Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Two Observations

1. I’m glad to see Bill Kristol and our Julie getting on board with Bobby Jindal for VP. (And for a pithy and precise summary of his virtues for the ticket, see Ivan the K’s comment on Julie’s post.) My only reservation: I do remember that Bill (I flatter myself without any evidence) followed my lead in talking up Huck, but that didn’t work out so well. A member of my department--a moderate Democrat and no reader of NLT--came in this morning all excited about the McCain-Jindal ticket as a genuinely competent alternative to all-talk Barack. Bobby is young and, in a way, relatively inexperienced, but his young life is already full of stunning examples of his mastery of public policy and its implementation. I agree with Bill K. that choosing Bobby would quiet a variety of fears about the McCain administration. Besides (to repeat) the Republicans really have no one else--Pawlenty is solid but boring. It seems to me likely that Obama will generate some excitement and counter his obvious weaknesses by picking the ultra-competent Sam Nunn. McCain is toast if he doesn’t counter with a similar (and really better) move.

2. I suspect--again with no real facts--that tomorrow might be a good day for Obama. The reason: The expectations for Hillary have become too high. I don’t think she’ll win double-digit in IN or that NC will be particularly close. I also agree that she can become a viable candidate again only by winning both primaries.

Discussions - 17 Comments

Much as I like the Jindal idea, I'm still not entirely convinced that McCain might not do something equally bold and good by picking another (again, ultra competent) warrior candidate and, in this way, defend the war in such a way as to neutralize the perception of the GOP as incompetent on this front. I firmly believe that the American people's distaste for the war has more to do with a questioning of the competence in its execution than the wisdom of the attempt. They question the wisdom of the attempt only insofar as they believe the execution has been ineffective. If McCain can convince voters that he is different from Bush on this (whether he actually is, is irrelevant); that he is serious, competent, and intent on finishing the job with honor, I think he'll do more than himself with this line of argument than he will with the generational argument alone. But maybe Jindal can answer for this too?

There aren't a great many Republicans to pick from.

Let's make a brief list of what we need in the VP candidate.

1}Competence, the guy has to be able to hit the ground running if something should happen to the President;

2} Powers of persuasion, he has to be articulate, he can't be a verbal cripple like GW, in that regard he has to be the anti-Bush;

3}Clarity, he can't be another confused Republican, we've more than enough of them;

4} Toughness, he can't be a policy wimp, he can't be somebody who caves at the first sign of pressure, he can't be someone trying to ingratiate himself with the media and hte establishment, in short, he has to be a man, he can't be a fraud;

5} Savvy, he can't be a blockhead, he has to be a guy we can rely upon to be way ahead of the curve, he can't be a guy prone to being blindsided, he needs political situational awareness, and most of all, he needs to be able to ACCURATELY identify friend from foe;

6} He has to be comfortable, REAL comfortable ripping and tearing into the myths and fantasies of American Liberalism, he has to enjoy it, he needs to really ENJOY going after Democrats.

Now that's a brief list of requirements. There are others dealing with the optics. Is he photogenic? Is his family attractive, will the electorate deem his kids "cute?" Then there are the other issues dealing with the women vote, does the candidate have a healthy head of hair, does he have a megawatt smile. Those are issues dealing with the womenfolk. Does the candidate "feel your pain?"

But those are additional features, not the base requirements.

Few Republicans pass muster.

Julie, keep your eye on the big picture.

The electorate isn't interested so much in "finishing the job" as they are in finishing off the enemy. They support efforts in Iraq PRECISELY to the extent that they assist us in finishing off the enemy and winning the OVERALL war on muslim mayhem. The American people aren't so foolish as to confuse events in Iraq with the entirety of the war on muslim mayhem. And they're increasingly aware that the whole war on terror is something of a euphemism, designed as much to shield the Sauds and the petrokingdoms as it is to shield politicians from actually having to do something substantive.

They've rightly perceived that this administration has taken its eye off the ball, and has become immersed and lost within the neighborhoods of Iraq. Iraq was a stepping stone, not a final destination. For Bush, it's become just about the whole war on terror. He's even said as much, that we're going to win "in Iraq," then pull our troops out with honour. Such statements indicate a man who lost whatever strategic clarity he ever possessed. And with Bush, that wasn't much.

