In the 1920 election, Warren Harding, an undistinguished senator from Ohio who somehow gained the Republican presidential nomination, ran with a pledge to restore "normalcy" (a word that apparently was coined for his campaign, or so we have heard) after the tumult of the Great War and Wilson's crusade for the League of Nations. Of course, the results were disastrous. Harding proved to be a president whose incompetence has only been exceeded by the dismal Andrew Johnson. In uneventful times, he managed to make a mess of things.
The times we live in are far from uneventful, and they are likely to get worse before they get better. That means that 2008 cannot be another election in which voters pine for "normalcy" after difficulty. They must steel themselves for the struggle ahead.
Nothing illustrates the nature of that struggle better than an opinion article in the Sunday Telegraph by Amir Taheri, a former Iranian newspaper editor now living in exile in Europe. Taheri argues with considerable persuasiveness that Iran's president Ahmadinejad sees George W. Bush as an aberration--an American president willing to fight rather than flee when faced with difficulty. So he's waiting for Bush to retire from the scene, meanwhile preparing a nuclear weapons program that will allow Iran to lead a long, twilight struggle in which American military supremacy will be checked by atomic weapons and Islam's advantages of oil, population and devotion will prove decisive.
Taheri's piece is a disturbing must-read, a chilling glimpse into the mind of the Iranian president's vision of the future.
And if he's right, the only way to foil Ahmadinejad's plans is to elect an American president willing to carry on the struggle as Bush has. And that person would be ...
Any Democrat? Please!
John McCain? He's been rattling his saber lately, but his record of mercurial posturing doesn't promise much by way of decisive military leadership. He could do it, but do we know he will?
Mitt Romney? The governor of Massachusetts has no foreign policy bona fides. He's a different kind of unknown from McCain, but still very much unknown.
George Allen? Bill Frist? We're getting nervous here.
Condi? Not running.
So that leaves ...
Rudy Giuliani. He's the only one whom we can imagine has the intestinal fortitude to face down Ahmadinejad and his Shiite head cases.
So we say it yet again: the republic needs the decisive leadership of a successful federal prosecutor and mayor who cleaned up America's biggest city and led it through the worst of times.
UPDATE: Here's one more good reason to back Rudy in '08: Jerry Falwell today said, "I couldn't support him for president."