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January 11, 2008


JM Hanes

Huh? How on earth does that work for you? McLaughlin writes a 3,000 word paean to Rudy, predicts a nightmarish McCain presidency, and then does an about face on what he perceives as the electability factor. Because it worked out so well for Kerry.

Single issue pro-lifers may claim they'll never cast a ballot for Rudy, although when push comes to shove, I'm not convinced that as many socially conservative Republicans are as single minded as the putative model here assumes. While they may not see McCain as an absolute non-starter, he may still have real trouble getting them to turn out enthusiastically.

A lot of those same voters weren't thrilled with the McCain's gang of 14 approach to judicial nominations either, although I'm sure he'll try to sell it as a success for the nominees whom he (personally, of course) got confirmed. I can see him nominating "compromise" candidates for the Supreme Court, and in fact, I'd predict it. Given his cavalier treatment of 1st Amendment issues per McCain/Feingold, Rudy's promise to appoint strict constructionists strikes me as far more credible in that regard -- especially given his legal/law enforcement background. McCain is going to have to do some serious pandering to excite social conservatives enough to get them to turn out in force, and that's going to have a serious impact on the electability that's supposedly his strength. It's also going to affect his ability to pander to the rest of the Republicans who dislike him only slightly less than the social conservatives do. The support of the surge which may be his single attraction on the GOP side could play out any which way in the general.

McCain is a disaster in almost every way just begging to happen. If we're going to lose an election, let us do with Thompson who makes ideological sense, and whose genuine commitment to a federalist approach is something that social liberals can swallow, or with Giuliani whose 50-state strategy might actually give us something to build on in the election to follow.


With Giuliani's shocking (to me) collapse, McCain is the only nationally electable Republican left in the field.

So, the dilemma for conservatives is whether they'll accept a 50% conservative (okay 33%) or whether they give up in 2008 and let a 100% liberal run things (picture the nutroots on the day after the election; not a pretty sight, no?).

And with the latter, at least 2 if not 3 Supreme Court Justices. Not to add: Zero chance of victory in Iraq, zero chance of restraining spending, and zero chance of influencing in any way our border problems.

Markos sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom?

No thanks, I'll take Mac.


I can understand why Guiliani has done so badly so far. He didn't campaign in those states. People get hacked when a candidte ignores them so they decide to ignore the candidate. I predict after Florida he will gain. I think he is the only one who can beat Hillary and I think the dem nominee will be Hillary and has been all along. Why else have the dems not put forth more viable candidates. Don't they have any moderates at all?

BTW, has it occurred to anyone that the reason Obama is running at all is to make Hilary look good? This could all be a dem trick to make the hag look acceptable to the elctorate. Scare them to death with a charismatic idiot who makes ridiculous statements which show he has no foreign policy experience and indeed no policies at all except to remove all Bush's endeavers. If this is true, do't you know the dems got a shock when Obama won Iowa? Just as much of a shock that we got when Huckabee won.

JM Hanes

Barbara S:
From the way the normally poisonous Dem's fell all over themselves with encomiums after Obama's win, I think the Obama shock was, in fact, a pleasant one, contra the Huckabomb.

"McCain is the only nationally electable Republican left in the field."

We can talk about a Giuliani collapse after super Tuesday. As for McCain, however, all I'm seeing is the bald assertion that he's nationally electable; I'm sure not seeing what supports it.


We can talk about a Giuliani collapse after super Tuesday.

Well, he's gone in the national polls from being the GOP leader with 35% - and beating Hillary head-to-head - to now having single digits and getting clobbered by Obama and Mrs. Bill one-on-one.

That's a collapse.

And he was my guy early on.

Whether we like it or not, the Reagan Coalition is no longer a viable movement. It's splintered into widely disparate groups that can no longer be held together by a program of anti-communism and smaller government.

Heck, Dutch needed Reagan Democrats.

McCain is the only Republican who can get any of those today. Ideological purity is good; but I like to win elections even if they're not pure ones.

Rick Ballard

"I'm sure not seeing what supports it."

What? A vigorous young man in excellent health with a brimming war chest and you can't see it?

We must have the same prescription for glasses.

JM Hanes

The Reagan Democrats had already disappeared before the Reagan coalition started cracking. McCain is basically running on his support for the surge, and as he has taken pains to remind us at every possible turn, his patriotism. I don't doubt the latter for a second, but I think it's not just offensive but bad politics when he impugns the patriotism of his competition by implying that they are "in it for money."

In any case, If we continue to make measurable gains over the next 10 months, the Democrats will be running on domestic issues, and opposing the anti-war faction will lose the urgency responsible for a major chunk of what votes Republicans did get in the last election round. If the surge should take a nose-dive, McCain will sink like a rock because all but a very, very few will decide its finally time to throw in the towel. Electability is a very fickle thing.

While I give McCain enormous credit for supporting the President on the war when it counted most, I don't give him nearly as many points for prescience as he'd like to claim. The boots he clamored for so long were Shinseki/Powell boots not counterinsurgency boots. Before the strategic change of course that put Petraeus at the helm, there's an arguable case that more numbers might have actually made things worse.

