Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Top Social Conservatives Talking Third Party

...if Rudy is the Republican nominee. Of course, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to agree on a candidate, and they’d be blamed for handing the election to Hillary. The issue still remains: Can Giuliani become acceptable if he remains "pro-abortion" but becomes explicitly anti-ROE? Another probing question: Can he become acceptable by choosing Huckabee as his running mate? And: Could Rudy and Huck really get along?

Discussions - 76 Comments

Why not ignore a guy's 30 year record of fervent support for abortion, and be mindful of his recent second thoughts on the issue. Second thoughts that strangely coincide with his quest for the GOP nomination, id est Romney.

Why not nominate a guy who has a strange record of going out of the way to piss the hell out of the GOP base over the last ten years, all to curry favour with a media that hates the party, hates Conservatism and hates Conservatives, and not to mention, attached his name to a bill that would be the greatest social experiment in American history, id est McCain.

Or why not go with a guy who acts weird and creepy during the debates, gets a strange look on his face when speaking of abortion, and by the by, tried to switch his vote after the fact because he was so foolish as not to know which way the wind was blowing on the biggest legislative battle in our lifetimes, id est Brownback.

Why not go with a one trick pony, Tancredo. Or a Southern small state Governor, who also has a record of playing fast and loose with genuine Conservatism, id est Huckabee. Or we could always go with the guy who enjoys the endorsement of Chuck Yeager and Ann Coulter, Duncan Hunter. Although it's been how many years since any party nominated somebody from the House.

Our situation is such that we've only one real candidate. His name is Rudy Giuliani; he has a record of accomplishment a country mile wide. Why not go with him? Why not do our level best to win the damn thing!

But of course had we gotten in the face of Bush years ago, had we demanded the removal of Card, Meirs, Hughes and Rice, had we demanded that he snap the hell out of his incoherent "compassionate conservatism" and govern consistent with the GOP platform, had we done that, as we should have, WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS DAMN BOAT, now would we?

But we allowed him to act like a pusillanimous buffoon for years now, and now, now.................... now we're about to learn the price for our folly, for our lethargy, for our sycophancy.

We've haven't yet begun to pay, and here I speak not of the party, but for our country, for the West, for civilization itself.

Guiliani is unacceptable to this social conservative. Period. I wouldn't believe him if he professed reservations about Roe v. Wade. I spent some time Saturday morning talking with a local "community church" senior associate pastor (at our kids' cross-country meet). He was clucking disapprovingly over Hilary's $5K per child bond proposal. I clucked along with him. He shook his head to say that "she" doesn't understand budget realities...When the conversation turned to the Republicans, he was calmly adamant that a Giuliani nomination either means evangelicals stay home on election day, or think seriously about a third party. The pastor is thoughtful and not at ALL inclined towards "theocracy". But he, and I, draw a line in the sand with a pro-abortion nominee. We just can't "go there". Too much of a betrayal of our first principles.
These are not fun times to be a social conservative, at least politically....superficially. As the wise old priest said: It's going to get worse, before it gets really bad!

The election is not ours to hand out; it's Hilary's to lose at this point. The recent report for 3Q fundraising has HRC not only drawing more dollars but from an increasing number of folks. She has become the Wal-Mart of the Dem candidates, with Obama her only real opposition, given his more strident opposition to the war and a bit more cred as an "outsider" (non-Beltway) candidate. This last point, of course, can be challenged, but that's his story and if he is to have any chance of winning (highly unlikely IMHO), he better stick to it and bolster it every which way he can. Any more stories by the NY Times about how connected he really is to monied interests, and that line won't sell for long.

Now, I must confess, I have not YET sent any shekels to my Arkansas homeboy Huckabee, but will do so post haste. Please do the same, if only to keep his voice (i.e., the voice of, for lack of a better term, social conservatives) in the campaign for GOP nominee. Perhaps when folks really start to pay attention to the potential nominees, his stock will rise some more, but he'll need some more cash to keep the man from Hope, Arkansas alive.

Can't say I look forward to a Rudy nomination for the GOP. If he's the man b/c of 9/11 (and God bless him for all he did), why not go totus porcus--as we used to say in Razorback country--and push for a McCain/Huckabee ticket? McCain is not my first choice, and don't get me started on his campaign finance bill, but no one has done more to stand by President Bush on the need for our war against terrorism than McCain.

I think Gary is right, somewhat. As a social conservative I have serious reservations about any pro-choice candidate. But I between voting for Giuliani and the alternatives (staying home or 3rd party), I see the greater evil in not voting for Giuliani. A HRC victory would be the single greatest catastrophe for this country, period. Yes, more than a pro-choice republican.

The life issue is not only a national front. It's in the states, cities, counties, churches, schools, etc. Simply electing a pro-life candidate isn't going to guarantee that abortion will go the way of the do-do bird. It is an issue that will need to be fought over generations. Recognizing this is vital. To vote for a third party or stay home is unconscionable, especially given who the Dems look to be favoring.

Granted, Social Conservatives should adamantly support the pro-lifers in the primaries (with the intention that even if they lose the nomination, one of them makes the ticket). But if Giuliani wins the nomination we must rally behind him or suffer a much graver evil. In the end the true moral option is not feeling good about our vote but making sure that the outcome is as best it can be. Or at least the lesser of bad options.

Look at it this way, Bush said all the right things, he said REPEATEDLY, that he wanted judges like "Scalia and Thomas." But then when he got in there, he tried to worm through Gonzales and he tried to deceive the party and get through Meirs.

He lied to us, and he lied to us FOR YEARS. For years.

It was Reagan who put up O'Connor and Kennedy. It was Ike who put up there Warren and Brennan. It was GHWB who placed up there Souter, upon the "assurances" of notorious pro-choicers Warren Rudman, John Sununu and Andy Card.

So who are we kidding here.

It's not Giuliani that's the problem. What's the problem is a party leadership who wants the issue of abortion, but doesn't intend to do much about it, certainly not have a serious battle on judicial appointments. Bush hadn't any intention of putting up rock solid Conservatives such as Roberts and Alito. That wasn't his choice. They were ours, and forced upon him, which has contributed greatly to his sullenness towards us, towards his bitterness, his barely veiled bitterness towards the base. Which explains a great deal about his conduct during the immigration debate.

Giuliani hasn't lied to us.

Despite years of promises by the GOP, but little real action, pro-lifers have made progress, through engaging the American people. Giuliani isn't going to retard that progress. But Hillary sure can.

But if Giuliani is "unacceptable," is Hillary in The White House acceptable? Are any of you comfortable with her, but not with Rudy, who saved New York City by the by.

Voting in an election is not strutting down the political catwalk. It's not a morality play.

God made use of flawed humans, such as King David, adulterer and murderer. Why can't we?

The ideal candidate for the GOP doesn't exist right now. Giuliani is our best bet.

