Thursday, January 31, 2008

Swallowing the Pill

The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Bénévent (1754-1838) (French Foreign Minister, Prime Minister).
With his victory in Florida, John McCain is on the verge of securing his nomination as the Republican Party’s candidate for President. Whatever happens, McCain and his campaign strategists have orchestrated one of the most impressive political comebacks of the modern political era.
But McCain has not sealed the deal yet. Judging from places like National Review Online the conservative movement grandees and commentariat are not having any of it, at least yet: their attitude towards McCain resembling that of children being forced to swallow some truly vile-tasting medicine - they know McCain is coming, and cannot be denied, but they are NOT, NOT happy.
By contrast, the more narrowly political Republican (as opposed to conservative) establishment of office holders and functionaries is lining up behind McCain. Besides Mayor Giuliani, Ahh-nold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California – endorsed McCain just this morning, which should be a big help in the California primary (part of Tsunami Tuesday, next week).

Romney and his supporters are about out of time – the end approaches on Tsunami Tuesday. All that is left at this point is a frantic all-points-of-the-compass attack on McCain by the conservative opinion makers, plus whatever television advertising Romney can put together. Finally, Romney must somehow prevail on Mike Huckabee to withdraw, not later than the weekend. Still, it is very late, and I expect this effort to come up short.
Assuming McCain prevails, the Question Before the House will be: what must McCain do to appease the conservatives ? Can it even be done ? In any case, McCain must reach out to conservatives, because from the moment he is the candidate, even under the most optimistic conditions, he starts five percent down with the Ron Paul people, who (whatever Paul himself does) may possibly try to do to McCain or any other Republican what Ross Perot did to Dole in 1996.
Conservatives should be receptive to peacemaking efforts by McCain. The Republicans need every single vote they can find, and the united and enthusiastic support of conservatives. But McCain dares not take too much time on it, or give up too much political capital . . .because of the terrible disadvantage Republican candidates now labor under in the eyes of independent voters.

This distaste for Republicans by independents – which leaps out of the polling data (particularly President Bush’s approval ratings) is why the Conservatives must swallow the pill of a McCain candidacy. The price of Bush's – and Republican -- unpopularity is a less conservative Republican candidate. What the Romney supporters and the others down on McCain don't seem to understand is that there is no way not to take this medicine. The Conservatives either swallow, and tolerate a less Conservative candidate than they would like, or they're going to swallow 8-12 years of probably the most liberal administration (whether it be Clinton or Obama) in America ever.
I don't like the situation either, but do we, as patriotic conservatives, really want Barack Obama appointing judges, approving budgets and commanding the troops ? Do we want the regulators he will appoint making policy decisions ? Can the nation suffer Hillary Clinton doing the same -- much less survive with dignity at least four years of "First Gentleman" (!*?) Bill Clinton ? Whatever war hero, patriot, sometimes irritating gadfly John McCain brings with him, it is not this parade of horribles.
Like it or not, a raft of mistakes, bad luck and circumstances these past several years have moved the attitude of the country somewhat leftward, and political conditions presently favor the Democrats. I would it were different, but it's not, and we have to deal with conditions as we find them. Dick Morris says it best:

If you feel confident, for some unknown reason, in a Republican victory, it is possible that either candidate could win. If you feel the nation is aching for a Democrat, as I do, then the importance of choosing the strongest candidate fades a bit.

But any rational observer has to conclude that John McCain has a better shot of winning than Mitt Romney does.

And, if a failure to win means the election of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the stakes are too high to ignore the issue of political practicality in making a choice.

How suicidal do conservatives feel ?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On Our Way

I'll have more to say on the stupendously good news out of Florida last night, and where things go -- later -- work and other matters allowing. For the first time since 2005, I feel like there's a good chance that the Democrats are not going to just walk into the White House come next 20 January.
It appears certain now that Rudy Giuliani will endorse McCain today. Rudy out. . .the trick now is to keep Huckabee in for at least another week. . .

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Looks Like a Nominee

Fox and AP have called Florida for McCain, with about 55 percent of the vote reported. Mayor Giuliani may get out as early as tomorrow, and there is a report out there that he will endorse Senator McCain. Good news if true.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Florida Prediction

Okay, here goes. I've really hesitated over this one, but I think that John McCain is going to win tomorrow's Florida primary, but it'll be a real squeaker. Romney will be a close second, trailed by Giuliani (curtains for him), and Huckabee.
Last week, this race looked like a squeaker also, but in Romney's favor. I think that the recent endorsements, by Governor Crist and some newspapers; combined with the idea that Republicans might just have a chance, after all, this year -- will be just barely enough to put Senator McCain over the top. Speaking of endorsements, perhaps the rather transparent New York Times endorsement/political kiss-of-death will have a positive effect for McCain, possibly not quite what its makers intended.
If El Jefe's prediction works out to be, well, suboptimal, the usual suspects will be rounded up at once.
ADDENDUM: (29 Jan.). Other predictions from around the blogosphere:
Label Free Zone says McCain wins -- that the Crist and Martinez endorsements are possibly decisive.
NB Politico also gives it to McCain (34 percent) to Romney's 27 percent.
Political Tipster says Romney -- by about a seventh of a percentage point.
California Yankee gives it to McCain.
These folks all have percentage breakdowns. They're braver folks than I, Gunga Din. Since it's winner take all in Florida, it doesn't much matter: there's a winner, and everybody else.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hillary Gets Spanked

According to Drudge and AP, the hosts of St. Barack of Obama rolled forward to smite Slick and Hilla, conquering them in South Carolina with 54 percent of the vote.
Quite a walloping. . .as of 7:45 central time, with about 75 percent of precincts reports, Hillary had exactly half the support St. Barack did: 27 percent of the vote. John Edwards (he of the Breck hairdo, the ginormous house and the populist sloganeering) was trailing in third place with 13 percent.
The Clintonoids were expecting a beating, but not like this. The Demos are in an uproar. Scuse me while I go open some wine.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kumbaya for Dennis

Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his presidential hopes. . .

