The reality is: I quickly realized Rudy was a maniac. I had a recurring fantasy in which I took him out during a press conference (it was nonlethal, just something that put him out of commission for a year or so), saving America from the horror of a President Giuliani. If that sounds like I had some trouble being “objective,” I did. -- Michael Hastings, addressing concerns that campaign reporters become too easily enamored of the candidate they're covering. Him, not so much.
Q: I was just talking to someone who claimed to have knowledge of Alaska to some degree, and they say where Sarah Palin comes from it's the equivalent of Humboldt or Chico in California, like, of course, you know, she'd have a Girls Gone Wild phase, and smoking pot. Is this just wishcasting, or what can you tell us about her geographical background?
A: So the Mat-Su Valley, you know, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, otherwise known as Upper Wingnuttia, is full of right-wing libertarian militia fundamendalist Christian gun-toting, pot-growing dope-heads.
A: Yeah. If Jerry Falwell rolled his own, you would have the Mat-Su Valley. I live in South Anchorage, and my raspberry plants, courtesy of 22 hours of daylight in the summer, grow eight and a half foot high. That's a raspberry bush. Can you imagine what a single pot plant would turn into? [...]
Read the whole short thing. I pulled a filppant quote but the real story is Republican antipathy toward her.
She is what McCain would like to be: She really is a maverick. In two years she stuck it to the two largest oil corporations in the United States of America. That's pretty fucking impressive, you know, that she has antagonized her party to the point that they despise her. And her ratings are still in the 80s.
I keep hearing about how Governor Palin has galvanized "The Conservatives" and "The Evangelicals."
David Harsanyi explains her appeal to little-l libertarians:
By now, you've probably seen picture or two of Palin sporting a rifle. Apparently, she's left carcasses strewn across the Alaskan wilderness. In some places -- areas where the nation is growing -- owning a gun is not yet a sin. And unlike Obama, Palin seems to believe that the Second Amendment means the exact same thing in rural Alaska as it does in the streets of Chicago.
Palin just signed a bill to suspend Alaska’s gasoline tax until Aug. 31, 2009, actually implementing in her state what John McCain advocated this year on the national scene....The bill, signed Aug. 25, also suspends taxes on marine fuel and aviation fuel for a year.
I think Senator McCain's summer-of-suspension was a gimmick. I like Palin's better because:
It lasts for a full year;
Alaska is in serious surplus from high oil prices, this seems a reasonable rebate mechanism
I have to steal my favorite line from Brother ac: "I didn't know they could stack awesome this high!"
UPDATE: Dr, Helen pens a great piece that captures my enthusiasm for the VP nominee:
But [gender] is not the reason I will be pulling for her and McCain come November. For me, Sarah Palin represents many right-leaning libertarian ideas that I personally support: low taxes, gun rights, and smaller government.
Unlike many liberals, I believe that women are capable of surviving and prospering on their own -- and Palin is proof of that. And unlike some female politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Palin made it herself without the help of a career politician husband to give her an added advantage. Palin strikes me as someone who is fair to both men and women and who does not give women special rights and privileges just for the sake of being female.
And unlike Obama, who would treat fathers unfairly, with little forethought, or "chivalrous" Biden who wants to give women a free divorce lawyer, I think Palin would focus on helping Americans achieve their dreams by staying out of their way.
I have to credit Warren Gamaliel Harding for giving us Silent Cal. But right after that, I could not be more pleased than I am with Senator McCain's picking Governor Palin. Her appearances on Kudlow and Company -- plus her charming acceptance speech in Ohio -- show a woman of strength, smarts and grace.
A month or so ago, I joined many Republicans in bellyaching about a lackluster campaign. I think they have been all the way live ever since. The TV spots are good, the responses are crisp, and they have miraculously managed to drive the news cycle in a media that lives to cover Senator Obama (I understand he bought some snacks the other day). Yet the day after the Barackopolis speech, everybody is talking about McCain-Palin.
UPDATE: I had misspelled "Gamaliel," sorry. Tryin' to show off, tryin' too hard...
Larry Kudlow says his sources say the McCain VP shortlist is now Gov. Pawlenty and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (way to call it, br!). I am pretty sick of McCain house jokes from Democrats, but I laughed at this:
Sources also tell me that Karl Rove and other Bush White House operatives continue to push hard for Romney. But one wag told me there’s a housing problem: Governor Romney has five; Sen. McCain and his wife have seven. That’s a lot of houses for one ticket. But putting sarcasm aside, Governor Romney is a fine person. He would make a very strong vice president.
Our shared resource, AlexC, has been credentialed as a blogger at the RNC convention in St. Paul. He's officially representing PA Water Cooler but told me that he plans to post at both sites. (I'm sure any one of us would help you put stuff up it gets easier to email, brother ac.)
He was wondering about ad schwag -- any suggestions? ThreeSources.com: Home of chocolate bunnies and NATALEE HOLLOWAY pictures t-shirts? Not sure we have the budget for embroidered bomber jackets. Key Chains? Buttons ("Another Stunning Exegesis!")? Pens? flash drives?
This time, it's the Straight Talk Express -- and my favorite politician in the world hanging on to the driveshaft.
I thought I could ignore it until Friday at 7:00, and then put out a short post like a Clinton Press Release. But the 'net is getting antsy and accountability has been demanded: someone writes to Jonah Goldberg:
Anyway, the Corner's silence on yesterday's Phil Gramm remarks is
deafening. Here it is 24 hours into a pretty-decent sized story (I
don't know how you sign into AOL mail, but I saw it listed as one of
the top news stories when I signed in through the web), and not even
one comment on his "whiner" remarks? I expected at least a Larry
Kudlow defense or something.
Don't wait for Larry to step up, unless it is on Gramm's side -- he was pretty clear on his show last night that he agrees with Senator Gramm.
Goldberg nails it:
Anyway, this is just another example of why I've always wanted Phil Gramm to be president of the United States and why that can never, ever, happen.
Because it's a peeve of mine, my ears always seem to be catching people talking about how much we need straight talkers in this country who won't cave to their handlers, won't spin, won't poll-test their views. And yet, whenever somebody speaks honestly, down comes the thunder.