Let's focus on holding the White House in '08, not our secondary wishes. Tony Blankley had an excellent column the other day about how the Republican party needs a better "survival instinct." He's right.

Bush lied to us for years, eh, Dan? Sounds like something from the moveon crowd. Regardless of what may have been (and it's not clear those weren't clever ploys), we got Roberts and Alito - very strong justices.

I am pretty confident that, thanks to recent events, the international security situation will be shored up enough to survive a Democratic presidency. However, one of the most important things to remember, there are about six justices 68 years old or older (I don't recall the exact number). In all honesty, I started out as a Rudy admirer, but I'm quickly losing respect. That said, I really don't want to contemplate an America ran by HRC, especially after a few SCOTUS picks. I completely understand everyone's reserves about voting for an openly pro-choice candidate - I really do hate the prospect - but I don't know if people realize what exactly is at stake here.

I'm reminded of a joke about a Christian man trapped on top of his roof during a flood - he was waiting up there confident God would provide for him and save him. A man in a rowboat came by and offered to save him. The man replied "No, I have asked God for help and I believe he will provide for my salvation." The water rose higher, and a raft full of EMTs came by and offered to save the man, but he replied "No, I have asked God for help and I believe he will provide for my salvation." Finally, as the water was beginning to run over the roof, a helicopter passed by and offered to save the man, but he replied "No, I have asked God for help and I believe he will provide for my salvation." The man drowned. When he got to Heaven he was quite surprised, and asked God "Why is it you didn't save me, Lord? I was a faithful servant and genuinely believed that you would save me." God replied: "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?!" Sometimes we have to take what we can get.

I've lost my regard for "social conservatives." I have not lost my regard for some of the principles of social conservatism. But the spokespeople for the cause -- at least the ones who feature most prominently as spokespeople -- don't seem to understand the political reality.

It is often said that advocacy groups would prefer the cause rather than the result. I think that's probably correct for social conservatives as well. Hence, a Clinton presidency might suit them just fine since it'll give them a renewed sense of purpose.

Of course, eight years of Clinton will result in a generation (or more) of institutional damage. But the social conservatives are often too stupid to realize this.

"But between voting for Giuliani and the alternatives (staying home or 3rd party), I see the greater evil in not voting for Giuliani."

So voting for an evil candidate is less evil than voting for an acceptable candidate in the general who just doesn't happen to have an R behind his name?

Giuliani is unacceptable. Period. Wrong on abortion. Wrong on gay marriage. Wrong on immigration. Wrong on guns. Wrong on interventionism. His foreign policy advisor is N Pod. Did you read that delusional article that was ghost written for him in Foreign Affairs? It is frightening.

All this talk of political reality. Here is one unalterable political reality. If conservatives (social or otherwise) vote for Rudy, then they will lose ALL credibility. They will show themselves to be nothing but a bunch of sheep.

How long are conservatives going to let the GOP lead them around by the nose with the "anybody but candidate X" line?

"Voting in an election....isn't a morality play." Sed contra: That's pretty much ALL it is. Meaning: morality fundamentally colors and informs our political choices. I like Don's distinction between social conservatives and {"some principles of"} social conservatism. I'd like to smart over his characterization of social conservatives as "stupid", but instead will just disagree. The battle for America's soul is lost if the Repubs nominate Giuliani. Who's going to stand up for the *principles* of social conservatism...if not social conservatives? Yes, there's a real cost to {possibly} sitting out the election. The risk of "institutional damage" from another Clinton presidency is real. But if a fundamental reshaping of conservative politics needs to take place, now will be the time. Both major parties nominating a pro-abortion candidate would signal that, in spades. There are some bedrock first principles that can't be betrayed. We can survive pretty much any external forces, but when we're complicit in bringing them to power....some Rubicon (or is it "Styx"?) has been crossed that ought never to be crossed.

"But the social conservatives are often too stupid to realize this."

Yeah, stupidity. That is the problem. It couldn't possibly be anything silly like principle.

Conservatives keep voting for fakes and frauds and magically think it is all going to get better some day. All the while we continue to drift to the left. That is not stupidity. That is insanity.

Tom Coburn for VP, anyone?

What's missing (inexplicably!) from this discussion is the answer to the party's and the country's dilemma: Fred Thompson. He's got a solid pro-life record, is a principled conservative, and is telegenic, charismatic, and most importantly, electable. He shepherded John Roberts through Senate confirmation. Giuliani is a darling of the MSM because of his pro-abortion-rights ("I'd pay for my daughter's abortion") and pro-gay rights positions. His nomination would be a disaster. All the Dems would have to do is trot out footage of Rudy dancing a Rockettes number in drag while mayor and saying "I'd pay for my daughter's abortion" and millions of historically GOP voters on whom the party utterly depends would stay home. And that would be the party's fault for nominating him, not social conservatives' fault.

"So voting for an evil candidate is less evil than voting for an acceptable candidate in the general who just doesn't happen to have an R behind his name?": If the result would lead to a HRC presidency, absolutely. But I think you missed the point of comment. Don't forget that not a single primary has taken place and we still have about three months until they begin. Social conservatives still have time to rally behind a candidate who is suitable and winnable; and if neither one who can do strong enough to make the ticket. And as I said before, there is much more to the soul of the Republican party than who we nominate for president.

But all that said, I return to my main point. If it is Giuliani v. HRC, voting for a third party or staying home will only ensure her victory. Let me mirror Andrew and restate that what is at state is defeating something that would be damaging to the American Republic writ large, or sucking it up for a pro-life candidate. And while voting for a Giuliani candidate may not gain the pro-life movement any ground, it certainly will not lose as much as a President H. Clinton would.

Stick to your "principle" and start practicing "President Clinton." That's the reality you face.

If HRC is elected and maintains a majority in the Senate (which she'll have), we'll probably see Ruth Bader-Ginsberg retire to have a 50-ish radical in her place. She'll probably get a shot at one and perhaps two more justices. All your "principled" hope for an overturn of Roe v. Wade will be dashed.

Congratulations. I hope you enjoy it.

Go, Lucas (comment 3), and go Huckabee. He is clearly the type of conservative the could revive the party and help us have a shot to defeat Clinton. Huckabee has the record of social conservatism that we want, and the rhetoric we need to make the sale to the American people.

As to comment 14, the reason that candidate has been left out of the discussion is because the only thing he's the answer to is whose campaign is finished.

Is it pride or principle, Julie?

Clint: If what you're doing actually works against your principle, it's either pride or poor judgment. You pick.

Julie, rank pragmatism in the short term does work against your principles in the long term. I submit the entire history of the conservative movement as indisputable proof of that. What has it conserved? It has always been more about mitigating the bad.

I quickly get red faced and blood pumping on this purism vs. pragmatism debate, but there is, IMO, more here than meets the eye. I will try to state it calmly.

