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When David Paterson took over from Eliot Spitzer, it’s been a foregone conclusion that he’d win in 2010. That ‘sure bet’ thing is pretty much out the window now, especially after reading this editorial:

Gov. Paterson had the opportunity, and the obligation, to appoint a U.S. senator who has the standing and expertise to be a national leader in rescuing the American financial system and economy from dire peril. He fell far short.

The governor’s selection of one-term upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand for this highly critical post, a seat long held by people of enormous stature, was decidedly underwhelming and thoroughly disappointing.

Though that isn’t insignificant, I suspect that this is the least of Mr. Paterson’s problems. I suspect that this will cause him far more re-election troubles:

For good measure, Gov. David A. Paterson’s advisers piled on a few more salacious tidbits: She has embarrassing skeletons in her closet related to taxes, a nanny and her marriage.

That Paterson would sanction such a frontal assault on Kennedy after she already had ended her quest to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton stunned even the most grizzled political insiders.

What was to be gained when advisers close to Paterson decided to dump on Kennedy in interviews with The Buffalo News and a handful of other news outlets Thursday, less than 12 hours after she already dropped out of the running?

What was the benefit the governor saw in attacking Kennedy, whose political connections, including straight to the Oval Office with President Obama, go far beyond anything the governor enjoys?

Gov. Paterson knew that not picking Ms. Kennedy wouldn’t get him on the Kennedy’s Christmas card list but then stabbing her in the back after she humiliated herself by dropping out was political suicide. The Kennedys know a thing or two about sharpening the long knives right before going for the political kill.

When history books are written, it will note that Gov. Paterson’s political career was inconsequential, tumultuous and exceptionally brief. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t lose in the primary. I wouldn’t be surprised if he announces soon that he’s retiring at the end of this term.

Here’s something interesting from the article:

Some Democrats say Paterson’s choice of Gillibrand could have selfish political motives. One lawmaker theorized that he took a lesser-known Democrat as a way of making the 2010 Senate race more attractive for a big-name Republican, say Rudolph Giuliani, to take on instead of running against Paterson next year.

I don’t have any insight into what Rudy’s ambitions are but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran for governor so that Peter King could run against Gillibrand. Whether that’s the best top of the ticket for Republicans is another story.

One thing’s that’s certain is that Paterson’s picking Rep. Gillibrand gives the GOP a shot at regaining that House seat. The governor’s race will be far more competitive than experts predicted in 2007. Since then, Eliot Spitzer got run out and Paterson inflicted alot of political damage on himself. I’ll still have to see more to put this Senate seat in the toss-up column but it’s alot closer to being competitive than it was a year ago.

That’s alot of potential damage from a single bad decision.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Following yesterday’s vote on the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout, two things should be clear to the American people: Barack Obama is a sideline watcher and Nancy Pelosi cares more about playing hyperpartisan politics than she cares about doing what’s right for the American people.

When John McCain jumped into the mess last week, 4 House Republican were on board with the bailout. When the final tally was counted yesterday, 65 Republicans voted for the bill. John McCain’s jumping into the fray meant another thing: House Republicans got a seat at the table, allowing them to negotiate into the bill some meaningful provisions that would’ve protected taxpayers to a certain extent. John Boehner worked hard to get Republicans on board. That’s the picture of leadership.

By comparison, Barack Obama wanted to stay away in the worst way. He only returned to Washington because President Bush invited him. That isn’t the picture of leadership. The minute the meeting ended, his jet was winging him away from Washington. He didn’t lift a finger over the weekend. Yes, he stayed in touch with Secretary Paulson but he didn’t call House Democrats urging them to vote for this bill.

He essentially voted present again. That’s unacceptable, especially considering the fact that this was supposedly the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. In my opinion, there’s two reasons why he isn’t interjecting himself into this crisis.

I think the main reason is because he isn’t a leader. There’s a reason why he voted present 130 times in the Illinois Senate. I think it’s because he doesn’t have the courage to stake out a firm position on anything. Duane Patterson noticed that, too, in this post:

Senator Obama, on the other hand, showed up to the White House only when invited, spoke in platitudes, left, got beat in the debate Friday night, spent the weekend speaking in more platitudes, and did not lift a finger to dial the phone of any of his Democratic colleagues in the House to try and persuade them to consider supporting a bill Obama was half-heartedly on board with for the good of the country.

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Rudy Giuliani yesterday. This exchange highlights Sen. Obama’s unwillingness to work hard for the American people:

HH: Should Obama be out there right now demanding that this pass on Thursday, Mayor?