UPDATE: In Who's Right, McCain or Gramm? James Pethokoukis worries that the political rush to "fix" the economy will lead us into European economic models -- how's that working out for you, Sven? Pierre? Helmut? A British economics professor is quoted:
Paul Krugman once observed that 3% per year is about as good as it gets for GDP growth in advanced economies. While the United States has achieved this since 1995, the EU15 have fallen well short—averaging only 2.3%. The real European problem is in sluggish labour productivity growth—over the same period it averaged 1.4% per year compared with 2.1% in the United States—so that Europe has been falling behind rather than catching up during the last decade, in contrast with the whole of the post-war period until the mid-1990s
Secretary Robert Reich and the WSJ Ed Page's Stephen Moore form the "Dynamic Duo" on Kudlow & Company. The two can always be counted on to take opposite sides of an issue. CNBC loves controversy and frequently superimposes boxing glove animations over arguing panel members.
Hearts sank across the control room yesterday as Reich, Moore, and host Larry Kudlow all reached agreement. Yes, it seems that Senator McCain's $300 Million prize for developing a car battery is considered universally stupid across the political spectrum. Here's the clip, I call it Kudlow Kumbaya:
Reich, for a rare change is right. I seriously doubt that he would not love this idea had Senator Obama proposed it -- but he didn't, this is my guy that says let's take [pinky in mouth] 300 miiiillion dollars out of the Federal largesse to pay some prize to a person that would make billions in the open market. Sad.
UPDATE: Your wish is my command, commenters. Here is the clip right before the Kumbaya moment shown above. Markets need regulation, alternative energy investments will bring down futures prices &c.
UPDATE II: It's a battle of the Titan bloggers! Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit (3.0 x 108 daily readers) vs. jk of ThreeSources (3.0 daily readers)!
I still don't know the proper etiquette for what AlexC calls "link-whoring," but I sent this to Reynolds as a counterpoint to a Jerry Pournelle piece he linked that was in favor of the prize. I know Reynolds respects Kudlow, and I thought it gave an important and different take.
I'm not surprised to get ignored by Reynolds. He gets a ton of these and it's his site to edit as he pleases. But he revised the Pournelle post and updated it with three additional links that support the prize idea.
I'm thinking I will email him again and say "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM????"
Here's a platform for Senator McCain that will bring conservatives into the fold and help draw bold distinctions for the rest of the electorate:
"I, Senator John McCain vow to nominate Fred Thompson to the first opening on the Supreme Court in my tenure."
Thompson then campaigns with McCain, pointing out the differences between Senators McCain and Obama on Constitutional issues, which I believe favor McCain. The campaign trail becomes filled with gems like these:
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for a majority of the Supreme Court to make new law based not upon precedent but upon policy preferences of members of the Court. But this time it’s part of a much bigger picture. It is about power, and who gets to exercise it in an area that is vital to the security of this nation. This time it’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous.
It should also be noted that Senator Obama thinks that the decision in Boumediene v Bush is an excellent one. I don’t know what’s worse: that he doesn’t understand what the Court has done … or that he actually does and still thinks this was a sound ruling. Good luck to all of us.
I usually avoid the fever swamps of any political bent, and rarely read public comments on big blogs. I'll read a few on Althouse and consider the Samizdata commentarial to be as good as the rest of the blogosphere put together. But I have little patience for mad ranters.
As you've surmised by now, I broke my rule today. James Pethokoukis quotes Donald Luskin about whether [L|l]ibertarians [sh|w]ould support Senator McCain in the general election. The short post is well worth a read. Then Jimmy-P asks "Well, that's [Luskin's] take. Any libertarians or Ron Paul voters out there who see things differently? Please comment below!"
Inviting the Paul crowd to comment on an open Internet site is like posting a "free wounded antelope here" sign in a game refuge. They're out and they're hungry:
Betty of WA uses all caps so you stupid people won't miss the point:
Your Incredibly Stupid Article
DONALD AND JAMES,
LET ME MAKE THINGS REALLY CLEAR.....THE VAST MAJORITY OF RON PAUL SUPPORTERS WILL NOT SUPPORT MCCAIN, IN HOPES OF DESTROYING THE NEOCON AGENDA THAT IS POLLUTING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. ARE WE A POLITICAL THREAT? YES, DONALD AND JAMES, WE ARE AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO BACK DOWN, GIVE UP, OR GO HOME. YOUR ARTICLE IS A WEAK SMARMY LITTLE MACHINATION TO ATTEMPT TO SHOW US THAT RON PAUL SUPPORTERS SHOULD JUST GIVE UP AND EMBRACE MCCAIN. AS THEY WOULD SOONER EMBRACE THE ANTICHRIST, YOU TWO CAN BITE THE BIG ONE AND JUMP OFF THE NEXT CLIFF TOGETHER! GO RON PAUL!!!!
GOT IT BETTY!!! THANKS EVER SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!!
Jack D of CO uses both cases to tell us to "Get Educated!"
I think I can speak for most Paul supporters when I say that living in this country is like being on an ice burgh where the majority of the people want to ride it out while the Paul people are screaming from the roof tops to get off the burgh and into the boat but Americans think the boat is too nutty of an idea.
I did not know that "ice burghs" had rooftops...
Doug of OK thinks a vote for Bob Barr is wasted, so you're better off -- let Doug tell you:
Why vote for Barr? A third party candidate has never and will never be elected President of the United States. Don't waste your vote! Vote Ron Paul! If all the rp supporters and libertarians would vote for Paul, he might just win! Even though the electoral process of this country is corrupt, the sheer numbers of votes for Ron Paul could change everything. Please cast your vote for Ron Paul. He's the only one that can save our country.
McCain has called himself a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. His tax speech clinches it.
Sen. John McCain moved decisively to the supply-side Tuesday in a strong speech to the National Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. For investors, small-business owner-operators, and the vast majority of middle-class Americans who go to work every day and are concerned about Sen. McCain’s tax vision, this speech is good news. Big Mac is the taxpayer-friendly candidate.
Earlier in the campaign, Obama became the candidate of 1970’s scarcity and limits when he asserted that “we can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, and then just expect that every other country is going to say okay.”
Ironically, it’s Sen. McCain who is saying “Yes we can.” We can grow. We can prosper. We can be confident about the future. He’s saying that with the right economic policies, America’s outlook will know no bounds.
