A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ruffini is right on. . .

. . .in this post about what the McCain camp should be doing, in my opinion. The time for rolling out endorsements and trying to establish conservative credentials by mining his history has passed.

The part of the conservative base that is still angry at McCain is beyond persuasion in that regard. As far as they're concerned, he walked off the reservation ten years ago and wants to be let back on. To the extent that any of them are going to be convinced, it's going to have to be done by moving forward, not looking to a history that they believe is irrelevant.

Another point where Ruffini hits the target dead-on is McCain's political street fighting skills. The fact is, that's what has the anti-McCainiacs in such an uproar. His ability to reduce his opposition to apoplexy is legendary. When he gets to use those skills against Hillary and/or Obama, there's no doubt in my mind that he will relish it.

If I had McCain's ear, I would spend the rest of the time that the Democrats use up in trying to decide who's going to be thrown under the bus thrashing them in every possible way. On Hillary, he should relentlessly focus on the stink of corruption that her very candidacy emanates. One of the biggest issues that has set McCain at odds with his critics is also a strength that he holds against the Clinton Machine, and that is his crusade against the corrupting influence of money in politics. The loan which she recently made to her campaign, and where that money came from, is a ripe, succulent, juicy piece of fruit just begging to be harvested.

As for Obama, McCain should start ripping him to shreds on his absolute feeble-mindedness on foreign policy. McCain should also find ways to exploit the appeal he has with Hispanics, since Obama engenders virtually no enthusiasm among them. I'm not exactly sure how he should go about doing it, but there are a lot of people around him who ought to have no trouble figuring it out.

I've never quite understood the pessimism that so many conservatives have in going against either of these two candidates. They're both deeply flawed candidates. The fact that they're generating such turnout among their respective constituencies, I think, is more a reflection of the recognition that each side has of its opponent's vulnerabilities than it is a real zeal for the kind of government they envision coming from their own. And, I think it's fair to say that support for both Democratic candidates is very much personality-driven.

Eventually, both candidates are going to be forced to confront genuine issues, and the longer they have to contend with one another in attempting to appeal to a Democratic base that is far removed from the center of American politics, the more they will be forced to do and say that will set them at odds with the electorate. Every day on the campaign trail for Hillary and Obama brings with it the potential of a fat, hanging curveball for McCain to send sailing out of the park.

In the end, all the fretting that many conservatives are engaging in over McCain being a weak candidate to put up against either of these two is more a product of backward-looking bitterness than objective analysis. They're still citing the litany of transgressions that McCain has committed against them as if there might still be a large pocket of conservative voters who might not have heard about them.

Look. We know! We've heard about them. It's beginning to sound a whole lot like Al Gore's challenge to George W. Bush in the famous sighing debate, wherein he fired that brilliant shot at the soon-to-be president, "What about Dingle-Norwood?" It's time to move forward and talk about the transgressions that the other two candidates have committed against America.

We have an opportunity to keep the White House in Republican hands. He may not be your idea of the perfect Republican, but there's scant evidence to support the idea that such a perfect Republican exists. So, rather than sit around grumbling, caught in a vicious cycle of lament, alienation and resignation, how about shaking it off and taking a continuing education course on the threat posed by a left-liberal grip on the executive, legislative, and by extension, judiciary branches of government in these deceptively perilous times?

UPDATE: Altered some text to correct an error where Patrick Ruffini was mistakenly referred to as Hewitt.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

As difficult as this is. . .

. . .I'm going to try to be objective. Of course, my objectivity is questionable. I've got a big, honkin' McCain graphic on my blog. So, anyone reading is perfectly free to take everything contained herein with a mighty grain of salt.

I thought it was a fine speech, and it should go some distance toward healing the breach. I don't think he completely closed the deal, by any means. But, he seemed to me to be communicating a willingness to work in good faith with those who will extend him the same courtesy.

Undoubtedly, there are many who believe that it's not up to them to demonstrate any good faith toward him, and that he must be the one to walk all the way across the room if there's to be a reconciliation. However, I think the vast majority of conservatives are willing to give him a chance if he will only keep inching his way toward them. A few good faith efforts will bring a reciprocation with all but the last of the dead-enders.

