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Saturday, January 05, 2008
For The Mitt, He is A-Changin'

This is pathetic.

In their place is a desperate attempt to convince people that Romney is the Republican equivalent of Barack Obama and John Edwards, the only candidate who can bring radical change to a Washington establishment that is mired in bureaucracy and old thinking.

One would think that even a flip-flopper like Romney would know the danger of trying to reinvent himself in the last moments of a dying campaign. It's not fooling anybody, as the folks over at InTrade realize. Romney's shares are now at 11.1 bid, down from 22.5 on Thursday morning.

Byron York recognizes the folly of Mitt's Hail Mary pass.

Is it just me, or does this seem a bit transparent? It's not as if Romney has never talked about changing things in Washington before, but you get the impression that the biggest change he has brought about recently is the one he made in his campaign pitch on the flight from Iowa to New Hampshire. Did the voters say they want change? Sure, I'll give 'em change.

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Medved: Mitt Lost Because He's a Phony


Among Evangelicals, Mormon Mitt beat John McCain, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul by a ratio of nearly two-to-one…a bigger, not smaller margin of victory over these other non-Mormon candidates than he managed to achieve in the electorate in general. The message ought to be obvious: the core issue was phoniness, not faith-- and the religious and non-religious alike react badly to phoniness.

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Mitt's Latest Flip Flops

Mitt in 2008:

“There’s no way that Sen. McCain is going to be able to come to New Hampshire and say that he’s the candidate that represents change — that he’ll change Washington. He is Washington,” Romney said on the campaign trail Friday.

Mitt in 2002:

“One of the reasons the people of America honor Sen. McCain and why I'm so proud to have him standing with me today is that he has brought American values to the debate on the issues we care about,” Romney said at the time. “He has always stood for reform and change.”

Meanwhile, Mitt's fans have taken to flailing wildly. Hugh Hewitt, who will again become one of my favorite talk show hosts once McCain wins the nomination, attempts to link the stock market decline of about 2% to investor nervousness over the outcome of the Iowa caucuses:

How much of the decline is due to the investor class rejecting the idea that any good news comes out of either Obama-McCain or Obama-Huckabee?

He takes a good pummeling in the comments:

Hugh, you are unbelievable. Now the market is tanking (the sky is falling! the sky is falling!) because your boy got hammered last night. Get a grip.

This is the typical tripe I expected from Hewitt the day after his boy took it in the shorts.

Why not extoll the virtues of McCain or Huckabee (I know its probably physically impossible for you to praise the latter)? Why not accentuate the positive of these two candidates?

Hewitt can't do it because he's shown himself to be a sellout to Slick Mitty.

It seems Hugh thinks that a plurality of Iowans are too stupid to know that they should have voted for Mitt Romney and that the media conspired to bolster Huckabee b/c he is the weakest Republican and Iowans fell for it. I have a different idea. I think a plurality of Iowans voted for Huckabee and not Romney b/c Romney is a phony.

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Friday, January 04, 2008
Fraser on England, Political Correctness and Everything

This is the best thing you could read all weekend. I lamented the passing of George MacDonald Fraser, the creator of the fabulous Flashman novels the other day, noting their attention to historical detail. Today, he rises from the grave to absolutely lambaste the left in general and the Labour Party in particular for the decay of England. It's absolutely a piece to savor from one of the great writers:

I think little of people who will deny their history because it doesn't present the picture they would like.

My forebears from the Highlands of Scotland were a fairly primitive, treacherous, blood-thirsty bunch and, as Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, would have been none the worse for washing. Fine, let them be so depicted, if any film maker feels like it; better that than insulting, inaccurate drivel like Braveheart.

The philosophy of political correctness is now firmly entrenched over here, too, and at its core is a refusal to look the truth squarely in the face, unpalatable as it may be.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. Solid conservative thought from a great writer.

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McCain Blogger Conference Call Report

What a difference a month makes! Senator McCain (or Senator Lazarus as I referred to him) was upbeat and confident, and the callers were much more positive in their questions. One caller even asked him about potential running mates!

I told him he was the "eat your peas" candidate for the "eat your peas" party. My question was whether the money spigot had opened. He expressed satisfaction with his money situation, saying he has enough to compete in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan, and that if he continues to do well, the money will follow.