Sen. John McCain delivered a nearly pluperfect supply-side tax-cut plan yesterday, one that is worthy of conservative support, and frankly a real eye-opener showing just how good he can be. I wrote about it in my latest column.
But then he goes on NBC’s Today Show this morning and gets the whole energy story wrong. Oh my gosh.
I think we're going to have a lot of these 50/50 looks through November.
Don Luskin links to these. I'm sure that eco-friendly John McCain gear will be all the rage around Boulder County this year. Luskin says " Hey, I'm all for pandering, if it will keep Obama out of the White House. But this is just plain stupid."
Not to energize a VP Romney boomlet -- even in the shadow of hb's fear -- but Holman Jenkins has some kind words for the Guv today:
But honor, the value that underlined Mr. McCain's stand, is no use on an issue like global warming. Here, he could use a little more Mitt Romney, his vanquished nemesis whose name has now resurfaced in the veep sweepstakes.
Mr. Romney was tagged as a wonk because he "immerses himself in data." But one thing immersion can do that casual "gut" proceedings can't is let you know when the data don't provide an answer, even if people are telling you it does.
If the warming of the 1980s and 1990s were shown to be extraordinary, that would at least indicate something extraordinary is going on. If the pace of warming or the scale were correlated in some sensible fashion with the rise in atmospheric CO2, that might suggest cause – but such correlation is lacking.
It perhaps takes somebody steeped like Mr. Romney in real-world analytics to find a footing against the media tide. But the fact remains: The push toward warming that CO2 provides in theory is no reason to presume in confidence that CO2 is actually responsible for any observed warming in a system as complex and chaotic as our atmosphere.
Famed Republican strategist Joni Mitchell said "You don't know what you got 'till it's gone." I'm not yearning for Mitt! but Jenkins is right -- and right that the thing that used to bother me about Governor Romney, data over principles, can come in handy.
Well, the data part at least. It would be nice if Senator McCain had used data or principle before choosing Cap & Trade.
I guess we all knew this was coming from Senator McCain. Perhaps we have been in denial about the issues connected to it. But here the McCain plan is, unveiled in Oregon, with emission caps by 2020 — only twelve years from now — that will somehow move carbon levels back to where they were in 1990.
I don’t claim to understand everything about the cap-and-trade mechanism. But scanning the McCain announcement, I look at bullets like banking and borrowing permits; unlimited initial offsets; integrating with international markets; strategic carbon reserves; early allocation of permits; U.N. negotiations; climate-change adaptation plans; implementation at the local level; comprehensive plans for infrastructure ecosystems; resource planning . . . O my gosh!
He called the oil companies "evil" in his O'Reilly interview. He called the Pharmaceutical companies "evil" in the debates (my only overwhelmingly positive moment for Governor Romney was when he said "no they're not.")
I can whine, but I don't believe a lover of liberty can be apathetic between Senator Obama and Senator McCain. All the same, many uncomfortable moments lie between now and November. O my gosh.
Washington – McCain’s cap-and-trade bill to limit CO2 emissions is badly flawed and would do great damage to the economy. Although McCain promotes the cap-and-trade plan as a market-based solution, it is just another heavy government regulation with tremendous costs to American businesses and economic growth.
Here's what the WSJ editorial page has to say about Obama's election year plan to lower gas prices by raising the marginal corporate tax on oil companies ABOVE it's present level of 35%:
Mr. Obama is right to oppose the gas-tax gimmick, but his idea is even worse. Neither proposal addresses the problem of energy supply, especially the lack of domestic oil and gas thanks to decades of Congressional restrictions on U.S. production.
Last week Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski introduced a windfall profits tax as part of what he called the "Consumer Reasonable Energy Price Protection Act of 2008."
And about energy policy politics in general:
This tiff over gas and oil taxes only highlights the intellectual policy confusion – or perhaps we should say cynicism – of our politicians. They want lower prices but don't want more production to increase supply. They want oil "independence" but they've declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?
But there is hope:
Late this week, a group of Senate Republicans led by Pete Domenici of New Mexico introduced the "American Energy Production Act of 2008" to expand oil production off the U.S. coasts and in Alaska. It has the potential to increase domestic production enough to keep America running for five years with no foreign imports. With the world price of oil at $116 a barrel, if not now, when?
So does the AEPA have a chance of passing instead of the CREPPA? The chances may be slim but as Wayne Gretzky used to say, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
It's the mark of a small, petty, man of limited integrity to engage in "I told You Sos." Ergo:
While I found much to like about the candidacy of Senator Fred Thompson, and still picked him over Senator McCain, I was extremely concerned that he would be painted as offering "a third Bush term." To ThreeSourcers, that was ridiculous: there remain clear differences. But I knew the Democrats would try, and that it would be hard to beat Soros-funded 527s in defining a Southern, plainspoken politician as being any different.
In my small-minded, petty, limited integrity case -- let me point out how hard the Democrats are trying to use this against Senator McCain. On FOX News Sunday, "Bush-McCain" was Senator Schumer's label for anything to the right of Henry Wallace. Here's Mister Audacity himself in ThreeSources's spiritual backyard:
[T]he change this country needs will not come from a third George W. Bush term. And what is exactly what his campaign is offering. John McCain is offering four more years of a war with no exit strategy, a war with no end in sight, a war that is sending our troops on their third, fourth and fifth tours of duty." Four good measure, Obama repeated the disputable claim that McCain saw "great progress" from seven and a half years of George W. Bush's" economic program.
They are trying, and they know they succeeded in 1996 with a Union funded "Dole-Gingrich" campaign. I have no idea whether it will work. It seems laughable to any Republican: Misters Hatfield and McCoy are drinking buddies in comparison. But the Democrats will say it every day between now and November, and the media will be unlikely to question them. Sadly, McCain will be criticized for all the President’s good ideas which he supports.
At the end of the day, there will be clear differences and some media members will recount bad blood in the 2000 primaries. And it will help that McCain does not have a southern drawl. It doesn't make me proud of this country, Michelle, but I think would have been insurmountable for Fred!
An old adage says "Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line." Last week, I got in an email thread among some Republican bloggers and was surprised at some of the hostility toward Senator McCain. I suppose most of us have already "fallen in line" 'round these parts.
