Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

McCain’s Mini-Surge

According to RCP, he’s down an average of 4.9% in the polls. So jwc (with me agreeing, I admit), for example, was wrong to say he’d never crawl within 5 again. According to David Brooks, the country is stuck with a reactionary lurch to the left that will produce unsustainable (European-style) economic policies that will make our downturn worse and make America far less able to endure the demographic crisis just around the corner. And the same can be said about politically correct social/cultural policies alien to the ways most Americans live, including an unprecedented kind of judicial activism. That overreach, Brooks predicts, will cause a backlash. Well, maybe so, but it’ll be a reasonable backlash against decisions that will be almost impossible to reverse; when reasonable people are impotent, they get unreasonably angry. Every conservative has to admit that an unprecedented overreach will produce an unprecedented backlash, and it would be better, if possible, to moderate them both. If you like out-of-control culture war, vote Democratic across the board this time.

According to aesthetic or Crunch Con Rod Dreher, a big McCain and Republican defeat will be a just judgment on their sins and errors. I have to admit there are plenty of those, and the biggest of them was to be so corrupt, incompetent, and clueless as to allow the Democratic "negative landslide" of 2006 to occur. Truth to tell, if the Republicans controlled Congress, the Obama presidency wouldn’t seem that bad.

BUT, Brooks admits, any moderation in ambivalence in the smart and cool Barack himself will be overwhelmed by the ideological extremism of the most dogmatically liberal Congress ever.

SO it’s really, really important to vote for McCain to moderate the overreach. Just as it’s really, really important to vote Republican for Congress--especially for the Senate--to have some kind of check on the big-time reactionary excesses.

Lots of conservative purists are saying that McCain ain’t so conservative and doesn’t deserve our allegiance. Not only that, Sarah screwed up the interviews and hasn’t read enough books. Well, he is a piece of work and Sarah should have been better prepared. So what? All that posturing is just stupid and self-indulgent: The point of voting is to make life as good as it can be for Americans, espeically ordinary Americans who depend on government in many ways to enjoy peace, prosperity, and freedom.

As a social scientist, I think McCain only has a ghost of chance; I’m sticking with my August prediction that it’s about 10-20%. A complete collapse of his campaign is probably just as likely as a successful surge. But for now I’m moved by his favorite closing argument about nothing being inevitable and all that.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Great post, Peter. I think McCain's odds are better than you think they are--but we agree about the essentials.

I do not buy any of this. The republicans over-reached on all fronts while in power, against the protests of reasonable people. They did so in ways that are now almost impossible to reverse. So that unprecedented overreach will produce an unprecedented backlash, namely a total and resounding defeat of all things conservative, evangelical, and republican in this election. Spare me your calls for prudence and moderation. They were non-existent and ineffectual when the right was in power, and certainly nowhere to be seen on this blog site.(By the way, voter registration will be suppressed in 11 states by requiring democrats to decipher the spam capture filters now used here).

The hyper-conservatives like Ren will win. The victors will be the people who opposed saving Social Security, opposed practical CO2-free energy, opposed regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opposed public financing of elections, and opposed the end of fascism in Iraq.

By the way, how does Real Clear Politics get away with what they do? They steal everyone else's costly polls, do a quick average, and declare the average to be the Real Clear Politics poll. Doesn't that sound a little shady?

CNN does the same thing. It adds up all the major polls and declares it the CNN "Poll of Polls." Shouldn't each such RCP or CNN report begin, "We've just stolen everyone else's hard work and averaged it out ..."?

No moderation? Wasn't Bush's support for No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug bill, campaign finance regulation, his three main pieces of domestic policy legislation, all examples of him reaching across the aisle, and working with moderates in both parties? Mistaken moderation, perhaps? Or perhaps that was the best he could do, given the political circumstances of our 50/50 nation. By the way, how big were the Republican majories. If memory serves, they were on the small side, particularly in the Senate, which the Democrats held both at the start and the end of his term.

Look below on the comments on Julie's "tightening race" blog, where I give reasons for believing you need to read the polls a little differently from their face value. A 4.9% lead probably means as I see it about 2.9-3.4% in 47 states that were always contestable for McCain. This is getting closer, and I repeat that if BO's lead shrinks to 1.5-2% by E-day, Mc may be winning where it counts.

If we have another electoral college victory, without a majority in the popular vote, couldn't things get nasty? Honestly, I would almost prefer an Obama landslide victory than having to endure the ensuing assault on the supposed democratic injustices of the Constitution. Otherwise, dennis, I hope you are right about that.

Every conservative has to admit that an unprecedented overreach will produce an unprecedented backlash, and it would be better, if possible, to moderate them both. If you like out-of-control culture war, vote Democratic across the board this time.

This is an excellent statement of the GOP leadership: vote for us, because we are the "moderates" - we will guide you between the two extremes of the Dem's and the conservatives in our own party.

We know Mr. Lawler is a classic Rockefeller, but how about the rest of you - STILL think the GOP is the vessel of your concerns?

Christopher, do you have a living, breathing, heroic conservative capable of popularly wresting the election from disaster. Tell me. I am depressed.

Now, down below my remarks: "joy respects" - Ye gods.

The point of voting is to make a good life for Americans. People think there was no moderation? Wasn't Bush's support for the prescription drug program, the No Child Left Behind and campaign finance regulation samples of him "reaching across the aisle" to liberal illuminati lefties (Democrats) and Republicans? He did well with whata he had to contend with.

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