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...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Brightest Young Stars In The Republican Firmament

All of you know my deep respect and admiration of Governor Sarah Palin.

Though I have seen a list which states that she is not the obvious candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012, most of us know that is a lot of hogwash. Republicans haven't been this energised by a conservative since Ronald Reagan. This, in part, is what terrorises so many people who view her rise as threatening. They are right to be scared; she very much is a threat.

But the Republican Party is not just about Sarah Palin. There are many who could be labeled "rising stars", and below, I present you with a list of them.

It's not comprehensive nor does it pretend to list them in order of importance. I simply want you to get used to hearing their names. Due to blogs like Optimistmom, Beldar, Benning, Althouse and Sundries, there were many in the Blogosphere who were not caught off-guard when Senator McCain chose Governor Palin as his running-mate: you had heard it here before.


Without question, other than Governor Palin, Governor Jindal is the future of the Republican Party. This earnest, utterly competent Indian-American is a comparative strippling of 37, but has already an impressive resumé. If Palin's lowly degree is not enough to bedazzle her critics, perhaps Jindal having been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University might just do the trick (and throw in a BA with honours from Brown University, too). A Roman Catholic convert, father of three (one of whom he delivered himself inside a taxi), he has been described as a post-racial candidate who is a true son of Louisiana, with accent to boot. He was supposed to have addressed the RNC, but Hurricane Gustav interrupted his plans -- and his stellar handling of this potential catastrophe earned him the praise of even the bluest of Blue Dog Democrats.

His platform is ethics reform, and given the swamp that is Louisiana politics, he has impressed in the herculean task of cleaning up that State. Unfortunately, it's not easy to change such a State, and some have accused him of being more talk, than substance. Some of his other perceived drawbacks include being lenient about the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Though Indian-Americans are especially proud of his achievements, some back in India find his Party affiliation troubling. He is also a strict social conservative. A ticket of Palin-Jindal simply wouldn't work because of this double-dipping, however enticing it seems at first blush.

Jindal the politician excites me in precisely the same way Governor Palin does -- a man who has lived his conservative principles since youth, and who is unafraid to be authentically Republican. I cannot wait to see how his career pans out.


Congressman Ryan, 38, has been reelected to his seat as a Republican comfortably since 1998. To anyone who knows Wisconsin, you understand that's quite a feat for anyone who leans Right in that State. In this year's election, when Barack Obama won Ryan's district with 53%-46%, he himself bucked the "change" trend with a commanding 62%-37% of the vote. When you're that good, people will want you around regardless of politics.

Undaunted by his relative youth, he unveiled a "Road Map for America's Future" this summer, en pleine presidential elections. His strong suit is being a fiscal conservative, styling himself the "Paul Revere of fiscal policy". Whilst not a charismatic man who jumps out from the television set, he does convey a very satisfying gravitas even at his early age. Recently hailed as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill 2008" his saucer-like blue eyes have a wizened look framing a handsome Irish face, whilst his speaking style is very fluid. Of all the up-and-coming Republicans, he has that ability to speak the most articulately about political goals, having once been a political speech writer. In fact, he was front and centre on TV as recently as Friday night, when Laura Ingraham hosted the O'Reilly show on Fox.

Ryan is a graduate of Ohio's Miami University. He is married, is also the father of three children, and hails from Janesville, Wisconsin. Like Jindal, he too is Roman Catholic, but he doesn't make headlines as a social conservative.


Handsome Congressman Cantor, 45, has already been been designated as the successor to Roy Blunt as Minority Whip, in the past few days. He is not only the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, he is also maintains a kosher home with his wife, and his three children (the eldest of whom, Evan, is a freshman at the University of Virginia). He is a triple graduate of the Universities of George Washington, William and Mary (J.D.), and a master's from Columbia.

He is a strong supporter of Israel, and is yet another fiscal policy wonk with a decided conservative streak. Unlike a lot of the other up-and-comers, Representative Cantor is actually poised to be a powerhouse on the Hill in 2009. It will be very interesting to see how his career unfolds.


Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart was recently re-elected this past week, bringing the total of South Florida Representatives to three Cuban-Americans, all of them Republican. Mario is the most conservative of the lot, despite once having been a registered Democrat.

At 47, he is the same age as President-Elect Obama but looks fully five to ten years younger, and being the father of a very young boy emphasises that look. Having been born in the US (in Ft. Lauderdale), he actually is a very good candidate to be the first Hispanic President of the United States. He and his brother Lincoln are scions of the very influential Diaz-Balart clan of politicians back in Cuba.

As an interesting bit of trivia, his aunt Mirta, a renowned beauty and socialite in Havana, was once married to Fidel Castro and his first cousin is actually Fidel "Fidelito" Castro Jr (!). Don't doubt for a moment where his loyalties lie though -- the Diaz-Balarts are die-hard anti-Communists.

Mario is a dynamic speaker who I only just mentioned in the Road to Victory blogpost. His emphasis is on families and is a champion of law enforcement.

It is of some interest that of the four men mentioned above, three are Roman Catholics, one is Jewish, one is Hispanic, and the other Indian-American. The Republican Party is a Party of inclusion, no matter how much others wish to deny them that accolade.


The oldest of the "Brightest Youngest Stars" listed here, at age 48, the twice-elected Governor Sanford is a native Floridian (also born in Ft. Lauderdale), who moved to South Carolina in the early 1990s. He is married, the father of four boys, and his religion (in the interests of fairness given those listed above) is Episcopalian. He is a graduate of Furman University.

Governor Sanford is another noted fiscal conservative who has not shied away from controversy, even within his own Republican dominated State. Recently, he wrote a column in Slate which said that whilst he wouldn't be voting for Barack Obama, that South Carolina has to be especially sensitive towards the issue of race. He also once brought live pigs into the South Carolinian House chamber, to highlight his opposite to "pork" projects. Of all the politicians mentioned above, he perhaps best exemplifies the libertarian wing of the Republican Party.

The Governor had been rumoured to be contemplating a run at the Presidency in 2008, but it never panned out.

In my opinion, he has "Vice-President" written all over him, should a Western or Northern Republican nominee ever require him.

...the Republican Party must return to its roots, if it is to play any future role in politics given the Machine which just helped to elect Senator Obama to the Presidency.

With Newt Gingrich rumoured to be RNC Chair, and ex-Senator Fred Thompson as a kind of grandfatherly conscience of the GOP, not to mention a slew of superstars like Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, there is a very important need to cast off Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) so that the Party offers a clear alternative to anything the Democrats offer.

Let 2008 be a hard lesson for Republicans. Become the Party of Reagan, and not the successor of McCain. They will win handily if they do so.



  • I'll give you another: Darrell Issa-R, just re-elected to the 49th district Congressional district here in CA. I'm speculating that he'll try and move up to the US Senate representing California. We have one too many Bay area liberal Dems here. (hint: Boxer)

    By Blogger chickenlittle, at Sat Nov 08, 03:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • Nice. I just looked him up -- Bohemian (read, Czech) German mother, Lebanese dad.

    Another I forgot was Governor Tim Pawlenty.

    BTW, I adore Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii (she's a good friend of Palin's). I at first dissed her during the RNC over at Althouse, because her delivery was painfully awkward.

    But she is an extremely worthy woman. It's such a shame that being homely, and not terribly exciting in personality, that certain people are dismissed for the Presidency.

    It should always be character and political acumen, but personality and looks play an outsized role.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Nov 08, 03:27:00 am GMT-5  

  • Out with the old, IN WITH THE NEW

    By Blogger knox, at Sat Nov 08, 11:11:00 am GMT-5  

  • Let me add one more that came your way: Tom Rooney, newly elected to Florida's 15th District. He reclaimed the seat for the R team after the Foley-replacement did a double Foley.

    He's a former JAG and Iraq-front veteran who taught at West Point. Double bonus: his wife, Tara, too was a JAG. Three red-headed little boys. He was a state AG under Charlie Crist. There's a short YouTube of Crist's endorsement. I'm presuming he's a Catholic. Father owned/owns? the Pittsburgh Steelers. Well spoken like anyone would expect of a former JAG prosecutor and USMA lecturer.

    I gave money to his campaign before and after the opponent's scandals, so I've been watching him, too.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sat Nov 08, 11:44:00 am GMT-5  

  • Maybe I'm wrong here, but I doubt that in any Presidential election in the near future we will have only 4 males ever again. Either party will have a woman or a non-white candidate now, without a seconds thought. This may be more significant than just electing an African-American candidate, and is a sublimely beautiful compliment to America...

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Nov 08, 01:00:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Ron:
    It must already be working because I forgot to count who is a what and so forth.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sat Nov 08, 07:15:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Wow...thanks for that synopsis of the best and the brightest of young stars for the Republicans to work with in the next 4 years.

    And your assessment of Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) was right on.

    I so appreciated the topic.

    Hope all is well with you, Victoria.

    Peggy DaValt
    Gone to the Dogs

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Sat Nov 08, 10:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • If Palin runs for President in 2012, at least she has name recognition going for her... but that may not work in her favor

    By Anonymous patrick, at Sun Nov 09, 02:35:00 am GMT-5  

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