Thursday, February 07, 2008

Now What?--Part Two

UPDATE: below

Tuesday's primaries settled one question: McCain will be the Republican nominee. According to McCain advisor Charlie Black:
To date, we have 775 delegates, Romney has 284, Huckabee has 205. It takes 1,191 to clinch the nomination. There are 963 left to be chosen, so Romney or Huckabee would have to have all of them -- all of them -- to get to 1,191. . . It's virtually impossible for Romney or Huckabee to be the nominee just based on the arithmetic.
I've long been a McCain critic, and was particularly troubled when he sided with Bill Frist and Senate Democrats accepting the unconstitutional use of the filibuster when providing "Advice and Consent" on Presidential appointments. As John Hinderaker notes, there's also his "uncritical endorsement of anthropogenic global warming theory, combined with his advocacy of a U.S.-only carbon cap and trade system, [which] suggest a failure to understand the practical consequences of government actions on the economy."

Still, policy and politics are a matter of "compared to what?" The "what" being Obama or Hillary. So conservative pundits and bloggers are soul-searching. For example, Stop the ACLU's John Stephenson asks "Where Do Conservatives Go From Here?":
Getting behind McCain: Basically this argument goes a little beyond the lines of party loyalty. The question is how that will be interpreted. You have to whittle down what the Republican nominee has in common with the Democrat vs. how they differ from the Democrats. While McCain is pro-amnesty, anti-free speech, and has his many other liberal tendencies, he is pro-victory, pro-life, and he isn't planning to bring socialized medicine to America.

Actually voting Democrat: Ann Coulter and Tammy Bruce have both said they would consider voting for Hillary if McCain ends up the nominee. Basically the argument is that if the country is to go to hell in a handbasket let it happen under the Democrat banner, and not the Republican one. The one thing that worries me about this is nominating judges. I would go out on a limb and say that its a better gamble to trust McCain over Hillary or Obama on putting up a conservative judge. Then again we are talking about the leader of the gang of 14. We do have his word, but what good is that? . . .

Sitting it out: Its basically an argument of principle over party. . . This is probably what I will do. I want to vote FOR someone instead of against someone for a change. If no one can motivate me to get off the couch and vote FOR something, I probably won't.
In contrast, Hugh Hewitt -- like me, a Romney supporter -- urges unity:
There are seven reasons for anyone to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is: The war and six Supreme Court justices over the age of 68.

Folks who want to take their ball and go home have to realize that even three SCOTUS appointments could revolutionize the way elections are handled in this country in a stroke, mandating the submission of redistricting lines to court scrutiny for "fairness." . . .

The GOP as well is the party committed to victory in Iraq and the wider war. A four year time-out would be a disaster, a period of time in which al Qaeda and its jihadist off-shoots would regroup in some places and continue to spread in others. Iran, even if punished in the months before November, would certainly continue and accelerate its plans under the soft pleadings of a President Obama or Clinton 2.0.
Finally, today's Wall Street Journal examined each candidate's position on free trade:
Trade is a good litmus test of statesmanship, since many polls show that voters believe trade with other countries hurts our economy. Which of the presidential candidates will stick up for free trade in the face of doubtful and sometimes hostile audiences?

During their debates, some of the Republican candidates expressed more ifs, ands or buts about free trade than others. John McCain says: "Free trade should be the continuing principle that guides this nation's economy." Mitt Romney's position is: "I strongly support free trade, but free trade has to be fair in both directions." According to Mike Huckabee: "I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade." But elsewhere he has said: "I don't want to see our food come from China, our oil come from Saudi Arabia and our manufacturing come from Europe and Asia."

Hillary Clinton has taken an even stronger stance against free trade, suggesting that the economic theories underpinning it no longer hold. To support that she cited economics Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson, but he was only making the long-understood but sometimes forgotten point that, even in the long run, free trade does not benefit everyone.

Mrs. Clinton believes in "smart trade." As president she would appoint an official to ensure that "provisions to protect labor and environmental standards" are enforced by international bodies like the WTO and the International Labor Organization. She proposes a "time out" on future trade agreements, and a reconsideration of existing deals -- including Nafta.

Barack Obama is more even-handed: "Global trade is not going away, technology is not going away, the Internet is not going away. And that means enormous opportunities, but [it] also means more dislocations." In a 2005 essay he said: "It's not whether we should protect our workers from competition, but what we can do to fully enable them to compete against workers all over the world."

If Messrs. McCain and Obama see foreign trade as a glass that is half-full, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Romney and Mr. Huckabee see the glass as half- empty.
Hewitt and the WSJ make the better case. SCOTUS nominees traditionally have been my top concern. But I labeled the last election as "a referendum on foreign policy":
[T]he critical issue is how a Kerry Administration would conduct the war against terror. I've argued that the Democrats are dangerous because they either don't believe in evil or insist evil can be overcome without confrontation and military force, but by negotiation and diplomacy alone. . .

