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Monday, July 30, 2007

Presidential Politics banter

This email conversation happened two weeks ago on July 17th. Darren and I discussed many things about the upcoming race. To differentiate our emails, I'll put Darren in blue and myself in red (no political allegiances with the colors).

Darren: I could definitely see this leading to a strong Republican-esque Independent candidate. This may actually be a good thing. I could see Brownback stealing a lot of the conservative votes from the more moderate leaders like Giuliani and Romney. Thoughts?

Ian: Don't forget, Romney's a conservative now. I've maintained the GOP will not nominate Giuliani, and with McCain a mess and Thomson a paper tiger, they'll flock to Romney and he'll be strong. More importantly, he'll be conservative enough to keep a third party conservative out of the race, because they know such an entrance would be handing the White House to Hillary f'n Clinton.

D: Romney's definitely a conservative but I think a lot of Christian evangelicals may have trouble voting for a Mormon, no matter how often he spells out his commitment to Christ. I think a lot of Christians see Mormonism as fake, which is why they are probably having trouble voting for him. Plus he's from MASS! The bastion of liberals. I think it's really interesting. We could see an extreme right candidate and an extreme left candidate (relative to the others) in Obama get nominated and have a centrist win. Gore/Bloomberg all the way?

I: Gore's no centrist.

We're generally on the same page. The Republican nominee won't win the nomination as much as be the last person standing. Basically, they won't win the nomination as much as his competitors will lose it. Which one of these candidates' negatives is the least detrimental? I think it's Romney and his Mormonism.

On the flip side, the Dems nominee will have to win it among three very viable candidates. I think Democrats love their candidates this year; the Republicans do not like theirs.

D: Exactly, I agree. Gore isn't a centrist, but I'm unsure of his ability to win the Dem nod now. I think he'd be better suited as an independent candidate, with a strong veep like Bloomberg. I think a lot of people would vote for those two over a Brownback/? combo.

I: Does Bloomberg fund himself as a Vice-Presidential nominee?

Brownback goes back to the Senate if he doesn't get the nod. Do you think he honestly wants to see the Clintons in the White House instead of Romney? A comparison cannot be made to Nader or Perot, the former who didn't think he could affect an election and the latter who didn't care if Bush lost.

D: Bloomberg won't fund himself to be veep but I don't think he can resist teaming up with Gore. Brownback (naively) has more confidence in himself as a prominent conservative Senator than fringe candidates like Nader and Perot. I also think he doesn't care about giving Clinton the White House because he wants to give conservative evangelicals what they want (which is him in office).

I: Fair enough, but does Gore run third party? Surely he's not as naive as Brownback and realizes the Democrats cannot have another Republican in the White House. Although, come to think of it, the new President would still be preferred over President Bush, especially in foreign policy.

D: Brownback would actually act in Darfur, which would be a HUGE improvement. I think Gore could run third party because I think he's so passionate about global warming and the environment that he will do anything to get in and try to change domestic policy and set the global agenda on the issue (which is what we should be doing no matter what). We are analyzing this from a rational outsider's perspective. We have to think about what drives these people to seek roles of leadership, ultimately, ego and to an extent the confidence they exude in the issues they stand for (as some would call "courage of conviction"). Why does Nader consistently run as a third party candidate, when he MUST know that he will not only never win but never get 5% of the vote to gain public funding?! 1. Ego 2. The principle (again, here we could substitute courage of conviction). I'm sure there must be other Green Party candidates that could be just as, or more, viable than Nader. Perot was pissed off at the status quo and at what he saw as an attack on middle class values. According to Wikipedia, Perot was born to a Texas cotton farmer. He was never upper class even though he had money and I think he saw the political elite as an established cancer on the middle class and what the American Dream stood for. I think he knew he couldn't win but he didn't mind spending his money to shift the national debate.

I: Great points all, except Nader is not your average irrational politician. The guy flies coach on places, for Pete's sake.

I think Gore is already getting people to pay attention to the global warming issue. His movie won the Academy Award. If he runs, he's in it to win it, not to bring the issue to light.

Brownback might be a step or two (or ten) above President Bush for many Americans, but Democrats cringe at what he might try to do socially to our country.

D: Oh, I think Democrats would do anything and everything to keep Brownback out of office, even though, you're right, he'd be way better than Bush on FP.

I: Call me crazy but, of the announced Republicans, I think Democrats would least hate a Huckabee Administration.

D: I think you're right, he's not overly pretentious with the Christian values. Democrats still don't trust most Repubs farther than they can throw them. Now that you mention his name, he's probably got a better chance than Brownback of getting the nod. More executive experience as governor, good positives to Christians, could probably lay the national security on thick to attract the rest of the Republican base. Good call.

I: You think a governor has a better shot to win on national security than a U.S. Senator?

D: Yeah. Think about it. He directs the National Guard, he's got "executive experience" running a relatively poor yet medium sized state. Remember the other governor from Arkansas beat the incumbent President (all be it with a little 3rd party help). Senators have a much harder time winning national elections because they mostly talk in the Senate whereas Governors act in their positions. I also don't think those two would be hyping national security as much as Giuliani is. They're going to talk about Christian values, family values, social issues more so than foreign policy or national security. Republicans already have the reputation of being strong on terror and all that BS. Why do they need to prove it to their own base? We know the reason why Rudy is talking up nat. security - because he's liberal on social issues and will get creamed once the base starts to focus on that.

I: Agreed for the most part on the strengths of the executive, but I'd argue the one area a Senator has it up on a Governor is national security and foreign policy. A governor sees no intelligence reports and makes no decisions outside of that state. A governor never has to look at the big picture like a Senator.

Of course, no Senator has won since Kennedy in 1960, so it seems as if all the gubernatorial advantages have outweighed the senatorial one. Still, it seems to be our first national security election without an incumbent President or Vice-President since 1928, so there's not much precedent to work off of.

Also agreed on the Republicans' strength in national security. It's just the way it is. And the Democrats are strong on domestic policies.

D: Good points. This is definitely one of the more interesting elections in the era of modern presidential elections and definitely the most exciting in our lifetimes as of yet. This question is kind of abstract and definitely depends on the politician, but it also showcases my cynicism; How genuine do you think Dems are on domestic issues?

Part 2 of the email conversation tomorrow. See you then.

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