Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why Obama should be the President of Awesome Coolness

obama should be president. this undeniable fact should be obvious to anyone with a life - (i.e., anyone who is not the result of an unintended pregnancy). anyone who questions barack obama’s awesomeness is obviously a dumb, selfish loser redneck who’s personal life and financial history should be thoroughly investigated. but it seems necessary to clear up all sorts of nasty lies about Obama. for example, people have said he is friends with a white domestic terrorist named Bill Ayers. that is obvious race-baiting. senator obama has already warned us that some people might be reluctant to vote for him because “he doesn’t look like those guys on the dollar bills” (he must be refering to the fact that his face isn’t made up of tiny green dots)

some people have claimed that obama is a muslim. that’s just ridiculous - no muslim would ask for a billion dollars in pork.

obama has been called a socialist. but just because he believes in the redistribution of resources by the government in order to establish equality of economic outcomes does not in any way make him a socialist. everyone knows socialists have berets and facial hair.

it’s been claimed that obama has always voted in lock step with his party. that’s simply not true - sometimes he votes to the left of his party. obama is a post-partisan candidate who will unite us behind him by telling the Republicans who disagree with him that they are mean people who don’t care about the poor.

back when the financial crisis hit, mccain was running around like an erratic fool trying to figure out what he could do to help the situation. obama knew enough to just sit back, relax and criticize mccain for being so uncool.

that’s because barack obama is cool. really, really freaking cool. he’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine more times than The Rolling Stones. he’s been on the cover of TIME so many times that TIME is going name their own Obama covers “TIME’s 2008 man of the year.” (the new york times would have Obama on the front page but that space is reserved for hard-hitting journalism on how republican women are such annoying little *&*?/*@!* ). The news media used to love McCain, but then they met Obama. Now they hate McCain whenever they forget to ignore him. The awesome, really, really smart media understands that Obama is so cool that anyone who criticizes him must be a racist, because the only negative thing about him is that he’s black. That is why we will finally have a president that the non-racist news media will not criticize, and we won’t have to be bothered by pesky journalists asking any mean old questions of our really cool leader. and the fairness doctrine will be reinstated, so instead of that nasty right-wing talk-radio on the AM dial we will get to listen to cassorole recipes and songs by the Carpenters.

most importantly, barack obama represents change. things have gotten so bad in the last few years what with the growing national debt and unemployment, it couldn’t possibly get worse if we just tried fixing it with some massive new spending and increased taxes on employers. I mean, this is as bad as it could get, right? all we need is change! what kind of change? the change we need! can we believe in it? yes we can! how do we know? obama said so. why do we believe him? because he represents change! I like change. change is good. really, really good.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

hope I can believe in

During the Presidential primary season, I was inspired by Obama’s appeals to hope. I don’t really remember now what Obama meant by hope, nor why I was so inspired. Maybe it had something to do with Obama seeming less authoritarian than Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton and less fake than Mitt Romney. I think at one point he was talking about uniting the country and getting past partisan divisions. What ever happened to that idea? Oh yeah - I guess it doesn’t really fit in when you’re trying to blame all the world’s woes on Republicans.
So what does Obama mean by “hope”? ( I had been meaning to read his books to answer this question, but ever since his campaign started launching ads en Espanol calling all Republicans racist, I’ve been too busy clinging to my proverbial guns and religion.) From what I’ve been able to gather, Obama’s “hope” involves (a) organizing people into collective action to change the government to make our lives better, and (b) making a black man President of the USA. If Obama is elected, America will have achieved (b), and that in itself will be a positive and historic achievement, a spark of inspiration to many living now with too much despair. On the other hand, as to definition of hope (a), I’m not sure that government action is the cure for much of our current troubles, and I’m even less confident that Obama knows precisely what action government should take. Obama talks like a moderate but votes like a garden-variety leftist with solutions that, while intending to empower the oppressed, only create more dependency on government - and thus, more despair.
Obama, for all his idealistic talk, is basically a materialist - not in the crude, amoral sense but in the high-minded anthropological sense. He shares with other modern liberals and socialists the hierarchy of psychologist Abraham Maslow - that material conditions must be met before a person can reach his or her ultimate goal of “self-actualizion” ( i.e., food before freedom). But what if Obama’s tax-and-mandate policies end up costing us ever more jobs and make our health care crisis worse rather than better? If progressivist policies fail to deliver, has hope itself failed?
Viktor Frankl emphasized that life cannot survive without meaning. Harsh brutally of the sort experienced by Frankl in the Holocaust and John McCain as a POW highlight the importance of values that extend beyond material well-being or even social harmony. Without the courage of real transcendant hope, our spirits surrender in the face of the insurmountable. We face challenges as a nation that no amount of new government programs can cure. Perhaps Obama’s empathic, elegant rheoric will be inspiration enough for us to be steadfast and hopeful. For myself, I find more inspiration in a leader whose hope lies not in the power of government to make our circumstances better but in the dignity of life and the honor of virtue regardless of our circumstances; a leader whose hope was forged in accepting the challenge of living through hell rather than surrender on its terms.
So what I don't know is what the unexpected will be. . . . I know what it's like in dark times. I know what it's like to have to fight to keep one's hope going through difficult times. I know what it's like to rely on others for support and courage and love in tough times. I know what it's like to have your comrades reach out to you and your neighbors and your fellow citizens and pick you up and put you back in the fight. - John McCain, Oct 7

Saturday, March 1, 2008

sticky endorsements

Louis Farrakhan endorsed Barack Obama.
John Hagee endorsed John McCain.

Farrakhan and Hagee, IMHO, are nutjob bigots.
That doesn't mean Obama and McCain are too.
I'd like to see McCain do as much as he can to distance himself from Hagee, who makes the late Falwell look like a paragon of toleration. But in any case it doesn't who Senator John Sidney McCain is and what he has done to show his humane and open position to people of all nations, faiths and bckgrounds..

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McCain on Lantos

From McCain's Senate Office:

I was deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Congressman Lantos. A patriot, a statesman, and a man of great courage, Tom Lantos demonstrated throughout his life the values that have made his adopted country a great nation.

The only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in Congress, Tom Lantos knew the dangers and cruelty of despotism. In resolving to oppose tyranny with all his might, he formed a lasting and fitting legacy, one that will be marked by his love of liberty.

Congressman Lantos’ steadfast support of the expansion of democracy and human rights to lands where they are denied helped transform the lives of many who never met him. I am honored to have known this remarkable American patriot, and I mourn his passing.

more on the late remarkably Honorable Democratic Representative from San Fransisco (!)

And let's not forget his remarkable speech at the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial:

Hey McCain, Give em a Buckeye and Milk it for all it's Worth!

A memo from Rick Davis of the McCain campaign states:

Until John McCain secures 1,191 delegates, we must campaign aggressively for the Republican nomination, and that requires additional resources in some of the most populous states in the country. We cannot turn our attention to the Democrats and their enormous war chests until this nomination is secure, and we cannot accomplish that goal without your additional help.
Okay, so, this is a fundraising letter - but I do think there is a misconception here, in my opinion.
That is - there's no reason McCain can't run against the Democrats and for the nomination at the same time.

It is true that Texas is a big state with a lot of delegates that McCain will win in November anyway, and so wouldn't need to spend much time there. But there's also some oppurtunities McCain can take advantage of while he's fighting to get the rest of the delegates he needs to make the nomination official.

For some of the states coming up, such as Vermont and Rhode Island, McCain is a pretty sure bet to win the nomination and yet it is unlikely, given recent trends, for the GOP to win there in November. On the other hand there are some places which McCain can build up enthusiasm for his nomination at the same time as he seeks out voters for the general.

