Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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South Carolina Update

The very latest studies confirm what Rob Jeffrey says. Huck’s bleeding has stopped, and it appears that he and McCain are in a dead heat. Meanwhile, Romney’s mini-surge seems to have topped out, as has Fred’s. So a vote for Huck is a vote to let the process continue. A decisive McCain victory would make him very hard to stop. Apparently McCain wins if lots of old people turn out. Huck wins if lots of the young turn out. If Guiliani and Romney supporters don’t actually vote for Huck in SC, they’ll have trouble denying that they hope he’ll win. (Given the right odds, I would still put money on Mitt to surprise, but his "people" don’t actually expect him to prevail. And even Fred is talking more about doing well than winning, altlhough nothing’s more obvious than he needs to win.)

And I don’t think the Confederate flag is like the Nazi flag or anything like that. But its official display did become a symbol of racial divisiveness and injustice that it’s best to get past. (As Ryan Rakness says in the thread below, sometimes the politically correct position is actually just correct.) Elections shouldn’t turn on the Confederate flag, as they have even in Georgia. The present governor of Geogia, in a most statesmanlike way, betrayed the flag defenders who elected him, still managed to get reelected by a landslide. and just about put an end to the controversy.

To be as fair-and-blanced as I can be, I wouldn’t choose between McCain and Huck based on their flag statements. John’s self-righteous self-criticism of his 2000 position on the issue offends me as much as Huck’s attempt to use that position to gain votes now. It also could be that I will end up concluding that I overreacted to Huck’s where to stick the pole remark.

An isolated, "redneck" flag remark, of course, might be more than counterbalanced by Huck’s bold pro-life statement quoted by Joe below. Reversing ROE, in truth, is just a beginning. Notice, too, that he’s not just putting forward the evangelical worldview but talking more in terms of something like natural law. If you read the whole interview you might wince a time or two, but overall you have to admit that there’s a lot to Huck that the other candidates lack--and even that he’s far more a subsidiarity than a big government guy. Part of my alleged overreaction all along to the MSM Republicans shrilly negative overreaction to Huck is its inability to acknowledge what’s good about him, Even Giuliani supporters like Julie have to acknowledge the new man from Hope’s superiority in certain key areas.

Discussions - 10 Comments

The present governor of Geogia, in a most statesmanlike way



Statesmanlike? He lied through his teeth.

Red, Well, right, I'm actually teaching Machiavelli this morning.

Huck has his bad points, to be sure, but at least there is something worthwhile there for conservatives. If Giuliani has any good points, nobody has ever mentioned them. (Beyond his alleged managerial skills.)

Good things about Huckabee. (1) He is solid on life issues. (2) He is solid on gun issues. (3) He is now at least talking as if he is getting a clue about immigration. This is not much, but considering the weakness of the rest of the field, it's not nothing.

I'd certainly vote for Huck in SC, even if only to stop McCain.

Huckabee's superiority rests only in his possible ability to crush McCain in South Carolina. For that reason, I've been contemplating a call to my sister in South Carolina who wanted to vote for Thompson in order to shore up Rudy's chances in Florida. That Huck shares some of my own positions on the issues and that he seems to couch them in some language that may--in places--appeal to me, is not enough when I consider his seeming inability to persuade anyone other than those already inclined to share his perspective. The appealing language is like decoration in his speeches. He always lands on something controversial and grating (like his recent bit about God's law vs. the Constitution). Never mind what he really meant. It wasn't taken that way and that just shows that he's an amateur. His remarks on the campaign trail of late are, to be honest, disturbing. He speaks before he thinks, it seems to me. My first objective is to preserve the integrity of the principles and to keep bad and unpersuasive arguments away from them. Huck's loose lips are the kind of thing that won't serve conservatives well if he gets a bigger microphone. But I'm not that worried about that possibility.

Old Huckabee houndog is reliable on sovereignty issues as well, such as the ICC and The Law of the Sea Treaty, [LOST}, upon which our current President is well and truly "lost."

A Huckabee staffer ought to put up wherever Huck is staying an old World War II poster, which says "Loose lips sink ships." Sometimes being garrulous does NOT help a politician.

His remarks on the campaign trail of late are, to be honest, disturbing. He speaks before he thinks, it seems to me.

I have been doing a little digging into his campaign (check out the story in WSJ yesterday) and it turns out his truly is a shoestring, minimal campaign. It really is just himself and a few close supporters and family. This to me is the kind of thing that still ought to be acceptable in our republic - the citizen statesman. I would suggest that what is "disturbing" is not Huck's missteps, but the multi-million dollar, 3 consultants for every minutia, slick-by-the-committee campaigns ran by Mitt and the rest.

My first objective is to preserve the integrity of the principles and to keep bad and unpersuasive arguments away from them.

Which of course implies not real men and women, but caricatures, talking heads, the slicker than snake modern "politician" created by armies of staff and advertising consultants. Your position implies that only party men like the GOP's Mitt or the Dem's Hillary are persons of "integrity", for only they could possibly be propped up to such a standard.

