Monday, August 25, 2008

Let's Look at the Big Picture

If you're like me, you've been watching this presidential race very closely, terrified at the prospect of Barack Obama as president, but less than enthusiastic about John Mccain. As the party conventions begin, it's very easy to get emotional about these things.

Because I despise most Democrats and the drive-by media, and because I believe that Barack Obama is an arrogant, socialist jerk, I have a strong desire to see his campaign fail. I also believe that Obama with an all-Democratic Congress would spell disaster for this country. For these reasons, I'm naturally inclined to support John Mccain, no matter who he chooses for VP.

The challenge with this kind of thinking is that it tends to cloud us from seeing the big picture. What I mean is, one of two scenarios is going to occur in November: Barack Obama or John Mccain will be elected president. Let's examine both possible scenarios.

If Mccain is elected, us Republicans will be delighted in the short term. We will have defeated another near-socialist and avoided disaster for America for another 4 years. We will have the drive-bys seething and screaming racism after Obama's defeat. It will be especially satisfying after being told all year how much the political tide was against us.

The long-term effect, however, is not so certain. Though we win a short-term battle, what kind of president do we really get with Mccain? His record indicates that, above most everything else, he's a Democrat appeaser. He will be constantly compromising with a Democrat-controlled legislature and not fighting real heard for conservative principles. Republicans will have to go along cause he will be the leader of our party.

We are likely to get a horrible immigration amnesty bill, mediocre supreme court justices, and very questionable economic policies. I'm confident Mccain will be strong on foreign policy, but that's the only thing I believe he has any real convictions about.

The end result could be worsening economic times being blamed on conservatism when in reality the Democrats' policies will be truly to blame. We could end of in a deep recession along with a mess of other problems, all being blamed on Republicans.

On top of that, conservatives will be on the outs in the Republican party. Mccain and his moderate allies like Lindsay Graham will do their best to marginalize conservatives and cause more and more rank and file Republicans to bolt the party. All this would be long-term disaster for the Republican Party and the country.

If Barack Obama is elected, it will make me sick to my stomach. The liberals and drive-bys will gloat for months and it will be a stinging defeat for the Republican Party. Also, the damage inflicted by total Democratic rule can't be understated; activist federal and supreme court justices, out of control social spending, cuts to the military, much higher taxes, higher gas prices, a crippled economy. We will definitely be in for some short-term pain.

On the flip-side, this could be the best thing to happen to the conservative movement since Bill Clinton. In 2010, with all blame for America's failures going to the Democrats, we have a chance to totally reshuffle the deck in the mid-term elections. It would also wake America up to exactly how far to the left the Democratic Party really is. This could do more than anything else to bring Reagan Democrats permanently over to the Republican Party.

I know it's a risky proposition. You never want to give up the presidency to these lunatic Democrats without a strong fight. For this reason, I would still prefer a Mccain victory, but it's nice to know that, in the case of defeat, we have a consolation prize of a long-term victory.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

With Romney Out, Mccain Faces Uphill Battle Winning Conservatives

Mitt Romney dropped out of the GOP race today, ending hopes for conservatives of getting a candidate for the general election they can "live with." Former Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee remains in the race, but his time is short. If he stays in for more than a couple weeks, it will be clear to everyone what most of us suspect, Huckabee is selfish and wants enough delegates to hold the GOP hostage for the vice-presidential spot.

As for Romney, he left with grace, giving a very well-received speech at the conservative CPAC convention. He said he bowed out for the good of the party and the country, not wanting our nation to fall into the hands of the likes of Clinton or Obama when we are facing such a serious threat from radical Islam. Romney set himself up for a run in 2012, should Mccain not win the presidency, and look for him to endorse and perhaps pledge his delegates to Mccain in the near future.

Going forward, Sen Mccain has alot of work to do winning over conservatives. Even after his nomination became inevitable, he still faced sharp criticism from talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh and others. He is also being attacked by evangelical leader Dr James Dobson, who is about to finally endorse Huckabee. Dr Dobson says that he wont vote for Mccain under any circumstances.

