Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random Observations

1. There’s a second study out of Florida that shows Romney in the lead and Huckabee fading, with McCain and Giuliani stuck in a battle for second.

Huckabee has no money to spend there, and, he’s concluded, no real prospect of winning. In more or less "pulling out," he’ll probably benefit Romney more still.
So, too, will the withdrawal of Fred, if only a bit--whatever Fred himself might prefer. McCain may soar if Rudy starts to slide in the days immediately preceding the primary, which seems pretty likely to me.

3. So it’s clearer than ever that Huck was probably defeated--however unluckily-- for good in SC. It’s hard to see how he’ll do that well on Feb. 5 with no money and no mo’. He may still carry Georgia, though.

4. We seem to have to choose between Romney and McCain and agree that the choice is not so bad. The Romney and McCain people are now accusing each other of deranged hostility to the other guy. As someone pointed out, though, someone might have accused the Jefferson guys of deranged hostility to Adams etc. etc.

5. McCain wrote a solid letter to the right-to-life people on the day of their march on how we can all agree that Roe v. Wade needs to be reversed. His clear and forceful statement distinguishes him in a fundamental way from Giuliani.

6. It’s hard to deny, though, that Romney has more credibility on the economic issues and on at least really believing that uncontrolled illegal immigration is real issue.

7. Romney has, at least, a slight "values" and competence advantage. McCain has the "leadership" or at least character advantage.

Discussions - 28 Comments

McCain wrote a solid letter to the right-to-life people on the day of their march on how we can all agree that Roe v. Wade needs to be reversed.

A few years ago he was saying the exact opposite. Nice of him to change his mind, but worth noting that he has changed it.

Huckabee's long shot southern strategy hinges in part on getting some help from the Republican establishments in the states he's trying to contest. That in turn hinges, I think, on performing credibly in Florida. An "Anybody-But-McCain" surge in the direction of Romney south of our border makes the long shot approach the equivalent of this improbable play.

It would seem to be in the interests of the backers of all the non-McCain candidates to take McCain down a peg.

If I was a Huck or Rudy supporter in Florida I'd give serious thought to backing Romney for that reason. A McCain win there goes a long way towards ending the race. A loss there keeps it open a while longer.

I would wait for the final poll numbers before the actual vote on the 29th. Then, if there were no real movement towards Giuliani, and if Giuliani's poll numbers indicated that he was clearly going to lose the race, then you would vote in a manner to stop McCain.

But it's beginning to appear that Republicans don't want to lose the general, and are making their picks with an eye towards true viability.

As for that letter he wrote, it will be forgotten. If he was really interested in reaching out to the pro-life movement, he would have appeared at the rally, or spoke via remote broadcast. Republican politicians are embarrassed by the pro-lifers, and embarrassed by their zeal and enthusiasm, which they don't share. That's why they can't be bothered to show up during the yearly anniversary of the Roe decision.

Right now I think the best solution is to stall the race out and send it to the convention if possible. Every hour of every day is one more hour where the real McCain might reveal itself with the cameras rolling. And that isn't a very pleasant sight. A campaign of criticism and harassment should be launched against McCain, not designed to win the nomination so much as designed to draw forth the true McCain, and the true McCain was on display during that bizarre, profanity laced tirade that he unloaded on Senator Cornyn. The new strategy should be designed to entice McCain into his own Howard Dean moment, where that cathartic scream emerges.

How bad does Giuliani and Romney want it? We know that Romney wants it, wants it bad, and is willing to do whatever it takes to win the thing. That's the one thing I truly respect in Romney, his determination coupled with his unscrupulousness. But what of Giuliani, who has proven so shy of truly criticizing McCain.

A twofold strategy should be pursed:

1}A strategy of unending harassment of McCain; and

2}A strategy to send the battle to the convention floor, where the actual delegates can register their profound disapproval of McCain, and all things McCain.

I can't agree the choice is "not so bad."

My post meant, Rob, more like our solemn duty to think that way. I think they both lose unless one of them gets way better. I understand the hope to slow things down in the hopes that a savior rises from this looney process. In my opinion Fred and Huck showed promise, but no longer. If you want a brokered convention, you need to hope that Romney wins in Florida by a narrow and unimpressive margin. And Giuliani does well enough to hold in in a few urban and urbane states on Feb. 5. But those who hope for a convention drafting Newt are just as misguided. Whatever ails the GOP, Gingrich is not the cure. He's yesterday's news and more a loser than not, and he, in my view, has massive character issues. What's really need is new blood, a genuine outsider etc. But he or she aint there.