This month, the next big state primary is Wisconsin. A few weeks later is Ohio. In these two cases we have states that McCain needs to appeal to not in order to win the nomination contest, but also because these are "swing" states. Considering trends in recent elections, in order for John McCain to win the Presidency he will need to win one or the other. Bush lost Wisconsin both in 2000 and 2004 by a margin of less than 0.5 %. Bush won Ohio both times by less than 4 %. Since Ohio is worth 20 electoral votes to Wisconsin's 10, Ohio is more crucial. Still, Wisconsin could prove vital as well, especially if Iowa or another state goes Democratic. And the fact that McCain has worked closely with Sen. Feingold may help swing independents. Ohio and Wisconsin are both real possibilities for McCain to win in November, but neither is a sure bet right now. It would make sense to take this opportunity to focus on these two states and reach out to general election voters while at the same time reaching out to the Republican base. Both independents and Republicans are able to vote in the primaries of Ohio and Wisconsin, and McCain will need the support of both groups in order to win in the general.

GOP Delegate contests - the month ahead

2/16 Guam caucus....number of delegates= 9 strong McCain
2/19 Wisconsin primary............................40 strong McCain
..........Washington primary.........................19 leans McCain
2/23 American Samoa caucus.....................9 strong McCain
..........Northern Mariana caucus..................9 tossup/unknown
..........Virgin Islands caucus..........................9 leans McCain
2/24 Puerto Rico caucus........(WTA)........23 strong McCain
3/4 Ohio primary........................................88 leans McCain
....Texas (combined caucus/primary)...140 leans McCain
... .Rhode Island primary............................20 strong McCain
.........Vermont primary ........(WTA).........17 strong McCain
3/11 Mississippi primary...........................39 tossup/unknown

total delegates at stake in next month: 422
delegates McCain needs to have a majority: 1191 - 827 = 364

Some have argued Huckabee needs to drop out for the sake of the party. Others have argued Huckabee's continued presence will end up making McCain a stronger candidate in the general.
I'm not completely convinced either way. The one thing that's clear is that McCain really needs to win consistently and decisively in the major primary contests for him to be the undisputed, official Republican nominee by this time next month. The next primary after that isn't until Pennsylvania on April 22!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Canterbury Tales? . . . Rowan Down the River?

I haven't been paying much attention to the exegesis being done on the Archbishop's recent statements on Muslim law, but I have noticed a lot of people are quite upset. The witty Wittenburg Door suggests its too much ado:

Afternoon Tea Would be Abolished by Shariah Law

Everybody went nutzoid in London last week when Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was in favor of letting Muslims in Britain take their cases to Shariah courts. A quick survey of those condemning the Archbishop’s speech would include Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the head of the Tories, the head of the Liberal Democrats, Muslim leader Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, and just about everyone who flooded the BBC website with comments. What the Archbishop said, in a speech given at the Royal Courts of Justice for the benefit of lawyers, was that he thinks Muslim practice should be brought in line with practices already set up for Orthodox Jews and devout Catholics, who are allowed to use ecclesiastical courts for domestic matters, but then have the right to appeal to civil courts if they’re unsatisfied. In England, this passes for revolutionary thought.

Anyway, whatever the fuss is all about - even if Rowan is dreadfully wrong - while I'm not Anglican, I can't help but like the guy on some level. Partly I think he's admirable enough just for trying so hard to keep a worldwide congregation together that seems all too intent on splitting over the issue of homosexuality.

And I find his little recent announcement here on disposability vs. stewardship resonates a bit -



After all, in our polarized political discourse, it's all too easy sometimes to forget that real faith and true conservatism alike call us to transcend mere consumerism.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Petrilli on Huckabee as Sec of Ed

I've been meaning to write a post on why I believe Mike Huckabee would make an excellent Secretary of Education.

To my pleasant surprise, looks like I'm not the only one who is thinking this.

from Hoover fellow Michael Petrilli's article at National Review:

The governor, rare among Republican candidates, shows an affinity for education, and an ability to connect with parents and teachers. Like Bennett, Alexander, or Riley before him, he also knows how to communicate in today’s vernacular. And he has a strong record on education (save for some paleo views on evolution), even if his position on vouchers hasn’t always been crystal clear.

Huckabee’s folksy charm plays especially well with an education system that prides itself on its “niceness.” He has championed art and music education on the campaign trail — a boutique issue but one that illustrates his concern for the real stuff of the classroom and for kids who can do more than read and cipher. An ability to connect to, and inspire, what happens inside schools is the most important attribute for the next education secretary to have.

We stand at a unique moment in history. The last two decades have witnessed dizzying change and endless education reform, culminating with NCLB. A backlash against high standards, clear accountability, and greater choice is gaining steam. What’s needed from Washington is not more shoot-the-moon rhetoric and top-down mandates, but leadership. We need a credible education secretary who can effectively communicate this simple message: accountability and competition are here to stay.

In other words, education reform could use a kinder, gentler face — but one backed by steely principle.

Moreover, we need policies that give the nation’s governors — the true drivers of school change — the room to innovate again. That means updating NCLB to be friendlier to reform-minded leaders at the state and local level. As a former governor, Huckabee could lead this update with credibility, thoughtfulness, and poise.
I'll post more of my own thoughts on this later.

The Passing of Rep. Tom Lantos - Champion of Human Rights

California Congressman Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, died today.

"It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress," Lantos said earlier this year. "I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country."
Andrew Cochran writes:
He was also vocal in pressing for aid to Darfur to save innocent civilians from slaughter and was one of five Congressmen arrested in 2006 for protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy.

The victims of terrorism across the globe always had a vocal supporter and solid vote for their interests in Tom Lantos. He will be missed.

He was born in Hungary in 1928 as Lantos Tamás Péter. Swampland notes:
As a teenager, Lantos fought in the anti-Nazi resistance in Hungary, and was sent to a labor camp. He escaped, was recaptured and beaten, and escaped again. Lantos found refuge with an aunt in one of the famous safe houses that were maintained by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Because his blond hair and blue eyes made him look "Aryan," he was able to move around Budapest in a military cadet's uniform, delivering food and medicine to others who were hiding in safe houses.
Sen. Lieberman said:
"Tom Lantos was deeply dedicated to the promotion of freedom and human rights because he intimately knew the horror of tyranny. Congressman Lantos was an effective and tireless ally of all those throughout the world who were struggling to achieve liberty and justice. The heroic life of Tom Lantos is an inspiration to all of us who must rededicate ourselves to continue his profound and lasting legacy."
Last year PajamasMedia documented Tom Lantos taking on the internet giants for their acquiescence to Chinese tyranny.

Chesapeake Primaries

Tomorrow 119 delegates are at stake in the Republican primaries. Whether Huckabee continues his campaign may depend on whether or not he can score a victory in Virginia.

DC 19 delegates (winner take all)

MD 37 delegates (24 winner by district, 10 statewide winner)

VA 63 delegates (winner take all)

polls show McCain way ahead in both Maryland and Virginia. Of course, it will all depend on *turnout*. My guess is that McCain will win all three contests, but in Virginia - the biggest prize - it could be close.

sources: wikipedia, the green papers

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ross on the Republican Reformation

Ross Douthat, Atlantic blogger and one of my favorite bloggingheads, wrote an Op-Ed for today's NYT (h/t Colecurtis):

. . . After being denounced as a tax-and-spender and a pro-life liberal, Mr. Huckabee won four primaries in four Republican strongholds, including Alabama and Georgia. Mr. McCain split the frequent-churchgoer vote with Mr. Romney, and eclipsed him among evangelical Christians, even though the religious-conservative poobah James Dobson has promised to sit out the November election if Mr. McCain becomes the Republican nominee.

The failure of conservative voters to fall in line behind Mr. Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, among others, reflects a deeper problem for the movement’s leadership. With their inflexibility, grudge-holding and eagerness to evict heretics rather than seek converts, too many of conservatism’s leaders sound like the custodians of a dwindling religious denomination or a politically correct English department at a fading liberal-arts college.

