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February 09, 2007



Did Clarice turn into the Herman thing and who else was having those dreams or is that a nightmare?

Dan S

It's also interesting that neither Ike nor Reagan were all that conservative socially (Reagan more so, but one could argue it came with age.) compared to the day's norm then.

Reagan took quite a lot of flack from conservatices in the early campaign, as I recall. And he IS now our icon. He was strong on basic priciples and tended to avoid getting too specific (a good thing at the federal level, on the whole).

If I felt Rudy was going to operate that way I'd unabashedly support him. I'm not convinced. He could go the Bush Sr route. But I'm open to being convinced because there's a lot there to like, and, in any case, as the day draws nigh he may well prove the least of evils on the more specific issues.

And he knows how to campaign against real liberals.


I like Rudy. I despise Hillary. If my choice is Rudy, who I think can beat Hillary, or Duncan Hunter, a true conservative, who can't beat Hillary? Guess where I'm going. Sorry Duncan, maybe someday when Hillary isn't the other choice.


PS...I don't think McCain can beat Hillary without his maverick label. And he is trying his damndest to lose it in order to win the base. I won't vote for McCain. For so many reasons. I hope he knows that the base, me!, doesn't trust him.

Dan S

Heh, I know I'm dreaming, but I want to see a G2 ticket.


Rudy is my choice too, but I'm nervous for him. People who know him well and have worked for him say that he is NOT a good guy and there are lots and lots of skeletons in his closet - and I don't think they are talking multiple marriages and his stand on gays. Of course they won't tell me specifics so who knows?

Carol Herman


Among the early birds, I see Guiliani with the best shot of going the entire distance.

His ONE gift is that he is "very off the cuff" with the press. He's as gifted as The Gipper! And, he's actually campaigning, now, like the Gipper did, from 1974 through 1980. (He didn't let that Gerald Ford thing derail him. And, he also refused the advice from his friends to "go independent.")

Up to now Guiliani's greatest fame comes from 9/11.

As to the conservatives, they have no chance in fielding a like-able candidate that could go the distance. That's why Schwartzenegger won out in the election that tossed Grey Davis. And, not the guy who put up the loot to get that ballot measure passed. (Real GOP voters look at a candidate's POTENTIAL for winning. They don't vote "favorites.")

Now, none of us know the outcome to the Libby Trial. But just like 9/11 provided Guiliani with a stage where he managed to "delegate" out all the powers that brought the cleanup in, in 9 month's time. And, on TV he was the most assuring character, there. Not just for New York City. But the entire country picked this up.

There was one shot of Bubba, at Ground Zero, biting his lip. And, not he, not hilllary, nor Chelsea, made it to the point where Americans looked to them for anything. In other words? 9/11 was not a "controlled media stage."

And, the next one up? LIBBY'S TRIAL the day the verdict comes in! Here, Guiliani will EXCEL. I predict that.

I can't predict health issues. I can't predict the future. But Guiliani has a real shot at BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER.


I totally agree with your statement regarding Rudy. I believe he is the only one who can beat Hil and in New York I believe he would get more of that state's vote than any other candidate. I like McCain but I think his age goes against him here.


Of course they won't tell me specifics so who knows?

Great. Maybe Rudy and Hill can get together and work out some kind of agreement about closets and skeletons. ::grin::


About Tom's point, I think all Republicans/conservatives now realize we are mired in Iraq beyond what we needed to be, because of a lack of personal oversight from the executive - in which case, some more personal oversight seems like a solution - at least in the immediate future. It's possible that it will end up as too much of an overreaction, however.

OTOH, won't it be a pleasure to have an articulate speaker and debater as head of the Admin.

Jane, I've heard the same from people who worked with him, that he was a real SOB on the personal level. And he certainly overreached to destroyed the lives of various individuals when he was a prosecutor.

Anonymous Liberal

Rudy Giuliani's closet is overflowing with skeletons, his personal life is a slow-motion trainwreck, and his liberal positions on social issues, gun control, immigration are not widely known. McCain has hired every dirty campaign operative the GOP has to offer and will have every incentive to blow the Giuliani campaign out of the water. It will get very ugly. Pass the popcorn.

Carol Herman


Shows ya, the goof balls go to the closets to find "information" there.

Fitzgerald has a bigger closet. Go look at how he spends time in the Confessional; to break the web of lies he's woven.

Heck, sometimes, only the priest knows about the nature of your true character.

And, Guiliani? Was married to a cousin, at first. Like Fitzgerald, those catholic boys are afraid to look below the belly buttons of dames. They pick what the nuns tell them about females is true. And, it's not.

The second wife? Donna Hanover? A bitch on wheels. And, Guiliani? A MASTER OF COURT ROOM TECHNIQUES!

Here. Let me show ya. Guiliani got a $3-million-dollar book deal. AFTER the divorce! And, Donna came to the table and demanded HALF. Bright man. Said, GIVE HER ALL. And, pushed the money towards her. Since she was also caring for their young son.

The only GOPster who did NOT FIRE ANYBODY, was Ronald Reagan! Still, when the DC crowd went after all his friends, Lyn Nofziger (who was a DREAM of a man. And, who wrote a book about what he knew), said it was sad that Reagan never protected his friends from the lunacy of the left's lawyers. He went nearly bankcrupt.

After this Libby trial is over, it is going to be necessary to get good men to come to DC. Where they give up high paying jobs. And, then they face the media crap.

OR? Hello. The Internet will work wonders at clearing out the old hippy dippies and dead-heads, from their perches of power.

THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. At the end of the storm, the weather is clear, again. Don't trust me? Go read a book about Lincoln. Lyn Nofziger's book was mesmerizing, too.)


And he knows how to campaign against real liberals.

That says it all for me. Only someone that can get in their gutter even stands a shot this time.


... ya sound a bit scared anonymous libber!

The stories on Rudy are just that... stories! He didn't become a 2 term Mayor of NY, if his closet was that full.

People loved him in NY before 9/11 and all 9/11 showed was another side of him to love.

He'll wipe that bitch Hillary on the floor!


