The real question for Republicans probably isn't who, but what? What sort of candidate and what sort of party should he represent? Traditionally, the Republicans were for limited government, smaller government, lower taxes. But George W. Bush has blown a huge hole in that philosophy. He has spent more than any other president, has run the national debt up to record highs. It will be hard to recover from that because we are in a recession and of course that's when people want more help from their government, not less.
And Mr. Bush led us into two wars. You can argue that he had no choice but to go after terrorists in Afghanistan after 9/11. But he had plenty of choice about Iraq and chose a war which costs billions of dollars every month. The Iraqis have now said we should leave by the end of 2011. But a new conservative approach might be, why wait so long? John McCain campaigned on staying until we'd achieved "victory" but I've never been sure what that would look like.
A conservative party might emphasize diplomacy, not force of arms, in foreign policy. No one wants to go back to 1930s isolationism, but it's surely cheaper to talk to other countries than to fight them.
Domestically, there are programs that can be cut--subsidies to industry, subsidies to the arts, and so on. And a conservative party might want to spend money, and create jobs, fixing up our aging infrastructure--roads, bridges, and so on. It would put people to work and we need that.
Anyway, that's the debate that hopefully lies ahead for the GOP. Rudy Giuliani? That can wait.
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