Or like yesterday’s Democratic Party. The tribunes of the American right have fallen into the same bad habits that doomed their liberal rivals to years of political failure.

In spite of his record as a maverick, John McCain has become the presumptive nominee by running a classic Republican campaign, emphasizing strength abroad and limited government at home, with nods to his pro-life record. His opponents in the conservative movement, by contrast, have behaved like caricatures of liberals, emphasizing a host of small-bore litmus tests that matter more to Beltway insiders than to the right-winger on the street.

Republican primary voters who turned to Mr. Limbaugh for their marching orders were asked to believe that Mr. McCain’s consistently hawkish record — on Iraq, Iran, the size of the military and any other issue you care to name — mattered less to his standing as a conservative than his views on waterboarding. Or that his extensive record as a free-trader, a tax-cutter and an opponent of pork-barrel spending wasn’t sufficient to qualify him as an economic conservative, because he had opposed a particular set of upper-bracket tax cuts in 2001.

Similarly, religious conservatives who listened to James Dobson were asked to believe that Mr. McCain’s consistent pro-life voting record was less important than the impact his campaign-finance bill had on the National Right to Life Committee’s ability to purchase issue ads on television 60 days before an election. Or that his consistent support for conservative judicial nominees, and his pledge to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of John Roberts and Sam Alito, mattered less than his involvement in the “Gang of 14” compromise on judicial filibusters. . . .

There is indeed something very un-conservative among those whose dissatisfaction with McCain lead them to a stance of in all-or-nothing results, forgetting as they do that politics is the art of the possible rather than the commanding of ideals. As Thomas Jefferson put it to his cousin John Randolph in 1803:
". . . Experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can; when we cannot do all we would wish."

Huckabee's Farm Subsidy Dilemna

Huckabee is well known for his own struggle with obesity and his emphasis on helping keep America healthy by fighting obesity.

Of course he also loves farm subsidies like a fat boy loves cake.

And it looks his admirable desire to fight global warming isn't helped by his advocacy of ethanol.

And of course, his concern for the poor in Africa isn't helped by these farm subsidies either.

I really like Mike Huckabee, but on this issue he couldn't be more wrong. It's pretty clear John McCain will be our next GOP candidate, but I think this is an example of why Gov. Huckabee is unfortunately not qualified to be a heartbeat away from the oval office.

Who is the candidate willing to stand up for a sensible farm policy?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

McCain, Feingold Support 2nd Amendment

They're just two of the 55 Senators who signed an amicus brief on the D.C. gun ban before the Supreme Court.

The Washington Post reports:

"This court should give due deference to the repeated findings over different historical epochs by Congress, a co-equal branch of government, that the amendment guarantees the personal right to possess firearms," their brief contends.

"The District's prohibitions on mere possession by law-abiding persons of handguns in the home and having usable firearms there are unreasonable."

. . .

All Senate Republicans except three -- Virginia's maverick Sen. John W. Warner was one of the missing -- signed on to the brief. Nine Democratic senators -- Virginia's other maverick, Sen. James Webb was among them -- joined the effort. The total was 55 senators and 250 House members, 68 of whom were Democrats.

Webb campaigned in 2006 as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Warner said in a statement he stayed out of the case because of respect for home rule.

"While the District of Columbia is not a state, it operates under a framework of laws enacted by the Congress which gives its elected leaders the duty to advocate the positions and interest of its citizens before the federal judiciary," he said.


As neither Sens. Obama nor Clinton signed the brief, NRO's Jim Geraghty sees this as
"One more major contrast between the expected Republican nominee and either of the potential Democratic nominees.."

Mitt Romney - Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It:

Take the
to ....

. . . & in 2010, take on

Friday, February 8, 2008

Is Irrational Arrogance a Conservative Principle?


Kathleen Turner in "The Audacity of Compromise" writes of those who would sacrifice the next four or more years to the Democrats in order to spite McCain:

To be sure, political cannibalism makes for interesting dinner conversation, but the winner eventually starves to death.

It isn't necessary to love everything McCain has done to vote for him should he be the nominee. But it isn't possible to argue that there's no difference between McCain and Clinton (or Barack Obama), as some Republicans insist.

A form of irrational conservatism has taken hold when being true to oneself or to the party is viewed as more important than, say, turning over the country to people who want to raise taxes and impose socialized health care.

Principles shouldn't be so inflexible that strict adherence elevates a worse alternative.

McCain, it's true has taken some positions that are unorthodox to conservatives:

These are positions with which conservatives would naturally argue. And perhaps they are right that McCain is more moderate than conservative, but so is the nation. Alternatively, McCain's maverick lawmaking might be viewed as principled compromise -- or at least an earnest attempt to inject humane ethics into the mix.

Serious people don't really believe that the U.S. government is going to round up 11 million or 12 million people and ship them back to wherever they came from. It isn't going to happen.

Government parceling of free speech via McCain-Feingold, a portion of which has been found unconstitutional, can't otherwise be justified unless you figure, as McCain does, that purchased speech isn't free. When some people have greater access to "free speech" by virtue of their deeper pockets, then one could fairly argue that less prosperous people are denied free speech.

McCain's fire-breathing opponents, meanwhile, disregard his support of other positions Republicans hold dear. He has a strong pro-life voting record (except for supporting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research), has opposed wasteful spending, and has been steadfast in supporting the war. But, stepping outside the GOP box, he opposes torture, including waterboarding.

How dare a man who was tortured for five years in a Vietnamese prison depart from the party line?

Anti-McCain rage for many comes down to personality. He doesn't play nice and his independence annoys those who prefer the team player mentality.

But Republicans' obstinance in claiming to prefer Clinton to McCain is arrogance of a Clintonian order. To wit: Hillary Clinton has said that as president she would not listen to generals in Iraq and would withdraw troops no matter what . . .



Thursday, February 7, 2008

Senator McCain, Come to the Old Dominion !

Well, now that Romney's out, finally the two leading candidates will be respectful and courteous to one another - even if sometimes their supporters won't.

Now it must be said that after losing California in almost every county and congressional district after spending millions of dollars of his own money, Romney really had no way of winning this thing.

But what he has still managed to do is give us the possibility of a brokered convention. And this may be even more likely now that he's officially out of the race.

The news media are still underestimating Huckabee and his supporters, even after all this time. No, there is no way for Huckabee to catch up with McCain. But this thing still has the possibility of being extended a few months if not all the way to the convention in the Fall.

How does Huckabee stay in the game? For one thing, he's very likely to win the caucus in Kansas this Saturday.

On Tuesday we have primaries in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Huckabee is very competitive here in Virginia. The last thing McCain needs now is the idea that he is inevitable, thus leading his supporters to stay home on primary day.

If Huckabee wins Virginia, he'll be competitive in Texas and Ohio. That means this thing could go on until Pennsylvania in late April.

McCain needs to officially wrap this nomination up as soon as possible.

The best way for him to do that is to stay on the campaign trail.

So Senator McCain, Virginia will be honored to have you with us!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Californians Find Themselves in McCain Territory

It looks like McCain struck gold all across the State - from San Diego to San Fransisco to Sacramento to Del Norte.

Take a look at these maps - only three counties went for Romney, and in over a dozen counties the margin of victory for McCain was in the thousands. Romney's biggest margin of victory was 662 in Shasta County.

Of course, the delegates are awarded by congressional district, not by counties - but it seems McCain is ahead in 51 out of 53.

So out of California's 170 delegates, McCain will win about 164.

And this in a closed primary, McCain's statewide margin over Romney is 8 percent.

The CNN exit poll indicates, surprisingly, that McCain only carried one-third of Lations, but almost two-thirds of Asian-Americans. I would have expected McCain to do better among Latinos than among the general population of Republicans, but this doesn't seem to be the case. However, McCain did still place first among Latinos, and Huckabee came in second. Among Asian-Americans, Giuliani - who dropped out of the race last week - did better than Romney.