Hillary's worst nightmare is running against Guiliani. Had he stayed in the Senate race in New York -she would have been toast. I still remember the New Yorker front cover that had Hil walking through the woods and Guiliani as the big bear out to get her.Let's make it a subway election


It is ridiculous to hear people say we shouldn't run a conservative because only Guiliani (or whoever) can beat Hillary. That makes no sense. Guiliani is probably the least likely candidate to beat Clinton. The positions he takes that appeal to "moderates" mirror Clinton's negating any advantage. No liberals will cross over to vote for Guiliani based on his social positions. Some conservatives will ignore this race if the Republicans run a candidate that isn't much different then the Dem. You can laugh at the anonymous liberal who brought up Rudy's skeletons, but reality is the Dems have lots of opposition research on Rudy (and McCain) and can't wait for one of them to be the nominee. Once the nomination is wrapped up watch everything plus the kitchen sink to be thrown at our nominee. Nominating Rudy just gives the left too much ammunition.

I'm not saying Hunter or Paul are necessarily the right answer. However, I am saying it is foolish to pick one of the "front runners" out of a misguided belief they are the only way to beat Hillary.

Don't get me wrong, I like Rudy, but if he is the nominee we're in trouble.

Carol Herman

Large Bill, the social conservatives within the GOP are "in trouble," anyway. They haven't got a candidate to field who could win over all the independents. Which makes a difference on election day.

Guiliani has a better ability to attract democrats. He's proven this in New York City, the hard way. BY WINNING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS OVER. To win 2 Mayoral races.

He had to pull out of the Hillary race BECAUSE the political infighting in the GOP in New York State is tanking the party, there, as a whole.

So, any conservative "you'd want to win." Can't get elected for this reason, as well. New York State craps out on ya. The GOP in California? Has been steadied by the grip of Schwartzenegger. So, you've got another big state in the crapper for the conservatives.

Win Iowa? Hoo. Hoo. So what?

Yes, the social conservatives are known to muck up GOP victory opportunities for the "big kahuna" election. Every 4 years. When state politics falls by the wayside. And, you need to BOOST A GOP CANDIDATE INTO THE OVAL OFFICE. You think that's easy to do?

Or do you think the GOP wants to get results like the donks get when they "boost" McGovern, Carter, Dukakis, Mondale, and Gene McCarthy?

Just asking.


Asssuming he wins the nomination, the real race won't be about conservatives or liberals, but the middle, just like always -- those people who really don't have much of a philosophy one way or the other. Giuliani certainly could be more than competitive with Hillary in that group, as some early polling indicates. (For example, I believe it's at RealPolitics now that he could actually take PA over Hillary, a state that both Gore and Kerry won.)

I think Rudy's main problem will be heading off a 3rd-party right-to-life candidate, and one way he could do that is just what Bush did by announcing Colin Powell as Sec of State before the election. Only this time, Rudy could pre-name a Supreme Court nominee. If he touted a "strict constructionist," well-liked by anti-abortion (and, as a bonus, gun-rights) Republicans, I think he could close the deal. Listening to his comments in last-week's interview with Sean Hannity, the judicial-appointment angle seems like his chosen strategy.


If I understood Rudy, he is personally pro-choice but believes it is a state issue. Which is correct. I have no problem with a president who thinks abortion should be decided by the state. The 2nd amendment could be his biggest problem.


Anonymous Liberal nailed it. Rudy does not want this, he is going to get skinned alive. Most of the country knows he cleaned up NYC, stood talk on 9/11, gives a nice speech. There is so much more. Bottom line, he is the right man to prosecute the war on terror, the wrong man for most everything else. I hope he passes, best for all involved.



You say: "Guiliani has a better ability to attract democrats." Sorry, but he has no chance of attracting Dem voters because he has the audacity to want to win the war. With Rudy's stance on the war the only Dem who might vote for him is Joe Lieberman.

My worry is people will assume Hillary is so hated that people will overlook their disagreements with Rudy (or McCain) and hold their nose and vote for them. Hey, maybe most of us will do that but it isn't enough. I don't think we can count on regular folks having the same level of knowledge of and disgust for Sen Clinton. The other problem is the potential of usually politically disinterested people turning out to vote for the first female.


Sue if abortion is key to your vote, know that he will do what he "knows" is right, much as Bloomberg does now. He will not be held to election promises. His half ass back track on partial birth should scare the hell out of all pro lifers. BTW, NR has a nice piece up: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NzRlNjgyM2I3YTFjYTg5NjVmMTkxNzc3MWNmYTU5MGY=


"Like Fitzgerald, those catholic boys are afraid to look below the belly buttons of dames. They pick what the nuns tell them about females is true. And, it's not."
Carol Herman

Madam, I resent being compared with the 'Fitzer' and those other 'Catholic boys'. Your experience with catholic men must have been particularly disappointing. sorry bout dat.

Wilson's a liar

Hillary already pulled out and threw all the dirt that was there on Rudy to get him out of the Senate race in 2000. I'm sure she thought he was dead after that.

McCain is too old and too cranky, and Romney is too pretty.

I think the liberal media are salivating that the "far right" will cut Rudy to shreds. They are going to be eating a lot of crow on January 20, 2009. Nothing concentrates the conservative mind like the thought of President Hillary Clinton.


The stories on Rudy are just that... stories!

I dunno, I've got some pretty good sources very high up in his NY administration - as in direct reports. And I trust that they have no agenda.

We will just have to wait and see. I hope none of it comes out, or if it does it is surviveable.


I'm beginning to face the inevitable Anna Nicole Smith thread--Prince ("I'm the father) Arnhault sued viagra in 2000 for impotence.

Look at the bright side we can now surge the jihadis out of Baghdad with no one bitching on tv about how our response is "disproportonate" or something.


Re: Rudy vs. HRC. The POTUS is an executive position. Rudy has it. HRC doesn't. Her only attempt, the health care fiasco, shows it. The Presidency is not a job you can claim you will grow into and learn as you go. That's why governors and Veeps (mostly) win, and Senators walk. All other things equal (meaning no crusing scandal), HRC has no chance. Have a little confidence that the U.S. people (and not the partisan chattering classes), will choose wisely.


arrgh, spelling, "...(meaning no crushing scandal) ..."


If Rudy has skeletons in his closet, then Hillary has something resembling the catacbombs of Rome in hers.

And I resent that nonsense about the middle not believing in anything. The largest self identified group in the country are moderates, coming in at about 47%. Just because we don't believe that Bush is Hitler...nor do we believe we should be laying land mines on the Mexican border it does not follow that we do not believe anything.

