Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Random Observations

1. I’m back from my fact-finding mission to KY and IN and DC. I will say more about that later.

2. On Sarah: Charles Krauthammer, the man who invented the phrase the "Bush Doctrine," is right to say today that both Sarah and Charley aren’t up on it. That doctrine is a fluid and evolving thing, and Charley is way behind the times. My objection to the Bush Doctrine in all its forms is that it turns prudent generalizations into doctrine. So I’m perfectly sympathetic to Sarah’s reaction that it would make more sense to speak of the president’s "worldview."

3. That’s not to say that Sarah was anywhere near perfect on foreign policy. It was jarring for her to say clearly what is implied by Georgia’s membership in NAT0. She reminded me why I’m so against it. But she can be defended by the observation that she was merely echoing the stongly held view of our party’s presidential candidate.

4. The liberal spin on Sarah’s conversation with Charley is that she displayed a dangerous mixture of arrogance and ignorance. Sarah was, in fact, very self-confident in expressing her willingness to serve as her country’s vice president. But she also did well, as Charley was too dumb to notice, in tempering the aggressiveness of her self-confidence with Christian humility. (See the evidence presented by Julie below.) In my opinion, Sarah’s self-confidence is potentially a prudent corrective to too much emphasis on honor and patriotism.

5. The danger at this point is not that our Sarah will be outed or discredited in some terrible way. It may well be the excessive giddiness or overconfidence among conservatives that’s come with the obvious benefits (beginning with the bump) of her choice. The studies actually show this morning that the election is a DEAD HEAT, and that that the bump has done bumped. So the campaign is just beginning, and the most powerful advantages are still with the Democrats.

Discussions - 21 Comments

the most powerful advantages are still with the Democrats.

Namely, the media.

We reenter reality, thanks to Peter Lawler.

The "arrogance and ignorance" observation is hardly one peddled by liberals alone. There are plenty of thoughtful,
intelligent conservatives holding the same view.

I think PETER's wrong about the situation still favouring Democrats. And that conclusion is dictated by several facts.

Some historical perspective throws light on the scene. Just about every Democrat enjoyed significant leads in the campaign season, which collapsed by the time the Convention rolled around. Just as we saw this year. The one Democrat who went on to victory, {without Watergate helping him...} was Bill Clinton, who enjoyed a significant lead at this point in race, in '92 and in'96. Clinton kept his leads, and never was really challenged by GHWB or Bob Dole. Every Dem who has been in a tight race, {remember I'm talking post '68}, has gone on to lose it. Because as the electorate begins to truly focus on the stakes of the campaign, the Democrat ticket begins to hemorrhage voters. And even the race in '92 saw a narrowing as election day neared. One thing more, every Democrat who lost was seen by the electorate as an elitist. Clinton was Bubba, and Bubba went on to win. But every other Democrat who had trouble "connecting with voters," as most Democrats now lament Obama does, went on to defeat. Every single one of them.

With that as the background, I think we can now suggest a truism, that post '68, if the Democrat candidate doesn't enjoy a SIGNIFICANT lead after the conventions, then the Democrat ticket will go down to defeat.

Turning away from the recent history, we've seen a ferocious savaging of Governor Palin, and we've seen her not just grilled, but subjected to the rack. And she handled it; she didn't lose it, she kept her composure; it wasn't easy for her, the eyes of the nation were on her, but she handled it, and she's only going to get better. Which means she has a HUGE upside.

Additionally, Democrat insiders are UNIFORMLY bemoaning Obama's chances. Not just are they pondering defeat, they've already accepted it. It's becoming increasingly a given for them. ALREADY, they're falling out amongst themselves and finger pointing. The Democrat rank and file is lighting up the phone banks demanding Obama "do something" about it. So this isn't just a perception amongst those in the know, it's a settled opinion that their ticket is in trouble, SERIOUS trouble.

How serious?

Congressional Democrats are already beginning to distance themselves from Obama. Just ponder that one. Congressional Democrats are already distancing themselves from the one who was supposed to lead them to unchallenged command of Capitol Hill. This information comes from the Financial Times. Congressional Democrats don't want to be seen with him in closely contested districts, because his presence casts a dark shadow upon their chances for victory. I said here weeks ago if other Democrats start avoiding Obama, that will tell us all we need to know. And now The Financial Times has reports of Dems on The Hill avoiding him like the plague, and it's spreading, {of course these Dems remain nameless, but for all their anonymity, this COLLECTIVE cry of panic sounds nothing short of the political crack of doom for Obama}.

Now if PETER is trying to caution us against over-confidence, ----------- I understand where he's coming from.