RG: Of course. He should be working the phones. That’s what a president…this is what our great presidents do. They work the phones. It just doesn’t all happen because you make a speech and say change. It just doesn’t happen because you have a catch phrase or you happen to be able to have sort of a rock star effect on people. Politicians don’t care about rock star effects on people. They care about are you negotiating with me, what you are going to do for me, how are you going to get it done. I passed a lot of legislation as Mayor of New York City. It didn’t happen because I’m a rock star. It happened because I could negotiate with people, and I could work with them to get it done. John McCain can do that. Remember, when he went to Washington, with all the Democrats attacking him, he took the Republicans from four to 64. When Barack Obama went to Washington, it looks like the Democrats disappeared.

Sen. Obama isn’t the only person who disgraced themself yesterday. Nancy Pelosi took an ‘I don’t give a damn’ approach to passing this bill. Based on her past statements, this bill should’ve been the highest priority since gaining the speakership. Instead, she didn’t even bother having James Clyburn whip the vote. Anyone who wanted a free pass on a tough vote got one.

This was a golden opportunity for her to have a significant accomplishment since claiming the Speaker’s chair. Instead, she chose to play the role of a petty tyrant, which is what she is. Her vitriolic speech on the House floor right before the vote was unprecedented in the history of the Speaker of the House. Yesterday was a time when bringing people together and magnanimity were needed. Instead, she told her members to go their own ways. Instead, she was vitriolic, not gracious.

It isn’t a stretch to think that she wanted this bill to fail. It isn’t a stretch to think that her plan was to let the bill fail, then blame it on Republicans. The problem for Speaker Pelosi is that the American people will find out that she didn’t lift a finger to get this bill passed. She didn’t pressure Democrats to pass the bill.

It’s obvious that Pelosi share at least two traits with Sen. Obama: Both are comfortable voting present when the pressure’s on and both are comfortable not lifting a finger to get important bills passed. That isn’t leadership.

That’s a Jimmy Carter disaster waiting to happen.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This morning, everyone will rightfully be talking about Sarah Palin’s speech. It was a spectacular speech. It’d be a shame, though, if we didn’t spend a bit of time honoring Rudy Giuliani’s speech. It was a spectacular speech in its own right. Here’s one of my favorite sections of the speech:

Then he ran for…then he ran for the state legislature and he got elected. And nearly 130 times, he couldn’t make a decision. He couldn’t figure out whether to vote “yes” or “no.” It was too tough.

He voted — he voted “present.”

I didn’t know about this vote “present” when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn’t have this vote “present” when she was mayor or governor. You don’t get “present.” It doesn’t work in an executive job. For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.

You have to make a decision.

The job of most lifetime senators is to pontificate. The job of mayors, governors and presidents is to make decisions. I want someone who isn’t afraid of making decisions. I want someone in the Oval Office who makes the best decision even if there isn’t a good solution to a sticky problem. It isn’t the president’s responsibility to ignore a problem or to ‘vote present’.

There’s nothing in Sen. Obama’s resume that says he’s a great decisionmaker. The only decision he’s made that I’ve noticed was his deciding to dump Jeremiah Wright after Wright dissed him at the National Press Club.

Here’s another great section of Hizzoner’s speech:

But he’s never…he’s never run a city. He’s never run a state. He’s never run a business. He’s never run a military unit. He’s never had to lead people in crisis.

He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years.

Not a personal attack, a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada.

This reminds me of the old cliche that “after everything is said and done, more is said than done.” Hillary put it best in this quote:

“I know Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.” — March 2008 campaign commercial

As good as those prior sections were, this is my favorite:

We agree. We agree with Joe Biden…one time, one time, when he said that, until he flip-flopped and changed his position. And, yes, being president means being able to answer that call at 3:00 in the morning. And that’s the one time we agree with Hillary.

But I bet you never thought Hillary would get applause at this convention. She can be right. Well, no one can look at John McCain and say that he’s not ready to be commander-in-chief. He is. He’s ready.

There’s nothing like sticking a finger in Sen. Obama’s eye with the words of another Democrat. Expect this type of attack to continue. In fact, I’m expecting there to be a back-and-forth game with McCain-Palin advertising, alternating between ridiculing Sen. Obama with Democrats’ words and touting the McCain-Palin agenda to lay out a positive agenda that people can vote for.
Rudy will be an invaluable asset this campaign. He’s great at highlighting liberals’ ineptitude and questionable logic in a humorous light. The best thing about doing things that way is that you don’t leave your target anything firm to lash back at.

Expect Democrats to get increasingly frustrated with this pattern. They can’t unload with both barrels but they can’t do nothing either. It’s east of the rock, west of the hard place type of territory.

