It's early days, and a few people who will likely be running haven't formally announced yet. But I think it's worth looking at Republican contenders for the White House and giving you my initial impressions. I'll be looking at Democrats in a subsequent article.
Senator Ted Cruz was the first to announce, and of course caught an initial blast from the Left's media hacks. We certainly can't dignify them with the term 'journalist since so many of them are simply Leftist activists with access to a microphone or a byline. Expect them to ignore blatant violations of law by the likes of Mrs. Clinton while examining in great detail any occasion where one of the Republican candidates borrowed five bucks from someone ten years ago and forgot to pay it back.
In a sense though, Senator Cruz was either exhibiting great courage, a certain amount of naivete or a mixture of the two by choosing the venue and the speech he did for his announcement. And I say that as someone whom admires him a great deal. By speaking at a Christian college at a time when Christians are under vicious attack by the Left and indeed, by the Obama Administration, he showed exactly what a brave man of principle he is. And make no mistake, Ted Cruz is a man of principle.
He is also a dynamic speaker, scary smart and a superb debater who has argued cases before the Supreme Court.
The one false note he's hit so far didn't particularly jar me, but I think it might have bothered others...his emphasis in his speech on his profession of Christian faith.
Ronald Reagan too was a man of rock solid faith, but when he voiced it, he took great care to phrase it in ways that were deliberately inclusive. Ted Cruz did not. For many people, this was their first opportunity to actually hear and see Ted Cruz speak. He's already been painted by the usual suspects as a fanatic rather than the articulate and accomplished man he is, and I have no doubt that some of them felt somewhat uncomfortable, although Cruz's audience obviously went wild over it. I look on it as an unforced error (and by no means a major one) by someone not quite used to campaigning with an eye towards a nationwide audience. And it pales when you look at how dynamically he came across, with no podium and no teleprompter, moving all over the stage to a crowd of wildly cheering students.
Ted Cruz will only get better as he goes along.
It's interesting to compare Ted Cruz with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. While Ted Cruz says the right things and articulates them with great skill and aplomb, Scott Walker simply does things and talks about them in ordinary, everyman style. It's Governor Scott Walker who took on some of most vicious public employee unions in the country and won, Scott Walker who balanced Wisconsin's budget, lowered taxes, oversaw the creation of thousands of jobs,and passed a badly needed voter ID law. And he did it while facing two election campaigns and one recall that were financed by millions of out of state dollars as well as death threats aimed at him and his family. The Left wanted Scott Walker's head badly,even to the extent of judge shopping to try and embroil him in bogus charges of campaign financing misdeeds. But he defeated them because he inherently understood that these people need to be challenged and fought, not accommodated and appeased. And because his performance, not his rhetoric spoke for itself. That experience is going to help him a great deal in the current campaign, as evidenced by his embarrassing the media over a dollar sweater and his superb push back to President Barack Obama's condescending horse manure about 'boning up' on foreign policy vis a vis Iran.
Yeah, Scott Walker has already faced the full force of the Left and survived quite nicely, thanks.And he puts up with zero static from the Left. That combination could take him a long way.
Senator Rand Paul announced Tuesday, and he likewise looks to be a strong candidate. In many ways, he's a throwback to the days when America actually was a free country who revered its Constitution. He's been unfairly slammed as an isolationist, simply because he, like a lot of other Americans is sick and tired of going to war by presidential diktat. Sort term pre-emptive strikes like President Reagan did in Libya, Grenada and the Persian Gulf against Iran that don't involve long term dispositions of U.S. forces are one thing, and by design have a distinct, concrete goal in mind.
The sort of wars we've seen lately in places like Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan with long term deployments and fuzzy, ill defined goals are another animal entirely, and our Founders were quite correct to insist that our commander in chief make the case to congress and get a weasel proof formal declaration of war in order to proceed rather than a mere resolution to use force.
Like Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, Rand Paul also disdains the defensive crouch that normally defines conservatives. An example of that occurred today, and it was refreshing:
When quizzed on his about his views on abortion, Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul avoided the gotcha game and told NH1 reporter Paul Steinhauser to ask DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz if it was okay to "kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus."
