Steven Lee relaunches his fine student political site The New Republicans.
Tag Archive 'Republican'
Over the past sixty days, Harry Reid has been the most vocal person in the congressional record. The top two words he has used are “Republican” and “Republicans.” Republican Jeff Sessions has been the second most vocal person, using the words “oil” and “energy” most. On the basis of this, a visiting alien might be confused about which party was actually in power in the congress.
With Obama tapping Ken Salazar for the Interior Department, rumor has it conservative John Elway may step forward to run for his Senate seat in Colorado. This rumor –similar to one for Mike Ditka in Illinois– has come and gone before. This time however, the tectonically altered political environment makes it more credible. Party political defeats don’t tend to alienate good new candidates, but draw them in, as the rapid transformation of the Democratic Party between 2004, 2006 and 2008 demonstrates.
Aggie congressman Joe Barton has introduced a bill to abolish the BCS regime and mandate the creation of a playoff system for college football. I quietly place all my hostilities to government intervention in sports into a shoebox for this vote and hope it passes. President-elect Obama has already declared himself opposed to the BCS.
Leader of the Opposition
Whilst most elected Republicans are still preoccupied in pledging to work with (or for) the Obama administration, Sarah Palin isn’t having any of it.
This is significant criticism, because it is vitally important that a Republican leader emerges who can command a media platform, and will articulate regular opposition to the Obama administration on national policy. Naturally, whoever does emerge to shoulder this burden will be perfectly placed to continue that opposition in the next presidential election.
There’s certainly no point in looking to the decimated and newly submissive ranks of congress for this leadership. As in 1976, political reality mandates that it must come from outside Washington. Interestingly, Palin possesses an advantage over Reagan when he sought to become this kind of external leader of the opposition: she holds political office and can reinforce her criticism with independent action, as the new pipeline with Canada demonstrates.
Deep Political Time
When James Hutton, the father of modern geology, took his friend John Playfair to look at some stratified sedimentary rock, and Playfair realized that he was gazing into a chemical abyss recording the passage of hundreds of millions of years, he said the human mind went “giddy” at the apprehension. Genuine recognition of the titanic scale of geological time required to produce even in a lowly hill on the Earth’s crust, has always been a temptation to flirt with madness.
It happens that democracies can produce a political equivalent of this sort of experience of scale, due to their tendency to compile and preserve vast quantities of generational voting data over time, like strata for a human historical edifice. Thus consider the awful and incredible parity of nineteen presidential elections, producing one and one half billion votes, with a mere one hundred thousand to separate the two parties:
Total Democratic Presidential Votes Since 1932: 745,407,082
Total Republican Presidential Votes Since 1932: 745,297,123
(Crossing Wall Street via Pundit Review)
As with geology, there is a buried volume and timescale to this enterprise which can be easily missed whilst standing in a November voting line.
I found myself complaining to a Libertarian colleague of mine today (note the capital ‘L’), about the deplorable political consensus that has emerged on the bailout strategy for economic resuscitation. The bipartisan policy is a ghastly trifecta of the ineffective, unpopular and unstoppable. It is precisely the sort of situation that makes me slightly more sympathetic to the appeals of my third-party advocating friends.
My Libertarian colleague in this case gleefully protested, as he always does, that it was ultimately the voters fault, for having continued to vote Republican or Democrat despite his warnings. And yes, Joseph Heller was invoked once again to support the blame game. Voters won’t vote LP because the LP is powerless, but the LP is powerless because voters won’t vote LP. You’ve heard this little argument before of course, but how accurate is it really?
A Trinity of Republican Decline
Could a liberal lesbian rights activist actually win South Carolina’s 1st congressional district? Sure looks possible, as Linda Ketner has closed to within 5 in her aggressive challenge to incumbent Rep. Henry Brown. Of interest, Ketner is also a member of “the Cabinet” which Time just published an interesting piece on. It’s an informal group of gay tech and hereditary millionaires, who have been investing large sums toward a systematic defeat of social conservative Republicans nationwide.