Thanks to Rudy’s speech, Obama-Biden will spend the next couple of days figuring their way out of that predicament.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Earlier today, Captain Ed announced that he’d caucus for Mitt Romney when Minnesota holds its caucuses on Super Duper Tuesday. Of the remaining candidates, I find myself agreeing most with Mitt. Something that Captain Ed said, though, raised some red flags for me. This is the part that caught my attention:

This decision did not come easily. Some have complained about the choices available to the Republicans, but I have seen the field as a collection of highly accomplished, experienced candidates, almost all of whom I could support, enthusiastically, in a general election. That made the decision as hard as it was, and it forced me to analyze what I want to see in a nominee.

Frankly, this isn’t a great bunch of candidates. John McCain is certainly strong on the Iraq war but he’s also the guy who would pick justices who would preserve his only legislative ‘achievement’, campaign finance reform. He’s also the man who thinks that manmade global warming is so important that he’s willing to co-sponsor a huge tax increase to reverse manmade global warming.

That’s before we start talking about his role in the McCain-Kennedy Grand Bargain amnesty bill. Sen. McCain says that he “got the message” on immigration reform, that he’ll shut down the borders first before giving all the illegal immigrants amnesty. As I wrote here, we got the message, too, when he hired Juan Hernandez as his “Hispanic Outreach Director.”

That isn’t the resume of a great candidate. The only way you get there is if you’re good at rationalizing and if you use the loosest of subjective criteria.

Next there’s Mike Huckabee. His resume reads like a liberal’s. He’s cut some taxes, raised others. He tried giving illegal immigrants taxpayer-subsidized tuition breaks. That’s before we start talking about his foreign policy credentials, which are meager at best.

He’s run the Arkansas GOP into the ground, too, because conservatives frequently opposed his initiatives. According to the Washington Times article, anyone that didn’t follow him in lockstep was undercut by Huckabee.

Here’s another statement that I disagree with:

The Democrats have no one who can match that experience. Putting McCain or especially Fred Thompson against the Democratic nominee, whether that is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, effectively cedes the inexperience argument. It argues that Republicans consider resumes to be irrelevant, and that will have us fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

Having Fred Thompson as the nominee “effectively cedes the inexperience argument”? Who was the man that gave the most intelligent answers, whether the subject was foreign policy, immigration, specific entitlement reforms, the overall economy? Who mopped the floor with the other candidates in the ABC debate in New Hampshire? Who mopped the floor with them again in FNC’s South Carolina debate?

Putting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on stage in a debate against Fred would be a delight. He’d surgically destroy their arguments, just like he did with Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney during the ABC-sponsored debate from New Hampshire. Fred’s the only GOP with whom the word gravitas fits. Simply put, Fred was the smartest man on stage at the GOP presidential debates.

I’d further argue that Fred’s experience on the Intelligence Committee and Foreign Relations Committee gives him a depth of knowledge on the most important issue of the race that neither Hillary or Obama has.

To be fair, though, there’s much in Captain Ed’s post that I agree with. Here’s the part that I agree most with:

Both Rudy and Romney have led entire organizations in both the public and private sectors, with Romney getting the best in this area. They have had the buck stop at their desk. Both Rudy and Romney have transformed failing entities (New York City and the Salt Lake City Olympics).

It’s impossible to argue with Captain Ed’s arguments here. Both gentlemen have turned disasters into undeniable success stories. Here’s another statement with which I agree:

Mitt, however, has shown that he will fight in every state, while Rudy played a bit of rope-a-dope, and has apparently lost the gamble. Until the debate, I thought Rudy might have had the right idea, but Rudy still hasn’t come out of the gate in any effective manner.

Mitt has the resources needed to compete in each state, something that’ll be needed in the coming months.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson has a must read column on why Fred Thompson’s campaign failed…and why it shouldn’t have failed. Here’s a delicious sample of Ferguson’s thinking:

The man or woman who seeks out such a life and enjoys its discomforts is not normal. Not crazy necessarily, but not normal, and probably, when the chips are down, not to be trusted, especially when the purpose of it all is to acquire power over other people (also called, in the delicate language of contemporary politics, “public service” or “getting things done on behalf of the American people”). The case is made, in defense of the contemporary campaign, that this is an efficient if unlovely way to choose leaders: It winnows out those who lack the stamina and discipline necessary to lead a rich, large, powerful, and complicated country. By this argument, Thompson failed because he deserved to.

But the opposite case is easier to make, that the modern campaign excludes anyone who lacks the narcissism, cold-bloodedness, and unreflective nature that the process requires and rewards. In his memoir, Greenspan remarks that of the seven presidents he has known well, the only one who was “close to normal” was Jerry Ford. And, as Greenspan points out, Ford was never elected.