I certainly don't expect a wave of accolades from the Dobsons and DeLays of the party. They've already placed themselves in a position where they have no choice but to maintain a closed posture. However, I do think that for many mainstream conservatives, McCain said what he needed to say in order to achieve receptiveness (not that Dobson and DeLay aren't necessarily mainstream, but their positioning has precluded them from making anything but a lukewarm acknowledgment that he has made efforts).

But, as far as his overall delivery of the speech and his demeanor, I think he hit the right note. I detected a touch of contrition and a principled reiteration that he is a man who is willing to stand or fall by his convictions. He exhibited the backbone for which he is widely admired, as well as a recognition of imperfection for which he is excessively reviled.

But, most of all -- and here's where my attempt at objectivity becomes ham-fisted -- I saw a man who I think will pleasantly surprise a lot of conservatives when given the opportunity, and a man who will make a lot of Americans proud for having made him their president.

There is unanimous acclaim. . .

. . .for Mitt Romney's speech today as he stepped out of the ring with all of his dignity intact. The race was an exceedingly tough one, and a lot of feelings were hurt leading up to this point. But, for Republicans, it's time to thank Governor Romney for his participation in the process, and thank him a million more times for putting the troops of this nation ahead of the pressures he undoubtedly faced from those who so deeply believed in him to fight on.

I can see some of what Hugh Hewitt saw in the governor. The man is obviously overflowing with talent and integrity. I would love to see him come back for another run in 2012 with a few more years of demonstrable conservatism to point toward as a rationale for voting for him. There are just a few reasons that I couldn't stick with him throughout his campaign following my initial support.

I think Romney was ill-served by his campaign operatives, and his own sense of timing. Judging from the temperament he displayed throughout the campaign, I highly doubt that the notion of going negative and staying that way against the rest of the field was something that he relished doing. I suspect he had a good number of knife fighters in his inner circle telling him it was the most effective way to go about separating himself from the pack. Unfortunately, they didn't consider his lack of a truly unambiguous conservative record when they were putting together the "contrast" ads attacking the other candidates as being less than ideologically pure.

We'll be hearing from Mitt Romney again in the future, and that's undeniably a good thing. With his talents, abilities, and integrity, he should have no trouble at all in gathering support for another run. Unfortunately for him and his supporters, this year just simply wasn't his year. However, it does present him with an opportunity to do something great for his party by helping to unite those left bitter in the wake of loss with those who want to move forward in the wake of victory.

And, given time and more solid evidence of conservatism, there is virtually no limit to what his grateful party will do for him in the future, should he decide to offer his considerable talents to his nation again.

I am truly grateful to Governor Romney for what he has done today. He displayed his love for his country and those who serve it in time of war, as well as an admirable concern for the future of his party in placing it before his personal ambition and desire to win.

America will thank Governor Romney for his decision today. It truly was an act of chivalry seen all too infrequently in modern politics.

A very revealing statement. . .

. . .is apparently being made at CPAC, and not by Mitt Romney or John McCain. Rather, it's being made by CPAC members at large, according to Brian Faughnan at Weekly Standard's "Worldwide Standard" blog.

Downstairs, in the dungeon Exhibit Hall, there are three or four tables set with dozens and dozens of free conservative books. (I picked up this, this and this.)

Curiously untouched: Ann Coulter books. There are plenty left if you need to complete your collection.

Note to my family: you know what you're getting for Christmas.

Emphasis mine.

Have a taste. . .

. . .of the back of Debra Saunders' hand, those of you who continue to grouse and threaten to stay home on Election Day because your "precious feelings", as Debra puts it, have been hurt.

I hate to spoil the ending, but it really captures the truth, so here it is:
On the not-smart side are Republicans who threaten to become "suicide voters" - they might vote for a Democrat or not vote at all. They are furious that their purity will not prevail - and they don't care who gets hurt.

And there you have it.

Remember this. . .

. . .as you sit at home stewing on Election Day.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cut n' Run Republicans. . .

. . .haven't yet come to grips with the consequences of their intransigence should they remain on the course they're presently on. Rather than stay in the fight and work to pull McCain their way in the event he's elected, they're tempted to simply hand over the levers of power to the person they've despised more than any other in their political lifetimes. And they're doing this just so they can reassert their influence in a political party.