President of what ? When San Francisco can elect its own president, he'll be among the top contenders. Till then. . .zzzzzzz.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rumblings in the Barracks

AP reports today that a group of retired Pakistani Army generals, Navy admirals and air marshals (that is, Pakistani Air Force generals), all members of the "Pakistani Ex-Servicemen's Society" have put their names to a statement calling on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to resign.
The statement says that the President no longer "represents the unity and the symbol of the federation as president. . ." that Musharraf's resignation is thus ". . . in the supreme national interest and it makes it incumbent on him to step down." The Times of India and The Hindu say that the signatories include a former Army chief (General Mirza Aslam Beg, a somewhat interesting figure in his own right), as well as Lieut. General Hamid Gul, a former chief of the very powerful Pakistani military organization. Another Indian publication, Sify, identifies some other very senior retired officers.
Interesting that the statement was issued after the President left on a visit to Europe. I wonder if the Army is taking the President's calls, or if the generals back home maybe are a little busy ? They have company, anyway. Musharraf is not home, but interesting people are sure visiting. Admiral William J. Fallon, US military commander in the Middle East, is meeting today or has met with Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Pakistani Army Commanding General who recently replaced Musharraf in this post. Hopefully Admiral Fallon gets out of the country before any further personnel changes occur.
Speaking of embarrassments, Musharraf is supposed to meet Secretary of State Rice in Switzerland, tomorrow. Presumably the President isn't planning to retire before that very interesting little chat.
I think we're maybe getting close to curtains for the Musharraf government, if the opinions of the retired officers accurately reflect views in the barracks. One retired general, the President's spokesman, Maj. General Rashid Qureshi, (quoted in the Los Angeles Times) says this doesn't amount to anything, but I wonder. When one is president by virtue of coup d'etat, it is always a good plan to be certain the troops will shoot, and in the right direction.

The Decisive Battle

A new poll, by Insider Advantage (available via Real Clear Politics) has Romney up by 5 points in Florida, with 20.2 percent of Republican voters favoring the Massachusetts governor. Giuliani is in second, with 19 percent, and McCain close behind with 18 percent.
Real Clear Politics' average of polls still has McCain enjoying a lead, but it is clearly shrinking, and the trend does not appear to be in his favour. It looks as if Thompson's supporters have gone to Romney, and I think that some of Huckabee's might be bleeding his way also. Finally, the relentless attacks on McCain by conservative luminaries who should know better appear, alas, to be having an effect.
If McCain can hold on and win here, I am prepared to predict he will be the Republican nominee, and to opine that he has a good chance of being elected President. Huckabee appears to be almost out of contention. Giuliani must win here, I think, to survive to compete on Tsunami Tuesday, and Romney needs to win almost as badly. But a victory by Giuliani or Romney would make the situation no clearer, and I think either of them (to say nothing of Huckabee) would be easy meat for the Democratic nominee. At this point, every day that the Republican struggle continues makes it harder to unite the Party later for the general election. Florida, then, looks to be decisive for the Republicans, and we will know which way soon enough.
Meanwhile, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of US and coalition forces in the First Gulf War, appears to be ready to endorse Senator McCain. This is good, but more is needed, and quickly. Hey Senator, hope you're on the line to your old friend Fred Thompson.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thompson Out

Fred Thompson is officially out: the Senator issued a short statement today withdrawing from the Presidential race. Thompson has not endorced a candidate.
Where will his supporters go ? My horseback guess today would be that Romney would be the most immediate beneficiary, particularly with the conservative-grandee pile-on against McCain now in progress. . .
Florida is going to be very, very tight. I'm still betting McCain wins that one, but I'm not as sure as I was.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lenin's Dead, Thank God

Proving that there are fools born every minute; this morning, leaders of the Russian Communist Party laid wreaths on the tomb of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in Red Square, (video clip here). The murdering old bastard departed this Earth for Hell, 84 years ago today, enjoying a much easier death than he deserved, or allowed to others. It's grand he's dead, and it's a great pity that he did not become so a good deal sooner.

When Opposites Do Business

Saudi Arabia is clearly reforming at a blistering pace, rocketing into the 17th Century. Women can now stay alone in hotels and apartments !
In general, it's hard to be a woman in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian women cannot drive, travel overseas without a male guardian's permission or be in the presence of an unrelated man. The Saudi government takes a lot of criticism over the treatment of women in that country, and now, the Interior Ministry has issued a circular saying that women can stay in hotels, providing their presence there is reported to the police.
I wonder how that will work in practice ? Does the report to the police station go to the regular police, or to the religious police, that is, to the "Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice?" If a woman stays at the equivalent of the Riyadh Best Western, and the report mentioned in the Interior Ministry circular goes to the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue, etc., do they file it and forget it, or does the hotel guest get a visit ?
I would rather be a donkey than a woman in Saudi Arabia. Our economic dependence on commerce with the oil states is probably the most disturbing economic and political fact of the modern age, rivaled only by our dependence on Chinese investment. Such close economic relationships between the United States and countries so unlike it in culture, political system and national temperament are almost certain, over time, to make trouble for all concerned.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Confederate Heroes Day

