Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random Concluding Observations

1. Listen (let me repeat), there’s no way McCain can be stopped. The (very un-democratic) winner-take-all process that Giuliani had put into place to help himself now pretty much guarantees McCain will simply have the delegates on Feb. 5. McCain was perfectly right to give an I’ve won the nomination speech last night.

2. Let me repeat what I said at the beginning of all this: Giuliani and Huckabee were both obviously too extreme to get the nomination.

3. On balance, McCain and Huckabee remained the authentic candidates from beginning to end. McCain on character/leadership and Huck on "values."
They were the over-performing candidates, and their strange man-love connection is not merely a marriage of convenience.

4. Some Corner people are grousing that without Huck in the race Romney would have prevailed as the socially conservative candidate. Studies don’t back that up: Lots of Huck voters in Florida reported that their second choice was McCain. There’s surely some anti-Mormon bigotry there, but there are other reasons too. Actually Romney did take a lot of Huck voters. Romney and McCain surged as Huck and Rudy faded. And they faded almost exactly the same amount. One-on-one in FL: McCain would have beaten Romney pretty easily. One-on-one in SC: Probably McCain beats Huck, but maybe not.

5. If Huck were to drop out of the race, McCain would probably sweep the South. The best Romney could reasonably hope for would be some close contests and maybe a victory in winner-take-all MO. That would not be anywhere near enough to make any difference. It’s still conceivable that Huck could win Georgia, for example. But his concession speech in FL seemed too much like a concession speech in general. Unfortunately, it’s not very authentic for him now not to assert in a manly way his superiority over McCain on all the domestic issues.

6. Let me also repeat that Romney would be a good president. It’s just not so clear he’d be a good candidate. McCain is very chancy, in my view, on both fronts.

7. I also should add that it’s crazy that this thing is over before the overwhelming majority of Republicans have had a chance to vote. Not only that, their candidate is a man who carried the plurality of Republicans (barely) in only one state and never topped 40% of vote.

Discussions - 16 Comments

"I also should add that it’s crazy that this thing is over before the overwhelming majority of Republicans have had a chance to vote."

A common refrain of late. Is there a better way to accomplish picking a party's nominee? Particularly in today's world of instant and constant media coverage?

Although I wouldn't have voted for him, I had hoped that RG's strategy of waiting until Florida would succeed, at least in keeping the race open longer. Too much significance is given to the early contests, which, of course, are too early. Had Giuliani succeeded, perhaps the process would have become a bit less crazy in the future, with less attention paid to Iowa and New Hampshire.

What about a McCain/Huckabee ticket?

If your #1 is correct, why is ANYBODY
still in the primary race? Are you, please, being hyperbolic?

one liberal open borders enthusiast is enough...

Professor Lawler,

Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but I don't think it's a completely done deal yet. McCain will get a lot of press, it's true, but some of that press will necessarily focus on the fact that conservatives clearly don't like him - and McCain can't handle that criticism. Apparently, just this morning he said that anyone who disagreed with his immigration bill from this spring was "Foolish." If I were Romney - I'd put an ad out with that soundbite tomorrow.

McCain can't handle criticism well, and he especially doesn't take it well when he thinks he doesn't have to (i.e., when he's winning).

It's hard to tell how much any individual debate matters, but with a less crowded podium I expect Romney to come out swinging against McCain, and if Huckabee steps in to attack Romney on McCain's behalf, I think it will look like a very transparent attempt to be McCain's VP, and backfire on him.

The process needs real reform. It's appalling that so many think the election is over after what 7 states vote. And it's even more appalling that McCain could get the nomination without ever ONCE winning the votes of a majority of conservatives, or even republicans, or crossing the 40% margin in any one primary. Something like 1.1 million people have voted for McCain at this point, and 1.05 million have voted for Romney. How can it be over? That's a bad primary system.

