Paul  Weyrich

Lots of folks are commenting on the Presidential candidates these days. I figured it was my turn. Why not? I have seen the candidates up close as much as any of those who have shot from the hip. Since I have arthritis in my hips, I figure my comments will be even more caustic than those of former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

First, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). She is the front runner, which is dangerous. Do you remember when William J. (Bill) Clinton, with Hillary advising him, would come out on top and then blow it? It was only when Clinton was the underdog that things went well. This is a dangerous time for Hillary because things are going too well.

Second, former Vice President Albert A. (Al) Gore, Jr. I mention him because he recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is not a candidate but until he publicly states that he would not accept a draft his name will continue to float. There are people who want to draft Gore, which could be Hillary’s worst nightmare.

Third, Senator Barack H. Obama (D-IL). He is young and exciting. Unfortunately, his youthfulness translates to inexperience. Is it too early for him?

Fourth, Former Senator John R. Edwards (D-NC). Why he has remained competitive in Iowa but nowhere else remains a mystery. Maybe Iowans envy $400 haircuts on the prairie.

Fifth, Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM). He is the Hispanic candidate, which is why he remains in contention, more likely for Vice President than for President.

Sixth, Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE). Why he remains a candidate is unclear. Many think he would like to be Secretary of State in Hillary’s Administration.

Now for the Republicans:

First, Rudolph W. (Rudy) Giuliani, the “Nation’s Mayor.” If Republicans were electing a national mayor Giuliani would be a shoo-in. Yes, he is leading nationally but he is behind in the first four primaries.

Second, Fred D. Thompson. Never in modern politics has there been a greater buildup and never has there been a greater letdown. Thompson has been everyone’s hope in the lead up to his campaign but now everyone’s fear as he has proved to be less than expected.

Third, former Governor Mitt Romney. If he had not flip-flopped and were not a Mormon he would be the ideal candidate. He yet may be. He looks and sounds like a President. As time continues folks seem to be forgetting about his flip-flopping but his religion is alive and well in the south. There is an effort to gather Evangelical leaders with Romney. We will see if that helps with folks who insist that Mormonism is a cult.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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