(an annual post)
. . . I feel no hostility to you, Senators from the North. I am sure there is not one of you, whatever sharp discussion there may have been between us, to whom I cannot now say, in the presence of my God, I wish you well: and such, I am sure, is the feeling of the people whom I represent towards those whom you represent. I therefore feel that I but express their desire when I say I hope, and they hope, for peaceful relations with you, though we must part...The reverse may bring disaster on every portion of the country; and if you will have it thus, we will invoke the God of our fathers, who delivered them from the power of the lion, to protect us from the ravages of the bear; and thus, putting our trust in God and in our own firm hearts and strong arms, we will vindicate the right as best we may.
Jefferson Davis, Farewell Address to the U.S. Senate, 21 January 1861. (From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Vol. 7: 1861, LSU Press, 1992).
With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State. . .I hope I may never be called upon to draw my sword. I know you will blame me, but you must think as kindly as you can, and believe that I have endeavored to do what I thought right. . .May God guard and protect your and yours and shower upon you everlasting blessings. . .
Robert E. Lee, to his Unionist sister, Anne Marshall, 20 April 1861. (From The Wartime Papers of Robert E. Lee, Clifford Dowdey, Ed., Da Capo, 1987).
Today is the 201st anniversary of the birth of Robert E. Lee, General-in-Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States, and the 19th day of January is still recognized here in Texas as “Confederate Heroes Day,” a State holiday. Things being what they are, it is unlikely that the Texas statute book will honor Confederate heroes for very much longer, and like “un-persons” whom the Soviet Communist Party wished to banish from public view, Lee, Jefferson Davis and everything else to do with the Confederate States of America will soon vanish down the memory-hole. Our children, if they are wise, will learn to in public at least, mouth the proper politically correct platitudes and to recite on command the carefully packaged, all-inclusive happy pabulum that passes now for history in our schools.
We are told this is all for the best, but it doesn’t mean some of us have to like it. The names of Lee, Davis and legions of others who gave all they had for Southern independence, whose names would be household words, the Washingtons, Hamiltons and Decaturs of a new country -- had they but won -- are becoming obscure to non-historians, except inasmuch as they serve the purposes of modern politicians and shills for various causes who promote their agendas by damning the memory of the dead.
Yes, the war was partly about slavery, and the end of that beastly institution was an unmitigated blessing. Yes, scum have stolen their flag and cloaked their racist fantasies in its folds. But that’s not the whole truth about the War for Southern Independence (proper name of the Civil War), any more than the War for American Independence (proper name of the American Revolution) was all about a tax on tea.
The 258,000 southerners who died for the independence of the Confederate States, and their comrades who survived the war to rebuild their broken civilization, are, of course, long beyond caring. Their souls, and those of the people who loved them and daily prayed for their safety and success now rest with God; and our approval or disapproval of the choices life gave them, is in no way relevant. As so many said at the time, they believed they were taking up arms for the most worthy cause imaginable -- protection of their homes and firesides, and those of their neighbors, from hostile invasion, and to vindicate the same principle Americans died for in 1776: the idea that government should rest on the consent of the governed.
Americans not connected with the military in some way have largely experienced war a tragedy that happens in other places. Not so the War for Southern Independence, which was fought mostly in – and devastated – the American south. Despite the efforts and sacrifices of so many, Confederate soldiers were unable to successfully defend their country. American cities and fields became battlegrounds, and armies moved and camped in what are sometimes literally our backyards. American cities -- mostly in the South -- were sacked and burned, and homes were plundered by soldiers speaking the same language, and often the same dialect, and American women, children and elderly people driven from their homes and turned into penniless refugees by truly unnatural disaster.
When all was over, the dust settled, and the pain and shouting but a memory; America was the better for the end of slavery, but when the Federal Government forced its yoke at gunpoint on those who did not want it, America lost something precious also. Thankfully those days are past, but they are not totally forgotten. We of course remember the victors: Mr. Lincoln has a memorial in Washington, but his real monument is the country and world we now inhabit. But some of us remember others too…Lee, Davis, Micah Jenkins, Johnston Pettigrew, Cleburne, Jackson, the Semmes brothers, Maxcy Gregg, Thomas R.R. Cobb, thousands of others long dead. To borrow Mr. Khrushchev’s memorable phrase, these will not be forgotten, by some of us, until shrimp learn to sing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today In History: Wake Island, Cowpens

Today in history, in 1899, the United States took possession of Wake Island, surely one of the most Godforsaken pieces of real-estate on the planet, but crucially important as a naval seaplane base before the era of transcontinental aircraft.
Intrinsically valueless today, Wake should still be worth more than it's weight in gold to Americans because in December 1941, Wake was the site of a hopeless but heroic stand by cut off and outnumbered US sailors, Marines and airfield construction workers against the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Americans lost that battle, all winding up dead or in prisoner of war cages, but took down a whole lot of Japanese sailors and naval infantry, first. I keep meaning to do a post on the Battle of Wake Island -- I promise I'll get to it someday.
Today, in 1946, the United Nations Security Council held its first meeting, at Church House (headquarters of the Church of England) in London. Unfortunately, there were subsequent meetings. It is quite enough that we pay for the United Nations, actually having to pay attention to it is just too much.
Today in 1781, during the American Revolution, U.S. Brigadier-General Dan Morgan and a grab-bag of Continental Army regulars and southern militia defeated Lieutenant-Colonel Banastre "Bloody Ban" Tarleton, elements of his British Legion (loyalist Americans) and some other British units at the Battle of Cowpens. Incidentally, the British Legion -- mostly Americans under another flag -- were very fine troops, and consequently very much hated by the pro-independence rebels.
Cowpens is another battle that deserves its own post: Tarleton's rashness in fighting that battle at all cost the British dearly. The American victory at Cowpens, along with the destruction of Major Patrick Ferguson's loyalists at Kings Mountain, thoroughly decimated Lord Cornwallis's light troops, depressed the Tories, stirred-up the local rebels and deranged British efforts to pacify the Carolinas (which, prior to Cowpens, had a decent chance of succeeding, given British prudence). The defeat drove Cornwallis to rashness of his own -- causing him to run his own army into the ground trying to destroy the American army in the south; culminating in Cornwallis's mad decision to invade Virginia. Yorktown was the ultimate result.