"Why don't we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a 7 pound baby in the uterus?" Paul reportedly said. "You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she's okay with killing a seven pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it's okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me."
In other words, chump, let's see you ask the Democrats you love so much these same kinds of wedge questions. And of course, the even more revealing follow ups, if you expect any answers from me along a similar line.
This is exactly how to handle these people. Most Americans would shrink from the idea of a doctor taking surgical scissors, puncturing the skull of a healthy baby over five months old with a fully developed nervous system and the ability to feel pain,vacuuming the child's brains out to collapse the skull and then ripping the child out of the womb unless the mother's life was endangered or there was some other kind of dire medical emergency. So it's never described that way.
Yet these kind of late term abortions happen every day in America for no reason other than a child being inconvenient. And even though the abortion lobby which insists on abortion on demand and supports this sort of carnage is one of the most important parts of the Democrat coalition, no one ever tries to pin Democrats down about their support for this sort of thing after describing it in such graphic - and sadly accurate - terms.
If Senator Rand Paul is able to return service to the left this well now, it bodes well for his candidacy. And the fact that he, like Scott Walker is not yet another lawyer from Harvard,Princeton or Yale ( he's a medical doctor, an extremely reality based profession) appeals to me as well. We're going to need quite a bit of reality to clean up the mess Barack Obama and his cronies will leave behind when they leave. And Senator Paul also has a demonstrated ability to appeal to younger voters and to get voters to cross party lines.
Senator Marco Rubio at first glance would seem to be a strong candidate. He's young, a good speaker with an inspiring story, and a fiscal conservative with a good record on taxes, the Second Amendment and other such hot button issues. And some members of the consultant class see his Hispanic surname as a bonus.
The problem I see is that Senator Rubio seems to fold under pressure to a certain degree, and to lean more towards trying to please everyone (which of course ultimately pleases no one) rather than starting out embracing firm principles and then making minor compromises to get a deal done.
A good example of this was the way Democrat senator Chuck Schumer twisted Rubio around his little finger when it came to the bogus Senate immigration bill. Aside from making Marco Rubio look foolish, it gave the Obama WHite House an important talking point about how the Democrat majority senate had 'passed a bi-partisan bill, and all the House has to is pass it.' With, of course the president saying that since the House wouldn't act,he had the prerogative to violate our laws and the Constitution to do so.
It was a major error, and while Rubio at least eventually admitted his mistake it doesn't bode well for a Rubio presidency.
And that Hispanic surname? Don't count on it as a benefit. Hispanics in America are a much more diverse group than the consultant class would have us believe. Marco Rubio, like Ted Cruz, is of Cuban descent, and Cuban-Americans are a very different group than Mexicans or Central Americans, particularly those who President Obama has let in under his executive amnesty and whom are already appearing on the voter rolls illegally.
Many of them speak little or no English and receive all of their information from the likes of Democrat-controlled Telemundo and Univision. And many of them will be voting for a Democrat promising unlimited amnesty and increased social welfare benefits.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush hasn't announced yet, but is raising funds, hiring staff and obviously preparing to do so. Let's look at him.
Unlike the other GOP candidates with the exception of Scott Walker, Jeb Bush has solid executive experience and was a reasonably accomplished governor of Florida, with an excellent record on taxes and on fiscal sensibility, including civil service reform. He's pro Second Amendment and school choice, In addition, he has the ability to raise tremendous amounts of money. and authentic Hispanic roots through his marriage. He also has an excellent track record with Hispanic voters and speaks fluent Spanish.
A problem with Governor Bush is that his stance on many issues like amnesty and Common Core is essentially opposed not only to the Republican party's base but to a majority of Americans in general. His message, essentially, is that the Republicans are Democrat-lite - they will do pretty much what the Democrats will, just cheaper and better managed.
People inclined to vote Democrat/Socialist will invariably vote for the real thing come election day if nothing else to avoid putting someone with the surname 'Bush' back in the White House. And a large segment of the Republican base will simply sit home, just as they did with Mitt Romney.
That's the current GOP field as I see them today. I'll examine Democrats in a subsequent article.