But this race isn't anywhere near a "dead heat." And it's inaccurate to suggest as much. ALL momentum rests with the GOP, "the one" has just been eclipsed by the immensely attractive Governor Palin, ------------- and now as the final harbinger of defeat, the Democrat standard-bearer, just like Kerry before him, has run off for an emergency meeting with Bill Clinton, who is somehow supposed to provide the advice which will enable Obama to rectify the situation. Furthermore, we have Obama running around on the campaign trail telling his followers he's not in the race "to lose it," which only confirms the widespread perception that not just his campaign in trouble, but in a flat-out panic.

Now with all of that going on, shouldn't we credit Democrat insiders for having an accurate read of the situation, namely, that their guy is up the creek, without a paddle.

Hannity reported the other day that off the record, all the Dems he speaks to admit that the party BLUNDERED BADLY by rejecting Hillary, and not for the VP position, but to head the ticket. Buyer's remorse has set in with a vengance.

Obama's Convention speech before the Greek columns and to a cast of thousands, was supposed to seal the deal. Instead, observers such as Broder confessed their "disappointment" with the whole thing. And now it's been completely forgotten, except by Olberman types.

What can he do now to regain the lead? Start attacking, which he's doing. But that just reveals him to be another pol, going negative, and not the messiah. Maybe deliver another speech? What's he going to say? Go over his biography one more time?

It's over.

It's over. He blew it.

I think she did pretty well in the speech and Gibson's cultural presumptuosness only highlighted her humility more. On the Bush doctrine stuff her problem wasn't a deficit in comprehension but a reflection of the limitations of the doctrine itself...the real issue there isn't preemption per se which can't prudentially be ruled out but the prudence of democracy spreading aggressively in every instance without attending to the varying details of every could have reasonably asked Gibson if he was taking hus bearings by Bush's 1st or second inaugural...

Why "our Sarah"? It sounds both condescending and creepily messianic at the same time.

JC, I can see that you're not a literary man or familiar with a colloquial expression of affection.

PETER, a Marist Poll has McCain within 3 points in New Jersey, --------------------------- NEW JERSEY. And that's consistent with other polls showing the race in New Jersey to be narrowing.

If Obama is beginning to struggle holding states that he absolutely has to keep, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and if already the NYT is printing stories about a financial crunch for his campaign, ----------------------- do you still want to maintain that Obama is in a "dead heat."

Red States such as Montana and Florida are beginning to break clear, North Carolina too. States that Obama said he was going to contest, ---------- are getting taken off the table. And Ohio, a state I had written off 2 years ago, a state I had used to justify our selection of Giuliani and not McCain or Romney, Ohio is firming for McCain.

It's true that a sensational scandal might break, like GW's DUI just prior to election day in '00. But absent that disaster, which the creepy minions are digging for, ------------- the race is beginning to clarify, and not the way that Obama and his staff thought.

Dr. Lawler, you are right I am not a literary man though I am familiar with colloquial expressions of affection. I am just a little perplexed by the level of affection for "our Sarah" from people who I thought had sober expectations from "our politicians."

JC, See my new post for "our Sarah."

New poll People.

And make sure you bear in mind other polling that corroborates this new snapshot.

Zogby has McCain up 6 in Ohio.

But Zogby also has McCain up 5 in ------------------------------------------ PENNSYLVANIA!.

Now ask yourself when did the Republican party standard-bearer last enjoy ANY lead in Pennsylvania, down the homestretch in a general?

Read too The Sunday Telegraph's piece about Democrat panic. That panic preceded the new numbers, but that Pennsylvania number is going to cause them to go absolutely ape. And know this too, over the last few weeks Obama has been inundating the Philadelphia media market with ads, ----------- which have apparently procured him spit, except a 5 point deficit.

The biggest danger in regarding Palin is that McCain will be seduced into thinking that he can ride her personality and their mutual outsider personas into the White House. This election will turn back to questions of how the next President can work to make the lives of most Americans a little easier and a little more (economically) secure. McCain just hasn't made that case (with the exception of energy), and that weakness is going to be exploited by the Obama campaign. The most disturbing thing about the last week was the glee with which conservatives pounced on Obama for his lipstick comment. Conservatives seem alot more confident explaining why Obama is an elitist, effete, weak-willed snob than they are explaining how McCain's health insurance plan will make the lives of working class Americans more prosperous and less anxious.

Rather the larger danger is that McCain will run away and apart from the rest of the party. If he prevails, which seems the most likely outcome, he's going to need help supporting his veto.