The next President's principal duty is protecting America from Islamic terrorism. . . Radical Islam offers only two options: conversion to Islam under Sharia law or death. That's evil--and grounds for war. And America can't afford a President who believes evil is negotiable.
Four years on, this hasn't changed--Independent voter Roger Simon makes sense:
Speaking bluntly, it may be that the search for ideological purity anywhere on the political spectrum is a fool’s game (unless you’re trying to sell books or drive ratings). Anyway, it’s clear from Tuesday’s returns the Republican electorate isn’t buying it. . .

I’m not going to run down every issue. But as you know, there is one overriding one – we are at war. On that issue alone, the Republican Party is hugely fortunate to have a potential candidate whose credentials are impeccable. Don’t undercut him. Our lives and our culture are at stake.
Further, pace the WSJ, I'm still a committed free-trade advocate. So there's the Court, the War and the Market--none of which would benefit from elevating any Senate Democrat to the White House.

Conclusion: McCain supporter Victor Davis Hanson frets that:
the McCain animus is deeply ingrained and apparently can't be retracted. It only makes things worse either to attack sincere anti-McCainites or to ask them to reconsider, or to ask them to vote for the lesser of what they see as the two evils.
He's right about the hostility, but unduly pessimistic on the outcome. After all, even I'm reconsidering. And Romney has suspended his cmapaign.


Maxed Out Mama explains why she "Can't Vote for McCain" in comments and on her blog. And read "Why McCain might win."


McCain took the pledge:
I intend to nominate judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust that they take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people’s elected representatives, judges of the character and quality of Justices Roberts and Alito, judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.
(via Right Wing News, Instapundit, Right Truth)


MaxedOutMama said...

Well, it's a rough prospect to be sure.

The one thing we cannot now get out of this election is a president who will nominate SC candidates who respect the Constitution.

The party opposite to the president's party will reflexively oppose his nominees, and thus cause scrutiny and testing of them. Maybe there is some possibility there.

This is not an easy choice to make. I am somewhat okay with McCain as C-in-C. I am completely unnerved about him in the presidency dealing with a Dem congress. He will roll over to almost everything to gain his main point. I can absolutely imagine him signing all sorts of socialist legislation.

I think, on the whole, given the complete incompetence of the current crop of Dem leaders in Congress, that I would prefer to see a Rep. congress dealing with Obama as president. If Obama wins the presidency Republicans will likely regain control over at least one house.

The problem with the Dems is that they have spent years and years advocating (with great passion) positions which are completely impossible. I'd like to see them stuck with it.

We need to get away from fantasy politics and to a world in which people advocate positions and initiatives that have some chance of success. The Dem party has gone this far left because its leadership has been secure in the belief that it will never be called to actually implement their positions.

Robin said...

If you're looking for reasons to vote for McCain, I'd suggest either reading or watching his CPAC speech. It was a lot more gracious and humble than many people were afraid of.

I voted for Romney on Super Tuesday because I agreed with more of his positions than McCain. But after reading the text of McCain's speech, I'm prepared to vote for him. I'll disagree with some of his positions, but I'm a lot more sanguine than I was before that he'll have some humility and listen to conservative concerns, rather than dismissing them. For example, note the moment in the videos when he mentions immigration. Note how he gets booed, but doesn't get in a huff about it -- and the boos turn to cheers, precisely (I think) because of that reaction. I think he's starting to learn some humility.

That, and I just cannot see Obama or Clinton promising to veto any bills that contain earmarks. :-)

Now, if you think it over and end up deciding you can't vote for McCain, that's one thing. But even so, don't stay home in November. Go to the polls and vote for some Republican congressmen. Cast a blank ballot for president if you must (though I think that would be a mistake), but whatever you do, do not stay home. There are other races than the presidential race, and we need every Republican representative and senator we can get.

Carl said...


So far, I'm leaning toward your view.

Anonymous said...

I can’t understand why more people can’t see it. McCain is the Frog Boiler!

What do I mean? There is an old allegory about how to boil a frog. It is said that if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water it will immediately jump out.

But if you drop a frog in water that is slightly warm and turn up the heat gradually then the frog just sits there and lets itself be boiled alive, without attempting to jump out of the pot, without even knowing that it is indeed being boiled alive.

This allegory has been applied again, and again regarding the American people’s reaction to liberalism/socialism. And it is pretty clear who is who if you apply this allegory to this year’s election.

So let's vote for the candidate who will make the frog jump out of the pot so we can have a true conservative in 2012. Otherwise we will all get gradually boiled alive.

After all it took Carter to get us Reagan.