The success of Ketner and other socially liberal Democrats running on explicitly pro-gay rights platforms in traditionally social conservative friendly districts, would certainly tend to complete the trinity of broader Republican political decline. Not only are economic and national security focused conservatives losing on their traditional strong suit thanks to economic woes and Iraq, but the cultural debate may be shifting substantially leftward as well.
Hacks & Hackers
Sarah Palin’s personal email account gets hacked by an anonymous operative and Farhad Manjoo blames Palin for “Rovian tactics.” Indifference to irony isn’t a new thing in Palin reporting, but there’s a certain amusement about the event in liberal circles which is amusing in itself. That is, if you have the imagination to picture the apoplectic indignation at ‘Republican dirty tricks’ that would have ensued had Joe Biden’s email account been compromised.
The Palin Democrats
Tim Reid travels to Mount Clemens, Macomb County Michigan, to talk to white working class female voters. Macomb County should be core Democratic blue country, but it was here that Stanley Greenberg first identified the “Reagan Democrats” of the 1980s, and Reid thinks we just might be seeing the ground shift once again:
The Times spoke to dozens of women here – perhaps the key demographic in this election – in an area that is 88 per cent white, has one of the highest unemployment and home repossession rates in the country, and will play a big role in determining who wins Michigan in November. It is a crucial swing state that no Republican has won since 1988 but where Mr Obama is particularly vulnerable. Nearly all said that they were still undecided. Yet the disturbing fact for Mr Obama was how many said that they had been leaning towards him – until Mrs Palin entered the race.
Immunizing Sarah Palin
(photo: Tom LeGro)
Christopher Hitchens notices a pattern with anti-Palin rumors: their troubling tendency to turn out highly exaggerated or entirely fabricated, in a very short turn.
[A]s often as I have forwarded some alarming e-mail about her from a beavering comrade, I have afterward found myself having the sensation of putting my foot where the last stair ought to have been and wasn’t.
Hitch gets close to what’s happening there by recalling Walter Dean Burnham’s prescient 1960s prediction that Ronald Reagan would one day be president, based on Ron’s inability to exude hostility and thus not attract it. This is slightly misdirected. Reagan attracted as much hostility as any politician in the modern era from the political left, save perhaps Nixon. The trouble consisted in that the product of that hostility, criticism, didn’t seem to stick. Or even worse, seemed to possess a counterproductive property.
Chronicle of the Conspiracy
This is a good thing. She fights waste wherever she finds it.
A Fine Figure of a Republican
The title is what Time Magazine labeled New Jersey’s Senator William Warren Barbour in 1940. The expression takes on a better curve for Sarah Palin, but it fits the occasion of a very partisan and frankly rather phenomenal speech tonight (transcript).
I suppose I’m surprised by the surprise in so many media reactions I’m seeing. Then again it’s a reminder that we on the pro-Palin political right have been following Sarah for over a year now, and this sort of thing is still very much an introduction for others.
Michael Crowley for instance calls Palin’s speech “alarmingly strong” and describes emails from liberal colleagues as “panicked.” I think that’s probably an ungenerous assessment. There is afterall a reason so many on the left have been trying to destroy her these past few days. You saw it this evening. Sarah does have a certain magic. Even when she fumbles in a long speech as she can, it tends to amplify her humanity. A characteristic interestingly shared with Barack Obama and almost totally alien to wizened veterans.
The amplitude of the attention and the stress of the experince is of course very new for Sarah, but you’d never know it from looking at her tonight. I realized I’d become a little emotionally invested in this candidate over the course of the week, with its grotesque slander and innuendo campaigns in the press. When the Republican party in assembly gave her a near endless welcoming ovation I kept saying “don’t cry, don’t cry,” which was slightly sexist for Sarah and slightly for my own sad benefit.
Making McCain’s Platform
A bit of a departure from the Bush/Cheney experience in 2000 and 2004.
Anti-Palin Hysteria Expands, Degenerates
I’m beginning to sense that anti-Palin hysteria is building toward a collective psychological meltdown of truly epic proportions on the Democratic side of our political divide. Today, Democratic consultant Dan Conley angrily pushed us a little further to the brink of that by arguing that the selection of Palin by McCain was “cynical, undemocratic and frankly, unpatriotic.” Wow.
