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Saturday, January 26, 2008
Poll Vault South Carolina

Once again, a LOT more people came out for the Democratic primary; somewhere around 20% more. In a state where Republicans got 40% more of the vote in the general election in 2004. I don't see a good way to spin that positively for the GOP.

Although turnout was only 51%-49% male to female on the Republican side, it was 61%-39% female to male today. Running the numbers reveals that overall 537,000 women came out to vote in SC, while 430,000 men cast ballots. Although women did support Hillary more than men in the Palmetto State, they still voted overwhelmingly for Barack.

If the Clinton's goal was to define Obama as the black candidate, then it appears that in South Carolina they succeeded. Barack won huge margins among blacks of all ages, not only lost white voters of all ages over 30, but finished third, behind Edwards and Clinton.

Obama loses votes steadily as the population ages, something that does not bode well for him in Florida. Interestingly Edwards' percentage went up steadily as religious attendance declined. There was a sense of reality among voters; even those who voted for Obama appear to recognize that Hillary is more electable and more qualified to be Commander in Chief (my God!).

Despite Edward's populism, he did slightly better among college graduates than those without a degree, and his percentage of the vote pretty steadily rose with income. Is it ironic that socialism seems more popular with the wealthy than the poor.

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John McCain picks up two endorsements from Policemen's Unions in New York City:

“Some of the qualities that we’re known for is our leadership, integrity, courage, problem solving, conviction,” said Roy Richter, president of the New York City Captains Endowment Association. “Those were the qualities that we were looking for to endorse a candidate for president of the United States and we’re happy to offer our endorsement to a true American hero, a person of conviction and leadership, John McCain.”

The endorsements could be seen as a slap against former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani who usually receives the majority of the country's first responders support. McCain thanked the men. “These are the heroes of the United States," McCain said. "These are the heroes of 9-11. I have never been more honored to have your endorsement.”


Pantsuit Pachyderm of the Week

Our first pantsuit pachyderm is the big one, El Rushbo, who announced on his program this week that he may not endorse the Republican candidate for president this year. Maybe all those folks who say his show profited from a Clinton in the White House were right. Rush has been a terrific asset to the Republican party over the years, but he's behaving like a spoiled brat, and his show has become unlistenable as he's racheted up his attacks on fine men like John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

Hillary's reaction?

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Friday, January 25, 2008
About Rick Santorum

He's been getting rolled out by the "Stop McCain" bandwagon, but Stephen Hayes notes the hypocrisy:

Although many others have been as critical of McCain, perhaps no one has been as hypocritical. In 2006, when Santorum was running for reelection, he asked McCain to come to Pennsylvania to campaign on his behalf. When McCain obliged, Santorum put the video on his campaign website, listing it first among "key events" of the year. That's gratitude, Santorum-style.

It's even worse that it sounds; Santorum was doomed as I noted in early 2006. So McCain helped the guy out, and he stabs him in the back? No wonder his daughter was so upset:

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Mel Martinez Gets On the Bus

Influential Republican senator from Florida to announce his support.

Martinez is the fourth prominent Cuban-American lawmaker to back McCain. Three members of Miami's congressional delegation — Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — previously gave McCain their support.

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Somebody Prompting Romney?

Who whispered, "Raised taxes?" to let Mitt know what Reagan did for Social Security?


McCain and Reagan

Nice article at the AmSpec:

A second similarity is their view of the United States and its role in the world. Reagan, as we recall, described America as a shining city on a hill. What he meant by this was that the United States is an exceptional nation -- "the last best hope of earth," in Lincoln's words. This is the foundation of an aggressive foreign policy, respectful of other nations but ultimately doing what is necessary to defeat the enemies of peace and freedom. Thus, Reagan's foreign policy -- much to the chagrin of our European allies -- was the opposite of the accommodationist approach followed by his predecessors in dealing with the Soviet Union; as he summarized it: "We win; they lose." McCain sees the United States in the same way, having served in its armed forces, borne years of torture in its behalf, fought for a stronger military, and promised to follow Osama bin Laden to "the gates of hell." He wants to defeat our next great enemy, Islamofascism, not live with it, just as Reagan refused to accept the Soviet Union as a permanent fixture on the international scene.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Thanks For Nothing

Cripes, I've been dreading the day Andrew Sullivan finally decides to endorse John McCain; today the New York Times hands him an anchor:

Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field.