The other day, I realized the creepiest thing about the adulation for Senator Obama. Among many choices, I have to go with the short hop from candidate-worship to government-worship. My feelings for Senator McCain parallel my feelings about government: "I guess we have to have somebody, and he's one of the least worst." I don't faint when he speaks and I don't feel thrills running up my leg like Chris Matthews. But I don't look for him to solve all my problems, nor do I expect him to heal our nations' divisions. I expect him to adequately and faithfully execute to responsibilities of the office.
Not very poetic, huh?
Obama supporters -- and the bumper stickers are springing up like blue daffodils around Boulder County -- really believe he will bring great health care to everybody, make Americans loved in the deepest corners of the world, and that black, white and brown Americans will live together as brothers. The flaw is not that they are looking to Senator Obama for that, the flaw is that they are looking to government to do that.
Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out Ambassador! From a Press Release by his campaign:
Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has chosen April 15 to make a major announcement of his intentions, following indications he has broken with the GOP. A life-long Republican who has increasingly cited the party's failure to match conservative rhetoric with actual performance in the political arena, Keyes said he will reveal his reasons for departing the GOP at a press conference scheduled for 8:30 pm ET, at the Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton, PA.
Live streaming video on his website. America will be riveted to her screens I'm certain.
Every few weeks, McCain drives over to pay his respects. These days the trip is a ceremony, like going to church, only less pleasant. Udall is seldom conscious, and even then he shows no sign of recognition. McCain brings with him a stack of newspaper clips on Udall's favorite subjects: local politics in Arizona, environmental legislation, Native American land disputes,
A nurse entered and seemed surprised to find anyone there, and it wasn’t long before I found out why: Almost no one visits anymore. In his time, which was not very long ago, Mo Udall was one of the most-sought-after men in the Democratic Party. Yet as he dies in a veterans hospital a few miles from the Capitol, he is visited regularly only by a single old political friend, John McCain. “He’s not going to wake up this time,” McCain said.
C'mon, you know you missed it! Today, John Fund pens the Huck-a-Whack denouement in OpinionJournal Political Diary:
Mike Huckabee is as busy as ever since he ended his campaign for the GOP nomination. Invitations to speak and join the boards of various organizations are pouring in. But this week the former Arkansas governor took time to contemplate why he failed to best John McCain in this winter's primaries. His partial answer: his fellow Christian leaders.
"Rank-and-file evangelicals supported me strongly, but a lot of the leadership did not," he told Ralph Hallow of the Washington Times. "Let's face it, if you're not going to be king, the next best thing is to be the kingmaker. And if the person gets there without you, you become less relevant."
Mr. Huckabee has a point. Pat Robertson of TV's "The 700 Club" was a surprise backer of Rudy Giuliani. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer had kind words for Fred Thompson and Jay Sekulow, who heads the American Center for Law and Justice, backed Mitt Romney.
But what Mr. Huckabee fails to note is that the Christian leaders I spoke with all had passionate reasons for not backing the Baptist minister. Several singled out his critique of President Bush's foreign policy for being "arrogant," and several noted Mr. Huckabee's endorsement of a discredited "cap-and-trade" regulatory approach to global warming. "He's the leading exponent of Christian left principles in our party," one Christian leader told me. Paul Pressler, who led the successful ouster of the moderate leadership of the Southern Baptist convention in the 1980s, recalled Mr. Huckabee was on the other side in that dispute. For his part, Mr. Bauer says he "saw no evidence that [Huckabee] could bring together the three main parts of the Reagan electoral constituency -- defense, economic and social conservatives."
Mr. Huckabee does acknowledge the role of some critics in stopping his march to the nomination. He singles out the free-market Club for Growth for running damaging ads against him in South Carolina, where he narrowly lost the primary to John McCain.
"It was very frustrating to be presented as an economic liberal, because I have a very different record, as an economic conservative," Mr. Huckabee told the Washington Times. His big problem here is that so few of Mr. Huckabee's fellow Republicans in Arkansas agree with him. Only a handful of the state's 33 GOP state legislators endorsed him for president. Blant Hurt, a former owner of Arkansas Business magazine, was brutally candid on the reasons: "He's hostile to free trade, hiked sales and grocery taxes, backed sales taxes on Internet purchases, and presided over state spending going up more than twice the inflation rate."
Rather than blame shadowy "kingmakers" in the Republican Party, it's time Mr. Huckabee acknowledged that for all of his rhetorical gifts, he wasn't able to close the sale with conservative leaders -- both Christian and others -- who examined his record closely.
Emphasis mine. Goodbye and Good Luck, Governor. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!
According to Joe Carter, who has worked for the Huckabee campaign, lower taxes no longer attract voters. What they really want is (and I am paraphrasing) mythological government-created and facilitated growth and good schools. To me, that sounds more like the message of many Democrats. Similarly, he could care less about those of us lonely libertarians:
“If you let the libertarians go over to the Democratic Party while the Republicans win the votes of entrepreneurs,” he says, “you’re talking about a new majority party.”
The Reagan coalition has worked for almost 30 years. Economic libertarians have been a strong part of that coalition. Why do the Republicans insist on fixing something that isn't broken?
Besides being the greatest two-for in GOP history, Rice brings other huge pluses to the old admiral. Indeed, she may be enough to elect the venerable hero/naval aviator.
McCain's troubles with the religious wing of his party could well evaporate with the churchgoing Rice at his side. She solidifies that part of his base overnight.
With Rice on the ticket, the GOP would have somebody to get enthusiastic about. The Secretary of State is immensely popular with Republicans. For a party that up to now has been clueless about how to run against either a woman or a person of color, Condoleezza Rice is pure political gold.
Woe to any Democrat who thinks taking her on in a debate is a sure thing. The woman is tough, fast on her feet and able to give better than she gets. Anyone who has seen her in action testifying in front of a hostile House or Senate committee knows that she will be able to wipe up the floor with a plodding, ordinary pol of a Democratic vice-presidential candidate. Take Rice lightly at your peril.
It would deflate some of the "historic" aspects of the Democratic nominee as well. I think that she has been poisoned by the striped-pants set at the State Department, but she is awesome on guns and freedom issues. And The Nation does not lie about her debating skills.
But even as he dominated the Potomac Primary, McCain lost conservatives in Virginia, as he has across the South and parts of the Midwest -- trailing Huckabee among that group and evangelicals as he attempts to unite a fractured Republican Party behind his candidacy.
He can be President of the Virginia Conservatives!
