". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Straw Poll Thoughts

Thanks to everyone who has so far voted in this site's presidential straw poll, linked at right. You are invited to continue voting on a weekly basis and to encourage anyone else you know to visit and do the same. The Pajamas Media poll is, of course, not at all scientific, but I find it fascinating to get a peek at the preferences of those who frequent this blog, and I will be interested to see if the results change over time. So please keep voting! (Last week's poll has closed but there should soon be a new one.)

Right now among voters at this site, Fred Thompson is leading the GOP contenders and Bill Richardson is leading the Democratic ones. I find it interesting to note that these results mirror those of the national Pajamas straw poll but that they are in stark contrast to the Real Clear Politics average of leading national polls, which this week shows Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton ahead in their respective races.

Reflecting on this divergence, I have a couple of theories (about which I am the first to admit I could be totally mistaken). First, the Pajamas poll in its un-scientificness reflects the more conservative leanings of Pajamas Media readers. Second, I believe the Republican result in particular reflects the high hopes conservative voters have for the candidacy of Fred Thompson. As I have talked with other conservatives in recent months, I have often heard reflected in their opinions my own struggle to find a candidate I can enthusiastically embrace combined with my curiosity about the possible candidacies of both Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich. Now that Thompson has announced, I think a lot of conservative voters are eagerly anticipating his emergence as a candidate who can compete nationally while representing them as a social as well as fiscal conservative.

I have shared in that anticipation. Yet in the first few weeks of Thompson's candidacy I have begun to have doubts about whether he is THE ONE. I will admit that this uncertainty is a result less of my own impressions of his performance in the last few weeks--due to personal circumstances I have just not been following national news very closely--and more of the observations of some analysts whose opinions I respect. I have also become aware and concerned that in head-to-head match-ups of Republicans against Hillary Clinton (who as we all know is the almost certain Democratic candidate), Thompson does not fare as well as either Giuliani or--surprise!--John McCain. Yes, we need a candidate with the right views. But we also need a candidate who can win.

If you, like me, have been waiting around for the Republican knight on a white horse who is going to ride in and save this election, and if you have been hoping Thompson might be our hero, you may wish to read the following columns by two savvy political pundits who suggest that may not happen. If after reading you can offer some rebuttals to the concerns they raise, I encourage you to do so, because I would like to hear the case for Thompson.

George Will

Dick Morris

If you are a committed Thompson supporter, please know that I have not yet decided on a candidate, and it is not my intent to attack him. But I do think that when he was on the sidelines it was very easy for frustrated conservatives like myself to idealize him, endowing him with whatever attributes we were most missing in the announced candidates. Now that he is in the race, the political honeymoon is over, and the scrutiny has begun.

4 comments:

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Personally, I am not excited about our list of candidates this year. I lean toward Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee personally.

Thompson has my interest because of his claims of being a Federalist. I like a man who believes that the Federal Government should not be going beyond its constitutional bounds. Can a president in today's day and age do anything about that? Probably not much more than issue his veto power. He surely isn't going to refuse to appoint cabinet secretaries on the grounds that the department isn't needed. And he doesn't have the authority to terminate all the aid we provide to citizens. The fact of the matter is we don't have a government that can easily return to federalism. So where does that leave it?

I've heard some of the concerns about Thompson, and honestly, I don't know what to think. That will take time. Probably my biggest concern is under the name of federalism and states rights, he refuses to back a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman....if the amendment ends up being needed, this concerns me. Marriage has never been called into question before, but since one state has to recognize the marriage of another state's, then this is growing into a national issue, not a state by state issue.

I also like Huckabee, who is rising in the polls, and if anyone is being hurt by Thompson entering, I would think it would be Huckabee. They are similar in a lot of areas. Huckabee is not a federalist though, and one of his key issues is arts in education. I'm not against that. I believe that we define education too rigidly in our schools and the arts are very important to producing a whole, educated person. It goes back to federal funding and regulation. THIS, I believe, is a states issue.

For me pro-choice Guiliani is not an option. After living in Utah and knowing that the Mormon Church has (recent - within the last 20 years) prophecies about their taking over the government, Mit Romney would not be an option for me, either. I've always been intrigued by McCain, but I am wary of his pragmatism. I like a clear ideology. But then again, he is a clear reflection of everything that I have always admired in the spirit of Arizonans (we lived there on vicarage - when Clinton shut down the government. I liked that they reopened the Grand Canyon - until Clinton activated their guard). They are their own people and do things as they see fit (my drivers license wasn't going to expire until I was 60...they don't observe daylight savings time, etc).

Okay, so now I am babbling all over the place. Time to stop.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

I don't think there is ever a "THE ONE" in politics. Even the Great Reagan had flaws. I see a lot less to dislike in Thompson than the others; that's all. I think they're all pretty preferable to President Billary II, however.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Lora. You can "babble" on my blog anytime you want!

Barb, when I used the phrase "THE ONE" I wasn't suggesting that there will ever be a perfect candidate or one without flaws. But I guess I'm looking for the candidate who is going to be able to rally the majority of Republican voters around his message and right now I don't see that happening. It's awfully early--I guess I need to be patient--but my concern is that if we don't have a candidate who can unify the party we aren't going to get out the vote and then we will have President Billary.

Chris said...

Cheryl,

Thompson not showing up to the "Values Voters" debate somewhat troubled me. I had heard he was soft on abortion, but recently (perhaps in response to not attending the debate) mom got a letter from him in the mail that said he would guard the sanctity of life...though whether or not that includes embryonic stem cells is unknown.

Aside from that aspect, I don't know what to think of him. I support him only in that he is the best choice that will win, but he is hardly my favorite....my favorite is a black Republican who shall remain nameless. This Republican is not considered a Keyes player because he talks too much about God and the family and our society (at least what it should be like).

In Christ,

Chris