Fred Thompson probably feels terrible at the moment, but he should be honored to be in Ford’s company.

Frankly, I was upset that Fred didn’t garner more votes than he did. I’m more upset with the way the media gave his campaign less attention than they’d give a leper. Most of all, I’m upset with right-of-center commentators who talked endlessly about the latest poll, the candidates’ cash on hand and other horserace-related topics while ignoring the candidates’ qualifications.

To this day, I’m still convinced that Fred Thompson was the most over-qualified presidential candidate since Reagan. To this day, I’m upset that conservatives, who say that the GOP has to be the party of ideas, ignored Fred like he was the Invisible Man.

After the 2006 midterm elections, analysts said that it was an “ideology-free campaign.” I said that the GOP had to return to being the party of ideas. That’s what I’ve devoted the last 14 months to. On issue after issue, I’ll bet that Fred would’ve drawn a sharp, compelling contrast between the Democrats’ position and the GOP’s position.

Conversely, the least-qualified candidate was Mike Huckabee. Simply put, his smartalecky answers were seen as amusing, which garnered him some attention. Frankly, I’ve never even thought of the Huckster as a second tier candidate, much less a first tier candidate.

One theory I have about why Fred didn’t do as well as some thought he would is because the GOP focused on being a big tent party that it forgot to be a principled big tent party. The GOP got so enamored with the majority that they tossed aside the principles that brought the GOP to the doorstep of being the majority party for a generation.

Another theory I have about the GOP’s rejection of Fred Thompson is their not understanding what the pillars of conservatism is built with. At its core, the three essential pillars of Reaganite conservatism were liberty, liberty and liberty. Fred understood that we needed a strong national defense strategy to keep us a free nation. Fred understood that we needed to keep taxes and spending low to give individuals economic liberty. Fred understands that Americans cherish personal freedom, which is why small l libertarianism is part of the Reaganite-Goldwater model.

Views like these might have earned another candidate a reputation for “straight talk”, maybe even the title of “maverick.” But Thompson was more subversive than that; he was an existential maverick, and his campaign was an implicit rebuke to the system in its entirety. He was a man out of his time. With its reduced metabolism and procedural modesty, his campaign still might have served as an illustration of what politics once was like and, if we have the audacity to hope, might be again. After all, by the standards of a century ago, Thompson was a whirligig.

The best thing that could happen to the GOP is for the next generation of GOP leaders to be Fred Thompson intellectual heavyweights. That’ll take lots of work because intellects like Fred don’t come along everyday. Let’s illustrate that by playing a little word association with the candidates.

The first word I think of when I hear McCain’s name is panderer. (The second is stubborn.) The first word I think of when I hear Huckabee’s name is socialist. The first word I think of when I hear Ron Paul’s name is either Neptune or Pluto. The first word I think of when I hear Mitt’s name is flip-flopper. The first word I think of when I hear Fred’s name is gravitas. The first word I think of when I hear Giuliani’s name is 9/11.

That should’ve been the big indicator as to who was best equipped to be the GOP nominee. Unfortunately, the first states allowed open voting, meaning that liberals could pick candidates as unqualified as Mike Huckabee and as liberal as John McCain.

It’s time we started picking serious candidates that would’ve tied the Hillary Clintons and Barack Obamas of the world in knots. That’s what Fred gave us. Which of the last debates, from the ‘Schoolmarm’ debate in Iowa to the ABC debate in New Hampshire to the FNC debate in South Carolina wasn’t Fred the smartest man on the stage? That string of impressive debates was nothing less than an intellectual drubbing by Fred.

While the other candidates each settled into their niches, Fred owned the stage. National security credentials? Check. Fiscal conservative? Yep. Federalist? Definitely. Immigration hardliner? Without a doubt.

The most-repeated ‘criticism’ of Fred was his……style. We were insulted by people who said that Fred didn’t have a fire in his belly. PHHHFTTT!!!! Give me a brilliant man who’s thought through the important issues of the day over a politician with fire in their belly anytime. That isn’t a difficult decision.

Finally, my hope is that we’ll take Fred Thompson, and like-minded politicians, seriously the next time around.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Though I hate admitting it, it’s time to move on now that Fred’s dropped his presidential bid. Before we move on, though, I think it’s important to learn from Fred’s campaign.

The biggest lesson to be learned is that Fred shouldn’t have teased us so long with his entry. Fredheads should’ve contacted his campaign and told him he needed to get in so he could carve out his niche. Had the Fred Thompson of the last few debates jumped in in July or August, I’m convinced that he’d be the prohibitive favorite for the GOP’s presidential nomination right now.

