Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More Florida

Here are the exit polls. Note that evangelicals (40% of the electorate) split their votes between Huckabee, Romney, and McCain. And while you’d think that, on some of the issues, Huckabee’s voters would have preferred Romney to McCain if their man weren’t in the race, many more told the pollsters that their second choice was McCain. Are these the evangelicals who just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Mormon?

Another interesting feature of the vote was that McCain seems to have won among voters who regarded the economy as the big issue. Wasn’t Romney supposed to have owned that constituency?

Finally, Romney won among the more conservative (37-27), more Republican (33-31) voters, but not by enough, among enough to overcome McCain’s very substantial leads in other categories. And if I’m right about where Huckabee’s supporters would go if the man from Hope weren’t on the ballot, McCain would be gaining ground in the aforementioned categories.

Can anyone think of a scenario (not including a McCain implosion) in which Romney wins the nomination, especially if, as is likely, Giuliani pulls out and endorses McCain? Huckabee’s presence on the ballot across the South hurts McCain more than Romney. Giuliani’s absence on the coasts surely helps McCain. But I think that all that Huckabee can do, even if he should perform well in his region, is postpone the date when McCain reaches the magic number.

My last question: Will McCain approach the conservative establishment opinion leaders or will they approach him, in order to make the best of Republican/conservative prospects in November?

Discussions - 20 Comments

"Another interesting feature of the vote was that McCain seems to have won among voters who regarded the economy as the big issue. Wasn’t Romney supposed to have owned that constituency?"



What the exit polls have consistently shown is that the voters are ill informed and don't know what the heck they are doing. (In NH the most anti-war Republicans voted for 100 year McCain.) Ain't democracy grand?



I am highly tempted to move to Idaho and take up religious separatism.

My last question: Will McCain approach the conservative establishment opinion leaders ...?

Nope. His entire public persona is based on demonizing, dismissing, or ignoring the conservatives in his party and he will do so right up until he loses to Obama.

Clinton's win in Florida confirms what national polls have shown all along, Obama is fading wm.

On Who will approach who, I'm not sure if the Republican opinion leaders will side with Big Mac. Bob Doll failed to gain support from several critical opinion leaders in 1996. These leaders are not a guarantee to the nominee.

Two things loom large now in retrospect, which at the time didn't appear to be very important.

1}That the other candidates allowed McCain to endlessly regale audiences about how strong HE was on the surge, and how HE ALONE pushed that policy through against the resistance of Rumsfeld. That was always false, ALWAYS! But in as much as McCain seemed a dead candidate, who was whipping a dead horse to boot, the other candidates allowed him to get away with that blatant falsehood.

2}Spending cuts tethered to tax cuts. McCain conjured up a reason to justify his opposition to tax cuts, BUT AT THE TIME OF THOSE TAX CUTS, McCain NEVER mentioned that he would be for them if spending cuts were initiated. In fact, McCain repeated Democrat talking points about those tax cuts, saying that they benefited "the rich." McCain demagogued along with the best of them, blasting "the rich," blasting "corporations" and blasting too insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. AGAIN, Republicans allowed him to get away with it, instead of challenging him immediately. Those falsehoods, when repeated, TOOK ON THE MANTLE OF TRUTHFULNESS. When in fact, they were blatant falsehoods.

McCain was thus allowed to portray himself as UNIQUELY strong on the war effort, AND was allowed to portray himself as again, UNIQUELY RESPONSIBLE when it came to spending. The fact that polls show that McCain was favoured on economic issues, when this guy hasn't any executive experience, and demagogues with the best of the class warfare Democrats, just tells us how deeply McCain's falsehoods took hold.

The only way to have combated such falsehoods was by running what are described as "negative ads." And other than Romney, few Republicans had the stomach to take on McCain, ---------------------------- thus the squeamishness of the GOP made possible the ascendancy of the McCain candidacy. Because only Romney had the nerve to take him on, and was bashed for doing so, we now have McCain staring us dead in the eye, ------------------------------------- and as all of you know, he doesn't have much liking for the likes of us.

What joy

As for the scenario for Romney, that's easy.

