The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A Moment of Truth for the Conservative movement
I am very disillusioned tonight; I am disgusted with our tricked up, crossover State Primary process which allows Democrats and Big Media to choose our nominees in the "early states". I am disillusioned that so many so-called Republicans have bought into McCain's sudden conversion to conservative principles, when he has spent his entire career stabbing the National Party in the back. I buy McCain as a "Conservative" as much as I buy anything Clinton has ever uttered.
Yes McCain supports the War on Islamic Fascism, and the War is extremely important. But when it comes to extracting life-saving information from high value captured enemy personnel; when it comes to granting "Constitutional rights" to non-US citizen foreign POW's; when it comes to closing Gitmo; when it comes to ensuring our ability to monitor the communications of foreign enemies without asking some Carter or Clinton appointee judges' opinions first--when it comes to any of these vital questions, one wonders if McCain's so-called "support" doesn't actually hurt America more than it helps.
At home, the prognosis is even worse. It seems clear to almost anyone watching (including the Left) that McCain's court appointments would send the Constitution into a further tailspin; that his assault on free speech may not stop until we have another "Fairness Doctrine"; and that his economic and "amnesty" record when it comes to listening to "the base" is nothing short of shameful.
Even if McCain were fortunate enough to win in the fall (I fear that only Huckabee would be more unlikely than he to win), McCain's tax-raising domestic policies could be the harbringer of a Jimmy Carter-like "malaise" to our economy. Only in this case the economic damage done would be associated by the media with a "Republican" Administration, rather than with the Left as it would be more accurate. Because the real irony would be that the entire Republican base would be holding its nose for the entire term as McCain's anti-Republican agenda is slowly enacted.
It comes down to this: we had better work like hell this year to ensure that we take the Congress back; otherwise if this McCain "momentum" continues, we could be in a world of hurt this year.
All in all, a very sad day for the cause.
UPDATE: More from Paul Johnson of Power Line. My heart says its not over. But my gut feel doesn't seem to be so convinced. From a real conservative's standpoint, I think the best we can hope for is a deadlocked convention (which would likely mean Fred...):
A victory by John McCain tonight of, say, 2 to 4 percent tonight would not, in itself, be anywhere near fatal for Mitt Romney. It would provide a small dose of evidence that, even though many rank-and-file Republicans don't like McCain, he may be a bit more popular than Mitt Romney among Republicans collectively, at least when he receives endorsements from a state's key politicians. But this would be his first victory in a state where only Republicans vote, and a narrow victory at that.
However, Rudy Giuliani's poor showing -- he's getting only about half the vote of McCain or Romney -- adds an important angle. Giuliani may well decide to pull out after tonight, and even if he doesn't he'll surely be a diminished force. This figures to help McCain, especially if Rudy endorses his friend.
In other words, McCain appears to have a small advantage on the existing playing field, and the playing field may be about to tilt his way.
UPDATE: Fox News now says McCain will win. His lead is up to 5 percentage points. Meanwhile, Giuliani has just given a speech in which he referred to his campaign in the past tense. Some sources speculate that he will endorse McCain as early as tomorrow.
Maybe this will look different to me tomorrow, but I think McCain is clearly in command now.
JOHN adds: I think McCain is very much in the driver's seat. He has engineered a remarkable comeback from last summer, when he was out of money, laying off staff, and counted out by just about everyone. With hindsight, the early skirmishing wasn't as important as we political junkies thought it was at the time. Most people just weren't paying attention, and when they started to choose up sides, they gravitated toward the early front-runner, John McCain. Of course, the success of the surge helped a little, too.
Paul wrote a long time ago about the "stature gap" between the Republican Presidential candidates and the Democrats. I think we're seeing that, in the eyes of most Americans, the real stature gap is between McCain and the rest of the field. Americans generally choose the person, not his policies. That's frustrating to many of us, but history suggests that it's usually wise. Those who remember Quemoy and Matsu know what I'm talking about. I'm still not sure what I hope will happen, but I'll be very surprised if McCain doesn't wrap up the nomination, for practical purposes, at least, a week from tonight.