Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Barone on Hillary vs. Rudy

First off, Michael shows us that both Hillary and Newt suffer from very high negatives. The reason: There’s not that much nostalgia for the contentious 1990s. I’m in the American mainstream on that opinion! Michael also shows us that Giuliani would be much more of a NATIONAL candidate than Bush was, with many more states in play. His urbanity and his ethnicity would make him competitive in many Eastern states, even Rhode Island! The more NATIONAL election would also mean that the Senator Clinton would be more competitive in the South than her immediate predecessors. And right now, it looks like Rudy would win! (Thanks to Ivan K. for sending me this very enjoyable and discussable article.)

Discussions - 8 Comments

Barone makes more of Rudy’s relative strength in the Northeast than his relative weakness in the South. He’s right to say that little of the South would be in play in a Rudy-Hillary race, but a little (Arkansas and West Virginia) can mean a lot. It is disturbing that Rudy -- according to this early poll -- does not help in Ohio, Wisconsin or Missouri.

"There’s not that much nostalgia for the contentious 1990s. I’m in the American mainstream on that opinion! Michael also shows us that Giuliani would be much more of a NATIONAL candidate than Bush was..."

Bush who? The one who "stole" the 2000 election? Bush who? The one who "lied and people died"? Uh, Bush who? The guy who blew up the New Orleans levees," just so he could watch blacks suffer? Bush, um, who? The "worst president since Hoover"?

Oh, you’re talkin’ ’bout Bushitler’s father, Bush 41! Yeah, Giuliani’s our guy.

It was a fundamental error to place Newt’s candidacy within some larger ’90s nostalgia.

That was error.

Newt isn’t about the past, Newt’s always been about the future, the AMERICAN future. That’s how he won the GOP a majority after 40 years of wandering in the political Wilderness of Zin.

No man listening to Newt hears some call for a ’90s restoration.

BUT you do get that from Hillary! Which makes sense, for she’s still living out the consequences of the ’60s.

Have you declared Jihad against Newt? I may have to ask you that when you visit Villanova.

David F., the reason there are problems in Ohio is because the Ohio State GOP is blowing up our chances in that state. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a hue and a cry within the national GOP about what’s happening to our party in Ohio. The national party is allowing the Republican idiots in Ohio destroy the party.

Dan, it’s far from clear what the national party can do about the screwed-up Ohio party. The best bet is an excellent national nominee.

The analysis referred to shows not only relative weakness for Rudy in the South, but also a disappointing showing for him in Wisconsin and Missouri (as well as Ohio).

I think the national party can do a great deal. Sometimes a simple display of outrage is just the trick. But the national party has been going Rockefeller Republican since the first Bush administration, so they weren’t as sensitive to the problem that was rising in Ohio. Now? Now we’ve had Republicans running Ohio for some time, and instead of taking the rational advice of a guy like Ken Blackwell, they’ve been listening to the Voinovichs, the DeWines of the party. And look where that’s got them.

Had the national party had a showdown with the state GOP, that would have garnered huge media coverage. And it would have indicated to Ohio voters that the GOP was aware of what was going on, and was on their own, despite whatever the state GOP was doing, was arranging decent and genuinely Conservative candidates to run, and replace the incompetents. That would have been somewhat reassuring to Ohio voters. But they’ve been left high and dry. AND NOW, they’re taking revenge on the incompetents.

And of course the Bush administration whose policies have really brought all of these problems to a head, even though they didn’t actually create them, has done nothing to correct the problems, and what’s worse, doesn’t even act as if it’s aware that any problem exists.

The same thing is happening in the counties that surround Philadelphia. Those counties used to be thoroughly Republican. Now? I don’t think we’ve held even one of them during the last two Presidential election cycles. AND IT’S THAT which is driving Pennsylvania blue. Philadelphia and the surrounding counties are now dictating Pennsylvania politics. It’s no coincidence that for the first time in a REAL long time that a Philadelphia politician got to the Governor’s mansion. Rendell of course never would have had a chance had Lt. Gov, then Governor Schweiker done what he was supposed to do and what he promised to do, that is serve out the remainder of the Governor’s term, if the Governor was unable to do so, {as Tom Ridge was, when he was foolishly tapped to serve as the new master of the new bureaucratic overlay, the Homeland Security chief}. Schweiker left us high and dry, and what’s worse, left us with very little notice. He left us hanging, and he left us vulnerable to Rendell. Schweiker would have blown Fast Eddie out of the water.

But don’t ya know, he had other things to do.......??????????

So I don’t think the national party is as powerless as it might seem. Just some theatrics, some high level discussions, leaks of a "sitdown" occurring might have been enough.

It’s going to be hard for the GOP to carry Ohio in ’08. And we’ve never won the Presidency without the Buckeye state.

John Podhoretz said recently that if we don’t solve the Iraq problem within the next sixteen months, we could run the risen Christ against Al Sharpton, and we’d still get hammered by the Democrats.

I don’t get any sense of urgency emanating from Washington, emanating from the Pentagon, from State and CIA. Especially not from the party.

Rove tried to cover his butt by dismissing the recent November results as "the six year itch." And many a Republican seems eager to drink that kool-aid.