Conservatism has been having this pragmatism vs. purism debate from the very start. In fact, you could argue that the modern post-WWII conservative movement was founded on pragmatism. It essentially conceded the New Deal as a fait accompli even though it recognized that the New Deal was grossly unconstitutional. It tacitly agreed to leave the New Deal intact and fight new battles.

But technically purism vs. pragmatism is a purely tactical issue. Presumably the sides agree about the ends and disagree on the means. Do we work in the imperfect system so that we can one day start to change things back in the direction that we want, or do we draw lines in the sand?

But my sense is that the pragmatist who would have us vote for Rudy do not agree with traditional conservative ends. Do they some day want to return to constitutional government? Do any modern day conservatives outside the "far right" want to? Ron Paul is called "fringe" for wanting to do so. Some accept the modern American system, which is essentially a form of soft social democracy, as a done deal. Some are actually enthusiastic about aspects of it. Worse yet, some "conservatives" have become its most ardent defenders.

So the purism vs. pragmatism debate is not just about tactics. It is about end point as well. Pragmatism as a mindset is inherently corrupting.

Ask yourself these questions. First, "Do you want to return to truly constitutional government?" By this I mean a federal government that does ONLY those few things actually authorized in the Constitution. This would probably mean shrinking the size of government by at least 80% and probably more like 90%. No FDA, no student loans, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no foreign aid, etc. etc. etc.

If your answer is "no," then you need to stop identifying yourself as a conservative. What are you conserving? Yesterday’s liberalism? And you need to be honest and identify yourself as a slightly less Social Democrat than the other guy.

If your answer is "yes," then you need to ask yourself "How the heck does Rudy get you there."

We are not just having the purist vs. pragmatist debate. We are debating about end points.

Julie, if you had a magic wand would you shrink the government down to constitutional size? Even over a 15 to 20 year period to mitigate the impact?

Yes, Bush has lied to us for years.

Every single time he said that he wanted judges like "Scalia and Thomas" and bypassed men and women exactly like "Scalia and Thomas" in preference for flunkies like Gonazalez and Meirs, every single time he did that, he lied to us. And if you've any doubt on the topic, I suggest you take a good look at the caliber of Circuit Court nominations AFTER the rejection of Meirs. The tone of their conservatism has decidedly dropped off.

Or when he signed with great fanfare a bill to secure our border through construction of a fence, only to take action months later that would invalidate everything within the previous bill. That's not simply duplicity. That's duplicity of a high order. That's DELIBERATE deception, on an issue of great moment to hundreds of millions of people. That's the guy we're dealing with.

And I've no problem identifying it. Because I'm a Conservative, and I despise what he's done.

Re: "Morality play."

Politics is the realm where absolute truths collide with the brutal reality of hammer and anvil electioneering. The ideal is rarely in play. Meaning, it's almost never the case that you can vote for someone who shares all of your views, who agrees with you 100% of the time. I've never had a candidate I could vote for who I agreed with on every important issue under the sun. Which made it incumbent upon me to PRIORITIZE, to make TACTICAL political judgements every time I walked into a voting booth.

Some have become disheartened because their party doesn't wholly share their fervour on certain issues. And in their desperation their looking for a way to toss their weight around, to force the party to heed them. I sympathise. Far more than you know. A political party exists to organize, articulate and amplify the views of its members. So how do you advance your agenda within the party. By picking off creatures like Specter in heated primary battles. By going after people like Hagel, and doing the same to him. By denying funds to guys like Chafee in Rhode Island. By summoning would be Presidents to meet with you PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY. That's how you exert power, and all the while, you engage the wider culture, through ads, through articles, through columns, through meetings and seminars. That's what you do, if you're serious that is.

But what you DON'T DO is take action that insures the election of an unreconstructed radical from the damn '60s. THAT'S NOT what you do.

Red, Julie isn't saying that "rank pragmatism" is the order of the day in every election.

TO ALL. There's a great deal of impatience throughout this discussion, and throughout the party. We're livid with Bush. We've every right to be, he's embarrassed us, he's mortified us.

But in politics battles aren't won in an hour, nor a day. It's not some battle of yesteryear, where the results were known at the end of the day, often by mid-day. It takes time.

HOW MANY TIMES DID REAGAN RUN FOR THE GOP NOMINATION? Did he allow himself to lose heart? What was more important to him, his country, or his own disappointment. Did Reagan make a display of his political virtues. Did he strut the political catwalk? Of course not. Ultimately, Reagan was driven by love of country, and in the course of his political career, he often compromised. He promised us that he would eradicate the Education and Energy Departments. They're still there though, aren't they? His Schweiker gambit was such a compromise, all in an attempt to pull Rockefeller Republicans towards him.

There's too much fantasy attending the discussion of Giuliani and our current prospects. Fantasy is usually the province of the party that selected McGovern, that selected Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry. It's not a characteristic of the party of Eisenhower.

Huckabee doesn't have the star appeal to put up a decent showing against Hillary and her machine. He can't even raise sufficient money to run a robust campaign. And he too is affecting a conservatism that isn't reflected in his record as Governor. He's a little less slippery than Romney, but like Romney, he's playing fast and loose with his political credentials. Did anybody make a movie of Huckabee, or Romney. But we have two candidates that people HAVE MADE MOVIES OF. McCain and Rudy. So take your pick. McCain can beat Hillary, so can Rudy. Of the two, I choose Rudy. McCain has pissed me off once too often.

Why are we pretending that lesser candidates have a chance in the general? Why are some affecting an agnosticism about our chances if we go with some relative unknown, who can't even register decent numbers in the primary? We'll get our brains beaten' in if we go with anyone other than Rudy. If we go with Romney, Hillary will run the same campaign against him, that we ran in '04 against Kerry, albeit sans the Swifties.

Stop pretending that lesser figures will win.

What if Reagan had done as some here suggest, and simply walked away, and tried to form some 3d party? Did Reagan say he wouldn't support Ford? Did Reagan say "I can't support that man." What if Reagan's disgust with Nixon, Kissinger, Ford, and detente led him to sever his links to the GOP? Where would we be today? How many know that he too was approached about a possible 3d party bid?

What we're confronting isn't new.

So what should social conservatives do now? They need to stop whining and start getting in the face of THIS administration. Stop whining about Giuliani and tell THIS President to go out there and fight for his judicial nominees, who are held up by the Dems. Stop crying over what Rudy may do, and start demanding that Bush DO SOMETHING with the time and power he still has. And doing something doesn't mean signing some degenerate immigration bill.

Insist on action today. Force Bush to fight whether he wants it or not. Just like you forced him to pick Roberts; just like you forced him to pick Alito; just like you forced him to dump Meirs.

Get aggressive against this administration, but don't jettison political savvy, because if you do, your futures will be dictated by creatures like Soros, like Pat Leahy, like David Bonior, and other dubious sorts.

Is that what you want? Do you want to live in America led by creatures who take their marching orders from a degenerate like Soros?

