Politics Archives

Eating Crow: Super Tuesday Edition

In the aftermath of the Florida Primary, I suggested that it was time for Governor Mike Huckabee to withdraw from the race.

I was wrong.

Good thing I have a day job.

New Poll: McCain

We’ve done this for other Republican nominees, and now that McCain has done well on Super Tuesday it’s time for his appearance out poll.  James Dobson, as noted by Tom, has said he won’t cast a vote for President if McCain becomes the nominee.  How about you?  Let us know what you think.

Dr. James Dobson, President of Focus on the Family, made the following statement today regarding the state of the election (Hat tip: World on the Web):

“I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.
“I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has sounded at times more like a member of the other party. McCain actually considered leaving the GOP caucus in 2001, and approached John Kerry about being Kerry’s running mate in 2004.  McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Given these and many other concerns, a spoonful of sugar does NOT make the medicine go down.  I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.
“But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life. These decisions are my personal views and do not represent the organization with which I am affiliated. They do reflect my deeply held convictions about the institution of
the family, about moral and spiritual beliefs, and about the welfare of our country.”

While I respect Dr. Dobson I believe he is wrong to simply sit out the election because of who is going to be the Republican nominee. I agree that Senator McCain is not my first, second or even third choice for President. But if he is the nominee in November, I’ll vote for him not because he holds the same positions that I do on most issues (he doesn’t) but that he is far better than anybody the Democrats nominate due to fundamental differences on big issues. I also believe that McCain’s moral character is superior to that of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. In the final analysis, character matters more than issues.

The Republican Party seems determine to abandon its conservative principles and focus on selecting a candidate who is most electable. Each party makes such a decision at its own peril. But the fact that one’s political party of preference is not selecting who you might be rooting for in the election as their nominee does not relieve you of the responsibility to exercise your right to vote. That right has been paid for with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans. I cannot imagine staying at home on Election Day because my candidate is not in the race. We each should vote regardless of what the results might be. It’s not only our right Americans but it is also our duty.

Super Tuesday Results

As results come in, the Google Gadget below will show the current returns. You may have to reload the page to see updates.

An Experiment in Political Humor Insight

Consider and even try for a moment reading political blogs and commentary from my point of view. The thing is, I think polls are only slightly more indicative of election results then assigning outcomes to random bugs in cricket races. Now, review a few posts and articles holding in mind that polls are silly expensive noise signifying nothing. Just try this:

replace the word “polls” with “cricket races”.

Consider the thought, the pondering, the serious gazes and looks, surrounding the … cricket races.

As you were. :D

You could also remember this the next time you hear the spin and explanations and excuses when the actual election doesn’t align with the predictions of the race, err, poll.

Wage Garnishing for Freedom

Yeah, right, this is the first thing I think about when I hear the word "freedom".

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she might be willing to garnish the wages of workers who refuse to buy health insurance to achieve coverage for all Americans.

The New York senator has criticized presidential rival Barack Obama for pushing a health plan that would not require universal coverage. Clinton has not always specified the enforcement measures she would embrace, but when pressed on ABC’s "This Week," she said: "I think there are a number of mechanisms" that are possible, including "going after people’s wages, automatic enrollment."

I’m sorry, but that does not give me a warm fuzzy about what other freedoms Hillary might take away from us for "our own good". 

Take Ann Coulter…Please Hillary, Take Ann Coulter

Even in the midst of an ocean of absurd statements that masquerade as political rhetoric in today’s 24/7, all news all the time media environment, attacks this week on John McCain by some convervative talkers, politicians, and pundits have been over the top.  But the most ridiculous of all were comments by Ann Coulter on Hannity and Colmes, and again on the Sean Hannity radio show, that if McCain is nominated she would vote and work for Clinton because Hillary is more conservative than McCain. Conservatives are flocking to Romney as a stop-McCain effort.  If the conservatives powers-that-be would have supported Romney earlier in the campaign cycle, he’d probably be on the way to the nomination.  I’ve liked Romney for a couple of years, but actually preferred his more moderate persona as governor to the talking-point conservative of his campaign. But I will vote for John McCain here in Georgia on Tuesday, with apologies not to Romney but to Huckabee, who I wish was electable.  Of course I’m suspect, because I also voted for McCain in the Georgia primary eight years ago.

