Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Random Observations

1. My personal survey of the most recent studies showed that McCain’s loss in Michigan has not eaten into his momentum much. Those who won’t abandon all hope in Rudy should note McCain’s leads in California and Pennsylvania.

2. John has extended his lead in SC and Mitt is now a strong third. If Romney were to move into second, those two might well be the only ones who really battle it out on Feb. 5 and even in FL. Even a strong third in SC and a win in NV would be pretty momentum-y for Mitt.

3. It might be the case that more and more Huckabee fans are joining our friend Clint in thinking that it might be more "strategic" to cast a vote for a candidate who might actually be nominated. And they will divide between Romney and John in a way I can’t predict. So that we can really learn from Huck’s true strength, I’m hoping that Clint and the others stay the course.

4. If the studies are to be believed, Fred is dead. (That’s what they said.)

5. I’m pleased to notice that the Mormon issue is fading among Republicans as an obstacle for Mitt. That doesn’t mean I’m for him, but no one should be against him because he’s an upright religious guy who displays his "family values" through his faithful and responsible personal life.

Discussions - 15 Comments

Those who won’t abandon all hope in Rudy should note McCain’s leads in California and Pennsylvania. Agreed. And yet I, with Dan, will wait until Florida.

If Rudy takes Florida, despite McCain taking South Carolina and enjoying a bounce therefrom, Rudy's bounce will enable him to take California. Because Rudy's bounce will be much greater. Heretofore Rudy hasn't truly been part of the narrative, but the media coverage of a Florida victory will be unlike the coverage of Huck's win in Iowa, McCain's victory in NH and Romney's victory in Michigan. Rudy is trying something that has NEVER successfully been done in American political history. And if he pulls off Florida, despite taking a hammering in the early states, he'll be almost unstoppable after Super Tuesday. A Florida victory will be but additional evidence that Rudy is CLEARLY the superior candidate.

Pennsylvania's primary doesn't occur till April, so discussing Pennsylvania right now is premature. And I've no doubt that if Rudy takes Florida and shows strength on Super Tuesday, when Pennsylvania decides, they'll go for Rudy.

Who takes Florida will enjoy the last bounce prior to Super Tuesday. Rudy stands to take New Jersey and New York, he'll also take Connecticut. He'll probably take them regardless of his results in Florida.

Peter's been determined to write off Rudy for quite some time now. But Florida is but days away, so why not allow the actual voters their say.

The Romney folks wanted Iowa and New Hampshire so that they could drive Rudy out of the race early. Now they're wanting Rudy effectively out of the race before Florida voters have their say.

But if Rudy is well and truly done, why this undercurrent of anxiety about Florida. Why the nervousness?

We've come this far in the primary season, so we might as well let it play out.

And one thing more, McCain has been working California for YEARS. He knew he was going to run again, and he's been hopeful that his Maverick reputation and his radical green stance will sway California his way.

Those concerned about the tectonics of the RED/BLUE divide, and the continuing value of the GOP coalition, might give a thought to a guy who is preparing to write off the solid South, in favour of the 50 plus Electoral College votes of California. Not to mention his radical green stance puts in jeopardy the Mountain West states.

And you're dead wrong to conclude that the Mormon issue "is fading." It's merely in hibernation.

Rasmussen has McCain ahead of Giuliani in NJ.

Peter's been determined to write off Rudy for quite some time now.

Not nearly as long as you've been shilling for him. You attacked McCain on immigration and said he would split the party. I asked you why Rudy would not do the same thing. Any answer?

And one thing more, McCain has been working California for YEARS.

And Rudy's strategy involves winning California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, those bastions of conservatism. You have a habit of attacking the other candidates for flaws which your own guy displays to a greater degree.

give a thought to a guy who is preparing to write off the solid South, in favour of the 50 plus Electoral College votes of California

Unlike you, I'm thinking of them both. Both McCain and Giuliani.

