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Next president? A fighting governor

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Next president? A fighting governor

By Roger Hedgecock

Senators just don’t make good presidents. They don’t run anything and their job is to bloviate endlessly on both sides of any discussion and pass laws that don’t apply to them. Witness Barack Obama.
And does anyone left or right think John Kerry or Joe Biden or John McCain would have done any better?  I don’t.
Sen. John Thune dropped out of the running for 2012. No sitting senator is now running for president, a sharp contrast to 2007-2008 when the field of candidates was full of these self-important worthies.
And don’t get me started on House members. They should stick to actually doing what voters in 2010 wanted. Did the Republicans really think a drop in the bucket $61 billion cut in the 2011 budget was even a start? The 1946 new Republican House majority cut the Roosevelt-Truman budget by 47 percent in two years.
Governors make better presidents. They have actually run big unwieldy bureaucracies and suffered the political impacts of tough decisions.  OK —except Jimmy Carter.
Some governors were not very good as governors before they ran for president. Add Mike Dukakis to the Carter list.
And some governors are the victim of decisions they made gone bad —Romney with the albatross of Romney-Care in Massachusetts, for instance.
And some governors have found the private sector pretty attractive —Huckabee and his media career, for instance.
But, with Ronald Reagan (a two-term California governor when the state was still “Golden”) as my model, I am looking for a fighting governor to run for president committed to restoring a Constitutional Republic, a free market economy, and a new era of individual responsibility.
Not for any abstract, philosophical reason. I believe that only this return to first principles, only this re-commitment to individual liberty will bring the economy back.
The wonderful genius of the American political system is that the Founders seemed to have anticipated our needs. Just when confidence in the federal government’s abilities and intentions has been shaken to the core, state governors have been elected to lead in a different direction.
In no particular order of preference, consider these governors and the news they have made: Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Rick Scott, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Brian Sandoval, Susana Martinez, Rick Perry, Haley Barbour and Jan Brewer.
I believe that among these folks is the desperately needed next President of the United States
Jan Brewer of Arizona is not running for president and I don’t expect her to.  But when Obama sued her and Arizona for daring to enforce federal border law that Obama was not enforcing (despite his twice-taken oath), I think the 2010 election momentum shifted away from Obama.
Brewer is so popular in Arizona that only when she said she wouldn’t run for Senate in 2012 did speculation turn to others in the race to succeed the retiring John Kyle.
Chris Christie is in a league of his own with the common sense confrontations he has had with firefighters, cops and teachers over the state’s ability to afford high salaries and gold-plated benefits unknown in private companies. This is a man willing to tell the special interests to their faces that they are wrong.
Christie says it’s too soon for president, but the pressure on him to run is building despite conservative misgivings as to his social values. He’s just fun to watch.
Rick Perry has also stood up to the feds on border control. Perry has promoted Texas as a free market job-creating alternative to the federal nanny state, and stood firm on no tax increases to deal with the state budget deficit.
In a state where Hispanics vote for a Republican governor, Perry has the record, the charisma and the fundraising capability to run for president and should.
Mitch Daniels has elevated Indiana into a shining light of job creation and state fiscal rectitude among the upper-Midwest states. He was a Washington insider who never forgot his roots, or his free market values.
Even as he called for state Republican legislators to withdraw proposed right to work legislation, Daniels was not retreating — he had already accomplished that objective with an executive order. Daniels is mistrusted by some social conservatives, but his emphasis on size, scope and cost of government is right. He is too genuine a person to want to be president, but he’d make a good one.
Haley Barbour is the savviest partisan fighter of the bunch. That’s why the state-run media is trying to portray him as a racist fool. But many remember how well Barbour performed as chair of the Republican National Committee and as governor in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes in Mississippi.
The newest governors are the most interesting.
Rick Scott proposes a balanced Florida budget through cuts alone, and rejects federal money for rapid rail; Brian Sandoval resists calls (even from some Nevada Republicans) to raise taxes; Scott Walker has made Wisconsin (of all places given it’s union history) ground zero in the showdown between unionized government workers and the taxpayers; ditto John Kasich; Susana Martinez, the first Latina governor anywhere has rolled back crazy environmental regulations in New Mexico and declared that New Mexico would no longer be a sanctuary state— bold!
I really don’t relish the 2012 campaign starting this early anymore than you do. But there is no choice. Obama is gearing up a billion-dollar propaganda machine apparently modeled after the old adage “Who Ya gonna believe —me or your lying eyes?” The evidence of the failure of government led “recovery” is everywhere; the cost of this failure is a staggering mountain of debt.
This is the wrong direction. A return to prosperity depends on a return to liberty. The governors above have taken decisive action, shown leadership and most importantly not been cowed by the media or big labor’s handmaidens.
I hope they all run.

Roger Hedgecock is a former mayor of San Diego and is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host. Visit

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