Iowa is just a day away, New Hampshire shortly after that and before we blink we will have each party’s nominee for president. While I am not sure what things will look like come March 11, here is who I like and will support. Check out this post to see who I don’t necessarily like. In that post, I talked about all the candidates except three- Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain.
Let me first talk about Rudy. For most folks, their first impression of Giuliani was formed on and shortly after September 11th. But, his record goes further back than that. In the 1980s, he was a prosecutor and made a name for himself by going after the mob and helping to minimize their presence in New York City. He lost his first run at mayor in 1989, but came back to win his first of two terms in 1993. You can either give credit to Giuliani or not, but under his eight years NYC experienced a great turnaround and revitalization if you will. Crime went down, the number of people working went up, and the overall quality of life improved. Then 9/11 came. He was seen as a leader who helped the city come back to life following the tragedy.
The obvious negatives for Giuliani on the GOP side are his stances on social issues (although he has promised to nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court), as well as what is perceived as a hot temper (which is something I kind of like in a president). The positives are his leadership experience, the fact that he actually governed a city (a pretty darn big one at that), and his electability. I think Rudy could put New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Hampshire in to play. Electability, however, may be a two way street (and a negative) if some conservatives protest his nomination and stay home or put up a third-party social conservative. I could go on and on, but I would place Giuliani third on my list if I were ranking the candidates.
Then there is Mike Huckabee. The former governor of Arkansas came essentially out of nowhere to make a name for himself in Iowa and received recognition on the national scene as a legitimate contender. He trails his rival candidates in funding, and how much support he has outside of Iowa is not known. That said, I like Huck’s stances on social issues. I could put up with his economic policies- although they seem to be eerily similar to George Bush’s. He wants to be known as the “compassionate conservative” or as some call it- a big government conservative (which is kind of an oxymoron). Since Huck shot up in the polls, he has received a lot of negative press from what he (and I) consider the D.C. to Wall Street Republicans. Check out National Review’s blog, The Corner, and I am sure there is some anti-Huck post at or near the top. This type of coverage has actually made me like Huck more. I think the likes of the National Review (who endorsed Mitt Romney) are the problem, not Huck. I think Huckabee understands Americans and the heartland in particular, more than any media outlet. I guess some people call it “folksy,” you can call it whatever you want- he can communicate and won multiple terms in what is very much a Democratic state at the local level. Some, especially on the GOP’s side, have said nominating Huckabee would be a disaster for the Republicans. I think that’s a little bit premature, as most people don’t really know who Huckabee is outside of Iowa or Arkansas.
But then there is his foreign policy experience- or lack there of. He actually has a longer resume than then-governor George W. Bush in 2000. But Bush was first elected before 9/11. And as I said before, national security and winning the war on terror is the issue of our day. Its not that I don’t think Huckabee can do it, it’s that there is someone running who I know can do it.
That’s right, I am going to vote for John McCain. This is actually a recent decision, and was not very easy to make. I liked McCain when he first announced about a year ago, sort of looked around, and now believe McCain is the best choice to carry the Republican Party’s banner. I’ll start with national security. This doesn’t need much writing on my part, as most are familiar with McCain’s background. He has been right about Iraq from day one. He called for an increase in troops before Bush ever did, criticized the mishandling by the administration, and called for Rumsfeld’s head a long time before he resigned. I have confidence that he would continue to take Iraq on the right path and keep our country safe. Bottom line- McCain is the only one I can confidently say that about. He says he is ready to lead on day one, and I believe he is.
McCain does not come without some negatives. He opposed the Bush tax cuts, but has said they must be made permanent because of the positive turn the economy has been on since they were first enacted. His initial reasoning for opposing the cuts was that we are not cutting spending to go along with them, which I can certainly live with. There is also campaign finance reform. I’ll flat out say I don’t agree with McCain-Feingold, but I am not going to hold my support for a candidate because of their position on campaign finance. Probably the biggest negative for McCain- and what most thought killed his campaign this summer- was immigration. McCain supported and still does support the guest worker program. He has since firmly said we must secure the borders first. I will also say his age could be a negative. Some may think he is a little too old for the job. But I have no reason to think he can’t handle the job.
Also, it might be a negative when it comes to a partisan primary, but he has not been afraid to work with Democrats and I think he will take that same approach in the White House (I wonder if Joe Lieberman would be the keynote speaker at the Republican convention should McCain win the nomination?). He understands the reason most Americans so strongly disapprove of what is happening in D.C. and can actually do something about it. On March 11, I will be voting for John McCain.
Filed under: 2008 President, John Mcain, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani