Archive for Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Conservatives take stock of Brownback’s presidential prospects

November 28, 2006

Sen. Sam Brownback sure looked like a presidential candidate Sunday on ABC's "This Week," even if he played coy about it.

Now conservatives are starting to take a closer look at the Kansas Republican.

CNBC's Larry Kudlow offered the following opinion at conservative National Review Online:

My friend Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas is thinking of throwing his hat into the Republican presidential ring.

I hope he does.

Sam Brownback is an economic, fiscal and social conservative who has strongly backed human rights and democratization in the Middle East.

He is an uncommonly moral person, who can make an uncommonly good contribution to the uncommonly sagging post-election Republican fortunes.

The similarly conservative Human Events ranks Brownback - and other GOP contenders - on the "Gipper Meter," the inevitable Ronald Reagan standard to judge Republican candidates:

The young congressman from Kansas who replaced Bob Dole in the U.S. Senate has championed the cause of social conservatism in the upper body of the congress. This has made him a hero among so-called values voters, who find precious few senators from either party willing to fight for their issues. Compared with Reagan, Brownback would rate at least a 7 or 8 for ideology, but would only get a 2 or 3 for experience and charisma, thereby rendering him a mediocre 5 overall at best.

Readers of World Net Daily don't give much support to Brownback, where he registered at 3.46 percent in a recent online poll. That sampling might be particularly skewed - Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo led the field of that particular survey, with 43 percent, which seems ... unlikely.

Captain's Quarters, another prominent conservative blog, also weighs in:

Brownback has the same problem as any Senator or Congressman -- a lack of executive experience. Legislators reach compromises, and those come back to haunt candidates on the presidential trail. One only recall John Kerry's clumsy explanation that he supported the $87 billion emergency war appropriation before he opposed it during the 2004 campaign to see how such consensus-building efforts can damage one's prospects for the Oval Office.

On the other hand, Brownback doesn't appear to have too many of these waffling points on the resume. On abortion, for instance, Brownback gets a perfect 100 from the National Right to Life Committee and a perfect 0 from NARAL. Likewise on the 2nd Amendment, he gets high praise from firearms groups and the worst ratings possible from gun-control advocates. He gets high marks from budget and tax hawks, but on immigration he appears to be a little bit of a squish. He supported the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform plan, a vote that will find him at odds with the conservative base he claims to represent.

Brownback may still surprise. Unless he does something spectacular soon, he simply won't knock Giuliani, McCain, Romney, or Gingrich off the front pages, though. Without that kind of coverage, and seemingly unable to generate that much attention throughout most of his career, Brownback doesn't look promising as the Great Conservative Hope.

Other headlines today:

Rep. Dennis Moore (D)

(LJW) Disabled, needy bear new burden of proof: Thousands of low-income and disabled Kansans have lost or been denied health care coverage since new rules took effect that require documented proof of U.S. citizenship, according to state officials. ... U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes eastern Lawrence, said federal officials were aware of states' problems with the new rules and probably would work on it when the new Congress takes office in January. "I opposed the legislation that included this mandate, which is already adversely affecting thousands of Americans," Moore said. "I am working with my colleagues to address this problem so that we are not excluding those who need our help the most."

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