The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
UPDATED: Not "The End" for Romney, but the worm needs to turn soon
But no matter what happens the rest of the night, the overwhelming momentum that Fred Barnes was so confidently predicting just two nights ago for McCain turned out to be more of a "whimper" than a "bang". What this means is that more than likely Romney lives to fight another day, if only just barely. (UPDATE: And he is still saying he will keep going) .
When it gets down to brass tacks, it may have ultimately been Huckabee who kept McCain from becoming "inevitable" tonight, more so than McCain undoubtedly wanted. But these things happen when two snakes "collude" with each other. One thing is for sure: the McCain-Huckabee "Tag Team" is no longer just a rumor.
In fact--if like me you still are one of those "dreamers" thinking in these terms--the "Fred Scenario" became slightly less improbable this evening. But even for this scenario, Mitt needs to get it in gear soon.
UPDATE: More results coming in from Gateway Pundit, including more about the intrigue in West Virginia. As mentioned earlier, there is no question whatsoever about the collusion between McCain and Huckabee now.
UPDATE: Meanwhile Andrew McCarthy responds to Victor Davis Hanson, who seems to be a bit more agitated than is his norm. But when it comes to McCain, McCarthy sums up my feelings precisely:
Andy has a point. Read the rest here. Let's hope someone out there is listening. (h/t Glenn).
Remember the Clinton years? We should — we may be on the verge of reliving them. But I recall being most frustrated when some anti-Clinton zealot would claim the president had ordered an assassination or run cocaine through Mena Airport. Naturally, the Clinton people would very effectively conflate those inane accusations with the highly colorable allegations that the president had obstructed justice and committed perjury. Commentators would duly brand all the president’s critics as deranged Clinton haters.
It really bothers me, then, to find Victor Davis Hanson summing up the opposition to Senator McCain as that he "was not a real war hero, questioning his conduct during capture, commenting on his marital situation, and suggesting he was unhinged and identical to Ted Kennedy, Hillary (fill in the blanks)." All reasonable criticism of McCain should apparently cease since McCain’s opposition includes an idiot fringe.
Are you kidding? Like Dr. Hanson, I've been subjected to what I'd consider a "level of vituperation" that I thought was "astounding and completely unforeseen." Unlike Dr. Hanson though, I was not being subjected to vituperation about Sen. McCain; I, among others, was being subjected to vituperation from Sen. McCain.
Moreover, the vituperation was directed at us; we were not, like Dr. Hanson, observing as a stunned third party. We had dared suggest that our law's categorical ban on torture ought to be rethought. Sen. McCain’s approach was not reasoned dialogue. He labeled us torture mongers. I found this vituperation particularly dismaying because (a) my proposal was intended to reduce incidents of torture and other prisoner abuse; (b) though I disagreed with Sen. McCain's insistence on a categorical ban, I acknowledged both his logic and good faith; and (c) I consistently made a point of noting the awe with which I regard Sen. McCain’s courage and patriotism.
But we were merely the latest in lines of people who find themselves smeared by Sen. McCain over policy disagreements. It’s a hallmark of the senator’s politics to scald his opponents in the most ad hominem fashion. Yes, I wish imbeciles wouldn’t slander such an authentic American hero as John McCain. Still, his supporters’ sudden angst about overheated charges is a bit precious.
Finally, Dr. Hanson’s point about judges may be the least persuasive of all.
Sen. McCain’s two major legal issues over the past decade have been the suppression of political speech (aka campaign finance reform) and the aforementioned extension of Geneva Convention and other legal protections to alien terrorists. Since 2002, these issues have been the subject of several Supreme Court decisions, most notably McConnell and Wisconsin Right to Life on campaign finance and Rasul and Hamdan on rights for enemy combatants. In each of those cases, McCain’s ardent position was the polar opposite of what he refers to as “strict construction” of the law. In each of those cases, McCain’s positions were adopted by Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer — the liberal wing of the court (Justice Souter, by the way, is the gift that keeps on giving whose nomination was championed by Warren Rudman —a top McCain adviser previously floated by the senator as a potential Attorney General in a McCain administration.) The conservative justices the senator claims to regard as models roundly rejected McCain’s legal theories.
Now, Dr. Hanson may think that, as president, McCain would be utterly unconcerned about the fate of the signature initiatives for which he fought tooth and nail as a senator. He may sincerely believe that, merely for the sake of promoting “strict constructionism” (a concept I doubt Sen. McCain fully grasps, let alone cares much about), McCain would appoint originalist judges and justices who would surely invalidate his most dearly held legislative achievements. Nevertheless, I hardly think it’s unreasonable — much less vituperative — to worry that what Sen. McCain has done over the past ten years is a better barometer of his future actions than what he has said over the past ten minutes, in the heat of a campaign he badly wants to win.
Meanwhile, over at Hugh Hewitt's place: A House Divided.