Monday, May 14, 2007

John Cox, discovered

A Weekly Standard senior editor meets Republican presidential candidate John Cox in Chicago and travels with him to California as he tries to get a microphone at the recent debate.

He settles for a mock performance in a hotel room answering the same questions as the other candidates.

Cox will have his debate one way or another. So we go back to our hotel on Santa Monica beach. A good fiscal conservative, Herren's sought out a cheap wedding videographer instead of an expensive LA film crew to show up with a camera. Since the hotel room doesn't get MSNBC, Cox's wife mans the live Internet debate feed, waiting for questions to be asked, then hitting the mute button, so Cox can answer for the benefit of the videocamera and eventually a YouTube audience. He wants to show America what they missed. He rips for 90 minutes straight, taking all questions, sometimes taking them twice, when the same question is batted around to multiple candidates who are actually at the debate.

His isn't a performance for the ages, but it's surprisingly good. I expected a clown show. But there are no gaffes. He is fluid and calm, optimistic without seeming Pollyannaish, critical without seeming a crank, at ease with all issues--a man who knows his own mind and isn't afraid to speak it. After his one-man debate, as he sits down at a desk, he seems reinvigorated.
Cox ought to have a seat at the early debates. He has a coherent, conservative philosophy that he understands and articulates well. I've talked to him a few times over the years and played golf with him at the GOP convention in Philadelphia in 2000. He's a gutsy guy who deserves more attention than he's getting.

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