Magazine article Newsweek

Looking for a Steady Hand

Magazine article Newsweek

Looking for a Steady Hand

Article excerpt

The GOP is leaderless. For the first time in a generation, there is no heir apparent. Can any of these potential 2000 candidates give the party the direction it needs? It won't be easy: the war within the ranks is growing. A look at the leaders who are vying to personify the GOP:

Polls suggest voters are ready for a Mrs. President; Elizabeth Dole has the contacts and knows how to work Iowa and N.H. from '96. But what does she stand for besides competence and class?

An iconoclast and war hero, John McCain has the mixed blessing of being the favorite of many a wise-guy pundit. The champion of campaign- finance reform is nevertheless a formidable fund-raiser.

Bred to the hunt, Texas Gov. George W. Bush has it all: energy, drive, access to money and a popular "compassionate conservatism" philosophy of governing that he developed as the chief executive of a reliably Republican megastate. Poppy's progeny has jumped to the top of the polling pile early. But it can't be this easy, and he knows it.

Graying hair and pouchy eyes give former veep Dan Quayle more gravitas, but in this week's Newsweek Poll a disheartening 59 percent of Republicans say his chances will be "hurt by what people remember of him as vice president."

Lamar Alexander started running for 2000 the day after he bowed out of the 1996 race. Having ditched his trademark plaid shirt, he's now free to attack Bush's "compassionate conservatism" as a gimmick in a relentless barrage of campaign mailings. …

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