It remains to be seen whether Rush or Hannity intend on following Coulter down her road to perdition, but I suspect that in due time, they'll eventually tire of all the bitching and moaning and begin to call their devotees home. Yet, there will remain a small but rather vocal contingent who will choose to take the Coulter path in either sitting out the election, or actively voting and campaigning for Hillary Clinton in the general election. They do this based on the idea that Hillary Clinton is too smart a politician to try and precipitously withdraw troops from Iraq, and that any damage that the nation suffers as a consequence of her election will at least be laid at the feet of the Democratic Party and not the Republicans.

There are a couple of questions that these folks need to ask themselves before fully committing to this idea: How sure are you that the Hillary is that canny? And how many American lives are you willing to bet on it?

Hewitt the Brave. . .

. . .has gone out on a limb today with his blog post calling for unity in the wake of what must have been a painful night for him. I've directed some less than charitable words toward him in this campaign, taking jabs at him for his highly enthusiastic support for Mitt Romney. So, it seems only fair that I point out that he is being the bigger man.

It's hard for me to overstate my dismay at talk radio's treatment of McCain in this campaign, essentially serving as a two-week series of day-long attack ads leading up to the most important day of voting in the entire primary process. But, with today's blog entry, Hewitt makes up for it if only for the lumps he's going to take from certain corners of the right as a consequence.

Of all the talkers who were involved in this barrage, Hewitt is the only one who can point to any genuine enthusiasm for his candidate. So, for him to swallow this hard and say what he says in this column must have been awfully bitter. He actually has to deal with not only the fact that McCain won, which undoubtedly troubles him, but the fact that Romney lost. The rest were only interested in meting out retribution to a man they see as the bane of their existence. Hugh actually felt the sting of loss here, and his reaction is just about the most commendable one I can imagine from a man in his shoes.

This is much appreciated, Hugh. You're undeniably one of the good ones.

Ever thought about. . .

. . .John Boehner, from Ohio's 8th District as a potential Veep pick? The guy certainly seems to me to be a solid choice. He's got decent name recognition among Republican voters, is known as a fiscal disciplinarian, and has a lifetime ACU rating of 93.6%.

I know a lot of people think the logical choice would have to be a governor, but a look a the Republican Governors Association web site reveals a real paucity of candidates with regional and ideological appeal.

Just something for the folks with much bigger wigs than mine to consider.

UPDATE: Full disclosure: I called Boehner my dark horse candidate for '08 way back on November 22, 2004

UPDATE II: And with stories like this coming down the pike, it seems to make good sense to have a guy like Boehner as a Veep pick. He has a good biography as a business man and party loyalist, and has a history as a corruption buster. Seems to me it would be tough to find a better match for McCain.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Romney needs Huckabee. . .

. . .to stay in the race, contrary to what most Romney supporters want to believe. This was something I'd heard about a week, or so, ago but couldn't find the polling numbers to back it up, so I didn't bother to post on the matter. However, thanks to the immensely talented lukewarm McCain guy, Ramesh Ponnuru, over at The Corner, I've found the numbers to back me up.

Still, I'm highly skeptical that we'll be hearing "Baby, Please Don't Go" emanating from Romney headquarters should the Huckster decide to drop out of the race suddenly. But, there you have it. Huckabee isn't really a peg that the Romney campaign can hang its electoral hat on as a confounding factor in the race. Looks like they're going to have to blame Ron Paul and the Blimpsters.

I listened to Rush today. . .

. . .for the first time in a while. I also caught a little bit of Glenn Beck, who has become a big budget version of Rusty Humphries, apparently. I'll get back to Rusty in a bit.

Rush came on like gangbusters this morning, launching into McCain over the now-infamous Bob Dole letter. Claiming that it was a private letter and that the McCain campaign had used the former senator as a pawn, Limbaugh trashed McCain from pillar to post for releasing it. Unfortunately, Rush is undercut by Dole's own words in his interview on Hannity & Colmes where he forthrightly stated that he assumed that someone would find out about it, and that he was aware that Rick Davis had received a copy of the email.

Now, come on. Does that really sound like a kindly note from the good senator asking you to go easy on his former colleague only to have it "leaked" to the press by the nefarious forces of Capt. McCain and his dastardly cadre of ne'er-do-wells? Really, Rush, you're asking listeners to swallow a lot by the simple fact that you're doing everything you can to see to it that Mitt Romney is perceived as the conservative's conservative. Are you really going to insist on making Bob Dole an unwitting dupe in all of this?

