The Gathering Day 2

Friday night I offered my thoughts on the performances of the four Presidential candidates who attended Erick Erickson’s “The Gathering” in downtown Atlanta. I was able to attend the first half of day 2 of the event, and heard the two candidates who attended Saturday.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie kicked off day 2. I know some folks don’t like him, but I’m not one of those folks. I enjoy hearing Christie speak, and I thought he made a strong case for himself during his 45 minute chat with Erick. Christie stressed the need for competent leadership throughout his remarks. The narrative from MAGA and the National Media is that Christie is only running to try to torpedo Trump. Two things on that: First, toward the end of his remarks he said this interview with Erickson was “the most refreshing interview I’ve had (since announcing his campaign) because the first six questions weren’t about Trump.” He also said that he’ll always answer the question asked of him, so if he’s asked about Trump he’ll answer it. Indeed, during the press gaggle afterward, almost every question was about Trump, and as is his style, he pulled no punches.

Love him or hate him, you’ll never doubt where Chris Christie stands on an issue.

Next up was businessman and author Vivek Ramaswamy. As with DeSantis, this was my first time seeing him speak in person. I did see Ramaswamy’s recent appearance on the PBS Newshour, which is my Mom’s preferred news show. Ramaswamy here, as in the PBS interview, offered a positive, forward looking message. He stressed that despite the present angst, he firmly believes America’s best days are ahead, and the we can solve the problems we face. He believes that he, at 38 years old, can speak to America’s younger generations about the promise of America in a way no other candidate in the race can. Another point he made was that he didn’t think the divide in America is Republican vs Democrat but rather between the “managerial class and the citizens.” He says the divide is “80-20 percent in our (the citizens) favor” and that if we campaign on that issue we’ll see a Reaganesque landslide in 2024.

I should point out each of the six candidates made comments or put forward ideas I didn’t agree with. As is always the case, there are no perfect candidates. Nevertheless if you’re a Republican like me, who is looking/hoping/praying the GOP nominates someone other than the guy we last nominated, you can take comfort in the fact that there are several solid candidates that deserve our thoughtful consideration.

To put it more bluntly, I agree with Charlie Cooke, who says in the pages on National Review today, we’d be stupid to nominate Donald Trump. Let’s give one of these other folks the nomination and bring fresh ideas to the 2024 campaign, and increase our chances if actually winning.

For your viewing pleasure, the full video from Saturday.

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