Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Comeback Gal

Don’t ever hire me as your doctor. I’ll declare you dead (as Marc Guerrra complained) before you really are. My own excuse on the Hillary front is that nobody thought she was going to win in NH, nobody even in her own camp. All the polls were way wrong, and that’s not because there was a last-minute surge for Ms. Clinton. They were just wrong. I was, in fact, happy to see her win. I refuse to believe she won because crying made her seem more authentic.

Obama’s "Yes we can" or something like that speech had absolutely no content, and it’s possible he’ll be criticized for its ungracious irrelevance. Hillary did speak of leaving Iraq the right way and mentioned our brave veterans. The line about just having found her voice was odd, though. Obama, mind you, is still the favorite. Hillary is clearly the candidate of people who vote their interests--the old, the downscale, union members, both single and married women etc., while Obama is the more symbolic or bourgeois bohemian candidate. Bobo plus black is probably a winning combination, but it may turn out that some African-Americans unconvinced of Obama’s inevitability will end up voting their interests too.

McCain’s victory was decisive enough but not overwhelming. How can Romney have any hope in Michigan with no momemtum at all? How can Fred or Rudy have any real hope for decisive breakthroughs in SC or FL with McCain as the front-runner? In principle, McCain would be vulnerable to the genuinely conservative challenge of Fred, but his momentum amd Thompson’s incredible lack of same probably will keep that challenge in principle alone.

Huck finished a weak but not terrible third. He can hope to do well in Michigan and he could win in FL if he wins in SC. .
Huck could also, for that matter, fizzle in Michigan and lose in SC. (I’m hedging my bets here, given my apparent loss of my powers of prediction.) In your calculations, don’t forget the various ways that Huck is more conservative than John.

McCain’s unpredictable propensity for self-destruction can’t be forgotten.

Discussions - 21 Comments

No way Hillary beat Obama. She was way behind in the latest polls. This was obvious VOTE FRAUD! New Hampshire uses Diebold machines.

Paper ballots only!

Peter: "... but it may turn out that some African-Americans unconvinced of Obama’s inevitability will end up voting their interests too."

That is probably the best single-sentence description of the X-factor going forward as I've seen.

For the record, I think Clinton's tears were entirely contrived. I also don't think they had all that much effect. Perhaps with a slice of women 60 and over, but nowhere else.

This could help conservatives: A long campaign, showing a nasty Hill (with more Bill) beating up Obama, with Republicans gradually figuring out what they're about. Thus would a Progressive institution, the primary system, aid the ancient virtue of deliberation.

With McCain, Republicans would have another nominee who declares war on their base on the illegal immigrant issue. Not a good thing in a government by consent. Does Giuliani look so bad in this light? The Huckster may show even more smarts. And Mitt is still alive.

The Republicans may wind up with a deadlocked convention, which may turn to George H. W. Bush or, my favorite, Dick Cheney.

Ken, I like your (slightly strange--H.W.Bush??!! Cheney!!??) way of thinking. This is sort of feeling like a conventions-might-matter year. perhaps for both parties. Query to all: are primaries really that Progressive an institution?

Peter, just admit it, you ran with the herd, and you got burned for it.

I learned long, long ago, to be my own man, and to form my own opinions.

And you're dead wrong now to suggest that Obama is still the favourite to win the nomination. In any lengthy duel between them, the establishment candidate would grind up the non-establishment candidate. Hillary has factors working for her, behind the scenes, such as unions for instance, and the turnout effort today tells us how important those factors are. Bill is STILL strong-arming recalcitrants behind the scenes. They're riding herd on those desirous of breaking free. They're cracking the whip.

Obama took one right between the eyes tonight. And it wasn't just the loss of New Hampshire, it was the shot across the bow that the Clintons delivered to ALL those who would form up behind Obama. The Clintons make good on threats. They're completely unserious when it comes to foreign policy. BUT they know damn well that when you make a threat politically, you make good on it, you punish political opponents, you reward friends, you crush foes.