An Unacceptable Acceptance
Well, here is an embarrassing prospect. It seems the Republican leadership may boycott the Republican convention in Minnesota, for fear of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
The top elected Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was already boycotting. But now we learn that President Bush is said to be unlikely to attend, whilst Senator McCain may deliver his acceptance speech via satellite.
One would hope someone could prevail on both the president and the senator that this would represent egregious folly after a flawless, unifying Democratic convention, with its leadership in attendance. Evidently that’s something of a fortuitous luxury when the wind blows these days.
It should be plain that only an appearance of fear and disarray could possibly be conveyed by the abstention of Arnold, Bush and McCain from their own convention. The Republicans wouldn’t have hesitated to level such charges, had such a similarly ridiculous plan been proposed by the Democrats for Denver.
Here at ASHC we get an enormous amount of traffic from people looking for Sarah Palin photographs. My friend Jason over on postpolitical says he’s experiencing the same phenomenon on his blog, and we took to calling it the hunt for “Palinporn.” Toward that, my favorite keyword from this hidden web image search also comes from Jas: “A MILF we can believe in.”
Of particular interest I’ve found, are those lovely pictures of casual Sarah in the Kuwati desert visiting Alaskan National Guard troops. So here is a gallery of all the pictures we have of that, culled from public-domain government websites, some of which appear to be no-longer publicly accessible.
The hard sacrifices of the unselected.
Rasmussen’s first Palin poll suggests that while many Americans still need more information to make a judgment, she’s already made a superior impression to Biden on the day of his selection by Obama.
Of enormous significance is the finding that she receives a 63% favorable rating from independents, and a 61% favorable rating from independent women.
Running Aground Over Sarah Palin
Paul Begala laments the fact that McCain didn’t select a vice presidential candidate who is more traditional, old, boring, uninspiring…in essence, an ossified agent of the establishment, like Joe Biden for instance.
Well, he doesn’t quite phrase it that way, but it’s the political implication of his complaint. Reviewing his catalog of allegedly superior selections, I feel slightly like shouting out as a teenager: boo-ring. Just as a great many Democratic partisans of Mr. Obama did, when surveying a field of establishmentarian dinosaurs in a year of change.
Now even James Dobson, who famously refused to vote Republican this year on social conservative grounds, has endorsed McCain thanks to Palin.
The Rise of the Governess
Way back in February 2007, when I was still writing for postpolitical, an obscure little blog popped up pitching Sarah Palin for the Vice Presidency. At the time few were that familiar with Sarah’s record or wise enough to predict its national electoral implications. Yet despite the novelty of the idea, I thought then and since that it was an inspired choice. I’ve since journeyed further toward that prescient blog’s recommendation and concluded it was the only choice. Thus it’s fun to finally see Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President reveling justifiably in the moment.
Please, Please, Please, Let it be Palin
Thankfully Pawlenty is out, Romney is out, and Matt Drudge is dropping a big tease that it might be Sarah Palin for Vice President after all. I personally would forgive McCain three decades of criticism if he selected her. It would constitute a genuinely visionary decision, for this election and the future of the Republican party. And, it should be said, one very much outside McCain’s normal comfort zone.
CNN is reporting that a plane has left Anchorage for Dayton, Ohio carrying the governor of Alaska. Hmm.
Alaska news is unable to confirm the flight carried the governor however.
ABC News’ Kate McCarthy says Palin is in Wasilla, Alaska. Uh-oh.
Mark Sanford for Veep?
Jason notices that a significant name is missing from the speaking lineup at the Republican convention. The libertarian South Carolina governor and longtime McCain backer would be an unexpected and welcome selection.
Approval ratings for recent presidents at the end of their final terms. Bush will presumably end somewhere in Carter’s 1980 territory.
