McCain and Giuliani GOP’s Best?
Linda Chavez argues that, of the Republican candidates seeking the presidency, only John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are qualified.
Many of the Republicans, whatever else their appeal, simply don’t have the experience to lead America during wartime. Mitt Romney doesn’t have the gravitas needed; he’s too eager to please, willing to shape his positions according to the polls.
Much the same can be said of Mike Huckabee.
Ron Paul is a bona fide crank. Last week we learned, for example, that he not only opposes the war in Iraq, but that he regards the Civil War as a mistake as well.
And Fred Thompson? He should go back to “Law and Order.”
That’s the entirety of her argument against the rest of the field. Granting the limitations of an 800-word syndicated column, that’s a rather shallow dismissal.
Gravitas was thrown around a lot in the 2000 cycle but it’s a self-fulfilling modifier. If one thinks someone has what it takes to be president, you think he has gravitas; otherwise, you don’t.
That Romney seems to change his positions on major issues in short order, conveniently aligning himself with the electorate to which he’s seeking to appeal, is a much more reasonable basis for rejecting him. It’s rather hard, though, to make that particular charge stick against Huckabee. After all, his positions on many social issues are well to the left of the GOP base.
That Paul is a “crank” is perhaps not a particularly difficult case to make. But the fact that he “opposes the war in Iraq” is hardly a major piece of evidence in that regard; indeed, that puts him decidedly in the American mainstream. And, while I disagree with Paul that quickly ending slavery could have been accomplished by having Uncle Sam simply pay owners for their slaves, the belief that an internecine battle in which over half a million Americans were killed should have been avoided is hardly the height of insanity.
Chavez’ dismissal of Thompson doesn’t even qualify as half-assed. Why, exactly, should he go back to acting?
Indeed, while devoting more time to her two favorites, she doesn’t exactly tell us why she thinks they’re qualified. She thinks we live in a dangerous world and need serious men to lead us. But what makes them serious? She doesn’t say.
Couldn’t one just as easily retort that McCain is an old geezer who’s out of touch with his party? Or that Giuliani is a one-trick pony with a tendency toward fascism?
It’s probably true that most of us ultimately make such judgments at a gut level and apply intellectual reasoning post hoc. We instinctively gravitate towards certain candidates and find ourselves put off by others. But those in the professional punditry business ought at least do us the service of offering up some analysis.
Photo source: Charlie Neibergall/AP.