And you're dead wrong about Rudy, and you're dead wrong to mention his situation in the same breath as Thompson. McCain, despite his rather lame victory tonight, over the more lame Romney, is STILL the guy who pisses Conservatives off to no end. He's STILL the amnesty proponent who refuses to concede that it was an amnesty plan. He's STILL the guy behind the Gang of 14. His negative numbers with guys like me are stratospheric, despite his prescience regarding the surge. It didn't take a McCain to see the wisdom or practicality of the surge, what it took was simple competency in the Executive branch. Again, Bush, being an incompetent, allowed affairs to run wild, instead of being their master.

DID or did not Giuliani's WHOLE plan depend on mixed results coming out of New Hampshire and Iowa? Do we or do we not see a somewhat confused field right now? Was that, or was that not ALL PART of the plan devised by the Giuliani campaign?

SINCE EVERYTHING is playing out as Rudy's campaign foresaw, except perhaps they hoped to have a bit more money, HOW then can you say you don't see any way forward for the Giuliani campaign.

As McCain has been working the fields in New Hampshire, Giuliani has been working in Florida. As McCain forewent full out participation in Iowa, hopeful that Huckabee would fire a brace of torpedoes into Romney, and that he would earn a victory in New Hampshire, so too did Giuliani spare himself the Iowa and New Hampshire races, and he too was hopeful that somebody would take out his main rival, who was Romney. McCain hoped Huckabee would take out Romney in Iowa, and he did. Huckabee blunted anything Romney might have gotten out of Iowa, and McCain piled on Romney in New Hampshire. Rudy meanwhile, has been hoping for NO SINGLE CANDIDATE to run the field, sweep the table. Romney is through, though some still delude themselves. Thompson likewise is through, regardless of how long it takes for him to get that memo. Huckabee and McCain will probably polish him off once and for all in South Carolina. Where Romney will finally confront the grim reality that he'll NEVER have a presidential library.

BUT throughout these events the field will STILL be confused after the results of Michigan and South Carolina.

What Rudy hopes for now is for McCain to take South Carolina, so as to blunt any additional movement for Huckabee, so as to make sure he, and not Huckabee, wins Florida. Although a victory for Huckabee in South Carolina wouldn't yet prove catastrophic. Say McCain probably takes Michigan, but not South Carolina. So then we have a Huckabee who won Iowa, but not Michigan and not New Hampshire. And then too we have a McCain who won New Hampshire and Michigan, but not Iowa and not South Carolina.

ALL OF WHICH would leave us with a completely confused field, which Rudy could then "enter" and clarify.

What's so difficult to understand that for the Giuliani strategy to work, his campaign was ALWAYS going to have to sail through these tumultuous political seas. He was always going to have to navigate these difficult shoals. The fact that he's in those seas, that he's sailing through those shoals is not any reason to count him out.

IF ANYTHING, the results tonight, and those in Iowa, VALIDATE AND CONFIRM the wisdom of Giuliani NOT going all out to capture Iowa and New Hampshire. Iowa went for the Evangelical. How in the name of Jove was Giuliani to have competed with a guy who won via identity politics. New Hampshire was a state McCain won by 20 points 4 years ago, and existed in a media market dominated by Boston, and thus was filled with coverage of all things Romney. How was Giuliani going to defeat BOTH McCain AND Romney at the same time, on ground of their choosing?

Come on Peter. Giuliani DECLINED to fight a decisive battle on ground favourable to Romney and McCain. It was ROMNEY who needed Giuliani to get himself immersed in the toils and travails of Iowa. It was McCain who longed for Giuliani to get his comeuppance in New Hampshire, along with Romney. But instead Giuliani glided past those graveyards of hopes and dreams, and lives yet to fight another day. He emulated the great "Delayer," and adopted Fabian tactics. Before pronouncing judgement on this modern Fabius, wait the results. He's a man of UNUSUAL skill and acumen. Everything he has laid a hand to, he's known success in. Everything.

I think you need me to come in and lecture to your class. I'm an exceptional public speaker, and I can guarantee your students will be entertained. As well as informed.

"I think you need me to come in and lecture to your class. I'm an exceptional public speaker, and I can guarantee your students will be entertained. As well as informed."

Dear God, if you're as entertaining in person as the delusional ravings you put up on NLT I'd pay the price of admission.