Mr. Right for Conservatives

Adrian Wooldridge, author of The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, and Washington Bureau Chief of the moderate left British newsmagazine The Economist. has a splendid op-ed piece in today's New York Times (for paper readers, page A33 of the national edition) showing why John McCain, despite his compulsive need to play at maverick and pick fights with conservative leaders and interest groups -- is still the most electable choice this year for conservatives.
Despite his well-publicized tiffs with the right's establishment, Senator McCain, says Mr. Wooldridge ". . .has a solid record on the defining principles of the conservative movement -- traditional values, the free market, and national defense." Are there really bigger, more important issues than those ? Moreover, Mr. Wooldridge adds, McCain "is "far more solid on these core beliefs than Mr. Romney. . ."
The record bears Mr. Wooldridge out -- Senator McCain has an 82.3 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, a big conservative lobby. Senator McCain looks like a moderate to a lot of people. He trashes a lot of big conservative icons. But how much of a moderate -- a sell-0ut, to conservatives, is McCain really ?
As Mr. Wooldridge says:
. . .there are still good reasons Mr. McCain is worth the risks his candidacy would pose. His moderate image would serve him well in a genearl election. More important, Mr. McCain is more likely than any of his rivals to offer conservatives what they want: a vigorous pursuit of the fight against terroristm, the appointment of conservative judges, retrenchment and reform of government.
Suits me down to the ground, (although possibly not "independent" fans of McCain's quirkiness). Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


For those Republicans happy that Romney prevailed last night, I would suggest they consider who else is happy, and whether or not that is a good thing.
My own position is unchanged: I agree with John Pitney, writing in National Review Online this morning, that ". . .Romney would lose to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama by the widest margins of any major Republican candidate."
It's spilt milk now, though. Romney has kept himself alive for at least one more spin of the wheel. The biggest immediate term loser might be Fred Thompson. . .because Romney is now a more interesting alternative to McCain than Thompson.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Romney Wins Michigan

Oy. . .

This wrecks the momentum that McCain was beginning to build up, and takes Giuliani off the ropes. Now McCain, Romney and Huckabee will likely wreck each other, sucking Thompson down with them. Probably, advantage to Giuliani in the short term; but it is doubtful he is electable in November.

I must say, things look rather grim for Republicans. Gold, Euros anyone ?

Passing of an Archduke

Being somewhat interested in such things, it would be remiss of me not to note that Andrew Cusack's blog has a splendid and most interesting post on the recent death (on 11 December 2007) of His Imperial and Royal Highness, Archduke Carl Ludwig Maria Franz Joseph Michael Gabriel Antonius Robert Stephan Pius Gregor Ignatius Markus d'Aviano of Austria; among other things a sometime Major, US Army, and veteran of the Normandy invasion.
His Imperial and Royal Highness was the fifth son of Blessed Karl I, (IV of Hungary) the last Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia and Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; King of Jerusalem, etc., etc. -- and the Emperor's wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma. See Mr. Cusack's splendid post, particularly his description of the interment ceremonies in the crypt of the church of the Capuchin Franciscans in Vienna, and be sure to check out the attached You Tube videos.

Snow in Michigan. . .

Brrrr ! Who will come to the polls ?
Hillary will probably win the Democratic primary handily, specially since she's the only candidate on the ballot. . . ;-) Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is unhappy at the early Michigan primary, so delegates selected here may not count anyway. Moreover, we have sites like Daily Kos urging their readers to go play in the Republican primary and help the Republicans pick a loser. . .
Romney is something of a favorite son, and it seems as if there's been some movement to him in the last few days, judging from the Real Clear Politics poll averages. These averages are heavily weighted by one poll that gives Romney a six percent lead: the pollsters on that survey seem to think that Romney is really picking up undecideds. But who will vote today ?
A dog's breakfast of variables here. Independents liked McCain a few years ago. . .but the favorite son factor for Romney, and the influence of Democrats might have an effect. I hope I'm very wrong, and Blogging Caesar correct, but I think Romney -- who really must win to stay alive -- wins this by a nose, with McCain just behind him.
ADDENDUM (4:29 p.m., central time). Apparently, turn out is quite light, because of weather and the lack of a Democratic contest. A New York Observer headline accurately sums up the stakes in Michigan today for Republicans: "McCain Means Order, Romney (or Huckabee) Means Chaos."

Monday, January 14, 2008

With Friends Like These. . .

