The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Allen for President picks up steam

John Behan over at Commonwealth Conservative has a couple great posts looking at George Allen's potential run for the Republican nomination in '08. I know a number of people who have worked for the former Governor/now-Senator and I am convinced that he will indeed run in '08. If he does not gain the nomination, he will certainly get a good look as a potential Veep depending on who the nominee is.

However, first in the crosshairs is Allen's '06 Senate re-election campaign. As of now it seems unlikely that Allen will face a serious challenge next year. Governor Mark Warner is the Dems best hope of taking back the seat previously held by Chuck Robb. However, Warner seems unwilling to put his political life on the line against a figure of Allen's status in Virginia. Tim Kaine may be right that George Allen isn't a native Virginian, but his folksy charm and down-home ways have allowed him to be embraced by native Virginians across the state.

Furthermore, unlike Warner, Kaine and other Jonny-come-lately's who bear those Yankee law-school degrees, Allen spent his college and law school years here in the Commonwealth, actually lived in Abingdon for a time (I believe clerking for a judge there after law school if I'm not mistaken), and practiced law right here in Virginia as well before entering public office. Allen may have been born in California, but he is without doubt an adopted son of the Commonwealth.

In terms of the '08 campaign, Allen may seem like a long shot right now, but believe me, he likes it that way. One of Allen's heroes is Ronald Reagan, and there are some certain similarities there. Like Reagan, Allen is considered a lightweight. Democrats constantly question his mental faculties and poo-poo his political chances because of perceived shortcomings stemming from his folksy demeanor. Allen has made a career out of shattering those low expectations and humbling his cocky challengers.

Allen also emulates Reagan in that he is adored by the religious right despite not being outspoken about his beliefs or even really pledging committment to many of their goals. That is not to say he isn't committed to them, simply that he is not necessarily vocal about it. Furthermore, it seems that the mere sound of his voice sends liberals into a frothy rage wherein they babble incoherently and run screaming from the premises. Reagan (as well as our current President) invoked similar reactions from the left who couldn't understand why people liked and agreed with the man.

The same can be said for Allen, who, as John Behan points out, has an inate ability to truly connect with people. I cannot stress this feature enough, as it is probably the most important key to Allen success and the reason he should not be counted out in '08. I am not sure of much, but I am certain that when the Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere get a load of George F. Allen, they are going to fall in love with the guy. That doesn't mean he'll win the nomination, but it does mean he'll be a force to be reckoned with on the campaign trail.

As always, we'll keep a close eye on Allen in the months and years to come.

7 Comments:

Blogger Will Vehrs said...

It's interesting that the last three Republican Presidents have had a strong sports connection--Reagan as an announcer, Bush 41 played baseball at Yale, and Bush 43 owned the Texas Rangers. I think sports often provides a connection for politicians across racial and class lines. Dukakis, Gore and Kerry didn't have that much of a sports connection.

Allen, as the son of a famous coach and a QB with more grit than talent, has that sports connection.

7:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen's problem is that he's running as a dark horse in a party that likes to nominate heirs apparent. Allen reminds me a lot of Jack Kemp at this time in the '80s. Kemp was sort of the logical ideological heir to Reagan. Like Reagan, he was from a big coastal state, was a conservative's conservative, was a big tax cut and economic growth guy, had crossover appeal to Democrats, and social cons loved him even though he didn't talk about their issues a lot. He was like a young Reagan, yet when he ran in 1988, he got crowded out by Bush and Dole. Why? Because Dole, as Senate Majority Leader, and Bush the Elder, as VP, were higher in the GOP food chain. And in Republican primaries, that's what matters.

So even though Allen is a lot more like Bush than anybody else in the race (Southern, fmr governor, plain spoken, center-right, cross over appeal in his own state), he'll still be at a disadvantage in a field with Rudy, McCain, and Frist, all of whom are higher on the food chain and all who want to be president.

9:09 PM

 
Blogger Old Zach said...