For instance, I am not comfortable with completely banning abortion, but then again I think the idea that a 15 year old kid can get an abortion without her parents knowing about it is insane.

Now to the true believers on either end of the debate that is not good enough. I have to believe that all abortion is murder or I have to believe that anyone anywhere anytime should be able to get an abortion on demand. Sorry, but I don't like having extremists frame the debate and then complain when I don't play the game.

Rudy strikes people as being a very strong leader and people respond to that.

I think he will fight the War on Terror, unlike Hillary who can not decide whethere there really is such a thing. And that is the most important thing to me.

As for Iraq, well things are not always easy. We have to realize that. Sometimes Americans sound like spoiled children tired of a game wanting it to be done already. Maybe the other side is not ready to stop playing yet.


Sue if abortion is key to your vote,

I don't think I said it was key to my vote. However, even if it was, I am pragmatic. Do I want Hillary or Rudy? In a perfect world, Duncan Hunter would have a chance.


Romney is too pretty

He is definitely hot. I don't know how that translates into winning the presidency, wind. Just. Don't. Know. ::grin::


Romney is the idea guy. I think as time goes on people will be impressed.

Barney Frank

How is Rudy going to get out of the Republican primaries? I'm not saying he can't, but it seems unlikely. With his stands on gun control, immigration, gay rights and abortion it is difficult to see how he can do it.

As to the idea that only a moderate can win those coveted crossover votes; how many times do we have to try that and lose before we learn it? Nearly every time the Republicans try it they lose far more of their base than they pick up in crossovers or moderates. Nationally when conservatives run as conservatives, they usually win, when they run as mushy middle of the roaders they lose. If people want mush they'll vote for the real thing, the Dems.



I kind of liked Hunter, but after that whole Dubai thing I gave up on him.

This should be a rule for all Republicans to follow: if and when Hillary Clinton and chucky Shumer get in front of the cameras and say that George Bush is selling our ports to AlQaida....stop and think before you jump on their band wagon.

Dubai is not the enemy, in fact I think Tiger Woods just played a tournament there.



That is not true. The base of conservatives do not make up a large enough segment of the over all population to win an election. What is more the Democratic base does not either.

I can remember listening to conservatives complain about Reagan. Goldwater in retrospect was a hero, but in fact he was beat rather soundly at the polls.

The truth is there is no one out there that part if not all of the socalled base will not find fault with. No one.


Of course with 20/20 hindsight Gore doesn't look all that bad considering the complete and total disaster Boy George has been


With his stands on gun control, immigration, gay rights and abortion it is difficult to see how he can do it.

There's a difference between a politician who has all the same stands on issues and one that can be trusted to do the right thing in a difficult situation. The president's personal view of guns gays and abortion is less important to those issues than getting good judges. "The Base" wants good judges. If Rudy can win and he's the best chance against really really bad judges then prudent conservatives will support him.


WAPO issued a major correction on their IGeneral report...it appears. OOOPS.

Barney Frank

That is not true.

Jerry Ford ran as a moderate and lost.

Reagan ran and governed as a conservative and won two landslides.

Bush the elder ran as a conservative and won, then governed as a moderate and lost.

Dole had a record as a moderate and ran as one. He lost.

Bush the younger ran as a pro gun, anti abortion conservative, albeit a compassionate one and won. He largely governed that way, although he was a spendthrift and won.

The block in the middle is not homogenous. Most of them appear to prefer some type of conservatism to liberalism. But they do not prefer it if it is devoid of principles or competence. They tend to either vote for Republicans or against them but seldom for Democrats, if you see the distinction.

Correction to This Article A Feb. 9 front-page article about the Pentagon inspector general's report regarding the office of former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith incorrectly attributed quotations to that report. References to Feith's office producing "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" and that the office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda" were from a report issued by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in Oct. 2004. Similarly, the quotes stating that Feith's office drew on "both reliable and unreliable reporting" to produce a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq "that was much stronger than that assessed by the IC [Intelligence Community] and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the Administration" were also from Levin's report. The article also stated that the intelligence provided by Feith's office supported the political views of senior administration officials, a conclusion that the inspector general's report did not draw.The two reports employ similar language to characterize the activities of Feith's office: Levin's report refers to an "alternative intelligence assessment process" developed in that office, while the inspector general's report states that the office "developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers." The inspector general's report further states that Feith's briefing to the White House in 2002 "undercuts the Intelligence Community" and "did draw conclusions that were not fully supported by the available intelligence."

Official's Key Report On Iraq Is Faulted
'Dubious' Intelligence Fueled Push for War
By Walter Pincus and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 9, 2007; Page A01


Amazing--as S and L reported earlier (and I blogged on AT) the press took their story from the Dems, not the IG report, which said the opposite of what the Dems were claiming about Feith's work.


sorry - didn't realize that would be so long.


Here is the LINK

Barney Frank

If Rudy can win and he's the best chance against really really bad judges then prudent conservatives will support him.

I'm not saying it is impossible Rudy could win a general election, but my main point was he'll have a hard time getting out of the primaries. People who are voting on the issue of conservative judges are not likely in their state primary to pick Rudy over Romney or some other conservative.
If he's nominated and is running against some leftist, probably most conservatives will support him. No doubt a few will stay home. The problem will be if he's running against a moderate sounding Dem. Then the block in the middle becomes more evenly divided and those conservatives who do sit on their hands may be the deciding factor.


(OT--Gen McInerney --like me--thinks the Haditha case has been unduly influenced by command :
"McInerney said the real issue "is the way the information was [obtained] through information deception by terrorists and forwarded to Time Magazine. We cannot have terrorists using disinformation on our troops and our system and our military overreacting to it."

"We need to give our people more latitude and not put handcuffs on them. This is despicable conduct by our leadership over there and I think that we've got to get with it and tell America what needs to be done.

"These poor guys [the Marine defendants] have been under a cloud for over a year and they still do not have an Article 32 hearing [to determine if a court martial is warranted] and that tells you something.

"I am very, very displeased with the Marine Corps on this issue.")

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/2/7/125406.shtml?s=lh>I heart this man


And I resent that nonsense about the middle not believing in anything.

Sorry if you're referring to my comment, Terrye. What I said was that the deciding middle was composed of "those people who really don't have much of a philosophy one way or the other." Point being, their votes aren't philosophically based, not that they don't believe in anything. At any rate, I haven't discerned what I would consider a philosophy in any congressional "moderate," one way or the other, and in fact I find them particularly untrustworthy as a result. I could certainly be missing the underlying principled bases for what sides they take on particular issues, though, possibly due to my own sometimes rigid outlook on those same issues.