Lest that depress McCain supporters, such measures can of course be highly misleading in predicting general election outcomes for their successors. Nixon’s 1968 victory was a damned near run thing, and despite the lingering unpopularity of Nixon in 1976, and a generally toxic atmosphere for the GOP in general, it should be remembered that Ford nearly beat Carter (popular vote: 50.1 to 48%, electoral college 297 to 240). Of all these presidents’ personal histories, political philosophies, personalities and general images, McCain and Ford’s are probably most similar. Right down to being Naval war heroes.
Speaking of which, if you’ve never read the story of how a young Lt. j.g. Gerald Ford saved the ship one night in the Pacific, it’s worth a moment to do so.
Targeting the “Original Maverick”
(photo: WBEZ Chicago Public Radio | site)
Obama’s newish mocking McCain’s “original maverick” slogan is fairly good. As Ken Wheaton notes, all the time McCain had to spend trying to convince the GOP he was a loyal Republican, unfortunately produced a lot of pro-Bush statements on videotape. Also, I like the Rovian touch of attacking McCain’s strength: experience.
Rumors have it that Bobby Jindal will deliver the keynote address at the RNCC. Shlok Vaidya thinks the GOP intends to position Jindal for 2012, the way the Democrats managed Obama in 2004. Interesting and possible, although such things are rarely that well-planned. The Democratic view in 2004 wasn’t to position Obama for a White House run, but to lend a rather tired and morose candidate named John Kerry some youthful optimism and vigor. Come to think of it, not so different for the Republicans in 2008 after all, is it?
Obama might be giving McCain more ammunition for the contention he is a condescending elitist. Denouncing Republican attacks on his energy plan as lies, he countered that “these guys take pride in being ignorant.”
Huffington Post and the leftblogs are naturally eating it up (boom, boom, boom, boom). But it probably won’t play as well with Middle America, where partisan conceit of this sort is typically unwelcome.
Or perhaps anywhere where the allegations of ‘Paris Hilton celebrity’ –which could be described as a combination of vanity and vacuity in itself– have done real damage to Obama. Obama’s suggestion might have a certain flavor of irony there.
At any rate, behold a nastier campaign of a very old sort. Credit goes to both men.
Suppose He Wins…
(photo: Dan Bennett)
Dick Morris writes that it’s beginning to look like McCain can win (if he follows his advice of course). Also, McCain has had an (insignificant) advantage with leaners in the Rasmussen tracking poll for two days now. That’s coupled with some peculiar pro-McCain shifts in their public trust ratings. McCain is now more trusted on a score of issues and dead-even with Obama (45%) on the economy.
One really surprising result was that McCain is now more trusted on Social Security (44% to 38%). That’s pretty uncommon even in Republican years. Ruh-roh, says me. There’s some structural movement under the surface of things.
If the Republicans somehow won this thing, I truly fear that some of my Democratic friends might spontaneously combust. They are as far from mentally prepared for this election to be close as can be. Much less are they even willing to entertain the possibility of a McCain victory. Predictions of such might as well be written Klingon. They will explain to you why it’s “impossible” if asked. Not that it’s unlikely, or improbable, but physically impossible to happen. It’s just not in within the realm of their vision.
When I sent Darryl Holman’s calculation of a 100% probability of Obama winning to a Democratic friend of mine (hoping to cheer him up), he responded that he didn’t need to do the electoral math to know there was no conceivable possibility of “McSame” winning the election. Ruh-roh again. There’s a little too much confidence in that camp for a scenario such as this, where polls aren’t exactly painting a picture of 1964.
What Jack Kemp is About
calls himself “a progressive conservative, Democratic Republican” these days apparently. Who knows what the hell that means.
Every good smear deserves a plea to stop the smearer and the dirty apes who support them…
One does have to wonder why the New Yawk Times would first endorse a candidate, and then publish what I would assume was to them, a scandalous article about that very candidate. One hand not knowing what the other is doing? Or perhaps, it’s just plain partisan politics on the part of the paper?
photo: Michael Buck
The sole finalist for the new president of the University of Colorado system, is a Republican oil executive with only a bachelor’s degree. You can imagine where this is going:
Campus observers have fiercely protested the selection, which has yet to be approved by regents. A “Boycott Benson” Web site questions the selection process and criticizes his background as a conservative Republican activist. The student government has voiced complaints, and a campus portrait of Benson was defaced with graffiti that said, “I’ve given CU enough $ for an individual right-wing nut like me to be CU’s president.”