Less than half of California Republican primary voters believe in deporting illegal immigrants. Three-fourths of the primary voters were White non-Latinos, and they didn't flock to Romney's anti-"amnesty" position. San Diego and Imperial, right on the border, went for McCain - dashing Romney's hopes of cashing in on his embrace of the Tancredo wing of the party in a place he might of expected resentment toward immigrants. Even as conservatives rightly are concerned about the rule of law, it seems that - right here on the border - most are not driven by the hate that characterizes the rhetoric of pundits who live far removed from the problem.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Huckabee steals middle-class southern evangelical votes from rich northern Mormon?

It's driving me nuts. The MSM keeps repeating the same old trope. Apparently, they still believe that Christian conservatives are uneducated and easy to command. And the Romney camp and his pals at Clear Channel are feeding this idea to the media, suggesting that Huckabee supporters are just stupid fodder for McCain's campaign and ought to rally around their annointed resurrected Reagan, Mitt Romney.

I just saw on CNN Anderson Cooper asking Democratic strategist Donna Brazille if Huckabee's presence in the race is hurting Romney's chances in the South. (As though this liberal Democrat has some special insight into the minds of the conservative Republican electorate?) She of course gave the oft-repeated conventional wisdom without any real data top back it up.

But I keep wondering - how many people do these media political elites even know who is voting for Huckabee? Of course they probably don't know any because Huckabee's stronghold is not in the D.C. beltway and the Manhattan press offices. These are the people who couldn't imagine in 1980 that anyone was voting for Reagan because of course they didn't know anyone who was voting for Reagan. Well as long as we are peddling in anecdotes, I know a number of people who are Huckabee supporters and none of them are excited in the least about Romney.

Folks, there isn't just some abstract "conservative" vote out there that Romney and Huckabee are splitting. All four of the GOP candidates are conservatives of one stripe or another. Ron Paul is a paleolibertarian Robert Taft conservative. McCain is a progressive traditionalist - a conservative in intuition and values rather than ideology - a virtue warrior rather than a culture warrior. Huckabee is a reformist anti-globalist social conservative. And Romney is a white bread technocrat institutionalist conservative. The conservatism of Huckabee is in spirit at least as different from the conservatism of Romney as it is from McCain or Ron Paul.

Medved notes:

To believe that Huck and Mitt are dividing conservatives, you have to believe that Huckabee is a conservative --- which Romney, Limbaugh, Igraham, and countless others have been denying (stridently and strenuously) for months. . . Either the elite commentators were wrong when they labeled Huckabee a “liberal populist,” or they are wrong now when they say he’s stealing conservative votes from Romney. The only other alternative is that they view conservative voters as just too stupid to see Huckabee for what he really is.
Patrick Ruffini writes:
The Romney campaign’s February 5th math is simple: move all the voters from the Huckabee pile onto theirs and claim a majority of conservatives. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple.
To this Brainster replies:
What do you mean, not simple? Just move the pile! Now note what's not said at all; what the Huckabee pile is going to receive in return; one suspects that it's the chance to help Mitt Romney over the hump. Now of course, it should come as no news to anybody that Mike Huckabee isn't interested in this game. He has on many occasions expressed his admiration for Senator McCain, and his disdain for Mitt Romney.
And it's not just Huckabee who prefers McCain to Romney. Huckabee supporters seem to feel the same way. These numbers show three-fifths of Huckabee voters having a favorable view of McCain, while less than two-fifths have a favorable view of Romney.

Ruffini also notes the cultural and geographical difference in the Romney and Huckabee vote:

The problem with this analysis is that I’ve seen no evidence that Huckabee voters would go to Romney. On a county level, the Romney and Huckabee votes are negatively correlated, with Romney representing the conservative side of the Chamber of Commerce/Rotary Club vote and not really showing outsized strength with Evangelicals.
I've been looking at this sort of county level results at my new political geography blog. In states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina, Romney has done his best in the more urban areas, and Huckabee has done best in rural areas. McCain has done well in both urban and rural areas, among both lower and upper middle class, among both young and old. On a demographic level, it appears that McCain actually bridges the constituencies of the older and white-collar Romney voters and the younger and blue-collar Huckabee enthusiasts.

If we had excluded Huckabee from this race, its possible Fred Thompson could have gained some real ground in the Bible-belt deep South. But to expect that this would be the case for Romney is only slightly more realistic than the idea of Mormons voting en masse for Huckabee.

Is John McCain's nomination inevitable? No, it's not. It's possible that Romney will win the largest share of California's delegates. But McCain has locked up the Northeast (sans Massachusetts), and Romney looks like he's behind both McCain and Huckabee in every state south of the Mason-Dixon line or with a central time zone. Romney's road to the nominattion depends on a few closed caucuses along with his support from Money, Mormons, Michigan, and - maybe - Massachusetts. It's not impossible , but- as Anna Marie Cox points out*- it requires a bit of mental gymnastics.

*h/t ENHQ

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Party of Hate vs The Party of Lincoln

Neal Boortz calls Hurricane victims "parasites" (- but oh, I'm sure he's not meaning to imply anything racial)

Glenn Beck is calling a war hero a traitor while simultaneously implying the same of Mexican-Americans when he calls him "Juan McCain"

For myself, I'll take Juan McCain, or Jean McCain or even Ivan McCain or whatever you want to call him, for the future of America, and to salvage and renew the Party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan from narrow-minded pseudo-conservative xenophobes.

(Is calling them xenophobes instead of just racists too generous?)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain: Defender of the Free Speech Rights of his Right-Wing Rabid Radio Detractors

I was just about to bring up something great about McCain's credentials as a conservative and a man of decency that seems to have escaped the general attention of conservative audiences. But Medved just beat me to it.

Let’s say you’re attacking someone every day, criticizing some perceived enemy in a tone that is bitter, highly personal, spiteful and relentless. Now imagine, for the sake of argument, that at the very climax of your over-the-top abuse, the object of your assaults makes a point to defend your right to continue to slime him.

Wouldn’t it be appropriate to interrupt your derision for a few moments at least, to acknowledge the other guy’s courage and integrity—and to salute his support for the First Amendment?

Why, then, no acknowledgement by the most prominent conservative talkers on the radio of John McCain’s principled – and appropriate – efforts to block Democrats who seek to reinstitute the awful Fairness Doctrine?

. . . THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE WOULD BE A DEVASTATING ASSAULT ON FREE SPEECH; McCAIN-FEINGOLD, FOR ALL ITS FAULTS, WAS NOT . . . It matters far more, in other words, that McCain continues to battle the Fairness Doctrine (that would seriously damage political debate in the media) than that he cosponsored a silly and ineffective piece of legislation (that left vigorous debate vigorously intact).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Law Compels University / Prohibits Unitarians in showing XXX

From my poor formerly distinguished alma mater - you just can't make this sh*t up!

College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol gave students the go-ahead this morning to hold the controversial Sex Workers' Art Show on campus next month.

In a statement, Nichol said he tried to work with students to hold the event at a venue off the Williamsburg campus.

Students were unable to find an off-campus venue, however, and Nichol said the First Amendment and "defining traditions of openness that sustain universities" required he permit the show be held at the college.

"My views and the views of others in the community about the worth or offensiveness of the program can provide no basis for censoring it," he said.

A Unitarian Universalist church in James City County had considered hosting the show, according to co-pastor Rev. Jennifer Ryu. County law, however, prohibited the church from hosting events that might feature public nudity, she said.
Meanwhile, Nichols doesn't seem to have any problem with speech codes.