Romney supporters, take note: the Daily Kos (one of the more significant liberal blogs), is suggesting to Michigan Democrats and independents that they vote for Mitt Romney in the Michigan Republican primary, "because if Mitt wins, Democrats win." Not inappropriately, Kos entitles his post: "Lets have some fun in Michigan." (Hat tip: Confederate Yankee).
Yet another reason not to vote for Romney, and to wish McCain well: as a matter of principle, it is wrong to do as your opponent suggests.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Most Viable Conservative

This was originally a response to some comments on the last post: the subject being why I'm supporting John McCain for President, rather than some others. On reflection, I decided to make it a stand-alone post.
I would perhaps have felt differently about my choice if I thought that Senator Fred Thompson had a chance of election. He seems to have made rather a hash of his chances. At this point, I think he can have the nomination only at the price of an even more debilitating intra-Party/Movement struggle than is already on the cards.
I think that winning is the thing, and that the Republicans, and conservative interests generally, are best served by winning in November even with a less than perfect candidate. The strife occasioned by supporting a candidate who is more "pure" is not worth the heightening of the already grave risk of defeat.
Surely, we can agree that conservatives would like McCain's judicial nominees far more than Obama's. Surely, we can agree that conservatives would like McCain's foreign and military policies more than Hillary's. Surely, we can agree that conservatives would like whatever immigration legislation a McCain administration produces far more than it would that produced by Obama's or Clinton's. The same can surely be said of for spending and fiscal policy. . .and so on.
There is no advantage whatever to the country whatever in making it easier for any Democrat to walk into the White House. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is not trustworthy, most especially on national security, and has not been since 1972. The Scoop Jackson Democrats are gone, and the McGovern crowd is now mainstream. George McGovern, incidentally, still thinks its 1972: he called for impeaching the President and Vice President last week.
To my way of thinking, the most practical way to prevent or at least minimize the chances of a Democratic victory -- a calamity for the country -- is for the Republicans to nominate John McCain as their candidate this November.
I might be wrong, Somebody convince me. Somebody persuade me that there is an alternative out there -- today -- who can be nominated and win in November. I'm not seeing it. Fred hasn't done a damn thing since he got in. Romney can't win in New Hampshire. Rudy has too much baggage and Huckabee sure knows the Bible -- but I'm not persuaded he knows nuclear strategy, foreign policy or economics. Paul -- we won't even go there. Finally, somebody please find me another man who can write something like the following (from John McCain's book, Faith of My Fathers, quoted in PowerLine Blog), and produce a resume to back it up:
The sanctity of personal honor was the only lesson my father felt necessary to impart to me, and he faithfully saw to my instruction, frequently using my grandfather as his model. All my life, he had implored me not to lie, cheat, or steal; to be fair with friend and stranger alike; to respect my superiors and subordinates; to know my duty and devote myself to its accomplishment without hesitation or complaint. All else, he reasoned, would be satisfactorily managed were I to accept, gratefully, the demands of honor. His father had taught him that, and the lesson had served him well.
So convince me, people. I'll go with the most viable conservative. McCain's voting record in Congress is in general conservative, and he can win. Show me somebody else who can win. Show me somebody else as persistent. Think on something else: McCain could have been anointed -- walked into this nomination if he wanted -- all he had to do was back-off a bunch of stands that have irritated the Hell out of a lot of us. Okay, most of us on the conversative side of things disagree with his stands. But he made them anyway. He didn't maneuver for advantage, when it was clearly in his interest to do so. He did his duty as he saw it. Show me somebody else, who -- at such great political cost to himself: stands up for what he thinks is best for the nation. Don't we need a strong leader like this, just now ?

Hell, I've been reluctant to do this, but I've been thinking about it a good while, and I think there's no real choice now but McCain. I wish a lot of things were different, and I've disagreed with McCain plenty in the past. But here and now, I just think he's the only horse who can make the ride.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Being Right, or Electing a President

Peter Brown, writing in The Politico today, accurately presents the dilemma for conservatives trying to decide whether to support John McCain. McCain the gadfly has certainly managed to offend most conservatives at one time or another. Conservatives must decide, and quickly, whether they prefer the utter powerlessness promised by President Obama or President Clinton; to the chance of electing a sometimes irritating friend who, despite his maverick tendencies -- is basically a friend and has served the country well.
Do conservatives really think that Romney, who could not carry New Hampshire -- next door to his home state -- can be elected President ? Have any of us seen Fred Thompson lately ? Does Mike Huckabee have a plan, beyond campaigning for national pastor, and making wild promises about immigration and taxes that don't have a prayer of being enacted ? What, by the way, do you think the media will do to Huckabee should he wind up as the nominee ? Finally, does anybody really think Rudy Giuliani can attract broad conservative support. . .or survive the kind of attacks the Democrats and the media are going to mount on his personal baggage in the general election ?
Choose wisely friends, the hour is late.

Karl Rove Channels El Jefe Maximo. . .

Karl Rove has a very nice piece today in the Wall Street Journal online: "Why Hillary Won." Clearly, Der Karl reads El Jefe, because he dissects Hillary's New Hampshire primary almost identically:

But more interesting than dissecting the pollsters is dissecting the election returns, precinct by precinct. Sen. Hillary Clinton won working-class neighborhoods and less-affluent rural areas. Sen. Barack Obama won the college towns and the gentrified neighborhoods of more affluent communities. Put another way, Mrs. Clinton won the beer drinkers, Mr. Obama the white wine crowd. And there are more beer drinkers than wine swillers in the Democratic Party.

(emphasis supplied)

Ahem, er, Karl, you're a day late with the booze analogy, El Jefe said it first. . .

