January 18, 2008

Strategery

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune is urging conservatives to cease the 'whompin' of John McCain.

"While they're whomping, they might want to answer this question: Don't they want to win the White House?

Or would they feel better if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama were commander in chief, dealing with the Islamofascists, filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court and turning the Justice Department over to a big city political machine?"


As a Romney supporter, I have to admit that I have used this kind of an argument to attempt to convince people not to vote for Mike Huckabee. My rationale is simple; if Huckabee wins the nomination, he will certainly lose the general election almost solely because he does not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. I simply don't believe that Americans, in this day and age, would elect such a blatant enemy of science and scientific advancement.

But the argument that I had better embrace McCain or face the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency, for example, is not convincing. I know that it's a conservative apostasy to say this, but I think I would prefer Obama to McCain at this point, so to try to scare me with an Obama presidency rings hollow.

Hillary Clinton is attacking Obama on the campaign trail today because in a radio interview Obama conceded that, "I think it's fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10 to 15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom."

Obama is of course, correct. Whether Republicans can still claim to be the party of ideas is perhaps debatable, but this statement by Obama shows remarkable frankness and an accurate grasp of reality.

Hillary responded in a nasty tone, "That's not the way I remember the last ten to fifteen years."

Here we have an example of the stark contrast of old style partisanship -not willing to concede anything- versus forward looking open-mindedness and a willingness to bring in new ideas, regardless of the source. This is a mature attitude for Obama to adopt and I have to say that I am impressed.

In another study of contrast, McCain seems anything but mature at times. In his ABC New Hampshire debate performance he looked at times childish, petty, and thin-skinned. Couple this with the fact that his 'maverick' attitude seems at times to adopt the contrarian view simply for the sake of being contrarian and we have a picture of a man who, like Hillary, represents the old style of ego-politics. McCain seems obsessed with showing that he is own man at the expense of his own willingness to listen to good ideas. In this regard Obama seems to have much more of a sensible and reasonable approach. As right leaning individuals, we don’t ask that liberals become conservatives overnight, but a willingness to at least listen to conservative ideas and not dismiss them out of hand like Hillary Clinton would is refreshing. Maybe there is something to the ‘new politics’ that Obama seems to be peddling. One thing is sure, Hillary Clinton represents the old guard, characterized by bitter partisanship, the politics of polarization, and the politics of personal destruction. There is not a more divisive figure in American politics than Hillary Clinton.

I would welcome a debate on ideas between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and I hope that they both win their respective nominations. Both men strike me as honorable and earnest in their desire to improve the country. Of course, because Republicans are more interested in substance than they are flowery rhetoric, we have the benefit of knowing a lot more about what Romney would do as president when compared to the tabula rasa of Barrack Obama. And While Romney has had to go into much greater detail about issues of policy than any Democrat has ever been asked to, we can at least have the 'audacity to hope' that Obama would be a president who would listen to well reasoned ideas regardless of the source.

I really don’t care if Hillary is considered more beatable than Obama in a general election and similarly, I don’t care if McCain is considered more viable than Romney in a general election. It’s time to dump the old guard, time to bring about more solutions instead of more Hillary Clinton 90’s style partisanship and/or the ego trip of John McCain.

7 comments:

stix1972 said...

Amen to that. I think Fred is better than Romney, but Romney seems more level headed than McCain. And I am wondering why the MSM is trying to pick the Republican nominee. Isn't it the Republican rank and file that is supposed to vote for their nominee? I really hate that in most Primaries you can vote in either the Democrat or Republican Primaries. Shouldn't the Republicans vote in the Republican primary?

Also I agree with you on Obama, even though I have no idea really what he is for other than 'Change" and "Hope", but at least he is not from the old school of politics. If Hillary is the nominee look for one of the dirtiest campaigns for the President ever.

Leslie Carbone said...

“Don’t they want to win the White House?”

Yes, of course, conservatives want to win the White House. Nominating a non-conservative, like John McCain, isn’t really a good strategery for pursuing that goal.

What conservatives don’t want is to deliver the White House to a non-conservative Republican–again.

Michael Tams said...

I’m with Leslie. Kass is one guy, entitled to his opinion, even if it’s wrong. I too am a Romney supporter; I could also vote for Fred. Beyond that…

You said something interesting:

“My rationale is simple; if Huckabee wins the nomination, he will certainly lose the general election almost solely because he does not believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. I simply don’t believe that Americans, in this day and age, would elect such a blatant enemy of science and scientific advancement.”

I don’t understand this comment. While there are numerous reasons to oppose Huckabee, that he doesn’t suscribe to the Left’s official religion, Darwinism, isn’t one of them. It is a theory, remains unproven, and relies on the same principles as any organized religion. The reason that he’d lose in the general has more to do with the fact that he’d fail to energize fiscal conservatives, border advocates, and defense hawks. Beyond his narrow appeal to evangelicals, his support is thin to non-existent.

Numerous conservative pundits have catalogued the media’s infatuation with Huckabee, a fawning that is based on the fact that Huckabee is either a “compassionate conservative” (a big-government republican) or a lightweight that they’d have no problem with. Or, horrifyingly possible, both.

Either option isn’t very good.

You’re right about this: we’ve got to put the best conservative out there and let the chips fall where they may.

Jaz said...