I gave you an answer, you just didn't deem it acceptable. McCain is the poster boy for immigration reform, his name is on the bill. Rudy isn't that poster child, and his name isn't on the bill, and he didn't have to vote yea or nay in the well of the U.S. Senate. Because Rudy isn't a Senator, he's been able to move rightward on the issue, much like Romney, WITHOUT attracting that much attention.

McCain isn't simply for immigration reform, McCain tried to ram it down Uncle Sam's throat. There's a difference in tone, beyond that in actual policy.

As for NJ, the Garden State will go back to Giuliani IF he wins Florida.

Peter, they will go to McCain. McCain may not be an evangelical darling, but he understands how to give a stump speech to them. Have you heard him tell the story of how the guard in prison camp released his fetters for an hour and as he tightened them to leave drew a cross in the sand? Now that's powerful. What can Romney say to counter?

Moving past the rhetorical, we see that McCain has a powerful and consisten pro-life record; a direct contrast to Mitt who for 30 years supported Roe v. Wade and the Constitutional right to an abortion on demand. McCain has a consistent record attacking government spending; Romney raised "fees" a.k.a. a backdoor tax increase to the tune of $500 million in Massachusetts. McCain has foreign policy experience and understanding; Romney counters with a few visits to Iraq. There will be little break for Romney.

If Huckabee wins South Carolina, the crazies will attack him even more. The party will remain divided, delegates will be split 4 ways, and the party even more. Foolish attacks (sadly some on this blog [not that some of my responses were not over-the-tope as well]) have already angered part of the base, and another round will just about make evangelicals unconsolable, especially after a brokered convention picks a moderate. I want Huckabee to be the nominee; I know that he would have been the strongest candidate; he just didn't have the organization and money to counter the ridiculous attacks.

The price of your curiosity will be quite high. Please do not read my comments as saying that I am particularly upset with or even support the frustration with evangelicals. To me, Huckabee was the best communicator of a natural rights based approach to government, which I believe relies on a belief in a loving, good, and personal God who gives us personal rights.

On the latter, Peter, I would still enjoy a response from you discussing whether or not the principles of America can be supported without religion, and perhaps revelation...per my question on the post that revealed your excellent piece on religion and politics.

Michael Medved suggested today that if the GOP nomination goes on to a brokered convention, it might be advisable to keep a watch on the waistline of Newt Gingrich. If he starts losing weight . . .

I have no comment on the above, I just thought it suggested yet another amusing possibility. If not Newt, why not someone else? If the convention is brokered, it certainly must mean that no one is fully acceptable and there's an opening. But money may be a very big issue.

On the other hand, I've been working through accounts of Lincoln's nomination in 1860 and the way he got it (pre-primaries, of course) was by getting a core of support in Illinois and Indiana and then making himself everyone's second choice. If it really begins to look like it's coming down to a brokered convention, I think I'd be working to get a lot of silver medals (as many gold as possible, for sure, but it might not be good to be the leader going into the thing). I wonder though, does anyone think all of this chaos would have been possible 20 years ago if we take as a given all the same political conditions but no Internet or talk radio? But then I guess we probably wouldn't have had the same political conditions without those things. At times like these I find it very difficult to understand why anyone would want to study anything other than American politics! It really is fascinating.

Julie, it's a bit early to start seriously considering a brokered convention.

Florida hasn't voted yet. And we've not seen the results of Super Tuesday.

Don't the rules dictate the the candidate with the most delegates wins, if that's the case, we could have a slender "winner." Ford narrowly defeated Reagan in '76. If we do have a slender winner, do you really think the party is going to tolerate a loser demanding that the battle continue on the convention floor.