The next biggest lesson we must learn as a political party is that Thompson’s type of conservatism is appealling. The other lesson we need to learn is that we don’t need to abandon conservatism to attract more squishy moderates. I’m all for a big tent but I insist that it’s a principled big tent. Which leads to this important point.

John McCain’s way of collaborating with Democrats is the opposite approach that Reagan used in winning over liberals. Reagan won liberals over with policies that made too much sense to argue against. McCain hasn’t tried winning liberals over. History will show that McCain caved each time he worked with Democrats. The only time he didn’t cave was on the surge.

McCain caved on the Gang of 14 without a legitimate reason. McCain caved on the First Amendment when he teamed up with Russ Feingold, Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan on campaign finance ‘reform’. He caved to Ted Kennedy on immigration ‘reform’, even allowing an open borders advocacy group like NCLR a seat at the negotiating table for the second bill.

Because NCLR was doing the negotiating, we knew that McCain wasn’t talking straight with us when he said that he’d learned his lesson about comprehensive immigration reform. Everyone knew that he and Ted Kennedy simply repackaged the same teethless provisions into a new bill.

Now we’re down to Mitt, Rudy, McCain and Huckabee, though I don’t think Huckabee will be with us much longer. For the reasons stated above, I can’t support John McCain. Simply put, he’s too headstrong to not attempt to shaft Republicans again. I won’t tolerate that. I also can’t support Gov. Huckabee because I’ve seen too many of his dirty tricks. I won’t support candidates that I can’t trust. I also think his Fair Tax plan is a disaster waiting to happen.

That leaves Rudy and Mitt. I like alot of the things that Rudy brings to the table policywise but I just can’t endorse him. I’ll support Mr. Giuliani if he’s the nominee but I won’t go farther than that.

That leaves Mitt. As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve had strong reservations about Mitt. I’ve questioned Mitt’s abortion transformation. I’ve questioned him about flip-flopping on the Bush tax cuts. I’ve called him a convenient conservative who didn’t always apply the principles of federalism.

That said, there’s alot of positions that Mitt’s adopted that I agree with. He’s said that he’d make the Bush tax cuts permanent, something I strongly agree with. Mitt’s said that he’d aggressively fight the jihadists, something else that I approve of. While I’m not convinced that Mitt would hit the ground running with foreign policy, I’d feel alot more comfortable with him if his running mate was Fred Thompson.

Having a Mitt-Fred ticket would be rock solid, far more impressive than Hillary and whoever or Obama and whoever. Fred’s conservative credentials can’t be argued with. Equally important, he’d give the Romney administration instant foreign policy credibility. With Fred as VP, we’d also be certain that the judges and justices that Mitt picked would fit the Roberts/Alito/Thomas/Scalia mold. You can’t do better than that.

I’m not endorsing Mitt Romney at this point. I’m simply pointing out what the best ticket is at this point. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have misgivings about Mitt but I’d also be lying if I said that he’d have the most upside as long as he’s paired with Fred.

Let’s face facts about something. A Mitt-Fred ticket has much more of a chance of uniting the GOP than any other ticket. We’ll need that if we hope to keep the White House under GOP control.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Jonah Goldberg has a great article up talking about the various types of conservatism. Here’s a little glimpse into his article:

Many of the younger conservative policy mavens and intellectuals have become steadily less enamored of free markets and limited government. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, formerly Bush’s chief speechwriter, has crafted a whole doctrine of “heroic conservatism” intended to beat back the right’s supposed death-embrace with small government and laissez-faire economics. He calls for moral crusade to become the animating spirit of the right. He’s hardly alone. “Crunchy conservatism,” the brainchild of Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher, is also a cri de coeur against mainstream conservatism. Both of these derive from the kind of thinking that led Bush to insist in 2000 that he was a “different kind of Republican” because he was a “compassionate conservative”, a political program that apparently measures compassion by how much money the government spends on education, marriage counseling and the like.

What these gentlemen are talking about isn’t conservatism. Gerson particularly isn’t talking about conservatism. What he’s talking about is a mix of populism and conservatism. It’s the product of his belief that government is part of the solution. Personally, I’d call it watered-down liberalism.

Bill Kristol’s editorial tries making the argument that conservatives should welcome this year’s candidates, an argument that I reject:

For example: John McCain, with a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 82.3, is allegedly in no way a conservative. And, though the most favorably viewed of all the candidates right now, both among Republicans and the electorate as a whole, he would allegedly destroy the Republican party if nominated.