Beyond the note itself, there's the matter of Mitt Romney's reaction to it. He essentially made the case for what many conservatives like myself have suspected all along. For all the talk of John McCain being a "maverick" who likes to "stab his party in the back," it strikes me that Romney revealed himself as something a little darker. His first inclination was to attack widely admired WWII hero, long-serving senator and one-time Republican nominee as though he were nothing more than an embarrassing footnote to the GOP, and he gave into it in a rather ugly fashion.

While I think it goes a little too far to turn it around on Romney in terms of his own military service, I don't think it's unfair to point out that Romney showed a rather impetuous kind of disrespect for a great man who has given much for his country. To distill Bob Dole's importance down to that of a pathetic loser in order to discount the influence he has among Republicans is a rather gratuitous kind of insolence. In a profound way, it reveals just how deeply Republicanism is ingrained in Mitt Romney's being.

I supported Mr. Dole in his run, and I still believe, as any true Republican would, that the better man lost in the '96 election. It may be true that he didn't instill enough enthusiasm in the electorate to carry the day in his run for the presidency, but Bob Dole commands the undying respect of his fellow Republicans and, I'm sure, the vast majority of Democrats. He is a man of wit, pragmatism, magnanimity, and uncommon stature. In short, Bob Dole is the first man I would want to write a letter for me.

As for Rusty Humphries, he's a conservative squawker I once listened to on XM Radio. How he managed to land the gig is a bit of a mystery to me. I didn't find him particularly insightful, nor entertaining. What he is, really, is loud.

The few times I listened to the show were because I just couldn't find anything else I felt like listening to on all of satellite radio at the time. It's sort of like stumbling upon something on C-SPAN that looks like it might have the potential to be interesting, but never quite makes it there. So, you just leave it on and set the sleep timer on the TV.

One night, Humphries was going on in his calamitous way on the topic illegal immigration to the point that I felt compelled to call in. I was surprised, somewhat, to find that getting through was not an issue. The screener answered the phone, asked my name and location, and what topic I wanted to discuss. Within a few minutes, I was on the line with ol' Rusty and letting him know that I didn't think he was approaching the subject in a very constructive way. He asked me what I thought was wrong with it, and I told him that I thought it was over the top and that he was doing far more harm than good with his tone.

At that point, ol' Rusty cut me off and launched into a diatribe about people like me, and how we just want to give the country away -- "Throw the doors open and let them all in! Screw the taxpayers, we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings." He went on in this vein for a few more minutes until he finally went to break, at which point I found something else to listen to.

That moment with ol' Rusty told me everything I need to know about talk radio. Of course, not all of them are jabbering dullards like Humphries. But, more and more, they're playing the part these days. And, since they control the microphones and the kill switches, they're pretty much left with the field all to themselves. So, when someone comes to Limbaugh's defense and says that he takes all kinds of calls from regular people every day, and that many of them are voices of dissent, you'll just have to forgive me if you catch rolling my eyes. I know how it works.

Of course, they have every right to run their shows as they see fit. This is America, and you're entitled to do things your way on your show and stand or fall on its merits. And, Rush and his fellow talkers obviously have their merits. But, after the past three weeks of non-stop hectoring of John McCain on behalf of a man whose Republicanism runs about as deep as the pinstripes in his suit, it's a little difficult to see the merit through all the sanctimony.

UPDATE: Stephen F. Hayes at the Weekly Standard's campaign blog, Campaign Standard, has an interesting point regarding Romney's propensity to flip after flopping.

The just desserts. . .

. . .are being wheeled in on carts for Limbaugh right now. First, the New York Sun dares to take the heavyweight cham-peen of talk radio to task for his apostasy. Then, Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard comes flying off the top rope with an elbow-drop.

On Iraq, and more generally on the war on terror, McCain has never wavered in fighting for complete victory. As Bob Dole put it yesterday in a letter to Rush, McCain has put this country's security first "whatever the cost." Indeed, McCain has repeatedly said that he would rather lose this election than lose the war. Apparently for Rush and some other conservative opponents of McCain, it's the other way around. They say a victory by Clinton or Obama will, in the long run, serve the party and the conservative movement. Apparently they'd rather lose the war than see John McCain win this election.