Keeping the Florida Victory Strong: Reaching out and defending reality

The Florida win is thrilling. Just two months ago the idea that McCain would even be a viable candidate at this point seemed all too remote. Now it seems that even if he doesn't win enough on Super Tuesday to lock the nomination, he will be far ahead and very well positioned going into the rest of February. I'm very much looking forward to the being able to vote for John McCain in Virginia's primary on Feb 12th. The fact that I will even be able to do that is exciting in itself.

So it's looking good, but as McCain said in his speech last night:

This was a hard fought election, and worth fighting hard for, but I've been on the other side of such contests before, and experienced the disappointment. I offer my best wishes to Governor Romney and his supporters. You fought hard for your candidate, and the margin that separated us tonight surely isn't big enough for me to brag about or for you to despair.
. . .
My friends, in one week we will have as close to a national primary as we have ever had in this country. I intend to win it, and be the nominee of our party. And I intend to do that by making it clear what I stand for. I stand for the principles and policies that first attracted me to the Republican Party when I heard, in whispered conversations and tap codes, about the then Governor of California, who stood by me and my comrades, and who was making quite a reputation for standing by his convictions no matter the changing winds of political thought and popular culture. When I left the Navy and entered public life, I enlisted as a foot soldier in the political revolution he began. And I am as proud to be a Reagan conservative today, as I was then. I trust in the courage, good sense, resourcefulness and decency of the American people, who deserve a government that trusts in their qualities as well, and doesn't abrogate to its elf the responsibilities to do for the people what the people can and want to do for themselves.
This is exactly what the McCain campaign and those who support it need to be about right now. Although it's very tempting - and sometimes all too easy - to deliver personal attacks on Mitt Romney, it's wrong to kick a man when he's down. I believe that somewhere deep down inside that empty suit is a basically decent guy. I feel sorry for the guy - he's wasted so much money and even a good deal of his reputation in a futile pursuit of the Presidency because he just hasn't been able to see that he's just not what our nation needs right now. And meanwhile, we need to recognize that we will need Romney and his devotees come the general.

Can McCain win a general election without the support of Romney? I do tend to think so. But the more we can bring Republicans together the better. Far better to have a 55-60 percent win than another close call like we've had the past two presidential elections. Do we need the support of the Hewitts and the Limbaughs and the Malkins and Tancredos and Coulters out there? No. But we do need to convince enough of the people who have listen to them that John McCain is indeed authentically conservative enough to earn their trust. There's so many misconceptions and outright lies that the shockpundits have been putting forth - it's incredible that some pro-life Republicans have bought into the nonsense that McCain is somehow worse than Rudy or even - Hillary?!!

Though Romney does have his strong points, I think the vast majority of people have come to recognize that Romney isn't as great a presidential candidate as he was talked up to being - at least not at this stage. There are some who would vote for him merely as a vote against mostly false ideas they have about McCain or Huckabee. No we are not going to convince all of them, but we need to let the truth be known. Playing offense is a good strategy at times, but we need to play defense too - because sometimes an olive branch and a compelling defense is what's really needed.

At the NRO symposium on McCain as front-runner, Reagan-alumni Alvin Felzenberg writes:
The time is at hand for both Senator McCain and conservative leaders to come to the realization that they need each other. McCain as the presumptive nominee needs to continue stressing his conservative credentials of decades standing. He also needs to let conservative leaders know that he recognizes that some of them do not look kindly upon his nomination, that he understands their reasons, and that he is willing to work with them.
Unless you are intent on viewing graphic depictions of the advanced stages of Anti-McCain Derangement Syndrome, you'll want to skip Mona Charen and Hugh Hewitt. The rest at the NRO symposium have worthwhile contributions. From Victor Davis Hanson*:
I pray that John McCain can rally the base — since whatever anger conservatives hold toward him should pale in comparison to the specter of 16 years of the Clintons or Barack Obama’s European-style democratic socialism (with John Edwards as a possible attorney general). His acceptance speech seemed designed to do just that by references to tough judges, magnanimity shown his rivals, the evocation of conservatism, and a promise to stick to its principles, and I expect that will continue.
As a long time fan and supporter of John McCain, I expect it as well.

*update: more relevant brilliance form VDH: "Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

John McCain wore Alito on his sleeve

Prof. Brainbridge looks into what McCain said about Alito back when it really mattered. Here's John McCain on the Senate floor in Jan 2006:

We all know what the outcome of the vote is going to be . . . The fact that there will probably be a large number of votes on that side of the aisle against Judge Alito doesn’t upset me as much as it saddens me . . . this large vote against this good and decent American . . . because we continue to engage in the kind of partisanship which has even been ratcheted up lately on lobbying reform, when we should be working out a common approach and a common cure for a significant illness that afflicts this body and the Capitol today.
And from former Senate aide and judicial nominations activist Manuel Miranda, we hear this:
Certainly, John McCain is not a culture warrior and yet he has been solidly pro-life in his voting record and firm in his understanding that the issue of abortion should be returned to the States, just as Justice Scalia does . . . Senator McCain would not need on-the-job training on the issue of federal judicial nomination, and he is a meritocrat. He is not likely to nominate a lightweight to the judiciary. . .

Unlike a few Republican senators I know, McCain did not absent himself from four extraordinary Senate floor events on judicial nominations in 2003 that I organized. I was right next to him when he walked into the beginning of the 40 hour Grand Debate.

Senator McCain was a good soldier on judges in 2003 as he was again in forming the Gang of 14 for the Senate leadership in 2005. I would have liked it to end differently, but I appreciate compromise in statecraft.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Romney's Timetable Triangulation

After hearing endlessly from all corners about how McCain was lying about what Romney had said about timetables and that McCain was somehow going "below the belt" on Iraq, it's nice to see someone put the record straight.

From Stephen Hayes at The Weekly Standard:

Did Romney say he would, like Bush, veto anything with a timetable? Or does the rest of his answer suggest that he's for the timetables as long as they're private? Again, it's debatable.

But to go as far as CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, who claimed that McCain is "lying" about what Romney said, is a stretch. At the time Romney made the comments, many observers, including several reporters, took him to mean exactly what McCain is imputing to him now. If the Romney campaign protested that interpretation, their objections did now show up in any of the follow-up reporting on his comments.

McCain has long believed that Romney hedged on the surge and the war in Iraq. At a debate in Durham, New Hampshire, on September 5, Romney answered a question about the surge by saying, "the surge is apparently working." McCain pounced a moment later. "No, not apparently. It's working." It was one of McCain's strongest debate performances and he points to it as a "seminal" moment in the remarkable turnaround of his campaign.

UPDATE: Also, there's this from Byron York:
I think it's indisputable that, at the time, McCain's Republican rivals supported the surge but were also happy that it was McCain who was all the way out on the limb. Last February, someone in the Romney camp told me that yes, Romney supported the surge, but that "McCain owns the surge."
UPDATE: looks like some of Mitt's supporters are still thinking in these terms: Well if the surge continues to do well, Mitt can take the credit, but if it goes sour, Mitt won't shoulder the blame!

Reality Check - If IRAQ somehow gets WORSE with the current strategy in place, there is NO WAY *ANY* Republican (sans Ron Paul) would be able to win in November.

And if voters want an "outsider" in a Clinton v. Romney race, they are likely to go with Mike Bloomberg - who will see an opportunity to appeal to the broad center in such a polarizing contest.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Romney Robos In Favor of New Entitlement Spending

From J-Mart at Politico:

Mitt Romney's campaign is sending out automated phone calls to Florida Republicans attacking John McCain on taxes and Social Security, an aide to the former governor confirms.

A Florida Republican up in the Panhandle received a robo today suggesting he "take a hard look at John McCain's record."

"John McCain voted against the AARP-backed Medicare prescription drug program," the call notes, in an obvious effort to give seniors pause about the senator.
So let me get this straight - Romney, that supposed paragon of pure fiscal conservatism, is accusing McCain of voting against a massive new entitlement program?

