Ranking The Most Desired 2008 Republican Candidates
Here’s my current list (Note that I do say “current” and that this list can and probably will change over time) of most desired Republican contenders. This list is based on a mixture of conservatism and electability because if you have the most conservative candidate and he can’t get elected, he does you no good and if you have the most electable candidate, but he’s not conservative, he does you no good.
Duncan Hunter: Hunter is a movement conservative, tough on illegal immigration, the candidate with the best credentials in the war on terrorism, and in my opinion, he would be the most electable candidate the GOP could run because his position on trade would probably allow him to put states like Michigan and Pennsylvania genuinely into play. The real question is: can he buff his name recognition up to the point where people will start taking his candidacy seriously? He has a long way to go on that front at the moment.
Newt Gingrich: Judging by his poll numbers not just in the blogosphere, but of the general public, Newt has a shot to win the nomination and out of the whole field, he would probably be the guy I’d most like to see in the White House. However, Newt has a lot of baggage and I’m still getting the sense that he doesn’t intend to run.
Mitt Romney: * I don’t trust the guy and think his Mormonism could be a big hurdle to getting elected, but if Newt doesn’t run and Hunter doesn’t catch on, he may be the only guy who can stop Rudy and McCain.
Rudy Guiliani :** The only way I would support Rudy’s candidacy would be if he turned out to be the only guy who could stop McCain.
Tom Tancredo: Tanc is one of my favorite conservatives, sets the standard on illegal immigration, is fiscally conservative, and is tough on the war on terror. However, the leadership he has shown on illegal immigration which has helped him build a following has probably also made him too polarizing to win the Presidency.
Sam Brownback: Brownback is generally conservative, but he’s not particularly charismatic, is a squish on illegal immigration, comes across as soft on the war on terror, and seems to have terrible political instincts.
Jim Gilmore: The fact that Gilmore is this high says more about the quality of the field than the quality of Gilmore as a candidate. As of yet, he hasn’t shown that he can get any traction or bring anything to the table.
Tommy Thompson: The fact that he used to be governor of Wisconsin makes him more electorally appealing than Huckabee or Pataki, but as of yet, he hasn’t given people any reason to support him.
Mike Huckabee: He’s socially conservative and seems personable enough, but he is not fiscally conservative, he’s an amnesty advocate, and he doesn’t come across as tough on the war on terror.
George Pataki: A middle-of-road governor from a liberal state that he couldn’t deliver in an election. Pataki brings very little to the table.
John Cox: He may be an accomplished guy, but he has never held elected office before or done anything that shows he’s qualified to be President. Combine that with the fact that he has zero traction and zero prospect of gaining any and it would be tempting to leave him off the list all together. But, since I’d still prefer him to McCain or Hagel, he stays on.
John McCain: This guy is an egomaniac who has built an entire career out of kicking conservatives in the teeth in order to get adulation from the mainstream media.
Chuck Hagel: Even Hillary is to his right in the war on terror.
Ron Paul: Paul is a soft on terror Libertarian who has run for the Presidency before on the Libertarian Party ticket. He would have about as much of a chance of getting elected as Al Sharpton.
* Mitt Romney’s exploratory committee is advertising at RWN.
** Rudy Guiliani’s exploratory committee is advertising at Conservative Grapevine.
Update #1: I’ve learned that Ron Paul is planning to run for President (why he’s bothering, I cannot imagine). Since that’s the case, I thought I should add him to the list.