The trashing of McCain nonsense by right wing talkers (who I usually agree with), isn’t based on his lifelong service and voting record.  Jeff Jacoby provides a more sensible take on McCain in his Boston Glove column today. He writes:   

The conservative case against McCain is clear enough; I made it myself in some of these columns when he first ran for president eight years ago. The issues that have earned McCain the label of “maverick” – campaign-finance restrictions, global warming, the Bush tax cuts, immigration, judicial filibusters – are precisely what stick in the craw of the GOP conservative base.

But this year, the conservative case for McCain is vastly more compelling.

On the surpassing national-security issues of the day – confronting the threat from radical Islam and winning the war in Iraq – no one is more stalwart. Even McCain’s fiercest critics, such as conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, will say so. “The world’s bad guys,” Hewitt writes, “would never for a moment think he would blink in any showdown, or hesitate to strike back at any enemy with the audacity to try again to cripple the US through terror.”

McCain was never an agenda-driven movement conservative, but he “entered public life as a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution,” as he puts it, and on the whole his record has been that of a robust and committed conservative. He is a spending hawk and an enemy of pork and earmarks. He has never voted to increase taxes, and wants the Bush tax cuts made permanent for the best of reasons: “They worked.” He is a staunch free-trader and a champion of school choice. He is unabashedly prolife and pro-Second Amendment. He opposes same-sex marriage. He wants entitlements reined in and personal retirement accounts expanded.

McCain’s conservatism has usually been more a matter of gut instinct than of a rigorous intellectual worldview, and he has certainly deviated from Republican orthodoxy on some serious issues. For all that, his ratings from conservative watchdog groups have always been high. “Even with all the blemishes,” notes National Review, a leading journal on the right (and a backer of Romney), “McCain has a more consistent conservative record than Giuliani or Romney. . . . This is an abiding strength of his candidacy.”

McCain can beat Clinton or Obama, but a very wise choice of a running mate will help.  We’ll look at that another day.   

Tax-cutting Democrats?

Well, maybe they’re not being vocal about it, but Investor’s Business Daily did not something in Nancy Pelosi’s press release on the economic stimulus package making its way through Congress.

We’re so used to Democrats pushing tax hikes as the answer to all of America’s problems that we were taken aback to find the following words buried in Pelosi’s release on the stimulus deal: "Economists estimate that each dollar of broad tax cuts leads to $1.26 in economic growth."

Gee, that sort of sounds familiar. It’s almost, though not quite, like what the much-reviled supply-side economists have been saying for, oh, 30 years or so.

Pelosi, and other Democrats now suddenly touting tax cuts, may be on to something. We might demur on the notion that all tax cuts must be "broad" to be effective. Evidence really lies more strongly with giving tax cuts to those who would start new businesses or expand old ones. But it’s refreshing to hear a Democrat admit the obvious — that tax cuts work.

Now, their base may have other thoughts on this, which is why I’m sure we haven’t heard much about this being trumpeted by Pelosi’s office.  It has been Received Wisdom, from the Democrats’ point of view, that tax cuts — letting people keep their own hard-earned money back to them — is somehow bad, economically and morally.  Here we see that, behind closed doors (and within unread papers), they may, in fact, not think that, at least economically. 

IBD, though, notes that not every tax cut has the same effect.

But not all tax cuts are created equal — something, unfortunately, Democrats don’t seem to get. They think giving tax cuts — or, more accurately, cash — to those with lower incomes results — presto! — in stimulus. That’s not the case. Rebates are like welfare checks.

In fact, investors and entrepreneurs create economic growth, new jobs and higher incomes. They’re the risk takers who build our economy. But today they’re taxed at the most punitive rates.

The biggest bang for the tax-cut buck, therefore, comes from lowering rates for those who will actually take the money and create or expand a business with it — not just spend it at Wal-Mart.

