousness to look presidential.

Thompson’s main negative is that as a senator, he is reported to have not worked very hard, a notion supported by his lack of drive to enter the race.

According to Dick Morris, former Clinton advisor and pundit for FOX News, Thompson’s announcement would cut Gingrich off from winning the massive funding necessary to win the tightly grouped primaries.

However, Thompson must declare soon.  The frontrunners must get themselves well out ahead of their party competition by this September.  This will give them prominence necessary to raise the enormous cash necessary to buy advertising spots for all of the primaries now clustered in beginning of 2008.

It is from these primaries that the front runners will ultimately be selected and officially nominated at their party’s convention.

In other words, the big money wins because it takes big money to get a candidate’s message out.

Finally, on the second Tuesday in November 2008 the voter will select which message that resonated with them, and answer the question: Who has the Mojo?


Part I: Democrats: Who Has the Presidential Mojo - GCN Political Analysis

About the Author.....

Perry Hicks is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel. Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics. Perry is a former college professor and is a senior writer for GCN on stories of national importance with local interests. His articles can be found in the GCN Archive

 

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