Dan, I would appreciate it if you would answer my question above. Do you want to return to truly constitutional government (10% - 20% of present size)? If your answer is "no," then we are arguing about different things. You how to mitigate the bad. Me how to affect the good.

But pragmatism fails even as a pragmatic strategy. Pragmatism has proven not to be pragmatic. What significant governmental programs have conservatives rolled back with the perhaps single exception of welfare reform? How many programs have been added or expanded? So how is that pragmatism working for you as Dr. Phil would ask?

Conservative should look at the top tier and say Romney unacceptable, MCain unacceptable, and Giuliani unacceptable and proceed from there. Why were these clowns even entertained to begin with? Because they were "top tier?" But who said they were top tier? They wouldn't have been top tier if conservatives had laughed them off the field as they should have. It is all circular logic and a self-fulfilling prophesy. We must vote for someone who can win who is defined as someone who people say can win.

Dan, Julie: Rightio. Articulating much better than I ever could what's at stake and how best to proceed.

Red, to answer your question: Yes. But the question isn't "how does Rudy get us there?" But since you asked the question, allow me a shot at answer: He can beat Hillary; and it's unfortunate but there are several purist candidates who cannot. Now, we could get into a unneeded debate about how we got here ("Bush isn't a conservative, Corruption in our house, Smearing from the left, etc.) or we can figure out what to do next.

And while where on this topic of changing government. Why is it that we all assume getting one office will change everything over night? Granted, it's the office. But if social conservatives really want to change the nature and structure of government then we need to focus on everything: Our mayors, governors, school board members, state legistators and every aspect of government which we encounter. And we need to remind ourselves that government is not the only "front" in this fight. It doesn't matter if we get a Huckabee or Brownback in the White House; so long as we live in culture that would rather watch Paris be released from jail than read Tocqueville and run for city council, it's a losing fight.

I want to return to constitutional government. I also want to be an astronaut. Want to take bets on which happens first?

Clint: If what you're doing actually works against your principle, it's either pride or poor judgment. You pick.

I love how easily this just spills out. This combined with the Remember what the Lord says about that. shows what makes principled people red-faced over Julie's argument. Julie, you automatically assume that the prudent action is the good and Christian one. Your "Christian" prudence is just completely assumed in your own world where you are always right. Start applying it to the text and it falls apart. You can't justify Aristotelean prudence with Christianity. Was it prudent for David to fight Goliath with a sling and no armor; prudent of Abraham to wait for Sarah to have a son; prudent of Gideon to send away all his troops; prudent; was it prudent to preach in Rome? I could go on, but rest assured, 90% of Christian examples will undermine your prudence.

Unless of course it is poor judgment to do the will of God, but I would refer you to Ecc. 12:13 for that one.

Luke, so do we start this drive to return to constitutional government after Rudy's four year term? Do we run a candidate against him in the primary in four years, or would that not be prudent? Do we support him in four and hope for the best again in eight? But what is to keep all the pragmatists in eight years from telling us we have to support an electable candidate then? Pragmatism is an argument of infinite regress.

Work this out for me. Get me to constitutional government through Rudy. Good luck.

I agree entirely with your last paragraph. We all get fixated on the Presidency because the system has become so skewed. We should focus more on the local. But once we win the local, the local must be willing to act in defiance of the Leviathan center.

The pragmatists are not being pragmatic. They have thrown in the towel.

It seems to me like Clint's kind of "prudence" depends entirely upon direct marching orders from God. Maybe Clint is in league with David and the other martyrs--I can't say. As for me, I haven't gotten any of those direct instructions lately, and my understanding of the will of God is not as perfect as Clint's seems to be. So I guess I'll have to settle for the more murky Aristotelian or Thomist kind. Ecc. 12-13 right back at you, brother--". . . every work, with all its hidden qualities" indeed. So if your work is not serving a good end, it's either serving your pride or your ignorance. Sorry. The only charitable interpretation is that you have bad judgment. That's what I tend to assume about most liberals. Conservatives who--when push comes to shove--work against the those they know are working more to the good than to the bad but are, even so, not quite to their preference are guilty of worse than the liberals in my judgment. It is not simple pragmatism to say that results matter. It is closer to simple pragmatism to work only for the "all or nothing" results that you personally prefer. Both simple pragmatism and this kind of "principled" conservatism are self-indulgent points of view. There are those who would sell their soul for victory. That's not what I am advocating. I just don't think it's o.k. to sell the rest of us down the river.

And as for John Moser's beautiful comment above . . . Hillary Clinton wanted to be an astronaut when she was younger too. I don't think, however, that she has any aspirations to constitutional government as anyone here understands it. Least of all Clint or Red.

So supporting a pro-abort is not selling one's soul?

In a word, "no." But working to assure that abortion gets a firmer toe-hold in our the popular imagination of our country and in our courts and laws with a Hillary presidency . . . that's purity of soul? Look . . . this isn't even a tough one.

One last thing . . . the argument that giving us eight years of Hillary would finally "wake Americans up" should be thoroughly discredited by now. Conservatives justified the election of Bill Clinton that way. We said that about 9/11 and some even persisted with this logic through the mid-term defeats. Give it up. There isn't going to be any "Great Awakening." It's going to be plodding and slow and painful and difficult--like everything else in life. It's going to require grown ups who don't pack up their toys and go home in a fit every time things don't go their way. What do you think this game is? This is politics, not tiddlywinks. It's going to require persuasion and education. Those things take generations, not election cycles. I love social conservatives and consider myself to be among their ranks. But if they want to play hardball I have some ideas about that too. It's getting mighty hard for me to take some of these guys very seriously. As James Lileks pointed out on Hewitt's show today, all that eight years of Bill Clinton did for us is get us to a point where we're talking about electing his wife. I don't want the mess that my kids are going to have to clean up to be any bigger than it has to be. More important, I'd like to see them around to clean it and the country around to be cleaned. I know Rudy would do that much and I can work with that.

What is working to entrench abortion is accepting as fact the liberal myth of judicial supremacy and judicial review. Work to pass abortion restriction in your State in defiance of Roe v. Wade instead of going on bended knee to a Court that has usurped power to begin with. When we accept their liberal formulations, we empower them.

Where is it written that Republicans are owed the vote of conservatives? Every one has a line they will not go past. You wouldn't support the GOP nominee if he was Hitler, even if the Dems nominated Stalin. It is simply a matter of where you draw that line. Apparently you don't draw it at abortion.

"It's going to require persuasion and education."

I agree. America is not ready for constitutional government. Americans like their pork. So get to educating and persuading then Julie. How in the heck is preemptively conceding that you will vote for Rudy if he is the nominee doing either of those things? That is not persuading. That is being a sheep.

This is just pure unadulterated sophistry. Rudy is a pro-abort and wrong on many, many other issues. He is not an acceptable nominee for conservatives. Period. All the rationalization in the world will not change that.

