Saturday, January 24, 2009

Profile: Dirk Kempthorne in 2012

Contender: former Idaho Governor, Senator and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne

No Official Site [hat tip on the float to Ambinder]

Wikipedia Page

Why he's important: As Secretary of the Interior, he holds the record for protecting fewer species than any other Secretary in U.S. History.

Also, he's a former mayor, governor, senator, and Bush Administration official. That takes some doing.

Ideology: To the right. Voted for a constitutional amendment balancing the budget. Voted to prohibit same-sex marriage, some affirmative action laws, and flag burning. According to National Right to Life, he's pro-life. On crime, he's moderate, favoring drug treatment and education opportunities over simply building new prisons and letting people rot there. On drug policy, he favors a state's rights perspective, sponsoring the Western Governors' Association resolution.

On education, he favors school vouchers, abstinence education, and allowing voluntary prayer in school. On the environment, it's safe to say he's no tree-hugger, or even tree-hand shaker, receiving a score of "0%" on the League of Conservation scorecards every year except 1993, when he jumped to a "6%". He's pro-gun; voted to allow guns to be sold without trigger locks. He's a federalist on some tax issues; favors states determine estate taxes, and voted to require a super majority for raising taxes.

[For more, see On the Issues, Dirk Kempthorne]

Why he can win: Ideologically, he passes the popular litmus test: pro-life, pro-tax cut, and pro-American.

He's got more political experience than Paris Hitlon has... you know.

Kemp's got charisma and is well respected on both sides of the aisle.

The New York Times:

"Mr. Kempthorne is widely known -- even among opponents -- as a personable leader with a strong understanding of the issues."

He's a classic dark horse candidate, a player who's been on the field for a long time, but until late in the game, wasn't seen as a contender for no good reason, other than that he rode a horse that is dark.

Plus, he's a hell of a public speaker, with a velvety voice that combines strength and sincerity.

For a good taste of his public speaking, listen as John Roberts from CNN introduces him with some kind words at a benefit.

Why he can't win: Does he have what one pundit suggested "Tommy Thompson" syndrome, which refers to a politician who's run out of things to win, and decides, well I might as well try President for the hell of it?

Environmentalists hate the living forestation out of him, but of all the interest groups in Republican presidential primaries, environmentalists don't mean shit.

His name recognition is currently thin, although with his ties to coal, oil, and natural resource enterprises, he has the potential to raise green.

Then there was an ill-advised bathroom re-modeling. Just google it. It's there.

For more GOP 12 Candidate Profiles...

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
South Dakota Senator John Thune
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Florida Governor Charlie Crist
Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

More coming soon...


Anonymous said...

I honestly hope Dirk gets the nod. He's smart, experienced, and credible. Long shot though.