Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Lucky John

Rob Jeffrey is underwhelmed by McCain’s victory in South Carolina, pointing out, for example, that he received fewer votes than he did in 2000--despite the support of much of the S.C. establishment. I’d add: the lower turnout, despite rapid population growth in the state, is an ill portent for Republican chances in the fall. As if we needed another.

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Discussions - 5 Comments

Um, 5 candidates vs 2. This is an interesting strategy that conservative pundits are playing with McCain. Ignore any and all conservative positions which he has (82% ACU rating, voting clone of Fred Thompson)talk up every reason to dislike him, chop him down as much as possible to reduce his credibility with conservatives (Dick Armey, Jack Kemp be damned) and when finally done doing all that, just say it was always going to be a bad year, so whatever. All to maintain pseudo-intellectual purity.

Reality in 2008 is that winning 33% of the votes in SC establishes you as the front-runner. The mantle is there for somebody to close the deal. Unfortunately, the conservative movement, when lacking their ideal candidate, whatever that may be, has chosen to destroy rather than do what is necessary in a democratic process, compromise. Ronald reagan is dead and his successor, if there is one, hasn't been found yet. Romney, Mccain, Guliani,Thompson and even Huckabee all have attributes that can and should appeal to conservatives. None is perfect. Perfect doesn't exist. All are significantly better than Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

What was his ACU RATING FOR '07? Why not provide us that little detail?

Another thing I find interesting is that Conservatives are told to make their peace with McCain rewriting the GOP platform, because "perfection" is impossible in human affairs.

What wisdom!

What understanding of man's plight!

How Delphic!

The search for perfection we are told elevates purity to a fetish. As if the party was actually searching for that extreme level of crystalline purity. The party made their peace with GHWB, they went on to make their peace with Bob Dole, "the tax collector for the welfare state," then they went on to make their peace with GW, who wasn't comfortable being a conservative, and conjured up this lame, effeminate "compassionate conservatism." Again, and again, and again, the party has tacked according to the political demands of the hour. Winning 7 of the last 10 presidential elections. Conservatives don't need lectures about winning elections, and about the need for tactical political maneuvers.

BUT the issue at bar isn't the interplay between political principals and hammer and anvil politics.

There isn't an "issue" at bar at all. Rather there stands in the dock the person of John McCain, erratic politician at large.

HE'S THE ISSUE, if "issue" there be. His record, his statements, his positions. THAT'S what we must pass judgement upon.

Conservatives find themselves unable to accept him as their nominee.

Instead of asking what particular details of McCain's political personage are unacceptable, instead of addressing them, instead of that, Conservatives are denounced for their rational, well-thought-out and measured objections to McCain.

Why is it that Conservatives are in the wrong, and McCain in the right?

Where was McCain on the Dubai deal? On immigration, on open borders. What of the restrictions of free speech? What of that?

We're told it's the wing of the party that gave the nation Reagan that is in the wrong. The wing that gave Republicans victories and majorities. The very same group that forced through welfare reform, tax cuts, a military buildup second to none, THAT WING OF the party, whose judgement hasn't been demonstrated to be often wrong, it's that wing of the party that is told to "shut up and do as you're told."

And who is it that is making these insulting comments? It's the wing of the party that has often led us into defeat and into prolonged minority status!

McCain is beyond the pale.

The case against him is air-tight.

His biography --------- however compelling ----------- does not, REPEAT NOT enable him to soar over the objections about his erratic political record.

And even on the war, many of his supporters project a strategic coherence onto him that in fact DOES NOT EXIST.

He is incapable of explaining where Iraq fits within an overall war effort. Any twit can say Iraq's oil can't be delivered over to Al Qaeda types. That doesn't take any strategic depth. The surge is not the entirety of the war effort. What's next? Have McCain's supporters asked him that? Giuliani has given an answer. Likewise Romney. Not McCain.

And here you guys were on the cusp of a "permanent Republican majority" and "the year of the Black Republican" just a year or two back.

I won't speak for Rob, but I will say this: S.C.'s population has grown by 400,000 since 2000. A comparable growth in the Republican primary electorate would have led to a turnout of over 600,000, as opposed to 400,000 +. Those five candidates together in a close race couldn't gin up the interest South Carolinians manifested eight years ago. What's more, McCain had a goodly proportion of the significant 2000 W supporters in his camp this time. The overall Republican performance and McCain's were unimpressive.

I agree completely with Joe that the turnout numbers do not bode well for the Republicans in the Fall. The intent of my piece was certainly not to diminish McCain but merely to lay out the facts.

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