What's really needed is new blood, a genuine outsider etc. But he or she aint there. which is a real pity. The thought that sustains, as regards the Republican Party, is the ghastliness of the Democraticprospects. . As those are the "outsiders" we are liable to get, genuine in the one case, not so genuine in the others, but certainly a change of pace and not at all pleasing.

I keep seeing much larger numbers of people voting for Democrats in the primaries. I hope that is because Republicans are staying home in confusion and does not reflect the electorate.

A few years ago he was saying the exact opposite. Nice of him to change his mind, but worth noting that he has changed it.

John, I think you've been visiting the Romney website too much. McCain has a long and conservative pro-life record. For instance voting for the partial birth abortion bans in 2003 and in 1997, and voting no on the "agreement" to affirm Roe v. Wade that the Senate did in conjunction with the 2003 bill that became law. During the period covered here (1997-2003) Mitt was a staunch supporter of Roe v. Wade; in fact he was a big fan of Roe until 3 years ago when he decided to run for President-uhh I mean saw the light and talked with Jesus.

I find it nice that Mitt has changed his mind, yet of course worth noting; however I find it much nicer to know that John McCain has been a consistent pro-life Senator


John, I think you've been visiting the Romney website too much. McCain has a long and conservative pro-life record.

As it happens, I've been to the Romney web site once.

As for McCain, try this.

At this point he opposed overturning Roe. He has flipped back, but lets not pretend he has always been pure.

I find it much nicer to know that John McCain has been a consistent pro-life Senator

Well, you find it much nicer to believe it, at any rate.

I'll take McCain's 25 year Senate record as a pro-life senator over a couple of comments that the Washington Post reported. I'll also judge Romney more on his 30 years of supporting Roe in statements and politics than I will his past two years of pro-life claims.

As I say, you find it nice to believe it.

If McCain becomes President, he'll appoint at least one known liberal simply to show how fair and bipartisan he is.

The man almost defected to the Democrats several times.

Easy Peter, nobody suggested hauling Newt into the race at the convention.

However, the threat, the mere threat of a prolonged fight on the convention floor, all of which would be reported by a jubilant media, WOULD FORCE McCain to make certain provisions against that eventuality. That is, it would force him to reach out to the base that he's derided for the last decade. Such a threat would enable the base to make a deal with McCain, whereby the base gets to name his Sec of State, gets to name his AG, the SG, and their staff as well. A deal might be made whereby all judicial picks are run by the base prior to, and that his idea of getting politicos "to certify" that the border is "secure" doesn't see the light of day, and that a true wall is constructed sealing off the flow of illegals. A deal might be reached that forces McCain to build a wall whether he wants it or not, and not just along portions of the border, but along the entirety of our Southern flank. THAT'S what the mere threat of open rebellion on the convention floor could secure for us.

McCain has spent a long time pursuing the nomination, and he's not going to blow it by allowing open rebellion on the convention floor. Even if we didn't get to pick a more appropriate candidate at the convention, such as a Tim Pawlenty for instance, forcing McCain to crawl to the base is ALONE worth sending it to the convention floor.

McCain needs to be forced to make an altar call before conservatives. He needs to brought to heel.

My gut tells me McCain wouldn't accept 95% of Dan's deal. Nor will many conservative guts trust McCain to keep such a deal. That is, he ain't a dealer, and even if he were, the base doesn't trust him.

My gut would rather be cutting a deal w/ Giuliani, if a deal needs to be cut. NOT that I'd be happy about it...I'm ONLY pro-Giuliani insofar as the only other choice is McCain. Strange, but there it is.

I agree with everything you say, Peter, especially the part that Kate picked up on, about new blood. I should have written, plaintively, "MUST we dutifully agree the choice is not so bad?" The short term future is genuinely opaque to me.

Rudy vs. John is a tough one. In principle I'm for McCain, who is at least polite enough to say the right things. Rudy's campaign is death-still lower taxes, against "socialized medicine" wo an alternative, and a bit over-the-top against our Islamic enemies. McCain has no credibility on domestic issues and the surge is not a winning issue in Nov. McCain stinks as a frontrunner and might self-righteously alienate everyone just to display excellence in losing nobly. I don't know why social conservatives would vote for Rudy or at least show any enthusiasm for him at all. So I'm leaning toward Romney, but I don't think he can win either. Now that it's absolutely clear that he won't get nominated turn American into an evangelical Razorback liberal fascist theocracy or whatever, I hope nobody objects if go ahead and vote for Huckabee in Georgia.

"I'll take McCain's 25 year Senate record as a pro-life senator over a couple of comments that the Washington Post reported. I'll also judge Romney more on his 30 years of supporting Roe in statements and politics than I will his past two years of pro-life claims."

Clint, I couldn't agree more.

