But is it even comprehensible that a GOP candidate in 2008 could unite the tory notions, drive away the gathering storm of neo-liberalism, and land a seat in the Oval Office?
The Reagan legacy has impacted many great leaders of our day. Names ring in the minds of his students: Quayle, Williams, Gingrich, Sowell, Meese, Kirkpatrick, Weinberger, Noonan, Bennett... McCain? Giuliani? The vacuum is opened.
Of the present field of candidates, for balance of ideology and electability I draw nearer to supporting Mitt Romney than anyone else. Charismatic, well-grounded, deep fund raising pockets, and understands liberty. He's lurched to the right in the past few years, but it seems more sincere than others, and could be in the same style that Reagan lurched right before running for President. His economic record in Massachusetts is impeccable, and his advocacy on other issues impressive. Yet, his lackluster support in comparison to Giuliani, and the prejudice from some of the Religious Right over Mormonism (however preposterous a gripe) still leaves a spot in the candidates. Sure, Brownback, Gilmore, and Huckabee are noble chaps. But $1.5 million or half a million in fund raising is going to get you no where.
A new factor is actor and former senator Fred Thompson. A relative latecomer, his window of opportunity for announcing may be short, yet as Bob Novak puts it, "many conservatives may embrace Thompson with a sigh of relief." The popular senator from Tennessee has had a strong limited-government record on virtually all major issues, and has sustained some of the limelight while starring on NBC's "Law and Order" and maintaining his PAC. A current fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he's garnered a good deal of support from GOP base publications ranging from Human Events to Patriot Post to the Wall Street Journal.
His support is not universal, however. Pulitzer Prize winning conservative columnist George F. Will scoffs at the notion of a Reaganite Thompson. Mr. Will cites his age, lack of experience in a tightly contested campaign, and hypothetical lackluster energy. He also details, to my hearty agreement, discontent with Thompson's support of the reprehensible McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform legislation. As of a March interview with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, Thompson maintained his support of the freedom-suppressing measure. An additional area of concern is his 1995 vote against Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
All other aspects of his prospective campaign may prove strong. A recent LA Times poll, according to Dick Morris, has Thompson at second place behind Giuliani, trumping McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and the undeclared Newt.
MC CAIN 12%