photo: Chris Dunn
The Moderate Voice takes a good and short look at McCain’s politics and notices a compelling absence of social conservative moral lectures, as well as a preference for stressing the characteristics of conservatism that Americans find most appealing: limited government and national security. Jennifer Rubin might add that McCain’s emphasis on pragmatic realism in international affairs, is also the only acceptable antidote to a politics of ambiguous hope from Obama. McCain’s secular politics and taste for moderate political compromise represented vulnerabilities in the nomination fight, but they can become powerful electoral assets in the general election, if he can use them.
Grover Norquist suggests that public disatisfaction with the Republican party is driven solely by hostility to President Bush. McCain’s differences with the Bush administration and its supporters thus strengthen his appeal with the county. As Grover puts it: “This is Sarkozy saying, ‘I’m not Chirac. I’m the change, and she’s [opponent Segolene Royal] the socialist.’” Too bad McCain doesn’t have Sarko’s innovative ideas, vigor, youth, rhetorical skills and party popularity too though no? Sarkozy the American notes that excluding Iraq, McCain is far more Chirac than Sarkozy.
(H/T: Freedom’s Lighthouse)
Utah Against Huckabee
Photo: Wolfgang Staudt
Ken at Oblogatory Anecdotes, along with many other Mormon Romney supporters, is naturally very disappointed about Mitt’s withdrawal from the Republican race. Like many Mormons Ken is convinced Romney was defeated “for the most part because of his affiliation with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” But unlike some, Ken places the blame squarely and solely on everyone’s favorite liberation theologist, Mike Huckabee.
Ken goes so far as to say that “Huckabee’s main motivation for entering and staying in the race is his hatred of Mormons.” While that’s clearly a bit much, it’s a view he says is commonly held among Mormons in Utah. Ken goes on to predict that Utah may vote Democrat if Huckabee is named he VP by McCain. While Utah deserting the GOP for Hillary or Obama seems like a fantastically remote possibility, consider that in the state, opposition to Huckabee is indeed very fierce. In the Utah primary the crypto-theocrat finished dead last (behind even Ronpaul), with a mere 1% of the vote. The worst defeat Huckabee has suffered anywhere.
It’s just a thought, but it might be useful for secular and economic conservative opponents of Huckabee to explore an alliance with concerned Mormons, to exert pressure on the McCain campaign to resist the temptation for the dreaded “ecumenical reform coalition.” Surely it is asking too much of loyal Republican Mormons in Utah to vote for a man they widely perceive to be a bigot against their faith. Of course, McCain has rarely proven sensitive to pressure from within the party, so it may be a useless exercise.
The Anchoress has a splendid post on my very own Representative, Heather Wilson (R-NM), whom I proudly voted for in 2006. While she upsets many conservatives with her McCain-esque positions (NR likes to slam her quite frequently), it should be remembered that Albuquerque –the urban heart of her district– is a politically divided city. Her cross-appeal to female Democrats has often made the difference in defeating strong Democratic challengers. At heart she’s a conservative and is thus enormously infuriating to Democrats who see the 1st District as being naturally theirs. However, I’d like to keep her where she is in the House. Let Steve Pearce take the fall against popular Tom Udall for Domenici’s Senate seat.
Well, Fred wasn’t in the game. It seems to me, that both he and Rudy damaged their campaigns by not entering and participating early enough. We don’t get to vote in a primary here in Indiana for a couple of weeks, and I have a feeling the Republican nominee will be locked in by then.
Glenn has a few interesting links…
After seven years of watching and fighting against Americans who wish to see the country suffer so that they can get at George Bush, the last thing I wanted or expected to see was conservatives saying they would rather see the country suffer than support John McCain over Clinton or Obama, so that they can “get the blame.”
A retreat before victory is assured in Iraq cannot be undone in 2012. And mandatory, single-payer, universal health care, once established, will not EVER go away either.