Sigh. A lot of particularly stupid people think the media are trying to help John McCain win because he'd be easy for the Democrats to beat. If only; then they'd be pumping the Mittster.
Frodo Drops Out

Ah, one of the few remaining nutbars will no longer be providing entertainment on the national stage:

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the Democratic race for president.

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his "transition" tomorrow.

I'm surprised at all the commentary; then again Dennis the Menace never actually dropped out in 2004, so maybe the folks are getting in their pre-written political obits from four years ago. I was startled to see one writer at the Plank actually wrote glowingly about him: was the man for me: A committed, principled progressive, a 6-term representative who needed to apologize for none of his votes on the trail, and--at least until Mike Gravel cherry-picked his role as the righteous, wacky outsider--a leftward force in the dialogue.

Says more about the writer (Dayo Olopade) than it does about Kucinich, but it's startling to see such a leftist writing at the bastion of the DLC crowd. Of course, she does have to state how appalled she is at the Kuke's prior anti-abortion stance:

Thumbs down to Kucinich's pro-Serb, pro-life stance in early incarnations of his ideology.


Hewitt Didn't Really Go There, Did He?

There are times when I do wonder about Hugh. His latest column at Townhall ponders the question of judicial nominations:

Which of the Republican candidates for the presidency is most likely to get "Soutered?" To nominate for the Supreme Court, not an originalist, but in fact the opposite. Those vulnerable to being Soutered lack an ear for or an interest in the inner ideology that all lower court judges keep carefully tucked away until they arrive on the Supreme Court of the United States where it is allowed to take full flight. It is hard work to get SCOTUS nominees right. Even when a president cares about the Court and the Constitution's interpretation by the nine deeply, he can still be flummoxed by the process. If he isn't passionate about it going in, it won't spring up in the course of his busy life in the Oval Office.

Of course, that's all just a lead-in to his conclusion that John McCain would be the most likely to get Souterized.

Ahem. Aside from pondering the question academically, we could also try to look at the past records of the candidates.

Meet Daniel Tavares, Jr.

Charming looking fellow, isn't he? And the looks are only half of it. In 1991, Tavares stabbed his mother to death. Since it happened in Massachusetts, he was sentenced to 17 to 20 years in prison, no doubt pleading to the judge that he was an orphan.

So after 16 years, Tavares was released from prison due to time off for "good" behavior:

But Tavares was no model prisoner. From behind bars, he threatened to kill then-Gov. Romney and other state officials -- and scuffled with prison guards. Immediately upon his release in June, Tavares was rearrested on two counts of assaulting correctional officers.

Bail was initially set at $50,000, but a second judge, Kathe Tuttman, decided to release him without bail. The prosecutor requested that he be required to wear a GPS tracking device, but the judge concluded that he did not represent a flight risk. And yes, Tuttman was appointed by Mitt Romney.

Well, you can probably guess where this story's going. Tavares next popped up in Washington state, where he murdered a newlywed couple, Brian and Beverly Mauck, over a disputed $50 debt.

Now, there's an argument to be made that the judge followed the law, that she just made a mistake in judgment. But even that doesn't let Mitt off the hook:

A killer accused in the slaying of a newlywed couple in Washington state shortly after he was released from prison in Massachusetts should have been held behind bars for almost a year longer, but the administration of then-Gov. Mitt Romney failed to file paperwork in time to take away his "good time" credits.

A Department of Correction superintendent under Romney did not act on a disciplinary recommendation to strip 300 days of credit from Daniel Tavares after he was accused of threats to prison staff in 2003, state officials announced Friday in releasing results of a probe into the Tavares case.

Because of the paperwork error, Tavares was allowed to keep nearly a year's worth of "good days" to complete his sentence June 14. Five months later, newlyweds Brian and Beverly Mauck were killed in Graham, Wash., allegedly by Tavares.

Huckabee has his own Willie Horton problem.