This leaves quite a dilemma for Mccain. He needs both conservatives and evangelicals to win the presidency. Although there is alot of crossover between these two groups (including myself), there are many differences. Mccain needs to reach out graciously to both groups and try to win the endorsements of people that both camps highly respect.

Mccain's most important move will be his choice for VP. This is a tricky one. To motivate evangelicals, Mike Huckabee would be the perfect choice. But Huckabee is considered very weak on foreign policy and economic issues by many conservatives, so choosing him would do nothing to satisfy those two branches of the conservative movement.

Fred Thompson would be a great choice for conservative appeal. He has all the conservative credentials and a very likable personality. The potential drawback is his perceived lack of energy and lack of appeal to evangelicals. In fact, Dobson had said earlier that he didn't like Fred Thompson.

At this point, Mccain may want to think outside the box and look at someone like Alaska Gov Sarah Palin. I don't know alot about her, but I'm told she is a very good-looking, articulate conservative and evangelical Christian. If I were Mccain, I'd be taking a serious look at her (in more ways than one).

Whoever Mccain chooses, he has alot of work to do to unite conservatives behind his candidacy. In the end, the one thing that may save him is his opponent, if it happens to be Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday Results: GOP race over, Dem Still Too Close to Call

Ok, the results tonight point to one simple fact on the GOP side, this race is over. Romney did his best, but was never able to close the sale with conservatives. Even though he was the most conservative candidate remaining, voters just didn't believe it.

Not to say there wasn't good reason for skepticism. Romney was Gov of liberal Mass. and, even if you didn't know his specific record, you would have to assume that he must have taken some liberal positions to win a statewide election in that state. He was branded a flip-flopper and his Mormonism didn't help with evangelicals.

Huckabee won 4 southern states tonight, better than expected. He did a nice job blocking for Mccain. Those two along with the "drive-by" media managed to manipulate the party of Ronald Reagan into nominating a center-left candidate. The people have spoken, and they will get the candidate they deserve.

On the Democratic side, things are just getting warmed up. Nothing was solved tonight. Clinton and Obama will come away with plenty of delegates and reasons for optimism. Obama's campaign believes the remaining schedule is favorable to them, so a "break-even" tonight is ok. We still need to see the final numbers from California to know if Clinton can claim any kind of victory tonight. Stay tuned, this thing could go all the way to convention.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Conservatives of the World Unite?

It's finally down to 2 candidates on each side leading up to the all-important Super Tuesday primary. I know there are still 4 names on the GOP ballot, but the choice is really simple: John McCain or Mitt Romney.

Let's be clear. Mike Huckabee is finished as a presidential contender. He is only in the race at this point to be a stalking horse for John McCain and angle to be vice on McCain's ticket. A vote for Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul is a vote for John McCain, plain and simple.

It's come down to a choice. Do we want the candidate we think is the most conservative or the candidate that we think can win? Do we want the guy the GOP establishment and "drive-by" media is shoving down our throats or the guy who is outside the establishment and promising to shake up Washington?

Let's take a closer look at these two. Sen John McCain has some good points. Steadfast support of the Iraq war and advocate of the most recent surge. Consistent pro-life voting record. Budget hawk, hates pork-barrel spending. Promises to reduce it. His problems are fairly well-known-advocate of amnesty for illegal immigrants, McCain-Feingold, McCain-Leiberman, etc.

The thing that makes this thing so complicated is that I honestly don't think those issues are all that major. I mean, President Bush has the exact same position on immigration, yet I had no problem supporting him in 2000 and 2004. The most recent debate this past Wednesday at the Reagan Library in California reminded people of the main reason why conservatives have a hard time supporting John McCain, he's an a**hole!

This guy is a total jerk. He beats Romney by a hair in Fla, then he acts smug and arrogant at the debate a couple days later. He seems to have this love for attacking fellow Republicans and gets off on the reaction he gets from the media. Seeing this kind of stuff incenses me and I'm sure many others and causes us to question his stability as president.

