Narrowing the Field of Candidates

by Barrett Tillman
(Mesa, Arizona)

With the departure of Fred Thompson, the GOP field took a predictable left turn. Since Bush 41 and Dole, it's been clear that Republicans do not want genuine conservatives--an astonishing development considering that the party continues invoking Reagan's name. Look at who's left:

  • McCain: He's a "maverick" to the media whenever he opposes conservative positions (freedom of expression, self protection, immigration issues, etc.) People ignore that he was the only GOPer in the Keating Five fiasco, and his finance legislation with Feingold drew support of EVERY liberal Dem--no matter that portions of the bill were found unconstitutional.

    His naval background is touted but it's largely irrelevant, considering the multi-generational rifle fight we're engaged in. Recall that Lincoln, Wilson and FDR had no military service.

    Besides that, at 72 McCain IS too old. The median age for 20th century presidents at inauguration was 54. Only two were over 60 (excluding Ford who was not elected.) The presidents who died in office of natural causes were 4 and 9 years younger than McCain is now.

  • Romney is Democrat Lite. He was acceptable to a majority of the same people who consistently send Kennedy and Kerry to the Senate. (Reportedly when he left office his state had the highest unemployment rate in the country.) And pay attention to his Michigan victory speech: basically "We're gonna take care of you." Nothing about war, immigration, or cultural issues. He could have read from a Hubert Humphrey address in 1968.

  • Ron Paul is still the real deal: a no-kidding fiscal and cultural conservative who therefore hasn't a ghost of a chance. But the fact that he continues drawing significant contributions proves his appeal with grass roots Republicans and independents.

  • That leaves Mike Huckabee, a neoconservative (soft on illegal immigration and fiscal issues) who nonetheless will be the party's choice if it wants to present an electable contrast to the opposition.

It remains to be seen whether the GOP is willing to play hardball, but the election will not be won playing nicey-nice with

  • Hillary, author of the disastrous national health care proposal and soiled with the taint of Bill's administration, or

  • the demonstrably unqualified Obama, who does not even bother placing his hand over his heart during the national anthem.

Only Democrats could get away with that--

and Republicans likely will let them.

Comments for Narrowing the Field of Candidates

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Take No Prisoners
by: Janet

Welcome to well-respected military historian Barrett Tillman, author of more than 30 books and 500 articles. Thanks for joining our discussion, Barrett. We're happy you're here.

Well, you certainly took no prisoners with this one!

Given the meticulous research that goes into your books, we're sure you know what you're talking about with regard to Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR and their lack of military service. But we haven't yet seen a Lincoln, Wilson, or FDR emerge from this field of candidates.

So we'll have to take exception to your comment that McCain's military experience is largely irrelevant. The fact that he's the only one of the candidates with any military background makes him more qualified than the others to be Commander-in-Chief, in our view.

Yes, his experience is that of a naval officer, and this is largely a ground war. But we believe SOME military experience is better than none in the ability to understand the overall situation and to make the necessary strategic decisions.

You can see more of our discussion on whether the candidates' military experience matters here.

As we say there, we believe that if the right decisions are not made with regard to our handling of this war, any decisions with regard to the economy, immigration, and health care will be largely irrelevant.

But let's make the point this way:

Would anyone advocate choosing a rookie coach, who had watched some football but never played a game, to lead a team in the Super Bowl? Knowing that at some point after the game, all the players on the losing team would be killed? Any volunteers for that team?

And we understand your point about McCain's age, but President Ronald Reagan, one of the most popular Presidents in decades, was three weeks shy of 70 years old when he took office. And he served until age 78. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years after leaving office, at age 83.

Senator McCain is joined on the campaign trail, which can take its toll on anyone, by his 95-year-old mother Roberta. So we think it would be a mistake to count him out at 72.

But because of his age, his choice of Vice-Presidential running mate will take on even more importance. As the saying goes, the VP is only a heartbeat away from being President, so we'd better make sure that we're happy with that choice.

What's the chance of a McCain - Huckabee ticket? Would that give Republicans a stronger ticket, with a better chance of defeating the Democrats?

What do YOU think? Join the discussion!

Character Counts!
by: Anonymous

As we narrow the field, I believe the most important qualification is character; followed closely by integrity and resolve to preserve our freedoms and way of life.

Only one candidate has the requisite character to qualify as our President, and that is John McCain.

The threat Americans face today is the worst in our history. We cannot simply pull in our heads and hope that the enemy will not follow us home. They will and have threatened it many times.

This is the most important election in our life time, and we have to assure that we have a President qualified to lead our country and defeat the worst enemy we have ever faced at the same time.

The threat of a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists is real.

Stay focused on these issues!!

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