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Ronald McAmnesty Reagan

Would Ronald Reagan be described as a "liberal" if he were running for the Republican nomination today? Would he be getting sneers from the conservative wing for his position on illegal immigration?

Sadly, the answer appears to be yes. The Wall Street Journal remembers Reagan as he really was, and not how the nativist chorus would like to remember him:

This view was apparent in Reagan's public statements well before he became President. In one of his radio addresses, in November 1977, he wondered about what he called "the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won't do? One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters." As a Californian, Reagan understood the role of immigrant labor in agriculture.

In 1980, according to the book "Reagan: His Life in Letters" (page 511), the then-Presidential candidate wrote to one supporter that "I believe we must resolve the problem at our southern border with full regard to the problems and needs of Mexico. I have suggested legalizing the entry of Mexican labor into this country on much the same basis you proposed, although I have not put it into the sense of restoring the bracero program." The bracero program was a guest-worker program similar to the one now being proposed by President Bush. It was killed in the mid-1960s, largely due to opposition from unions.


It's true that in November 1986 Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which included more money for border police and employer sanctions. The Gipper was a practical politician who bowed that year to one of the periodic anti-immigration uprisings from the GOP's nativist wing. But even as he signed that bill, he also insisted on a provision for legalizing immigrants already in the U.S. -- that is, he supported "amnesty."


Mitt's Best Qualification

Is his wallet:

A senior aide to Mr. Romney says the millionaire investor plans to spend as much as $40 million in the campaign. Mr. Romney spent $17.4 million of his own money on his campaign through the third quarter of last year, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Let me point out again, Mitt did not "spend" that money on his campaign; he "loaned" it to his campaign. At some point, if he sticks around and gets more money I strongly suspect that loan will be "repaid" with the money of future donors.


Kerry's Torment Continues

The Democratic drama queen brings up the Swiftees yet again:

"As a veteran, it disgusts me that the Swift Boats we [presumably the editorial "we"] loved while we were in uniform on the Mekong Delta have been rendered, in Karl Rove's twisted politics, an ugly verb meaning to lie about someone's character just to win an election," Kerry said in the email, supposedly emailed to 3 million "supporters." (I'm not a supporter, but it also showed up in my email.)

"But as someone who cares about winning this election and changing the country I love, I know it's not enough to complain about a past we can't change when our challenge is to win the future--which is why we must stop the Swiftboating, stop the push-polling, stop the front groups, and stop the email chain smears."

Why should we stop Swiftboating? It's just pointing out the lies that a candidate tells about his past.

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As Willy Loman Would Say...

Mitt Romney is not well-liked:

The moment was emblematic of a broader reality that has helped shape the Republican contest and could take center stage again on Thursday at a debate in Florida. Within the small circle of contenders, Mr. Romney has become the most disliked.

Even his supporters admit it. As I pointed to earlier today, Amy Goldstein in a gushing piece on the wonderfulness of Mitt, noted that nobody likes him. But at least the NY Times gets why:

Campaign insiders and outside strategists point to several factors driving the ill will, most notably, Mr. Romney’s attacks on opponents in television commercials, the perception of him as an ideological panderer and resentment about his seemingly unlimited resources as others have struggled to raise cash.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Six Lies About McCain

Michael Medved's terrific new column at Townhall.

He has never backed Democratic candidates for president or lesser posts – other than supporting his friend Joe Lieberman in his Independent campaign for US Senate in 2006. Over the years, he has campaigned tirelessly for Republican office-holders in every corner of the country – including vigorous campaigning that helped win elections for his former rival George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004.

Let me add a couple of things there. The Republican in the 2006 Connecticut race wasn't going to win no matter what happened; Lieberman and Lamont took almost 90% of the vote between them.

And second I don't know how many of you remember the 2004 McCain speech at the convention. I only remember parts of it--particularly the part where he blasted Michael Moore and Moore could only respond by doing the L symbol on his forehead. But Kitty pointed out my nervousness before the speech (there was a fear that he was going to go off the reservation), and my reaction:

McCain McMarvelous

Wow! What a strong speech!


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.)


Why Do They Hate Mitt?

