Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wall Street Journal Informal Poll - Who would be the Strongest Republican Candidate in 2008?

Today the Wall Street Journal had as its question of the day, "Who would be the strongest candidate for Republicans in the 2008 presidential election?

Here are the choices and the results when I voted this afternoon:

Sam Brownback - 2%

Newt Gingrich - 10%

Rudy Giuliani - 31%

John McCain - 34%

Mitt Romney - 12%

Someone Else - 11%

I posted the following in the WSJ Forum:

I must admit I was surprised to see Giuliani score so high.

Sam Brownback - An unknown to me and I consider myself a bit of a political wonk. Doesn't have the name recognition.

Newt Gingrich - I was a big Newt fan when he was the speaker of the house. He's intelligent and very well spoken. However, I don't believe he has done enough during the last 18 months to rebuild his name recognition and reputation.

Rudy Giuliani - Loved by all. However, I don't see Giuliani possessing the "X" factor - that unexplanable factor that causes people to say " He's Presidential". He also hasn't been very visible on the political landscape. I believe Barack Obama possesses the "X" factor and that makes him a strong democratic candidate even though he hugely lacks legislative, executive and foreign affairs experience.

John McCain - He's ruffled some feathers in Congress and with the political pundits but he comes accross loud and clear to voting public. The question is whether he can get past South Carolina during the primaries. The difference this time is McCain has the experience of having run for president and has had several years to gain recognition and build allies. I believe all the work he has done since running against Bush will payoff big time. He is the strongest candidate, but watch out for #2 - see below.

Mitt Romney - Watch out! I'm from Massachusetts and I can tell you Mitt has the intelligence (MBA and JD from Harvard) and the "X" factor. He now has executive experience (Governor of Mass) and is a proven problem solver, e.g., fixing the Winter Olympics in Utah. The question is whether he has enough national exposure to win over the voters. He's doing his homework and is building a very strong foundation, e.g., meeting the right people and putting together a team. I expect Mitt Romney will win the presidential election in either 2008 or during the next Republican opportunity. In worse case, the 2008 election will simply build his character and provide him with the necessary experience to win a national election.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Cost of Loyalty

Today it was announced that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is resigning after the Republican party lost the House and is likely to lose the Senate.

Bush '41 was a man who believed in loyalty and passed that trait onto his son, Bush '43. Bush '41 demonstrated it when there was pressure to get rid of the Vice President Dan Quayle. Unfortunately, this lesson doesn't carry over well into the Bush '41 administration when applied to the current situation. Loyalty is always respected but corrective action, even when it negatively affects those closest to you, is respected even more when it's done for the good of the country.

Would things be different now if Rumsfeld had been removed from office 12 months ago? It would be hard to imagine them worse. The cost of delaying this decision? The control of Congress, the greater risk of terrorism and a more challenging task to achieve democracy in Iraq.

What about the lives of our military? Unfortunately, I don't believe there would be a reduction in loss. What corrective action should be taken in Iraq and when would we feel the positive effects of that change? No one knows. However, I anticipate change would be slow and the benefits will not be seen for months.

I can only see two possibilities at this moment. Pull out or step up. I absolutely believe that we should not pull out. I believe in the Powell doctrine which was fully demonstrated during the first Gulf War - fight with overwhelming force. Unfortunately, during the second Gulf War we fought with overwhelming technology and did not have enough boots of the ground to provide proper policing action after the Iraq government was toppled.

We also failed in another way. In past victories we destroyed the armed forces of our enemy and took total control. We even demonstrated this in the first Gulf War when we destroyed the Iraqi military on route from Kuwait back to Iraq.

In the second Gulf War we minimized our interaction with the Iraqi forces and allowed them to return to the general population without proper screening and transition. This allowed new forces to organize. Add to this the lack of boots on the ground to secure the borders and police the country and you create an environment ripe for insurgency.

The cost to fix this error will be great. I believe that we must dramatically increase the number of military in Iraq and take complete control of the country until it has time to heal. Do you have enough personnel in the military to achieve this? I honestly don't know. If we don't, then the concept of a draft must be considered for the good of the country. Take control and destroy the insurgency with the aid of the Iraqi people in order to avoid a significant terrorist attack from those trained, funded and supported by insurgency and its mutual associates.