One thing that 2006 showed is that the socially conservative blue collar independent vote is not entitled to any party. The democrats lost it bigtime in the 90's, and we were whacked there in 06. Someone like Hunter may be a shot at winning them back. Being an Army Ranger doesn't hurt either.
The major weaknesses is name ID and being in Congress (as most presidents are governors). That being the case, it's smart to announce a run early to gain the name ID. Right now it is a battle for the activists.
From the Washington Times
Rep. Duncan Hunter considers himself the Republicans' best bet to reconstitute the blue-collar coalition that helped the party win the White House in the 1980s.
Mr. Hunter, who is seeking the presidential nomination in 2008, says he can rebuild that coalition by campaigning on defense, traditional values and fair trade.
"Keeping American jobs in this country is a strong tie between the Republican Party and working America, Main Street America -- that's a portion of our constituency I aim to retrieve, because I stand strong with them," the 13-term congressman from California said in a recent interview, pointing to votes against almost every free-trade agreement during his 26 years in the Capitol.
Mr. Hunter, the first to announce officially that he is exploring a run for president, presents a curious figure among better-known candidates.
Combined with a tough stance on border security -- he was the author of the original amendment proposing 700 miles of border fence included in the House's 2005 immigration bill -- he fills a niche among the candidates lining up for a presidential run.
"I stand for a strong national defense, strong border enforcement, fiscal conservatism and traditional values, and lastly, keeping American jobs onshore," he said as he sprawled in an armchair in his Capitol Hill office during the interview, propping one foot on the edge of his cluttered desk.
Mr. Hunter said he expects the next election to turn on security. He said his experience as an Army Ranger during the Vietnam War and as the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee puts him squarely in the middle of that debate.