You know when I saw all of this coming, and I said as much on many a Conservative blog, I saw it all happening when Bush went to Crawford over a year and a half ago, and Cindy Sheehan was hammering him daily outside. AND THERE WAS NO RESPONSE by him, by the White House, by his political or communicative staff, nor by the party. That’s when I knew that Andy Card and the boys were leading us into a political valley of the shadow.

And then when Katrina occurred, AGAIN, there was no sense of urgency. NO RESPONSE, NOTHING REALLY. And then we had the Dubai Ports deal, which the ENTIRE nation laughed out of the water. And then, the ultimate act of political stupidity, he nominated Harriet Meirs.

What kind of political staff leads their President into REPEATED political meatgrinders WITH HIS OWN party? And notice, I didn’t even mention his proposal of a blanket amnesty, which he lacked the political courage to properly and accurately identify as an amnesty.

When the Dubai Ports deal was opposed, Bush called people who were aghast at the prospect of placing muslims, LET ALONE ARABS, in charge of our ports racists! As if there were NO war going on.

When the Federalist Society was first shell shocked, and then livid at the nomination of a political lackey and careerist to the foremost court in the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence, he trotted out Ed Gillespie and his wife to brand such people elitists and sexists.

When George Walker Bush was first publicly queried about the Minutemen along the Rio Bravo, he blasted them as vigilantes. VIGILANTES! So he called senior citizens sitting in lawn chairs along our border, armed with nothing more than walky-talkies and binoculars, people who have built the foremost power on this planet, who served this country through many a war and economic slump, such people he damned as lawbreakers.

Look at how long it took to remove that incompetent Scott McClellan. Look how long Andy Card was allowed to erode the Conservative message of the GOP. Just look at all the damage that single incompetent did to the party of Lincoln and Reagan.

I’m not even sure we’ve seen the worst yet. Just think about that for a second. Just let that one sink in.

Just the other day, President Bush went to a private Democrat Congressional gathering and tried to ingratiate himself with those that detest him by insulting his own party, by insulting the base, the very people who put him in office, and the very people who fought off a get-out-the-vote-tsunami from the Democrats.

He’s like some political Robinson Crusoe, marooned, but marooned by his own actions, by his own lethargy, by his own refusal to engage, by his own foolish devotion to "new tone."

And nobody in the party says anything to him, face to face, eye to eye, mano a mano. Nobody says anything.

If you love your country, you’d speak out. You wouldn’t hesitate to look him dead in the eye and spell out in detail his many, many offenses. It’s an absence of passion. Men who are passionate about their country, men like Gingrich, didn’t hesitate to come out and blast the performance of the State Department for instance. McCain has been appalled at the lack of urgency of this war effort. And he’s spelled it out.

I don’t understand how somebody like a Laura Ingraham for instance, can actually meet with the President, and not let him have it. Likewise Limbaugh. He could get Cheney on the phone just about anytime he wants probably. Why hasn’t he let him have an earful behind the scenes. Why is Hannity carrying their water? You can throw in Hugh Hewitt too. Had the top Conservative talk radio hosts got together amongst themselves, found common ground on many of the issues, they could have prevented much of this disaster. They could have saved the Bush administration from itself.

I asked Bill Kristol THREE AND A HALF YEARS AGO, point blank, "why does this White House communication team suck?" He had no answer. He said "we talk about it amongst ourselves, ALL THE TIME!" THAT’S what he said, that’s a direct quote.

Now flash forward to just this month. Hewitt interviewed Douglas Feith. He asked Feith much the same question, though in a more delicate matter. FEITH responded saying "we sit up and talk about it FOR HOURS!"

So Conservatives HAVE KNOWN for years about the problems, about how much damage this level of incompetence was doing to the administration, to the agenda of the GOP, to the party, AND MOST OF ALL, to the country, the last, best hope!

AND nobody does anything about it.

This can’t go on. It can’t. The stakes are too huge for this prolonged idiocy to continue.

Dan -- Your anger is 100 percent justified. Your indictment of this White House is largely just, not only in general, but in its particulars.
You are probably right that true spokesmen for conservatism -- Limbaugh, et al -- have not spoken directly to Bush about this. In fairness, I would point out that some of them MAY have. And I agree that it should happen. But most people who support a president, in even the broadest sense of that word, tend to lose their nerve and be overawed in his presence. It’s just human nature.

A tougher and more politically aggressive president, surrounded by comparably good people, would have meant a stronger Republican party everywhere. But it’s too late for George W. Bush to become a real party leader. Our leadership on Congress isn’t much better. Therefore, it’s hard for me to see how the national GOP can straighten out a Republican party as screwed up as the one in Ohio.

It seems to me that things have rotted both from the top down and from the bottom up. Bush is a drag on the GOP, and as I’ve said several times, the sooner and more clearly we can put him behind us, the better. However, there is also an endemic problem among Republicans more generally. We’re not smart enough, we’re not courageous enough, and we’re too lazy. And, doggone it, people don’t like us. There is little at this point that can be done to change GWB. He is what he is. But we can all do our parts to strengthen the party. Complaining about Bush is good only for clarifying the problem. Otherwise, it accomplishes nothing. Wishing that the national party were better doesn’t help either.

As Ronald Reagan used to ask: "If not us, who? If not now, when?"

Dan (comment #6) is passionate and upset. I feel the same the way, for the same reasons. Newt may, or may not, be the best answer. But, the status quo is a joke.

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