Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random Observations

On Falwell: I enjoyed all the comments in his support. Not only that, I take credit for them. I returned to my computer after being away for a couple of days shocked that his death had produced no posts. So I started things off by just saying what I really think about Jerry, which is basically he wasn’t to my taste but he had told some truth and done some good. I should add--against Christopher Hitchens and others--that there is no doubt in my mind about the authenticity and responsibility of his Christian faith. I will perversely disagree with Steve Hayward by saying I found Jimmy Swaggart’s show more interesting than Jerry’s, precisely because it was just about impossible to tell whether or not that master showman was a fraud. Despite his big-time sinning, I tend to think not. I could ramble on about the part of Christian truth that the Pentecostals highlight in neon letters, but I will spare you (see the Robert Duvall’s THE APOSTLE).

On Huckabee: He’s done well enough in the debates to merit our attention. If he were in Europe, he’d probably be a Christian Democrat (except on guns)--more in favor of government-sponsored charity than most of our conservatives. On abortion, he’s clear that life begins at conception and all that. But he still needs to articulate clearly a judicial doctrine, one that leaves abortion policy to our legislatures. Life begins at conception can’t be the foundation of judicial review, although it can inform the policy choices of voters and legislators.

On Giuliani, it’s clearer than ever that he regards abortion as a right to protected by courts as they think best.

On Romney, I’m too lazy to find the link, but according to Zogby he’s surging in Iowa.
Does anyone know why?

On Law-and-Order Fred, his op-eds continue to be excellent. (See Joe’s post below.)

Discussions - 9 Comments

On Romney's success in Iowa: He's an excellent personal campaigner, in addition to being an excellent communicator. Also, Mormons make a good nucleus for a grassroots campaign. They're hardworking and they're team players. Neither virtue is notably typical among grassroots conservatives and Republicans as whole. The situation is probably better in Iowa, a homogeneous state with significant social capital and "collective conscience," to borrow from Durkheim. But Iowa Mormons are probably even better team players than other Iowans.

Just a guess.

About Falwell: Definitely some rhetorical mistakes and ill effects, but definitely far outweighed by the good. I'd differ from Professor Lawler mainly on this point: I think Jerry Falwell had not only some impact, but a very large impact, even though it was a long time ago.

Peter, nice rundown of the situation. I have not watched the debates, but from hearing buzz and reading some transcripts it seems that Giuliani and McCain have been treading water, which is good since they are leading. Romney, is ok, but the second debate really seems to have brought out his weaknesses. I guarantee he will fail. Huckabee is rising and will continue to rise as the conservative choice opposed to the Giuliani/McCain leaderboard.

From the talk I hear on the radio all day (as I clean and run errands), the consensus seems to be that Romney helped himself in the debates--particularly the first one--and that he did that primarily by not doing anything stupid. He sounded good, looked good, and--above all--he did not seem weird or freak people out. He is an entirely rational human being, it turns out. This is no amazing thing (or is it these days?), but the press on him prior to the debates made it seem as if he were some kind of kook because of his religion. People were pleasantly surprised by the fact that this story-line is a lot of hooey, I think. Perhaps their thinking is, "He's not so bad" and "He's a possible credible alternative to Guiliani and McCain." In any event, I think his gains have less to do with him than they have to do with the poor performances of both Guiliani (in the first debate--though he was great at smacking down Ron Paul in the second) and McCain. I think people are beginning to see that McCain is way past his prime and Guiliani--though probably a good candidate in the general--doesn't seem to have what it takes to make it through this primary.

I agree with you that Huckabee is emerging stronger after the debates as well. But I think the most important thing that needs to happen is that the fringe candidates need to go home. (Though watching Ron Paul get pounced upon was immensely entertaining.) We need to hear more from the people who are serious; not this minute or two response to nothing questions.

In the future, Peter, honesty should come sometime after due respect has been shown. This is traditional, and it is Christian.


"But I think the most important thing that needs to happen is that the fringe candidates need to go home."

That's right. We don't need to be bothered by those pesky ideas.

Are you suggesting that America's foreign policy has nothing at all to do with Muslim resentment of the US? That is simply not a credible position to have. That our policy contributes to their anger is undeniable. The CIA says so. The 9/11 report says so. OBL says so.

Rudy is smart enough to know this so he obviously lied. So lying and being a demagogue constitutes "smacking down" in your mind?

You are whistling past the graveyard. Paul came in 2nd in the FOX poll. (He was winning all night and then mysteriously dropped to 2nd right at the end.) He won the MSNBC and ABC post debate polls by huge margins. And angry Ron Paul supporters shut down the Michigan GOP after Comrade Saul said he should be banned. Paul's base is EXTREMELY intense. No other elected official represents true Constitutionalism.

Look at the right-wing internet. Even look at popular culture. (The View, for example.) This episode is back-firing on you. Paul is seen as a principled and sympathetic figure, and a lot of people agree with him. And more and more conservatives are starting to see the wisdom and inherently conservative nature of non-intervention.

Ron Paul and his followers are not going away. And no amount of wishful thinking on your part can change that. Just ask Saul. (Click on my name for the Mich. GOP story.)

There was a story yesterday about how poorly Romney did in the second debate in the New York Observer. Realclearpolitics took down the link, no doubt after a call from the Romney campaign. I agree he did well in the first debate, but that was because Matthews played soft toss with him. The fact is that Romney has money and connections and he has used these to craft a completely false image of himself that many conservatives are falling for.

BTW, due to being pounded by e-mails and calls from Paul supporters, Saul has retracted his call for Ron Paul to be excluded from future debates.

Who is getting "smaked down" now? Are you following the internet reaction? Rudy is the one who looks bad. And Paul's website visits and contributions are skyrocketing.

Dan, you are dreaming. Ron Paul will never be POTUS.

How about you give us a rundown of his policy positions that people like you seem to like so much? I've been hearing wacky libertarian stories about the man...set us straight!


I never said he will be POTUS. What I am getting at is that he represents a substantial block of people. His support is real and not the result of an extremely dedicated few. If he does too well the Establishment will pounce on him with the help of the mainstream media just like they did Buchanan when he started to do well. The thing that would actually hurt him most is that he actually believes what he says about cutting spending. Only spending what the Constitution authorizes and nothing else. If he does too well they will start criticizing him for wanting to cut this and that program.

But the reason to support Paul is simple. He is a strict Constitutionalist. I am not a libertarian. But Paul is a rightist or paleolibertarian. Meaning he is not a moral relativist. He is not against all authority. He accepts culture, Church, etc. as an important part of a free society.

What I can't figure out is when did conservative decide that following the Constitution is optional? When did conservative come to accept a living breathing interpretation of the Constitution? We talk about originalist judges, but don't insist on originalist legislatures. If we did every Republican would vote like Paul. If we had originalist legislators we would have a budget about 10 -20% of what it is now.

While I don't think Paul will ever be POTUS, I do think he has a good chance of being the last remaining conservative alternative candidate to the top three. (With amnesty, I think that may become the top two.) And he is giving voice to all of us non-interventionists both paleo and libertarian.

BTW dain, non-intervention is the strict Constitutionalist interpretation as well. The military is clearly for America’s national defense. Spreading democracy or toppling dictators is nowhere found in the Constitution.

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