Thursday, January 10, 2008

The South Carolina Debate: A Dissenting View

It remains to be seen if it is too little, too late, but Fred Thompson's performance in tonight's debate was thoughtful, focused and assertive. He owns all the issues and is a solid guy, but his disdain for the less savory aspects of the political process and media-hostile style have perhaps been his undoing. I would be proud to have him as our president.

John McCain is the Bob Dole of the 2008 race - a respected war hero, battle-scarred, with years of campaigns and the baggage that only comes from decades of Congressional sausage-making. Like Dole he is dour, old and unelectable in the general - I only hope Republicans don't make the same mistake and nominate him.

It is easy to see Mike Huckabee as another Clinton - polished and eminently likable, spouting rhetoric that soothes but does not nourish. But he seems less self-aggrandizing and far less knowledgeable than his predecessor in the Governor's Mansion. He's not quite an empty suit, but behind those crafty verbal thrusts and parries lies a man that I feel is less than qualified for the job.

Mitt Romney is a kind of a political Rorschach test - his sense of destiny, political pedigree, Mormon uprightness and almost stereotypical good looks provoke in some a sort of reverence. I see a man driven for all the wrong reasons and trying too hard.

Ron Paul (say it like Matt Damon in "Team America"). Okay, I'm done with him.

Rudy Giuliani has been a bit of a revelation. If Fred can't catch fire in SC and elsewhere, his well-informed, upbeat message trumps whatever doubts I have about his conservative credentials. He's my solid second choice at this point.

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