Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Romney Surging in Florida

The most recent study (by Rasmussen) has Mitt up five, with a corresponding Huck decline. A more general look at recent studies seems to suggest that Rudy peaked around 20% a while ago and is not moving either way. Meanwhile, McCain is about the same and seeemingly won’t get much of a SC bounce. As Joe points out, having nothing but Republicans voting helps Romney, and maybe the social conservatives and "extreme conservatives" generally are starting to think about the possible nominee closest to their views. So I have to retract (as usual) my opinion that Romney has little chance in FL, and I now have to add that the best deal either Giuliani or McCain can hope for is a narrow 20-something% victory in a four-way race. And the latter is only possible if Huck can get back in the game by turning his personal charm back on. I’m starting to buy the real co-dependence theory when it comes to the strange liking that links John and Huck and even Rudy together.

Discussions - 15 Comments

So Mccain is not all there in the head. Great communtary!!! The conservative insanity show continues to another website. You would think that McCain is Osama binLaden, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot all rolled into one.

And, oh my gosh, Rush Limbaugh "may" not support him. The conservative movement has embarrassed itself this cycle. After running out Rick Santorum and Tom delay to knock McCain, whose next, Mark Foley? No candidate is perfect so the movement exaggerates the flaws of its opponent in order to make up for the shortcomings of their preferred candidate. This hatred of McCain is insane. Support another candidate if you like but don't think for a minute that he is the same as Hillary "suspend judgment" Clinton or "Surrender" Obama. They all have flaws, very significant ones. Whomever the candidate is, we are going to have to deal with these flaws. Don't pretend that this is so a black or white contest because it isn't

It's "great commentary" if you're trying to understand why the guy takes such visceral pleasure in pissing off the base of the GOP. Or are we supposed to pretend he doesn't? Go over to Hugh Hewitt's website and check out Rick Santorum's discussion with Hewitt about McCain, and about how McCain dealt with his fellow Senators, especially those who disagreed with him.

Take a look at the Republicans who are opposed to him. Most of them know him the best, guys like Santorum, guys like DeLay, those who are the guys dead set against him.

Whenever anyone is asked about McCain, all we get is another regaling of his biography. No one actually defends his domestic policy proposals. No one actually defends his weird war against Rumsfeld. No one actually defends his weird thwarting of the GOP on judicial filibusters. No one actually defends his false tethering of spending cuts to tax cuts. No one actually defends anything the guy has done of late on domestic policies. Which Conservative is actually pleased with McCain/Feingold?

Instead of rational analysis of his domestic policy proposals and legislative battles, we get nothing but biography.

I'm weary of his biography insulating him from the type of rational scrutiny that has long been overdue.

"This hatred of McCain is insane." Didn't I say I respect him, didn't I say I'd like to sit down and have several beers with him. Didn't I say that?

My respect for his biography does not prevent me from reviewing his record, from reviewing how he has conducted himself in the various battles during the Bush presidencies. And he hasn't acquitted himself well. Who can defend his profanity laced tirade to Senator Cornyn. IS THAT PRESIDENTIAL? Was that the actions of a measured, in control person? Those were the actions of an ego run amok. AND that wasn't the only instance of McCain's use of profanity against his fellow Senators. And his behavior to his Senatorial peers is as nothing compared to the contempt he has endlessly demonstrated towards his Republican peers in the House. Which DeLay can give you chapter and verse on.

That being the case, how can you say that my discomfort with a McCain candidacy is in anyway "insane."

The only "insanity" present is on the part of those who would rewrite McCain's domestic record, rewrite his role in thwarting the GOP agenda during the Bush years, rewrite his role on the amnesty bill, which he hasn't the simple honesty to admit WAS an amnesty bill. Senator Straight Talker refuses to give us the straight-up on that little piece of legislation.

Conservatives all across America are saying NO to McCain. Conservatives all across America don't trust him, and are livid that the meager votes he's managed to receive heretofore should dictate the selection of their party. McCain LOST VOTES IN SOUTH CAROLINA, over a hundred thousand votes since 2000, yet he's hailed as "the winner," when in fact the results of South Carolina indicate how much respect he's actually lost in the party.

What about his unhealthy enthusiasms for current fads? This guy says the debate over global warming "is over." Conservatives are finally getting people to focus on the clear inconsistencies present in the whole notion of global warming, we're finally making real progress in blowing holes in Gore's nonsense, yet McCain rips the rug out from under us on that issue. And you want to give that guy the Presidency. That's insane. Have you any idea how far left McCain is on that issue? Do you know what McCain's conservative rating was for '07. HE was BARELY to the right of Arlen Specter, he had a 65 rating. SIXTY-FIVE RATING!