Recall the first New Hampshire debate, where McCain could barely control his overwhelming hatred for Romney. He was PUBLICLY laughing at Romney. McCain doesn't handle victory well. He's very much like Bush, in that he'll stupidly blurt out something like "See ya' at the signing ceremony." Talk radio is going to continue hammering him. And his groupies and cult followers are putting pressure on those radio hosts, to back away from McCain, but they're not, they're still going after him.

This will affect McCain. His ego kept him in a race when everybody else thought him a political dead man walking. BUT that same ego, when constantly and endlessly needled, pricked, harried and sniped at, that same ego will force McCain to respond. And that response won't be pretty. His whole "My friends" bit is getting real old, ------------ older than him in fact, ----------- and it's going to be increasingly threadbare as the attacks intensify. Guys like Limbaugh and Levin aren't going to back off McCain, if anything, they'll go after him all the more. They're are earnest in their opposition to McCain, and no amount of pleading behind the scenes is going to shake them or snap them out of it.

The temper that McCain CONSTANTLY displays behind the scenes can be cajoled into the open, and the attacks and criticism against him are well calculated to coax that out of him.

Romney just has to stay alive long enough to pick up the pieces from a McCain explosion.

Most people who support McCain don't know much about him, other than his compelling biography, which is now front and center in his campaign. But those traits which enabled him to fight off his Godless torturers, are the very same traits that provide him with a warped messiah complex.

Romney, now one on one, should unload and unleash a barrage of comparative ads on McCain. They should start airing McCain's SENATE record, instead of allowing McCain to obscure his Senate record with his record in the Hanoi Hilton.

Romney wants it bad. And he's finally got that one on one race he's always craved, ---------- so now isn't the time to hold anything back.

Romney just has to stay alive long enough to pick up the pieces from a McCain explosion.

Dan, nothing could be more true. I think some of the earlier comments on the other posts were highly pessimistic. Of course, we have to be honest and admit it's a complete uphill battle but I think anyone who starts to compare McCain and Romney will have an easy time deciding on the Governor.

It's going to get very, very interesting to watch.

Honesty also forces us to admit that McCain just might restrain himself, and NOT blow up. He might allow himself to vent all of his anger and fury in private, before his family and immediate staff following, but in public, he might continue with that false "my friends" garbage.

Well, taking a page from McCain, I can assure all of you who are "My friends," that by the time the general rolls around all of us are going to be thoroughly sick to death of speeches and comments that are prefaced by a transparently fake "my friends."

The topper, and I mean THE topper, the topper of all the whoppers we've heard over the last few years, was when McCain told us he, HIM, he was the guy to "unite" Conservatives and the GOP. I was reading Solzhenitsyn when I heard that one, and Solzhenitsyn was commenting on the falsity of Western politicians. How utterly appropriate!

but I think anyone who starts to compare McCain and Romney will have an easy time deciding on the Governor.

Been comparing them for two years, and I've like McCain better than Romney every day.

I am a lifelong Republican who has worked campaigns, done flushing on election day, written ad copy, blah, blah, blah - and I will tell you, I do not know what John McCain could say to make me vote for him. As things stand now, I am leaving the top of the ballot blank and just voting in state and local elections. Why should I punish my State Rep, or Sheriff, or County Commissioner, because the nominee for my party is hostile to small government? We have managed by this primary process to eliminate everyone but the most big government loving, Bill of Rights hating, open borders enthusiast. I can think of nothing but Iraq withdrawal that Obama would do and McCain would not.

Clinton has double-digit poll leads in the big states, Giuliani is endorsing McCain, so, barring some very odd event or series of events, this time next week we're looking at Clinton vs. McCain, with Paul as a possible third-party candidate.

Are these the evangelicals who just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Mormon?

No, Peter is closer to the truth with the "authentic" take. Certainly McCain appears more reliable on abortion, principles, etc. Lesser of two evils. In fact, I think the Mormon issue was a dud, though I had wished it was more of an issue as liberal democracy can't really handle true religious plurality as in Muslims, Christians, and Communists all living together singing that Coke song...

As things stand now, I am leaving the top of the ballot blank and just voting in state and local elections... I can think of nothing but Iraq withdrawal that Obama would do and McCain would not.

