Two parties defined by their frontrunners
By Bruce Walker
A political party is defined by who can succeed in that party. Who are the three frontrunners for the Democrat Party nomination? Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and former Senator Edwards. Who are five frontrunners for the Republican Party nomination? Former Governor Huckabee, former Governor Romney, former Mayor Giuliani, Senator McCain and former Senator Thompson. Are there differences between these two groups? Yes, clear differences.
First, none of the leading Democrats made their mark in state or local government. None of the leading Democrats has ever "managed" anything – at all. None of the leading Democrats has ever had the buck stop at his or her desk. All of the leading Democrats gained their experience in that great debating society, the United States Senate.
The Republicans are a completely different bunch of guys. Whatever one thinks of Rudy Giuliani's politics, he has definitely been the man who was responsible for specific policies and for governance and the people of New York City found that he governed very well. Not only was he mayor, but before that Giuliani was a rock tough prosecutor of organized crime, a very dangerous job requiring a very courageous man.
Whatever one thinks of Mitt Romney, he governed Massachusetts and before that he was a demonstrably brilliant manager. And although Mitt may seem to talk about it too much (like Rudy talks about September 11th), he did save the Olympics, a task that may truly be called Olympian.
Whatever one thinks of Mike Huckabee, he served first a Lieutenant Governor and then for a decade as Governor of Arkansas, also proving very popular with the people. Mike also faced some very real problems. The Clintons left Arkansas with corruption oozing out of its government. Huckabee became governor, after all, when Jim Guy Tucker, the Clinton's Lieutenant Governor, was convicted and sent to prison.
So, like them or not, approve of their politics or not, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have actually run governments and managed major operations. Moreover, each of these three men governed polities which had overwhelming Democrat legislative bodies. Each had to demonstrate real leadership to do anything.
Second, the five Republicans have all "done something" with their lives. Whatever one thinks of John McCain, he is a genuine war hero – not because he was shot down and imprisoned, but because he refused to be released early. Like John Kennedy, George H. Bush and Bob Dole, McCain – like him or not – proved more as a prisoner of the evil North Vietnamese than most men prove in a lifetime.
Fred Thompson has a life story which is the stuff of Capra films. He worked his way through law school, fought state corruption in Tennessee, was drafted into the movies because only Thompson the man could play Thompson the film character, and then he became a movie star, a television star and a radio star (the replacement for Paul Harvey.)
McCain and Giuliani, have faced true horrors in life. Huckabee and Thompson, worked very hard for everything that they got in life and Romney worked just as hard to make his fortune. McCain, Thompson, Giuliani, Huckabee and Romney would be successful if they had never run for public office, never held an elective position, and had simply continued life as a war hero, a film star, a prosecutor, a Baptist minister and a business leader.
Compare these five to Clinton, Obama and Edwards. Clinton has been nothing but a politician her entire adult life. Although she nominally was a member of the Rose Law Firm, this was as the wife of the State Attorney General and the Governor of Arkansas – hardly a normal legal career. Obama was a state legislator before he was a senator; he simply moved from the Illinois Senate to the United States Senate. John Edwards was a trial lawyer who milked unfortunate corporations out of hundreds of millions.
Third, all three Democrat candidates are lawyers. Three of the Republicans are lawyers, but two – McCain and Huckabee – are not lawyers. Both political parties have too many lawyers, but only the Republican Party gives serious attention to non-lawyers. 2008 will be the seventh consecutive election in which the Democrat nominee was a lawyer. During the same period, Republicans nominated only one lawyer, Bob Dole, to be their presidential candidate.
The Republican Party is the party of people who do things and people who live in America. The Democrat Party is the party of Washington lawyers. That is a difference, a real difference, which Republicans would do well to highlight.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!