He did show a little of his fighting side when the questions turned to whether he could sell himself as the agent of change that Iowa voters said they want, pointing out that he was a lonely voice for change in Iraq, supporting the surge and saying that the Rumsfeld plan wasn't working.

Other bloggers are reporting similarly:

Red State:

All in all though, McCain sounds charged and ready to win. We'll see on Tuesday.

American Spectator:

In total: he sounded ready to rumble and confident. More importantly, he sounded like he understands he has to win over the base of the party.

Matt Lewis of Townhall:

I've probably been on a dozen, or so, calls with McCain, and I've never heard him this fired up, and this passionate about defending his positions.

Ann Althouse brings up a point that was mentioned in the call, about a young girl who spoke at a McCain-Lieberman Townhall meeting in New Hampshire:

McCain effuses about a young girl who spoke at the meeting. I hope there's video of that somewhere.

I agree, it sounds like a great YouTube clip.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008
McCain Hits Major Surge in New Hampshire

InTrade has him at .75 versus Romney's .24. Greta caught it on Fox, as did (lamentingly) Tom Tancredo.

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McCain Gets Big Bump from Iowa at InTrade

Compared to the numbers I posted earlier today (which almost made me swoon):

McCain: Up 7.6
Giuliani: Up 3
Romney: Down 8.4
Huckabee: Up 5.1
Paul: Down 2.1
Thompson: Down 0.4


Will Mitt Take an Uppercut?

Fox is reporting that Romney was losing by 10 points to Huckabee in entrance polling. This would put him on the ropes, set up for the kayo in New Hampshire. They are also saying that the Democratic turnout is huge, which would appear to help Barack Obama, possibly giving him a big win.

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Flashman Author Dies


George MacDonald Fraser, author of the hugely entertaining Flashman novels, has died aged 82.

Fraser - whose fans included P G Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis - died after a battle with cancer.

The Flashman series is one of the great treats of 20th century literature. Flashy (as he was commonly called) was a scoundrel who first appeared in the classic English schoolboy novel, Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes. In that book he was a bully who "roasted" young Tom's backside in a memorable scene. Frasier took the character, now aged to adulthood, and made him the protagonist and narrator of his series. Flashy remained a rogue, a scoundrel and a coward, and somehow managed to be present for almost many of the significant events of the 19th century, including Little Big Horn, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Charge of the Light Brigade, etc.

The charm of the series came from seeing all the precarious situations that Flashman managed to get into. Usually we feel sorry for the main character when complications arise in his life; with Flashman you could savor it. Frasier's particular brilliance was in making Flashy the narrator of his own tales. It's refreshing to have the "I" character not be noble and admirable, or (as Dr Watson) an admiring spectator of such a man.

Flashman had lusty tastes. One of my favorite bits comes in Royal Flash. Flashman has been recruited to take the place of a European prince who is due to be married to a princess from another country to cement an alliance. But villains have kidnapped the prince and the marriage must take place urgently. In a hilarious sequence, the ministers for the princess urge him to be gentle with her on their wedding night. He replies, "Don't worry, I will treat her as I would the daughter of my best friend." Of course we know that pledge is true but not in the way the ministers think.

The series of course owes something to PG Wodehouse, whose Bertie and Jeeves series pioneered the concept of the narrator as somewhat less than perfect, but all of literature consists of taking what others have done and stretching it in different ways. I highly recommend the Flashman series and regret Fraser's passing.

Hat Tip: Memeorandum

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The McCain Juggernaut?

Wow. Back in July, when it came time for positive news about John McCain's campaign for the presidency, it was pretty slim pickings. Now it almost seems like it's hard to choose which one to lead with.

McCain's now the #1 pick to win the nomination in the InTrade political markets.

McCain is the only candidate with above a 50% favorability rating. And yes, he has the highest favorables among conservatives:

Of course, entering the Primary season, it may be that opinions within the partisan ranks matter more than the overall numbers. McCain is viewed favorably by 66% of Republican voters nationwide, Thompson and Giuliani are viewed favorably by 65%, Romney by 57%, and Huckabee by 55%.

