Thursday, January 31, 2008

It is Much Easier on the Democratic Side

The Democratic Party is surprisingly more united than the GOP in this election cycle. Despite the occasional Obama/Clinton mud slinging that is typical of campaigning, the Democratic candidates are rather united ideologically. Both Clinton and Obama take very similar positions on issues from health care to the war in Iraq. The fight on the Democratic side is not an ideological one, rather it's a popularity contest.

On the Republican side however, the fight is between the different factions of the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole. McCain, Huckabee, Romney and Paul, all represent a different facet of the Republican Party.

The McCain/Giuliani wing is what I call the neo conservative faction. Although not everyone may agree with this, Sen.McCain's foreign policy is of an interventionist and unilateral nature. He has been and still is an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq and the fight against "radical Islamic extremism" is the dominant message of his campaign. His list of foreign policy advisers include names such as William Kristol , Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, all outspoken neo conservatives.

Huckabee represents the evangelical wing of the party. The religious/evangelical wing of the GOP has enabled the Republicans to dominate Southern politics in recent years. They are also very influential in the Midwest and many western states such as Arizona and Nevada. The evangelical base is a very loyal segment of the Republican Party which has proven its political significance by showing huge turnouts in every major election for every major Republican candidate.

Romney represents the fiscally conservative wing. Despite his recent change of heart on many issues, the true Mitt Romney who lead in Massachusetts, was a secular and pragmatic Republican who came from a very successful business background.

And finally, Ron Paul. He is the libertarian side of the GOP. Despite his irrelevance on many issues, Paul has been able to attract the attention of many likely voters with his opposition to the war in Iraq and his support for an isolationist foreign policy.

The Democrats, myself included , have a much easier task. Whether it is going to be Barack or Hillary, the Democrats are united on almost all the issues. But the race on the GOP side is about core issues facing the party of Abraham Lincoln. Is the party going to be a religious party or a fiscally conservative one? Is it going to favor preemptive warfare or is it going to restrict American involvement around the world? This is a defining moment for the Republicans and their decision in 2008 will have long lasting effects for the party.

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