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Ghost of Mondulls Past

Jay Cost over at the Real Clear Politics Blog has done some cogitating on what went right for Team Hilla last night in New Hampshire. Hillary prevailed, Mr. Cost maintains, because she "won many elements of the traditional FDR coalition."
Boiled down, St. Barack of Obama took the swells: Demo voters with college degrees, high income Democrats, first-time voters and independents. Of course we know now he has the hearts of the Lefty scribblers and the chatterers -- all the Baby Boomers pining for Bobby Kennedy and Camelot. This last part no doubt explains why so many of us thought it was game over for Hillary.
Mrs. Clinton, however, did better with voters who were downscale on both the educational level and the income bracket -- non-college educated people, and persons making under $50,000 per year; with union voters and senior citizens. "Clinton's is the type of electorate that has delivered Democrats the nomination again and again." Cost suggests that a strategy calculated to appeal to this group of voters shows the way ahead for her -- that is, the traditional, meat-and-potatoes Democrat, Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale way.
I like it, but I'm betting this is a hard crowd for Mrs. Clinton to win, long run; and, for her, a counter-intuitive road to take. See, Mrs. Clinton and her crowd want Obama's voters. They want to be the new Camelot: the choice of Hollywood and the rest of the elect; the swells and the chardonnay drinkers. The support of the Chevy drivers and the Bud drinkers is taken for granted.
Tums and Pepto-Bismol will do a land-office business selling antacid to chattering-class Hillary strategists who have to convince people they'd never invite to the Clinton inaugural ball that Hillary can relate to them. Meanwhile, Hillary will hack-off the true-believer liberals and the chattering classes, and store up plenty of trouble for the general election season.
Still, Mr. Cost is probably right, and for the moment, she needs to tack this way. I suppose it's unlikely that Hillary would follow the Fritz Mondull strategy straight into oblivion come next November, but, hey, we can hope.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hilla Wins !?!?

Holy Dimpled Chads, Batman ! The Clinton Empire Strikes Back !

I wonder if Broward County has reported yet ?

Hey Cousin !

Wretchard over at Belmont Club calls attention to an interesting story reported by the BBC: Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says he's a cousin of. . .you guessed it. . . Barack Obama.
The Spectator, cited in Wretchard's post, says that the estimable Mr. Odinga has promised, in return for the Muslim vote, to help amend the Kenyan constitution to establish Sharia law for Kenya's Muslim regions. Since Kenya is presently engulfed in the messy aftermath of Kenya's latest bout of electoral democracy -- complete with riots and refugees, it seems rather unlikely that Mr. Odinga will be in a position to carry out his alleged campaign promises any time soon.
Now, as Wretchard points out, absolutely none of this is Obama's fault: relatives are assigned by God, and you're just stuck with them. Morever, it may not even be true: the BBC story says that Mr. Odinga and Obama's father came from the same Luo tribal community. That seems pretty thin to me, and Obama himself hasn't, to my knowledge, commented on this story yet. So the Kenyan cousin may be the real thing . . .or not.
Still, St. Barack of Obama seems better and better cast for his reprise of the glorious days of Jimmah Carter: an earnest, preachy message of hope and unity, delivered with utter self-righteousness; covering an almost complete dearth of experience; all spiced with some (possibly) interesting relatives.

McCain Wins; St. Barack and Hilla Still Battling It Out

My bet is that St. Barack still wins it, but its gonna be pretty close. Pass the tissues to the folks on the press bus -- no Camelot tonight.

"Hard To Stay Objective Covering This Guy . . ."

The NBC reporter covering St. Barack of Obama's ongoing canonization said on MSNBC that it's "hard to stay objective covering this guy."
Ya think ? I don't know about you, but I sure believe that the big media is doing its level best to be totally objective, unbiased and fair in its coverage of the Icon of Hope. Big media's Obama love-fest is like a children's story (called The Icon of Hope and His Dream Machine Campaign), except in this tale -- instead of walking around asking all and sundry: "are you my mother?" -- the tired baby-boomer media darlings keep looking for Bobby Kennedy.
I confess, I totally don't get Obama-mania. I'm not notably liberal anyway, which probably has a lot to do with it, but I'm not seeing how a half-term Senator who talks in generalities about hope is even remotely qualified to be President of the United States. I don't at all understand how somebody who voted with the Democratic Party in Congress over 95 percent of the time can possibly be about some kind of mythical post-partisan unity politics. Yeah, I suppose we can have unity, if the 40 percent or so of us who don't agree with the Democrats just surrender. Fat chance.
ADDENDUM: Have a look at Right Wing Nuthouse, which correctly dubs St. Barack's campaign the "cotton candy" candidacy, and provides as good an explanation for Obama-mania as I have seen. The money quote:
The voters are wild for change. They are tired of wars abroad and wars in Congress at home and they yearn for someone who can ride into Washington on a white horse and bring unity and peace to the country.
Trouble is, when somebody comes to town on a white horse, the results are unpredictable and often are not very conducive to unity and peace. "Tired of wars abroad and wars in Congress," eh ? So what do we do about that ? Lose the wars, and watch the Icon of Hope make our very real arguments go away with pabulum and generalities ? That will lead to something, but unity and peace seems unlikely Voters wanting "change" might well get their wish. I wonder if they'll like it ?

