Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Huck and Obama

They both won through big turnouts. My apologies to Clint for underestimating Huck’s ground game. (And his people predicted the outcome of the caucus with uncanny accuracy before a single vote was counted.) Huck won with little money, universal and intense establishment hostility, and lots of dumb campaign errors. It’s now time to start thinking about why. Those who voted for Huck shared his values and admired his character, even though they didn’t think he
is the most electable candidate.

Obama is now the favorite for Democratic nomination. Hillary is going to have become tough about supplying reasons why he should be stopped that appeal to Democratic primary voters.

Bill Kristol was very gracious about Huck’s victory, admitting that he underestimated him in just about every way.

Although McCain’s actual vote total is pretty underwhelming and didn’t reflect any surge, he’s probably the big winner. Now he’s the clear favorite for the Republican nomination. My real thought remains: How is John going to self-destruct this time?

Here’s why many Republicans should be unhappy: Both Huck and McCain are very unreliable conservatives on domestic policy. The policy competence of both men, in fact, could easily be questioned, and neither of them seems able to formulate characteristically Republican positions on issues such as health care and taxation. Huck and John like and are like each other as a couple of moralizing outsiders. Isn’t it amazing that they might end up having to duel each other as the two favorites? My playful suggestion of the authentic ticket of McCain-Huckabee is now serious business.

Romney, in fact, is on balance more conservative and has exhibited much more competence. But he now has to win in New Hampshire to remain a credible candidate. That’s going to be a tall order. McCain is already ahead. Mitt is going to suffer from negative momentum, and he has only five days to shake it off. I’ve expressed my doubts about Romney as a candidate, but let me add again that he would probably be a solid president. Mitt looked good as the alternative to Giuliani, but that way of looking at things became obsolete way too soon. He also looked good as the man who could vanquish Huck, but now his "establishment" supporters are likely to jump to John.

The exit polls revealed somewhat of a surge for Thompson, but probably not enough of one. He was plagued by rumors all day that he was about to drop out of the campaign. And he doesn’t have a firm view of what he’s going to do next. But the opportunity remains: There is, arguably, no other real conservative in the race, and he might surge with a win in South Carolina. Fred has been saying the right things of late, but can he get the word out that he really means business when it comes to winning this thing?

I still don’t see Huck getting anywhere near the nomination. Nonetheless, there’s no reason he can’t be competitive in Michigan, South Carolina, and even Florida. Polls showed him doing well in those states even before the bump he’s going to get now. He might well be more than a one-state wonder. Certainly it’s a fantasy for Giuliani supporters to believe they can win some kind of big victory in Florida against Huck and McCain.

It could be we’ll be facing a February 5 with Huck, McCain, and Giuliani all bruised but still kicking. And the result that day could be agonizingly inconclusive. Meanwhile, Obama may have delivered a crushing blow to Senator Clinton and be basking in the midst of media adulation.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Here’s why many Republicans should be unhappy: Both Huck and McCain are very unreliable conservatives on domestic policy. The policy competence of both men, in fact, could easily be questioned, and neither of them seems able to formulate characteristically Republican positions on issues such as health care and taxation. Huck and John like and are like each other as a couple of moralizing outsiders. Isn’t it amazing that they might end up having to duel each other as the two favorites? My playful suggestion of the authentic ticket of McCain-Huckabee is now serious business.

Romney, in fact, is on balance more conservative and has exhibited much more competence.

I appreciate the thought in your post and am glad that you are wrestling through this, but how is Huckabee not a strong and consistent conservative? I keep hearing this from a few people but are there any facts? So he supports health care for poor children, wasn't it Romney, who you claim is more conservative, who supports universal socialist health care-he did it in Massachusetts. Huckabee has a great record; on taxes he cut taxes on production (income) and replaced the revenue with consumption (sales) taxes. This is a sensible and conservative tax policy. I didn't see the joke in Huckabee-McCain, and I guess the problem alludes me now. I've been a Republican since the age of 8 and they seem like the best conservatives both Politically (conservative principles) and politically (winning the election).

Meanwhile, Obama may have delivered a crushing blow to Senator Clinton and be basking in the midst of media adulation.



Are you kidding? He's been basking in that since day one. It's disgusting.

I think that there are a few firm conclusions about tonight, at least regarding the Republican field.

1} McCain is a big, big winner.

2} Romney took a couple of torpedoes amidships, and is listing badly.

And 3} Huckabee has found traction, and it's yet to be determined how great that traction is.

It's too early yet to do more than merely speculate on how that will impact those other Republican contenders who remain. But if McCain wins New Hampshire, then McCain is truly back, and with a vengeance. Giuliani's strategy looks chancy, yet perhaps viable, especially if it's a lengthy fight. All the money that Romney dropped, effectively a king's ransom, didn't buy him much love. And won't buy him any additional love in the rest of the several states.

As for the Democrats, Hillary will do the usual for the Clintons, she'll get mean, vicious and nasty. That's always worked for them, and they don't really know how to do anything else. But this time, if they try to smear Obama, more than they already have by the way, it might, just might be perceived by Black Americans as an affront, as a serious affront, a serious insult.

Without Black participation in the general, no Democrat can prevail. Black Americans are the MAIN and the most important constituency of the Democrat party. If the Democrat nominee doesn't get 90% of eligible Black voters, then that candidate won't win. They need over 90%, and if Hillary does polish off Obama, but does so in a typical Clinton fashion, with vicious, sick attacks against him, then she might just have ensured she DOESN'T win the general.

But this is all speculative.

Let's see what the political terrain looks like the evening of the New Hampshire primary.

And Peter, your comment about Romney was way off. Mouthing conservative lines for purposes of pandering doesn't make one a Conservative. And you know that. You're aware of that distinction. Listening to so many Conservative note-worthies pretend that Romney actually believes everything he's saying of late is sickening. Just sickening. ESPECIALLY after living through this nightmarish Bush 2d term.

Oh and Peter, remember when I said that all the attacks against Huckabee were going to redound to his benefit, because all they managed to do was enhance his street cred with his target audience, ... well that's exactly what happened. The greater that attack against Huckabee, the more clear it became that the establishment was trying to muscle in their selection, who was Romney. Which caused many to reject Romney. Tonight's focus groups told a tale, and what they told was that they didn't cotton to Romney trying to purchase Iowa, and they didn't much like the establishment trying to bury their warm-hearted Huckabee.

There's a lot to agree with here. But let me focus on Dan's last par.: I agree that the establishment's shrill attack on Huck mainly helped him, and they need to cut it out now. I'm not going to warn "them" again.

"There is, arguably, no other real conservative in the race,"



Emphasis on arguably. How is Ron Paul's Constitutionalism not conservative? What could possibly be more conservative than following the original intent of the Constitution?

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