Good point to remember come November, the choice isn’t between two evils, it’s between the less then perfect Republican, and the far less perfect Democrat. Who matches more closely to your view on issues? That’s who you should think about voting for.
Glenn also says “To me this seems like much ado about nothing. McCain and Romney are both moderate Republicans; the differences between them have been exaggerated by those who don’t like McCain, and don’t have much bearing on what’s good for the country.”
He also linked to the Corner, where Stephen Spruiell remarks about McCain’s speech last night. I wasn’t watching any coverage last night. We watched NCIS and House, then watched the local weather radar when the Super Duper thunderstorms that moved through our area. So, I looked up McCain’s speech on his website, and it reads pretty good. It will also be interesting to see his reception at CPAC. Given all this I would probably support McCain in the general election. I don’t know what choices I’ll have for the primary in Indiana, so we’ll see the day of what I do.
if I am so fortunate to win your nomination, I will work hard to ensure that the conservative philosophy and principles of our great party — principles that have done so well by the country we love — will again win the votes of a majority of the American people, and defeat any candidate our friends in the other party nominate. I am as confident tonight as I have ever been that we can succeed in November by uniting our party in our determination to keep our country safe, proud, prosperous and free, and by again making a persuasive case to independents and to those enlightened members of the other party that the great Ronald Reagan claimed for our party.
We will do it by standing up forcefully for those principles that have made our party and our country so successful, and by rejecting appeals for retreat and timidity in the face of the challenges of our time, challenges which are our duty and privilege to overcome. If I am the nominee of our party, I will not let anyone take this country backward to the days when government felt empowered to take from us some of our freedom to decide for ourselves the course and quality of our lives, or when we turned away from threats to our security that were so plainly gathering strength abroad. I have lived my adult life with one purpose greater than all others: to keep America safe from all enemies foreign and domestic. And I will never tire of the honor.
I am a Republican because, like you, I want to relieve the American people of the heavy hand of a government that spends too much of your money on things you neither want nor need, while failing to do as well as we should the things none of us can do individually. I am a Republican because, like you, I believe government must defend our nation’s security wisely and effectively, because the cost of our defense is measured in losses so hard to bear and in the heartbreak of so many families. I am a Republican because, like you, I believe government must respect our values because they are the true source of our strength; and enforce the rule of law, which is the first defense of freedom. I am a Republican because I believe the judges we appoint to the federal bench must understand that enforcing our laws, not making them, is their only responsibility. I am a Republican because I believe, like you, that government should tax us no more than necessary, spend no more than necessary, and keep out of the way of the most industrious, ingenious, and optimistic people in the history of the world . I am a Republican because I believe, like you, that it is the strength, courage, wisdom and patriotism of free people — not the government — who have made this country the extraordinarily successful place it is. My friends, my purpose is to preserve and strengthen our freedom, the freedom I have defended all my adult life, and I will not let anyone or anything deter me.
Nothing in America is inevitable. We are the captains of our fate. We can overcome any challenge as long as we keep our courage and stand by our principles. I intend to make my stand on those principles, and trust in the judgment of the American people I serve. So stand up with me, my friends, stand up, and together let us put America — her strength, her ideals, her future — before all else. It is an honor greater than all others to serve this country, the love of my life, and I thank you from the bottom of heart for helping me serve her a little while longer.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds and Gateway Pundit for taking note! Check out Lee’s take on the ecumenical reform coalition. While you are here ponder Europe and the non-economic man, take a quick presidential quiz and see who you really agree with. Do some candidates supporters pose a public safety threat? Explore the African Oil Boom and ask yourself why this isn’t on more people’s radar?
Another good point linked from Glenn, Ilya Simon @ The Volokh Conspiracy
Many conservatives either supported or at least refused to aggressively oppose the Bush Administration’s massive expansion of domestic spending, most notably his prescription drug and education plans. They did so in part because conservatives for a long time felt a sense of affinity with Bush and trusted him. There is very little such trust between conservatives and McCain. It will therefore be much more difficult for him to win conservative support for comparable boondoggles.
That, combined with the restraining influence of divided government, will make it much harder for McCain to enact major new statist policies than it was for Bush during the years when he had a Republican majority in Congress. McCain might even end up emphasizing his anti-spending instincts in order to shore up conservative support.