Dan, I didn't so much go with the heard than with what the studies showed. That's very often a mistake, I have to admit. That account of Giuliani strategizing is mighty complicated.

Well, it IS complicated.

Romney and McCain had advantages in New Hampshire that Giuliani didn't challenge, because to do so would have meant the investment of millions of dollars. Iowa went to a guy who ran a quasi-identity politics campaign. Not as much of an identity campaign as the Huckabee detractors have portrayed, but it was nonetheless something of an identity politics victory.

So of the two races decided so far, which one did Giuliani really have a chance to prevail in? And how much money would he have had to drop to be competitive.

So I can repeat that the results of Iowa and New Hampshire VALIDATES Giuliani's decision not to go all out there. AND Jim Geraghty over at NRO's The Campaign Spot makes the EXACT same point, that it's all playing out just as the Giuliani campaign hoped.

But I don't see this race coming down to McCain v. Huckabee. The BIGGEST issue over the last year has been immigration. It's absolutely impossible to think the party is going to pick as their standard bearer a guy who was the champion for an open border.

And Tom Paine, way back in 1991/'92, when Clinton was struggling along in the face of one revelation after another about his personal life, and everyone was expecting his campaign to go nowhere, I said that he wouldn't just win the Democrat nomination, but that he would go on to defeat George H. W. Bush. When I said that, some such as you thought that I was out of it, for a couple of reasons, the foremost being the high popularity of the Bush administration. Additionally, they pointed out to me that at that point, Clinton had the highest negative ratings of anyone seeking the nomination, {something I knew}. Clinton's negative numbers were something staggering.

My response was as short and as succinct a summary of what would play out as I've ever read, and it was simply this: "You don't understand, this guy doesn't go away." The other thing that informed my opinion was an insight about G.H.W. Bush, that he wouldn't run the type of campaign necessary to defeat Clinton. And that too played out exactly. If you recall the latter weeks of that campaign season, G.H.W. Bush was stumping the country, asking voters "Who do you trust?" He would scrunch up his face almost in a Dana Carvey like caricature of himself, and just keep asking "Who do you trust?" He looked ridiculous. Now Bush's staff provided him with some information about Clinton that probably would have detonated Clinton's campaign. But Bush the Blue Blood declined to ventilate shall we say that information. Lee Atwater would have won the '92 race for him, but he was gone by then.

But my description of Bill Clinton as someone "who doesn't go away" is about as accurate a description of the Clinton years as one is likely to find. And here's a for instance, EVERY major newspaper in the country excepting only the NY Times and the Washington Post, EDITORIALIZED that Clinton should resign during the height of the impeachment drama. But he refused "to go away." The story of the Clintons is ruthlessness coupled with a shameless refusal "to go away."

I'll put my political judgement up against anybody. The only time I can recall being wrong about a race was Santorum v. Casey. Oh, and I picked Rizzo to defeat Ron Castille for the Republican Mayoral race back in the day, and at that time, NOBODY thought Rizzo had a prayer to take that nomination. And Rizzo would have defeated the Democrat nominee Ed Rendell. Now THAT would have been a race.

And Laura Ingraham just made the point that Giuliani is STILL well positioned to win the thing.

I'm not saying he's going to do it. But I wouldn't bet against him doing it. If we have but more confusion after Michigan and South Carolina, as I think we will, then I think the race will go to Giuliani. IF Giuliani remains competitive up to the New York, New Jersey and the Connecticut primaries, and I think he will, his delegate vote total is going to start looking commanding. Winners of the early primaries aren't looking to rack up huge delegate totals, but they're hoping to force out competitors via media spin and financing. IF Giuliani avoids being being relegated to the ash heap with Thompson, Hunter, Tancredo and Romney, then those delegate totals look to be decisive. Instead of an expectations game, the race becomes a true primary battle for delegates and victories. The GOP hasn't seen a true primary battle since Reagan v. Ford in '76. Every race thereafter has been decided relatively early. Some have forgotten that occasionally the early races and the early results AREN'T decisive. That's what Giuliani is hoping for and banking on.

I don't like Giuliani's policies, but I think from a political science perspective, his tactics in the race are both interesting and good for the election system. It's past time for candidates to move behind the need to worship at the altar of ethanol and "1st primary voters." Giuliani is doing that, and to a large extent, so is Thompson.