Michael,

I'm glad that you are a fellow Romney supporter so right away this is a debate between friends. I agree with your assessment as to why Huckabee might not have even the Republican support required to win a general election. There are possibly dozens of reasons to be against Huckabee. However, if the general election choice is between Huckabee and say Hillary Clinton, the fiscal conservatives, the border advocates, and the defense hawks may be able to find a way to hold their nose and vote for Huckabee. Because I guarantee that he would pivot and attempt to cater to all three groups and do so with more credibility than his general election opponent. Therefore the question is: what weakness of Huckabee's would the Left use to dismantle his campaign? It is my theory that they will use what is ironically his only strength in the Republican primary, his social conservatism, and turn it into his primary liability in a general election.

Here is my explanation. First of all, I never got them memo that the left had a monopoly on believing in science. When you say that Darwinism is the "Left's official Religion" you imply that no Republican believes in the theory of evolution, and by extension in science. You say evolution is a theory, which is of course true. Like all of scientific theory, evolution it is based upon the best available information. If another scientific theory comes along that successfully refutes the theory of evolution based on the facts, than it would become the best available working theory. The point is, believing that the theory of evolution has merit, is believing in science. As in, believing in objective reality, facts, and data.

The story of creationism is the alternative to believing in evolution. I would submit, and in fact hope, that most Americans when it comes down to it, even some of the religious, believe in science and factual data as opposed to what is essentially a work of fiction in the 'story' of creationism. And the fact that is a 'story' says it all, one is a theory based upon serious and in depth factual research, and one is a story which requires 'faith' in order to buy into. The advocates of evolution can point to reams of scientific data, while the argument of those advocating creationism amounts to saying, "Just take our word for it."

I know that it is an apostasy to have this kind of an opinion in conservative circles, but because I believe in science does not mean I do not respect the religious. I'm not a lefty after all. The social conservatives make up a very important 1/3 of the Reagan coalition, and I'm very much against the Left's desire to remove religion from the public square, from our currency and from our schools. Judeo-Christian philosophy was an important basic building block upon which this great country was built and continues to be a guiding force of principles and strength for our people.

However, the other 2/3 of the reagan Coalition, economic and national security, are to me more important than social conservatism on it's own. This is perhaps why Huckabee seems to be almost the inverse of Romney. Those who care about the one and only issue of abortion will vote for Huckabee and those who believe that economic conservatism and national security conservatism are collectively more important than social conservatism on it's own should vote for Romney.

Of course, Romney is in reality a strong social conservative. One need look no further than his family life and the high ethical standards in which he conducts himself and his affairs. Unfortunately, it may have been a mistake for the Romney campaign to have emphasized his social conservative credentials first and wait until Michigan to mention that Romney's true strength lies in the realm of economic conservatism.

This is a side bar, but it's important to understand why social conservatives in some states mistakenly believe that Romney is not one of them. The explanation is as follows. The Romney campaign, mistakenly perhaps, initially sold Romney as a social conservative. After all, when all is said and done Romney is a social conservative. But because the voting public perceived that the timing was suspect going into the evangelical state of Iowa, they assumed that somehow no, Romney is no social conservative. The voters smelled a rat, but the rat was not that Romney is not a social conservative, the rat was a cynical campaign decision to highlight, and place too much emphasis on, Romney’s somewhat shaky perhaps, social conservative credentials. This mess has resulted in the tagging of Romney as flip flopper, a charge the McCain campaign has been peddling from day one and that the liberal media fans the flames of because they ultimately are afraid of the strength of Romney ticket against whatever hack their team ends up trotting out.

Perhaps now the campaign will begin to sell Romney as the ‘economy guy’ but I can see why they didn’t do so initially. To sell Romney as a one-dimensional economy expert is to drastically undersell him. The Romney campaign correctly imagined that their guy was collectively stronger in all three parts of the Reagan coalition than any other single candidate. Somewhere along the way John McCain and Mike Huckabee, who really are one-dimensional, have managed to trick enough voters into thinking that they are the strongest Republican candidates. This trend must be reversed. And the fact that Independents and Democrats are essentially polluting the Republican primary process by voting for McCain is not helping.

Ultimately I agree with your final statement, Michael. Rich Lowry, Ann Coulter and probably Rush Limbaugh agree with us.

Michael Tams said...

The opposite of Darwinism isn’t necessarily Creationism. Intelligent Design is a manifestly more reasonable theory than Darwinism. The Discovery Institute has done wonderful research on the subject, which I strongly recommend.

If Huck is the eventual nominee, and there’s no third party candidate, I may not vote. I know THAT is apostasy in Republican circles, but I’m more conservative than Republican; if the GOP abandoned conservatism, I’d no longer see that as my party affiliation. And I think a Huckabee nomination is pretty darn close to abandoning conservatism.

Kent said...

Jaz,

I'm cool with Romney or Giuliani.

I met Mitt about a year ago here in Southern California and he struck me as perfectly capable and competent. With his CEO background, he'd be great.

Currently, I'm a Rudy guy. We'll have to wait and see what happens on 01.29 in Florida.

Jaz, you've now officially surpassed me as the world's best blogger.

Love you, Man.

Go Giants.

Jaz said...

That's high praise, thanks.

Let's just hope that the non-McCain vote isn't divided in so many ways as to be without effect. At this point, Fred Thompson has got to bow out but even that may not be enough since some of his voters may go back to the Huckster.

Having McCain as a front runner is almost like having a Democrat in the Republican primary. He has to be defeated before we even begin to settle on a serious nominee. But in order to do that, conservatives may have to agree on a single alternative who can get enough votes to really trounce McCain.

Which means that I'm having very anti-New York feelings in the next couple of weeks. For reasons of strategy I'm routing against Rudy, and for reasons of homer-ism I'm most certainly routing against The Giants.

I'm feeling very Boston as usual, Go Mitt, Go Pats!