Dec 31 2007
“Unite America ’08” has a nice fresh tone to it as a possible political slogan for the coming silly season. It also seems cheesy, but that is why my dabbling in politics ends at writing a blog part time, I do not make a living in politics. But the observation is still valid, if not well phrased. we are coming on the end of 16 years of unrelenting partisan sniping. The moderates had left the field to let the stubborn and unflinching have at it and now it has grown tiresome to listen about all those traitors in the middle who don’t toe the party line. The silent moderate majority may be the largest hidden factor out there in this race and I think we will see a resurgence for the George W Bush type of uniter.
Little publicized by definitely noticed is the fact President Bush was able to produce amazing results for any President in history and did so without a single personal insult in 8 years as President. In opposition to the Bush example we have the far left and right who coined such memorable trash talk as “Bushitler” and “El Presidente Jorge Bush”. And now we have a choice of what we want – trash talk and deadlock or professional, mature debate with results that create ranges of progress?
Stuart Rothenberg picks up on this theme today when he looks across the Democrat candidates and notes where they fall in terms of dividing or uniting the nation:
Democrats must decide whether they want a candidate who is angry and confrontational, and who sees those favoring compromise as traitors (Edwards), or a candidate who presents himself as a uniter (Obama), or a candidate who presents herself as someone who understands the ways of Washington and can get things done (Clinton).
While Clinton and Obama both acknowledge the importance of working with various interests, including Capitol Hill Republicans and the business community, to come up with solutions to key problems, Edwards sounds more and more like the neighborhood bully who plans to dictate what is to be done.
While I am passionate about politics and policies, I draw the line with 3rd grade ranting to cover up policy shortfalls and I believe a myriad of solutions can worker better than the mythical magic bullet. Compromise is not an evil word to me, but capitulation and spin are not what I want to see either. If I was looking at Obama from the left I would have my doubts about his backbone and lack of experience. He looks and sounds a lot like a triangulator who creates compromise for popularity instead of punch. Just look at the difference between Bill Clinton’s brand of compromise (where he gave up ground to the GOP) and George Bush’s version where he has held ground and forced the more extreme in his party to give up some ground. The best example I have of compromise working is Bush’s tax cuts and Prescription Drug benefits in Medicare/Medicaid. But the man had convictions and principles he would not bend on – and for an example there just look at his stand on embryonic stem cells and judicial appointments (and yes, Harriot Miers is a conservative choice in line with the likes of Jeanne Kilpatrick and Ronald Reagan (ex-dems)).
The funny things is the Democrats don’t have a candidate that combines the necessary characteristics of someone who can stand on principles and still unite coalitions across party boundaries to achieve progress on the big issues facing us. I think the GOP is much better suited to select the next George W Bush, the only question is do they have the foresight to do so. Bush used his political capitol to make progress in the middle – the only place you can get the votes you need to get past filibusters. The first to cry foul were the far left and they started around 2003 before the 2004 election. The second to cry foul was the far right, which did do in 2005 and 2006, resulting in killing off their own majorities in Congress.
Now we face 2008 and we have three of the top GOP contenders showing they can unite this country. My personal favorite has shown his spine in facing down the terrorists. Two people stood tall on the pile of rubble that was the World Trade Center and they were George W Bush and Rudy Giuliani. What sets Rudy apart is his ability to turn NY City towards the right strongly and against a legislature that was very much in Democrat hands. Given the fact the GOP has not shown signs of winning back Congress it would seem strong national defense credentials along with strong executive experience and successes facing down the Democrats and strong convictions to the core (not the extreme) conservative principles is the best candidate for the GOP. Rudy has all the parts America likes, and it is not a bad thing the far left and far right are uncomfortable with him. Not bad at all.
Next of course is Mitt Romney. He is basically Rudy without and acid test on national security in his past. And it is simply because Rudy is crystal clear on terrorism, has seen its work close up and personal, that I keep him ahead of Romney (and, let’s be honest, all the other candidates in the running). McCain is sort of the other way around, he has seen war up front and personal, but has no executive experience. And he has, at times, gone too far left when there was not even pressure to do so to get votes. His views on the form and controls of public discourse illustrated by his support of Campaign Muzzling (er, reform) is still a big handicap for McCain. He is a good man, but not a conservative President.
Huckabee is a rolling disaster, and I will let Rick Moran over at Right Wing Nut House take the honors in describing why he should not even be in the running except he is the latest dashed hope of the far right they do no have to compromise to govern. Thompson had a chance, but he just never took off. And sadly he also lacks the national security experience and executive experience. He should be in somebody’s cabinet, making a difference that way.
Those who mimic John Edwards on the right (blow hards like Savage) will figure out sooner or later governing is much, much more than snide sound bites flowing forth without end. That insulting blabber sells books and brings radio listeners but it will not run a historically important country like the United States of America. And I will bring this diatribe to an end by noting the first word in our country’s name – United. It is time to come home to America and to get out of the fringes.