Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Candidate Ratings, Disillusionment Edition

In response to the races settling down, I'm revising my ratings substantially.

First, I've redefined and re-weighted the columns a bit. I've split the "domestic issues" column into energy, health care/quality of life, and support for the globalized economy, along the lines of the previous post. (Foreign policy and hawkishness already existed.) I've also modified the "leadership" column to include "grace under pressure," which also includes the ability to recognize when things aren't working and make changes. This is a dangerous area. One of the most prized attributes in a president is the ability to be stubborn when things aren't going well. But there's a difference between presevering, like Reagan did on Cold War issues, and hunkering down, like Bush did on Iraq in 2004-2006. Knowing the difference is a key quality in a successful leader.

It is in this last area that I think Rudy Giuliani needs to be thrown under the bus. I've always liked Rudy a lot. He's articulate, decisive, moderate, and incredibly aggressive once he's decided on his goals. But, as the campaign has gone on, it's clear that his primary strategy isn't working. Still, he's clung to it. And in the clinging, he's become less coherent, more dogmatic, more out-of-touch. For this, I'm reducing his score significantly.

In the energy column, I'm going to give McCain and Romney high marks. I think Romney will invest wisely. I think McCain will be more willing to intervene on the carbon emission front. (Note that nobody will utter the words "carbon tax" because it's got the 't' word in it. On quality of life and healthcare, the Democrats do pretty well and will put some needed government mandates in. However, I'm still concerned that they think that government is the solution, rather than being 80% just a cheerleader for the solution.

Finally, I've added a "divided government" column and given it a fairly high weight. Ultimately, much though I like a lot of what the Democrats are saying this year, I truly fear what will happen if they've got carte blanche on legislation.

Here are the new ratings:

Hillary's behavior with Obama has been so shameful that she's fallen even lower in the (unimportant) character and (quite important) gut feel categories. She's gone from being my presumptive favorite to almost an also-ran.

I tried really hard to make Obama come in at least second but I don't think he's got the right energy policy. (He's weak on nukes and thinks that fuel economy is more important than generating lots and lots of electricity.)

Despite my distaste for Romney's "I'll say anything" strategy, that's ultimately not that important. The man is clearly competent, decisive, and understands how to get things done.

Finally, McCain. I wrote him off just like everybody else and now he's back. I don't like McCain. He's creepy. He may indeed be too old. But he's got the courage of his convictions without being dogmatic and he's right on a lot of issues I care about. And he gets a coveted "2" for divided government, in that he is, indeed,the most electable Republican, unless Romney gets his act together. He deserves serious consideration.

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