Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Three's Company

And then there were three. With Giuliani’s establishment of an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2008, there are now three Republicans that have tentatively thrown their hats in the ring.

But who are these three Republicans? After such a beating by the Democrats last week, do any of the three have what it takes to lead the party in a new direction? Do any of them have the ability to win?

Duncan Hunter has served in the House of Representatives since 1981 and currently serves the 52nd District of California. He has a strong military background and even has a son currently serving in the United States Marine Corps. His voting record on Gay Rights is less than astounding: with a vote in favor of Bush’s Federal Marriage Amendment, he has earned a zero on a recent scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign. Though Hunter is relatively unknown and has little chance of being a serious contender for president, he has recently gained some notoriety for his support for a fence spanning the entire US/Mexico border.

John McCain failed as a presidential candidate against Bush before the 2000 election. The popular senator from Arizona is largely a moderate and voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Once a Prisoner of War himself, McCain has been a staunch supporter of the US military. He has supported sending more troops into Iraq as a method to protect our interests and bring the war to an end in a more timely manner. Notably, he has spoken against the use of torture on prisoners we have captured in the war on terror. He has also taken a relatively pro-environment stance, is pro-life, and labels himself pro-Gay Rights. The HRC, however, has given him a score of 33 for the 109th Congress because his only pro-Gay vote was against the Federal Marriage Amendment. In the past, he has said he supports domestic partnerships but opposes Same-Sex Marriage.

Rudy Giuliani gained his infamy as the Mayor of New York City. He became a hero to millions of Americans in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 when he emerged as a strong American leader in the face of the terrorist attacks. Giuliani has called himself pro-choice and pro-Gay Rights. In fact, the former mayor famously lived with two Gay men for a time. As Mayor Giuliani signed a huge plan for domestic partners in New York City and has spoken in favor of Domestic Partnerships but not of Gay Marriage. Republicans are unlikely to find a popular candidate for the presidency that is more favorable toward the war in Iraq than Giuliani. As mayor during 9/11, Giuliani made a name for himself as a leader against anti-US terror.

For comparison purposes, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have both been tossed around as potential Democrat candidates for the White House. Both are in favor of Gay Rights but fall short of supporting Gay Marriage. Both Senators received high scores from the Human Rights Campaign. In fact, while Kerry scored a perfect score, Hillary Clinton did not support legislation that would grant same-sex partners of US citizens or permanent residents the same rights and privileges enjoyed by spouses of heterosexual citizens and permanent residents. Both Clinton and Kerry have been critics of the war in Iraq but both initially voted in favor of invading the country.

Presently, I am having a hard time supporting any of the candidates being considered for the presidency. McCain comes closest to getting my support. However, he is rapidly aging and has deteriorating health and isn’t quite where I would hope he would be ideologically. Hunter is too much of a scandal-ridden Border-Nazi for my taste. Giuliani is more of an image than a pragmatic politician. Kerry’s political sun has set and he missed his chance. Another Clinton White House scares me.

Why can’t there be a good candidate in either party that generally supports free trade, laissez-faire economics, and a balanced budget while also supporting Gay equality, constitutional rights, and other libertarian freedoms?

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