Dubai is not the enemy, in fact I think Tiger Woods just played a tournament there.

He came in third.

Barney Frank


--The president's personal view of guns gays and abortion is less important to those issues than getting good judges.--

That is no doubt true for those whom hold the selection of good judges as their highest priority. It may even be true objectively and absolutely.

But the reality is that for many people it is not true. They are motivated by one or two issues and will vote that way or not vote at all if a candidate that shares their view is not available.


for many people it is not true

Conservatism means different things to different people. In the current social environment Rudy is not going to split the party.


Giuliani stood up to the editors of the New York Times. That's a HUGE plus on his resume.

I don't care in the slightest what he thinks about abortion. The President doesn't decide that issue.

He has recently said that he will nominate SC Justices like Alito and Roberts. That's HUGELY important.

Rick Ballard


Nicely put and a good reinforcement to Barney's point. Giuliani has mastered situational ethics and is quite capable of making the correct political noises concerning quite a number of issues. He may or may not garner enough of the center to win against Mrs. Clinton in the general but his larger struggle will be to win the opportunity to face her.

'08 is shaping up as an extraordinary mud wrestling contest and if "cleanest" is going to be determinant then Romney should do well. It depends a bit on how much mud sticks to Giuliani and also a bit on peoples memories of his leadership. Mrs. Clinton has remained in the news (although her accomplishments can be written on a quarter of a matchbook cover) and a fair portion of the electorate was in elementary school when she accomplished her most famous gaffes as co-president.

Barney Frank

In the current social environment Rudy is not going to split the party.

You don't have to split it to lose. Just have a few thousand in a couple of states decide to rake a few leaves that day rather than vote.

In any event I'll be surprised if he gets the nomination.

--He has recently said that he will nominate SC Justices like Alito and Roberts.--

Reassuring if true, however politicians do occasionally promise things that are more expedient than strictly accurate, if you know what I mean.


The recent John Edwards/blogger flap reminds me of the Clinton years -- the maddening inability to (a) make a decision, and (b) avoid second-guessing himself whenever the heat was turned up. It was bad enough then, but after 9-11 I don't think serious voters are going to put up with much of that now.

Rudy sets a high bar for wafflers in both parties.

Carol Herman


Lincoln is on record as saying that public opinon is might plastic. And, can be molded by someone who has influence over the public's mind. (Here? He worried about demogogues.)

But one of Lincoln's greatest strengths was his ability to MOLD the PUBLIC's MIND. Especially on the "hot button issue" of his day. The immorality of slavery.

As to "being in Iraq," I understand it's hard, over there. But positive messages are coming through. IF you ever go to InstaPundit, he is providing the links.

InstaPundit is also providing links to the Libby Trial, by LINKING here.

The Internet is very similar to word-of-mouth. And, LINKS up at InstaPundit? Bring lots of people to look around. Even if they aren't frequent visitors.

You also can't "match" Guiliani to a VP candidate. Hannity (who linked the 20-minute interview between himself and Guiliani) posted the LINKS saying "this interview sold Guiliani TO me.)

I was pre-sold.

But it's on the Hannity interview, where Guiliani is asked about McCain. And, if he would be his veep. Guiliani just stopped him right there. It's too early to pick anybody NOW, for that job. But he sure is indicating he's gonna attempt racing to the finish FOR THE NOMINATION.

Like a cafeteria menu. You might not like all the choices, but if you're hungry enough, you'll pick something to eat.

I also think, coming up, you're gonna find that Guiliani will STAR on TV, explaining to Americans what the Libby trial was all about.

This will hold true, whether or not Fitzgerald ends up taking it on the chin. Where he drops during the bout, and is counted OUT. (Don't follow my reasoning? I went to the betting window, and put money down, that Walton Dismisses ALL CHARGES, ahead (if Wells delivers). And, those charges are dismissed without prejudice.

Carol Herman


Little Green Footballs linked the Hannity/Guiliani interview.

Carol Herman


Harold Stasson won awards as a 3rd Party Candidate. Died trying. Kept trying over a period of 32 years.

The next runner up is Nader.

And, Nader will also be back.

Look at all the 3rd party candidates to attract less than 5% of the total vote.

Some day, there's gonna be a trivia test. People will be asked to name 3rd party candidates, by name. (And, number of votes they get in any particular race. Once? Nader got 7%. And, the famous Ross Perot, 19%.)

Oh! And, the whole reason we're getting the Libby Trial? Wilson "sold" this idea to Kerry. Supposedly, this whole "episode" gave Kerry a 15% "bonus." So what, dude? Schmuck still lost.

Carol Herman


I'm a nice Jewish girl. All my loves were circumcised. That's just how it goes. Most Catholic men are without the necessary sense of humor a lot of Brooklyn born Jewish guys had in spades.

Now, I have a Catholic girl friend. Sad. She married a guy she thought she hooked for life. He's at Disney. She kept telling him to "take cold showers." Eventually, when their kid was ten, he told her to go take a hike.

To this day? (We live on the west coast.) After Tufts (and East Coast school), her son settled down in Manhattan. Our kids are 25 and 27, respectively. I told her that her son had girl friends. And, he was NOT taking cold showers. She pulled the topic off the table. Just as she stopped me from saying "Jesus" all the time. (I thought Jesus was an exclaimation point. But I understood that she was definitely right. While I'm not into PC, I can channel language to other words.)

But a son who stays 3,000 miles away? And, then can't share with his mom the stuff that happens in the real world when you date? Sad.

Rick Ballard

Dear Carol,

The stream has become a raging torrent - any chance of dropping a few flood gates upstream?

Carol Herman


RE: Closets to Catacombs!

I nearly fell out of my chair, laughing.

Gosh, this site is the best.

Insights. Opinions from all over the map, accepted.

And, geniuses at work at delivering comedic lines ON PURPOSE.

Barney Frank

Guess not.



Reagan ran as a Republican and conservatives bitched about him for years. He did not become an icon until after he left office.

