My Current Candidates Of Preference, In Order, For 2008

1) Duncan Hunter (I used to consult for Duncan): Hunter has impeccable credentials on national security, he can talk, he’s the most conservative candidate in the race, he has the right stance on illegal immigration, and although I don’t agree with some of his trade positions, I think they’d be a powerful tool on the campaign trail that could help put states like Pennsylvania and Michigan in play.

Unfortunately, it’s getting late in the game and Duncan still isn’t getting any traction. Unfortunately, that bodes ill for his chances of capturing the nomination and the odds against him are getting longer by the day.

2) Fred Thompson: Fred’s the most conservative of the top tier candidates and the only one of them I would trust to take a security-first approach to immigration. He’s in 2nd place in most national polls (first at Rasmussen).

On the other hand, Fred has shown a LOT of “ring rust” since he got back in the political arena. By that, I mean he’s outpacing the 2004 version of Howard Dean in the unforced errors department; but luckily, so far, he hasn’t made any crippling mistakes. He also isn’t doing much to dispel that whole “lazy” rap that was laid on him over the last few months. Still, he should be fully up to speed soon and if he can make it to that point without seriously hurting himself, he should be fine — I think.

3) Mike Huckabee: Granted, once you get beyond his impeccable social conservative credentials, Huckabee isn’t all that conservative. On the other hand, he isn’t any less conservative than Rudy, Mitt, or McCain and he has a lot of charisma, is a governor, and doesn’t have a lot of baggage.

Unfortunately, Huckabee has been strapped for cash and while his numbers have improved considerably, he’s still in a distant 5th place nationally. For him to have a chance, he’s almost probably going to have to pull off a big upset by winning Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina.

4) Rudy Giuliani: Rudy has charisma, a real tough guy image, he comes across as a leader, and he seems to be, against the odds, managing to appeal to conservatives.

However, he’s easily the least conservative candidate running on the GOP side, he’s not much different than George Bush on illegal immigration, he offers nothing to social conservatives, and he has a lot of baggage you can be sure that the mainstream press would hammer him on relentlessly during the campaign. My gut instinct is that if he won, the Republican coalition would fracture and the shine would come off his candidacy under the relentless beating he would take from the press.

5) John McCain: I don’t like John McCain, think he has terrible judgment, and think he would make an awful President. However, in his defense, I think he would PROBABLY appoint originalist Supreme Court Justices and I also think he’s more electable than…

6) Mitt Romney: Is he charismatic, organized, a great fund raiser, and pandering like crazy to conservatives? Absolutely.

On the other hand, I am almost convinced at this point that he couldn’t win a national election. Maybe that’s because he comes across as a flip flopper, maybe it’s because he’s a Mormon, or maybe it’s because everything about him screams “slick,” but whatever the reason may be, until Mitt can convince me that he would stand a chance of actually winning, it’s hard to get excited about his candidacy.

7) Tom Tancredo: I love Tanc. He may be my favorite Congressman, he’s very conservative, and he has been a national hero on illegal immigration. But, I don’t think he can win the nomination, nor do I think he could get elected if he did. He’s a great Congressman and would probably make a great senator if he could get elected, but I don’t think he is cut out to be President.

8) Sam Brownback: He seems like an earnest, socially conservative fellow, but he just doesn’t have what it takes to make it to the Presidency.

9) John Cox: On the one hand, he has never won elected office. On the other hand, he’s not Alan Keyes or Ron Paul. That’s good enough for the 9 slot.

10) Alan Keyes: After the disastrous campaign he ran against Barack Obama in 2004, you’d think he’d have called it quits, but I guess he wanted a little more notoriety. Either way, he seems like a nice enough guy, but he’s not cut out to be a politician.

11) Ron Paul: He’s a great candidate — if you’re willing to overlook his terrible personality, his enabling of conspiracy kooks, his pro-terrorist explanation of 9/11, his ridiculous isolationist views on foreign policy, the obnoxious nuts who seem to make up most of his hard core supporters, the fact that he is absolutely unelectable, and another half dozen things I’m probably forgetting.

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