A McCain for All Seasons
Michael Weiss casts about for reasons from the blog world to support McCain. I’m largely unmoved, but this is a particularly good line: “Where Joe Lieberman has been unable to cast himself as a Scoop Jackson Democrat, McCain has had some success in becoming a kind of Pat Moynihan Republican.”
Not Conservative Enough?
Many Republicans and/or conservatives have been wailing that McCain is not conservative enough for them. No links; loads abound.
The people who complain about this are correct – at least on some topics, IMHO.
But, if you don’t want to vote for McCain because he isn’t conservative enough, consider this.
The gulf between Democratic and Republican approaches to constitutional law and the role of the federal courts is greater than at any time since the New Deal. With a Democratic Senate, Democratic presidents would be able to confirm adherents of the theory of the “Living Constitution” — in essence empowering judges to update the Constitution to advance their own conception of a better world. This would threaten the jurisprudential gains of the past three decades, and provide new impetus to judicial activism of a kind not seen since the 1960s.
We believe that the nomination of John McCain is the best option to preserve the ongoing restoration of constitutional government. He is by far the most electable Republican candidate remaining in the race, and based on his record is as likely to appoint judges committed to constitutionalism as Mitt Romney, a candidate for whom we also have great respect.
So. Don’t vote for McCain this fall if you so choose. If you’re in the “I’m going to sit this one out” camp, however, do not blame anyone other than yourself if President Clinton II or President Obama selects Supreme Court judges a bit to the left of Noam Chomsky to serve for a couple of decades.
Embarrassment & Respect
Hillary Clinton on the Republican party: “I wish they would just stand up and say, ‘We are so embarrassed. We’re not going to run anyone.’” Of course her tired passive aggressive routine quickly returned when she added about Republican front-runner John McCain: “I respect him.” Sure. Poor Barack Obama has been having to put up with that kind of double-talking scurrility for a good year now.
Still Anyone’s Game
McCain may be the front runner, but it is still anyone’s game going into next Tuesday. And the race can be just as muddled after next Tuesday, if there’s not a clear front runner.
And yes, it’s my contention that at this time, there isn’t a clear front runner. Just look at the numbers:
McCain – 93
Romney – 59
Huckabee – 40
I know some will look at that and think McCain has a tremendous lead on Romney. Except that the goal is 1191 delegates to get the Republican nomination. So, as a percentage of goal the candidates are currently at:
McCain – 7.8%
Romney – 5.0%
Huckabee – 3.4%
Now, between Super Tuesday puts 1102 delegates in play (including 21 for Maine this Friday.) I doubt that any candidate is going to sweep 22 states.
The Hottest Governor
Draft Sarah Palin has some excerpts from Alaska Magazine’s profile of “America’s Hottest Governor.” Palin also happens to be the most popular governor in America. Indeed, with approval ratings often in the 90s, the conservative Republican is perhaps the most popular governor in the history of the United States.
Reflections on Fred
This was a post better suited for yesterday and Fred’s withdrawal, but I suppose I let myself get distracted without posting it. It should go without saying that while I was unsurprised by the event, it was nevertheless disappointing. But not so much because we are now bereft of any reasonable alternative in the Republican field, but because it seems to confirm that registered Republicans by a large margin, are using unwelcome criteria to evaluate candidates. In fairness, that impression has been with me throughout Fred’s campaign, since I’d found myself to be fond of Thompson because of the reasons he failed to appeal to almost everyone else.
The Triumph of the Laity
The Huckabee campaign staff is bitter and suspicious (as usual). They’re blaming Fred Thompson’s 16% showing in South Carolina for ruining their efforts to flood the vote with a social-conservative surge.
The surge was nevertheless impressive when it came, in both its quantity and in its fantastically unrepresentative uniformity. Fully 83 percent of Huckabee’s voters were evangelicals and that was good for 128,000+ votes. But what was most impressive is that despite this, he didn’t win an absolute majority of the evangelical vote. Instead 27% voted McCain. The worst thing that happened to the Huckabee campaign was not Fred Thompson, but the fact that so many social conservatives had apparently come to their senses.
