Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A couple of points

Just a few quick points to Peter Lawler below:
1. I am told that the Governor (and former Miss) Alaska is ver smart, a fine speaker, and very well liked. I think McCain has to pick her or Bobby Jindal, and this has to do with the second point. 2) McCain’s speech was his normal delivery mode, and Lawler’s right, he talks like a CEO (and Dubya). That is, because they are not in the habit of talking, CEO’s don’t do it well. He has to consider this, especially because Obama is a great talker--at least in the formal setting--and act accordingly. For example, he has to give only short formal talks, and, make up for his boring tone in conversational mode with Obama where McCain can be clever, biting, and even sharp (Obama’s less good at that than in lecturing). 3) I think Hillary’s speech last night--her inability to be anything but self-serving--was awful and fully revealed her vices. It is obvious that she doesn’t care about anything but winning, and she will do anything to be running, even as VP. Shameful. At least she could have been clever, or indirect, about it. But she is forcing the issue; this is political rape and Obama had better be able to resist it. He will not make her his runnign mate, I predict. He cannot, honor and manliness will not allow it.

Discussions - 33 Comments

Gov. Palin gave birth in April to their fifth child, a Down Syndrome baby, so a national campaign would be ruled out.

Does this mean Obama announces his pick before the Convention? If it's a woman, Hillary's sink Obama strategy has worked perfectly. If it's not a woman, hell to pay, no?

Of course, such a ticket could get elected, but against it I would favor a ticket of two old white guys--as long as the VP never served in the Bush administration. It's not about race;it's about the exotic versus the familiar.

Obama's popularity may sink in the following weeks--precisely because people are no longer voting against Hillary. Politics is always more about hatred than love, though love or friendship is the final cause or part of it.

On SP, I'm not sure that a national campaign is ruled out. Her duties as campaigner and as VP could easily be minimal, no tougher than being gov. of that massive state. Repeat, not sure. I basically agree w Peter that it's her or Bobby J.

Given McCain's age, the possibility of Palin becoming president is relatively high. That possibility alone might make me consider voting that ticket.

Is it worth noting that the only reason why Mr. Obama is said to have the nomination is that he has enough Superdelegates to put him over the top.

What is the final tally from Primaries and Caucuses?

I like Jindal, too--for President.

I suppose my hard question is this: Do we want him for VP the same way the Dems thought that running Kerry as a war hero in 2004 would negate their foreign policy weakness? If so, that's not the way to think about him.

This would be the case for a VP Jindal:

He would be good on health care especially, ethical reform, and moral issues.

George Will, among others, argues that McCain can't make inexperience an issue with the young Jindal on his ticket: My counter to that would be that Jindal in fact has more relevant experience in health care and education than Obama.

How will the older America react to two exotic tickets? I think with Jindal the Republicans run as the pro-American party, the patriot and the immigrant's son, the past and the future of patriotism showing itself as present.

I think I've converted myself to Jindal for VP.

It is obvious that she doesn’t care about anything but winning, and she will do anything to be running, even as VP.

She does not want to be VP. She's putting the boot into Obama, which is always a good thing.

I expect Obama to take Bill Richardson of New Mexico, (to quell any fears of inexperience on the ticket as well as help take in the "Latino vote" that people are worried he won't get) or either Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania or Wesley Clark; the latter would draw Clinton supporters and add "experience" to his ticket.

Peter Schramm is right, I think, on the honor point. Besides, what is it she might bring to the ticket? The Republicans have begun replaying her "commander in chief threshold" stuff, so her joining the ticket would be an extra joke, but now on her. Most important from HER announced point of view: exactly what real "experience" does she bring that Obama lacks? So I agree with R.O.B. though I think Strickland may also still be in play.

How would a McCain-Powell ticket do? I realize that it would not make conservatives happy, but if it would be a winning ticket, it might be better than Obama and a Democratic House and Senate.

I always thought Obama-Powell would be an even better ticket for the Dems.

But given my conversion to McCain-Jindal, would this be the 9-11 + 7-11 ticket?

Seriously, a lot of convenience stores, gas stations, and motels would become mini-McCain-Jindal HQs.

