Presidential Candidates

Last weekend, a few friends gathered over at my place for a presidential debate watching party. We cooked up some home-made pizzas and settled in for a great night of politics. For your reading pleasure (yes, you future Sage), here are my thoughts on our candidates.

According to this 2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz, here are my candidate matchups:

86% Barack Obama
85% John Edwards
84% Hillary Clinton
84% Bill Richardson
[Check out this massive discontinuity…]
37% Rudy Giuliani
32% John McCain
28% Mike Huckabee
24% Ron Paul
22% Mitt Romney
16% Fred Thompson

I’ve deleted those candidates who have already dropped out, and those who are polling so low that they were not included in last week’s ABC News/Facebook Debates.

So percentages are cute, but what do I really think?

The Democrats:

  • I am on board with Barack. He is an inspirational leader, is full of positive energy, and has great ideas.
  • Edwards doesn’t excite me. I would still vote for him over most any of the Republicans if it came down to it.
  • I agree with Hilary on most issues – she and Obama have very similar policy positions. However, I’m not sure I like her yet. Seeing her cry was a nice touch of pathos, though.
  • Bill Richardson was originally my first choice. He is by far the most qualified if this were a job interview. After the debates, I feel that he lacks that certain quality of a leader which is the undeniable charisma that makes people want to follow them. Bill, if you end up dropping out tomorrow as the early reports say you will, thank you for running a great campaign, and I hope there is a deserving spot for you in the administration of whoever wins.

The Republicans:

  • It’s unfortunate that we have our two party system, because it forced Giuliani to sell himself out to try to win a nomination from the Republicans. His biggest flaw is his willingness to abandon well-principled positions (pro-choice, pro-gay, etc.) to pander to the right. For this reason (among others), he does not have my support.
  • John McCain is a great man. He stands up for what he believes in even when it’s unpopular among Republicans – including sensible immigration policy and not torturing people. I trust John McCain. If I lived in New Hampshire, I would have voted in the Republican primary and voted for him. While we don’t agree on many issues, I would be proud for our country if he were our president. His recent appearance on Meet the Press helped solidify this opinion.
  • Watching Mike Huckabee on Leno helped me notice that he is a really nice guy. That said, the reason for his recent popularity (similar to Fred Thompson a few months ago) is primarily because Republicans see him as the candidate who fits the mold of the Reliably Conservative Electable Evangelical Christian, despite the fact that he is far less qualified than his peers. His foreign policy chops are very weak. This guy is not for me.
  • Ron Paul is willing to speak the truth and he is correct is most of his criticisms of the current administration. He is very well intentioned, but his vision is not in touch with reality (he advocates returning to pre-WWII isolationism and abolishing the income tax.) His appearance on Meet the Press made me lose any confidence I had in his ability to be president.
  • Mitt Romney said “double Guantanamo.” I could stop right there. He would make a great president on Fox’s TV series 24. I would not trust Mitt Romney to water my plants.
  • Fred Thompson: see “Mike Huckabee“.