I think the notion that Romney is done, or almost done is very premature though. He's leading in the delegate count and likely to still be leaing by Florida (win Nevada, win or 2nd in MI, and likely place in a 4 way pileup in SC). And he's got the money to continue to compete.

For Giuliani, the continual danger is that once voters actually pay attention to the race and think about his position and ethics, they just might not like him very much. I still have the feeling that his support nationally is very wide, but only a couple of inches thick.

McCain, on the other hand, might gain a little momentum, but I doubt SC votes for him overwhelmingly and as long as Romney, Thompson or Huckabee is in the race a sizeable portion of voters will vote for someone else against McCain.

Huckabee can soldier on indefinitely. His campaign clearly doesn't depend on a lot of financial support and while it might be true that his base support has a maximum ceiling, it also probably has a minimum floor sufficient to keep him going.

Thompson is the one that probably needs a win in SC the most, just to get the finances to keep going.

Regardless, I think this election is good for the country. I'd love to see a close election all the way to the convention on either side of the aisle.

Let's just do a hypothetical.

Let's say Giuliani actually wins the Florida primary.

In my rather humble, alright, not so humble opinion, if Giuliani actually wins Florida, I think he'll win the nomination. Because a Florida win would play the race out to where it ceases to be about niche races, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, and it becomes a truly national event. Not to mention the media will have somewhat wearied of the Huckabee and McCain story line by the Florida primary, so a Giuliani win would introduce a new factor into the race, and the media will want to cover it.

Peter, you are right on about McCain's horrible ability as a frontrunner, which he is dangerously close to again. However, as far as the chances for the nomination Huckabee still has the best chance. This story is a good analysis of the electoral landscape. The bottom line is that if Huckabee wins Michigan-it's over. No other candidate is so close to a knock-out punch. Like you point out though, Huck could still lose horribly even in SC, and he needs to get his debating back on track. It is hard to see either McCain or Huck as a frontrunner as both have little money, but it's clear that Romney can't buy votes and it is unlikely that Giuliani will either. This is of course purely electoral analysis; Huckabee would be the best candidate because of his understanding of government, man, and natural rights, but no one gives him much credit for it.

Dan is exactly right too in saying that Giuliani has a chance provided that no clear frontrunner emerges before February 5. However, Giuliani must win Florida to have a chance. He can't go into February 5 and expect a win if he lost the only state he was competing in early. I think it is highly unlikely that either McCain or Huck will be unable to solidify enough support to win Florida and the winner there will likely take the cake, Giuliani included were he to win it.

I agree with Clint. I think that Giuliani can get away with not participating in Iowa and New Hampshire. But there's no way he'll be able to explain losing Florida. He needs to win Florida.

What are the dates of the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut primaries? Does anyone know that off hand?

As Romney can't explain away his loss of Iowa and New Hampshire, after investing so much time, money and effort, so Giuliani won't really be able to explain away a Florida loss. It simply won't make sense. He'll look like Hewitt does today, who said after last night's results that Romney had his opponents "right where he wanted them."

And check out Stanley Kurtz's analysis over at The Corner, at NRO.

It's not wise to think that McCain has the inside position now to the nomination. McCain is STILL the guy that Limbaugh despises. Laura Ingraham and Mark Steyn are unloading on McCain on the air, dredging up McCain/Feingold, McCain/Kennedy.

Huckabee will run into states where his particular charms don't cut it. McCain has pissed off so many Conservatives that they'll vote for anybody over him. Thompson is done, and he's going nowhere in South Carolina. Thompson seems just to be going through the motions. Romney is going to be finished in Michigan, although he'll stick around.

So Florida I think will prove decisive. If Florida goes for Rudy, then I think he'll take the GOP nomination.

And I'll be ecstatic, because Rudy will defeat either Obama or Hillary.

Those that disagree with Rudy on social issues will have much of their animus against him muffled because of the lengthy primary battle. It won't look like Rudy is getting rammed down their throats. It won't look like Rudy is an establishment pick. A Rudy victory will look like it came almost out of nowhere, because the storyline right now isn't Rudy, it's Romney, it's McCain, it's Huckabee.