AND again, concerning the war, BEYOND IRAQ, what's McCain's strategy? He's been on record praising the wisdom of Baker and Scowcroft, and suggested delivering Mideast policy over to them. Conservatives ripped apart the results of the Iraq Study Group, chaired by Baker, which was nothing but a distillation of the advice of the Arab League. IS THAT THE TYPE OF FOREIGN POLICY YOU WANT?

You would need to write a book to do justice to the problems Conservatives have with McCain.

His behavior is strange. His actions are strange, the way he GOES OUT OF THE WAY to irritate, to piss-off, to mock, to ridicule, to deride, that's strange. During the first term the Democrats made a concerted effort to get him to flip to the Democrat party, and the whole GOP was nervous about him because the whole party knew the guy was clearly erratic. Or have some of you forgotten that too?

Some say "we all have flaws." True enough, but we're not all running for the GOP nomination, now are we.

Is he like Hillary, not altogether, But on global warming, on campaign finance reform, on immigration, on open borders, on the Mexicanization of the United States, on the Law of the Sea Treaty, on the ICC, on the enhanced role of various and flawed international organizations, on the role of the Arab League in "solving" the various pathologies swirling through the Mideast, ......... on all of that and more, there's not a dimes worth of difference between Clinton, Obama and McCain. Now is there?

Santorum and DeLay come out and tell you what they know, what they've learned, what they've experienced working with and often AGAINST McCain. They come out and tell you the truth so that you might make an informed judgement about McCain's candidacy, ............ and instead of thanking them for giving you an insider's view of the ongoings in Washington, ........ instead of that, you slam them for "knock[ing]" McCain. You thus resent the truth. What a sight, a Conservative who fliches from the facts, because they're simply too unpleasant to bear. And beyond that in the same breath you compare DeLay and Santorum to a freakshow. And who was it that was tossing around accusations of insanity. Who was that again?

John, agreed. I'm a Romney man. And Thompson, now out, would have been my second choice.

Hey, Caleb, cheers. I agree with your analysis of how he would govern, although I think McCain would have more than 2-3 Republicans with him. Of course, on some issues, McCain would be with the mainstream of the party. Some.

I think Giuliani will take any victory he can get, narrow or large. Of course wait for the bounce to dissipate before placing any credence on the poll results. Florida goes to the polls on January 29th. There's time.

The Campaign Spot over at NRO has a very interesting take on voter trends this campaign season. Which should hearten Giuliani supporters.

And Limbaugh is speaking well of Giuliani on the air.

His voice has gone on him from hammering McCain. He's doing his imitation of McCain's voice. "It wasn't amnesty, it wasn't amnesty...."

There will be hours and hours, weeks and weeks of this. And McCain is going to be fuming, just fuming. And he doesn't control his anger well, not at all. McCain hasn't sealed the deal yet, not by a long shot.

The more I think about it, I think it's gonna' be Romney. And the poll results seem to indicate as much. CHRIS said it the other day, "more Conservatives will talk themselves into supporting Romney" than the others in the race.

That was the calculation Romney always hoped for. And it finally seems to be taking place, albeit very late in the race. He thought he could convince them to make that political calculus early, back in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The results of Florida should throw more light on this murky, political landscape.

The Rasmussen Poll says that Giuliani and Huckabee have the most solid support. There may be a floor beneath which they can't fall (higher for Giuliani than for Huckabee). I'd bet Huckabee's bastion is in north and west Florida, while Giuliani's is in South Florida (of course). As I said earlier, Romney should certainly try to go after the Huckabee voters wher he can; this poll may offer him some hope.

The question I have is whether he'd rather face Giuliani or McCain in what's likely to become a two-man contest.

It's hard for me to see how a G showing in the low twenties would be enough to make him the only alternative to R--even if McC came in just a bit low.

I think there's more than enough time to get people off of the McCain bandwagon. We're still talking about a guy who was widely loathed throughout the party, just several months ago. It's not going to take much to move McCain's numbers. What Giuliani is having problems doing is getting his own numbers to rise. It's one thing to take down a guy as unpopular as McCain, it's altogether another to get your own numbers moving in a positive direction.