Jindal is out. Jindal doesn't want to be the VP candidate of an old man on a bad year. His road to success is paved much smoother in Louisiana. Great leaders do great things, and Louisiana offers greater challenges and rewards than being a VP. I like Jindal-enough to consider him my leading Presidential choice in 2012-but I would be disappointed to see him on the ticket now. Besides Jindal was took office five months ago!!! Five months! Where is the honor or manliness in leaving the state that elected you less than a year ago to lead it? None, and Jindal will have too much honor to do it.

Stick to Palin. I have praised this idea previous and don't recant. Her children's names do give some concern about her competance: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig [her kids' names].

In fact, LA was so desperately in need of a leader that if Jindal were to leave them rudderless now after a mere five months of service, my opinion of Jindal would decrease. I'm fairly certain that Jindal feels more duty to LA than we think of when we kick him around for VP.

Jindal, of course, has a lot more executive accomplishment than McCain.
Those Palin kids do have odd names. After that dreadful speech, it's clear that McCain has no chance if he picks someone boring.

Someone, in some earlier thread, had some major objection to Palin, months ago. I don't remember what and can't face combing through old posts to find that. I mean it was something bigger than weird names for the kids. It will come out somewhere else.

Back to original post, about Obama's honor and manliness, I seem to remember that he could not, in honor, turn out Rev. Wright, either, but he did. I know lots of men for whom honor is a word and little more. Necessity rules them. With a good part of the Democratic Party thinking Hillary is the bee's knees, Obama is going to have do something nice to/for her. I think Hill&Bill are ghastly, too, but lots of people don't and they are all people O. has to take into account.

Can you see Hillary melting away? I don't think so. We are cursed with them for the long haul

It's rather odd to speak of "honor and manliness" in connection with Obama. Except to say what should be obvious by now: that he hasn't got it. Political calculations may cause him to reject Hillary or to choose her. It's true that if he picks her, he LOOKS less manly. But in any case, he IS not manly. Obama is a coward, a weasel, a fraud, and a radical liberal. NLT shouldn't permit any confusion on this score.

If Obama is smart he'll pick Strickland. I think Strickland would take VP even though he supported Hilliary. Strickland would appeal to white working class people, and would counterbalance Obama's elitism. Strickland would help Obama win OH and PA. If O picks Strickland, and Strickland will run with him, its over.

Interesting...but I still think McCain has to pick Lieberman. I don't think Dr. Lawler is thinking clearly about the mores in America to suggest that McCain can compensate for deficiencies by choice of a VP(either ideological or cosmetic). I think it is all about positioning those deficiencies in thought. McCain has no choice but to run a serious national defense candidacy, and in my opinion play up his weaknesses as honest limits to finite human beings.

At this stage in the game everyone knows the world is a complex place. Position McCain so that his experience with apparent lack of knowledge and unsmoothness is juxtaposed with Obama's inexperience, know it all attitude and smoothness. This will in fact drive home the suggestion that Obama's relation to the world is unamerican or overly theory laden, which is the only explanation for why he knows so much and can speak so smoothly while McCain is inept.

I believe that there is a suggestion that will run as a deep undercurrent...in this particular matchup. In truth all this is clear to me as I read Hegel and Toqueville...but I would stress to you pundits and bloggers not to forget what Toqueville said about the speed at which information travelled in his day...at what speed does information travel in our own?

In my view the speed of information is such that old school attempts to ballance the candidates don't quite have the same effect.

In my view what is wrong with McCain as a speaker has much to do with the resonance of Toqueville's observations.

In this sense then I really like Ken's point in comment 1 about hatred and love...

Toqueville says: "Nevertheless, the ambitious are bound to create parties, for it is difficult to turn the man in power out simply for the reason that one would like to take his place. Hence all skill of politicians consists in forming parties; in the United States a politician first tries to see what his own interest is and who have analogous interests which can be grouped around his own; he is next concerned to discover whether by chance there may not be somewhere in the world a doctrine or a principle that could conveniently be placed at the head of the new association to give it the right to put itself foward and circulate freely."

Now McCain chose the Republican party, but my guess is that he was always wary of the attachment to the doctrine or principle...why?