No self-respecting Christian conservative should even think about voting for him. It should be a spinal cord level reflex. Doesn't even need to go all the way to the brain to be rejected. Instead, you are arguing that we should support the GOP nominee, whoever it may be, reflexively.

"This is politics, not tiddlywinks." —I'm going to have use that...


Glad to see you play the sophistry card. Though, I think you might have a mis-definition of what sophistry is. The pragmatic is not defining truth as false and false as true. It's compromising because that's how it works in politics. If you want unadulterated purity, you'll just end up walling off yourself until it's just your opinion of "pure" and you alone. Absolutes is for principles, Compromise for praxis; and the two don't always agree.

That said, you're right to explain that it's all a matter of where we draw a line and cross no more. But you forget that we didn't get here overnight and a return to constitutional government will not happen simply because we will it so. "Progress" as we define it is also not perfectly linear. Rudy at the helm may be set back but you're allowing the best become the enemy of the good.

As for my Christian self-respect, it is informing me that a great Aristotelian once said that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Going the third party route would be just the same: allowing evil to triumph.

It seems to me that our disagreement will be unending because we orient our perspectives differently. Some see conservatives job to remain pure (i.e. not voting for Giuliani); others see it to at least stop liberal-dems from taking the White House.

And lest you say I fail to answer you're question: Sure, running a challenger against Rudy in four would be great. It would certainly demonstrate that it wasn't a decline of prominence for social conservatives as I'm sure the MSM will want to imply. But if a challenger loses, support for the GOP should be unqualified WHEN running against the Moveon-liberal-left.

Maybe Clint is in league with David and the other martyrs--I can't say. As for me, I haven't gotten any of those direct instructions lately, and my understanding of the will of God is not as perfect as Clint's seems to be. So I guess I'll have to settle for the more murky Aristotelian or Thomist kind.

Julie, you offer nothing but a cheap rhetoric as an argument. "Oooohh Clint must think he is better than everyone because he thinks people should try to be Christian." That's stuff my younger brother is beyond. I could have easily mocked your pretend lock on reason, but chose a substantive argument. Anyone can see through this argument so easily. Just because you want people to live a difficult and good life does not imply superiority. Actually, expecting the best of people is a sign that you believe in them. Julie, you and your ilk, are content to use your reason to trick people into what you believe because you think you are special.

Besides, unlike you I do not choose my own standard of reason selected from men; I would like to argue on behalf of the Divinely Inspired Word of God, which you attempt to equate with Aristotle.

A few Biblical errors in your comment: 1)David was not a martyr ("David and the other martyrs") 2) David never received special orders from God to go kill Goliath as he did. He acted on faith, perhaps a direct command from God to all Christians, but hardly specific.

Longer analysis can be offered, if you would like to reach beyond your mockery and address new ideas (that apparently you deny without reason).

Regarding comment 17: Thompson's campaign is "finished"?!! Who are you kidding? Sounds like the wishful thinking of a Giuliani supporter ... if not campaign operative. There hasn't been a single primary yet and Thompson's actually leading Giuliani in at least one national poll (Rasmussen), less than a month after entering the race. And he's just announced that he's raised $9.3 million, with another $7 million in the bank:
Sorry, Thompson is a force to be reckoned with -- and you hurt your own credibility by ignoring his candidacy as if it were a non-factor.

Regarding comment 18: If both major parties nominate pro-choice-on-abortion candidates in 2008, pro-lifers' turning to a third party candidate or staying home would not be mere prideful folly as you suggest. No, it would in the long run be an effective strategy that has worked before in our nation's history: in the election of 1852, both the Whigs and the Democrats nominated pro-choice-on-slavery candidates. The result that year was that enough anti-slavery voters either turned to a third party ("Free Soil") candidate or stayed home to cause the Whigs (who otherwise, and historically, had been able to count on the anti-slavery vote) to get their clocks cleaned: 254 electoral votes to 42. What's more, the Whig party was destroyed: it literally ceased to exist as a national party by the time of the next presidential election. By 1860, that new third party, formed based on principled (not prideful) opposition to slavery, won the presidency. I, for one, am grateful for those "prideful" voters of 1852 who withheld their votes from the Whigs! And I'd do the same thing to the GOP in 2008 if it nominated Giuliani or any other pro-choicer on the issue that is the modern day counterpart to slavery, that is, abortion. It's a pity you don't see abortion for the reprehensible horror that it is... but millions of us out here do.

I support Mike Huckabee (now polling at 13% in Iowa), and have marginal use for Rudy thanks.

I've said it before and will say it again; Huckabee will win when conservatives get serious.

Oh Red, I hadn't realized a question was fired at me.

Do I desire a "return" to Constitutional governance. We've been off track since "the great Chief Justice" declared the power of judicial review. But we handled that, for the Court rarely invoked that power. But since the FDR years, the Court has felt free to invoke that authority more and more. I saw a stat on it once that was truly shocking.

We're not fighting to return to some misty yesteryear. We're fighting off the predations of a dangerous and radical secularism. We're fighting off RADICAL REDEFINITIONS of gender, {recall, Hillary said there wasn't two, but rather FIVE...}, of marriage, radical redefinitions of the role of governance, radical redefinitions of patriotism, radical redefinitions of sovereignty itself.

That's the battle right now. Let's win that battle. And worry about the one you suggest after we take care of business.

It's all about priorities.

Just think of the damage that the first Clinton did to our culture. The second is looking to build on the perversity of the first.

Is that what you want? Which of us truly desires that?

You can all keep talking about it, but a full-fledged conservative Republican will not beat a Democrat in the 2008 Presidential Elections, and I predict the GOP will also lose more seats in both the House and Senate. A Clinton-Richardson or Clinton-Strickland ticket would, in my opinion, trump Giuliani, Thompson, Huckabee, or any combination of them. Of the three, Giuliani probably has the best chance of giving Clinton a run for her money (which literally, given the latest statistics, will be difficult as Clinton's fundraising is huge).

As for a "true conservative," I'd look no further than Ron Paul. Consistently pro-Constitution, pro-life, pro-taxpayers, pro-limited government, and pro-American security. However, as the majority of you people seem unwilling to elect such a constitutionalist, you had better start praying that Bill Kristol was right in his recent claim of the possibility that Bill Richardson could pull an upset in the primaries and beat the Clinton juggernaut, for a Richardson White House would be a hell of a lot better than a Clinton White House.

Clint: Gee whiz . . . I didn't know I had an "ilk." I can't help but feel flattered to know I'm in league with an "ilk." And a bold-faced ilk at that!

Aristotle's understanding of prudence pre-supposes virtue. Prudent and expedient do not mean the same thing. That's very clear in Aristotle--not esoteric at all. Obviously, Aristotle could not have been a Christian. So you may be right to suggest that his view of virtue was not as full as the view offered by Jesus Christ. But I don't believe it is inconsistent with it. I don't believe that Jesus wants Christians to act with reckless abandon in His name. I believe that Jesus asks Christians to persuade as many souls as possible to follow Him. There is a right way and a wrong way to do that . . . or do you believe that good intentions are all that matter?