I think it is moronic that the Governor has stayed in long after far more formidable rivals have dropped out. There is a school of thought that says that he helps McCain by keeping the GOP in the news. I certainly don't think he is hurting the Senator much. But I look forward to his ByeKu.
This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republican should close ranks behind John McCain," Thompson said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.
Thompson's endorsement was expected. The two men were colleagues for years in the Senate and shared what associates called a friendship. But while he was in the race, Thompson had bristled at the idea that he was going to drop out and endorse McCain.
The endorsement now may help McCain to coalesce the factions of the party around him. Thompson, who represented Tennessee in the Senate for eight years, is thought of well in the South, an area that McCain has not done well in.
Don Luskin (a frequent recipient of Three Sources links) signed on as an economic advisor to Ron Paul at the end of January. He even appeared on the new Fox Business Channel to promote Dr. Paul. However, it has been brought to my attention and now confirmed on Paul's website that Luskin has abandoned the Paul campaign exactly two weeks after the day he joined in order to sign on with Sen. McCain. Luskin has long been an advocate of Paul's candidacy even before becoming an official policy advisor. I am a bit perplexed at his abrupt departure (especially after promising Neil Cavuto in front of tens of FBC viewers that he would vote for Ron Paul even if he had to write him in).
I know that blog friend and frequent commenter Perry Eidelbus has regular correspondence with Don. Any scoop Perry?
John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign.
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney will say at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country," Romney said.
Don't expect Senator McCain to tack to the right anymore.
Watching the returns come in on Not So Super Tuesday, I was struck by a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I realized that I am a man without a party (not even a lesser of two evils party). The returns, of course, favored John McCain. And as I contemplated a McCain nomination, I was struck by the fact that I was rooting for the lesser of two evils within the Republican Party in Mitt Romney. Why should I be rooting for the lesser of two evils in the very party to which I reluctantly belong? As I began to try and delude myself that Romney would indeed be a good candidate and not simply "Not McCain", the results from the south began rolling in. I heard the most devastating combination of syllables imaginable emanating from Wolf Blitzer's* mouth:
"Huckabee wins Georgia."
Huckabee wins West Virginia."
Huckabee is neck-and-neck with McCain in Missouri."
Huckabee wins Arkansas."
I frantically turned the station. Chris Matthews and Brit Hume were saying the same thing.
How could it be that Gomer Pyle was winning? I may not be comfortable with any of the candidates, but I have made no bones about where I stand on Comrade Taxabee. Suddenly, the Pat Robertson of 2008 had done something that I thought was impossible. He won in states other than Iowa. It was at that moment that it hit me.
The Republican Party has left me.
The talk of limited government, free trade, and low taxes was what drew me to the party. In certain times, like under the current president, some (and at times all) of the talk about these issues was merely lip service. However, the present crop does not even provide lip service to the issues that I am interested in. Instead, there are folks like Mike Huckabee (who I never believed could draw a single vote after Iowa) that are out on the trail painting populist dream worlds for the economically ignorant. Gomer has no knowledge of anything not contained in the Bible or Neal Boortz's book on the FairTax -- and I don't think that he even understands those two books. He has yet to locate Pakistan (when they had the debate on MSNBC and the candidates had to ask questions to one another, I was secretly hoping someone would pull out a globe and ask Huckabee to identify Pakistan). He makes up false claims about Mormonism in the New York Times to damage Romney and pretends that they are innocent mistakes. He doesn't understand his own tax proposal. He repeatedly states that finally drug dealers and prostitutes will not be exempt from taxation (ignoring the fact that their customers will because I doubt that type of consumption will be reported).
And yet Republicans are voting for this man over McCain and Romney in several states.
The GOP isn't all that grand anymore. It has become a desolate wasteland of broken promises, empty rhetoric, and now populist nonsense.
I am not leaving the Republican Party. The Republican Party has left me. I'm sure that I will be persuaded to vote for a GOP candidate from time to time, but I can no longer consider myself a member of this broken party.
* Just as a side note, as my troubled mind tried to contemplate what in the world was going on, I couldn't help but wonder if "Wolf Blitzer" is the greatest name ever? If only he were a linebacker or military general...
One refuge I've found in my defense of Senator McCain has been his stance on free trade. David Ranson, head of research at H.C. Wainwright Economics Inc., has a guest editorial in which he grades the candidates on their approach to trade. The bar is pretty damn low, but Senator McCain shines:
During their debates, some of the Republican candidates expressed more ifs, ands or buts about free trade than others. John McCain says: "Free trade should be the continuing principle that guides this nation's economy." Mitt Romney's position is: "I strongly support free trade, but free trade has to be fair in both directions." According to Mike Huckabee: "I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade." But elsewhere he has said: "I don't want to see our food come from China, our oil come from Saudi Arabia and our manufacturing come from Europe and Asia."
Hillary Clinton has taken an even stronger stance against free trade, suggesting that the economic theories underpinning it no longer hold. To support that she cited economics Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson, but he was only making the long-understood but sometimes forgotten point that, even in the long run, free trade does not benefit everyone.
When you hear "fair trade," "smart trade," reciprocal trade," you are always hearing a euphemism for protectionism. Free trade is fair, smart, and reciprocal -- without any help from bureaucrats.
If you read the whole piece, McCain gets a well deserved whack for some nonsense about compensating senior workers and some good old bromides about retraining. But even if enacted, a few stupid gub'mint programs will be much less of a drag on the economy than protectionism
Mitt Romney 6
John McCain 5
Mike Huckabee 3
Ron Paul 2
It was just like the Super Bowl. Romney had a surge in the last few votes. I was disappointed that my candidate lost but I had a blast. My Republican neighbors are awesome. We voted on some resolutions after and the discussions were top notch. I did not agree with all of them, but I have a ton of respect for all.
Okay, they won't be the last if he stays in. But some have politely questioned my ability to go lower and lower down the GOP evolutionary ladder -- I'll soon be singing the praises of worms! Time to take another look at a man of boundless principle, Representative Ron Paul?
No, thanks. (Worms really are underappreciated...)
Hegemony makes the argument I have made, without invoking the name of Deepak Lal. The type of modern, global trade I want (Lal's Liberal International Economic Order) simply cannot prosper without somebody playing World Police. I don't see anybody else stepping up. Kling ends with a pretty thoughtful rebuttal of the anarcho-capatalist claims that iPod's 47 different countries' parts will come together just as freely under protection of pirates than of the USMC.