I think you nailed it here. Why on earth would a conservative and/or libertarian vote for the GOP this year? I know this blog is more establishment GOP/politics as game or "science", than a true conservative voice, so I get the sense that we are going to read many a line about "the team" and what not in the next 9 months.

To me the more interesting race is of course the Dem's, who are now guaranteed 55% (I predict closer to 60%) in the general. I hope it's Obama. I of course could not in good conscious vote for the man, but I would vote for him before the GOP this year...

wm, what is the benefit of not voting for President vs. voting third party? Voting third party sends a directional signal. Not voting does not.

Fair question. Angry as I am, I still prefer a two party system to multiple parties. England's three parties - and Italy's three dozen - with the "coalition" sausage making that is institutionalized in systems with more than two viable parties seems even worse than what we have now. Staying home is unfair to good state and local candidates who cannot be blamed for McCain - but not voting the top of the ticket I hope will register discontent.

The left will always have more "party discipline" than we do; it is in their political DNA. Multiple right of center parties, I suspect, will keep them in power more than it will help us. I prefer to register my discontent "in house." Does that make any sense?

Does that make any sense?

I wonder if taking Europe as our guide is not limiting the conservative vision. We have two parties in this country, a wacko left wing one and a 'moderate' left wing one. There is no "conservative" party, and conservatives have consistently overrated their influence in the GOP for at least 50 years.

So honestly, it does not make any sense, at least when you look at the actual results of this "in house" effort. Yet, conservatives are the strongest supports of the current system. Perhaps this is where their "conservatism" degrades in a sort of paralysis. We look across the pond and say "oh, I don't want that". Of course not, but then what do we do about this two liberal party system? An answer that leads to more of the same is going to fail for another 50 years...

Christopher, you said in your first paragraph exactly what I was going to say. We have Social Democrat Party A and slightly less Social Democrat Party B. The GOP is not rightist (even center right) by historical standards.



wm, the two party system is built in to our winner takes all system whether we like it or not. It is not a question of having multiple "viable" third parties for more than a couple of election cycles at most. It is an issue of replacing a pretend conservative party with a real conservative party. Not an easy task, but better than setting on our hands or acquiescing to defeat. If you think it would be easier to reform the GOP than replace it, then that is fine too. But you can’t reform it by saying you will vote for the nominee whoever it may be. You are not doing that, and for that I commend you.

McCain will do just fine. All the Democrats where I am are very scared of the upcoming McCain-Hillary matchup. They think it's a slam dunk GOP win (I think it will be close but winable). Were Obama the candidate it is likely no one could beat him, but every Democrat and my own gut tells me that he is finished. Hillary will hold the mantle, but her damage especially among minorities leaves her even more vulnerable in the general.

McCain is not a perfect candidate, yet he is a good one. He attacks pork with vigor, is tough on terrorism, steadily pro-life, and likes lower taxes. Issues that he is weak on are those like immigration where even the great Reagan led us astray. We have deified Reagan (who aside from complete amnesty, raised taxes once, signed the Voting Rights Amendment in cohoots with Teddy K., and spent lots of our tax dollars), so I think we could at least come to terms with McCain enough to vote for him. He's more right than not on the big issues of the day like terrorism, spending, and abortion.

Clint,

If I were a betting man, I would take you up on the "McCain will do just fine". Particularly against Obama, who I would be tempted to vote for just to ensure McCain does not get in!

I think your analysis does not take into account not only the dissatisfaction of the GOP activists with McCain, but more importantly the GOP failure after winning the house in 94. I think you will see significant numbers of traditional conservatives and libertarians simply staying home or going third party - particularly if Ron Paul is a third party candidate. I just don't see how the Dem's can lose this year.

Perhaps this differing analysis is based on how much one weighs the conservative reaction to the GOP these last 14 years.

Christopher: I said no one would beat Obama, but fortunately he won't be the candidate. Ron Paul won't run third party either, especially with a anti-pork candidate like McCain.

Everyone flipping over McCain needs to take a deep breath. Then consider his status in America. Then look at his long voting record in the Senate. Sure there are problems, but by and large it is very conservative. It will be ok.

Sure there are problems, but by and large it is very conservative. It will be ok.

That's the "team talk" again - and more and more libertarian and conservatives are not taking the bait...

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