If you think you're going to improve the situation vis a vis abortion by going third party you can try to make a good argument for that. But tell us what it is. So far, all you've told us is how virtuous you're going to be in making that choice and how sheepish the rest of us who don't follow you will be.

One more snarky thing, and then let's play nice--o.k.? You want to be nasty about nitpicking Biblical references when you know that I did not mean to suggest that David was martyr. But while I do know that David was not a martyr (despite my poor wording in the sentence you cite) your equally bad sentence seems to imply that you do not know that he--like Aristotle--was not a Christian. But I know you know that. But I think it is fair to say that David was not your average fellow (being specially chosen and favored by God, and all)--and I might also point out that he was a pretty FLAWED sort of fellow, at that. I wonder whether David would pass your smell test . . . adulterer, murderer, defiant and willful. In fact, except for that bit about being specially chosen by God and (also) a murderer, he sounds an awful lot like Rudy.

Red, you tire and begin to bore me. I am not going to engage in (yet another) discussion about your fondest wish of un-doing the Civil War and Marbury v. Madison and getting us back to the good old days of the Articles of Confederation. If that's your platform . . . well, have at it. I don't think I'll lose any sleep worrying about the imminent departure of that juggernaut.

"back to the good old days of the Articles of Confederation"

At this point I would be more than happy to just follow the Constitution. Like I said, we are arguing about different things. Me how to restore the lost Constitution and you how to avoid the election of Hillary. Fine. Just don't call yourself a conservative. What are you trying to conserve? 1980s conservatism perhaps or would that be too reactionary for you? You are not being pragmatic. You have thrown in the towel.

I refuse to throw in the towel, although I am under no delusion that the Constitution will be restored before the impending economic collapse. But I ain't going down without a fight.

Answer me this. When did following the Constitution become optional?

To an outsider like me, ">">"> this seems relevant. David Brooks today.

re: Brooks. Somehow the dispositional conservatism of encouraging embryo-destroying stem-cell research escapes me. "Whatever the market wanteth, so long as it violateth not the autonomy of the individual; sacred individuality, beginning, of course, once any part of the baby-thing's body has emerged from the birth canal." Sure, Burke would be down with that, and gay-marriage too.

Red says: But I ain't going down without a fight. Red, you're not fighting; you're fiddling. You still have not addressed my challenge of showing me a good argument for going third party. Let me make it easier for you. Forget grand strategy and the future of the country and even the Constitution, for a moment. I only want you to address this very limited challenge: show me an argument for how going third party will improve the situation vis a vis abortion. How does losing the election save one unborn child--now or in the future? I submit that you cannot demonstrate this in any plausible way.

The only thing anyone here supporting the notion of a third party candidate over the Republican one has really been able to demonstrate is how good he is going to feel about himself in taking that step.

You can't "go down without a fight" if you leave the ring. But you will go down. The difference between us, Red, is not that I wish to "throw in the towel" as you say. The difference is that I have no intention of going down.

Haven't read all the posts, but a third party is suicide for at least one party.

History has been clear on this simple fact.

Probably more important than trying to persuade one another here of whether or not a vote for a socially conservative third party candidate is good practical politics or not is the fact that the people here who will not vote for Giuliani under any circumstance represent a far greater number of people across the nation. It's the same ultimate disregard for the outcome manifested by those Floridians who voted for Nader in 2000 - knowing full well it was going to be a close race - but who did so because, in their eyes, Bush and Gore were fundamentally indistinguishable on issues they cared most about. For someone who, above all, believes that abortion is murder, it is difficult to pull the lever for a pro-choice candidate.

I don't think that Julie's or Knip's arguments are going to carry the day with these people, not here and not in the general electorate. So, the question becomes - do you nominate someone who you know will likely hand the election to Hillary? If so, what happens to the Republican party (and the Democratic party) after the '08 election. It's necessary to keep your eyes on the bigger picture: with the end of the Cold War, the external glue that held together the different parts of the conservative coalition has evaporated, and a big question remains whether anything can hold together the disparate parts of the coalition that increasingly disagree with each other more than they agree.

Here's where I stand: I believe that the up-and-coming generation (late-teens through mid-twenties) have grown up in an America where conservatives may receive an education AT LEAST the equal to those offered by liberal institutions, and in most cases superior (see Dr. Schramm's post about a liberal arts education). Generally speaking, this was not availible to the Generation X-ers and their predecessors. My point is this: within the next decade there is going to be a whole slew of politically active conservatives who will be able to crush their liberal peers - you know, the ones who spent their college years taking women's studies classes and smoking reefer. Right now, the only thing I'm concerned with is holding the line against the liberals. We're not going to begin winning back America just yet because we don't have the resources, the manpower, and the charisma. My goal is to buckle down, stop giving any more ground to the liberals, and wait for the flood gates to open; that will make the "Reconquista" much easier. This will be incredibly more difficult after a Clinton presidency, which is why I will vote for whoever the Republicans nominate.

Julie, when did I ever say I was voting third party? All through this thread and this election season I have and I will continue to work for Mike Huckabee to be the GOP nominee. He will win of course, and he will likely be the next President. Any other selection by the GOP will likely breed disaster; you might note Huckabee's own refusal to run as a "Christian party" candidate.

As for "snarkiness" I'm glad to let it go because your comment really didn't work. My sentence does not say David was Christian, but regardless it is easy to argue that David was a Christian--that is one who believed in the future coming of Christ the Messiah, kind of a reverse of Christians today who believe in the past coming of Christ. David believed Christ would come, today people believe he did, the point is both believed in Christ. Your kind forgiveness is unecessary.

Back to substance you said: Aristotle's understanding of prudence pre-supposes virtue. This is the key point. Assuming virtue is pretty dangerous, and too often what you do here on this blog is claim you are 1) making a prudent choice, and hence 2) your choice is principled. That is backwards. What you need to do first is prove the principle, and then, and only then, can you try to explain why such course of action may be prudent. I have no problem with the practical application of principle, but you need to show that there actually is principle before you show the practice. Merely renaming it "prudence" does nothing for the argument.

"I only want you to address this very limited challenge: show me an argument for how going third party will improve the situation vis a vis abortion. How does losing the election save one unborn child--now or in the future? I submit that you cannot demonstrate this in any plausible way."

I don't think I have ever said that losing the election will save any babies. Nor have I said winning the election will save any either. Nothing we do at the federal level is going to save any babies. There is no national will to do so. Too many apostate Yankees and West Coasters. (There is regional will to do so. The thing that will have the most impact on saving some babies somewhere is to demystify and disempower the federal government.)

