Morgan Liddick: The candidate pool is starting to boil
And On the Right
Oh, goody. Only a year left in the presidential election sweepstakes. If you’re not registered yet, go do it right now ” or the next president is going to be your fault.
No joke. At least it seems as though things are poised to get a little more interesting.
The presidential debates and their painful and brackish aftermath are beginning to demand our attention in the same slightly creepy and voyeuristic way that a car crash or train wreck will compel us to look, if for no other reason than to note the carnage.
Although the Democrats canceled their latest outing to show solidarity with their “Union Label” masters, spectacle still abounds as elbows are sharpened for Iowa and New Hampshire. There are interviews and sound bites aplenty as candidates snipe at each other.
Popular wisdom is that if Hillary wins these early contests, it’s all over; if there are “surprises,” the thumb-in-the-eye Donnybrook continues. So the stakes are high and civility ” among other things ” is out the window.
Personally, I hope Hillary gets the tap. Nothing would be better for the Republican candidate, regardless of who that is, than to be able to run against a person whose negatives are so high. According to recent polling, a large majority of conservative men and a substantial minority of women would not vote for her under any circumstances, so … run, Hillary, run.
Despite my leanings, in the interests of a fair fight here are some suggestions for our prospective “progressive” Presidents:
– For Barak Obama: Know thy enemy. “Clinton Inc.” is running even or slightly behind in the early contests, where they anticipated a coronation. Look for the mud to get deep, dirty and very, very sticky.
– For John Edwards: You’re talking to potential voters. Don’t treat them like they have the intelligence of a wombat, even though you obviously think they do. They get testy when you do that.
– For Billary: If you’re going to argue that you’re one of the boys, don’t cry when they treat you like one. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won’t give a rat’s rear about what’s “fair,” so you may as well get used to it. Special aside for Bill: don’t act surprised when you get caught trying to rewrite history. People can ” and increasingly, will ” use what you have said against you, in the interests of a fact-based conversation.
And then, there’s the other side of the aisle. Let’s consider last Wednesday’s debate. The best efforts of CNN to portray Republicans as a bunch of snaggle-toothed, Bible-thumpin’ rubes aside, isn’t it interesting what everyday folks will ask about when left to themselves?
Out there in the hustings, immigration certainly seems to be topic No. 1. This is bound to create dissonance among candidates. Unlike Democrats, who pretty universally favor vote-buying through promises of amnesty, some Republicans seem to think that illegal immigration is, well, illegal.
There are two problems with this: First, what to do about it; and second, the past isn’t all that easy to bury (see aside to Bill, above).
On Wednesday, there were accusations of sanctuary cities and sanctuary mansions, questions of practicality and practice, and promises to do better all around. Regarding the last, Sen. John McCain put his finger on the problem.
“We promised,” he said, speaking of the Senate’s Amnesty Bill of last summer, “to close the border. But no one believed us …” Precisely, Senator. There’s a record to follow here, and it’s not one which inspires confidence among those who think that before we talk about paths to citizenship, in-state tuition and all the goodies of American life, we ought to make reasonably certain that we’re not giving Jessie James the keys to the bank vault.
Figure it out, already. Now, for the candidates on the Republican ” and possibly Conservative ” side of the fence:
– To Mike Huckabee: The last governor of Arkansas to win the White House had the Democratic Leadership Council and a gaggle of supporters behind him. You don’t. If you hope to gain traction, now’s the time for a breakout move.
– To Rudy and Mitt: What are we here, Democrats? Just remember, when the argument is over and the nominee chosen, the loser is going to have to man up and support him. Don’t say things you’ll regret later.
– To Ron Paul, Internet darling du jour, two words: Howard Dean. Folks, there is no heir apparent. The winner will have to make a cogent case for why we should vote for him and to date, the efforts haven’t been impressive. Time to step the game up. The Presidency is too important to be bought by promises of favors for whichever group a candidate is addressing, or handed to someone whose most salient argument is “because it’s my turn.” Isn’t it?
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