It can only be because he's good and noble and heroic and handsome. Amy Goldstein checks in at the American Thinker with a sloppy buss to the Mittster that deserves a good fisking:

Have you noticed how all of the Republican candidates can barely conceal their contempt for Governor Mitt Romney? It goes way beyond the typical good-natured competition that usually is the hallmark of Republican contests.

I think it has something to do with Mitt running negative ads at all the other candidates with the possible exception of Ron Paul. But not Amy!

1. He can win. Governor Romney appeals to economic conservatives and could appeal to foreign policy conservatives based upon his understanding of the issues. Most non-partisan foreign policy wonks who have briefed the major candidates tell me that Romney "gets it" better than any other candidate -- even better than those who have held high profile office for decades. Moreover, he is the candidate that the Democrats most fear.

Come on! Mitt's understanding of foreign policy consists of asking the folks at the State Department what to do. Can he win? CNN's recent poll showed a real stinkbomb for Mitt:

Would Definitely Vote Against That Candidate in November

Romney 62%
Giuliani 55%
Huckabee 52%
Clinton 43%
McCain 43%
Obama 38%

That's just a staggering number of people that Mitt has already pissed off.

2. Jealousy -- from his hair to his appearance to his family to his money - these are all reasons for deep seeded, if unseemly, jealousy. This green-eyed monster makes its appearance in almost every speech or presentation, in the form of a joke, a jab or a veiled reference.

It must be the hair! Now to be fair, here, Mitt does have nice hair. So does John Edwards.

3. He isn't beholden to interest groups. Governor Romney's wealth frees him from any influence that interest groups could apply to others - especially those who lack funds or who are Washington insiders. He doesn't need them, and that scares the interest groups and their allies. He is not of the game and wants to change it - and his personal wealth allows him to do so. He really can change Washington.

That was Ross Perot's argument, too. I expect it to go over just as well.

4. His brains - not only is he one of the smartest people ever to seek the presidency (having earned a Harvard MBA and JD simultaneously), but he understands the complexities of the issues that America faces and is able to devise workable solutions. Just look at his proposal for an economic stimulus and compare it to what the other candidates are proposing. Romney clearly can lead this country through economic challenges.

He's a smart guy, no doubt about that. Jimmy Carter was a physics major.

5. His wealth -- again. While he has raised more than any other candidate, Governor Romney doesn't need to raise the money in order to continue. Nevertheless, he understands that successful candidates must have people invested in their candidacy in order to succeed. He has learned the lessons of past wealthy businessmen who make vanity runs for the White House. The other candidates have to constantly raise money in order to continue their campaigns.

Yes, he has money, again. But note how she ties herself up into knots trying to have it both ways. He raises money to get people "invested" in his campaign, but he doesn't need to. He can just "lend" his campaign money. I'd hate to be a late "investor" in a campaign that failed; you know that late money is going to pay back the loan.

No mention of the negative campaigning. No attempt to balance Mitts undeniable strengths with his equally undeniable weaknesses.

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Stormin' Norman Gets on the Bus

This will certainly help:

"Sen. John McCain has served our country with honor in war and in peace," Schwarzkopf said in a statement. "He has demonstrated the type of leadership our country sorely needs at this time. For that reason, he has my complete support."

In the highly competitive Florida primary, McCain is seeking every advantage to appeal to conservative members of the military and veterans that make up as much as 40 percent of the Republican primary electorate. During the last two days, McCain has zipped across the top of the state from Jacksonville on the Atlantic to Pensacola in the Panhandle.

McCain, whose central message is his mastery of national security affairs, has been reminding voters that he used to live in the state – both in Pensacola and Jacksonville. He did his flight training in Pensacola and commanded his squadron out of Jacksonville after he returned from five and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

A group of prominent veterans, including Sen. John Warner, the former Secretary of the Navy, and a number of former prisoners of war during Vietnam, are campaigning separately for McCain, hitting communities that are home to large numbers of active military, National Guard and Reserve members, and military retirees.

