Where do conservatives go?

For those of us who are very conservative, the presidential field leaves us wanting.  The top-tier candidates include Guiliani, McCain and Romney – none of which have the best conservative credentials.

Lower-rung candidates include Sam Brownback, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.  Even lower on the rung there is Jim Gilmore, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul.

Let’s analyze this from bottom up. 

Ron Paul has the experience of actually running for President in the past (although as a Libertarian in 1988).  A very loyal following that could fit in a small diner, and maybe even scrape up enough dough to pay for breakfast.

Tom Tancredo – great on immigration, but has become too much of a Tommy one-note.

Duncan Hunter – solid conservative on defense, life and immigration, but tends to be an earmarker, and has associated with folks who bribed Duke “Commode” Cunningham. 

Jim Gilmore – decent former Governor of Virginia, cut taxes, but then disappeared.

The above folks all have something in common:  they can’t raise a fraction of the money needed to make an even half-way serious effort.

That takes us to the middle of the field.  Gingrich talks a good game, but was largely seen as a failure as Speaker – led the Revolution to the promised land, and then became a part of the problem (remember the disaster when the Republicans blinked and opened up the government right before Clinton was about to relent?)  Gingrich is a consummate self-promoter who has access to some folks with money, but he is not putting the people in place on the ground in the early states that will be needed to make a serious run.

Huckabee seems attractive, is well-spoken, but comes from a small southern state and doesn’t have the money game.  He also raised taxes as a Governor and on Meet the Press last week wouldn’t rule out tax hikes as President – sorry, thanks for playing, here’s the door.

Tommy Thompson was a very popular Governor in a swing state, served ably on Bush’s cabinet.  Ultimately, he is really running for Vice-President.

Sam Brownback is someone that a lot of conservatives get excited about – until they realize he is to the left of McCain on immigration.  Oops.

So, that leaves us with the true competitors – based solely on fundraising ability – of Guiliani, McCain and Romney.  Guiliani is no social conservative, but is good on national security and crime.  Romney talks a good conservative game, but his flip-flopping has many conservatives very concerned (setting aside the whole religion thing). And then there is our own Senator McCain.  He is good on fiscal issues (spending and earmarks), great on defense and the war on terror and pretty good on the life issue.  He has sacrificed tax reduction in the name of balanced budgets, given us the horrific McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform and is out of touch on immigration.

Please, somebody tell me… where does a good conservative go?  There is some buzz among party insiders about a draft Gov. Mark Sanford effort.  Sanford, as you may recall, was a part of the 1994 Revolutionary class that held to his term limits and then was elected (and now re-elected) Governor of South Carolina.  He was a strong supporter of McCain in 2000, but word is that he is playing hard to get this time around. That may indicate that he is willing to be drafted.

With the massive frontloading of state’s primaries, anyone who isn’t in yet, is going to need to move fast.  Common-sense would say that there are a bunch of people with a bunch of money waiting for a true, top-tier conservative to emerge.  (Think people like Club for Growth).  Time will tell.


  1. Oh how I feel your pain! If someone does not emerge as a solid, true candidate…think Jimmy Carter all over again. Given a mishy mashy field of Dems, he came out on top and the rest of the country said, “Who knew?” Then because of the anti-Nixon backlash, the guy got elected!

  2. If conservatives don’t hold their noses and get behind Romney they will end up with McCain. We live in an imperfect world.

  3. Here’s an idea: Tony Snow.

    Think about it. We’ve listed ten great reasons why he’s the perfect candidate if we can talk him into running.

    Check it out:


  4. I don’t know what happened to Sam Brownback’s brain. I heard today that he plans to run on the core issues of climate change and poverty.

    Personally, I would rather have either Giuliani or McCain over Hillary. We could concentrate on getting more conservatives elected in other areas.

    The main issues are the judges and the war against the Islamo-fascists…if we lose that one, we’ll have a REAL conservative with a turban.

  5. Mike Triggs says

    It all boils down to … DO YOU WANT TO WIN?

    Conservatives need to swallow hard and admit that Rudy Giuliani is our best bet or winning the Presidency in ’08

  6. I have to wonder if a Giuliani pledge to nominate pro-life conservative judges/justices would be a deal-maker?

  7. DSW, that is the Giuliani hold-back for me. Not only do I want a candidate who is pro-life, in order to win it is a pretty strong piece of the puzzle.

  8. So, pretty much reducing the size of government and balancing the budget are no longer considerations? Which candidates can do that?

  9. You have the ideal candidates and you have the acceptible candidates. Question is, do you want to win? I always voted against Jim Kolbe in the Primary but voted for him in the General. I would love to have someone like Hunter, but he would never beat Hillary. McCain is an acceptible candidate if and only if no solid conservative(who can win)arise. Giuliani would have to swear, in blood, that he would only nominate conservative judges and hold to the Pro-life plank of the party to get my support. Personally, I like the Tony Snow idea.

  10. I wouldn’t trust any deal made with a pro-choice candidate to elect pro-life judges unless they have actually done something in the past that might give us pause and think they would stick to that. The pressure from the national pro-choice movement would be too great against any deal Guiliani made with conservatives. For that reason, He is not the man for me.

  11. I don’t think you should count out Gov. Huckabee yet. As pointed out above, he did raise taxes, but it wasn’t mention that Huckabee also lower income taxes. Huckabee was the first Arkanas governor to actually lower taxes. Huckabee also favors a flat tax system. Huckbee also streamlined this government and cut waste. Huckabee is solidly prolife and profamily. If you have never heard Huckabee quote about Moses and Brokeback Mountain you are missing out. With over 50% of American being over weight, Huckabee triumph over obesity could win the hearts of many Americans. Huckabee promotes taking care of health care, education and the environment. He’s a well rounded candidate that a broad spectrum of people could get behind.

  12. Which is better? Settle for less to win, or vote your principles and lose. Each of us will have to live with that decision. Consider also, that any conservative candidate that the media loves is questionable. Either they love him because he can be beaten by their choice or he is not what he is being portrayed as being. Politics is not a pretty game.

  13. Don any of you care about the enormous national deficit and debt? How can you support tax cuts that are paid for with BORROWED money???

  14. Bush, the “compassionate conservative” has taken us over the edge. From getting into a war and restricting our military with untenable rules of engagement to utterly violating his oath of office with his open border policy, this president should be impeached. I held my nose and voted for him twice-I will not do that again for anyone. I initially believed he was erring due to stupidity but now I think the answer is much more sinister. It is time for a serious alternative to the two party stranglehold on selecting the president. RINOs are no answer at all!

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