New Hampshire

Weather in New Hampshire is in the high 30's, low 40's, some clouds but no rain.
I think that McCain will win the Republican primary, but it will be a real squeaker. Real Clear Politics's poll averages seem to show a modest Romney rebound in the last day or two, but I agree with Blogging Caesar that it is too little, too late. I think Huckabee may well do better than anticipated. Romney is a close second, followed by Huckabee and the rest.
This is a must win, I think, for McCain. The game for Republicans at this point is to consolidate the alternatives to Huckabee and Giuliani. After today, I hope that Fred Thompson leaves the race and endorces McCain. If McCain does not win tonight, I think the Republican Party is lost: the insiders will do all they can to stop Huckabee, and with the conservatives divided, the only horse left will be Giuliani. . .
As for the Democrats, Obama looks set to win this, but I think he'll do better than Blogging Caesar indicates. He's now the established alternative to Hillary -- as well as the front runner and now everybody wants on the bandwagon. St. Barack of Obama, and the effect he has on the Left -- reminds me not so much of John F. Kennedy (to whom Obama has been compared) -- but to another Kennedy -- Robert. In any case, a vote for Edwards is pretty much a wasted vote, and I think more Edwards support might be coming his way.
The implosion of Hillary Clinton's campaign has just been astonishing. If this sticks, and Obama is indeed the nominee, more books and articles will be written about Hillary's crash and Obama's rise than on any other subject. Wretchard at Belmont Club makes the fascinating argument that Mrs. Clinton has been the latest victim of the perfect internet storm:
. . .The events that overtook Hillary Clinton during the Iowa primaries were no less dramatic and exhibited many of the same characteristics. Anyone who was watching the memetic indicators closely could see something huge was happening. The News Futures Prediction Market tracked the trades that Hillary would win the 2008 Democratic nomination. She had been favored for months. Her stock actually rose throughout late 2007. And then, all of sudden the bottom fell out. Here's the chart of Hillary's prospects, which fell from 60 to 34% in a few short days. . .
See Wretchard's piece for the very arresting charts, and by all means read the whole post. As for Mrs. Clinton, I don't envy whoever is sitting on the couch with her watching returns this evening. Brrrr !

Monday, January 7, 2008

Eat Us, Please

Republicans for Obama ????
Yes, there really is such an organization. No, I'm not linking it, find it yourself.
I suppose you really can find anything in this world. Still, "Republicans for Obama" is just ipso facto too weird a concept. Sort of like, "Pigs for Wolves" or something.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Say Arrrgggh ! Hillary Retools

Hillary says it was a "great night" for Democrats. Yeah, and Napoleon liked his visit to Waterloo, except for bumping into that Wellington fellow.
Fear not, supporters of the Inevitable One: The Politico says that the Hillary campaign is "retooling," and that the Hillaites are predicting a win in New Hampshire. "Retooling" eh ? I thought Slick was already working on this campaign. Seriously, St. Barack better put on his tin hat.
I bet Hillary is not happy this morning. Hopefully the campaign retooling effort has plenty of cheap lamps on hand.

The Last of Iowa

Just possibly, I have been guilty of underestimating St. Barack of Obama, although I am not convinced, yet. Hillary Clinton, though is in some deep, deep trouble.
Edwards really needed to win here, as did Romney on the Republican side. The outlook for them is rather dim: Obama is now the most solid alternative to Hillary, and should be well-positioned to pick up Edwards voters; Romney is toast if McCain takes New Hampshire.
The biggest question on the Republican side is what Fred Thompson will do ? Jay Cost at the Horse Race Blog thinks he's out of money. In order for any serious alternative to Giuliani to develop, somebody (Thompson, Romney or McCain) needs to fold. Otherwise Huckabee and these people will wreck each other, probably meaning Giuliani takes all -- that is, the nomination of a bitterly divided party.
Senator Thompson, the bar's open. What do you want ?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Caucus Prediction

Clear skies, with gusty winds in Iowa tonight, predicted low of 21 degrees at Des Moines.

Scott Elliott, the “Blogging Caesar” (who is uncommonly prescient with election predictions) thinks that Huckabee handily wins the Republican Iowa Caucus, with Romney trailing a distant second. The real surprise is third place – Fred Thompson, with McCain just behind him in fourth.

As for the Democrats, he puts St. Barack of Obama in first, well ahead of Edwards in second, with Mrs. Clinton a distant third.

The Iowa Caucus system is very bizarre to us outlanders. Blogging Caesar is pretty smart, but I’m gonna bet that clear but cold weather helps organization trump intensity, and pick Edwards as the surprise Demo winner, just squeaking by Obama, with Hillary in deeeeep trouble in third place.

I agree with Blogging Caesar’s Republican line-up, except I think/hope that McCain edges Thompson for third place.
If I'm wrong, so what ? Nobody else knows either.