I never heard him say one word about gay marriage. He raised the social security tax. He spent a lot of money. And he really did give amnesty to illegals and Reagan would not have even considered building a wall. He did not respond when 243 America Marines were killed in Lebanon by a terrorist and he was the guy who came up with the 11th Commandment which conservatives ignore on a regular basis. Not to mention his advice to take half a loaf rather than starve. It seems a lot of conservatives think hunger is better than settling for that half a loaf.

I like Rudy but I also like Romney and I would tolerate McCain. I am not saying that we should ignore conservatives or anything of the kind, but in order to govern it helps to have the support of a majority and that requires a certain amount of common sense instead of just partisan ideology.

And I do resent the idea that moderates don't believe in anything. I am a moderate and I have been called left by the right and right by the left and often as not both sides are more concerned with getting their way than they are with really accomplishing things. Rudy strikes me as someone who knows how to accomplish things.


The is no Reagan for the conservatives, but besides that, we got a loooong time to go before the elections.

Lots of things could happen from now to then.

Besides if I start talking presidential politics from now until the elections, I will shoot my ouwn head off.



I have my moments. And it is a good site.



Barney Frank

out damn block


I sent Laurie Mylroie the story about the IG report and she responds:"The CIA did not look at the evidence in reaching its conclusions. For example, there are 100s of calls to Iraq before and after the 1998 embassy bombings from UBL's rep in London. Most of those calls are attempts, because he can't get through. But @ 60 are real calls--and why was it so important to reach someone in Iraq that he would spend hours trying to do so?"

JM Hanes

Barney & Extraneous:

I think you underestimate just how pissed off moderate Republicans are at Conservatives who fail to realize that while they can spike an election, they can't win 'em without the party's moderate base as well.

Descriptions of the middle like the ones the two of you proffer here seem incredibly obtuse to a Republicans from the Republican wing of the Republican party, like me. You both mistakenly seem to equate moderates with undecideds swaying in the political wind, which is simply not the case. We may have become a minority in our own party, as conservatives once were, which makes it tough in the primaries. We are every bit as key to winning actual elections as the conservative base think they are, and frankly I'm pretty sick of being taken for granted.

There are many among us with a Libertarian bent which is not readily susceptible to sloganeering, as well as many who are, like Giuliani, politically conservative and socially liberal. We have watched the party doctrine steadily rightward -- to the point that Conservative & Republican seem to be used almost interchangeably in the press -- with some unease.

Reagan, for example, was not as conservative socially as the air brushing he's recieved might make some think. Take a look at the evolution of the pro-life plank, for example, in the party platform, if you're not convinced that there's been some historical revisionism in play. Ditto for conventional wisdom on the right about why Bush I lost his 2nd presidential bid. The religious right starting claiming credit for tumbling the party on that one while the returns were still being counted.

As a moderate, I can assure you that my vote is in fact, philosophically based, and profoundly so on almost every issue. What it's not, however, is ideologically driven. That's why I will hold my nose and vote for someone rather than either refusing to go to the polls at all as political conservatives keep claiming they are prepared to do, or just not bothering to vote, like social conservatives, unless the party serves up red meat in the form of things like constitutional amendments.

JM Hanes


"sorry - didn't realize that would be so long."

No apologies necessary here, I savoured every word! Carl Levin, the partisan's partisan, ghost-writing articles for the Washington Post. And under the Pincus' byline, no less. Where's Jeff?!

Now that's a story that deserves a Page One headline above the fold tomorrow.

Bruce Hayden

Well, my vote is for Romney. He has the training (Harvard MBA AND JD) and experience, having made millions before bailing out the SLC Olympics and then running MA. But he is Mormon and a religious conservative, and I don't think he can win the national election. The country is just not ready for another candidate who appears to be religiously conservative.

Which leaves Giuliani and McCain. While many conservatives question Giuliani, they despise McCain. I would hold my nose and vote for him to keep Hillary from going back into the White House. But I far prefer Giuliani.

One thing he has really going for him is his way of talking. It is informal, comfortable, and conversational. Very pleasant, and quite the contrast to the last six years of a tongue tied George W. Bush.

And I think that this is one place where Rudy can really take on Hillary. She is one of the most controlled politicians out there. She won't interview with anyone she even suspects of not being totally sympathetic, and even when she does, it has to be totally scripted and controlled.

And, I have no doubt that Rudy will be willing to go on all the News shows on a regular basis throughout the campaign. The contrast is going to be vivid between the two of them - the one willing to talk to the American people all the time, and the other one keeping all her people between her and the people.



I know people who would be considered par of the religious right and they are far more likely to vote for Gulliani than they are a Mormon like Romney. They are not sure about Mormons. Makes them nervous. It does not bother a philistine and moderate such as myself.

And JM Hanes is right. Once upon a time the Republican Party was a political party. It was not called the Conservative Party and it was not controlled by people who were strictly of the conservative mindset. Over time more conservatives found a home in the Republican party, especially after the collapse of the Dixiecrats and now they think they own the place and everyone else is a trespasser and a heathen.

But the purpose of a political party {vs a movement} is to win elections in a two party system. That means we have to appeal to someone other than a self appointed vanguard of narrow minded people who assume anyone who disagrees with them is without principle.


Thanks, JM. Maybe it's a case of semantics, then, because going back to the analysis you did a few months ago, and the chart you generated based on that questionnaire link you posted, I know we can define anyone's principled philosophical profile in two dimensions. (I think in that case they were somthing like fiscal and social freedom axes, right?) But who doesn't know if they lean toward Democrats or Republicans? If that's the definition of a moderate, I still have to think their vote probably isn't philosophically (or ideologically) based. I'd bet a large fraction of these deciders of elections go by the candidate's looks, or maybe in this next election, gender, or something a lot less definable than where they stand on fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.

Chuck Hagel is a good example of someone called a "congressional moderate" these days. (Ever notice they're almost all Republicans?) Can anyone discern anything resembling a principle or philosophy in any of Hagel's high-profile sidings with Democrats? I sure can't. Just a slimy politician, as far as I can tell. I bet he'd never take that test, and you'd have to give him a giant blurry blob instead of a point on the chart, since his position on anything is a negotiable function of how much MSM air-time he can get.


Can't Believe [Jonah Goldberg]

I left my computer and missed all of last night's jocularity.

02/10 07:33 AM

Who knew JOCKULARITY would sweep the web?

Can anyone discern anything resembling a principle or philosophy in any of Hagel's high-profile sidings with Democrats?