I would echo those sentiments with regard to Mr. Giuliani's promise to appoint "strict constructionist" judges who won't "legislate from the bench."

Sure, Mr. Giuliani, I believe you.

Yesterday, on NPR, I heard McCain say he is happy to be able to continue to tell everyone what a great American he is. If we all promised to believe him, do you think he would stop telling us? I don't think so. I think he really IS happy to tell us. Oh well.

I can get quite depressed looking at the Republican field, just as Peter is in #16. However, if I make myself consider the field as a whole, I quite cheer up. As the general election develops the Democrats are going to look simply impossible, dreadful, awful. Maybe, if the nominee is Obama, he will appear more mature and capable with time, but I doubt it. (Although, honestly, I would rather listen to him speak than anyone else running, even when I am aghast at the specifics.) But it seems so unlikely that the Dem. machine will allow him to win, being so well-tooled in the Clintonian direction.

I think the pattern will be as in the last election, where all of the noise was for Kerry, and yet in the end it WAS all noise (like himself, the foolish, bombastic blowhard) and he lost. Thank God. The thinking was, maybe, that the Dems could run anyone against Bush and win. Bush didn't have a chance, and yet, against the reality of that awful man and his awful wife, lo, he did win. I say, let Hillary be Hillary (and let Bill be Bill) and we can't lose in November.

Peter, did you read why Dennis Prager endorsed Rudy? Check out his site over at Townhall.

McCain WILL alienate just about everybody while pursuing The White House. Every single time he says things like he did in Michigan, like he did in Florida, I'm reminded of Walter Mondale speaking at the Dem convention. For all of you who don't recall what Mondale said, I'll provide a loose paraphrase. Mondale said: The truth is whoever is president will raise taxes, "Ronald Reagan won't tell you that, ....... I just did." THAT'S McCain, who thinks ramming unpopular "truths" down the throat of the American people is the path to high office. And truths is in quotation marks because McCain's "truths" usually consist of conventional wisdom and whatever fads happen to be du jour.

McCain courts media love. That's his track record. He courts their favour on global warming, the borders, immigration, campaign finance, tax cuts, the Arab/Israeli dispute, ......... he courts their favour on just about everything. That being the case, ------------------------------ what leads some of you to think that he'll be impervious to their desires on judicial appointments. The very people who would overthrow Roe would overthrow McCain/Feingold. Don't you think he knows that?

Every Conservative has said they can worth with Giuliani, because he isn't a hammerhead with a political messiah complex. But look at the number of staunch Conservatives who rejected McCain, and said they weren't able to work with him in the past, and won't be able to support him in the general.

Consider what Tom DeLay said about him. DeLay was one of the MOST effective majority leaders in American political history. But just listen to what he has to say about McCain. DeLay has spent years trying to undo the damage McCain wrought on the GOP agenda, he's spent as much time trying to get around McCain's obstruction in the Senate. The President refused to exercise veto power, but McCain sure as hell exercised it in the Senate. And it wasn't just the harmful effect of McCain, it was listening to him sermonize about his own political virtues compared to the alleged the political vices inherent throughout the rest of the party! If you listen to him, he's not just Senator Straight Talker, he's SAINT SENATOR STRAIGHT TALKER! Complete with halo and heavenly choir. And he's deigned to walk amongst us lesser mortals and share with us his heavenly vision. And of course what is his vision? It's a vision usually consistent with that of the DNC and The New York Times.

That should read: "Every conservative has said they can work with Giuliani." Up on Capitol Hill that is. That statement doesn't encompass the weird ravings of Dobson types.

All the right wing legal talant is lining up with Romney.

He has also been endorsed by Robert Bork. I'll trust their judgement on who will pick the best judges over anyone elses.


He courts their favour on global warming, the borders, immigration, campaign finance, tax cuts

I'm curious, Dan. Do you know anything at all about Rudy Giuliani's record? Because his record on all these issues is identical to McCains. How is it possible for you not to know that?

All the "right-wing" folks lining up behind Romney is clearly an effort to stop McCain. Recent RINO flip-flop Mitt is better, I guess, only because he is a more convincing liar. Is this what we have sunken to?

Ron Paul is the clear choice, but so many on the "right" are too preoccupied with justifying the warfare/security state and hand-wringing about Muslims half a world away to think straight.

Yes, I know a good deal about his record. Go check out David Frum's Diary over at NRO. He wrote two pieces which go a long way towards explaining why people like Julie and me support Giuliani.

You seem to think that because there are superficial similarities between some of McCain's positions and those of Rudy, thus there must be no effective difference between them.

There are several responses, most of which are substantive, but I think the key thing that has been overlooked is the importance of tone.