Or take Mike Huckabee. He was a well-regarded and successful governor of Arkansas, reelected twice, the second time with 40 percent of the black vote. He’s come from an asterisk to second in the national GOP polls with no money and no establishment support. Yet he is supposedly a buffoon and political naïf. He’s been staunchly pro-life and pro-gun and is consistently supported by the most conservative primary voters, but he is, we’re told, no conservative either.

Or Mitt Romney. He’s a man of considerable accomplishments, respected by many who have worked with and for him in various endeavors. He took conservative positions on social issues as governor of Massachusetts, and parlayed a one-term governorship of a blue state into a first-tier position in the Republican race. But he, too, we’re told, is deserving of no respect. And though he’s embraced conservative policies and seems likely to be steadfast in pursuing them–he’s no conservative either.

Kristol’s blinders prevents him from seeing that we need a Reaganesque conservative now. His argument for John McCain, in particular, is feeble. McCain’s lifetime conservative rating isn’t the issue. Most of that rating was built his first 2 terms. The statistic that Mr. Kristol should be talking about is McCain’s conservative rating during the Bush administration. Why is Mr. Kristol ignoring McCain’s global warming legislation? Why is Mr. Kristol ignoring McCain-Feingold, the most despicable assault on the First Amendment in US history? How can Mr. Kristol ignore the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, which abandons any pretense of abiding by the rule of law?

This morning, George Will takes a dramatically different perspective on John McCain:

In the New Hampshire debate, McCain asserted that corruption is the reason drugs currently cannot be reimported from Canada. The reason is “the power of the pharmaceutical companies.” When Mitt Romney interjected, “Don’t turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys,” McCain replied, “Well, they are.”

That’s a socialist’s attitude of pharmaceutical companies. Shouldn’t that scare every Republican in the nation?

That isn’t the only complaint Mr. Will, along with hundreds of thousands of other conservatives, has with him. Here’s another complaint:

McCain says he would nominate Supreme Court justices similar to Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito. But how likely is he to nominate jurists who resemble those four: They consider his signature achievement constitutionally dubious.

When the Supreme Court upheld McCain-Feingold 5-4, Scalia and Thomas were in the minority. That was before Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor, who was in the majority. Two years later, McCain filed his own brief supporting federal suppression of a right-to-life group’s issue advertisement in Wisconsin because it mentioned a candidate for federal office during the McCain-Feingold blackout period prior to an election. The court ruled 5-4 against McCain’s position, with Alito in the majority.

Sen. McCain isn’t credible when he says that he’d nominate strict constructionist judges. That’s nothing more than pandering. They’d imperil his ‘greatest’ legislative achievement.

Simply put, John McCain opposes too much of the GOP’s best thinking to be trusted as their leader. I can’t support him. PERIOD. He’s shown a willingness to totally abandon the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. There’s no hint whatsoever that he’s got an instinct for libertarianism. Quite the opposite. He’s shown a propensity for worshiping at the altar of megaregulation. Here’s proof of that propensity:

When McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced legislation empowering Congress to comprehensively regulate U.S. industries’ emissions of greenhouse gases in order to “prevent catastrophic global warming,” they co-authored an op-ed column that radiated McCainian intolerance of disagreement. It said that a U.N. panel’s report “puts the final nail in denial’s coffin about the problem of global warming.” Concerning the question of whether human activity is causing catastrophic warming, they said, “the debate has ended.”

Sen. McCain’s attempt at stopping debate on a hotly contested issue is typical. He’s shown a pattern of total certitude on issues where major questions exist, especially if the idea has been proven in the court of popular opinion. If we think about it, it’s fair to conclude that that fits his personality. He didn’t want to debate McCain-Feingold on the basis of its assault on the First Amendment. He spoke only about ridding the system of corruption. He didn’t want McCain-Kennedy to be debated. PERIOD. They didn’t want committee hearings. They wanted to limit debate and restrict the amendment process. They knew that it couldn’t pass if it was debated on its merits.

I reject Romney’s convenient conservatism because it isn’t conservatism. It’s populism disguised as conservatism. Last week in Michigan, we saw how little regard Mitt has for the Tenth Amendment. While pandering for votes, he told Michiganders that the federal government would bail the state out after Jennifer Granholm ran that state’s economy into the toilet. That isn’t proof of holding fast to federalist principles. I won’t trust Mitt on federalist issues. While I’m certain that he’d cut some spending, I’m equally certain that he’d grow government in other places that it shouldn’t grow in.

I won’t trust Huckabee. PERIOD. After watching Common Sense Issues fill the phone lines in South Carolina with lies about Fred Thompson’s record, then watching him halfheartedly tell them to stop, I’m certain that Huckabee is one of the sleaziest politicians I’ve seen on the national stage.

