August 27, 2005

Ruffini Straw Poll

The results of the Ruffini GOP straw poll are out. He had a list of a good 15 or so potential candidates, and then a second vote that included four fantasy candidates or the option of standing with the original.

In the original, I voted for Brownback of Kansas. First off, he's the brother-in-law of my second cousin (the brother of my mom's cousin's husband, which I think works out to second cousin's brother-in-law) so I have some familial connection. Honestly, though, I voted for him based on a few things that have nothing to do with family. He was elected to the House in the class of 1994 (heady times, those) and in 1996 he won Bob Dole's vacated seat. He definitely strikes me as a major idealist all around (he's one of the Republicans that self-termlimited and won't run for the Senate again in 2010), and he's clearly a pretty intelligent guy with a penchant for symbolism. He's pretty big on Christianity (he became a Catholic in 2002) but he's good at hitting messages with a more universal appeal. Mostly, I like him because he's pro-life and he favors more action with regard to genocide in Darfur. I'm not stuck to him, I just think it's a tragedy that it's such a non-issue.

Brownback will probably get backing from Santorum, a Senator I'm not particularly wild about, and he's already been pre-endorsed by Pat Robertson, which is not a particularly positive note. I suspect that Sam and I have profoundly different views on how a lot of the world works (though not so profound as my differences with most Democrats) and I might not be able to back him in good conscience down the road.

Giuliani won the straw poll strongly, with Allen coming in second. The four fantasy candidates, Condi, Cheney, Jeb and Fred Thompson, came out in that order in a lineup against each other and the regular candidates. Condi won in pretty much every formulation and in every group, which is funny for someone that never ran for office and has so many unknown positions. Actually, it's probably because of her many unknown positions that it's so easy to maintain popularity across the moderate-conservative divide, allowing every to see that she's intelligent, independent and accomplished.

I voted for Fred Thompson because his movies are awesome, as his persona, and because in the few media appearances where I have seen him he's always thoughtful, articulate, discerning and earnest. Very likable guy, as far as I'm concerned.

I was definitely not going to vote for Tancredo, and it would take a long, long campaign of endless socialism from the Democrats to get me to vote Tancredo instead of libertarian or write-in.

I don't have too many specific grievances against Pataki, except that he's pro-choice and just seems so dull and blah.

Huckabee is a poor choice, given his abysmal ranking from CATO on the Governoir's report card for fiscal solvency, and his recent foray into fighting childhood obesity (teen anorexia/bulimia is a far more real danger than fat kids).

I am still tempted to vote Hagel for his experience and his good record on fiscal issues, but I'm really off-put by what appears to be a real lack of interest in democracy-promotion as a foreign policy.

McCain would be awesome for his foreign policy, which in many ways is more passionate and intellectually rigorous than even the President's, but his domestic agenda would be more muddling and populist (BCRA, anyone?) aside from being pro-life and pro-tax cut.

Bill Frist seems like a good guy but I don't really get a strong sense of what he'd do in office.

Romney wouldn't be horrible, but aside from political triangulation being Massachusetts, Michigan and Utah I don't know what he'd campaign on.

I kind of like Allen, and he seems energetic, but I'm waiting to hear more from him.

I'm perpetually uncomfortable with Newt given what I know of his personal life, but he is a pretty well-spoken and visionary guy otherwise.

Rudy doesn't really have very defining domestic stances, and seems to me more like an empty vessel into which socially moderate bloggers inject their complaints about the GOP conservatives.

The whole affair only serves to remind me that it's WAY early in the process from a voter's point of view, and that none of them are close to perfectly matching my politics.

In conclusion, no to Tancredo, yes to Fred Thompson.

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