What I have said and could easily write a dissertation on is that bolting to a third party would be better long term for conservatism than electing Rudy with conservative support. I have very limited time, but briefly, once the GOP nominates a pro-choice/anti-gun/pro-amnesty etc. candidate then those supposed insurmountable barriers to the nomination will be no more. That is bad for the long term. The social conservatives have more power if they are willing to exercise a veto than if they are seen as in the hip pocket of the GOP. If pro-life/pro-gun etc. forces torpedoed Rudy, then that would be better in the long term because the GOP wouldn't be foolish enough to try that again. It would show we can not be pushed around.

I have to go but here is Lawrence Auster’s take. He is a Lincoln lover so you should like him.

And here is Chuck Baldwin’s take. He is a very likely Constitution Party nominee.

Clint, if you have not personally suggested that you will vote third party (or not vote) should Rudy get the nomination, then I apologize. But let us assume that the Huckabee nomination does not come to the inevitable fruition you claim it will and Rudy is the choice. Then what will you do?

As for being backward about principle and prudence - - I thought we agreed that the principle here was that it is virtuous to protect human life. The question for prudence is how best to achieve that. Patrick Deneen offers a more interesting challenge in asking whether nominating Rudy would be imprudent because of the inevitable imprudence of the so-cons. About that, I can only say that I am open to persuasion on it. I have not endorsed Rudy and--all things being equal in an abstract universe--he is not my first choice. I have only said that among all the GOP candidates (with the exception of Paul because I think his foreign policy will get us killed) I would support any of the GOP candidates against any of the Democratic candidates. I do not know who the most prudent choice would be. I really don't and I have not claimed anything to the contrary. It might be Huckabee as Clint suggests--and I would certainly support him if he got the nod--but I don't seriously think he will. It might be Thompson--but I do worry about the perception that he is too like Bush in his folksiness. Romney doesn't seem to be getting any real traction from where I sit. He's not objectionable but I just have a deep sense that he can't win. Guiliani's biggest problem--from my point of view--is the visceral reaction he gets from some social conservatives. If that reaction is strong enough to disqualify him he should be disqualified. But I do think that would be a shame as it should be easier to persuade social conservatives that it is in their interest to win--even with Guiliani--than it is (in this political climate) to persuade non-Republicans to vote for a conservative who reminds them of Bush. If it's impossible to do either, then I guess we're looking at a grim 8 years.

Andrew and my kids are exactly why I also want to hold the line. That--and consider this--as our troops come home we're going to have a whole new generation of young "men" and women who are going to know something important and central about America and about themselves. I don't think there will be a big surge of support among those folks for the Dems. And I do think that as they mature and gain influence, it will only be to the good of this country. I see all kinds of reasons to be optimistic - - - but many of them are on the horizon rather than sitting on my front porch.

Why not ignore a guy's 30 year record of fervent support for abortion


Why not nominate a guy who has a strange record of going out of the way to piss the hell out of the GOP base over the last ten years


Why not go with a one trick pony


But of course had we gotten in the face of Bush years ago, had we demanded the removal of Card, Meirs, Hughes and Rice, had we demanded that he snap the hell out of his incoherent "compassionate conservatism" and govern consistent with the GOP platform, had we done that, as we should have, WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS DAMN BOAT, now would we?

And your solution to this problem, is that we should nominate ... Rudy?

The one candidate in the field who is consistently liberal across the board?

Let's make Dorgan the GOP candidate, if we need to do this sort of outreach to the left. He's a lot more conservative than .... Rudy.

Look at it this way, Bush said all the right things, he said REPEATEDLY, that he wanted judges like "Scalia and Thomas." But then when he got in there, he tried to worm through Gonzales and he tried to deceive the party and get through Meirs.

He lied to us, and he lied to us FOR YEARS. For years.

And you are willing to believe ... Rudy?

what is at state is defeating something that would be damaging to the American Republic writ large, or sucking it up for a pro-life candidate.

Giuliani is not merely a pro-life candidate. He is a liberal across the board. We're talking about a man who endorsed Mario Cuomo! A man who is to the left of Ted Kennedy on immigration! A man who supported McCain-Feingold! A man who regards the NRA as "extremists"!

So, the question becomes - do you nominate someone who you know will likely hand the election to Hillary?

The assumption behind this line of argument is that we can know with a fair degree of certainty now who will win and who will lose in November 2008. And that we know that Giuliani will win and anyone else will lose.

The facts. In January 1980, Reagan was losing in the polls to Carter by 33% to 66%. We cannot predict the future.

Even if you insist that the polls are a crystal ball, Giuliani is LOSING to Clinton in the polls and draws the same level of support as Thompson. The "Giuliani beats Clinton" argument is not evidenced by the polls or anything else.

There is no way I'd ever vote for neocons like Giuliani, McCain, Thompson, Gingrich or Romney. Unless a conservative gets the nomination who's tough on immigration (Tancredo, Paul or Hunter), I'm voting third party, probably Constitution Party or America First Party.

How does losing the election save one unborn child--now or in the future? I submit that you cannot demonstrate this in any plausible way.

If losing the election keeps one of the two parties in the pro-life corner, that holds out the prospect that Roe can be overturned in the future.

If we go along with the transformation of the GOP into a second pro-abortion party then the argument is finished.

I was under the impression that the greater idea than protecting human life was the goal of having a principled President. If Rudy is not principled, he cannot pragmatically serve this end, and as noted by other commenters, given his lack of principle why trust him on abortion, civil unions, etc.

If Huckabee does not win the GOP nom (he will I think, just be patient), it really won't matter who I vote for because whoever it is won't win (possible exception of McCain). The order of my choices for GOP: 1)Huckabee 2)McCain 3)Thompson/Giuliani. I'd probably vote for all of them except maybe Romney, but given the choice between him and Hillary...

However, none of this down the road crap matters right now. What I am focused on is nominating the most conservative and principled candidate possible MIKE HUCKABEE. And I will not allow "prudence" to cut the other candidates any slack because most of them are lacking in principle and hence it would not be "prudent" to nominate them.

"I have only said that among all the GOP candidates (with the exception of Paul because I think his foreign policy will get us killed) I would support any of the GOP candidates against any of the Democratic candidates."

So you wouldn't support Paul because of foreign policy, but we are supposed to support Rudy even though he is pro-choice? My, my, how very interesting. I actually thought your broad statement of support above for any GOP nominee included Paul.

So in other words, you too have a line you are willing to draw.

So how would a mind our own business foreign policy get us all killed? Which Muslim country is ready to invade? Funny, I didn't know any of them had a navy or air force to speak of. Are they going to kill "us" (Meaning who? All Americans? Many Americans? Some Americans?) with massive terror attacks? How is Bush's policy making that less likely? How would Paul's make it more likely?

So you draw a line in the sand at unwillingness to kill Muslims, but not at willingness to kill babies. Very interesting indeed. Such is the sorry state of modern “conservatism.”