And as for the AARP, I recall they were less than helpful when G W Bush was interested in reforming Social Security and allow for private investment instead of an IOU placed on a next generation of workers. If Mitt Romney had anything instructive to add to the conversation about policies for America's seniors, you think he might have shown up to the AARP forum in Iowa this past Fall. John McCain has not followed the AARP's political agenda, but that didn't keep him from engaging in the discussion with them along with Mike Huckabee.

One of the things I really admired about Fred Thompson's campaign is that he was willing to offer up a proposal to reform Social Security. Some former Fred-heads may think that Romney is now their man, but if you care at all about making the hard choices necessary for entitlement reform, I do not see how you can support Romney. He is using the same scare-tactics the Democrats have long used to impede any significant progress to relieve the fiscal burden the political establishment is content to leave on future generations of Americans.

Beyond Narrow Interests

From the Chicago Tribune's endorsement of John McCain (h/t MICC)

Four years ago, in mulling candidates for president, we wrote that U.S. voters often make choices based on their pet causes and economic interests. But, we said, citizens of a nation at war against genuine global threats don't have that luxury.

To reinforce the point we quoted a leader who wasn't on the ballot, John McCain: "So it is, whether we wished it or not, that we have come to the test of our generation, to our rendezvous with destiny. ... All of us, despite the differences that enliven our politics, are united in the one big idea that freedom is our birthright and its defense is always our first responsibility. All other responsibilities come second."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rudy and the New York Times Endorsement

I probably never did anything the New York Times suggested I do in eight years as mayor of New York City. And if I did, I wouldn't be considered a conservative Republican.

I changed welfare. I changed quality of life. I took on homelessness. I did all the things that they thought make you mean, and I believe show true compassion and true love for people.

I moved people from welfare to work. When I did that, when I set up workfare, the New York Times wrote nasty editorials about how mean I was, how cruel I was. I think there's a serious ideological difference.

- Rudy Giuliani at the debate on Thursday night.

Despite the many disagreements we have had with the Mayor over the last four years, we endorse his re-election enthusiastically.
- The New York Times Editorial Board, October 26, 1997.

The Pundicrats vs. McCain cont'd: Ideology vs. Virtue

Here's TPM's Josh Marshall with some clips and commentary



Michael Medved recently named right-wing talk radio the biggest loser in South Carolina's primary -

For more than a month, the leading conservative talkers in the country have broadcast identical messages in an effort to demonize Mike Huckabee and John McCain. If you’ve tuned in at all to Rush, Sean, Savage, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and two dozen others you’ve heard a consistent drum beat of hostility toward Mac and Huck. As always, led by Rush Limbaugh (who because of talent and seniority continues to dominate the medium) the talk radio herd has ridden in precisely the same direction, insisting that McCain and Huckabee deserve no support because they’re not “real conservatives.” A month ago, the angry right launched the slogan that Mike Huckabee is a “pro-life liberal.” More recently, after McCain’s energizing victory in New Hampshire, they trotted out the mantra that the Arizona Senator (with a life-time rating for his Congressional voting record of 83% from the American Conservative Union) is a “pro-war liberal.”

Well, the two alleged “liberals,” McCain and Huckabee just swept a total of 63% of the Republican vote in deeply conservative South Carolina. Meanwhile, the two darlings of talk radio -- Mitt Romney and, to a lesser extent, Fred Thompson—combined for an anemic 31% of the vote.


And in spite of Rush's dire warnings about the death of conservatism, Benjamin and Jenna Story write at the Weekly Standard why John McCain's resurgence is good for conservatism's future:
(h/t Donald Douglas)

SOME OF THE SHARPEST minds of conservative punditry have lately been whetting their knives on the candidacy of John McCain. The trend of these arguments is disturbing, because it indicates conservatism may be drifting far from its roots. The ire against McCain contains elements of two of the greatest fallacies of modern political thought: the notion that ideology can replace virtue as the mainstay of a decent regime, and the cynical assumption that virtue is not real but vanity in disguise.

The main current of opposition to McCain faults him for departures from strict free-market ideology. McCain's decisions about tax cuts, campaign finance, and greenhouse gas caps may be prudent or imprudent, and it is important to debate their practical effects on our economy and on our nation's well-being. Nonetheless, if conservatives succeed in marginalizing anyone who does not toe the doctrinaire line of their free market ideology, they will lose an important--indeed the most central and precious--aspect of their creed: the faith in the virtue of individuals to make a good society for themselves, rather than the faith in an ideology to make a good society for us. . .

Many think that the conservative movement is currently on shaky ground. In a perceived crisis, it is a human temptation is to run to ideologies to save the day. But conservative thought will be impoverished if its advocates close themselves in the "clean and well-lit prison of one idea," as G. K. Chesterton warned. To do so would be to fall prey to the fallacy that theories can govern men. Men must govern men, and men have characters, good or bad, and those characters are decisive for how the country is led. . .
UPDATE: Responding to the Weekly Standard article, at Burke's Corner:
The latter-day Jacobins of the GOP's hard right, the McCain-haters, have forgotten the wisdom of Burke, the father of conservatism. Governing is not about ideology - it is about virtue, prudence, moral judgment. Which is why McCain is the candidate of authentic conservatism.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New poll & mini film fest: When will Rudy drop out and endorse McCain ?

New poll question.
Back when his poll numbers were in double digits, Rudy was in the habit of saying this:



Well, now's your chance Rudy.

And just imagine, a few months back we were hearing rumors of this:



Hmm, interesting metaphor there Chris. Of course we all know how that story turned out.



Oh and Fred, when you get around to it, how about getting back to this:




. . . And finally, here's something for those whose participated in our last poll question: "What has been most annoying about FOX's GOP primary coverage ?"
Your response -

When Taxpayer-Funded Insurance Turns Catastrophic

Rudy Giuliani keeps touting his plan for National Catastrophic Insurance. It's supposed to help people out in case of catastrophe, but I wish someone at the debate last night had asked this:

Could this sort of tax-payer funded insurance actually worsen the results of a hurricane by creating perverse incentives for developers to build in high-risk areas, while damaging the ecological integrity of natural barriers such as barrier islands, dunes and wetlands?

Former congressman Tom Evans of the Florida Coalition for Preservation this summer wrote:

Action is needed at the federal and state levels to better protect taxpayers from paying the tab for irresponsible coastal development that damages the environment and endangers our citizens.

When President Reagan signed the Coastal Barrier Resources Act in 1982, which I had the honor of sponsoring in the Congress, we told developers point-blank that "if you develop on these fragile barrier islands, you should do so on your own nickel and not the American taxpayer." In that spirit, Congress should consider expanding the Coastal Barrier Resources Act to eliminate all federal subsidies, including federal flood insurance or transportation funding, going to high-density developments on storm-prone barrier islands where such development explodes the population of a small area and dangerously stresses the surrounding infrastructure.

State lawmakers also have an important role. They should enact a policy similar to the Coastal Barrier Resources Act and ban state subsidies to new construction on barrier islands where such new construction greatly increases the population density of a small area.

If Florida truly wants to pave the way for a national catastrophe fund to spread the risk of natural disasters across the country, the state should lead by example. The state undermines the credibility of its argument when it continues to use taxpayer dollars to sanction and subsidize ill-advised barrier island developments in hurricane alley. Continuing this practice will likely alienate residents of inland states who could question why taxpayers in Peoria, IL, should assume the risk of building new oceanfront condos in South Florida destroyed by seasonal hurricanes.

If Floridians want inland states to throw in their lot with them and pool their insurance catastrophe risk in a national fund, we must prove that we are responsible enough to limit new development to risk-appropriate locations.