New research shows this to be true. In the broadest such study ever, University of California economists Christina and David Romer looked at every tax change in the U.S. after World War II.

Their unambiguous conclusion: "Tax cuts have very large and persistent positive output effects." Indeed, a tax cut of just 1% boosts GDP by about 3% for several years, they found.

This is a truth that the Democratic base really isn’t ready for, but baby steps are good.

[tags]tax cuts,Democrats,Nancy Pelosi,Investor’s Business Daily,economy[/tags]

The GOP No Longer Represents Conservatives

If the Republican Party continues on its current path it will nominate either John McCain or (given a Super Tuesday miracle) Mitt Romney, who are not bona fide conservatives. In doing so, the GOP will demonstrate that it no longer represents conservatives and has placed a higher value on winning an election than standing by its principles.

The GOP didn’t get to this point overnight. Part of the blame can be laid at the feet of President Bush who, in spite of his excellent nominations to the Supreme Court of Samuel Alito and John Roberts, his consistent pro-life stands, and his persistent prosecution of the war on terror has done little else to further conservative principles. Government programs have expanded dramatcially under this President’s watch and spending has gone through the roof.

There’s little reason to think that John McCain or Mitt Romney would govern much differently from President Bush. I think they both would stand frim on pro-life and terrorism issues and follow the President’s lead. Beyond that, I don’t expect that there would be much more we would see from their administration that would follow conservative principles.

However, I do not intend to sit on the sidelines come November. The stakes are far too high for conservatives to sit out this election. With the retirement of so many Republican congressmen this year it likely that both the House and Senate will not only remain in Democratic hands but their majorities in both houses will be much larger. It’s safe to say that conservatives don’t want to put either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House with a Democrat controlled Congress.

That’s exactly why conservatives should stop whining about how McCain and Romney don’t represent their values. More conservative candidates like Duncan Hunter, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and even Mike Huckabee are being tossed aside in favor of more “electable” candidates. Conservatives have had their chance to select someone who reflects their values. Instead, they have decided to put winning above principles. Given the dynamics of this year’s election that is understandable. But that’s not necessarily the right thing to do.

If a Democrat wins the White House this year (and there is a good chance that will happen) perhaps Republicans will take a good hard look and see how abandoning their conservative principles led to their defeat. It’s a lesson that they should have learned from the 2006 election.Until they do learn it, they shouldn’t expect to win many more elections.

Six Lessons From Florida

Congratulations to Senator John McCain for his victory last night in the Florida Republican Primary. He has now emboldened his position as the front runner for the nomination. While he’s not necessarily the person I would want as the nominee, I’ll support him if he wins the nomination.

Looking over last night’s results, I’ve observed six things that should be kept in mind as the process moves forward.

Read the rest of this entry

Stealing the Nomination?

Could Senator Hillary Clinton try to steal the Democratic Presidential nomination?

Sure, it may seem like a stretch but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a sudden call from the Clinton camp to have delegates from Florida and Michigan seated at the convention particularly if she wins big in today’s Sunshine State primary.

But it’s not beyond the realm of possibility at all to consider that Senator Clinton could win the nomination without receiving a majority of the delegates selected through the party’s primaries and caucuses. That’s because of a quirk in the Democratic Party known as the Superdelegate, who is an elected official or party member and is not tied to any particular state primary or caucus.

Though it is not widely reported in the media, Senator Clinton holds the lead for the nomination due to the advantage she has over Senator Barack Obama in the Superdelegate category. As of this writing, Mrs. Clinton leads 201-116 according to the Real Clear Politics delegate scoreboard with 114 left uncommitted. Senator Obama has won more delegates through the primaries and caucuses held to date by a margin of 63-46.

It would be ironic if Senator Clinton managed to secure the nomination without winning a majority of the delegates up for grabs during the primary season. Given how close the race for the Democratic nomination has been so far, it’s also not beyond the realm of possibility. But we will hear anything about voter disenfranchisement like we have the last two election cycles from Democrats? Don’t bet on it.