Damian Penny:

It's not over yet, but I think McCain is going to be the nominee, for two important reasons: his positions on national security and the War on Terror more than make up for his "un-Republican" stands on immigration and campaign-finance reform; and, more importantly, because he can win.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A Look At Mitt Romney's Record of Job Creation

Since the economy is emerging as a key issue in this campaign, I thought I would take a look at Mitt Romney's record of job creation as the governor of Massachusetts. The data to perform this analysis is readily available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I went to the most requested tables for individual states, and started looking at the total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted.

Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts in January of 2003. He served the Bay State until January of 2007. The total nonfarm employment when he entered office was 3,225,900, and when he left office it was 3,260,300. Thus the total number of jobs created during Mitt's tenure was 34,400, or a 1.1% increase in the number of jobs over the four year period.

How does that stack up nationally? Well, the US economy as a whole added 5.4% new jobs over the four year period, so over the four years the nation did much better than Massachusetts. In fact, on average the US gained a higher percentage of new jobs every year than Mitt's Massachusetts gained over his entire four year term.

Okay, but maybe it was a regional problem, something out of Mitt's control that the Northeast experienced. So I checked the other states in New England for the four years in question. and it does appear that the area had something of a job creation slowdown compared to the national economy. Here they are in order of highest % of job growth:

New Hampshire: 4.2%
Vermont: 3.2%
Rhode Island: 2.5%
Connecticut: 2.0%
Maine 1.7%
Massachusetts: 1.1%

Hey, somebody's gotta bring up the rear. Adding New Jersey and New York doesn't help, either, as each are around 2.7% in job growth over those same four years. I didn't do all the numbers, but the only states I could find that actually did worse than Massachusetts in job creation were Michigan (-3.8%) and Louisiana (-0.6%), and those are rather well-remarked basket cases for different reasons. Louisiana would clearly have outpaced Massachusetts in job creation over the years in question, had it not been for Katrina. Mississippi, also hit hard by Katrina, ended up with 3.4% job growth.

Mike Huckabee, whom everybody thinks is something of an economic dunce? Jobs in Arkansas grew at close to the national average (5.2%) from January 2003-January 2007.

So whence comes the notion that Mitt Romney knows what to do on the economy?

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Fred Drops Out

A fine man.

The GOP candidate has begun calling friends, family members and supporters to tell them he’s ended his campaign, four months after he formally announced his White House bid. The momentum behind his delayed entrance into the race steadily diminished as his GOP rivals racked up victories in early test states.

I am sure there will be many posts up today on what went wrong. I like the guy, but he never seemed interested in campaigning, in marked contrast to the rest of the field. I hope that he gets another moment in the GOP spotlight, so that this is not our last memory of him as a politician.


Hugh Hewitt: If McCain's Against Partial-Birth Abortion, I'm For It, And Here's Why It Helps Romney....

Okay, just kidding about partial-birth abortion, but Hewitt's search for the pony continues:

Taking a page from his Michigan strategy, John McCain lets Florida homeowners know he won't be there for them the next time an Andrew comes ashore....

The issue is federal bailouts for people who build homes in areas prone to natural disasters; hurricanes in Florida and earthquakes in California. Hewitt is so in love with Mitt Romney, that he embraces the concept of a National Catastrophe Insurance scheme. Or does he? God only knows what he really thinks, he's just letting his antipathy for McCain go over the edge. If McCain had come out yesterday in favor of such a plan, you know that Hewitt would have decried it as a pander to the voters. How exactly is a National Catastrophic Insurance plan different conceptually from National Health Insurance?

Let me say here that I have found almost all my favorite talk show hosts virtually unlistenable for the last couple months. Rush Limbaugh said the other day that he didn't know if he'd be supporting the Republican candidate this year, to which I say, that's more likely to hurt Rush than it is the GOP nominee. We all know that most of us, whether we're Fredheads or Smitten With Mittens, or Rudy fans or McCainiacs or Hucksters, are going to vote for the Republican in the fall. Some may stay home and feel noble about it, but they'll either suffer the same fate as Naderites in 2000, seeing themselves blamed for a tough loss, or they'll be exposed as irrelevant.

Note that there is some rays of hope among the radio gods: Michael Medved has declined to join his SRN network buddies in McCain bashing, and he's won me as a daily listener. And while my friend Andrea Shea-King's sympathies lie elsewhere, she's not using McCain as a pinata.