Now in the 2007 hurricane season, we must realize that our barrier islands are not those places. We must not play Russian Roulette with people's lives and property. Unfortunately, that's exactly what we do when we put people in harm's way on vulnerable barrier islands. And that's no place for us to use limited taxpayer resources.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Parents accused of kidnapping child from the Reich

Family decides Iran has more educational freedom, reports Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily.

The family son, Marian, has been homeschooled since 2006, taking theater, "gifted and talented courses," foreign languages, gymnastics, horseback riding and music. He obtained a certificate from the Children's College of Rheinland-Pfalz – Gifted and Talented Center last summer stating that he "integrates himself very quickly into the groups … and has made some friendships here." It describes the student as "a friendly, highly motivated child, achieving very good results…"

But local school officials objected to the program of education for Marian, the family letter said.

"Because the public school authority of Wiesbaden has no suitable schools for a highly gifted and talented child such as our Marian, they, along with Child Protective Services, wanted to force him to attend the Special Education branch Friedrich-von-Schiller School for children with behavioral problems and for low performing children," the letter said.

Marian already had experience at that school, because it was there when he was 6 that he was struck by a teacher who later faced a criminal complaint making accusations of Willful Aggravated Battery in Office, the family said.

"Because we resisted the educational poverty, the boredom and the violence in the schools, Child Protective Services moved in Family Court to strip us of custody of our son and place him in a foster home, in an illegitimate trial without our being present or having an opportunity to present the circumstances from our perspective, so that the state could destroy and make pliable the mind of a gifted and talented child who intellectually stood in their way," the letter said.

Said the bureaukraut: "After all, parents cannot be allowed to begin to think independently about their children's failure in school . . ."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John McCain and the Meaning of Pro-Life

In a recent article endorsing John McCain and his defense of human dignity, Gerard V. Bradley - Law Professor at Notre Dame, and a long-time pro-life advocate - makes some observations about the nature of being pro-lfe that are important not just for this election season, but for an awareness of what being truly pro-life must mean in this day and age

The best pro-life choice for president cannot be decided solely by counting up votes about straight-on life issues. If it were I would add to the list of life issues the matter of torture. Though death is a risk with perhaps few contemporary “harsh interrogation” techniques, all torture raises questions about the meaning of human dignity and the immunity of all persons against unjustified physical attack. In other words, torture is a life issue, too. Though not nearly so important as abortion, it is nonetheless important in its own way. A candidate’s stand on torture is revealing of his (or her) whole approach to moral questions.

. . . and also about what is means to embrace the sanctity of life on a personal, practical level

I believe that there is a profound lesson here about what it means to be pro-life, a lesson which goes beyond the important (but obvious) fact that the McCains live by the same principles which lie behind John’s voting record. “Little Bridget” was not sought out by the McCains. She was not expected or planned for. She was an unanticipated gift whom the McCains welcomed, not because she was antecedently “wanted” by them, but because she was a baby, a unique and unrepeatable human being with a right to life because she is a human being and not because some other people’s plans include her — or don’t.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Confederate Abortionists Against McCain

The Pink Flamingos has been following the attacks by anti-immigrant folks against McCain (& Sen. Lindsey Graham) in South Carolina. It's a fascinating read, that also brings up some larger questions for the GOP:

Why do anti-abortion conservatives endorse an agenda by one of the most ardent supporters of abortion there is? Why do small government conservatives basically demand a creation of 'BigBrother' to monitor anyone who isn't a certain color or racial mix? Why do conservatives who constantly complain about government intervention into private affairs demand government intrude in every business in the country in order to remove all illegal aliens?

Medved on Limbaugh, Hannity vs. McCain, Coburn

Michael Medved asks what is evidence of true conservative leadership_? :

Who gets to define which candidate counts as a “real conservative”?

Should we listen to talk radio titans and sharp-tongued pundettes who’ve never held public office?

Or does it make more sense to listen to idealistic elected officials who toil every day to put conservative principles into practice? . . .

When it comes to evaluating McCain, I don’t expect Republicans to trust me – any more than they should trust my fellow talk hosts and commentators. But they should listen carefully to heroes like Tom Coburn, the Senator from Oklahoma who’s universally esteemed as one of the strongest conservative voices in Washington. Coburn has earned a lifetime rating of 97.8 from the American Conservative Union (McCain himself drew an admirable lifetime number of 83—virtually identical to Fred Thompson’s 86.) And earlier this week the Oklahoman endorsed his Arizona colleague for President.
. . .
The truth is that some of the most outstanding conservatives in recent Senate history have come together with Senator Coburn to campaign for McCain – including Phil Gramm of Texas (co-chair of the national McCain campaign), John Kyl of Arizona, John Thune of South Dakota, Dan Coats of Indiana, Trent Lott of Mississippi, Slade Gorton of Washington, Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, and a dozen others.

Several of the most dynamic Republican and conservative governors of our time are working actively in the McCain campaign – including Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jon Huntsman of Utah, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Frank Keating of Oklahoma, Tom Kean of New Jersey, Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, and more.

In other words, conservatives who know him best attest to McCain’s consistency, his character, and his Reaganite world-view. Those associates, enthusiastically promoting McCain’s candidacy, count for more than strident and angry talkers who know McCain not at all.

Most impressive to me is the way that even Senators who’ve disagreed with McCain can attest to his integrity and effectiveness in their battles.

Senator Coburn, for instance, did not support the comprehensive immigration reform bill so passionately promoted by Senator McCain and by President Bush. Nevertheless, after the push for reform collapsed in the Senate, Coburn wrote an admiring blog on National Review Online about McCain’s role.

“As the American people, elected officials, and the commentators reflect on the heated immigration debate that came to a temporary close in the Senate this week, many will ask, and have asked, why U.S. Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) staked out a position that may in retrospect be seen as devastating to his presidential ambitions. I hope the American people, at least, step back from the obsessive play-by-play pre-season election analysis and reflect on Senator McCain’s actions for what I believe they were: One of the purest examples of political courage seen in Washington in a very, very long time.”

Read the whole thing.

McCain playing the victim in SC? - OR Not going to be one this time!

So John Martin at Politico thinks John McCain is overreacting, because 2008 isn't as bad as 2000.

My response:

Okay so it isn't as bad as last time - so what should McCain say to those who are still attacking his character and patriotism? He didn't push back last time and he got screwed over. John McCain anticipated a lot of attacks based on his experience in 2000 and the fact that you still have these push-polls, and you have these fliers sent out by folks who say he's a lying traitor or a brainwashed communist just like the John Birch Society said of Eisenhower, and you have South Carolina's king of nasty campaigns working for the Romney camp. Maybe he's just a little sick of all this nonsense and he's not going to stand for it anymore - is that so bad?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sen. Coburn gives some straight talk on politics.

First of all, you've got to respect any U.S. Senator in this day and age who's not afraid to grow a beard.



"The truth is what counts."
What will your vote count for this November?

Romney was against the extremists before he sold out to them

Yes, I keep posting about Romney, but let's face it, he's so gosh darn golly interesting - things keep popping up!

The Boston Globe has a reprint of Romney talking in 1994 about why he's the candidate gays should support. Now while I don't totally agree with what he said, I'm a libertarian-leaning big-tent type, so if he still had these positions it wouldn't really be much of a problem for me.

And he said something that I think all Republicans should consider:

"I think that extremists who would force their views on the party and try to shape the party are making a mistake. I welcome people of all views in the party, but I don’t want them to try to change our party from being a large tent, inclusive party, to being one that is exclusive.”
Do you think he ever said anything like that recently, maybe to Hugh Hewitt or Tom Tancredo? Now even Ann Coulter has abandoned Duncan Hunter in favor of Mitt's bright newfound smiling reactionary smear politics.