Huck's loose lips are the kind of thing that won't serve conservatives well if he gets a bigger microphone.

Which is something I admit I don't get. What is it about the GOP's past performance (say, since the 94 "revolution") that has "served them well"? I think it quite the opposite, we need more men like Huck, and less of the GOP party machine men, if "conservativism" is going to gain any more traction at all. I don't think it's an accident that you have argued yourself into supporting Rudy, the farthest think from a "conservative" in the GOP field...

This will be no stunning reversal, but I will say this much in Huck's favor: at least when he says stupid things it's probably the case that he hasn't thought hard about them. When the others do it, with all their consultants and staffers, what's their excuse? I'm sorry, though, Christopher. I'm tired of GOP leaders who make fools of themselves (and, by implication, the rest of us) trying to defend important principles with stupid arguments.

But when you say, "Your position implies that only party men like the GOP's Mitt or the Dem's Hillary are persons of "integrity", for only they could possibly be propped up to such a standard." in response to my post above, I wonder how you explains all my not-so-glowing commentary about both of those folks and their ability to be genuine. Like most people, I prefer a genuine person to a phony. Maybe I take that too far, in your eyes? I'm so enamored of the genuine that I sometimes prefer it to agreement. That's why I like Rudy better than Romney, even though Rudy's genuinely at odds with me on more of the issues. (Or so Romney tells me.) Romney says he agrees with me on more things but . . . I guess I'm not really persuaded and I have little faith in his ability to persuade others in the end. Huck says he agrees with me and then he makes me blush for it. McCain just tells me to take a hike and, well, I'm always happy to oblige him.

I'm visiting family in Florida at the moment - signs abound for all the candidates but Mitt and Ron Paul dominate the landscape in and around central and north central Florida, so far. They are ALL saying what sounds good amongst the disaffected - if you're a pouting Dem still not over 2000 and 2004 (and we know you by your bumper stickers), it sounds so darn good to get a praying, church-attending decent man out of office. Even doubting GOPs may fall for it. Well, they are ALL saying they will change things.

I'm listening to a commerical now - it's Romney. Taxes, immigration and such are in this commercial and he says he knows how to bring change. I'm just so darn skeptical. Change...it sounds good. This process leading up to the conventions is a culling; shaking the wheat from the chaff. I'm still wondering where the wheat is, in any party.

I'm tired of GOP leaders who make fools of themselves (and, by implication, the rest of us)

I think perhaps you don't take this far enough, given your explanation of your Rudy support (which I do respect). All of us are fools, imperfect, etc. Part of the "heart" argument for Huck is that he at least is out there without the support of the multi-million $ advertising and shine machine. He (as the rest of us) is going to say some things that could have been said better. When you read what the man has to say at length, he usually makes sense and is defensible, and is a more instinctive conservative than the other candidates.

I understand the knee jerk reaction, but he's only human, let's give the guy a break. Mitt supporters want us to give their man a break on his switchero over abortion, and Rudy wants us to forgive his obvious character flaws when it comes to his family. Yet, "intellectual" conservatives seem to be picking over everything Huck says with a quite obvious predisposition to say "SEE, he's a backwater evangelical, he's not electable".

I still think your standards are not really attainable, and frankly not applicable. It's not a more perfect, polished, sound argument/image the conservative movement needs. It's a more direct one, a more honest one - one with integrity and not one that is empty as in the current leadership of the GOP. Which is why I can respect your argument for Rudy. It's about the best I have run across. Now, if only he was a conservative, and not a GOP place holder...;)

I really not pandering, Christopher, when I come right back atcha and say your argument for Huck is about the best that I've come across. You've been the only supporter of his (since I can't count Peter Lawler among Huck's supporters) who has made me think. This is not to say that I agree with your analysis--only that I respect it. You are right to call me out and insist that I defend what you see as an unreasonable demand for perfection in thought and speech in a conservative candidate. And so you make me better because I do not want to say anything that could be construed as a suggestion that Huck or any other conservative has to be reason incarnate before I'd offer my support. I don't even trust my own judgment enough to think that I'd recognize perfection if I saw it! Perfection would be an absurd standard. And I certainly don't hold Rudy to be perfect--or really, even very close to it! But I do have to call them as I see them. I said on another thread where Huck was being compared to an abolitionist that the comparison is not quite apt--it's true that Huck doesn't hold the Constitution to be a bargain with the devil. But I might say that he does reminds me, in some ways, of the radical Republicans during Reconstruction. There is a kind of reckless abandon in him that, to be honest, just scares me. There is such a thing as wanting good things too much. And Huck seems to want those good things more than Rudy seems to care about those bad things he says he supports. I mean, it's not as if Rudy's out there campaigning to put an abortion and a homosexual union in every family! I think he'd be happier never to have to talk about either thing ever again. But much of this discussion is moot. Huck's not going to get the nomination. I just don't see how he can.

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