Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hewitt's Thanksgiving Straw Poll

Hugh Hewitt did a straw poll over Thanksgiving weekend in which you see Giuliani, McCain, and even Gingrich polling strongly.
Giuliani has the twin albatrosses of Donna Hanover and Bernard Kerik to deal with, and he doesn't look or sound presidential. I know that sounds superficial, but it's true. And it's a shame, because I think he's an outstanding person and would make a great president. The Evangelical base would probably disagree, given Giuliani's moderate stands on moral issues and his inability to project the image of a family man to the public.
McCain is old. I know that Reagan was old as well, but a lot of people are concerned about McCain's age because he is also scarred from multiple cancer operations in recent years. The only other electoral problem he faces is a lot of opposition by the far right. A lot of Evangelicals don't consider him enough of a party-line Republican because he has stirred the pot with his party so many times, and they are unforgiving of his comments about Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in the 2000 primaries. Personally, I hope he wears Evangelical disdain as a badge of honor, because the way they treated him in the 2000 primary was reprehensible.
What McCain has going for him is he polls very, very well. He trounces Hillary in theoretical 2008 matchups, and he has a very broad appeal. People want change after all these years of Bush, but they are reluctant to embrace an agent of change who hails from the same group as Michael Moore and Howard Dean. To McCain's credit, everyone knows he will always put principle over party. That is what makes him my personal favorite candidate; given how much non-defense government spending has increased under this administration, wouldn't it be nice to have a president who actually knows how to say no to his party and who might (heaven forbid) veto a bill once in a while? Anyway, I happen to think he is the strongest candidate, definitely electable despite the objections of Gary Bauer-types.
As for the others, there are several relative unknowns and several will-not-runs. Condi Rice will not be running, but might make a good VP candidate. Instinctively, though, I don't think it would be a good idea to bring along members of the Bush administration; for many, that is just too uncomfortable an association. Gingrich is a great analyst and idealogue, but most definitely not a candidate for president.
There are several others mentioned, such as George Allen, Mike Huckabee, etc. At this point, I don't know enough about them to think one way or another.

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