I believe Mitt Romney has a better side than what he's shown recently in the campaign. But what he's shown is that when it comes down to the prize, he doesn't seem to care what damage he does to others' or his own reputation. In pursuit of the Republican nomination, he's forgotten what it means to be a broadminded individual in order to appeal to the self-annointed gatekeepers - the "True Conservatives" Michael Schuyler writes about here:
True Conservatives are always right. Rush is Right; Sean is right. Anyone who differs is wrong. End-of-story. True Conservatives are also right about everything. It doesn’t matter whether the discussion is about abortion or a fifty cent rise in property taxes, about immigration or the proper positioning of God in the Pledge of Allegiance. . . True Conservatives never compromise. Any compromise is seen as a betrayal of Conservative Truth, therefore compromise is simply impossible. Even talking about compromise is disallowed. And conciliation? Impossible. It is a sign of weakness, of True Conservative betrayal. It cannot be tolerated. It cannot be tolerated at any price.
. . . A True Conservative can’t win.The very things that Sean, Rush and their buddies are accusing McCain for now are all out the window for November. The very things McCain does to infuriate them are the very things that draw moderates, Independents, and right-leaning Democrats to him. His willingness to compromise, his willingness to work with Democrats, his well-known willingness at reconciliation—even to the North Vietnamese who tortured him for five years, are legendary. An extremist will never get anything done in a divided country. John McCain can.

Romney Wins by Campaigning Against Economic Liberty

By now you may have heard some of Romney's . . . devastating economic record as Governor of Massachusetts.

But in his race for the GOP nomination, he's putting his big government - big mandate - "taxachusetts" record behind him, right?

Maybe not.

Ross Douthat points out the economic fascism (big government + big industry) aspects of Romney's campaign promises to fix the economy. Romney's rhetoric

appeals to voters in places like Michigan precisely because it goes much further to the left than Mike Huckabee's substance-free talk about how the current period of economic growth isn't doing all that well by the working class, or John McCain's straight talk about how Michiganders can't expect the federal government to bring back the glory days of Chrysler and GM.

Cato's Jerry Taylor asks
What does it say about the Republican Party when the leading fusionist conservative in the field - Mitt Romney, darling of National Review and erstwhile heir to Ronald Reagan - runs and wins a campaign arguing that the federal government is responsible for all of the ills facing the U.S. auto industry, that the taxpayer should pony up the corporate welfare checks going to Detroit and increase them by a factor of five, that the federal government can and should move heaven and earth to save “every job” at risk in this economy . . . ?
Publius Endures points out not only that Romney has no appeal to libertarians, but also that Romney lost to McCain among voters who were the most unsatified with the current economy (as, I recently noted, he did in New Hampshire).

Let me just admit, for myself, I can't figure out exactly why so many people are voting for this guy.

If all you want is tax cuts* without restraint in spending, maybe Romney is fine (*so long as you don't mind "fees"). If you want to blame your woes on immigration, Romney's your man. If you like the idea of government and industry coming together to spend more of your money and increase the deficit while hurting trade, Romney's right up your alley.

But if you value economic freedom, an end to favors for monied interests, and frugality in government, vote McCain.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Just ask the Senate's"Dr. No"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Beyond Michigan: McCain has a future, Romney . . . eh, not so much

Yeah, I'm disappointed. You bet. Even angry for a few minutes.
Michigan went for empty promises over truth and heroism.

Though, I should point out that at least there was a majority of voters who did *not* vote for Romney.

I really wanted to come home after a long day and celebrate a little.


But this thing is far from over, and we need to keep each of these primaries in perspective.
As "The McCain Times" noted today

Polls have put Romney slightly ahead of McCain… and Democrats (including the DailyKos) are pushing for their voters to cross party-lines and vote Romney in order to create chaos for Republicans.

But it doesn’t matter that much if he wins. It is absurd to celebrate winning your homestate, where your dad was governor, and where you’ve outspent your opposition by a 7-1 margin. A Romney win means that he can continue on until February 5th, but he won’t be the nominee.

Furthermore, McCain finished a strong second where he was polling in fourth place about a month ago. And it's looks like he'll be coming out of Michigan with a number of delegates as well (Right now CNN has him with 9 to Romney's 12).

What's next?

South Carolina, where it looks to be between McCain and Huckabee.

Nevada, also on Saturday (where it's anyone's guess at this point).

And then Florida, where it looks to be between McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee.

Last before "Super Tuesday" on Feb 5 is the Maine Caucus. I'm guessing McCain is the best bet here, especially considering he has the endorsement of both of Maine's Senators (Collins and Snowe) as well as Fmr. Gov. McKernan.

So in the run up to Super Tuesday, John McCain is the only one who is competitive in all four contests. Romney's only chance before then is Nevada.

And as for Super Tuesday? Well, that's predicting ahead quite a bit, but at least McCain is ahead nationally by about 10 percent, and is competitive in a few places he wasn't supposed to be.

Giuliani was supposed to have California and New Jersey locked up.

But the latest two polls have McCain leading in California.

And the latest poll in New Jersey has McCain leading there too.

Of course, Romney may have a little post-Michigan bounce in the polls, draw in some new money. And well, I suppose it's nice for him and his family that he could win one of his home states anyway.

He sure ain't got no chance in Massachusetts.

Monday, January 14, 2008

John McCain Gets It - on Jobs, Taxes and Freedom

John McCain spoke on Saturday to Americans for Prosperity in Livonia, Michigan

His prepared remarks were excellent - but his delivery was extraordinary.

He even seeks out questions from his critics.


There are things Democrats, and even some Republicans, don't seem to get.

John McCain gets it.

John McCain gets the connection between regulation and jobs. He gets the connection between taxes and spending and jobs. He gets the connection between taxes and freedom and jobs and reforming health care.

And he gets the connections between trade and jobs and foreign policy.

"Tough times breed fear, my friends, and we are hearing the fear-mongers say that Michigan cannot compete on global markets. Those voices ignore the lesson of history that any nation that turns to protectionism hurts itself in the end. We need to continue to lower barriers to trade because ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside the United States. We need to have competitive manufacturing through lower health care costs, lower taxes, and opening new markets. Our future prosperity depends on our competitiveness.

* * * * * * * * * *

It would be a mistake to view economic relations with China in isolation. I am concerned that China through its piracy of US intellectual property is also building itself into a military superpower that has already developed the capability to shoot down satellites. We will only be successful in getting China to meet its international economic obligations by engaging it on the full range of issues involved in our relations -- from suppression of personal and religious freedoms, to relations with North Korea and Iran, to its rising influence in Africa -- which will determine whether China will emerge as a responsible or irresponsible world power. I have the experience in these areas that will also serve to ensure that American workers -- the most productive worker in the world -- will be even more competitive.

* * * * * * * * * *

Our country's dangerous dependence on foreign oil threatens both our national security and our environment, not to mention the terribly injurious effect high oil prices has on our economy. The transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars of American wealth to the Middle East helps sustain the conditions on which terrorists prey. Some of the most oil-rich nations are the most stagnant societies on earth. As long as petro-dollars flow freely to them those regimes have little incentive to open their politics and economies so that all their people may benefit from their countries' natural wealth.

John McCain wants to retrain workers for lost jobs. Instead of creating a new program, with more spending, McCain's program is fundamentally conservative, reminiscent of the welfare reform of 1996:

"Right now we have a dozen different programs for displaced workers and others out of a job. Our unemployment insurance program was designed to assist workers through a few tough months during an economic downturn until their old jobs came back. We need programs that work in the world we live in today.

If I'm elected President, I'll work with Congress and the states to overhaul unemployment insurance and make it a program for retraining, relocating and assisting workers who have lost a job that's not coming back to find a job that won't go away. We need to better connect training with business knowledge and needs. As I talk to business people and education experts I hear again and again that community colleges do a great job of providing the right skills to workers and the right workers for firms. We should take greater advantage of this record of success. And we can trust workers to choose. We need to transform rigid training programs to approaches that can be used to meet the bills, pay for training, and get back to work."