1. Mimic John McCain's success in pandering to the media.

2. Mimic John McCain's success in parlaying military experience into the role as the go-to critic on all things relating to foreign policy or the military.

3 Mimic John .... ah #@&!+ ... short answer: NO

Carol Herman


Nah. An internal fight between "pissed off" conservatives at moderate republicans, misses the point. Most Americans don't identify with either BIG party. Leaving most voters unaccounted for. Probably less notice-able in state wide elections. But the Presidential election sweeps over all of our nifty fifty. Compromising is a Constitutional necessity.

And, this in-fighting stuff? Once the Catholic church owned the grip on all Christians. And, Church power resided in france. Avignon. Not Rome. By 1600 this changed. And, the 3 founding fathers of the protestant movement saw that protest actually split churches into different groups. Shame, in the name of Jesus, that if you belong to one group, you distain others with the same book as the basis of their faith. And, ya know what it looks like? Well, the arabs demonstrate that there's no appeasing lunatics.

Guiliani has the best shot, ahead.

What Russert did, for instance. While he is protected by his press-buddies, is still not resonating with the populace.

Can the moods of the public be elastic? Yes. The press has obviously lied. Then, it goes silent. Can't do business, attracting audiences that way.

I doubt the press will freeze out Guiliani.

And, he will address the bigger issues. From Iraq. To the lunacy of Russert LYING by having memories that get better over time. So he went from "might have told Libby," to "impossible." And, you think America wants to see Russert sending an innocent man to jail for ten years?

Russert lied, too, when he said "it didn't feel like Christmas," over there. When Libby's indictment first came down the pike. Armitage wasn't on it. (So, yes. There WAS celebration). But Libby going to jail? Russert has no problem with that.

And, Andrea Mitchell shows up on Monday.

I'm no Theodore Wells. I'm not even a lawyer. But I'd start off accusing Mitchell of lying. INCLUDING: Lying to her boss, to keep him off the hook. Let her squirm. Or? Let the system of taking oaths in court work. Let her tell the truth. You can't parse your way there.


I think Guiliani is very like one Republican icon: Teddy Roosevelt. Maybe not on matters of military experience, but definitely in terms of experience as a background as reformer. Amusingly, TR was nominated as VP simply to keep him from messing up the NY political scene, as he was a little too squeaky clean and high-profile for the local political machine.

Granted, TR is a very different figure from more recent Republican presidents, and had several bad points, but he was definitely a strong leader. He didn't really go off the rails til the Bull Moose party.



1. Guiliani is anti-2nd Amendment. That right there is a deal killer.

2. Guiliani is another flavor of "compassionate conservative", i.e. the shorthand that allows a Republican to claim the mantle of conservatism without actually having to do anything about it.

3. A lot of Republicans claim being conservative during election time, but when elected they revert to being more Republican and far far less conservative.


Summary: Guiliani? Not a chance.



@ Terrye

Over time more conservatives found a home in the Republican party, especially after the collapse of the Dixiecrats and now they think they own the place and everyone else is a trespasser and a heathen.

Now isn't this an amusing thing?

So. In the interest of not having conservatives "think they own the place" you won't mind then as more and more conservatives, like myself, abandon the Republican party then will you?

Here's something for you: I vote conservative, not Republican.

I used to vote Republican, but that's turned into a disaster. Conservatives worked very hard to put Republicans into the majority, and as soon as that happen the Republicans turned around and shoved a great big middle finger in our faces.

So now I vote and support conservatives regardless of party. That will very likely mean that the Republican party won't ever get another vote of mine, but that shouldn't bother you since at least then I won't think I own the place then eh? After all the GOP is so extraordinarily strong that they won so many seats in 11/2006 right?

Frankly I wouldn't bother me a single moment if the Republican party dissolved away.

But hey, good luck with that.



It really is an amusing thing.

So many Republicans view conservative votes and money as if it were their natural right. That conservatives must be, by definition, as captive of the GOP as black voters are of the Democrats. Ahhh. The howls of outrage from Republicans when conservatives choose to leave the GOP reservation appointed for them.

Classic irony so thick you'd need a hammer and chisel to work your way through.



@ JM Hanes

I think you underestimate just how pissed off moderate Republicans are at Conservatives who fail to realize that while they can spike an election, they can't win 'em without the party's moderate base as well.

Ditto, and vice versa, likewise.

But hey, good luck in 11/2008. Particularly if Bush signs an amnesty into law.

Barney Frank

JMHanes and Terrye,

I went back and reread my posts and am still at a loss as to how either of you took from anything I said that moderates do not believe in anything or don't have principles. I explicitly said that moderates are not a homogenous block and many lean toward conservatives while others lean toward more liberal positions. In deference to JM I will add that some lean libertarian.
I simply stated what I consider to be pretty sound political analysis; a moderate or social liberal like Giuliani will have a very difficult time negotiating the Republican primaries successfully. You may not wish that were so, but if wishes were horses etc.
I then stated what is also pretty standard analysis and pretty well supported by the facts. Nationally, for the last thirty years at least, Republicans have the greatest electoral success when running a relatively conservative alternative to the Democrats. Now that conservative, like Reagan did, must compromise and reach out to the middle in a principled way. The problem has been, historically, the social liberals like Giuliani are usually less inclined to engage in reciprocal behavior when nominated, and swallow the MSM line about what an elctoral albatross conservatism is and they lose because of it. Again, maybe not what you would prefer, but as that old leftist Ronald Reagan said facts are stubborn things.

In any event no need to get so worked up. The Republican party has a big enough tent for all. Just sit in the back and don't say anything. :) Just kidding.



The problem has been, historically, the social liberals like Giuliani are usually less inclined to engage in reciprocal behavior when nominated

Such as Bush?

Barney Frank

--Such as Bush?--

To some extent yes. He is willing to go too far on immigration and education. But so was Reagan and you apparently stayed in the party from then til now.
Bush has been largely true to his principles on right to life, gun rights, gay rights, religious rights and other traditionally conservative issues. The great offender was the Republican congress. Should Bush have been less cooperative with it? Yes. But his working majority was no greater than Reagan's and that is the nature of politics; compromise.
Those who cannot tolerate that head off to marginal parties. Mainline parties that refuse to recognize the problem of policies that cause significant numbers of supporters to head for marginal parties risk becoming marginal themselves.



@ Barney Frank

Yeah don't remind me.