Here's the problem with that, Bush the Elder was VP and Dole was simply nominated as a sacrifical lamb b/c he had served the party so honorably for so many years. This time around there is no "heir apparent." Guiliani seems to be the frontrunner right now, but conservatives are going to rip him to shreds over his social policy positions. Plus he no longer has a bully pulpit from which to run. McCain has seniority in the party but is not beloved by the right either, and will kill his chances if he indeed votes with the Dems on the Filibuster. Frist is in the leadership post right now but only has two years of seniority on Allen, so I think they are really comparable in that respect. This nomination contest is going to be quite different from any that we have seen for a long time. I think Allen has as good a chance as anyone under those circumstances.

12:38 AM

 
Blogger NoVaCenter said...

Here is Allen's chief problem - he is perceived to be on the far right not near the middle in most of the country.

Of course, he is in control of his own destiny and there are many high profile issues that could help him if he plays his card right. So far, he has made some good moves like on Shiavo (good move to stay low key on this disaster for Frist and Delay).

The following issues could blow him out of consideration: Social Security and the Fillibuster. If he continues to endorse private accounts and the President on this issue - he is dead in the water! It is pretty clear that the public is not going along with the Republicans on this false issue. And if he just mirrors Bill Frist on this issue (supporting the President) then he cannot distinguish himself from Frist. The real coup for Allen would be to craft a plan for "saving Social Security" and being honest about personal investment acounts.

The fiilibuster is another issue that will be remembered. Again, if he jsut follows Frist's lead there is notyhing to distinguish him as a leader rhather than another republican hack. John Warner is already getting very favorable press for being dignified, statesmanlike, etc. because he is not seen as a right wing hack and values the traditions of the country. Allen would be wise to adopt the Warner approach and vote against the Republicans here. thsi would be a great opportunity to porty himself as a centrist from a level- headed centrist state like Virginia that values a 214 year old tradition. It would help him appeal to a broader base of republicans other than the bomb throwing christian evangelicals.

Unfortunately for Allen, I do not think he has the courage to do either of the above. And if he doesn't, he doesn't deserve to be President anyway.

12:07 PM

 
Blogger NoVaCenter said...

Here is Allen's chief problem - he is perceived to a far right Republican will little appeal in most of the country.

Of course, he is in control of his own destiny and there are many high profile issues that could help him if he plays his card right. So far, he has made some good moves like on Shiavo (good move to stay low key on this disaster for Frist and Delay).

The following issues could blow him out of consideration: Social Security and the Fillibuster. If he continues to endorse private accounts and the President on this issue - he is dead in the water! It is pretty clear that the public is not going along with the Republicans on this false issue. And if he just mirrors Bill Frist on this issue (supporting the President) then he cannot distinguish himself from Frist. The real coup for Allen would be to craft a plan for "saving Social Security" and being honest about personal investment acounts.

The fillibuster is another issue that will be remembered. Again, if he just follows Frist's lead there is nothing to distinguish him as a leader rather as opposed to another republican hack trying to appeal to the Christian right (these Christian righters are so extreme that even Bush backed away from calling Democrats "against people of faith"). John Warner is already getting very favorable press for being dignified, statesmanlike, etc. because he is not seen as a right wing hack and values the traditions of the country. Allen would be wise to adopt the Warner approach and vote against the Republicans here. This would be a great opportunity to portray himself as independent (something he has never shown) or a centrist from a level- headed centrist state like Virginia)that values a 214 year old tradition. It would help him appeal to a broader base of republicans other than the bomb-throwing christian evangelicals.

Unfortunately for Allen, I do not think he has the courage to do either of the above. And if he doesn't, he doesn't deserve to be President anyway.

12:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 214-year tradition is not to 'buster judicial nominees. You sound like you're getting confused by some of the Democrat/media talking points and believing them to be truth!

The initial rule on "cloture"--breaking a filibuster--stated that it just had to be two-thirds of the Senators "voting and present." (Note that it was a Democrat-majority Senate that instituted this rule.) Robert Byrd pushed through--by just a majority vote (not even two-thirds)--a change from previous rules, such that it was only "three-fifths" of "all elected Senators."

The problem caused by making it "all" instead of only those "voting and present" is that it doesn't promote good debate--it simply gives the minority the chance to end debate by walking out and trashing quorum.

The recent rules are bad, and this Senate needs to adopt ones that were better--like before the Dems started messing with them.

As for Allen, I like what I see. The tobacco thing is a plus with me, as it is in line with his "genuine" nature.

6:04 PM

 
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3:11 AM

 

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