Have been away for two weeks and have had the opportunity to watch the American election develop from afar and to get a new perspective. Some thoughts:

• The Democrats are crazy to nominate Hillary if already 50% of American voters say they will definitely vote against her no matter what. Yes, she could still possibly win with such high negatives, but why take the chance when 2008 is shaping up as a good year for the Democrats? They’d be better off running a dead, embalmed, southern moderate guy.

• Some astute observers now believe we are about to have some sort of major economic meltdown. The sub-prime situation, plus the steep volatility on the stock market may indeed portend imminent trouble. If so, what effect does this have on the election? Certainly it hurts the “party in power” - i.e. the Republicans. But the Democrats are running Congress - so do they get caught up in it, too?

• The “throw out the bums” attitude seems to be growing in intensity - daily. It could be the Perfect Storm - for somebody. But who?

• Could a basically unelectable Hillary ‘grease’ her way in next year because of a weak GOP candidate, a divided and dispirited conservative base, a recession, a war dragging on and other unhappinesses that make her a ‘hold-your-nose-and vote’ winner?

• Is 2008 the year - as has been written about in this space repeatedly - for an Independent Third Candidate to run - and win - by going against “both parties for creating the mess we are in”? Do not rule this out!

• The GOP candidates today: the race is now down to Rudy, Romney and Huckabee. Thompson is a bore and has not caught the imagination of conservatives; Huckabee is more acceptable to them. Brownback dropped out, Ron Paul inspires many but isn’t catching up fast enough. Rudy and Romney are both fatally flawed. They are both posers. It is hard to believe the GOP has come down to two total frauds who have flip-flopped their way to front-runner status. Who can possibly want either of these people to run anything? And how can a conservative party possibly even contemplate nominating either one? No wonder Huckabee is doing better and better. He is a totally acceptable-to-everyone alternative - and should not be ruled out as this thing goes on.

• Ron Paul is also doing better and better - both in fund-raising and in the latest Straw Polls, i.e. this past weekend’s Values Voter Summit in Washington. His problem is he is slow out of the gate - and isn’t catching up in Iowa or New Hampshire fast enough. But his libertarian views are more and more popular.

• The American voter today? Furious over everything; scared about the future; and has yet to find the ‘savior’ candidate who he/she trusts to figure out where to go in the future.

• That is what the 2008 race is all about: finding someone to ‘save’ America.

• And that is why an Independent Third candidate - not a nut like Perot who just wanted to hurt Bush I - but someone who really wants to win, could indeed win next year.

• But everything has to break right: both parties in the dumpster with awful nominees, a distressed American electorate - and the key ingredient of all: the right candidate. So far he has not appeared on the national scene.
• But there is still time.


Another day, another window into the real Hillary: a Western European Socialist who wants to implement a vast array of new social programs to ‘hook’ the voter on the heroin of government ‘entitlements’.

Not a week goes by without Hillary unveiling a massive new - and unnecessary - federal social program:

• Two weeks ago she announced in Iowa her $110 billion/year National Health Plan - which will probably cost closer to $250 billion/year;

• Then she announced her Baby Bond program: a $5,000 bond given to every baby when they are born. Why this is done isn’t known, nor is who manages the money, what you can do with it and what you can’t do with it. Cost? $25 billion a year;

• Now, her latest: a $1,000 per person ‘contribution to your 401(k) retirement plan - or else the government creates a new, special retirement account for everyone. Cost? At least $25 billion/ year.

Hey, it’s only October of 2007. At this rate, Hillary has 13 months to announce dozens of more spending plans before the presidential election!

Now, do we need these things?

Are these new federal spending programs - and remember that once they are implemented they are virtually impossible to eliminate or reduce - necessary? Are the people demanding them? Are these programs addressing a pressing issue in our country right now?

Health care is a huge problem - but Hillary’s plan doesn’t fix it; in fact, like Bush’s disastrous Prescription Drug Program, her plan will make the health care/insurance problem even worse.

Most government programs which aim to solve a problem in fact compound the problem in unexpected ways - plus they require new taxes on the middle class, which today cannot afford another penny of taxes.

Oh, sure, Hillary’s disciples will tell us that they are “only going to raise taxes on the ‘mega-rich.’” But that won’t do the trick. In order to pay for all these new programs, it will require Democrats doing what they always do: sap the middle class with huge taxes to pay for these programs. Period.

Furthermore, politically Hillary is trying to do the opposite of George W. Bush: by doing everything for people she contrasts herself to the perceived lack of caring from Bush. Plus, like her hero FDR, she wants to create a lasting social legacy like the New Deal.

Now, let’s get to the philosophical question: is it the role of Washington DC to provide each of us with a ‘birth bond’ and a ‘retirement account’ and to give us health care and other new ‘entitlements’?

Is that the proper role - in the United States of America - of the federal government?

Or, instead, shouldn’t we follow Lincoln’s simple dictum: “government should only do for people what they cannot do for themselves”?

Now, a sadness: these Republican presidential candidates are pathetic in these debates when it comes to defining what we conservatives and Republicans ought to believe. Their blind defense - with the exception of Ron Paul - of everything GW Bush has done is killing them and eliminating any credibility they might have had among Independent voters, who are the key to winning next year.

Fred Thompson had his one moment to seize the race - and he bombed. So it’s Rudy and Romney - the two biggest flip-floppers in the race - neither of whom has a principled bone in his body.

Oh how I despair for our country!

And many, many others share this sense of desperation over the direction of this great land.