Bush promised the sun, the moon the stars. He promised energy independence. He told the American people that he would bring "ALL ASPECTS of national power to bear" upon the problem and the enemy. The American people know when they're dropping $4.00 per gallon that a massive screwup has occurred.

The people don't go for seeing Whistler's mother stripping down at the airport. This kind of politically correct folly is raising the hackles of the American people.

Obama has tapped into it. He promises "change," ------------------------- but not outright socialism. He has DELIBERATELY left undefined what his "change" actually consists of. Thus he's acknowledging the fury of the American people, but leaves unsaid what his actual agenda will be. My point here is the fury of the electorate. Recall too that McCain began his long climb back after the immigration disaster by CONSTANTLY saying in the debates that he "knows" how "frustrated" Americans are. I knew at the time that he was making serious inroads by acknowledging that fury, which other candidates didn't mention, or didn't deem important enough to mention.

So the American people are furious, rightly furious with the status quo, on a host of issues.

Which means McCain has to distinguish himself from Bush, BUT NOT JUST ON THE WAR EFFORT. Some believe that by distinguishing himself from Bush the GOP candidate must embrace liberal criticisms of Bush. That's not the case. The most telling of critiques against this administration has always come from guys like me, guys on the right of the political divide. It would be disastrous if McCain runs on liberal fantasies on global warming, campaign finance reform and immigration reform.

He needs to take a page from Gingrich's playbook, "Real Change means REAL change." He won't do that though. He's just not bright enough to see it. His brainpower doesn't provide enough wattage to thoroughly illuminate such subjects.

How we could have cast aside Giuliani when our party is in such straits is beyond me. A genuine star, a genuine political rock star, ------------------ and we threw him away while dallying with a Romney, a Huckabee and a McCain. The GOP deserves to get its doors blown off.

I have just brought my poli-sci major son home from college and heard about the injustice being done to Ron Paul for a really long time (or it seemed like a really long time) while he pointed out the truly surprising number of bumper stickers and posters promoting Paul. My boy claims that Ron Paul in the VP slot would win the votes of the young. Can this possibly be true? We don't like to think our children are fatheads, or at least I don't. Yet my son's fatheadedness seems more likely than the great national popularity of R. Paul.

If he, or Guiliani, were such big deals, why have they been "cast away"? I am blind to the appeal of either.

He has to be comfortable, REAL comfortable ripping and tearing into the myths and fantasies of American Liberalism, he has to enjoy it, he needs to really ENJOY going after Democrats.

Sounds like Dan wants an anti-McCain. The chances of McCain picking such a person are pretty remote.

Those are issues dealing with the womenfolk. You are kidding me, right?

Just threw that one out there to get a rise.

I don't see how McCain will ensure the support of the base without picking an anti-McCain.

I can't disagree more with Dan, but I can agree with Dr. Lawler that Clinton is overhyped going into these primaries.

Just be careful folks that you don't end up soliciting campaign contributions for that McCain/Vindal ticket. That might lead someone to the ridiculous conclusion that No Left Turns and Ashbrook are something other than "non-partisan" entities. Now excuse me while I go laugh myself silly.

correction: Jindal - sorry.

MoveOn is a non-partisan entity. The word does not have a lot of legal meaning.

Craig, you are silly.

I have to say that I hope McCain doesn't pick Jindal. I think Jindal is fantastic - and as a Louisiana native, I really am hoping he'll stay as Governor for at least 1 term to try to make some substantial changes in the state. I'd hate to see him run as VP and lose - that would likely hurt his ability to get work done in LA.

It's just a dream, but I'd love to see McCain pick Mark Sanford.

#10: Kate, Ron Paul diehards are the vocal minority. A lot of young conservatives I know like the particulars, but not the big picture. They seem to understand that if it seems too good to be true it probably is (especially when the discussion turns to his foreign policy). Young vote aside, from what I've observed, he would do nothing but turn off the Baby Boomer base of the GOP.

Andrew, yes. I keep hoping my son's studies in political science will make him brilliant about politics. Yet, I find that the P.J. O'Rourke title, Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and A Bad Haircut fits our family situation pretty well.

That vocal minority you mention, I hope it is the small government aspect of Paul that they really like. A dedicated corps of small government conservatives, young ones with a future, would do the Republican party good. I'll take fanatics on the topic and hope they die hard, while being tempered with life experience into something a bit more realistic (than my son is at 20.)

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