I think the reason Mitt Romney hasn't united the conservative base behind him and against McCain is simple, he doesn't have a conservative record as governor of Massachusetts. I suspect that if he did, he never would have been elected there in the first place and would have likely been thrown out of office.

McCain's accusation that Romney is a flip-flopper has stuck to a certain extent. It makes it very hard for conservatives to rally around a guy like that. Mitt Romney definitely has some great qualities, especially his business credentials, and he's got all the right positions now, but there's something missing.

I can't put my finger on it, but I just don't feel all that enthusiastic about Romney. As president though, I would definitely prefer him over McCain. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that McCain has about a 70% chance of locking up the nomination next Tuesday.

In my view, the only force that can stop McCain is the new media-talk radio and the blogosphere. Conservative talk-radio is largely opposed to McCain and I expect them to mobilize strongly for Romney this week. But is it enough to overcome McCain's advantage? In this crazy election season, anything's possible.

I do believe it's worth a shot. If McCain is worth trying to stop, and I think he is, now is the time to do it. Even if we don't succeed, if we can at least force him to reach out to conservatives and show some grace and humility once in a while, it will be worth the effort.

So now is the time. Conservatives of the world unite! If you're in a primary state next Tuesday, vote Romney!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Frontrunner May Finally Emerge after Florida Primary

We're on the eve of the most important primary to date in the GOP field and here's where we stand. In the last week, this has essentially become a two-man race between Sen John Mccain and former Mass Gov Mitt Romney. There are about 9 or 10 polls out there on the Florida race and almost all of them have it within the margin of error. Rudy Giuliani is a distant third and Huckabee right behind him in fourth.

So what does all this mean? Well, it's been very unpredictable so far, so it stands to reason that there will be a few more twists and turns on the road to the nomination. At the very least, the winner of Florida is likely to be the GOP frontrunner going into Super Tuesday. What's unclear is who that person will be.

At this point, if I had to make a prediction, I'd say the likely winner is Romney, because, with the faltering economy, he seems to have the issues on his side. Though Mccain picked up the endorsements of the Florida GOP establishment, I believe he hurt himself by launching a smear on Romney over the weekend, saying that Romney had previously favored timetables for Iraq withdrawal, as the Democrats had. Even many in the "drive-by" media acknowledged that this was a lie.

Mccain's motive was clear; shift the focus off of the economy, his self-admitted weak point, and back onto his strength, which is the war in Iraq, at least among Republicans. He could have honestly said that he was a stronger supporter of the surge than Romney or any other Republican. By trying to smear Romney like this, I think he lost the respect of many who believed he was an honest, straight talker.

I would not count Rudy out yet in this Florida race. He has been there almost 2 months collecting absentee and early ballots. Word is that roughly 1 million Floridians have already voted, and the Giuliani campaign believes they have a significant lead among those that have already cast their ballots. I have serious doubts as to whether he can sustain that lead in the wake of the latest dismal poll numbers, but, stranger things have happened.

I believe the best result at this point would be a Romney victory. I know I've stated that I believed Mccain is the more electable candidate, but his latest antics make him very hard to like. I will vote for him against Hillary or Obama, but I think the best remaining candidate for the future of the conservative movement is Mitt Romney.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fred's Out. What's Next for the GOP?

Ok, it's no surprise after the weak third place finish in SC, but Fred Thompson has dropped out of the GOP race for president. What does this mean? Well, this means that the only candidate with bona fide conservative credentials on all the issues is out of the race. So where does this leave us? With four viable candidates, none of which most of us are likely to be happy with.

Thompson's exit comes at a good time for Mitt Romney. With the economy tanking and the Huckabee campaign running on fumes, Mitt's the most likely choice for Fredheads who decide to vote at all. I would guess that a plurality of Thompson supporters will go to Mitt Romney, but not an overwhelming majority.