It now looks like the promised clerical takeover of the GOP has foundered for good. Huckabee’s message of social justice married with religious extremism will find even less of a perch among the libertarian political attitudes that dominate Florida opinion. And if Thompson does indeed plan to continue in his campaign in Florida, that would completely seal the fate of Huckabee ahead of Super Tuesday, a contest the good pastor has neither the resources nor the broader market appeal to succeed in if he’s anything short of the frontrunner.
Now if we can just prevent that Huckabee for Veep nod somehow.
Bad News from South Carolina
Huckabee the liberation theologist is now tied with McCain in Rasmussen’s latest poll at 24%. One would hope for South Carolinians to regain their senses prior to the vote, but it doesn’t look good.
Jindal sworn in as Louisiana’s governor
(cross posted at Risk and Return)
The most prominent Indian American politician in American history has now been sworn in as governor:
Bobby Jindal took the oath of office as Louisiana’s 55th governor at noon today, becoming the state’s first non-white governor since Reconstruction. Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican and Baton Rouge native, won the October 2007 primary outright against 11 opponents with 54% of the vote. He replaces Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat who chose not to run for a second term.
Here’s a roundup of Jindal’s big day:
—Festivities began at 10 a.m. with the House and Senate meeting in their respective chambers to swear in legislators and elect leaders. The day ends with the invitation-only inauguration ball at 7 p.m. at the River Center. Joel Chaisson, a Destrehan Democrat, was formally elected as Senate president. Jim Tucker, a Terrytown Republican, was elected as Speaker of the House, and Karen Carter Peterson, a New Orleans Democrat, was elected as speaker pro tempore.
—The inauguration is being televised live on Louisiana Public Broadcasting stations across the state, and live videos will be posted at inauguration.louisiana.gov and lpb.org.
—In an Inauguration Day editorial, The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette says that Jindal’s government experience will serve Louisiana well. “Jindal brings to the governor’s office broad experience, proven ability and a remarkable intellect. He has a record of success in every government position he has held. We expect that record to remain intact during his tenure as governor,” the newspaper says. Read the editorial here.
—New Delhi Television Limited, a private Indian station, has an article about how Jindal’s election is a giant step for Indian-Americans politically. There are more than 2.5 million Indian-Americans in the U.S., and many have broken through the glass ceiling and attained leadership roles in business and academics. The article notes how many Indian-Americans are proud of Jindal, but some are concerned about his politics and his backing of tough anti-immigration measures. Read the story here.
—CBS Sports announcer Tim Brando, a Shreveport native and former WAFB sports anchor, served master of ceremonies during the inauguration ceremony. Brando told USA Today why he thought he was selected for the honor. “I guess because I’m a rather verbose compassionate conservative—which Mr. Jindal is,” Brando said.
—A Times-Picayune story this weekend notes how Jindal’s inauguration comes at the perfect time. India is becoming a major economic power, with a growing number of companies looking to expand their operations and trade across the world. Outgoing Louisiana Economic Development secretary Mike Olivier says Jindal will “open up doors in a short period of time” for Indian businesses looking at establishing a presence in the U.S. Read the story here.
I was watching the booing of John McCain at the Prosperity Summit in Livonia, Michigan (video clip at Ian Schwartz). Now I can’t be entirely certain, but it sure sounds like a woman in the audience exclaims: “Happy Birthday Warsaw!” at the climax of the jeers. Don’t ask me what it means, but give it a listen.
I am here to step into the breach and defend Glenn Reynolds from two people I admire a lot. This week I visited Belgravia Dispatch and came upon this:
I don’t think of Reynolds as a political animal. He has independent integrity. But when push came to shove, Reynolds never challenged in any serious way the abuses of power in this administration nor the extremism of the Malkinesque blogosphere. When a libertarian finds any excuses to ignore or minimize government-sponsored illegality and torture, then he has truly ceased to be a libertarian in any profound sense. If my opinion weren’t so high of his abilities, my disappointment wouldn’t be so deep.