As for Gingrich, guys like PETER LAWLER don't want Gingrich. I still recall Peter describing Gingrich as "a bourgeois technocrat." The GOP establishment doesn't want Gingrich. He's a little too much for them, too much clarity, too articulate, too clever, too smart, too historically grounded, too morally robust. Gingrich is just altogether TOO much for them. He overwhelms them. They don't like being overwhelmed, they much prefer that we all be UNDERwhelmed. They'll content themselves with guys like Ford, guys like Bush I, Bush II, nominees like Bob Dole, those are the kind of guys they want. It's not a coincidence that they lined up fast behind Romney. He's within the Ford/Bush/Dole lineage. It's no wonder that a Bush named an American Carrier after Gerald Ford. That's the kind of idiocy we've all come to expect, but surely not love, from this George Walker Bush. All the Presidents to pick from, and they pick Ford, ............ FORD! They could have extended the category, by expanding it to famous, yet pugnacious Americans. Then they could have named it the USS John "Doc" Holiday. And under his name they could have inscribed: "I'm your huckleberry." That's the type of name on a ship that men would be proud to serve on. It requires a certain historical amnesia for a man to be proud of serving on a ship named after Gerald Ford. They could have named it after General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. They could have named it after Sherman, they could have chosen Sheridan, they could have named it after Grant. They could have picked Lawton "Lightening Joe" Collins. They could have named it after Creighton Abrams. They might have considered Wyatt Earp. They might have chosen Audie Murphy. BUT NO! Of ALL the famous and appropriate Americans to pick from, they choose a Gerald Ford. And they wonder why people have lost faith in them. Perhaps they'll give the sailors who serve on her "WIN" buttons to boot.

This administration has been a nightmare, a flat-out nightmare. They can't even get the naming of an American Carrier right!

Dan, please! Does Gingrich's moral robustness show up best in divorcing his dying wife? Is he really the exemplar of conservatism that we want? He also got completely outmaneuvered by Clinton, and would be an electoral disaster.

Without defending Ford, one might remember that he was a classy ex-President who passed away recently. One of only 43 men, (and certainly a ways from the worst) to lead this powerful and great nation. He dealt honorably in his short time with two serious crises that faced our democracy-Nixon's impeachment and a close election. Rather than play politics with either, he did the right thing and pardoned Nixon to heal the country and accepted the votes as counted without a Gore-like disaster. I think that's more Carrier material than Wyatt Earp, or even the more serious MacArthur.

You are far too hard on Bush. He's accomplished some pretty impressive things-defending America from terrorist attacks since 9/11, cutting taxes, nominating two conservative Supreme Court justices, fighting to transform welfare into a results and faith focused operation just to name a few. Sure we could quibble about spending, immigration, and the like, but calling it a "flat-out nightmare" harkens back to Gephardt's "a miserable failure" punchline-overstated and wrong. Bush is probably the second (maybe third) best President since 1928, so relax a little because if you really get so worked up over W. I'm going to feel really bad for you in 2008, because I almost guarantee you (no matter who is elected from either party) it will be worse.

If you're going to hold divorce against someone then you'll end up banning a good chunk of the American people from high office.

"Classy" is now understood as a Republican who didn't put up much of a fuss against Democrats pushing their agenda. That's what we got from this Bush, that's what we got from the previous Bush, and that's exactly what we got from that weakling Ford. There wasn't anything "classy" about it, there was something spineless about it. Just standing there and trying to look dignified isn't the definition of "classy." The very emphasis on "classy" as opposed to winning, is but more evidence of the Bush Blue Blood ethos seeping throughout the GOP.

And I'm not too hard on Bush, if anything, I'm holding back. HE CHOSE TO RUN FOR REELECTION, he asked for the job of Commander in Chief, and now he tells us he "cries a lot." He should have resigned long ago, and simply confessed that he long ago lost whatever appetite he ever had to defend the American people, and champion Western civilization.

The case against George Walker Bush is airtight.

Sure Gephardt branded Bush a "miserable failure." But so what. He is, and history will demonstrate as much, in fifty years the point won't even be contested, it will be settled fact. He is a "miserable failure," it's just that he's a miserable failure FOR REASONS OTHER THAN THOSE ADVANCED by Gephardt, by Kerry, by Obama and by the Clintons.