But just to give a small sample of what McCain is going to get hit with from here on out, I was driving tonight listening to Mark Levin, and he went off on a tear about McCain. He summed up the positive coverage McCain has been receiving from the MSM with this sentence: "I've never heard so much crap in 72 hours in all my life...." That's a direct quote. There is RAW FURY for McCain. And it's hardly been tapped yet.

Be mindful too that the people who listen to Conservative talk radio are precisely the same people who show up to vote in the primaries.

The Rasmussen Poll says that Giuliani and Huckabee have the most solid support

I think that would make sense given that they represent similar, if opposite, niche markets.

The more I think about McCain as the nominee, the more I despair, even though I remain about 75% certain that his current balloon will pop. Although I'm a social-con, and officially McCain's more with me on those issues, I'd rather vote for Giuliani. I could hold my stomach and do my Republican duty with Giuliani. With McCain?

I just cannot trust McCain and I just cannot honestly say his temperment is acceptable for a commander-in-chief. On the temperment issue alone, I could be tempted to vote for Obama or Hillary, even though policy-wise in most every field they'd be worse presidents than McCain.

The other thing is that he'd be ruling from the media-and-elite-defined "center." That would be his constituency, by and large. That's a different center than that represented by the socially liberal-leaning pro-business hawkish Giuliani types, although many of them may sign onto McCain if Giuliani goes down. It's also a different center than that represented by Joe evangelical, for whom the era of compassionate conservatism had better not be over. I think I can live with centrists like those (although it is a fantasy to think Huckabee can win) tearing the Republican coalition this way and that. What I mean, is that if we nominate Giuliani or Huckabee, the divisions we court are clear, defined. With McCain, the divisions caused will be more confused, and I think more emotion-charged given their unpredictable and personality-focused character. His TR centrism is on one hand that of a real (if shifting) ideological sliver of Americans, but on the other hand a media-defined maverick-ism, a pox-on-both-houses thing. I mean, if it were just McCain-Feingold, or just the Amnesty Bill, or just the so-called-torture, or just the gang of 14, or just this comment or that comment, one could give him a pass. Or two or three passes. But taken all together, a disturbing picture emerges. The man has mavericked virtually every major conservative constituency. Who is he going to maverick next? That's a question I suspect even that shifting sliver who agree with McCain on most issues are going to have to take seriously. It's something beyond being independent-minded w/ McCain. To put it most baldly, what good can a self-important crank disguised as a moderate do this divided nation? Republicans are probably be better off losing than winning with him. I'm not a McCainiac by nature, I was willing to listen to Ramesh Ponnuru when he said "give him a second look" last year, but having looked and pondered, I confess the man worries me. A lot.

I'm starting to notice that a lot of people all thinking like Carl, although, of course, they're not expressing themselves with the same eloquence. McCain din't get two-thirds of the vote in SC. He would have lost one on one w Thompson and probably Romney or Huckabee. The thought that he's officially better than Giuliani but really worse is the point Julie has been making, I think. I think it's likely he'll self-destruct as a candidate at some point, I hope it's not after he has the nomination locked up.

Rushbo said today on the air that if McCain gets it, he might not support the GOP nominee. He said he might "sit this one out."

Republicans won't be able to gain much traction without talk radio.

If somebody's got a threat to make, it's time to make it. Sooner or later all the misdirection, all the game playing, all the non-endorsing and all the bluffing comes to an end. Sooner or later the cards have got to be laid on the table. Such is a time is now for Conservatives in the party. They can't pull a Bill Kristol, and pretend that McCain's acceptable. So if they've a threat to make to the rest of the party, NOW'S THE TIME TO ISSUE THAT ULTIMATUM. If they're going to do it, it's gotta' be done now.

McCain is NOT acceptable, his compelling biography notwithstanding. We're not electing a guy who has had a movie made about him, we're electing a RELIABLE steward of the nation's affairs. McCain is NOT reliable.

He's like Donovan McNabb, he's altogether ERRATIC! When he's on, he's great, {that speech 4 years ago at the GOP convention comes to mind, when he went after Michael Moore, that was GREAT, GREAT stuff}. But that's not the whole story with Senator Straight Talker. There's the immigration fiasco, and there's a whole mess of issues where he has frustrated and thwarted the conservative agenda. And what's more, often it's seemed like he was getting in the way just for the sheer hell of it. Just 'cause he was getting his kicks.

We can't possibly go with a man like that.

McCain should be privately informed that regardless of whether he gets the nomination, Conservatives are going to sit it out. Which means he'll lose. That statement has got to be made by some people who are connected, who are influential, who are known, and who have complete credibility. IF THEY'RE going to do it that is.