See also my longtime blog-buddy, BDP over at the Ankle-Biters:

Make no mistake, this stance hurts McCain in Florida, a state that if he wins makes it much easier for him to get the nomination. But as he did in Michigan - where he rightly said “the jobs (the blue-collar auto industry jobs) aren’t coming back” - he didn’t say something just because the voters wanted to hear it.

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Monday, January 21, 2008
Rudy Now Trails McCain in New York

I'm happy to see it, but I confess I'm as surprised as you probably are.

“In a stunning turnaround, John McCain has turned a 33-point deficit with Republican voters in December into a 12-point lead over Rudy Giuliani today,” said Steven Greenberg, Siena New York Poll spokesman. “While America’s mayor still has strong support among New York City Republicans, he is getting beat by McCain in the suburbs and trounced upstate. Republican women give Rudy a small edge, however, Republican men are behind McCain nearly three-to-one.”

Everybody loves a winner. :)

Meanwhile, the latest meme going around is that Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee have effectively been stalking horses for McCain, preventing Mitt-Mentum from taking over the GOP. Perhaps best expressed here:

First, there's Fred, whose lackluster showing in South Carolina was just enough to help McCain win there. As Ryan Sager writes, "Fred Thompson surely has a claim on the vice presidential nod should McCain go all the way, given the votes he took from Mike Huckabee on the Arizona senator's behalf." Then, there's Huckabee in Florida. As Martin and Ruffini point out, he's a great asset to McCain, drawing votes from Romney. Not only that, Huckabee has verged into man-crush territory with McCain and can be counted on to call any attack on him unfortunate and unfair.

Because of course, Fred and Mike legitimately like and admire John McCain, but their supporters do not? Let me say here too that some of the most vocal people who have said they'd rather lose than support the remaining field are Fredheads: Jeff Goldstein, and Professor Bainbridge, for example. The idea that these folks would flock to Romney is wrong, and it's wrong because Romney has pissed them off, just as he's pissed off the supporters of John McCain, and those of Mick Huckabee and (I suspect) those of Rudy Giuliani. That's the reality behind that astonishing poll result I cited the other day that showed 62% of the people would not vote for Mitt Romney. The negative campaigning has worked in some respects for Mitt, but it's really damaged him to the point where he's not a very credible candidate.

But also note Lowry's extremely wishful theory. Fred Thompson should have gotten out of the way of Mike Huckabee in South Carolina because it would have beaten John McCain. And Mike Huckabee should get out of the way of Mitt Romney in Florida because it would beat John McCain. How come these brilliant candidates don't do what is needed to beat John McCain?

Patrick Ruffini did an interesting bit of analysis the other day, pointing out that if the Romney forces had cast their ballots for Huckabee it might have stopped McCain:

Had just 20% of Mitt Romney’s voters voted tactically for Mike Huckabee, McCain would have been denied this needed momentum boost going into Florida and probably the nomination.

Yes, but they didn't know this going in. The polls were all over the map, including the one published the day of the primary that showed Huckabee winning by and Romney getting 9%. If Romney had gotten 20% of his supporters to vote Huckabee, they might have given the Huckster a huge win and Romney would have gotten 7%. It is difficult to spin a result like that positively, although I'm sure Hugh Hewitt would have risen to the occasion.

And speaking of radio talk show hosts, let's hear what Michael Medved has to say about South Carolina's big losers:

The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight.

The point is that you cannot lead the people someplace they don't want to go. You may be proven right in the end, but unless you are amazingly eloquent and charismatic, very few people going to drink the Kool-Aid just because you say so. Rush doesn't succeed because he tells people stuff they don't want to hear; quite the opposite.

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McCain Derangement Syndrome Writ Large

I happen to be a fan of Doug (correction: Dan, as pointed out by a commenter) Riehl's writing; he won one of our contests at Kerry Haters back in 2004. But this post just shows how schizophrenic the opposition to John McCain has become:

Alright, I'm always reluctant to even use the word neo-conservative because I think it's inappropriately and maliciously used as an anti-semitic smear by the Left.

