Friday, June 09, 2006

White House Watch - Wild Cards

This is the fourth, and last, installment of the weeklong examination of presidential candidates for 2008. Rudolph Giuliani was examined on Monday, Senator George Allen on Tuesday, and Congressman Tom Tancredo on Wednesday. Tancredo is far and away the best of those three, but none of the other names bandied about come close to any of them.

Today, I will present two names that are not on the normal list of candidates, but I include them because I believe they would be compelling candidates. Both are very good anti-Communist members of Congress; they are Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia) and Peter King (R-New York).

I should note that there are many anti-Communists who could have made this list if that was the only measuring bar. For this post, I "flipped the script" from the previous three. For the earlier posts, I limited the field to current likely presidential candidates, and picked the three who were most anti-Communist in my view. This time, I limited the field to anti-Communists, and picked the two I believe would be most viable as Presidential candidates. Some of you may have other names in mind; if so, feel free to make their case in the comments (except for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who would be terrific, but is ineligible as she was born in Cuba).

I'll begin with a disclosure: Jo Ann Davis is my Representative in the House. I can't possibly express how good it is to write that. She has been a solid anti-Communist vote in Congress, and has co-sponsored bills to repeal PNTR and move the Olympics out of Beijing. What makes her most appealing in 2008 is her overall record, which would please many a Republican voter (particularly on the likely litmus-test issues: immigration and abortion) and thus ensure a good shot at the nomination, and - though it shouldn't matter - her gender. In a race against Hillary Clinton, the "it's time for a woman" mantra would become useless to Clinton. Should any other Democrat win the nomination (all the other likely Democratic candidates are male), it would work to her advantage. Her weakness is her location. Should Senator Allen run, she really cannot.

A similar problem plagues Congressman Peter King (New York). The odds of him running against Mayor Giuliani are probably zero (it's highly unlikely he'll run even if Giuliani stays out), but he has been a visible supporter of Taiwan (FAPA) and opponent of PNTR. Like Davis, King is a restrictionist on immigration and is strongly pro-life/anti-abortion. What gives King a leg up in the general election would be his location (New York) and - should the Democrats nominated Senator Clinton - the fact that he was one of a handful of Republicans to oppose the 1998 impeachment of then-President Clinton (I don't suspect impeachment will be an issue in 2008, but it could be a Democratic base motivator - unless King is the nominee).

King has one weakness, but it's a big one: he was a supporter of the Irish Republican Army for years, and according to Wikipedia, he "carried messages between the IRA and the British government" during the 1998 negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement. He ended that support recently (New York Sun), but the issue is bound to come up in a presidential campaign - as it should.

There are quite a number of other anti-Communists who would do well in the White House: Frank Wolf, Chris Smith, Virgil Goode, etc. I'm just not sure how they would do in a presidential campaign. Either way, as I write this, my mind still comes back to Tancredo as the best alternative.

I conclude with a comment on the absence of Democrats. This isn't by design. As someone who believes a strong military is required to win the Second Cold War, I am worried about a number of anti-Communist Democrats who appear to be comfortable with the military as it is (or even smaller). Without this concern, Democrats such as Barney Frank, Sherrod Brown, and Nancy Pelosi might have made my list (as well as Socialist Bernie Sanders - who is practically a one-man Non-Communist Left).

As it is, the only Democrats who come close are Richard Gephardt and Joseph Lieberman. The former is deep into political retirement now, and the latter supported PNTR (although he is also a Senate Taiwan Caucus member - FAPA), and if he's not careful may be facing his own retirement in Connecticut. The aforementioned Virgil Goode was (and is) an excellent anti-Communist, but he left the Democratic Party years ago.

That said, I am open to any other names you folks present (Democrat, Republican, or other). I claim no monopoly on the political wisdom. Make your case for your candidate in the comments, and I'll respond as I am able.

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