If they're just making some sounds, kvetching, that won't cut it. And McCain and his group will see through that in a heartbeat. Such an empty threat will only confirm McCain in his contempt for the base.

The threat has to be made by talk radio hosts, and not one or two of them. It has to be a near unanimity. Medved won't go for it because he's as lost on immigration as is McCain and Graham. It has to be Ingraham, Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin and Roger Hedgecock. There are others who can be induced to get on board. A UNITED FRONT, a privately issued threat, might work wonders.

But it's got to be done now, before McCain firmly gets the reins in his hands.

What Tom DeLay said today about McCain should be heard by every Republican voter. He didn't describe a party man, he didn't describe a man who has helped the party enact the party platform. He described an enemy to the party, an enemy to the platform, and an ego run amok. THAT was the McCain he described today. AND DELAY WAS IN A POSITION TO KNOW. He knows far more about McCain than any of us would ever like to know.

McCain has delusions of grandeur right now. He thinks he's got the nomination, that he'll defeat the Democrat nominee, and that he'll fulfill his destiny of being Commander in Chief. He needs to be sobered up fast. He needs to be brought back down to earth. The threat that I suggested would do that. He needs to know right now that he'll NEVER get to The White House. But with McCain, such a threat might send him over the edge, and the attacks against the party that we've seen from him heretofore might be as nothing to his destructive and vindictive actions thereafter.

I don't think he's all there in the head. I think he's got issues big time. I respect him, probably would enjoy throwing back several beers with him and shooting the sh@t. But I think he's got issues. Stands to reason with what the evil NVA did to him. He would have had to be superhuman to avoid psychological scarring. Sometimes you see it in him, there's a glint in the eye. THAT MIGHT NOT BE UNHELPFUL in The White House. If he said to the Iranians back off, unlike wimpy Bush, they'd believe McCain. What's more though, I don't think he has a clue about the overall war, which extends beyond the confines of Afghanistan and Iraq. Sure winning in Iraq is important. But Iraq is a means to an end. Ask McCain what is that end, ask McCain what next after Iraq. He won't have a clue. I don't think he has a clue about the nature and motivation of our enemies. I've never heard him identify the enemy, at least not beyond the politically correct nonsense we've been overwhelmed with from the Bush administration. I don't get any sense that McCain puts what we've been experiencing in any kind of historical context. You hear it when he speaks about the Arab/Israeli divide. He still thinks the problem is competing jurisdictions, as if we get some bright people together and they can thrash the thing out. Pressuring Jews to give ground is not conducive to long term victory in the war. People say the war is his strong suit. I don't think so. Any twit can say it's important to defeat the terrorists. But you don't hear too much about the underlying problem of muslim supremacism from McCain.

A guy who thinks we need to turn to the wisdom of Brett Scowcroft and Jim Baker, is a guy who doesn't have much of a clue about the Middle East.

And there's another thing, again and again McCain signs up for the fad du jour, {campaign finance "reform," immigration "reform," global warming, stopping the Republicans from changing the Senate rules for judges, and I could go on}. He signs up for liberal fads.

This is a guy that takes The New York Times seriously. That being so, how long do you think it will take him before he signs up for the liberal fads concerning the Mideast and the war effort. I don't think it would take very long at all.

Carl, I agree with you. McCain really worries me. He's the classic example of a Republican who is more interested in what the NYT (i.e. David Brooks) thinks of him that what his base believes in.

President McCain is more likely to first find out where his gang of 14 are on an issue, then get the Democrats on board and then make sure enough liberal republicans support him to avoid a filibuster. It will be "bi-partanship" in the modern view - all the democrats support the bill along with 2 or 3 republicans.

It would be demoralizing to the base and likely lead to policies that would be bad for the country - and republicans would get stuck with the blame for those policies.

I still hold out hope that Romney can 1) win the nomination and 2) be a solid President. I don't know that I can stomach Giuliani. His personal moral issues might negate the Republican high ground on these issues, and aside from being strong on national security, I'm still not sure how conservative he actually is.

Carl Scott

I agree with what you say, but we are not confined to the choices you mentioned. It's not Huck or McCain or Giulinai. Romney is a viable alternative. Even Thompson is still around, although looking a lot less viable.

As far as McCain goes, we're talking about a man who is only still a Republican because Jeffords beat him to it when it came to defecting to the Democrats. Why is anyone even considering him?

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