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By Geoff Metcalf

February 15, 2007

Handicapping 2008: The GOP

�Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is a temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship.� --James Russell Lowell

The response to last weeks column �Handicapping the Big Three Democrats� sparked some �interesting� reader response.

The GOP�s field of wannabes is �interesting� as well as myopic and potentially self-defeating. Mike Reagan offers some salient insights into �the stupid� party�s proclivity for pass/fail litmus tests�and acknowledges even his late icon father probably would not meet the current standard of fundamental orthodox demands. [Read]

The GOP presidential candidate field remains in the development stage (more so that the Dems at least). The conventional wisdom seems to tout Rudy Gillian, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as the mainstream players. Purists (a loud and committed minority) are demanding Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, or Duncan Hunter as �obvious� solutions to restoring the republic.

For the record (and notwithstanding the flood of nasty and obscene email it is sure to precipitate) I would �like� to see Ron Paul as president. Ron Paul is a for real �constitutional conservative� and best mirrors my personal preferences. However, (and this is what galls many) Paul, Tancredo, Hunter and players to be announced will not make the cut.

Eventually, inevitably, voters will probably be faced with a Guiliani, McCain or Romney to take on the Democrats anointed one in 2008.

Before proceeding, I need to restate an axiom from �Part I�: An unstated but recognized rule of contemporary political campaigns is 'The Golden Rule'... the guy (or gal) with the Gold Rules....

When I wrote, �Democrats seem most likely to eat their own early.� I did not mean to suggest the GOP wouldn�t also resort to fratricide. Opposition research has been busy, and none of the GOP front three should expect a pass. It WILL be nasty. Whereas the three Democrat first tier candidates have the challenge of positioning themselves as viable while at the same time not alienating their party's committed 'core voters', The leading Republican candidates have already estranged their �core voters�. The GOP seems to be campaigning for the general election in the blind hope they can coerce their core constituency that �Hey, at least I�m not Hillary��

Anathema to active grassroots GOP faithful are abortion, illegal immigration, gays, taxes, and big government. None of the first tier GOP wannabes meets those �traditional� litmus tests. Those that do (Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter) have and will be marginalized, vilified, financially starved, and discarded on the political trash heap of well intended (but under funded) gadflies.

It is not �right.� It is not fair. But it is an indomitable reality. Don�t shoot the messenger.

  • Rudy: The �Everyman� and �America�s Mayor� in the wake of his superior leadership and performance as the 9/11 smoke and dust still fell on his city. He is well finance and well organized, and appeals to non-GOP voters as a viable alternative to the Dems. Many consider him a RINO (Republican in name only). For many republicans he is on the wrong side of too many core GOP issues. He is divorced and has a new trophy wife. However, he has proven he can work with Dems (some argue because he IS one), and he is dynamic.
  • McCain: Wants the gig like breath. He is a less polished GOP version of Hillary�anxious to respond to polling and reticent to stand on principle. However, he has an uncontrollable temper and a nasty mouth. He is too quiet on immigration despite his own state�s challenges with the problem. He is older than Ronald Reagan was when he became the oldest U.S. president. There is an organized anti-McCain veteran community anxious to �Swift Boat� him for his conduct as a POW and fears of him as a �Manchurian Candidate.�
  • Romney: Fails litmus tests but hey, he did fix �Taxachusetts� [Read] notwithstanding perceived flip-flopping on assorted issues�and �the Big Dig� (which is frankly more a Ted Kennedy and John Kerry cross to bear). But he is a Mormon (making him as electable as a woman or a black man to some voters).

�Most� Republicans appear to be grudgingly prepared to nominate a candidate that �potentially� can win, rather than one that is an ideological purist. That remains their blessing and curse. Meanwhile, the question lingers, �Is the best you got?�

As I tried (and failed) to explain to some critics, realism does not equate to �defeatism�, and like it or not, a RINO is still better than what the Democrats offer.

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The republic is in its sad handicapped state because the liberals have incrementally been successful in chipping away at for freedoms and liberty (aided by a complicit mains stream media). We cannot and will not restore the republic with the flick of a light switch (or the unlikely election of Ron Paul or resurrection of Ronald Reagan). We got in this mess by losing a lot of 'little' battles. We won't fix what is broken quick.

What we MUST do is to 'incrementally' correct the wrongs we have suffered. Ideally, we should try to take bigger bites out of the apple reversing the trend...

� 2007 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's

Web Site: While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  











Eventually, inevitably, voters will probably be faced with a Guiliani, McCain or Romney to take on the Democrats anointed one in 2008.