An Educated Citizenry…

…is apparently the gay-rights crowd’s worst enemy. Via the Jawa Report we read that what is being called, vaguely, the "Citizens Bill of Rights" has provisions that are not mentioned on the ballot.

Miami voters are being asked Jan. 29 to approve a ‘Citizens’ Bill of Rights” that would, among other things, promote religious freedom, clean air and scenic beauty. It would also ban discrimination on the basis of domestic relationship status, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression — though relatively few people are aware of it. The proposed city charter change hasn’t drawn much attention. The actual ballot wording never mentions gay or transgender rights. On Monday, even some leading gay and Christian activists didn’t know anything about it.

Apparently, the gay-rights groups don’t have the guts to fight for what they want. They prefer to sneak it in under the radar.

Heddy Peña, executive director of SAVE, Miami-Dade County’s largest gay-rights group, said her organization has been sending out e-mails urging supporters to vote yes. ”We’ve been trying not to call special attention so that it becomes highly politicized,” Peña said. “You politicize it and you have a fight on your hands.”

Politicize? Sorry, more like "publicize". I think the real fear hear is the latter, not the former. Giving the issue a fair hearing and fair representation is not politicization; it’s underhanded. Knowing they can’t sell their issue on its merits, they do what they always accuse the Religious Right of doing; force it down our throats.

Floridians, you have six days to get educated.

[tags]Florida,gay rights,homosexuality,transgender,Miami,Heddy Peña[/tags]

The Importance of the VP nod

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson surprised no one by withdrawing from the presidential race today. His third place finish in South Carolina last Saturday sealed his fate.

Now comes word via Fox News’ Carl Cameron that Thompson’s plan all along was to put himself in a position to be the Republican nominee’s choice for vice-president. (Hat tip: My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy)

Thompson would make a terrific vice-president and would immediately shore up the Republican ticket and appeal to the base. The most logical person to pick him would be John McCain who needs the most help getting the conservative base behind his candidacy.

As Joe Carter pointed out in his post-SC primary analysis, Mike Huckabee would also make a great VP nominee also. Hopefully he’ll also be smart enough to decline and make another run for the presidency in 2012.

Even Mitt Romney, who has yet to win a primary in a prominent, solidly Republican state, could benefit from having Thompson as his running mate to bolster his appeal among conservatives.

On the Democratic side, the VP sweepstakes will also be important but for much different reasons. Given the bitter divide between Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns it would make sense for the winner to offer the VP slot to the runner-up in order to heal divisions within the party. If they don’t, the could end up resembling Republicans of 1976 and losing the White House again.

In most years, the VP nomination is almost an afterthought. This year, the person occupying the number two slot may be as important as who is number one.

CNN Readers Respond to ‘Race and Gender’ Story

And they’re not happy with it.

Within minutes of posting a story on CNN’s homepage called “Gender or race: Black women voters face tough choices in South Carolina,” readers reacted quickly and angrily.

Readers want media to focus more on the candidates and how they feel about the issues not their gender or race.

Many took umbrage at the story’s suggestion that black women voters face “a unique, and most unexpected dilemma” about voting their race or their gender.

CNN received dozens of e-mails shortly after posting the story, which focuses largely on conversations about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that a CNN reporter observed at a hair salon in South Carolina whose customers are predominantly African-American.

The story states: “For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?” Read the story

An e-mailer named Tiffany responded sarcastically: “Duh, I’m a black woman and here I am at the voting booth. Duh, since I’m illiterate I’ll pull down the lever for someone. Hm… Well, he black so I may vote for him… oh wait she a woman I may vote for her… What Ise gon’ do? Oh lordy!”

Frankly, it’s very heartening to hear this, after the news reports that the African-American women at Atlanta’s Spelman College were seriously fretting over this very question. Possibly, maybe, hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for identity politics.