Lastly, I wouldn't hold out hope that McCain will pick a conservative movement type VP. He's shown absolutely no inclination to move towards the base, so why would he when he doesn't have to - especially if he thinks conservatives will vote for him to vote against Hillary.

But remember, the next four years could really stink regardless of who wins, so we could be looking at a one term Pres.

On point number 7, the common complaint is that we let Iowa and New Hampshire pick our candidates. This year, it was Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wyoming, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida.

Thats an increase from 2 states to 7. And had Romney pulled out a victory in Florida, you could have thrown all the Feb 5th states into the mix.

Progress, no?

"There’s surely some anti-Mormon bigotry..."

So concerns about Romney's Mormonism is necessarily equal to bigotry?

I do think it is over. McAmnesty will be the nominee. The question is will all the big mouth conservative pundits who are grousing about McAmnesty put their support and votes where their mouths are and vote third party, or will they behave like good little GOP supplicants and "come to terms" with McAmnesty?

McCain has spent 4 years cultivating the base. He went and spoke at Liberty, the founder of which he called an agent of intolerance 8 years ago. McCain has reached out to the GOP base and establishment. He is, or has framed himself, as the most complete conservative left in the race. I know some conservatives won't forgive him, but if McCain can make up with Falwell and the right, I think we should try to make up with him.

Maybe force a floor fight, and draft "a favourite son" who hasn't been in the race to be our nominee. Why not draft Rick Santorum? Just because he got beat in a sharply turning blue Pennsylvania doesn't mean he wouldn't find traction in the Red states.

Clint I like what you're saying. I know it's tough to hear and I will struggle to do so, but when I consider Red's constant refrain of 3rd party and think what a disaster that would be, I'm tempted. How in the world could anyone on the right justify a 3rd party vote when the result would be a democratic victory in the fall.

It seems to me that everyone is throwing in the towel already. Yeah, it's an insanely uphill battle from here on out but that doesn't mean that (1) we have to settle for McCain just yet and (2) if (when) he takes the nomination we have leave the party or the cause. I've said this before, there are still governor, senators, congressional seats, state legislators and nearly infinite non-governmental causes to support. If someone like McCain can win the nomination that means conservatives are not doing a good job educating ourselves on the candidate and First Principles. (It may also mean that we need to be more religiously tolerant within our ranks as well.) But seriously, I have several conversations in the last few days with friends who honestly think McCain is a true conservative. When I talk about his record, they're shocked. It's not rocket science but some of them just are not paying attention or we're failing to properly educate.

Luke P., if you never put your foot down, if you never draw a line and say "beyond this I will not go", then the Establishment boys will continue to ignore you because they know that you can be had. They have you in their back pocket. You have got to change that dynamic. Angry conservatives voting third party would do that.

It really doesn't matter, does it? I think it is more important for you NLT-ers to reflect on which particular version of right-wing hell you are headed for: an African American President at the helm as we hurtle toward the year 2050, or an uppity, intelligent female as your commander-in-chief.

It has been a long seven years, and I will be available for advice and sympathy.....

Thanks Fung, I hope you'll be prescribing anti-depressants along with general advice and sympathy.

Dan, I'm thinking about Prozac Vending machines specifically distributed in the Red sectors.



Don't get top comfortable. It's no guarantee that the dems will in in the fall. A lot can happen between now and November and it would be presumptuous to assume otherwise. You could very well be the one at the vending machine getting comfort from us.


I agree. But there are different ways to draw that line. I think Peter has post above this one about chastising McCain next week if for nothing else but make him realize where the base is. That's just one way to make a statement to the party. Another way is to get your third party in the other races, allocation of monies, etc. But snubbing your nose to the establishment and allowing the right to lose the courts for a generation and the implementation of socialized medicine just to prove a point is morally objectionable. I don't know what you do for a living, but if you have a problem with the party establishment, work to change or become a part of it and change it yourself. The point is that there are many more options than picking up our marbles and crying our way home just to feel good.

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