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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Quick Hits

Good article by Deb Saunders on Mitt:

Yes, McCain has been in Congress since first elected in 1982, but he never succumbed to the Beltway Culture of Spending, whereas Romney fell into Washington's big spending trap somewhere between Michigan and Florida.

As Romney courted the Michigan vote, he proposed a $20 billion energy research/auto industry bailout plan likely to appeal to the Motor City state. Later, touting himself as the turnaround guy for a flailing economy, Romney released his own $233 billion stimulus package -- a price tag that dwarfs President Bush's $145 billion proposal.

Perhaps hoping to avoid the condemnation of the Ronulans, Ben Adler reverses the headline:

Ron Paul continues to best Giuliani

Of course the real news is that Giuliani continues to trail Ron Paul. Paul's a silly candidate, yes, the Dennis Kucinich of the right. He has some good ideas, like all "small-l" libertarians, but essentially he's a crank and the real news is that Giuliani's running behind him, not that Paul's besting the former frontrunner. And I do expect Giuliani to swamp Paul in Florida (but finish second or third).

Jay Cost tries to keep hope alive for the "Stop McCain" folks but he resorts to mumbo-jumbo here:

With McCain as the frontrunner - the way to look at this nomination battle should shift. Most of us had written McCain off last summer - so we were not expecting him to precipitate an ideological battle. If anything, we were expecting some kind of bottom-up opposition to Giuliani - with party elites accepting his candidacy, and rank-and-file pro-lifers rejecting it. The rise of McCain scrambles all of this. There is an ideological conflict brewing in the GOP - but not the one we thought we would see. This means that the way we have looked at nominations over the last few cycles does not hold. I think this contest could be longer than many have intuited - and the results in Florida could determine exactly who emerges as the "anti-McCain" candidate.

Considering that the primaries before Florida were supposed to determine who became the anti-Guiliani candidate, I feel pretty good about things.

Do not expect the press to catch this dynamic. It understands the here-and-now of contemporary politics much better than the forces and institutions that have guided it for decades. One effect of its misunderstanding will come on Super Tuesday, which it will treat just like the general election. That evening, it is going to focus relentlessly and exclusively on who wins which states - as if delegates are allocated like Electoral College electors. Do not get caught up with this, regardless of how splashily it is staged. With the prospect of a McCain candidacy, and the ideological divergence it implies - this is not the best way to analyze Super Tuesday, even though it is an important aspect. We also need to wait until the next day to see how the delegates are meted out - that will indicate just where this race is going to go.

What he's trying to say is that it doesn't matter who won South Carolina, or who wins Florida or Super-Tuesday, which of course is a lot of nonsense. Still, somebody has to write this stuff so that Hugh Hewitt can link it.

The Louisiana Caucuses were held last night, and according to Geraghty, McCain finished first, with Paul a close second (see why I don't pay much attention to caucuses?) and Romney third. According to this account, Paul might have won, but, you guessed it, they screwed up:

Ron Paul finished second. His supporters reportedly mobbed the 11 polling places, but many of them could not participate because they were not registered Republicans. They were required to cast provisional ballots, many of which will not count. (The provisional ballots are part of the reason for the delay in tallying the results.)


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