I was thinking for a historical analogy for Bush. And I settled on one. It was the Dardanelles operation. It was an operation brilliantly conceived, but ruinously executed. Bush can be accurately compared to the naval and military leadership that botched an operation that would have won the war, that botched an operation that would have saved millions, that would have prevented Tsarist Russia leaving the war, that would have prevented Tsarist Russia going Bolshevik, that would have kept the Tsar on the throne of his fathers, it was an operation that would have ended the war long before America's entry. And thus would have probably spared the world Wilson's foolish moralizing.

Bush too had a plan brilliantly conceived, which he ruinously executed, which he lacked the manhood to make good on, but which he can't break away from, because it offers the only hope for averting catastrophe. Bush hasn't the temperament for high command. It's that simple. He's not well read, he's not historically grounded, he doesn't think in generations, he doesn't think in centuries, he doesn't think in decades, DESPITE his endless prattling about "the long war." He doesn't understand war, he doesn't understand strategy, he doesn't understand theology or morality. He doesn't understand islam and he doesn't understand Western Civilization. And from watching his response to Katrina, he doesn't understand much about management, despite his Harvard MBA!

He can't explain himself, he WON'T explain himself, he scorns communicating, he thinks repetition wasteful. And as for his poll numbers plunging, well, that he'll wave away as "just politics." And this guy is a politician. This is the guy who promised to oppose campaign finance "reform," but then tried to take credit for it. This is the guy who ripped the rug out from those in his party trying to install some rational safeguards in the immigration "reform" legislation. This guy told the Dems just get it to my desk, and whatever it is, I'll sign it. THAT'S the guy you're defending. Just think about that one. That's cultural dry rot. That's what that was. Which conservative can dispute the guy is a nightmare.

Did I mention the guy is leading my party into a disaster, and I don't much like it.

I'm a Republican! And I don't like those that are trying to make my party the modern incarnation of the WHIGS! And that's the Bush family, that's James Baker, that's Andy Card, that's this President.

God, I'm getting worked up just thinking about it.

And Gingrich didn't get "outmaneuvered" by the Clintons. He got most of what he wanted through the Clinton veto, and forced Clinton to sign legislation he had no intention of ever signing. As for the government shutdown, Gingrich lacked the media platform of The White House. Not to mention the media took Clinton's side.

Gingrich accomplished what NO Republican had for 40 years. It was so bad that most Republicans NEVER truly considered gaining majority status. And take a look at the ideological cluelessness that came in the wake of Gingrich's departure. Do you think we would have a Republican party up on The Hill that didn't know what it was, that didn't know what it believed in, with Gingrich up there. Do you think the President and McCain would have DARED to contemplate that immigration reform bill if Gingrich was still the Speaker?

The Dems targeted Gingrich and Santorum for destruction because they properly identified those two men as threats. And Dems don't swan around like the Bush family prattling on about "bipartisanship." They see an enemy and they go after 'em. They understand the use of political power, and that's something the Bush family NEVER understood. But for the Blue Bloods it's more about posing and preening, than it is about advancing advantageous legislation and advancing American interest.

Have you heard him tell the story of how the guard in prison camp released his fetters for an hour and as he tightened them to leave drew a cross in the sand? Now that's powerful.

No doubt. But it does nothing to persuade me to vote for him. I'm sure there are many Nam vets with powerful stories to tell.

John: fine, but would you like to refute these comparisons between McCain and Mitt.

Moving past the rhetorical, we see that McCain has a powerful and consisten pro-life record; a direct contrast to Mitt who for 30 years supported Roe v. Wade and the Constitutional right to an abortion on demand. McCain has a consistent record attacking government spending; Romney raised "fees" a.k.a. a backdoor tax increase to the tune of $500 million in Massachusetts. McCain has foreign policy experience and understanding; Romney counters with a few visits to Iraq. There will be little break for Romney.

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