Yep, it is. Basically to the left, "neocon" (no hyphen needed) is a code word for "Jewish people who only support Republicans because the GOP supports Israel".

But Doug quickly gets in trouble with this part:

It's worth noting that John McCain has recently started to highlight his support for Israel in his campaign rhetoric just as Commentary and The Weekly Standard have taken up his cause.

I suppose that's the flip side of the neocon smear; McCain only supports Israel, because it will get the Jews at Commentary and the Weekly Standard to support him. But what are we to make of this mishmash:

I think that it's terrific McCain claims to be such a good friend of Israel. I'm with him 100% on that, as are most mainstream conservatives. And if the neo-conservative movement sees John McCain as their guy - fine. But, on whole, that is a far different thing from making him right for conservatism as a movement. We are not one issue voters and this lecturing, some might say preaching, the McCain Gospel from neo-conservatives to the mainstream of the movement is beginning to become insulting.

One issue voters? Um, what issue might that be? Starts with "I", ends with "l" and has "srae" in the middle? Yep, but even here he twists himself into knots:

We are not rubes, Mr. Kristol. How about you start injecting a little straight talk into your punditry, admit that you are supporting McCain because a veer to the Left for the Republican Party is fine with you, so long as Israel is first and foremost in American Middle-East foreign policy. Frankly, I pretty much agree on that. But all of the top contenders are solid friends of Israel and so am I.

So why in the world do you think that McCain is only getting Kristol's support because of his own support for Israel? Isn't it far more likely that with the issue of Israel off the table (since there is virtual unanimity in the party), that other aspects of McCain's candidacy are what draws Kristol to support him?

Indeed, in the last McCain blogger conference call, McCain took some heat from a pro-Israel blogger over his support for James Baker, who is widely perceived as insufficiently supportive of Israel.
Mitt Did Not Compete in South Carolina?

Expect to hear this meme being spread by the "drive-along" media today. Now, it's true that Mitt Romney was not very competitive in South Carolina, getting less than half the votes of Senator John McCain. But did he compete?

The answer is clearly in the affirmative. Fox News reported on Saturday that Romney had spent over $4 million in the Palmetto State, and that fully half of all TV ads in the state had featured the Mittster.

The Washington Post reports that Romney did a total of 52 events in the state over a total of 22 days. He had four events on the Wednesday before the primary.

Now it's certainly true that Mitt abandoned South Carolina when he saw that a fourth place finish was likely. But the funny thing is that he didn't suffer for it; the final RCP averages showed him finishing with about 15.1% of the vote, which is right about where he ended up.

The Politico noticed that even as Romney stopped appearing in the state, he continued his TV ads:

The Romney camp is plowing tens of thousands more dollars into all the markets that serve South Carolina, including Savannah and Augusta, Ga., per a source who follows ad buys.

Romney went back on the air here Tuesday and, with his current buy, will now saturate the state heading into Saturday.

It was a smart move politically for Mitt to fold his tent in South Carolina to lower expectations. But don't buy the line that he didn't make an effort. He did, but it was unsuccessful.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008
Are Younger Voters Sexist?

Probably not, but it's an equally valid conclusion that apparently does not occur to this writer.

There is no reliable way to tell exactly what role race has played in the voting decision of older Americans. Older voters might also be expected to place a higher premium on experience. Whatever the reasons, the pattern of voting behavior so far is clear.

Yes, the pattern is clear; younger people just won't vote for a woman. Or older people won't vote for a black man.

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John McCain is 3 years older than Chuck Norris.

That's all I have to say about this ridiculous story.

Chuck Norris brought his tough-guy approach to the campaign trail Sunday, taking aim at John McCain's age and suggesting the Arizona senator might not last even a single term.

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Pat Hynes on South Carolina

My longtime blogger buddy exults a bit:

The fellow who not long ago was on “death watch,” my client John McCain, is enjoying a second lease on his political life, or perhaps it’s his fourth or fifth at this point. He pulled off a stunner in my beloved Granite State and scored another come-from-behind win in South Carolina on Saturday. Mark Steyn calls these two primaries the “determinative” events on the primary calendar—the first in the nation and the first in the south.