Exactly. What Rush and Coulter, among others, are doing is putting what they believe are the interests of their party ahead of those of the country. It is, indeed, disgraceful.

Looks like some on the right have come up with a different kind of hand gesture to say "Thank you" to our troops.

Just tell me why. . .

. . .Limbaugh, Ingraham, Hannity, and Hewitt are four-square behind this man?

Why do they want so badly to put him in office as our Commander in Chief? Are they truly looking out for conservatism, or is it something else entirely?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Are these the conservatives. . .

. . .Rush Limbaugh and his fellow talkers are trying to rally?

I actually read the referenced article yesterday, when it was briefly posted by a longtime Ldotter from whom I would never have expected such. It was an obscenity -- a pack of irredeemably filthy lies.

I'd like to think that Limbaugh, Ingraham and Hewitt would have sought to marginalize this kind of crap before they launched into McCain. But, at this point, I'm not sure they're too concerned about the kind of people they're rallying, just as long as they harbor enough hatred for McCain to get themselves to the polls.

It is truly distressing to see people I once looked forward to hearing and reading allow themselves to be sullied by such slime. Some folks are going to have to get to work on building a lot of bridges after the primaries are over. Before now, I figured McCain would have to do the majority of it. Now, I think the ball's in his opponents' court.

Now we see. . .

. . .what Sowell hath wrought.

This image comes from a rather dejected blogger who has done his best to remain neutral in providing information for Republican primary voters. His story can be found here.

H/T - The Anchoress.

UPDATE: Be sure to note whose campaign sticker the woman in the picture is wearing. I wish every voter in the nation could see this photo before they go to the polls tomorrow.

The Hiroo Onoda wing. . .

. . .of the Republican Party is slowly dwindling, but the last of the last holdouts are growing more obstreperous as Super Tuesday draws nearer. Egged on by the emperor of talk radio and his underlings, they refuse to surrender -- holding out hope that they may be able to cobble together just enough resistance to convince Mitt Romney to keep up the struggle after the huge 24-state primary on February 5. While it won't likely prove successful, there is something admirable about the fact that these people are willing to go to the mat.

What's not so admirable, however, is that they're not so much going to the mat for their candidate, but for their own sense of righteousness. One can be assured that were they to prove successful in forcing a brokered convention where Romney actually came out as the nominee of the Republican Party, the grousing would commence in earnest on Day Two -- give or take 24 hours. From that point on, Romney would be forced to tack to his left in the general election, leaving all those conservatives who gave their blood, sweat, tears and maxed-out contributions utterly stupefied on the sidelines. "You mean I busted my butt ever day for this guy and all he can do is suck up to all of McCain's toadies who tried to dee-stroy this country!?!?"

The bare-bones truth of the matter is that, no matter who comes out the winner, the segment of the GOP that so passionately hates John McCain is going to be disenchanted, simply because whoever comes out ahead is going to have to be much closer to where McCain is now on the issues if they're going to have a shot in hell at winning the general election.

John McCain's advantage is that he can come out of the primaries and work toward conciliation with the most conservative voters without alienating the supporters he has now. I, for one, would absolutely love to see McCain make overtures toward the more conservative elements of the Republican Party, if only because I actually consider myself among them.

I actually do think there needs to be a strong effort to stop illegal immigration, and it would make my day to have a guy like McCain making that case in a way that doesn't send the message to Hispanic voters that they are neither appreciated or wanted in the party. But, when folks like John Derbyshire and Mark Krikorian are calling the shots, loudly making the case that illegal immigration is threatening the very culture of America because of its Latino influence, how can anyone expect the vast number of perfectly legal, law-abiding Latinos to be anything but uncomfortable in identifying the the GOP and conservatism as a whole?

What Derbyshire, Krikorian and others do is artful in its own way. They raise the specter of the dilution of American culture and cite facts and figures in the most sterile way possible, leaving no doubt as to the degree to which Hispanic culture has become embedded within our own. They then proceed to lament the loss of this unique culture, but being very careful (at least in Krikorian's case) not to give voice to the subtext, lest they be pegged for the nativists that they are. The text of their arguments is, "American culture is unique, beautiful and very much worth preserving." But, the subtext of their argument is, "Each one of you Latin people who come here is just one more drop of the poison that is killing it."

Is that really the message we should be sending?

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