Even though I’m pro life, I don’t have trust issues with Rudy. I disagree with him but that isn’t the same as not trusting someone. I’m confident that Rudy’s a federalist who’d nominate strict constructionist judges. The fact that he’s got Ted Olson, someone with impeccable strict constructionist credentials, higlights Rudy’s fidelity to the strict constructionist perspective. I’m also certain that he’d keep taxes low and that he’d try and keep government under control.

More importantly, I’m confident Rudy wouldn’t govern by moistening a finger before making a decision. I’ve watched him long enough to know that he’ll listen to all perspectives, even if he doesn’t agree with that perspective. He accumulates information first, then makes a decision. McCain starts with a conclusion, then works back from there.

Of course, Fred’s still the gold standard. Unfortunately, voters thus far haven’t asked the right questions. The discussion’s centered on process (he didn’t get in soon enough) and measurables (cash on hand) instead of qualifications and fidelity to conservatism’s proven ideals.

Hugh Hewitt avoided talking about Fred’s libertarianism, Fred’s adherence to federalist principles and his record of fiscal conservatism. Hewitt rejected his conservative principles to pad his wallet, which is troubling.

It’s time for movement conservatives to withhold support from the populist wolves in sheeps’ clothing. It’s time that We The People told Hugh Hewitt that we don’t give a damn about his boy Mitt. It’s time that We The People told Ed Rollins to slink off the national stage along with his liberal client Gov. Huckabee. It’s time that we told Sen. Sell Republicans Down the River (aka Sen. McCain) that we won’t tolerate his consistent liberalism.

It’s time that harking back to Reagan became Republicans’ motivation, not just talk.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

After congratulating Gov. Romney on winning the Michigan Primary, John McCain defiantly declared that he’d win South Carolina’s Primary. Here’s what Sen. McCain said:

“I congratulate the governor. I just talked to him on the phone and congratulate him on his victory. Starting tomorrow, we’re going to win South Carolina, and we’re going to go on and win the nomination,” said the Arizona senator after his loss to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“I congratulate him on that Michigan welcomed their native son with their support,” McCain added. “I said we would win in New Hampshire. We will win in South Carolina.

McCain’s momentum has just taken a hit following a relatively solid defeat at the hands of Mitt Romney. All day long, headlines read that he and Romney were “neck and neck.” As of 10:30 CT, McCain was gettng thrashed by a 39%-30% margin. That isn’t many people’s definition of neck and neck.

McCain’s also kidding himself if he thinks that he’s still the frontrunner in South Carolina. Alot of military personnel are also immigration enforcement hardliners. Look for that issue to hurt McCain as Fred draws a bead on him on his co-authoring the Shamnesty bill with Ted Kennedy.

Asked to respond to Romney’s comments that “It’s a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism,” the four-term senator passed on commenting, saying, “I would not know what he’s talking about.”

That’s a dose of doublespeak from the supposed straight-talking champion. He can’t not know what Romney meant. Sen. McCain knows that he went negative in Michigan and that that failed him. Essentially, Sen. McCain ran a campaign from this mindset:

‘You voted for me eight years ago, I’m still a great guy and I’m glad I don’t live here’.

That won’t get it done. People want to hear that their future will be brighter because the candidate believes in them. John McCain doesn’t have the ability to convey that type of message.

McCain is doing his best to show a brave face but he got stung Tuesday night. He needed to win to keep his momentum going. Now he’s got to face life in conservative states where his anti-conservative, stick my finger in their eye message simply won’t sell.

That doesn’t mean that he’s “out of it” but he’s facing a steeper uphill fight than Fred, Rudy and Mitt.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Based on the reporting in this article, it sounds like the crowds that Fred’s attracting are growing. Here’s what I’m basing this on:

It took Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson almost 15 minutes to drop the words “Law and Order” during his talk Saturday at Barbara Jean’s Restaurant, drawing a round of applause from the crowd of about 200. But the Lady’s Island gathering saved its loudest ovations for the former actor’s conservative messages during a brief Beaufort stop on an overcast afternoon. Coming off a sixth-place finish in New Hampshire’s Republican primary, the one-time Tennessee senator found a warm reception in “my neck of the woods.”

“You could see in there the level of enthusiasm people have,” Thompson said on his bus after the town hall-style meeting. “We’re going to be competitive on the airwaves in terms of radio and television…and I think we’ll do real well here.”

Fred’s message, combined with his imported GOTV operation, are leading to the increaseing crowd sizes. I’d bet that it’s intimidating to other campaigns that Fred’s got people flying or driving in to do doorknocking and phonebanking from all across the nation. That’s the type of ground game that’ll give a candidate a substantial advantage. Anyone that’s got that many passionate supporters is a force to be reckoned with.

