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The long, dysfunctional reign of Barack Hussein Obama is drawing at last to its close. Almost 8 years have elapsed since the whooping coronation of America’s first mixed-race President, and in those years, little has been achieved that could possibly justify the initial hype.
Immigration rates are much as they were in 2008. Guantanamo Bay remains open, despite the promises of 2008. The Iraq debacle has plainly not been resolved (despite bewildering Obamanoid claims to the contrary). New, frightening zeros have been added to the National Debt. ‘Obamacare’ has been so unpopular that it looks certain to be revoked on the next regime’s first day of term. Bin Laden, as we are never allowed to forget, was put out to sea on Obama’s watch, but really this only represents a shameful theft of credit from the United States military.
All in all, Obama has not lived up to his initial promise. The spreading realisation of this fact means that the contest to succeed him is destined to be a bombastic and emotional ride. Republicans, from the globally famous (and notorious) to the nearly unknown, are elbowing furiously for media coverage and endorsement.
Given the critical and violent days we live in, the choice of Republican runner will have great international consequences, including for Britain. For that reason I offer here my opinions on the current pack….
Mike Huckabee isn’t particularly well known outside America, but within the country, he is widely regarded as the most religious Presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter. A folksy southerner, Huckabee’s election book is (I think/hope humorously) entitled “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy” and the Senator is vocal in his commitment to traditional conceptions of the family, gun rights, and brash, uncomplicated patriotism.
Huckabee is a naturally divisive figure, as are all overtly religious politicians. Given this reality, I doubt he has the popular support to win a nomination, much less a national election.
DTMW Rating: 6/10.
A member of the politically lucrative Bush dynasty, Jeb Bush should be familiar to most foreign observers. Like his brother and father, he is a middle-ground, compassionate conservative, open to reform of immigration and willing to spend money on public services. On foreign policy, he is tediously conformist – pro-democracy, pro-two state solution, tactful with Russia etc…
There is really nothing to recommend Bush beyond his ability to appeal to a broad selection of Americans. He is not a favourite of the right-wing establishment, and if he is selected as runner, grassroots support may be thin on the ground.
DTMW Rating: 6/10.
Marco Rubio is a telegenic, Hispanic neoconservative with opinions and standpoints torn right out of an issue of the Weekly Standard. He is loudly pro-Israel, hostile to the nuclearisation of Iran, committed to halting Russia’s consumption of Eastern Europe, and full-square in opposition to communism and socialism.
For these reasons I rather like him. He might have a shallow, car salesman-like, professional sheen, but he also has an ‘American Dream’ backstory and the right sense of priority to keep that dream alive.
DTMW Rating: 8/10.
While most conservatives want to scale back the power of the state, Rand Paul wishes to make it all but disappear. Son of ancient populist Ron Paul, Rand is the young, handsome, smooth-talking and hugely radical driver of the libertarian tea-party movement. He is by a very great distance the most popular candidate with the grassroots of the Republican party.
The only reservations I have with Paul relate to his isolationism. Unlike Rand, I resolutely do not want America to ‘mind its own business’ (as his father would put it). On the contrary, I want the American military to remain the spearhead and shield of modern, democratic civilisation. For that reason alone I would advise voters to look for another candidate.
DTMW Rating: 6/10.
And that candidate might look a bit like Ted Cruz.
Texan Senator Cruz offers a bracing synthesis of neo-conservatism, domestic libertarianism and compassionate social conservatism. Right about most things, willing to use the great American military to protect our friends and punish our foes, anti-government in spirit, compassionate on questions of race and with a long and proven record in practice, I believe that Cruz would make a very competent successor to Obama’s failed regime.
DTMW Rating: 9/10.
Other candidates running or likely to run include Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Rick Santorum. I don’t believe any of these outliers has the charisma or substance to beat the runners mentioned above.