by user Mjhasley
On May 3rd, 10 Republican candidates will have their first debate at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, California. On Politico.com, Roger Simon in his article, "Ronald Reagan: Forever young" talks a little about what made Reagan such a popular figure during his day.
The article and the location of the debate suggest that once again, the Republican nominee will try to be the standard-bearer for Reaganism. So the obvious question is: do any of these candidates stack up?
Here's a quick run down:
John McCain: sadly for McCain, portraying a war hero is more popular then being a war hero. McCain had a bit of that Reagan flair in 2000, but he's lost his touch. He may be the nominee for the Republican Party, he doesn't have the charisma it will take to follow the Reagan image.
Mitt Romney: Both men were successful governors and both men had other, non-political careers. I'm not sure yet about Romney. This debate can tell us a lot on whether he has the Reagan poise. Being a governor from Massachusetts certainly can prepare him well for this, but he's not the national figure Reagan was prior to being a Presidential nominee. Reagan had a following as early as 1976, Romney has not.
The 7 Dwarfs: I remember this title from Time or Newsweek when there were 7 democratic want-to-be's in the summer of 2004 including John Kerry. Sadly, that was it. Our 7 dwarfs are: Brownbeck, Gilmore, Huckabee, Hunter, Paul, Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson. If you don't know these names, then they're no Ronald Reagan. Or Ron Reagan for that matter. One can hope none of these men even tries to allude to Reagan without appearing like Dukakis in a tank.
Rudy Giuliani: Both men were divorced. Reagan fought communism before being President and Giuliani carries the 9/11 toughness mystique. There are some similarities there. Being governor of California may even be similar to being mayor of New York. Two things separate these men though. Reagan never wore a dress and Rudy doesn't ride horses. Being governor of California is also better prep work than the mayor of New York. However, Giuliani, while no Reagan, may be the closest.
This is actually the next day, but I'd like to add: Rudy is the only one of the candidates who people were hoping would run, like Reagan in 1976 and 1980. One big difference, but something that I think might create the same result, is Giuliani's second divorce and his view on abortion. The second divorce was as ugly as they get. Very un-Reagan. However, I don't think Republicans will abandon him because of this. It might be hypocritical, but I think they'd rather have Giuliani than a Democrat. Furthermore, his pro-choice stances may bring independents or some democrats over where Reagan created the "Reagan Democrats."
The only other possible Reagan is Fred Thompson, but he's not running yet.
I'll update on May 4.