RCP's average of several polls now shows McCain leading Romney in New Hampshire.

Fred Thompson may drop out if he does not finish highly tonight and back McCain. This will clearly help things further for McCain in New Hampshire.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Interesting Article on the Ronulans

Okay, I haven't been exactly sympathetic to the Ron Paul crowd, and they're only going to be around for a few more days, so I thought I'd link to this terrific piece on their Iowa push.

It's not about personality worship for the volunteers, the fetishization of a person's capacity to shine in public or persuade. It's about questions like the purpose of our Federal Reserve, which really piques these volunteers' interest, and which just so happens to get a Texas congressman named Ron Paul going, too. When Nickel muses, "I think centrists are the most extremist, because they don't believe in anything but people," it suddenly seems to make a lot of sense.

Cute little article. They do appear to have learned from the Dean campaign that passion doesn't have to translate into anger.


Close Encounters of the Kucinich Kind

Okay, when you hear that Dennis Kucinich saw a UFO 25 years ago, you tend to roll your eyes. But when you hear where he saw it, you start rolling on the floor:

And what exactly did Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich see hovering above actress Shirley MacLaine's house 25 years ago?


Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Mitt's Massachusetts to Fine Uninsured Up to $912


The higher penalty is intended to get those who are on the fence to buy health insurance. For those wavering, it could make more sense to pay for insurance than to pay the penalty.

The proposed penalties also drive home the full impact of the health reform law's personal mandate principle. This approach makes buying health insurance a responsibility of all residents, similar to the way drivers are required to purchase auto insurance. The penalty was enacted to spur residents to purchase insurance rather than rely on the care hospitals are still required to provide to patients regardless of coverage or ability to pay.

You're doing a heckuva a job, Mitty!

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Bravely Standing Up to the Nazis

Cindy Sheehan engages in the favorite pastime of the anti-Bush crowd: Fantasizing that she's one of the noble few opposing Hitler:

My first encounter with the White Rose Society (a small group of Munich University Students who were executed for their opposition to Hitler and the Third Reich) came on my way from Dallas to Crawford, Tx on August 6th, 2005.

Amazing how Cindy encountered these people 62 years after their execution, eh? And how did Cindy survive her two and a half years of protesting Hitler? About the closest she came to death was when she found out they didn't have any Jamba Juices in Davos.

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McCain Up by Six In NH

And of course the trendline is very, very positive.

McCain gained 12 points since a month ago in the same survey to vault ahead of Romney 31%-25%. Romney had led in the December Suffolk poll 31%-19% over McCain. Giuliani is third with 14%, a three-point drop from 17%.

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Romney: Great Primary Candidate, Unelectable in the Fall?

So says David Brooks:

The leaders of the Republican coalition know Romney will lose. But some would rather remain in control of a party that loses than lose control of a party that wins. Others haven’t yet suffered the agony of defeat, and so are not yet emotionally ready for the trauma of transformation. Others still simply don’t know which way to turn.

And so the burden of change will be thrust on primary voters over the next few weeks. Romney is a decent man with some good fiscal and economic policies. But in this race, he has run like a manager, not an entrepreneur. His triumph this month would mean a Democratic victory in November.

Yes, but it will be a glorious defeat!


Sunday, December 30, 2007
McCain's Rise Explained

According to this article:

"Townhall meeting by townhall meeting, bus ride by bus ride, and endless phone calls to local talk show hosts, are what have put McCain back on the map in New Hampshire," says David Carney, a GOP political strategist not affiliated with any campaign.

Much as I'd like to attribute it to factors within the campaign, I doubt that would have been sufficient if the party in general had not started coming back to McCain. He was right on the biggest issue of 2007, the surge in Iraq, and he was right early. If that had not worked, no amount of bus rides and phone calls to local talk show hosts would have turned the campaign around.

Drudge is reporting today that the national numbers for Rasmussen show that McCain has pulled into the lead overall. It's effectively a dead heat, according to Matt (I can't find backup on Rasmussen's site):

RASMUSSEN Poll National Republican: McCain 17%; Romney 16%; Huckabee 16%; Giuliani 15%; Thompson 12%... Developing...

I don't have to tell you who's got momentum.

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