I don't think anyone who hasn't made his peace with Rush Limbaugh is going to get the nomination, so that means McCain is out.


With McCain, Republicans would have another nominee who declares war on their base on the illegal immigrant issue. Not a good thing in a government by consent. Does Giuliani look so bad in this light?

Good grief, Ken! Are you not aware that Giuliani is the only GOP candidate who is as bad (or worse) than McCain on the immigration matter?

Here, see for yourself.

And check out Stanley Kurtz's analysis over at The Corner, at NRO

I did check it out. And like Ken, Kurtz seems to think that McCain is vulnerable on immigration but that Giuliani is not. How can political pundits be so ignorant of the candidates stands on the issues?

If Giuliani had been in the Senate the last few years, he'd have been cosponsering the amnesty bill with McCain.


But I don't see this race coming down to McCain v. Huckabee. The BIGGEST issue over the last year has been immigration. It's absolutely impossible to think the party is going to pick as their standard bearer a guy who was the champion for an open border.

Yet another one. You are the Giuliani supporter, right? Your guy is a bigger booster of open borders than McCain is.

How is it possible that so many people who should be politically clued in are so clueless about the candidates records and current positions? This is incredible.

Yes, I'm a Giuliani supporter. But note the distinction, McCain championed the bill in the SENATE, actually up there on Capitol Hill, whereas Giuliani can at least waffle on the issue, {which in this case will be important} and say that he was never for the bill, {which is a fact, by the way}.

You're dead right when you observe that Giuliani is not all that when it comes to the border. But he has tacked according to the desires of the base, not as far as I might prefer, but he's not like McCain on it, who to this day refuses to admit an amnesty bill was an amnesty bill.

Immigration is not the most important issue for me right now. The supreme issue is the war against age old muslim supremacism.

What I'm looking for regarding immigration is a politician who won't be a hammerhead about it, as McCain and the President have proven themselves to be.

The savvy candidates moved to the right on the issue, Romney, Thompson, Giuliani and Huckabee. Even McCain was forced to come out and utter "I get it." I don't think he does actually "get it," but that he was forced to make such an utterance tells us which way the wind is blowing on that issue, and it's towards heightened restrictions, it's towards securing the border.

On immigration, I wanted my party neither to get too far ahead of the American people, nor to lag too far behind. Were they to get too far ahead, that would allow Democrats to demagogue the issue by blasting Republicans as racists. But were they too lag too far behind, {as they mostly have by the way} they would create an opening on the right for the Democrats to take advantage of. The Bush administration has proven itself to be intensely unresponsive to the desires of the American people. Were they to lag too far behind the American people, the Democrats would be able to use that as but more evidence of Republican unresponsiveness. So I want the party to leave no daylight to the right, and allow no opportunity to the left.

The party should tack with the will of the people, and the people want the border secured, so the border should be secured.

I'm not a McCain supporter. I respect enormously, but he's got some issues. He enjoys going after the base far too much for his own good. And when it comes to environmental issues, the guy is almost a Green. But now I have to go the library, and return some books on Oliver Cromwell.

BUT Dick Morris tonight said it was a bad idea for Rudy to sit tight waiting for Florida. He said by then McCain will have too much momentum, and that Rudy will be simply washed away by that tide of momentum. Juan Williams later made the same observation, saying that by the time Florida rolls around, Rudy will be a marginal figure in effectively a two man race, Huckabee v. McCain.

There's something to that take.

We shall simply have to wait and see.

Whoever are the guys guiding Rudy's campaign, it's gut check time. It's time for them to earn their pay.

Time will tell, but McCain is getting hit on the airwaves, today by Ingraham, Limbaugh and most especially Mark Levin, who just went after McCain with a frenzy. The radio hosts, whether they know it or not, to the extent to which they blunt whatever momentum McCain might earn, are keeping Giuliani in the race. But perhaps Giuliani's guys banked on that, perhaps they took McCain's stratospheric negatives into account.

It's like a wilderness of mirrors out there right now. But that Florida race will give us the lay of the land.

It's perfect that we can receive the home loans and that opens up new chances.

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