McCain for President

Storm warnings are up for America’s future. When the commodity markets opened yesterday, gold prices hit a record high ($861.10 an ounce), beating the previous record set in January of 1980. This only makes sense, because when the US dollar is weak, gold rises; and the dollar is falling like a stone. Oil has reached $100.00 a barrel, and US interests everywhere are menaced by the power that high oil prices gives to the petro-dictators. The war in Iraq, thankfully, is going better, and the outlines of a favorable end can be seen – but the end is not near. Afghanistan, meanwhile, looks worse.
Waiting in the wings are the Chinese – and despite all the happy talk about China’s “peaceful rise” the Chinese government, to varying degrees, takes anti-American positions in virtually every ongoing world controversy today. Our so-called European “allies” are mostly undeclared enemies.
Here at home, incomes are stagnating, gang violence is worse in the big cities, the doctor costs more and there is increasing evidence that our political and cultural leaders think that being an American is nothing special; that nationality is meaningless; and that our economic leaders will sell us to India or China if the price is right.
It’s a cliché to say that the coming election is one of the most important of modern times, but sometimes clichés have to be true, that’s why they’re clichés. The American people sense there are problems, which is why there is such interest in new faces. But new faces are only new faces, and they tell us nothing about their wearer’s ability to offer solutions to problems.
Unfortunately, I look at the new faces and see little more than inexperienced tyros grubbing for office, complete with sound-bites written by focus groups to be analyzed by computers; all to sway the lowest-common denominator moron. Too many of the old faces aren’t any better, and some represent the ideas, habits and mindset that have run-down American power rather than building it up.
I’m going to support the most conservative, most viable candidate for President. I will undoubtedly support the choice of the Republican Party in November 2008, whoever he may be; but I hope that choice is John McCain.
I haven’t come to this choice easily. I’ve said a lot of hard things about John McCain, and I sure never thought I’d be here supporting him. Temperamentally, I tend not to like political mavericks anyway, and McCain sure fits this description. More importantly, I disagree with him on some things, in particular campaign finance – the so-called “reform” bill he put his name to several years back was one of the most pernicious pieces of legislation to come out of Congress in modern times. I also think that he’s weak on immigration.
But that’s for another day. We have plenty of other irons in the fire. The very fact that McCain has taken the positions he has on these other issues – positions absolutely guaranteed to cost him votes with Republicans – tells you the man’s got character (in the event you weren’t convinced by his Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross). McCain would have waltzed to the nomination had he not taken some stands – and McCain has paid a real price for his (arguably misplaced) political courage. But whatever you think about John McCain’s positions on specific issues: you can know that John McCain will stand up for the best interests of the country, as he sees them, come Hell or high water, whatever it takes.
More than anything though, I have to support McCain because he’s been rock solid on the war these past couple of years. Ever since the stupid party took over Congress in 2004, there he’s been, in the Senate, fighting the good fight, preventing the cut-and-run-Democrats from cutting off the money for the troops; supporting President Bush on the troop surge; urging the appointment of General Petraeus; and speaking up for the justice of our cause in Iraq.
On social issues, Senator McCain has always been unequivocally pro-life – and has voted that way consistently in Congress. When the Republicans had the majority in the Senate, he helped get more conservative judges through confirmation than I thought he would, and I trust him to pick as good or better judges than any of the other possibilities.
Senator McCain has consistently fought the worst pork-barrel spending, which has infuriated the Republican Party leadership from time-to-time. Yes, McCain did oppose President Bush’s tax cuts, but, in retrospect, given that we are in a war at present, and I don’t approve of deficit spending in general, I find it hard to hold this against him, too much.
The other candidates have assorted deficits that trouble me a bit. I like Rudy Giuliani’s charisma, and from what I can see, he did a good job as mayor of New York City. But he is, after all, from New York, which bothers me a little – that city not exactly being a Republican stronghold. I wonder about how conservative he really is, and in particular, what his judicial appointments might look like. More significantly, the mayor’s connections to Bernard Kerik really are a sticking point with me; and I think the Democrats would have a field-day with this; and with the Mayor’s well-publicized personal issues in the general election. The same issues would tend to alienate the evangelical votes the Republican Party depends on, although I do not think religious voters would have much to complain about on policy grounds.
As for Mitt Romney, Governor Romney does have real executive experience, but is nationally more or less unknown, and he hasn’t done too good a job of changing that. He does not match-up well in polls against Hillary Clinton (still the most likely Democratic nominee). I think Romney has possibly focused too much on the early primary states. Governor Romney’s Mormon religion does not trouble me a whit, but I cannot get around his being Governor of Massachusetts. How conservative can the man be if he managed to get elected Governor of that place? I cannot see how he could mobilize enough Republican voters in the South and Midwest.
I am deeply disappointed in Fred Thompson. Had Senator Thompson run a good campaign, I would have been prepared to support him. I evaluate him as much like McCain, but without that Senator’s deficits. But Thompson has run a lackadaisical campaign, and I wonder if he truly wants the position, or wants to be Vice-President? The man was once an actor, so he's supposed to be good at communication. So far, I'm not seeing that.
I’m not a Huckabee supporter. I do not like what I have heard of his foreign policy opinions – they sound dangerously naïve to me, and I distrust his lack of national experience. I also think there is just too much religion in his campaign. We are electing a President, not a national pastor. In general, I am just not comfortable with populists, and Huckabee appears to fit very much into that tradition.
It’s usually easier for Republicans to pick a presidential candidate. Republicans, more than the Democrats, tend to anoint their front-runner early, and stick with him through the primary process. That’s more or less what happened to McCain in 2000 against George W. Bush. This year has been harder, not least because it’s not looking like a Republican year. But our country faces real challenges. John McCain has the character and experience to do what needs doing. and he's shown that, like the greatest Presidents, he'll do what he decides he has to, whatever it costs him personally, wherever it takes him. After all, McCain's already survived getting shot down, the North Vietnamese, cancer, the US Congress, and withering criticism from fellow-conservatives.
As I’ve said before, I’ve had reservations about this choice. McCain’s not perfect – but nobody is, and none of the other possibilities remotely measure up to this man. We can count on John McCain to give it everything he has; as he has done, despite the odds, in this campaign so far; as he has in Congress; and as he did in Vietnam and the Hanoi Hilton. So, McCain for President.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everybody. As the Kingdom of Chaos goes into three and a half years of blogdom, here's hoping that 2008 is a wonderful and blessed year for you and your families.