It's not just how injurious have been the particulars of McCain's legislative accomplishments, because that's a substantive aspect of my disagreement with him, but it's also HOW McCain has pushed his agenda over the years, HOW he has treated his political opponents. And most of the time those opponents were within his own party.

Many a politician will find himself at loggerheads with his party from time to time. That's not unusual, and that's not what I hold against him. What I hold against McCain is how he has gone out of his way to ridicule fellow Republicans? Not disagree mind you, but ridicule, mock, deride, scorn.

Where has Rudy done anything like that? Where has Rudy added ridicule to disagreement; where has he added insult to injury, and offered derision in lieu of argument.

Furthermore there's the manner in which McCain has ingratiated himself with the media, which he's been doing for over a decade. And with him now is no longer a temporary tactic, but a habit, no longer a political maneuver, but a disposition of mind. And it's INCREDIBLY insulting towards the base of the GOP. For he burnishes his maverick credentials by sharing the prejudices of the MSM for American conservatives. They insult the base, so does he, and they love him for it. Rudy however used to hold weekly press conferences in NYC, and they were knock down and drag out affairs. McCain doesn't get pushed by the MSM, though if he earns the nomination, he'll be surprised at how fast those who formerly lionized him, turn on him with a vengeance.

Just the other day DeLay was asked on a radio program about Giuliani, and he replied "sure I have differences, but those can be worked around, I can work with him. I can't work with McCain." Why can't he work with McCain, because McCain is a hammerhead who won't listen to fellow conservatives. Santorum expanded on the same point, McCain doesn't discuss issues with Conservatives, he lectures them, and usually the lecture consists of why they're on the wrong side of history, why they're racists and will be remembered as racists. McCain was for providing a path to citizenship for convicted violent felons. When Cornyn tried to remove that provision from the proposed reform bill, McCain went into a profanity laced tirade. THAT'S McCain. Rational suggestions to improve the bill were obnoxious to McCain. He just wanted to get out there in front of the cameras, and he wanted to have yet another bill passed into law with his name on it. As Trump enjoys placing his name on his various possessions, so does McCain enjoy plastering his name to every legislative fad that comes down the block. There's no give and take with him. He reserves give and take for Democrats, for the Kennedys of this existence, for Feingold, for Lieberman. He even campaigns with Lieberman, as if we're supposed to be impressed. We'd be more impressed if he enjoyed the support of DeLay, Santorum and Jeff Sessions.

He is a profoundly frustrating individual. I think he's an ego run amok.

Everyone has observed how he gets a kick out of pissing off conservatives, in a purely gratuitous fashion, on issue after issue. It's one thing to offend when it can't be helped, sometimes the clashes are so sharp that such things inevitably occur. Mature adults get that. McCain however DELIBERATELY, PURPOSELY, with malice aforethought, goes after Conservatives. Recall the 2000 campaign for instance, where McCain attacked Bible Belt Christians and their pastors. He mocked them, publicly ridiculed them, laughed at them, ON CAMERA, before his little gatherings. It became part of his stump speeches. And all the while he was lionized by an adoring media. He attacked the Bible Belt PRECISELY at the moment when the primary season traveled South. So not just was his attack brain dead, but the choice of target, AND the timing of his attack was bizarre. Absolutely bizarre.

Rudy has never done anything like that.

If you recall, PAT ROBERTSON OF THE 700 CLUB ENDORSED Rudy. Why? Because Rudy has demonstrated behind the scenes that he'll be receptive to the concerns and views of Robertson, and folks like Robertson. My point here is that Rudy doesn't alienate in the manner and to the extent of McCain. Rudy was more than willing and able to sit down with Robertson, sit down with Jay Sekulow, the head of the ACLJ, and discuss their differences, and their shared interests. They arrived at agreement, on the judiciary, on legal issues. McCain is too vain, too much of a hammerhead to reach out. It's as I said, he's an ego run amok.

Dan, that was a very round-about way of telling me what I already know. Great, McCain sucks.

The question is, why do you think Giuliani is any better. And your answer seems to be something on the lines of "At least he is polite and respectful to me while he takes the lefts side."

If that works for you, go for it. Me, I'd like to think that we can aim a small bit higher than that.

I thought you were asking me to compare and contrast the records of the two men. If you were asking me to advance a case FOR Giuliani, that was a bit different. The case for the man is the city he left in his wake. David Frum makes the case for him over at NR. And he does so with the details, the stats, that you would like to see.

And playing well with the other children in the sandbox isn't unimportant, as we saw during the immigration debate. The forces for that bill, as you recall, availed themselves of a little known Senate device that hadn't been tried in living memory. Which demonstrated the complete breakdown in whatever working relationship existed between Senate Republicans.

To Peter at 16: I don't object. I did it here in SC.

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