A lot has happened since the last issue of the Villanovan. The process of selecting the next President of the United States has officially begun. That seems a little bit odd to say since we have been bombarded with commentary and analysis of the race for about a year now.
So far, Barack Obama shocked the world with a complete trouncing of Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses. Hillary Clinton went on to return the favor by defeating the newly crowned favorite in New Hampshire, shocking even her own staff who had prepared two different speeches depending on how badly she lost. The apparently obvious answer to her turnaround in New Hampshire was that she got teary-eyed when a questioner asked her how she handled all the pressure.
All of the predictions, commentary, strategy, and analysis have been equally weak on the Republican side. The Republicans will have held contests in four states. At this time, Governor Mike Huckabee has won Iowa, Governor Mitt Romney has won Wyoming and Michigan, and Senator John McCain has won New Hampshire. As easy as it would be to say that those three are the remaining contenders, two more candidates hold high hopes for the next two contests. Fred Thompson has stated his strategy has been to make it to the South Carolina primary and be in a place to win it. Rudy Giuliani has spent a large portion of his time wooing ex-New Yorkers in Florida. Theoretically, there could be five Republican winners before the first big wave of states on February 5.
Throughout the campaign, there has been story after story about how Republicans are not happy with their nominees. I don’t buy into that. It may be true that Republicans are nervous about November. However, this is much more a fear of momentum for Democrats after the past Congressional elections. Another year of inactivity from Congress could easily destroy that momentum.
The Grand Old Party has six candidates who all have their strengths. Their supporters have picked up on those strengths, and want their candidate to win as much as ever before.
Mitt Romney is a champion for economic conservatives. He understands business as well as anyone, having served as CEO of Bain Capital when it launched Domino’s Pizza, Home Depot, and Staples (among other businesses). As a governor, he managed to create a system to give healthcare to all people in Massachusetts without raising taxes or creating new bureaucracy by putting money spent on required emergency care in hospitals to help the poor afford insurance.
Mike Huckabee, who some may remember has not received any favors from this column, is the likable bass guitarist who was a pastor before he became governor. He is a self-described “Christian leader,” who does his best to appear compassionate to the American people.
John McCain is a war hero. He was tortured in Vietnamese prison camps and has stood by his principles in the Senate by arguing that the United States should never lower itself to such practices. He successfully lobbied for the new strategy in Iraq which has increased security and brought down death tolls.
Rudy Giuliani stood atop the rubble on September 11th and told the people that they would rise up. He also managed to reduce crime by drastic amounts in New York City, and lowered the city’s tax burden.
Fred Thompson is the candidate who would rather debate policy than give the media a soundbite. He refuses to submit to the “raise your hand if” style of debates. He has also proposed an optional flat tax rate where people would simply be able to take their income and pay a single rate across the board, rather than deal with the complications of the IRS tax code. He is the no-nonsense candidate that defies the politics of 24/7 media-attention.
Then there is Ron Paul. He does not believe government should be as expansive as it has become – something all conservatives agree on. He wants to eliminate as many bureaucratic agencies as he can get his hands on, and does not want the United States military spread around the world.
So, there is no favorite right now. All of these candidates have their flaws as well, but for now I will leave it to my fellow writers to point them out. Nonetheless, they have all brought a positive message for the direction they want to take the country, and the lack of a favorite should say much more about the resumes and wealth of experience across the board that these candidates bring to the table.
Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected]