A Gathering of Candidates

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @joec_esquire.

This week will be a very interesting one, if you’re a political junkie. The first debate between the top ten Republican candidates takes place on Fox News. After that, a good number of the Republican candidates will be in Atlanta, Georgia, for the RedState Gathering, an annual convention of sorts hosted by one of the websites I’m a contributor at, RedState.com. During this week, candidates will be making their appeals to the public, some getting the most media attention they’ve gotten since their announcements, and they will be doing so before a crowd of grassroots, conservative activists.

The Republican field is an incredibly strong one for the first time in decades, providing Republican voters with many different, but not all bad, options. Ted Cruz, who I don’t expect will get the nomination, pushes the field to the right. Rand Paul pushes it libertarian. Marco Rubio adds an element of foreign policy expertise. Rick Perry has the most successful record of any of the governors in the race (and is not the same Rick Perry we saw in 2012 – he’s much better this go ‘round).

Even our own Bobby Jindal, should he decide to get back to what he’s best at, brings an in-depth knowledge of healthcare and energy policy to the table.

And, this doesn’t even touch on what some of the others bring. There are some candidates that are not popular with conservatives. Jeb Bush comes to mind, but he is not the worst thing Republicans could put forward.

There is a catch to this weekend’s event, something that RedState editor Erick Erickson made sure was a focal point of the event: Candidates are going to be speaking about their plans for the future of the United States. They have been asked, and most have agreed to this, to not attack President Barack Obama in their presentations. This event is not about the past, but about the future, and these candidates have to lay out their visions for the future this weekend.

This week provides Republican voters, and the voting public at large, the chance to see if they are getting their money’s worth when it comes to potential leaders. Events like these offer the rare opportunity to take an active part in learning a bit about the men (and women!) who want to be President of the United States of America. It is a chance for us, the voter, to begin looking into the souls of these candidates and choosing which ones we want to see make it.

Take the time this Thursday through Saturday to see and hear what these candidates have to say about the state of the country.