Thursday, July 12, 2007

More 2008 US Presidential Contenders?

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on July 5th 2007 in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

Back in the states, the 2008 Presidential race could get even more interesting than it already has been. What was already looming as the most wide open Presidential contest in over 80 years, could become even more so if former Senator and Law and Order TV star Fred Thompson jumps into the Republican race next month as I fully expect him to..
Fred will probably be joined in the Republican race later this year by that old gunslinger, Shoot (from the hip) Gingrich who hails from the same southern state I was born and raised in, Georgia. But unlike our former President from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, (who recently visited the Emerald Isle), what ‘ole Newt lacks in integrity and morals, he makes up for with his mouth.
I call him Shoot instead of Newt because of his response to questions about the Virginia Tech campus shootings this past April. Newt, I meant to say Shoot Gingrich said he thought there would have been fewer people killed if everyone on campus was allowed to carry guns with them to class. Then some law abiding citizen could have shot and killed the perpetrator before he had a chance to murder so many other defenceless (aka gun less).students and teachers.
I thought this was one of Shoot’s more brilliant ideas actually. Heck why shouldn’t every American citizen carry a gun with them to school, work, the gym or their favourite bar and restaurant. We wouldn’t need near as many policemen, lawyers, judges and jail cells then because law abiding citizens could take care of the criminals long before the police arrive to try and arrest or stop them. We call that “frontier justice”, which is what we used to have 150 years ago in the western US.
Of course when the police did arrive on the scene, they wouldn’t have any problems figuring out which people firing their weapons were law abiding citizens and which ones were the criminals they should be trying to arrest. If they weren’t sure, then the law abiding citizens could simply flash their National Rifle Association (NRA) cards since we all know that only law abiding citizens would belong to this organization.
Shoot could even borrow Herbert Hoover’s old campaign slogan and add his own personal touch to the beginning and end of it. It could read; “Shoot (first ask questions later) Gingrich for President in 2008 if you want a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage and a gun in every pocket.” Sounds kind of catchy doesn’t it?
As for the ethical lapses which led to his censure and forced him to step down as Speaker of the House, that was a long time ago. Most Republicans believe he wouldn’t have been censured if it hadn’t been for Democrats unfairly targeting him because of his leadership of the Republican “revolution” which wrested control of the Congress from the Democratic Party in 1994. Darn those Democrats and their dirty partisan politics.
Most Republican social conservative Christians would back “Shoot” in a heartbeat because of his strong credentials as an advocate of their social values and close ties to Pat Robertson and other Christian conservative leaders. They have been quick to forgive him for sending his first wife divorce papers while she lay sick in the hospital and for carrying on an adulterous affair with his current 3rd wife, while he was trying to impeach President Clinton for his role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
But enough about my man “Shoot” Gingrich. The really big Presidential political news is coming out of New York City (NYC), where billionaire NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced his resignation from the Republican Party. Bloomberg can’t run for re-election as Mayor in 2009 because of term limits, so his decision to register as an independent is seen by many as a prelude to a run for President in 2008 as an Independent candidate.
With a net worth estimated at 5.5 billion dollars, Bloomberg would have no trouble financing a run for president against the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominees who will each have to raise and spend 500 to 750 million dollars apiece by the time Election Day rolls around in November of 2008. But is money the only issue Bloomberg has to deal with?
A majority of American voters are disgusted with the performance of both Republicans and Democrats in Washington and have grown weary of partisan politics. Bloomberg does have a reputation as both a successful businessman and as an effective non-partisan politician who gets things done, with approval ratings from New York City voters in the 70 percent range. His centrist views on issues like climate change, gun control, abortion and gay rights resonate with many independent and Democratic voters as well as a few Republicans (myself included). He also gets much higher marks from New York City residents for his job performance as Mayor than his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, who is the current front runner for the republican Presidential nomination.
Having said that, Mayor Bloomberg also has significant obstacles to overcome even though the biggest, money to finance a national Presidential campaign, isn’t one of them. Despite their disgust with both major political parties, American voters still have a tendency to pull the lever for their respective Presidential and congressional candidates on Election Day. Historically, third party or independent Presidential candidates have never come close to capturing the US Presidency. The best performance by a third party candidate was 90 years ago by Teddy Roosevelt, who only garnered 27% of the popular vote running as a former President. Ross Perot got only 19% in his first run for President in 1992 for the best performance by a third party candidate in more recent times.
Bloomberg also has to work harder to get on the ballot in all 50 states, which is not an obstacle for Republican and Democratic nominees. He also lacks foreign policy experience at a time when the US badly needs a President who can rebuild its reputation overseas. It is hard to say if he would draw more votes away from the Republican or Democratic Presidential nominee at this point, but suffice to say, none of the current candidates would welcome his entry into the Presidential race. Stay tuned.

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