I cannot tell you how good Senator McCain's momentum feels to me. When I decided to endorse John McCain after the 2006 election, I knew that I was going to take some flak. But I did it because I knew that he was an electable candidate who adhered to general conservative principles while reserving the right to speak his own mind. I did not (and do not) always agree with him. But that's an unreasonable standard.

But more important, I did it because I knew the reaction would be negative. Somebody has to throw themselves at the bottom of the wall, in order for the rest to make it over.

My support for Senator McCain has given heartburn to many of my readers. But I told you the truth all along, that he was an excellent candidate, that he gave Republicans a strong starting point in a tough election, And now it certainly looks like my assessment was right, that McCain was the most likely candidate. He's getting close to inevitable.

Stop griping about how unacceptable McCain is and start convincing people to vote for your guy.
Ron Paul Nutbars Crow About Nevada

You know you're pathetic when you point to a state where you got 14% of the vote in a state caucus where you ran the only TV ads. An LA Times blogger enthuses:

Boy, oh, boy! Hidden behind all the hoopla, headlines and the Nevada caucus victories of Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton is one little-noticed but stunning political development and number:

Ron Paul, the one-time Libertarian candidate and 10-term Republican congressman from Texas, was in second place. That's right, Second Place. The 72-year-old ob-gyn who's always on the end of the line at GOP debates or barred altogether, was running ahead of John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, in fact, ahead of....

all other Republicans except Romney, who easily captured his second state in a week after Michigan.

Woooooot! The Ron Paul Love Revolution is surging!

I mean, get serious. Ron Paul got 6,000 votes in Nevada for his "silver". Mitt Romney got 64,000 in South Carolina and finished fourth. That gives a little perspective to the whole notion that Paul's second place (or Romney's "gold" medal) means squat.

A CBS news blogger (what is it with these big media organizations hiring Paulbots?) voices similar thoughts:

Ron Paul's fervent supporters have something to crow about: With nearly all precincts reporting, the Texas representative is sitting in second place in the Nevada caucuses.

Now, a few caveats. First off, it's a pretty distant second. Paul only got 14 percent of the vote, far behind Mitt Romney's 51 percent. Secondly, Paul barely edged out John McCain, who didn't campaign in Nevada, whereas Paul ran ads in the state. And third, Paul is not looking like a factor in South Carolina, where voters went to the polls today.

Oh, yeah, South Carolina, where Paul actually got his worst finish thus far with 4%. So much for Ronmentum.


Drama Queen Conservative Bloggers

Add Jeff Goldstein to the list:

I will not, will not, vote for John McCain.

Oh, and he won't vote for Mike Huckabee, either, and would have to hold his nose to vote for Mitt Romney. If Fred doesn't win the nomination then Jeff's going to sit this one out. LOL! Funniest thing Goldstein's ever written.

One of John Hawkins' weekend guests does a little DQ herself:

Jeff captures my ennui perfectly. And this reminds me of what I've written before: bloggers are a different breed than the average American. The air we breath on the conservative side is as rarefied as the air breathed in newsrooms around America.

No, it's as rarefied as the air breathed in the liberal blogosphere. And I mean that seriously. The idiot lib-bloggers spent all of 2006 trying to beat a Democrat because he was an apostate on one issue. The conservative bloggers look like they're going to be spending all of 2008 trying to beat a Republican because he was an apostate on one issue.

And don't try to convince me it's more than that one issue. McCain-Feingold? Tell me that you're seriously going to sit out an election because of campaign finance laws. Torture (which Goldstein mentions)? Hey, I disagree with the senator on that issue, but guess what? He actually knows what torture is like, unlike Jeff or me.

You know, everybody on the conservative side of the aisle got a big laugh out of the gag that Hillary's new theme song was, "It's My Party, and I'll Cry If I Want To", and now what happens? Less than two weeks later, they're singing it too!

I'm sorry your guy lost. Go ahead and drink in the afternoon for a couple days, then get over it. I thought my guy was toast months ago, but did I start posting about how I could never vote for Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani? No, because I don't have that "L" in the middle of my forehead.

Lots of L-Dotters Drama Queens popping up in threads over there.


The Other Option

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