One surprise about Fred's departure is that he didn't endorse his good friend John Mccain. One would think that since Thompson was one of the few senators to endorse Mccain in 2000, he would almost certainly do it again. What does this say about Mccain's candidacy? Apparently, Mccain is not enough of a true conservative for Thompson to endorse him.

Mike Huckabee could have benefited from Fred leaving, but apparently the campaign is out of money and not advertising at all in Florida because it's too expensive. After his close second finish behind Mccain in SC, I would have thought the Huckster could compete in Florida, I guess I was wrong.

Huckabee didn't help himself with Fred's supporters by essentially blaming Thompson for Huckster's loss in SC, as if Thompson didn't really have a right to be there and should have dropped earlier. I would argue that the opposite is true. Huckster's conservative costume party is what doomed the chances of the only legitimate conservative in the race, Fred Thompson. What comes around goes around.

Anyway, it's now pretty much a three man race. Disaster averted by Huckster's decline and lost opportunity with Fred's departure. So we are left with Mccain, Romney and Giuliani. Also, if Rudy fails to win Florida, it could quickly become a two man race.

In a previous post, I reluctantly endorsed the candidacy of John Mccain as the most "electable" candidate. I'm starting to revisit that opinion. With the trouble in the economy emerging as a primary issue in this campaign, people are going to be looking for someone who can take the lead on that issue.

Mitt Romney looks like the candidate best equipped to speak with authority on and deal with an ailing economy. He could run circles around either Dem candidate on that issue next fall. He is also solid on foreign policy.

Rudy is fine on both those issues as well, the problem is he's pro-choice. I still find it very difficult to support a candidate who is pro the murder of unborn children. If he doesn't see anything wrong with the horrific procedure of abortion, there is something wrong with his judgment.

So now I'm down to Romney vs. Mccain. Neither were my first choice. Both I can live with. We'll see if either is the front-runner after Florida.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mccain's Narrow Victory in SC Fails to Secure Front Runner Status

Sen John Mccain won a hard-fought victory in South Carolina today, giving him 19 more delegates to the convention and some momentum going into the crucial Florida primary on Jan 29. Mccain had 33% of the vote to Mike Huckabee's 30%. Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney battled for third with 16% and 15% respectively.

While it is a big win for Mccain, who needed to prove that he could expand his reach beyond New Hampshire, but it wasn't the margin of victory he needed to clearly establish front-runner status and deliver a knock-out blow to one or two of the other candidates. Former Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee finished a close second, keeping his candidacy very much alive. Huckabee also polled even with Mccain among Republicans, while Mccain won among independents, again fueling the theory that Mccain can't secure a majority of Republicans in a primary.

Fred Thompson had a very disappointing finish. With all the time and effort spent in this state and the fact that South Carolina should have been a natural fit for him, finishing in a virtual tie for distant third is not a good result. He may decide to continue, but his hopes for raising money and competing effectively on Super Tuesday are very much dimmed.

Mitt Romney's finish is also a disappointment, considering the amount of resources he poured into this state, but he made a wise move after Michigan by lowering expectations in South Carolina and focusing on winning in Nevada. Nevada was not as high profile, by Romney netted at least 17 of 31 delegates, almost equaling the 19 Mccain gained in SC.

The results today mean that, going into Florida on Jan 29, we still have four viable GOP candidates. Mitt Romney has the highest delegate count so far and the most resources to compete in Florida and Super Tuesday. Like many New Yorkers, Rudy has been wintering down in Florida, sitting out the first group of primaries, and waiting for the others to arrive.

Rudy's fortunes hinge on winning in Florida. Florida is a winner take all state and the winner of Florida's 57 delegates will presumably have the momentum going into Super Tuesday. Rudy's been down there campaigning and collecting absentee ballots for weeks, so he should have a big edge. The downside is that if he loses, he is in very bad shape for the Feb 5 showdown.

The latest poll averages in the sunshine state show Mccain, Giuliani, Romney and Huckabee within six points of each other, just outside the margin of error. A surge in momentum by any of the four could carry them to victory.