Don't get me wrong. I was a Reagan Democrat who switched to the Republican party in the hopes of creating a primarily conservative political force. But basically instead what's happened is that the conservative movement was sidetracked into supporting Republican candidates rather than conservative ones, to our terrible detriment.

And I still revere Reagan in a lot of ways, but it's also very true that Reagan began a lot of this idiotic nonsense about illegal aliens. Which is why amnesty by Bush, or Guiliani if he get's in, is a total deal breaker for me. IMHO if a Republican President signs another amnesty, no matter what nonsense anybody wants to call it, then I'll never vote Republican ever again.

As for Bush, he hasn't really been all that stalwart on a lot of issues. Gun rights is pretty easy as Congress hasn't actually brought anything in front of him to oppose. On stem cells Bush has actually gone worse than Clinton by using federal funds to promote ESC's.

And as for the Republican Congress being the primary offender, well it takes a President to sign that stuff into law.


*shrug* There really isn't any reason why I should support Republicans. Even the whole War on Terror is a bit of a bullshit ride. A War on Terror that specifically excludes our national borders is frankly ridiculous and I've expressed myself in such terms before. Let's face it. If the danger really is that great, then why aren't the borders secure? And if the borders aren't secure, and they aren't, then the threat from international terrorism simply cannot be that severe. It's elementary logic that cannot be bypassed by rhetoric.

And without the War on Terror, are there any reasons at all to support Republicans? What? Lower taxes? Sure that's a great cause but since the GOP never actually goes through the effort to make them permanent, in effect setting them up to be a continually reappearing issue, then what exactly is the point of that?

Frankly I think the future of conservatives is to either break off and form their own political party or to insinuate themselves into an existing party and then overthrow it from the inside. Because all past attempts at actually working with others in a political party have turned out to be complete and utter disasters for conservatives.


Now you see this is what pisses me off. Bush is too far left because of his stance on immigration, however Reagan is a conservative? Well exactly what was his stance on immigration?

And Bush is nothing like Hagel and I am nothing like Hagel and I am a moderate. Hagel is not a moderate when it comes to the war he is an isolationist and some people think paleoconservatives will be drawn to him for that reason.


And ed, like I said before, I really don't care what you think. You are one of those people who seems to think the rest of us owe you something but you don't owe anyone anything.



@ Terrye

Now you see this is what pisses me off. Bush is too far left because of his stance on immigration, however Reagan is a conservative? Well exactly what was his stance on immigration?

It would be nice if you responded to what I wrote rather than a strawman that you'd prefer. But that's not your style Terrye. But if it makes the idiotic and the incompetent happy, how could I stand in the way of your happiness.

My accolades for Reagan was/are due to his breaking of inflation, reining in of absurd tax rates, defeating the USSR and ending the Cold War. Frankly IMHO one of his biggest mistakes was the amnesty, which wasn't a position that he propounded on his own but rather was forced on him by others.

Bush on the other hand clearly believes in his treasonous amnesty all on his own. An honest man might have come clean about it in 2000 when he first ran for election, but all this shows is that Bush isn't an honest man.

And Bush is nothing like Hagel and I am nothing like Hagel and I am a moderate. Hagel is not a moderate when it comes to the war he is an isolationist and some people think paleoconservatives will be drawn to him for that reason.

It would probably help your case Terrye if I had actually written something about Hagel. But since I didn't fucking write a goddamn thing about Hagel, then we'll just have to chalk it up to you writing bullshit nonsense and then trying to attribute it to others such as myself.

And ed, like I said before, I really don't care what you think. You are one of those people who seems to think the rest of us owe you something but you don't owe anyone anything.

Then don't start whining about how conservatives let you fuckers in the GOP down in 11/2008. You bastards haven't done a goddamn thing to make conservatives want to support you, and now many of us no longer do.

So when your minority shrinks even further into obscurity and impotence remember your words. If you don't owe myself and other conservatives a fucking thing, then we don't owe you a fucking thing either.

*shrug* which would be obvious to anybody but the mentally deficient.


Barney Frank

The Lincoln-Douglas debate it aint.

JM Hanes

Good luck with that third party, ed. LOL!



The Lincoln-Douglas debate it aint.

No it isn't. But I've never been able to really debate the issue of continuing conservative participation in the Republican party *with* a Republican. Invariably the thread of the debate ends up with mixture of "how dare you make demands" and "how dare you not obey".

Which isn't all that conducive to a more formalized debating style.

Good luck with that third party, ed. LOL!

Thank you!

Actually it's going extremely well so far. Numerous conservatives have begun to shift their focus towards electing conservatives without regard to the specific political party. This will allow for a coalition of conservatives in both the Republican and Democratic parties to not only control significant power bases within each party but to also utilize bi-partisanship to conduct intra-conservative business under the aegis of of bi-partisan common goals.

Inevitably the strength of the conservative influence in both parties will allow conservatives to ameliorate the worst aspects of both parties and at the same time build sufficient strength overall that eventually one or the other political parties will simply be either overtaken from within or it will simply be dissolved and replaced by a new party that is predominantly conservative. Though this latter is frankly unlikely.

Instead it's far more likely that the conservative movement will secure it's future as an independent bi-partisan coalition that would offer a substantial power block that could aid or hinder the political machinations of either party at will.

But that's for the future. Right now the important thing is to realize that the future of conservatism is not one that is bound to the Republican party. With that first step, aided most assuredly by Republicans themselves, conservatives will naturally gravitate to this bi-partisan independent political position as it offers both the most flexibility to conservatives and the most effective means of offsetting or influencing the existing power base.

Well at least until the conservative movement regains it's feet and establishes a more permanent power base within each party. And as many conservatives are both highly motivated and very politically active the result should be serendipitous.

So thanks for the kind word and in return, good luck with 11/2008!

JM Hanes


Yes, I think bringing up the chart here is very apropos. In many ways, and I think my own perspective is probably pretty clear, the most serious divide within the Republican party is the one between political conservtism and social conservatism, which -- in terms of philosophy -- seem more antithetical than congenial, to me. I don't think anybody is happy about what a stunning collection of porkers the Republican Congress turned out to be.

As for Chuck Hagel, I couldn't agree with you (and Terrye) more as to slime. If he weren't able to parlay his office into face time, the fact that he's got zero constituency would be a lot more obvious. Of course, it's the press who call him a moderate Republican, like they've got a clue. I still laugh over the fact that when conservatives started bickering amongst themselves, the New York Time pompously announced that they were going to assign a reporter to the conservative beat.