If I am correct, then the markets in ancient Rome were filled whenever the legions came home with loads of plunder. Otherwise, the markets would have been relatively empty.
What I suspect is that over the past several hundred years, the production/plunder ratio has increased dramatically. That is, in a typical ancient market, most of the goods for sale were plundered by the imperial armies. Only a few goods for sale were produced voluntarily by citizens. In a modern economy, the ratio of production to plunder is far higher.
Bret Stephens's piece speaks to my other concern with Paul. His insistence that we are broke, we cannot continue, we're borrowing too much, we're...
Stephens traces the roots of this line of thought:
In 1788, Massachusetts playwright Mercy Otis Warren took one look at the (unratified) U.S. Constitution and declared that "we shall soon see this country rushing into the extremes of confusion and violence." This, roughly, is the origin of American declinism -- and it's been downhill ever since.
And follows with some modern statistics which belie it:
Yet each of these assumptions collapses on a moment's inspection. In his 2006 book "Überpower," German writer Josef Joffe makes the following back-of-the-envelope calculation: "Assume that the Chinese economy keeps growing indefinitely at a rate of seven percent, the average of the past decade (for which history knows of no example). . . . At that rate, China's GDP would double every decade, reaching parity with today's United States ($12 trillion) in thirty years. But the U.S. economy is not frozen into immobility. By then, the United States, growing at its long-term rate of 2.5 percent, would stand at $25 trillion."
Now take military expenditures. Yesterday, the administration released its budget proposal for 2009, which includes $515.4 billion for the regular defense budget. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this would be the largest defense appropriation since World War II. Yet it amounts to about 4% of GDP, as compared to 14% during the Korean War, 9.5% during the Vietnam War and 6% in the Reagan administration. Throw in the Iraq and Afghanistan supplementals, and total projected defense spending is still only 4.5% of GDP -- an easily afforded sum even by Prof. Kennedy's terms.
We're not broke because the world wants to invest in US Securities. But we would be considerably poorer if we did not hold up our oversized but necessary portion of the defense of worldwide, liberal trade.
I said I was making my last persuadin' try yesterday. But -- like the debates -- when one is brutally savaged in the comments, the moderator grants a 30 second rebuttal. Read Fast.
Commander-in-Chief -- the Democrats may be lulled into ignoring the war against Islamofascism. Let's not follow them. McCain will be loved by our troops and feared by our enemies.
Spending Hawk -- Great Kudlow last night. Every sane, sentient member of the panel (all but Secretary Reich and Jared Bernstein) agreed that the deficits are not a big deal except that they will be used to prevent the Bush tax cuts from renewing. Belief in limited government and any hope for the continuation of the GOP right now requires tough focus on spending.
Free trader -- free trade is under assault. It has been completely abandoned by the Democrats and the GOP are "weak as water" these days. A resolute advocate in the White House is important.
Commander-in-Chief gets two.
I will likely climb down my list to Numero Cuatro if Governor Romney prevails, but his campaign's phone calls are getting worse and worse. They are the rankest populism and assume the lowest intelligence: "Did you know McCain teamed up with liberal Senator Ted Kennedy to write an Amnesty bill" a voice asks? Well, I'm glad he specified which Senator Ted Kennedy he was discussing. No need to worry about any nuance (unless we're discussing Romney's signature on an assault weapons bill, you see he was guiding the legislation...). Then it plays a clip of President Bill Clinton saying that a Hillary-John race would be "civil." The narrator intones gravely that "you can tell a man by the company he keeps..."
Frozen, frikken' NED on a stick! I am going to find it hard to support this man if he gets the nod. It will signal that the talk radio populists really have taken over the GOP. As the Weekly Standard would say, the Country Club will have lost to Sam's Club.
(Though if the weather does not improve, perhaps we might make a Faustian bargain to both stay home).
"I would have supported the original assault weapon ban," Romney said. "I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus."
Asked Tim Russert: "So the assault ban that expired here because Congress didn’t act on it, you would support?"
"Just as the president said, he would have, he would have signed that bill if it came to his desk, and so would have I," said Romney.
In the last few hours, Romney contradicted that in a podcast interview with Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith of Instapundit fame.
"I know that a lot of the gun rights folks aren’t sure about your position on gun rights," asked Smith. "Would you pledge to veto any new gun control bills that come across your desk as President?"
"Yeah," Romney said. "Yeah, I don’t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose. There’s no new legislation that I’m aware of or have heard of that I would support. In regards to guns, I think we have enough legislation and should enforce the laws as they exist. I was pleased that when I ran for Governor that I received the endorsement of the NRA and I hope to receive their support now."
I don't expect that the Massachusetts chapter of the NRA can be too picky but I suggest that this is another example of Romney's being driven by making the best choice at the time rather than from deep beliefs.
I also wonder if you have enjoyed your phone calls this weekend. Senator Santorum's pitch for Romney didn't excite me. Each Romney call (about five) drove me farther away. Governor Romney is content to be the talk radio candidate. That's not where I live but I suggest that is not where the Governor lives either. I have no idea what he will believe in when the election is over.
So they're probably not about to sign a lease together, but U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Ted Kennedy are getting along swimmingly these days, notes William Fisher, a former reporter who spent more than 30 years managing economic development programs for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development.
"So it's both rare and refreshing when two titans from opposing political parties actually come together to do something important," says Fisher on The Huffington Post.
(emphasis added above -ed)
Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment. (tm)
Oh! ... and he wants to investigate the NFL.
For cocking up the "evidence" of the Patriots stealing the Jets' defensive signals.
"That requires an explanation," Specter said. "The NFL has a very preferred status in our country with their antitrust exemption. The American people are entitled to be sure about the integrity of the game. It's analogous to the CIA destruction of tapes. Or any time you have records destroyed."
OK, we gotta throw the yellow flag on that one. 15 yard penalty. Unsportsmanlike conduct of an analogy. Specter compares the Patriots spying compared to the CIA destruction of tapes? What’s next for the great conspiracy mind: a single bullet killed John F. Kennedy? Thank goodness the Zapruder film wasn’t shot by a professional athelete.
