Friday, July 13, 2007

The Aged, The Corrupt, and The Unelectable: Avoiding Them

"Winning isn't everything? Well, losing isn't anything." (Vince Lombardi)

A variation on Lombardi's point is that a winning candidate may not agree with you on all things. However, you want to avoid at all costs allowing the winner to be someone who disagrees with you on just about everything. Presidencies have long-lasting consequences, such as in the appointment of Supreme Court justices.

To Section 9 (see "comments"), I really do appreciate your comments, and I'm not as uncompromising as I sometimes may seem. I just see ourselves falling into the same pattern where we nominate the wrong candidates, with the result that we lose elections we should win.

Habitually, the Republican Party sometimes operates as if it has a mandate that says, "Wait your turn!" Thus, we end up with 73-year-old Bob Dole running for President, and Fred Thompson (who will be 67) on Inauguration Day.

The Democrats don't wait their turn, and they win elections. There was no way untested John Kennedy (much too young) . . . or unknown Jimmy Carter (too Southern! too religious!) . . . or womanizing Bill Clinton (from Arkansas?!) could win, right?

In 2004, John Edwards, with experience mainly as a trial lawyer, was a serious contender. Now, Barack Obama, with no executive experience and a year-or-so in the Senate, is the leading money-raiser and in second place to Hillary.

We Republicans back ourselves into these corners, and we end up with the depressing list of candidates I had in yesterday's column -- the aged, the corrupt, and the unelectable, people like Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, and Dan Quayle. Ironically, Mrs. Quayle, a brilliant woman, would have been a great candidate, but she suffered from the deficiency (?) of being, ahem, a woman.

I truly hope Sarah Palin, Mike Steele, J. C. Watts, and Mike Huckabee don't have to wait their turns, at which point they'll be too old, tired, and baggage-laden to have much effect on the country. Nominating people like them will show that we're serious about wanting the votes of female professionals, Blacks, younger people, and evangelicals, a point that's very much at issue now.

Section 9 (my commenter), I apologize for saying you worked for the RNC! I get very irritated by the national Party's (and the pundits') assumption that the next election is not winnable. At the same time, I don't underestimate Hillary Clinton, who won big in two elections in NY state.

Yes, Hillary's favorabilities are not the best. But remember, in the last election, GWB's approval rating never went above 49%, and he still won by 3 million votes.

I agree that Giuliani could win FL, PA (Bush lost it by 1% in 2004), and probably NJ, which would make him President-elect. Reagan, being deceased, can't run again, so we will not get the much-desired "perfect" candidate.

My friend, congressional candidate Diana Lynn Irey, often looked at as the ideal wife, mother, and candidate, once said to me about supposedly "perfect" people, "I can't stand them!" Wise woman. She recognized that imperfection is our human condition.

As St. Paul put reminded us: "For all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God." As usual, he said a mouthful.

Stephen R. Maloney

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