JM Hanes


"In any event no need to get so worked up. The Republican party has a big enough tent for all."

It's stuff like "If people want mush they'll vote for the real thing, the Dems" that pushes my buttons, I'm afraid. You'll have a hard time reassuring me that the tent is really all that big, when you're simultaneously emphasizing just how difficult it's looking for a moderate to move past the primaries. I agree, and I also wish it weren't so, because that's precisely why I think it's going to be so tough to win the ensuing elections. For a moderate Republican, that generally means that you're losing the actual election over the issues where you diverge most emphatically from the current party line.

I disagree with your historical analysis -- in part because I think there are too few events, and too many variables over too much time to make reliable generalizations. It is, however, conventional political wisdom on the right. In contrast, here's what I see:

Jerry Ford was a President without portfolio. He came with a veritable mountain of baggage instead, and an inside-the-beltway Republican leadership in serious disarray. He lost, not because he was a moderate, but because he was a place holder with no personal constituency of his own. He lost to an almost unknown outsider, of course -- running against him from the left -- so I'm not sure how you draw that as a rejection of moderate vs. conservative positioning. Had Reagan managed to clinch the nomination before Carter's disastrous 4 year stint, I don't think the Gipper would have beaten a southern Democrat either. While there was a clear ideological divide between them in 1980, Reagan had the hostage crisis and the "misery index" (and a personality) going for him too.

Reagan was certainly conservative, but if you check out the party platforms as I suggested above, along with legislative initiatives, it's pretty clear that the social issues which now drive party ideology and dominate public rhetoric fell way short of the kind of litmus test they seem to have become. I'll give you Reagan's rout of Mondale (although I wouldn't call the kind of deficits the Reagan government was running emblematically conservative, would you?).

Bush I may have inherited Reagan's conservative mantle, but he was never a conservative by either today's stringent standards or Reagan's more laissez faire benchmarks. It also didn't take much to run to the right of Dukakis! As I noted above, while the religious right began claiming that he lost his bid for re-election because he failed to heed his conservative base, I think it's because he wussed out on domestic issues entirely. He seemed paralyzed by fear of losing the war time approval numbers he'd accrued, and appeared unwilling to risk taking an energetic stand on much of anything. You could argue that Ross Perot took votes from the fiscal right, I suppose, but it wasn't till Karl Rove set out to build a working constituency from the ground up on the social/religious right that the untapped resource there became a power to be reckoned with. How reliable or stable, and thus how desirable, that base will prove to be is anybody's guess.

Bob Dole was a moderate Republican it's true. There are, however, those who would suggest (TM perhaps?) the rule Dole proves is that the Senate is a poor stepping stone to the White House, and that lack of charisma is a serious deficit in presidential candidates. Buchannan's bid to siphon off conservatives didn't exactly take off, and frankly, I think his high profile return to the fold & subsequent convention keynote speech did Dole more harm than good.

Bush II ran as a "compassionate conservative" which appealed to me at the time rhetorically, but which still defies real definition. I think he deliberately tried to obscure his perch on the continuum, & made much of having been a aisle crossing governor. As a pro-choice Republican, I noticed how carefully he parsed his words. The pro-life language in the platform grew exponentially, but the only public commitment I actually heard him make was promising to sign a ban on partial birth abortion if the opportunity arose, and I didn't disagree with him on that. Meanwhile, of course, Laura made the "gaffe" of intimating that she was pro-choice herself.

I was probably just as surprised at how socially conservative Bush II turned out to be as fiscal conservatives were at how recalcitrant he would prove when it came to constraining Congressional spending. In any case, if Al Gore had embraced Clinton's centrism, he'd have beaten the conservative in the race. Oh, wait....:) He'd have beaten Bush by an indisputable margin. Nobody thought Bush was a conservative where it counts last time around. And he still won. I'd call him sui generis both times out, myself.

At any rate, I guess it's clear, that I just don't see the historical trend away from moderate candidates here that you do.


Speaking of historical trends, I always find myself amazed when I hear snippets of speeches by JFK. Whether on foreign policy, taxes or spending, he seems to have been further to the right than any "extreme" Republican labeled thus by Democrats these days, unless my venues are picking and choosing unfairly. Still, I don't think it's unfair to say that Democrats were a lot more "conservative" 40 years ago than they are today. Personally, I hope it's a pendulum swing as opposed to a trend.

JM Hanes


I don't think it's a function of cherry picking, but as the boomers age out there are fewer and fewer to appreciate the irony. It won't be much longer before mentioning JFK in a political discussion will net you little more than blank stares. JFK's chapter in the history books will ultimately end up being relatively slim.

Dan S

"In the business world, if two weeks were spent on a nonbinding resolution, it would be considered nonproductive," Giuliani told the lunch crowd, setting off a burst of laughter.

He called the concept "a comment without making a decision." America, he added, is "very fortunate to have President Bush."

"Presidents can't do nonbinding resolutions. Presidents have to make decisions and move the country forward, and that's the kind of president that I would like to be, a president who makes decisions." --Rudy

JM Hanes

To expand on the conservative air brushing of Reagan, here is George Will talking about John Patrick Diggins's book:

"An unmentionable irony," writes Diggins, is that big-government conservatism is an inevitable result of Reaganism. "Under Reagan, Americans could live off government and hate it at the same time. Americans blamed government for their dependence upon it." Unless people have a bad conscience about demanding big government -- a dispenser of unending entitlements -- they will get ever larger government. But how can people have a bad conscience after being told (in Reagan's First Inaugural) that they are all heroes? And after being assured that all their desires, which inevitably include desires for government-supplied entitlements, are good?

Similarly, Reagan said that the people never start wars, only governments do. But the Balkans reached a bloody boil because of the absence of effective government. Which describes Iraq today.

Because of Reagan's role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Diggins ranks him among the "three great liberators in American history" -- the others being Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt -- and among America's three or four greatest presidents. But, says Diggins, an Emersonian president who tells us our desires are necessarily good leaves much to be desired.

If the defining doctrine of the Republican Party is limited government, the party must move up from nostalgia and leaven its reverence for Reagan with respect for Madison. As Diggins says, Reaganism tells people comforting and flattering things that they want to hear; the Madisonian persuasion tells them sobering truths that they need to know.

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