It is a serious question. Whether or not the Republican presidential field is good, but more importantly a relatively conservative one?
Well, Charles Krauthammer in Friday's Real Clear Politics http://realclearpolitics.com tries to assure the faithful that it is a good and a conservative field.
Mr. Krauthammer points out some of the not so wonderful things that Ronald Reagan did as president. Such as granting amnesty to then only three million illegal aliens. Appointing Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy to the federal supreme court. And before Mr. Reagan became president, when he was governor of California, Mr. Reagan signed the most liberal abortion law at the time in 1969. Mr. Reagan conceded later that it was the single worst piece of legislation he signed as California governor and became an ardent defender of life. Also, to be fair about the Anthony Kennedy appointment to the supreme court, that was because Robert Bork was defeated by the senate and the next appointee, federal appeals court judge Douglas Ginsburg, had to withdraw due to it coming out that he used marijuana in college and, unlike William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, Judge Ginsburg did inhale. Justice Kennedy was a bad third choice who could make it through a Democrat senate and a wounded Reagan presidency due to the so-called Iran-Contra affair.
But, Ronald Reagan ran as an unabashed conservative Republican and transformed the Republican party from the WASP, elite, country-club party that did not mind going along to get along with Democrats to the party that gave Gen. Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, the first blacks to be secretary of state.
Maybe that is why there is so much anxiety about the current crop of candidates. No one seems to, on the surface, be running like Ronald Reagan did. Mr. Reagan ran on a platform of smaller government, even eliminating the department of education and energy which were and are boondoggles. And, Mr. Reagan was a tried and true anti-communist.
The issues have changed and yet they have not. Today, the federal government is so multi-tentacled that it is involved in so much of the states affairs that the founding fathers must be rolling in their graves. There is a serious enemy we are at both a hot and cold war with, radical Islam.
So, where is the candidate that is saying not only that taxes are too high and there is a serious need of a tax overhaul? Well, there is former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who backs the so-called "Fair tax" that would be a consumption tax or a federal sales tax.
And as far as the size of government, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney can say he has a record of not only not raising taxes as the governor but cutting the state payroll.
The War Against Islamofacsist Terror is a unifying banner that most Republicans, save for Texas congressman Ron Paul, are running on at some degree. All the top candidates, Mr. Romney, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson and Arizona senator John "F--- You" McCain are talking about it and none is shying away from the reality that this is going to be a long, titanic struggle against a form of Islam that would take the world back almost a milenia.
The question is, why is there so much anxiety about this campaign?
Some of it is Dinosaur, Drive-By, Mainstream Media driven. Since the DDBMSM is in bed and charting the victory of Sen. Hilary Clinton, they are making a lot of the fact that some Republicans are voicing their displeasure with all of the candidates. I do not know who most of these people the DDBMSM find to talk to are. Simple truth. As in 2006, the DDBMSM is going to make things really bad for the Republicans in hopes of driving down the base. It did not work then since the Republicans did not suffer the kinds of losses that they should have in a second-term mid-term election.
And there is a sad fact that there is a Bush Fatigue Syndrome, BFS, among many Republicans and many of the strongest supporters of the war. When a president has approval ratings in the 30s, there is a lot of room for pessimism. But, if as we are seeing improvement in the Iraq theatre in the War Against Islamofacsist Terror, eventually President Bush's approval numbers will go up. Even getting into the low 40s would improve the mood of pessimistic Republicans.
Then there is the Rudy Giuliani candidacy. It is the liberal Republicanism of the 60s and 70s rearing its ugly head. It is not a winning Republicanism. To Mr. Giuliani's credit, he was a relatively conservative mayor of New York City. But, that is really pretty liberal to the rest of the Republican party and United States. A lot of reliably conservative Republicans are lining up to support Mr. Giuliani's candidacy. Why, I can not say. Mr. Giuiliani is the poster boy for the Democrat lite theory. If a Republican runs as a moderate and there is a Democrat and not much really separates the two, voters almost always elect the Democrat. And, that is the potential of Mr. Giuliani, to lead the Republicans to defeat by not offering the voters a clear alternative to whoever the Democrats nominate.
But, as far as a field of candidates, I will take ANY Republican over any Democrat any day. And the Republican candidates, even Mr. Giuliani, are running as conservatives. And that is a good thing. It shows that the policies that Mr. Reagan espoused and tried his best to govern by has taken hold enough in the Republican party that no candidate if he or she wants to win the nomination for president can run as a liberal Republican.
So, even if it is hard to believe, these are good candidates and one of them, I hope Mitt Romney, will make an excellent conservative Republican candidate and one who can win in November, 2008.