My biggest complaint about Governor Romney has been that he sells himself as a manager and a tactician. He does not talk about core beliefs -- he talks about competence.
The Wall Street Journal lead editorial says it far better than I do. To be fair, I think I stole the thought from Kim Strassel to begin with. President Reagan had strong principles that he could rely on to make difficult decisions. President George Herbert Walker Bush was a tactician/manager. When the data said he must raise taxes, he did. I think President Bush pere was one of the finest human beings to occupy the office, and I've little doubt that Governor Romney is decent and honest and patriotic as well. But I don't see core beliefs. And neither does the WSJ Ed Page.
Washington's problem isn't a lack of data, or a failure to calibrate the incentives as in the business world. Congress and the multiple layers of government respond exactly as you'd expect given the incentives for self-preservation and turf protection that always exist in political institutions. The only way to overcome them is with leadership on behalf of good ideas backed by public support. The fact that someone as bright as Mr. Romney doesn't recognize this Beltway reality risks a Presidency that would get rolled quicker than you can say Jimmy Carter.
All the more so because we haven't been able to discern from his campaign, or his record in Massachusetts, what his core political principles are. Mr. Romney spent his life as a moderate Republican, and he governed the Bay State that way after his election in 2002. While running this year, however, he has reinvented himself as a conservative from radio talk show-casting, especially on immigration.
The problem is not that Mr. Romney is willing to reconsider his former thinking. Nor is it so much that his apparent convictions always seem in sync with the audience to which he is speaking at the moment. (Think $20 billion in corporate welfare for Michigan auto makers.) Plenty of politicians attune their positions to new constituencies. The larger danger is that Mr. Romney's conversions are not motivated by expediency or mere pandering but may represent his real governing philosophy.
Governor Romney told reporters that he had made a targeted "seven figure" media buy for Super Tuesday. I have received three automated calls from the Romney Campaign: one poll asked me how likely I was to vote and who my first and second picks were; one with the Governor's voice and a positive message; and one telling me that Senator McCain had teamed up with Senator Ted Kennedy (!!!!) to write an immigration that gave amnesty and social security benefits to illegals. "Not the kind of immigration reform we need."
Three calls from the Gov, none from anybody else. The caucuses are next Tuesday.
Jonah Goldberg takes to the NRO Corner to say that Senator John McCain is not the antichrist. I'd have somebody else taste your food in the editorial meetings for the next few weeks, Jonah.
I think I should just be on the record that I disagree with the tone, tenor and substance of much — though certainly not all — of the anti-McCain commentary around here. It's not that I object to a single post or comment — though there've been a few. It's that I disagree with the overwhelming impression that supporting McCain is some kind of lunacy. I have serious disagreements with McCain. I think it is entirely right to disagree with him on all sorts of issues and entirely legitimate to think he would be bad for the party, bad for conservatism or bad for the country to have him as the nominee or the next president. I agree with some of those sentiments, disagree with others.
But this disaster talk leaves me cold. McCain wouldn't be my first pick. Then again, none of the candidates were really my first pick. But I think the notion that, variously, conservatism, the country or the party are doomed if he's the nominee or the president is pretty absurd.
If Barack Obama chose Phil Gramm as one of his economic advisors, would you vote for him? I may be wrong, but I anticipate that the answer would be 'no'. So why does John McCain get a free pass? McCain is out there spewing the economic rhetoric often reserved for the likes of John Edwards, but as long as Gramm and Kemp are by his side, all is supposedly well.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.
In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCain’s chief political strategist.
Democrats had contacted Jeffords and then-Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) in the early months of 2001 about switching parties, but in McCain’s case, they said, it was McCain’s top strategist who came to them.
If McCain is the nominee, you may be voting for a Democrat either way.
I think Dan Henninger pens the first political obituary of the Romney campaign. Premature or prescient? I post, you decide. For the record, it is unusual for the Deputy Ed Page Editor's work to appear in Political Diary. Was he burning to get this out or is Rupert reworking the org chart. I post -- oh never mind:
At last night's (blessedly) final Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney had the look, and sound, of someone who knows it's over. While predictions in this political season have become a fool's game, I am going to venture that no matter how many states he competes in, Gov. Romney knows he will never close the five-point gap that separated him from John McCain in New Hampshire and now Florida.
Last night the famous Matinee Mitt smile of self-confidence seemed to have been replaced by a more relaxed, wistful glance over at the Arizona Senator seated next to him. That resigned, tight smile said something: I am smarter than you are, Senator, on virtually every issue other than who ran Pakistan 10 years ago, but I am still losing. Why?
Here's why. As was clear again in last night's debate, Gov. Romney's message on the campaign trail or on TV was a perpetual data-dump. Yes, Mitt was smarter than the other guys, but he had the smartest-kid-in-the-class malady of compulsively trying to show off his brain with what in the end merely amounted to a lot of policy details, a lot of "stuff." Did anyone ever understand his explanation of his Massachusetts health care reform?
Result: His message was disorganized. The bumper sticker was "Let Mitt Fix Washington," but the Mitt fix itself came across to audiences as a grab-bag of analysis, nostrums and pieces of supporting data pulled randomly from some folder in his brain. As Mike Huckabee might put it, the bane of the Romney candidacy was Bain & Company. Bain is the consulting firm where by his own admission Mr. Romney learned how to think about the world -- through the eyes of a management consultant. As any CEO who has ever hired one of these firms will tell you, they are fascinating guys to talk to but you wouldn't want them actually running your company.
The Romney candidacy never quite came into focus. Yeah, fix Washington, but beyond that a blizzard of technocratic data at every whistlestop. One can see why he'd be maddened losing to the almost stolid McCain candidacy. But no one could miss the McCain message: national honor, a duty to fulfill the nation's responsibilities and the real and present danger of an external threat. It's a mindset they teach in the military but not in consulting: Keep it simple, stupid.
Mitt couldn't. He's done.
UPDATE: John Fund, in the same PD, says that the campaign is not buying media.
The GOP debates have lost 50 points off their mean IQ since Rudy! and Fred! left.
On paper, I was committed to supporting my third choice, and I am pragmatic enough that I probably will do the GOP thang this year, BUT --- But I was extremely disappointed with the debates last night. I tuned in late and don't know if I perhaps missed "the good parts." But what I saw made me nauseous.