It's not like the other candidates opposed the surge. As McCain himself told us last night, what distinguishes him from the rest of the field is his condemnation of Rumsfeld -- despite the fact that the Rumsfeld initiated shift away from the Shinseki model, so resisted at DoD, continues apace, along with the emphasis on mobility & information gathering upon which counterinsurgencies depend. All of which is to say that while his heart may be in the right place, I don't, in fact, particularly trust the military judgment that is his putative forte any more than I trust the author of McCain/Feingold to put defenders of the 1st Amendment on the Supreme Court.

JM Hanes

As someone over at HotAir put it, asking whether you'd vote for McCain or Huckabee is like asking which wrist you'd like to slit.


Well, I've been posting all over the forum today re McCain, so I'll just link this Andy McCarthy article one more time for the record, to second JMH's question:

So, do you think the author of McCain/Feingold is going to nominate a 1st Amendment defender to the court or a "compromise" candidate that Dems will bless?

McCarthy's article, Your Speech Or Your Life, nicely combines both the pro-life/social conservatism issues that I and JMH raised in different threads, but it also ties them in to McCain's bizarre views on free speech. The subtitle to the article runs:

Why does McCain get a pass on stifling the pro-life message in the service of suppressing free speech … for the benefit of pro-abortion Democrats?
Other Tom

"If we're going to lose an election, let us do with Thompson..."

The idea is to win the election, not lose it. And McCain has been polling well against Hillary over the course of the past year or so.

I have no idea whom McCain might nominate to the Court. I have an excellent idea whom he won't nominate, and I'm more than willing to settle for that. When you throw in the fact that any Court nominees are likely going to have to be confirmed by a Dem Senate, and the additional sad fact that you can never know what you're going to get with such Republican nominees as Warren, Blackmun, Stevens, Souter and Kennedy (wasn't he nominated by Ronaldus Maximus himself?), the object is to make sure that you don't get Laurence Tribe.

Let me turn the question a bit: what Court nominees do you think Thompson will be able to get confirmed? It might be nice to see him nominate a Bork equivalent, but such a nomination will never get out of committee. Politics is the art of the possible, and it's not possible to get our ideal justices. It is possible to keep Lani Guinier and Bill Clinton off the Court.

Other Tom

Wanna get really depressed? Read tis from George Will:



OT--I read the George Will article and it is disheartening.
The thing that really is discouraging to me is that although I like McCain (not as much as Rudy and Mitt) I believe he will run an absolutely terrible campaign--ala Dole in '96. McCain would never listen to someone like Rove--his ego wouldn't allow it.


McCain 2008 = Dole 1996 especially against Obama.

Rudy = 50 state Dem landslide. Don't fall for the silly talk that he will turn Blue states Red. Republicans don't win by being liberal. Republicans win by having true conservative convictions.

Fred = straight talking conservative who could win nationally by standing for strong defense, limited government, pro-life, without all the harmful baggage carried by the other potential GOP nominees.

You can listen to the silly talk about electability or you can choose a nominee with convictions and ability to win.


largebill--You are absolutely spot on.


uh, Dole's compromises promoted good government. Not so McKain.


McCain can deal, but every deal he has made has been bad.


Why does anyone pay attention to polls at this point? Not to mention, most of the polling is done to manipulate public opinion. I've gotten so I ignore them, like I don't watch big network news - they have nothing to do with what's really going on.


MSM is afraid nobody on the Democratic side is electable, so they're framing the Republican unelectables in the match-up. The convention will stop that nonsense. Huckabee will be too full of himself and glib to compromise, and McCain's compromises are disastrous.


The only surprising thing about Giuliani is that he's still as popular as he is. The man is on the opposite side of most Republicans on most issues, not just abortion. His immigration, guns, and free speech records are equally bad. Once you lose the right-to-life people, the NRA types, the nationalists, and the libertarian Republicans, you don't have a lot left.

McCain has many of the same problems even if he does not deviate on as many issues. How did we reach the point where the GOP front-runners were all global warming saps? A point in his favor is that he seems to be very popular with independents, God only knows why. But a McCain presidency would be a rerun of the Bush years, with Republicans fighting a long series of battles against their own guy.

Romney and Thompson are the two most promising alternatives. I'd pick Romney to go against Obama, Thompson if the Dems pick HRC.


I just don't see a majority of the "Huck vote" settling in behind Romney if he were to outlast his rivals. Forget the incredible prematurity of matching potential nominees up against the opposing party at this stage, work on getting the candidate that the party can truly rally around after the process. The general election is a completely different animal, and a unified party can inflict all kinds of reality checks on the electorate, you know?


The Huckabee faithful will go with Fred, and he and Mitt will be the most effective team. Giuliani for AG to prosecute the Clintons. Clarice can pass cigars and hold the ashtrays in the smoke-filled rooms. You know what I demean by my demeanour.


"I just don't see a majority of the "Huck vote" settling in behind Romney if he were to outlast his rivals."

It's vastly more likely than that they would get behind Giuliani, and perhaps even McCain, who has a history of picking fights with evangelicals. Absent Huckabee, they have no great options.

The rest of us are in much the same position.

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