Mr. Troy is Professor of History at McGill University, and the author, most recently, of
The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction, (OUP) and
Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents: George Washington to Barack Obama . His other books include: Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady and Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s. He is a member of the advisory board of HNN. His website is giltroy.com. His next book “Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight against Zionism as Racism” will be published this fall by Oxford University Press.
“All I Want For Christmas” – The Candidates’ Wish List
RUDY GIULIANI: a big bust of a terror ring the day before every primary, to resurrect the fears of 9/11 (without any real trauma) – and a marital record like Harry Truman’s (who was devotedly married to Bess, his Sunday-School sweetheart for 53 years).
MITT ROMNEY: the right incantation for exorcising Evangelical Protestants’ anti-Mormon bigotry – and John Kennedy’s skill in handling religious prejudice.
MIKE HUCKABEE: the same good luck charm propelling obscure governors into the White House that Bill Clinton found in the Arkansas governor’s mansion – and that Jimmy Carter found in the Georgia governor’s mansion.
JOHN MCCAIN: the mantle of righteous iconoclasm he wore so effectively back in 2000 – and George Washington’s manual for using military service to win the presidency.
FRED THOMPSON: those adoring summertime headlines, before he actually started running – and a political career that truly is like Ronald Reagan’s.
RON PAUL: a year-long celebration of the Boston Tea Party’s anniversary (he used the anniversary to set the record for internet fundraising) – and James Baker (Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff), who helped moderate the image of a man deemed to be an extremist.
HILLARY CLINTON: her husband’s magic potion for bewitching America’s voters – and Richard Nixon’s 1968 strategy for winning despite being so disliked.
JOHN EDWARDS: his wife’s good health. Nothing else really matters.
BARACK OBAMA: Joe Biden’s, Chris Dodd’s, or Bill Richardson’s resume – and a posthumous endorsement from Theodore Roosevelt, America’s youngest president ever.
JOE BIDEN, CHRIS DODD, and BILL RICHARDSON: a just world in which decades of governmental experience and real gravitas would make you more than just an asterisk in the presidential popularity polls.
DENNIS KUCINICH: extra-gravity shoes to keep earth-bound (even James Baker couldn't help).
AL GORE: Mike Huckabee's diet secrets and the good ole days when conventions deadlocked and dark horses, favorite sons, and party bosses' choices could emerge as last minute nominees.