Sunday Thoughts

Sorry for the light blogging of late folks. It's tough having a real job. Those pesky customers!

Here are some thoughts on the presidential race as it stands today:

The conventional wisdom on both sides of the aisle is that McCain is the strongest general election Republican candidate. I'm tempted to think that the Democrats take this position because they know McCain would be the easiest to beat. That might be paranoia. If not, the Dems are dumber that I think.

This election is about "change". After eight years of Bush, "change" is something that everyone wants, no matter what it means. The only viable candidates in an election structured this way are Obama, Giuliani and Romney. The rest of the candidates can be beaten by the opposite party running an "outsider". As such, the Democrats should want an old, tired Washington hand to run against. Bill Clinton is the most astute political mind in this race and he is pumping McCain at every opportunity.

The Republicans who think McCain is the best candidate are not dumber than I think. They are just dumb. Their thinking is what gave my party Bob Dole in 1996. It's the "his turn" attitude that is arises from bureaucratic group think. And it is a guaranteed loser. Our only hope is that conservatives come out of the woodwork to strangle the McCain candidacy in Florida.

The left, center-left, and center-right media are all pulling for McCain. The left media knows he will be beaten (The New York Times). The center-left media (the local Democrat papers who have endorsed McCain en mass) want him because it allows them to appear "open minded" to their broad local readerships. The center-right pundits (David Brooks, Michael Medved) support McCain because it allows them to seem "moderate". These folks don't really like their own party and certainly don't understand the conservative movement.

As we approach the Florida primary, the real John McCain is coming out of the woodwork. Faced with the possible end of his candidacy, he is using half truths and below the belt attacks to squeak out a victory. His claim last night that Romney supported a time table for withdrawal from Iraq is the most egregious example. Fortunately, Republicans are a well informed voting block and such outright lies will only reinforce what many on my side have known for years... that McCain doesn't have the temperament for executive leadership.

Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton are the most well positioned candidates at this stage of the primary schedule. If Mitt wins Florida, he will go into Super Tuesday with a veritable gale at his back. He'll have a slew of closed primaries in which to run, pulling "win or take all" states where the Republicans are the only voters. Hillary has her machine and her base of female, Hispanic and low income voters. It is a winning coalition that should get her the nomination, although she is a weak general election candidate (see above).

Finally, let me say that I watched Obama's victory speech last night. It was magnificent. He is a special candidate, and cannot be ruled out. And I will say this. If the Republicans nominate McCain and the Democrats nominate Obama, I will vote for Obama. He is a game changer. With so much personal charisma, he might have the power to remake the Democrat Party into what it really should be - a socially liberal, fiscally responsible party - the 21st century version of the party under Jack Kennedy.

If on the other hand, it is a McCain - Clinton lineup, I will simply stay home. I will not vote for a man who has consistently put his ambition before his party.

But I hope for a Romney - Hillary general election. That is a prescription for a Republican victory and eight years of solid leadership in the White House.

Florida is important for Mitt. My only question is... Jeb, where are you?


Terry Cowgill

2:33 PM

Agree with your anlysis to a point.

I can see how McCain annoys conservatives to no end with what Hugh Hewitt calls his persistent and "gratuitous" attempts to annoy them. Global warming and the Gang of 15 to come to mind.

But if it's always ambition over party, what explains his unflinching support for an unpopular war? If he really wanted to put his career ahead of party or principle, you'd think he would have pulled a Kerry and voted for it and then come out against it when the going got rough.

I've often wondered why his stance on the war has not bought him a little more goodwill from conservatives like you.


4:26 PM

I don't agree that it is "always ambition over party". Success comes from either aligning with the party (Romney, Bush), or convincing the party to align with you (Reagan). But sticking it to the party because of election calculations (McCain... knowing that the early pres primaries have independent voters) is a reason for the party faithful to stick it right back. Which we are.

McCain gets credit for his stance on the war. The reason he doesn't get more is because there are other important issues, none of which he is good on. Also, all the other Republican candidates have been good on the war, so he gets no special credit there. And unlike the others, he has been horrible a number of other issues (judges, environment, free speech, school choice, immigration), while using the language of the left to hammer his own party. And finally, there is the press. He is a press hound, the same press that constantly tells us Republicans what horrible people we are. Basically my attitude toward McCain, is "screw you" buddy.

And finally on McCain pulling a John Kerry... not sure how a Republican can survive the kind of politics that Kerry uses. The Republican base demands consistency.

As HH always says of McCain, "great American, lousy senator, horrible Republican". That pretty much sums it up. And I would add, it is just because he is the kind of political opportunist (like Kerry) that so many Republicans find him intolerable.

Terry Cowgill

7:38 PM

Now you know why principled liberals (especially in my state of Conn.) despise Joe Lieberman so much.

The parallels abound here, with one big exception. Hewitt's words do not precisely apply to Leiberman. Joe is not a great American who served his country fearlessly in combat (as did McCain), but (like McCain) he is a lousy senator who has mostly put his career first.

And, lo and behold, Joe has endorsed McCain. That should tell the NYT eddy board something!