Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Another Republican Long Shot: Gilmore of Virginia

Former Governor James Gilmore of Virginia is about to enter the race. His claim for distinction is his fiscal conservatism and unwavering defense of tax cuts. He’s also pro-choice. There’s surely something to be said for a candidate genuinely devoted to limited government. But can he appeal either to the foreign policy hawks or the social conservatives?

Discussions - 13 Comments

long shot or long gone

Agreed. I seriously doubt that the party will jump at the prospect of a pro-choice, one-term former governor.

I’d vote for him in a heartbeat; I campaigned for him during the 1996 gubernatorial race. But you’re probably right in suggesting that he doesn’t have much of a chance.

For those truly interested in limited government (including non-intervention on foreign policy), but who don’t think limited government should include not protecting the unborn, Ron Paul announced yesterday he is forming an exploratory committee.


I like Ron Paul a lot, and I voted for him when he ran as the LP candidate in 1988. However, my ideal GOP nominee would be someone with a prayer of winning in November. Paul would fare even worse than Goldwater did.

All the moderate and liberal Republicans cry about a big tent and expect conservatives to vote for one of them (Giuliani, McCain, Romney) if they get the nod. Well shouldn’t it work the other way? If a conservative gets the nod, then for the sake of "Party unity," shouldn’t the conservatives expect the liberals and moderates to vote their way? Or does the "big tent" extend in only one direction?

If the Ohio Republicans’ treatment of Ken Blackwell last year is indicative of anything, it is that party unity goes right out the door when a conservative wins a tough primary.

Dan, it’s not just a matter of getting all the moderate and conservative Republicans out to vote--that isn’t enough to elect anyone. The trick is getting the independent voters, and even a certain chunk of Democrats (remember the "Reagan Democrats"?) to cross party lines. Surely you can see that he would never be elected, even if every single registered Republican voted for him. Believe me, the Democrats would love for Paul to get the nomination. All they would have to do is pull out the 1988 Libertarian Party platform, which he ran on, to show that Paul embraces beliefs that the vast majority of Americans do not.

John, I don’t disagree at all. I think that to advance real conservative ideas we are going to have to lose and probably lose big before we can win. Following the Constitution is not popular. People like pork. They like something for nothing. They like their pet programs and complain about others. But following the Constitution is not negotiable. The current strategy of pragmatism and worrying foremost about elect ability is a proven formula for forever drifting farther and farther to the left. Some people are OK with that. I am not. At some point you have to throw down the gauntlet, and fight it out. Otherwise we are just giving up.

Dan, you sound a lot like I did about ten years ago. Gradually I came to realize that, in fact, supporting utterly unelectable candidates IS a species of giving up. There’s something comforting in knowing that no one you endorse will ever be president; that way you can stay free to attack everyone in politics, safe in the realization that you will never have to feel responsible for anything that happens. And maybe (as I did) you’ll find yourself looking forward to some massive collapse of government services, one that will finally make ordinary people understand the folly of State power, and will leave them clamoring for a revival of the Old Jeffersonian Republic. Then at some point you may realize that what you’re actually hoping for would be an incredible disaster, in which many are likely to die. I had that mindset once, and I couldn’t live with myself for having it. So today I do what most people do--I support the least objectionable candidate with a fair chance of winning. As of yet I have no idea who that will be for 2008.

I have no problem with political pragmatism as long as it takes place within the bounds of principle. If a program is not justified by the Constitution, then it should be eliminated. Now I think you can advocate phasing it out over time instead of abolishing it overnight and still be within the bounds of principle. What you should never do, IMO, is concede the legitimacy of the program, act as if you are the defender of it, or criticize others for being too "far right" who still want to scrap it. See what I mean?

I don’t hope for the sudden collapse of the system. Like you said many would get hurt. But I think it may well happen because you can’t forever continue to spend money you do not have.

But if that collapse comes I believe it will be folks like me who will have no blood on our hands, and the go along to get along crowd who knew better will be the ones who deserve some of the blame.

Believe it or not, I have given a little. Since the issue of immigration is so important, I have indicated I would be willing to support Tancredo, who is conceivably electable, even though he is pro-war and not really a "Constitutionalist" a la Paul. For now I’m supporting Paul, and the right-wing bloggosphere is on fire re. Paul running. He may surprise a few people.

Under no circumstance could I support Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Brownback, or Huckabee.

Well, how about this: if Ron Paul is still in the running by the time of the Ohio primary, I’ll vote for him. But he won’t be. Tancredo won’t be, either. The "right-wing bloggosphere" represents an infinitesimal percentage of the electorate, even the Republican electorate.

"The "right-wing bloggosphere" represents an infinitesimal percentage of the electorate, even the Republican electorate."

No argument here, but it can perhaps move/influence the debate much as the left-wing bloggosphere did with Dean and LaMont. For some reason the right hasn’t caught on to the activist potential as much yet.

But why underestimate Tancredo? He has very broad support among the base. IMO, he has the best chance of being the final standing "conservative alternative candidate" much as Buchanan was in ’96. Problem is that McCain, Romney, and Giuliani are all much more objectionable than Dole was.

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