Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Parties still looking for their savior

While Republicans and Democrats are slugging it out over who should get their party’s presidential nomination — for many, the choices aren’t all that terrific, which is why minor candidates like Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are pulling up from the rear —the good news for Lonoke County Republicans is they have squelched a rebellion to humiliate the mayor of Cabot and an alderman.

It looks like Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams and Alderman Ken Williams (no relation) will stay in the Republican Party after all.
Lonoke County party officials rejected another Republican’s complaint that the pair weren’t partisan enough and should be expelled from the party.

A losing candidate for alderman had filed the complaint when both Williamses said they supported nonpartisan elections in Cabot since they figure potholes aren’t Republicans or Democrats.

The candidate wanted a fatwa issued against both men, but cooler heads prevailed, and no one has been stripped of his party membership, leaving Ronald Reagan’s big tent more or less intact, if not his 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.

Republicans are fighting among themselves like Democrats, although Hillary’s recent fall in the polls still makes her a formidable candidate, while there’s still no frontrunner in the GOP field. Most voters aren’t too crazy about the leading candidates, which is what has kept Huckabee in the race.

Our own Republican presidential candidate has plenty of problems, even though he insists his candidacy is surging. But Huckabee could muster endorsements only from a small group of Arkansas Republicans, many of whom distrust him on immigration, taxes and health-care reform, not to mention his support for gambling and easy passes for criminals who rape and murder once they’re free. (The name Wayne DuMond immediately rings a bell.)

Huckabee, who’s a Baptist preacher, had asked the National Right to Life Committee for an endorsement, but, wouldn’t you know it, the anti-abortion group Tuesday endorsed Fred Thompson instead.

Pat Robertson also snubbed Huckabee with an endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, the cross-dressing, pro-abortion, pro-gay rights ex-mayor of New York, whose former police commissioner (and failed choice for Department of Homeland Security chief), Bernard Kerik, has been indicted on numerous corruption charges, including his taking payoffs from a mob-owned New Jersey construction company.

Giuliani says everybody makes mistakes, but maybe Robertson wishes he could withdraw his endorsement and go with someone else: If not Huckabee, then Thompson or the outspoken and entertaining Ron Paul, who represents the Republican wing of the Republican Party better than anyone else.

The Republican Party, lacking a charismatic leader, still hasn’t found a new Reagan. Thompson had hoped he’d be the one, but he seems lost among the crowded field of candidates: You get the feeling he can’t wait for the Hollywood screenwriters’ strike to end so he can return to show business.

Huckabee claims he’s enjoying a surge of sorts in Iowa, but the man to watch is Ron Paul, a Republican libertarian who has moved way up in the polls and has raised far more money than Huckabee.

Paul sounds like an old-fashioned Republican — maybe too old-fashioned for the powerbrokers and the pundits — and would at least make a good running mate for someone.

But if you don’t like any of the above, consider Vermin Supreme, another Republican candidate, who is on the New Hampshire ballot and is enjoying a surge of sorts on the Internet and wears the most patriotic tie of any of the candidates.