Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker:
The truth is, the Republican Party has one of its strongest lineups ever. Yet one would think from polls showing that a third of Republicans are dissatisfied with their choices that they were stuck with a roster of has-beens and also-rans. Spoiled and well fed, they’re the party of Goldilocks in search of the perfect porridge.
The top three among those who have declared their candidacies — Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney — are nobody’s leftovers. Or anyone’s audience. They’re all leading men who belong to the thinly populated genre of sui generis — one of a kind.
Giuliani, America’s mayor, was on Sept. 11, 2001, what Franklin D. Roosevelt was on Dec. 7, 1941. Before 9/11, Giuliani transformed one of the most dangerous cities in America into one of the safest. He cleaned up Times Square and took on Wall Street, the Teamsters and organized crime.
Still, he’s not quite hot enough?
McCain is as true a war hero as they come, having been a POW for five years in North Vietnam’s infamous Hanoi Hilton. When he was offered an early release because of his family’s influence (both his father and grandfather were admirals), he declined, opting to stay with his fellow American prisoners.
As a U.S. senator, he’s led a variety of charges — for campaign finance and immigration reform — that have confirmed his status as a maverick, but also earned him the nickname of “RINO,” Republican in name only. He supports the war in Iraq even though it hurts him politically.
But, well, he’s just a little too hot.
Finally, Romney comes straight from central casting and the Reagan playbook. If government should be run like a business, as Reagan said, then Romney is without peer.
During his single term as governor of Massachusetts (he didn’t run for re-election), he lowered taxes and reduced unemployment. His first year, he closed the state’s $3 billion budget deficit, filed a balanced budget each year thereafter, and ended 2005 with close to a $1 billion surplus. He also created a market-based reform to provide health insurance for every citizen without raising taxes.
But, there’s just something about Mitt. He’s beyond just right. He’s too right — too good-looking, too rich, too successful.
On the other hand, maybe there’s something about the Republican Party — that it can’t stand prosperity. What Republicans have isn’t a vacuum, but an embarrassment of riches.
What they need isn’t a savior, but a good VP from the South. “Just Fred” may be just the ticket.