So who would you vote for Paul v. Hillary? What about Paul v. Hillary with Lieberman running as an independent?

". . .demystify and disempower the federal government."--exactly . . . and how is getting Hillary elected going to get us any closer to that goal. I understand and, to some extent, sympathize with your manly spirit in this argument: If pro-life/pro-gun etc. forces torpedoed Rudy, then that would be better in the long term because the GOP wouldn't be foolish enough to try that again. It would show we can not be pushed around. But the answer to that is to work against him in the primary. But if you don't succeed I just disagree with you that it is better for the things you want to sabotage him in the general. I still don't see that you have articulated a clear argument for how that would work. Tick off the essential points if you have time later.

I've heard a great deal of discontent about Rudy. But I've NEVER heard of anyone describe him as a "one trick pony."

Rudy doesn't have a "30 year track record" of support for abortion. When he was in the Reagan Justice Department, working alongside men like Roberts and Alito, William French Smith and Ed Meese, he was completely consistent with the GOP platform. If anything, his position on abortion HAD TO change if he were to have a shred of a chance at winning the Mayorship of the Big Apple. And all of us should be pleased that he was the Mayor, that he saved New York City, that he turned that situation around.

Rudy hasn't gone out of his way to piss off the base. He's been honest with them, and he hasn't tried to pander. He told them he wouldn't go after the platform. And he hasn't. When asked questions about his immigration track record, he explained at length the problem he was dealing with in New York City.

If you want to choose someone else for the nomination, that's up to you. I'm not twisting anyone's arm. Events and the times are doing that.

But don't tamper with his track record.

He's not a Dem. He's a Reagan Conservative. And he's often made mention of how he allowed Reagan's attitudes to guide his actions in the Mayor's ofice.

I think there are some bitter Romney fans. For all the millions spent, he's hurtling on towards a heady 8% in the national polls. In short, going nowhere fast and in one hell of a hurry.

It's not my fault that he's adopted every position under the sun. It's not my fault that he's tried to be everything to everyone. It's not my fault that his positions alter in accordance with whatever elected office he happens to be seeking.

I'm not the guy that gave opportunism a bad name. That would be Romney himself.

Hey, "don't hate me, I'm only the messenger...."

Socialized medicine and the Clinton's support for an end-around via children should be enough to make anyone willing to splinter the GOP to stop and reconsider.

I believe abortion is utterly evil, however, I realize that making the one party that at least gives lip service to pro-life folks splinter is not the answer.

To those that are pro-life ... the tide is turning. Sure, not fast enough, but is is clearly turning. Then again, we could turn to the, in my opinion illegal, and most definately un-Constitutional, way of the Supreme Court making, once again, law, which, by the way, in my opinion, again, is the only way that abortion will be resolved (another turn to the Supremes), except this time to overturn the poorly decided Roe v. Wade.

Don't ya just love run on sentences?

Bede, please define "neocon" for me. To quote Indigo Montoya: "You keep using that word - I do no think it means what you think it means."

Congradulations, Red, you have the same foreign policy as the Left.

Republicans of any sort have leverage with a Republican president and have none with a Democrat. So, I will take an unprincipled Republican over a principled Democrat. The latter is a frightening prospect. I was always rather grateful that President Clinton was relatively unprincipled. His seeking to be forever popular spared the nation serious harm.

I will vote for the most conservatively principled candidate likely to win that I can get in any given election. I have some time before the Ohio primary to figure out who that is. You would think that since the campaign has been going on for nearly a year already, I would have made some choice, but no candidate really appeals. It is a pity. I have this uneasy mental image of standing in the polling booth facing the list of candidates like I did the menu at a local greasy spoon restaurant, just the other day. I must make a choice, but absolutely nothing looks good.

In a democracy we make compromises with our neighbors and settle for the majority's choice. It is not like turning up our noses at what is offered at the dinner table and rummaging in the fridge for an alternative more suitable to the palate. In politics, you do the best you can with what you have got. You take what is on the table. I, too, am sick of getting to the general election and settling for the Republican Party's candidate that is as appealing as (and seems a nationally nutritious as) Kraft macaroni and cheese at the dinner table. However, that choice has always been better than the Democratic alternative which looks so awful I can't find words suitable for print as description.

I don't think I'll ever have to make such an absurd choice, but yes--I guess I would take Paul over Hillary. I wouldn't like it . . . I would try to fight it before it came to that . . . I wouldn't vigorously campaign for the guy or get excited on election day. But when the time came, I'd do my duty, go to the polls, and pull the lever for the least bad of two bad alternatives. And then I'd go to fighting him on all of his bad policies once he got in office.

I would prefer Lieberman in the match-up you suggest, Red . . . but I'd never vote third party unless it was very clear that the third party had a chance of overtaking on of the two leading parties and destroying it.

Very Interesting. What I find most illuminating is the Bush Bashing...I understand it as a political manuever but I do not think it well thought fact it is incomprehensible to me on many levels.

He's not a Dem. He's a Reagan Conservative.

A Reagan Conservative who endorsed Mario Cuomo because he felt that Pataki was too much of a right-wing extremist? I don't think the Gipper would have approved.

How far left do you have to be to see George Pataki as a dangerous right-winger?

When asked questions about his immigration track record, he explained at length the problem he was dealing with in New York City.

He lied. His comments from the 1990's make it crystal clear that what was uppermost in his mind was how to give as much help as possible to illegal immgrants, as an end in itself. The lame rationalizations about it being due to his concern for crime came later.

I would prefer Lieberman in the match-up you suggest, Red .

Whats the thinking behind that?

A party determined to tear down men of real achievement, and in their stead elevate weak, misguided men without achievement, without understanding and without an attitude, is a party determined to drink to the dregs the mug of miserable defeat.

There are people here who have a warped understanding of politics, and have confused it with a morality play. Where their determined to be the star, who happens to get crucified at the end.

Some people seem to have a Jesus complex, and seem to be eager to be martyred for the purity of their beliefs.

Good luck with that.

But Lincoln shared no such hankering for martyrdom, nor Teddy, nor Coolidge, nor Hoover, nor Eisenhower and certainly not Reagan.

It's a decidedly un-American attitude.

There are some typos in the previous post, which I couldn't edit out without having to type the whole damn thing over again.

But that second paragraph above should read: "There are people here who have a warped understanding of politics, and have confused it with a morality play, wherein they are determined to be the star, who happens to get crucified at the end."

Which is a sad commentary by the way. And a surefire recipe for ignominious defeat.

Such people are better suited for monasteries, abbeys and priories.

It's remarkable how substance-free Dan's hagiographic remarks on Rudy Giuliani are.

Giuliani does seem to tap into the desire in certain quarters for a "strong leader". This sheds some light on the rise of Fascism and its analogs. In any case such a mentality is an affront to small 'r' republicanism.

Would Dan would care to address what Giuliani's endorsement of Cuomo and attacks on Pataki says about his preferred leader?

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