[tags]identity politics,CNN,Spelman College,South Carolina,Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama[/tags]

The 2008 campaign for president has gone on way, way too long.  And now the decision for the Republican nominee is going to be made much too fast.  For us political junkies, it’s just getting interesting.  The Democratic race may hold some interest, too, if Obama can win somewhere other than Iowa.   Why did the two best public speakers, Obama and Huckabee, win Iowa and now can’t win anywhere else?  Obama, by the way, is the best by far.   The problem is, he’s wrong on just about everything politically–except on the importance of being nice.

But since the Republicans are the only candidates that reflect the majority of my own values, I’ll keep my eye on them.  All of the remaining candidates, except Ron Paul, hold most of the same values as I do–with a few exceptions.  I don’t dread the prospect of Romney, McCain, Huckabee, or Guiliani winning the nomination.

But these thoughts on the morning after McCain won the South Carolina primary.  I’m snowed-in (or iced in) in Atlanta–the churches are all closed–which may be why McCain eked out the SC win over Huckabee.  Huckabee’s camp was fearing snow in the upstate, and it came; so the Huckabee turnout may not have been what they could have expected otherwise.

But the real story is McCain winning in SC, where his 2000 candidacy was torpedoed.  If McCain can make his final SC campaign appearance in Charleston Harbor–in view of Ft. Sumter–in perhaps the most states-right, conservative state in the nation, and go on to beat an evangelical pastor and a conservative former Senator/TV actor from a neighboring state–then he’s convinced a fair number of conservatives that he is not evil.

McCain is going to be formidable and he is certainly the frontrunner now for the nomination.

The second story really is Huckabee’s inability to capture South Carolina.  The state was tailor made for him, with half the state evangelical Christians.  Thompson is probably the reason.  He woke up in time to attack Huckabee in the last debate and showed some life in the last week.  I doubt that he did this for McCain; politicians almost always do things for themselves.  But the result is that it is likely that Thompson’s final hurrah will launch McCain to the nomination.

Some say Thompson reminds them of Reagan.  Well maybe, but I’d say Thompson’s performance in this campaign is reminiscent of the final days of Reagan’s presidency, when he could hardly answer questions at press conferences, with the ravages of age and perhaps alzheimers taking their toll.

I loved it when Thompson jumped into the race.  But come to find out he does need a script.  And now Jack McCoy has his job as the DA on Law and Order.  What’s next for Thompson?

Back to Huckabee.  As I’ve written before, I like him very much and support so much of what he stands for and most of his policies.  But I think he’s probably finished.  He needed SC more than McCain or Romney did.  With four contenders in Florida the vote may be split enough to give any of them a chance, including Huckabee.  But after that its hard to see a path to victory.  I appreciate so much about Huckabee, but I don’t think he can beat Hillary because he looks like an foreign policy lightweight.  Back to:  Huckabee for VP.

I’ve also written about Romney, as far back as two years ago.  Unfortunately, I liked him a bit more when he was a creative governor of Massachusetts than I do with him as a doctrinaire conservative candidate with only a little more fluidity than Al Gore as a candidate.

Guiliani has spent so many days out of the media spotlight, it is hard to see him coming back.  I don’t know if he had any choice, but his strategy to wait until Florida looks like the wrong strategy.  Could he really not have competed in New Hampshire; wouldn’t he have had the same appeal as McCain to NH independents.  Guiliani has little margin of error with liberal positions on abortion and same sex marriage; he may have already gone outside the margins.

I’ve been a McCain fan for some time (to the chagrin of many close to me), and I supported him in 2000.  He may be better for America than for the Republican party, but I like his independence and integrity and his strength.  I don’t think you can discount his heroism as a POW, and I like his balanced and positive approach to climate change.  I’m amazed that in all of his years in the Senate he has never asked for an earmark.  Not too many examples of that.   I do wish he was 10 years younger.

I hate that Rush trashed both McCain and Huckabee this week.  I was also surprised by it, because he’s usually friendly to all Republicans.   While Sean Hannity clearly admires Thompson and Guiliani, he’s said consistently that he likes all of the Republican presidential candidates.  I agree with him, but today I think McCain is the man with momentum, and the candidate most likely to beat the Democrat.

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