Last week's Weekly Standard has an amusing cover illustration of Senators Clinton and Obama on playground swings, scowling at each other. But the Dems looked like Lincoln and Douglas compared to the Mitt! and John! show last night. They both appear petty and small and everything but presidential. They make Rep. Paul and Governor Huckabee look good, I'll give them that.
McCain actually ridiculed Romney for working in the private sector! "While I was serving my country, he was making money, and selling companies, and I think some people lost their jobs..." IT'S CALLED CAPITALISM SENATOR!!! ASK PHIL GRAMM TO 'SPLAIN IT TO YOU!
Governor Romney did nothing to capture my support while I was wavering on McCain. He was gonna "run the economy" 'cause he's such a good manager. Rep. Paul laid that claim to waste, nicely, but then -- on cue -- launched into a pessimistic rant about how we're broke and the dollar is worthless, and what can’t these people see how bad everything is...
The final question in the Reagan library, with Reagan's Air Force One behind them, was "Why would Reagan endorse you." Romney was certain of it, 'cause he's gonna amend the Constitution for life and for marriage. McCain was equally sure it was he, 'cause he doesn't flip flop. Paul said that President Reagan had campaigned for him in the house -- a nice play without the bravado of the other two. Then Governor Huckabee said it "would be presumptuous to assume he would be endorsed" which was the right answer. I could not help but think of Reagan’s 11th commandment: don't speak ill of other Republicans. Romney and McCain will need to say a few Our Madisons in restitution.
A grim, grisly, awful night to be a Republican. On the other hand, did you see Senator Obama's "Response to the SOTU?"
Just because McCain can poke Mitt in the eye is no indication he'll be as effective with Putin, a remarkable number of whose enemies wind up splattered on the sidewalk outside their apartment house after opting for a strangely uniform manner of fatal auto-defenestration.
Although, oddly enough, after tonight's debate, I'm tempted to join them.
No links here kids, just my loveable prose to get some stuff off my chest. You see, my GOP primary candidate didn't make it in the early primaries because he started too late and didn't work hard enough. And JK's candidate didn't make it because ... he started too late and didn't work hard enough. Now it's a "two-man race" between Mac and Romney. Nope. It's done.
Romney has the goods to continue the challenge to the senior statesman from Arizona but GOP voters are already in the tank for the "war hero, maverick, straight-talker" who, by the way, "deserves it." (Just ask Florida's Mel Martinez.) And no one wants to contemplate the pouting he'll indulge in if he isn't nominated this time, much less witness it. And why wouldn't he pout? After all, he "deserves it." (Just ask Chris Matthews.) He's as close as this country now has to political royalty, at least in the GOP.
But what about the man who changes his tune on tax cuts to appeal to conservative voters while at the same time calling his opponent a flip-flopper?" Or the man who says the President's most important job is to protect the American people, but says dipping foreign terrorists upside down in water up to their eyeballs is "torture?" OK, I guess he "deserves it" because he's been a Senator for a long time and knows how to "get things done in Washington." Problem is, that's what frightens me - I worry about what Prince McCain might get done if he becomes King.
On the positive side I should appreciate his relative secularity versus Mitt. (Take that Bill O'Reilly!) He'll be less dogmatic on social issues, which suits me just fine and gives him something to compromise with Democrats over. And, of utmost importance, he's pro-Second Amendment.
So since the train has already left the station I suppose I'll print my "Don't Blame Me - I Caucused for Fred!" bumper stickers and warily grab onto the caboose of McCain Train.
I appreciate your post, hb, but please indulge me. I find this to be one of the greatest political speeches in recent memory. I encourage everybody to watch to all the way through. I remembered one of the reasons that I supported Hizzoner: eloquence. We need somebody who can explain the benefits of liberty (listen at least to 5:30 - 6:30; and 8:00 - 10:00).
I think the GOP has made a mistake, but I've lost before and I will pick up the pieces and move on. Go McCain!
Rudy's loser speech -- filled with "self-government," school choice, broadsides against "the central government" -- is better than anything I've heard from him all season.
Indeed. I always felt that the mayor's strength was on economic issues and arguments for freedom. Unfortunately, he made national security his central issue even when the economy became the number one concern of voters (and despite the fact that he has no national security experience). Sorry jk, your man is gone now too. Equally unfortunate is that it seems that my prediction about McCain is starting to come true. The Republican Party as we knew it is dead -- at least until we get a real candidate (hopefully) in 2012.
I am pretty grouchy with our buddies in the pollster business. The FOX31 weather team has a better record and they told me it was gonna snow today (blue skies and sun out my window).
It disturbs me that these guys who -- let's be fair -- don't know their ass from their elbow, are telling Florida voters that "it's a two man race." Primary voters might try to vote strategically. If I (still) lived in Florida, I would be tempted. All the lost votes will come out of the totals for my favored candidate, Mayor Giuliani.
Have I given up? No, but if the pollsters successfully predict or create a two man race, I am ready to switch my allegiance to Senator McCain. Stephen Moore has a nice piece on him in the Political Diary today, on his "economics education." He admits the votes against the Bush tax cuts were wrong, but:
But Mr. McCain has arguably the best stable of economic advisers in the race, with only Rudy Giuliani's team rivaling him in economic expertise. His primary confidant on the economy is former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm (who would almost certainly be Treasury secretary in a McCain administration). Jack Kemp has signed up with Mr. McCain, and Mr. McCain talks frequently to his longtime friend, the godfather of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer.
The big source of agitation for conservative voters over the past several years has been the federal spending explosion. Here, Senator McCain has teamed with Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, another endorser of the Arizona Senator, to cut more than $100 billion out of the federal budget. He has voted with Mr. Coburn on nearly every anti-pork measure introduced in the last several years. "I will cut the budget more than any other Republican," he told me in an interview late this summer when his poll numbers were in the tank. "Maybe that's what makes so many people nervous about me."
Mr. McCain is also an unwavering supporter of two other issues critical to the economic future of the nation: free trade and school choice. Education is always an issue foremost on the mind of the key "soccer mom" suburban vote. "The day that members of Congress will send their kids to the public schools in Washington, D.C., is the day I'll know we've fixed education in America," he has told me. "Why won't people like Hillary Clinton send her child to the public schools in Washington, D.C.?" Great question, and one he should save for a debate with Hillary if the two are the nominees.