Because McCain is essentially american in being distrustful of theory principle and doctrine...and can always speak much more ably when speaking honestly and naturally. McCain is a horrible liar, so that all attempts to fit him into the Republican mold crudely are going to have incredibly ill-fated results.

What the Republican party needs to do is to let McCain be McCain...and I believe that if this actually was to be allowed one would see that McCain is actually profoundly Conservative, anti-aristocratic on the level of ideas, but culturally very much a believer in mores, especially in the sense that they are articulated by Toqueville in Ch 9 of Democracy in America. In fact McCain is a sworn ennemy of schism and indifference.

In all seriousness Ch 9 is essential to understanding McCain and how he should order his campaign.

No to Sarah--see Ken's first point. There's something that just doesn't sit right with that. Does the country need her more than that child does?

I would love to see Jindal picked, but Clint has a valid point too. There is a sense in which it makes him less honorable than I think he is . . . he'd have to do a whole public struggle with the decision for it to work. Also, I think it's a reasonable argument to say that it's not in his interest to do it.

Still intrigued by the possibility of Lieberman . . . but that's risky. Requires careful thought and a clever sell. Think it could be done . . . but I also see how it could be a disaster. Would like it better if they pledged to one term or hinted at it.

There has to be other people who are not boring. Is every old white guy boring? I don't think so. Boring is the thing to avoid but perhaps, also, we should avoid gimmicks and looking like we're following a fad rooted in an identity politics that, clearly, we don't support. It could be a fun sort of irony . . . if the person is actually fabulous (like Jindal) but it doesn't look very authentic either. I think non-boring is the key. Who out there is a good non-boring candidate? What about someone like Bennett? Or is that all too much like Dole/Kemp? Seems to me though that we need someone who speaks well and is wicked smart . . . also someone who is not afraid to be a little impish and stir up trouble. The glass has to be shaken if we expect things to settle in a different way.

17: Good point about letting McCain be himself. He is indeed a bad liar. There is genuine conservatism in the man, and he would be smart to emphasize those aspects. 18: Julie, I agree that "the glass has to be shaken." A boring pick won't help, and McCain needs help. The choice is a difficult one. Jindal is simply too young and has too thin, or too low-level, a record in public life. He has a great opportunity, and arguably a serious obligation, in Louisiana. He would be wasted in the vice presidency, let alone in a losing campaign. It's also unclear that he would help McCain politically. Lieberman is a good guy but a weak campaigner with no natural connection to the key voters -- down-market Middle Americans. He would work in a genuinely nonpartisan campaign that allowed him to stress his liberalism on domestic policy. But McCain cannot run such a campaign because it would turn off too many conservatives. I lean toward Huckabee. The only serious danger there would be his sermons as a Baptist preacher. If he was careful enough over the years -- a big "if" -- I'd say McCain should go with him.

DF: Why do you think Lieberman has no "down market" (a strange term) connection with Middle American voters? One reason I am drawn to that idea is that I think he does have strong appeal with them. I remember in the 2000 election there were a lot of people who were dismayed that they could not vote for Lieberman without also getting Gore. Had the Dems switched around the ticket that year, I think they would have won. Don't you remember all the sighing over how much better (and civil) the VP debates were than the Presidential debates?

As for Huck . . . I think it's probably a good idea right now to stay away from anyone who is that outspoken and who has spent that much of his time in church. You seem to sense that with your "big if." I'd say that "if" is probably bigger than you imagine.

I was thinking, it is probably not every day that Peter Schramm and Jimmy Carter agree on a political matter.

Julie, we know, or rather McCain's people do, if they can go through his sermons. That is the danger point. As a candidate, Huckabee is smart and cagey enough to stay out of trouble. He is a natural politician, a rare thing at the higher levels of the GOP. He can speak convincingly to Democrats who are otherwise sensible but buy much of the old Democratic economics and statism. He is one of them. Lieberman isn't. Sure, there are evangelicals who are surprised to see a liberal Eastern Democrat who respects social conservatives even though he disagrees with them 90 percent -- and who is so clear and genuine about his faith. And there are national-security conservatives who like to see the last remaining Scoop Jackson Democrat. Some in both groups are still Democrats somewhere in their hearts. But nearly all in these groups are already with McCain, even if unhappily. I'm sorry you're disappointed by the term "down-market," but -- hate to break it to you, Julie -- in politics we sometimes speak in crude terms. It simply means people who are struggling but not exactly poor. The swing voters of 2008, and the future of the GOP, if it has one. As for "market," there are markets in politics, as everywhere.

I have to say I'm confused as to what the appeal of Leiberman is. McCain's trouble is not with the center, it's with the right. In all issues except the war Leiberman is solidly liberal. If McCain were to pick him, I could easily see Bob Barr getting into the double digits percent of the vote, with an equal number of conservatives staying home. The result would be a landslide for Obama, and quite possibly and end of the conservative coalition.

I disagree with Julie concerning Palin. What better way to attract the votes of working mothers AND demonstrate a strong commitment to the pro-life cause? Most mothers do work outside the home. Palin has a fisherman husband who'd be freed up to take care of the child if she were veep (not to mention all the help that that position could command), and the Republican party could demonstrate that women need not sacrifice their careers for their principles. In my view, this is an important stance for the Republican party to take.

Trig's going to be just fine.

Here is a Pew Research Center study concerning public attitudes about mothers working outside the home. I have no doubt, Mod, that Trig will be "just fine." Nor do I doubt that he is deeply loved by his mother as, I'm sure, are all her children. That's not the issue, really. I think parents are the best judges of what is best for their own particular children--even when they are inclined to be a bit selfish. Who isn't so inclined in the end? A stay-at-home mom can be just as negligent as a working one. I know that. But 41% of Americans believe that it is better for a mother to stay home with her young children. That doesn't strike me as wild and crazy or oppressive backward logic. It strikes me as sensible and stemming from a real feeling we all experience as parents or, failing that, former children. Another 32% prefer only part time work. So 73% don't think full time work is particularly great. Only 9% think full time work for mothers with young children is just dandy. If I'm McCain, I don't like the look of those numbers.

And what does it mean to say that "women need not sacrifice their careers for their principles"? I really believe most people would be more inclined to say that mothers ought not to sacrifice their principles for their careers. Isn't there something just a little strange and off-putting about a person (and I mean any person--man or woman) who chooses to seek political office when there are more pressing matters at home and there is no particularly pressing reason for the person to run . . . I mean, even if is she's really great, is she also indispensable? This job (especially in the campaign phase) will be way more than full time. Let's say for the sake of argument that she can do all of these things like some superhuman dynamo and no one in her family (except, perhaps, her) is the worse for it. Still . . . why? For what? I think this is part of the reason why John Edwards' campaign didn't go anywhere. People were a bit aghast that he would take so much time from his family to run while his wife is so sick. Why does anyone need to be President/VP that bad?

Maybe Palin could take the vice-presidency back to the old pattern for the job where not much was expected. Part-time might define that, or at least it could be less strenuous than governor of a state.

Honestly, no one is going to expect the next VP to be like Dick Cheney, here, there and everywhere.

Julie, when I talk about principles and careers, I'm thinking about the "Feminists for Life" platform--"that an unplanned pregnancy can bring unplanned joy"--and need not derail a career. (so far as I know, Palin's not planning to step down from governing Alaska; it would be up to her whether she'd consider the VP slot, of course). Regardless of the Pew Research Survey, I suspect that when folks think about mothers staying home with their children, they don't have the 44-year old governor in mind. Furthermore,I don't think that the comparison of Down's Syndrome to aggressive breast cancer is a good one--perhaps you are simply stating that her new child is quite young. That's true. The mentally disabled have a different set of needs than the terminally ill, needs that are chronic and that require the care of communities as well as families. I think that Trig's presence near the White House would be good for him and for Americans like him, particularly if the office of VP is scaled back, like Kate suggests.

Mod (and Kate)--I think it's very, very unlikely that the office of the Vice Presidency will be "scaled back" once it's been scaled up. The new VP doesn't have to be a Dick Cheney . . . but I doubt, very much, that it's an office likely to revert to the days of John Adams' Vice Presidency. Where does power shrink in government? The warm bucket of spit has been dumped. Perhaps it's only an empty bucket now. But the thing about buckets is that they're easy to fill. Now it'll be up to the occupant to decide what to put into it.