I said several weeks ago that the GOP needs to rapidly formulate a plan not just to eke out a victory over Obama, but to formulate a plan that smashes the Democrat party all the way down the ballot. That was before the selection of Governor Palin, for even then the polls indicated the underlying weakness of the Obama candidacy, but moreover, I sensed in the winds a shift in our favour.

That's CLEAR now. This is no longer about McCain versus Obama, it's rather McCain versus how Washington conducts business, and for Washington, read the Democrat party.

There are MAJOR openings available. The breaches are practicable, and it's time to send in the assault parties.

Pete says, "In my opinion, Sarah’s self-confidence is potentially a prudent corrective to too much emphasis on honor and patriotism."

I say, "Huh?"

Methinks you are very conflicted fellow, Pete. Uh, whatever.

And PETE, this isn't some contest about who wins in the most idealistic manner. Let's win first and worry about reining in McCain thereafter.

Dan, nothing idealistic about my point. Eventually the election is going to become about people's lives. McCain better be ready.

McCain has the manhood to impose his will on the enemy. He imposed his will on the Republican party, which had written him off after the cosmic immigration war of attrition, then he went on to start imposing his will on Obama and his praetorian cohort in the media, then he had the manhood to choose a woman disregarding the notion that she might upstage him. And now, after all that, he's imposing his will on the wider electorate.

We have not seen the like in our lifetime.

People will study how he won the Presidency for centuries.

What Pete said in #12. And thanks, Peter L., for stating your opposition to Georgia membership in NATO.

While I agree with Dan's post in number 13 that the Democratic party needs to be smashed -- or as Mark Levin says, cut up into little bits and swept away -- Palin won't do it. She is a lightweight who praised Obama and Ron Paul within the last year. She clearly DIDN'T GET the question about the Bush Doctrine (which didn't require accepting Gibson's definition). And she had a weak, dodgy answer on the Bridge to Nowhere. If we are counting on Sarah Palin to pull McCain into the White House, we've got another think coming. It's possible Palin could develop into a serious conservative leader, as distinct from a red-state symbol of motherhood, ultra-religiosity, and rural grit. But that would happen only after a few years in the fire, facing the Beast -- the Reids, the Ted Kennedys, the Schumers, the Barney Franks -- and the stinking interest groups and smelly orthodoxies they represent. (Wasteful earmarks are the symptom, not the problem. The problem is Murderer's Row on the Senate Judiciary Committee, just for starters. What can we count on Sarah Palin saying to THEM?) My bet would be against it. We are not going to win this civil war against the left under the leadership of such a provincial, essentially nonideological figure with four kids and, to put it bluntly, a retarded baby to worry about. A wonderful woman? Yes, absolutely? A game-changer? Not really. At best, a small net plus for McCain at the end of the day. Defend Palin 100 percent and with extreme prejudice, by all means. I will myself. But don't make her into a historical figure. Palin's significance is as a validation for the culturally powerless, unfairly despised, and increasingly numerically dominant (but bookless and painfully inarticulate) redneck wing of the Republican party. God knows these poor folks need help. But the evidence that Sarah is a second Ronald Reagan is underwhelming, to put it mildly.

i disagree with almost every specific of PVC's analysis, but i do agree that sarah by herself can't carry the ticket to victory--the job is mainly for the man at the head of the ticket. and so i turn your attention to the wisdom expressed by pete in comment 12.

"[B]y herself" she can't do it. Reagan couldn't do it alone, nor Gingrich, so I'm not expecting miracles from Governor Palin.

But as Dick Morris has written, and many another observed, she does represent a UNIQUE existential threat to the Democrat coalition, which is highly dependant on disgruntled, career women.

We're now tied in -------------- MINNESOTA!

And that poll is from the Strib, which notoriously underpolls Republicans. Which means we might very well be ahead in Minnesota. This coincides with reports that Obama is opening ADDITIONAL offices in Wisconsin, in some desperate attempt to hang on to that state's Electoral College votes.

Did we see Bill Clinton desperately thrashing about at this late date to hang on to Blue States, did we see anything like that from Clinton in '92 and '96. No. We did not.

PETER, you might want to revise and extend your lead post, for an increasing number of reports about Obama's campaign indicate panic, financial difficulties and sinking poll numbers. Real Clear polling results indicate in every state where Obama enjoyed a lead, his lead has either dramatically narrowed or vanished. Whereas states where McCain led, that lead has widened. This isn't simply attributable to a post-Convention bounce.

Somebody needs to send a dispatch to Obama, that would be political Napoleon, and that message is simply that: "GROUCHY isn't coming with any reinforcements!"

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