Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Pre-Mortem Postmortems

1. Well, the web is full of them. David Brooks allegedly said somewhere very recently, for example, that Obama would win by nine. That’s close to the predicton he made at Berry last April and one I made for different reasons in August. David said that the election would be close until the last couple of weeks, when there would be a sharp break one way or the other. The issue: Is Obama up to the job? If he shows he is, he wins. If not, McCain is a solid alternative. Well, David might say, if asked today, that the economic crisis just caused the break to happen early. I still 1980 is most relevant analogy. This election could morph into something much worse if the Republicans get too dispirited and their bases get de-energized. Still, there remains the ghost of chance that the early break will fade. The election in 1980 occured just the right week for Reagan, maybe this week is Obama’s peak.

2. Evans and Novak say the Republicans nominated the wrong candidate. A guy with high-powered economic expertise could carry the day for them. Well, until the economic crisis, it was thought that only McCain among the Republicans could win, because he could play the maverick card. And mobody much feels the love for Mitch. It is true that, knowing what we know now, Mitch might be a real match for Obama under these exact, unforeseeable circumstances.

3, Ivan the K suggested to me that one gimmick McCain might try now is to say he’ll make Mitt his Secretary of the Treasury/Bailout Czar. And then send him on the road for cogents partisan (yet still true) explanations of what caused and what can cure what ails us financially. I really think this would have more promise than screaming Ayers and Wright, although I still doubt it would work. Mitch could rule on the health care issue. He got it done, so to speak, in Massachusettts.

4. Any fair person has to admire the way Obama has negated McCain’s foreign policy advantage. He hasn’t said anything McGovernite or even European in a while, and it turns out to be an advantage for him that he doesn’t have much of an official voting record.

5. Good news: Rasmussen reports that McCain and Senator Chambliss have significantly widened their narrow leads in Georgia. And Al Franken’s lead is now within the margin of error.

Discussions - 6 Comments


More of Lawler's now-daily defeatism. On top of that "admiration" for Obama's foreign-policy spin. And on top of that, a demand that we, too, be "fair" and admire the success of such spin. Jesus Christ, Lawler.

Brooks is a sniveling East Coast establishment weasel.

He's just upset about his man. Why, OF COURSE an east coast liberal Rockefeller like Mitt was the way the GOP should go....

It was obvious that when the only conservative in the field (Huck) proved to rough that 08 was not the GOP's year. Thank goodness. Who wants more of the same?

Seriously, what is Mr. Lawler’s credentials - what sort of "conservatism" is this, exactly?

“no left turns” my butt…

PVC and Christopher,

I don't think this is defeatism, it's realism. This election should serve as a wake-up call for conservatives. The base of the party is in demographic decline. the Republican/Conservative brand is now defined by an extremely unpopular president. The Reagan Coalition is highly stressed. Free market principles are being abandoned by people of both parties. We have no coherent foreign policy. We don't have a strong bullpen of Republican talent (Bobby Jindal excepted). With the House, Senate, and Presidency, we failed to meaningfully reform our nation's biggest entitlement programs; and by most reasonable estimates we are about to lose the Presidency and massive margins in the House and Senate. Not to mention, the U.S. economy is *possibly* the worst it's been in 70 years and our military capabilities are stretched by two ongoing wars (BTW: failure on any of these fronts will be laid at the feet of Republicans, rightly or wrongly). I hope McCain finishes strong, but Conservatives and Republicans should admit the very difficult road ahead, and in doing so, should take a long, hard look at the principles and strategy of the movement. Anything else is negligence, not eternal vigilance.

John from Berry, most of what you say I agree with. (I strongly disagree with your implicit blame of Republicans for failing to reform entitlements. That would have required substantial cooperation from Democrats, which didn't happen because they are selfish demagogues with no sense of statesmanship. But the rest I agree with.) Here's where we part company: I believe conservatives can say these things among themselves, but should also focus -- and focus much more -- on victory while there is still an election going. The day after the election, win or lose, we can go back to public breast-beating and analysis. It's talking down our chances in public before the election that I find defeatist.

Peter, if you listen to Obama's foreign policy views with care, it should disturb us. In the debate, there was not a single govt. friendly to the US that he suggested working with or even persuading to do what he thinks they need to do -- not Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Georgia. In every case Obama the "tough one" wants to TELL them what they need to do. The only case where he would "persuade" evidently is respecting our adversary, Iran. So Obama's view comes down to making our allies do what he wants and working with America's enemies. I call that soft imperialism," and it has become characteristic of the Democrats lately. It substitutes for truly tough foreign policy.

McCain speaks very differently about working with allies, for example, his great care in avoiding explicit demands to bring US forces into Pakistan to wipe out AQ.

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