Now check out what Fred’s saying:

In a campaign season marked by themes of change, Thompson started by citing something that doesn’t change, what he called the United States of America’s founding fathers’ understanding of “the wisdom of ages”, that too much governmental power corrupts. “That’s why they established the Constitution the way they did. The notion that a government big enough and powerful enough to give you anything was big enough and powerful enough to take anything away from you,” Thompson said.

Fred’s a true federalist. What makes it even better is that he isn’t bashful about being a federalist. It’s a safe bet that that’s a winning message in the South Carolina GOP primary. Fred’s saying that the Founding Fathers were wise is something else South Carolinians are sure to appreciate.

Check out this shot at McCain and Huckabee:

Thompson highlighted his opposition to closing the prison camp for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to using taxpayers’ money to fund programs for illegal immigrants.

“As a politician, taking money from a hard-working taxpayer who’s abiding by the law and giving it to someone who is illegal doesn’t make me a better person,” he said. “It’s not my money to begin with.”

Finally, a politician that understands that money is the wage earner’s first, who then lends it to the government. That’s a We The People perspective that’s easy to get excited about. Far too frequently, GOP politicians like John McCain and Mike Huckabee think of taxes as the government’s money. In We The People country, we view things quite differently.

That type of common sense is sadly missing in Washington. It wouldn’t improve with a President McCain or President Huckabee either. It’d continue on the same disgusting glidepath that it’s currently on.

If Fred keeps preaching that federalist, limited government gospel, his crowds will continue to swell. We’ve held 2 caucuses and 1 primary. Super Tuesday is still looming. If Fred wins South Carolina, which I think is a definite possibility, the landscape changes entirely.

That doesn’t mean Rudy won’t win some big states like California and New York. It does mean, though, that Fred will be, at minimum, competitive in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri.

The Fred Express keeps rolling with Fred providing the inspiration.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Salena Zito, one of my favorite columnists, has written a magnificent column titled “The certainty of political uncertainty.” It’s possibly the best writing I’ve seen from Ms. Zito, which is saying alot. Here’s the first key portion of Salena’s column:

Not much is certain in politics. Not exit polls, forecasts or punditry. Yet one thing that is for certain, coming out of New Hampshire, is that the 2008 presidential race remains very much up in the air.

“Look at what has happened so far,” says George F. Will, the conservative columnist. “The very idea that money is all-powerful was struck down with Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire; the idea that organization is all-powerful was struck down by Huckabee. “And with the Democrats we learned that the Clintons can top momentum in just about eight hours,” he added. “So, in other words, just about anything can and will happen.”

Finally, a columnist that admits this race likely will have several more twists and turns and that “just about anything can and will happen.” I wrote here that Dick Morris’ analysis wasn’t wise analysis because he’s saying that McCain is the favorite to win the nomination.

As near as I can tell, that prediction isn’t based on the map of winner-take-all states. Many of those states are states that Rudy has a big advantage in: California, New York, New Jersey, the New England states (now that New Hampshire is out of the way).

If Fred Thompson wins South Carolina, that will be another major twist on the way to the nominating convention here in Minnesota. Fred’s the truest conservative in the race, followed by Rudy. He’s got tons of gravitas, appeals to each of the major wings of the party (fiscal, judicial and social conservatism) and he has impeccable national security credentials besides.

Here’s another astute observation Salena makes:

Will’s comments speak to not just the results in New Hampshire, where the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton race came to a stunning (mostly to pundits) conclusion, but, in a larger sense, to the entire field of presidential candidates. No clear winners have attached themselves to either party’s base.

Nobody in either party has their base falling for them. Hillary’s had her problems because of her vote to authorize the war. McCain’s dance with death on McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14 are the reasons why I can’t see him getting the nomination. Rudy’s pro-choice stance won’t help him with some social conservatives, although I suspect not as much as the pundits would have you believe. Mitt Romney’s being labeled a flip-flopper was deserved, which is why there isn’t any passionate support for Mitt.

Had Thursday’s Fred shown up in Iowa in September, this might be another story. With Fred’s gravitas, personality and national security credentials, he would’ve given social conservatives reason to ignore Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney and national security hawks reason to choose him over McCain and Rudy.

Here’s the final observation Salena makes that’s worth keeping in mind the rest of the way, at least through Super Tuesday:

Being undecided walking into the voting booth was the norm in New Hampshire, not the exception. If that trend persists nationally, then there may not be any clear winner for either party at the end of primary season.

Keep one last thing in mind: anyone that says they know how this turns out is kidding you. They don’t because this is the year of fluidity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative