My Personal Ranking Of The 2008 Contenders

After watching a couple of debates, I think I’ve seen enough to come out with a new Presidential preference list. This list is based on a combination of conservatism, likability, and electability. Here it is (Keep in mind, I do work for Duncan Hunter, so take what I say with a grain of salt).

Group 1

#1) Duncan Hunter: He’s a Vietnam Vet, a former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and he has a son serving in the military. He is the most conservative candidate running — or for that matter, thinking about running, and his support of a “fair trade” position would pull in lots of Republicans in states like Ohio and Michigan. He’s the most qualified candidate on national security issues and he is rock solid on illegal immigration. In my view (and I was saying this before I went to work for him), I think he’s the candidate who would best represent conservatives and he would be the most electable Republican in a general election.

#2) Fred Thompson: I’m not as high on Fred Thompson as a lot of other people on the net are because he hasn’t really faced the sort of scrutiny that the other candidates have yet and because I’m not sure that he has the work ethic necessary to be the President, but I do like Fred. He’s more conservative than the other big 3 contenders and he definitely has charisma. If, as expected, he gets into the race in June, he will definitely shake things up.

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#3) Mitt Romney: He definitely comes across as charismatic and presidential. Also, while I don’t think he’s as conservative as he’s pretending to be, I think he’s probably more conservative than Rudy or McCain. Still, despite his fantastic fund raising effort, his campaign seems to be stalled. Maybe it’s because people don’t trust him to be conservative or maybe it’s because of the Mormon thing, I don’t know, but he doesn’t seem to be making much forward progress.

Group 2

James Gilmore: He’s conservative, doesn’t seem to have any particularly heavy baggage, and although he’s not extremely charismatic…well, he’s just not extremely charismatic. You could at least imagine him as President though and imagine that maybe, just maybe, he’d be pretty good at it. I think he’d have a better shot of winning the presidency than say, Tanc, and he’d be more conservative as a candidate than say Rudy or McCain. That’s why he ranks this high.

Tom Tancredo: I love Tanc as a Congressman and he’s definitely one of the more conservative candidates, but I think he has made too many enemies on the right to win and would be too easily demagogued by the left, even if he did get the nomination. But, if he got in, boy, he would definitely shake things up.

Mike Huckabee: Sure he’s a squish, but at least he’s a charismatic, likeable squish without a lot of baggage. That elevates him a few notches in my book.

John McCain: I have always perceived him as an arrogant man who thinks any position he takes must be right simply by virtue of the fact that he has taken it. Nothing so far this campaign has changed my mind.

Rudy Giuliani: His, “I cut crime in New York and was a great leader after 9/11” lines feel a little tired and he is the least conservative member of the field by a long, long way. Also, after all the little peccadilloes of Rudy’s have come in the light in the last few months, I’ve become more convinced that he just couldn’t win. In the end, the base would be lukewarm about supporting him and the Democrats’ pals in the media would just trot out angry New York firefighters, people talking about his affairs and his shady business partners, etc., etc., until his campaign was hobbled.

Tommy Thompson: He shows a few flashes of potential, but I’m just not sure he has what it takes to be President. Nothing personal, Tommy — most of us, myself included, don’t have it either.

Sam Brownback: He’s squishy on foreign policy and illegal immigration and comes across as sincere, but not particularly charismatic. To be honest, he seems a little out of his league.

Ron Paul: He’s one part constitution loving, fiscal conservative and two parts nutty, America hating, conspiracy loving crank. His chances of winning the primary or the general election are exactly the same: zero. Furthermore, after he bent over backwards to justify Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack last night, I don’t even want him in the Republican Party, much less as a Presidential candidate.

PS: I really don’t see a point in including Newt because I don’t think he’s running and even if he were running, his chances of getting in the race in September and winning would be so miniscule that they’re not worth discussing. If Newt wants to get in, he should do it by the end of the 2nd quarter.

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