Someone made a crack at me in the last week, reminding me that there was another political party that has candidates running for President. It is true - I have been concentrating more on the Democrats of late. The reason for this is simple. You may not see it yet, but John McCain is going to win the nomination. I have yet, however, determined the eventual Democratic nominee, therefore I spend more time breaking that race down. I consider it wide open among three (four with Gore) candidates, which I have stated ad nauseum.
However, since I've been called out on my affinity towards Democratic Primary blog posts, I will throw the Republican readers a bone and do a general overview of the GOP candidates. This, of course, is taking advantage of the recent buzz surrounding both the Fred Thomson candidacy as well as last night's Republican debate.
Here are the thirteen (thirteen!) possible candidates for the Republican nomination, listed in likelihood to win the nomination, and in reverse order for dramatic effect.
13. James Gilmore - The first quarter of 2007 saw Gilmore raise $174,790, which is approximately how much money Hillary Clinton made when she brushed her teeth this morning. Gilmore has no national name recognition and little money to change that.
12. Duncan Hunter - Like Gilmore and at least six other Republicans on this list, Hunter is billing himself as the only true conservative in the pack. (Isn't that funny?) I guess that's what happens when you don't trust the top tier candidates.
11. Tom Tancredo - Beware illegal immigrants, I think he's passing out leaflets trying to rally support for your mass execution. That way, you'll be dead...just like his campaign.
10. Tommy Thomson - Two weeks ago, Tommy Thomson offered a campaign stump speech to a town in New Hampshire. Seven people showed up. Moving on...
9. Ron Paul - The most libertarian candidate of either major party. You have to respect his consistency across the board. He wants to keep the government out of our pockets. Cut taxes, but cut spending, too. He was against the war from the beginning. The amount spent on a failed policy angers Paul, and it angers many conservatives. Unfortunately for the Congressman, he lacks the funds and recognition to make a run.
8. Chuck Hagel - Draft Hagel! One of only two (with Paul) anti-war Republicans in the race (Note: Hagel has yet to enter). He's been a harsh critic of the current administration, and fits a perfect niche out there - Republicans who are proud of their party but dislike President Bush.
7. Mike Huckabee - His authenticity impresses me. He seems genuine, he seems bright, he seems southern, he seems religious, he seems conservative, and he speaks articulately and honestly. Indeed, he seems like a great candidate for the GOP. So why isn't he higher? The man can't fundraise, finishing way back with only half a mil in the first quarter.
6. Fred Thomson - He has conservatives abuzz as possibly the first viable true conservative. Until he gets in the race, however, I don't it can be argued that he's viable or a true conservative. Still, the mere fact that a candidate potentially fits the bill goes to show you how desperate the GOP is for that candidate.
5. Newt Gingrich - Unbeknownst to most, this is the unannounced Republican candidate to keep your eye on. He's not nearly as likely to announce as Thomson, and if he does announce it'll be in the fall like Gore, but I don't think there's a smarter Republican in the field. I've never come across a man I disagree with more while at the same time being awed at his intelligence and ability to articulate a point. What I would do to have an ideological debate with him and get my ass handed to me.
4. Sam Brownback - I'd wager that if you ask the educated conservative, this is who they would vote for if it wasn't considered a lost cause. Ask around. It is this potential why I rank him directly after The Big Three.
3. Rudy Giuliani - Yes, he's been the leader in the polls and I've dropped him to #3. He just doesn't have the gas in the tank, folks. The guy's a Red Giant - burns bright for a while, but with a much shorter shelf life. Each debate will hurt him every time a non-national security issue comes up, and even his strength on national security is a house of cards. If I were his campaign manager (he should be so lucky), he needs to get a specific issue on the table as soon as possible: Who can beat the Democrats in November? Even then, this next guy might be the best answer to that question.
2. Mitt Romney - Romney more than ever has me questioning my confidence in a McCain nomination. I expect Romney to come on very strong. He wows me at every debate, every appearance. In fact, if it wasn't for his Mormonism and yet unabated flip-flopper moniker, I'd probably make him the favorite. And never forget the very real aesthetic issue: He looks the part.
1. John McCain - I'm sticking with him.