As to the comparison with Edwards, I was referring more to the child's age than to his particular needs as a person with Downs. I had voiced the same opinion earlier (in another thread) before I even knew about the Downs. But the Downs certainly adds another layer. Learning how to parent a child with Downs probably takes some doing and would (and ought to) be quite a distraction on top of the already inherent distraction of a newborn. I know my opinion is very "out of fashion" (though apparently, if Pew is right, not so much as I had previously thought) but I think we're missing something here. More important, I think she'd be missing something. Women today tend to think that if the child is "taken care of" everything is just fine. But there's more to it all than changing diapers, feeding them, washing clothes, checking homework and tucking them in. Quality time is bull. Of course it is her decision. But if you're suggesting that it's wrong to pass judgment on this decision . . . well, perhaps. It wouldn't be any of my business if she were my neighbor and she went back to work as some company's CEO . . . but this is politics and it's different. She's going to want my vote. It tells. And it influences the choices others will make. That's all I'm saying.

That said, you are probably very right in saying that the boy would get excellent care (though not as much as he might like from Mom) near the White House. And it certainly would raise the profile of Downs Syndrome and probably bring attention to the dwindling numbers of children born with it because of the prevalence of abortion. It might cause people to question their inclination to or change their mind about aborting such children. That, indeed, would be a blessed thing to see. She could be a very effective advocate for the value of every human life.


No need to spill more (virtual) ink over Ms. Palin. The mother of an infant is a poor candidate for a major public office, and won't do well in a major public office (which governor of Alaska is not, and vice president is).
McCain should look very hard at Huckabee and at Tom Ridge. There are very few prospects on the Republican side who can be even slight game-changers. Those two may well be the best and most likely game-changers.
In comparison, Obama has quite a few adequate choices. I think we can bet that he will, in consultation with the Democratic establishment, choose someone good, politically speaking. Let's pray that McCain -- a lesser politician than Obama -- somehow chooses well too.

17: Mr. Lewis, a quibble. You say McCain is "essentially American in being distrustful of theory, principle and doctrine." I would amend that. Yes, he is like most Americans in this respect. But the truest and highest American is saturated with (right) principle and expounds it: The Founders or most of them, Lincoln and Reagan, to name just a few.

Huckabee and Ridge come with too much (recent) baggage. I say no. Pick someone new and interesting and who, if he/she must bring baggage, at least brings fresh baggage. Rehashing old baggage is, itself, pretty boring. And keep the baggage to carry-on size if you can!

There's no excitement to be found in a RIDGE selection. Trust me, I'm from Pennsylvania, and Ridge is a stiff. Not to mention Bush tapped him for Homeland Security, ------------- isn't that cause enough to be leery of him, that Bush reached out to him.

31 -- Nearly everyone at a sufficiently high level to be considered for veep has baggage. New baggage is often more of a disadvantage than old baggage. While a candidate should have some kind of excitement and freshness if possible, his or her baggage should not. That's one thing that should be boring. 32 --
That Bush appointed someone is not an indicator of either good or poor quality. Clearly there have been both. However, having been a member of the Bush administration is a political liability in this election. I would say it's less so in Ridge's case because he hasn't been in the administration for a few years. Nor was he as high-profile as a Rice or a Powell, say. In addition, Ridge had a substantial political identity before that -- governor of Pennsylvania. I will accept, for the sake of argument, your judgment that he is a "stiff." That's a problem if one is going for an increased national appeal. However, the selection in this case would be a play for one vital state, Pennsylvania, or perhaps that and Ohio. One would have to know whether being a stiff is a major problem in those states. I seem to remember Bob Casey -- said by everyone to be a stiff -- defeating an incumbent senator by 18 points or so against an incumbent senator in PA. I'm interested in the possibility that Ridge could provide some assurance to the state's Reagan Democrats that McCain is not a tool of big business. Also that pro-choicers in the Philadelphia suburbs may be more willing to vote for McCain, knowing his running mate is "pro-choice." Tell me where I'm wrong. I don't claim to have the keys to the kingdom here. I'm groping the dark, like all of us and probably like McCain and his people.

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