Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Conversation On Republicans As Saturday Iowa Straw Poll Approaches

I continue my dicussion with Steve Maloney on both our blogs:
http://camp2008victorya.blogspot.com/ . Today, we are discussing abortion and the best approach for pro-life Americans. People who have read me, have seen these questions and my position. If the conversation gets new and striking, I may post it. But, last night, Steve commented on the Republican presidential candidates, and I responded:

You aren't going to like some of this, but . . . there are tremendous consequences associated with NOT winning the presidency. It affects every issue that conservatives care about, from the WOT to abortion. It also affects issues that are very important to Huckabee followers, such as home-schooling and faith-based initiatives.

>I think you may be over-optimistic on Huckabee's chances. McCain has held up pretty well in polls, but I wonder if they mean much right now. Hunter came across (past tense!) to me as overly solemn and too focused on the single-issue of immigration. I have never been able to determine what Brownback's "message" is. Jim Gilmore was/is a good man but he never came across as someone the American people >would embrace as a possible President.

It wouldn’t be the first time I was “over-optimistic.” I love to talk about issues in politics and elsewhere. But, I don’t understand people. I expect more of them than they sometimes deliver. However, it sure is plain to me that to whatever degree you might think, most people see Huckabee’s trajectory as upward. Frank Luntz was on Hannity & Colmes, tonight, and in direct response to the question, “Who won the debate,” said, “Mike Huckabee won the debate (dramatically, in fact), according to our focus group.” He said, Mike Huckabee is the anti-establishment candidate in the Republican campaign, and that’s what people like. I’m thinking that Ron Paul supporters would have something to say about that. But traditional analysts probably discount Paul.

I read one poll (ARG) where Tancredo was getting four percent in Colorado. Hunter is not doing any better than that in CA. (Huckabee has been getting 50% almost in Arkansas for contrast.)

Tancredo has been too shrill on a few points: very passionate, of course, but indecorous for a president. Hunter is no lightweight, especially on foreign policy. But, he is not vigorously campaigning on the ground. I don’t see how he goes into the fall.

I don't think people should run at all unless they have something (vision, policies) that are very compelling to a significant number of voters. The immigration issue is great for temporarily firing up the base, but it's not a srrong, salable issue in national elections. The same (alas) is true of abortion. It's an important issue for some people, but it's not a dominating one for the vast majority of voters.

For a lot of people abortion is a dominating issue. For those for whom it isn’t, more’s the pity. For me it is. I’d vote for a pro-life Democrat, and I disagree with their prescriptions on EVERYTHING else, before I’d vote for a Republican who didn’t understand the sanctity of life (thankfully it won’t come to that, very soon) . But, as I’ve said, the most important issue isn’t my feelings. The most important issue is a crucial component in the foundation of the American creed, that America is in the process of ruin if we let that standard drift down the river.

The economy is a big one. Iraq is big. The WOT is big but somewhat amorphous. Health care is moderately big and the Dems seem to have an advantage there.

“Health issues” calls for Huckabee, too. Once an American city goes up in smoke, the WOT won’t be amorphous, anymore. But, won’t that be a little later than we’d like?

Mike sometimes strikes me as lacking passion. In fact, he may have the (inner) passion but he's not an angry man (a good thing in my mind) or a driven man (not so good). Maybe he suffers from being a well-balanced individual. Mike has built good support in Iowa and elsewhere, but I originally expected him to start challenging the front-runners to a greater degree than he has.

Huckabee’s not an angry man. He’s explicit about that, too: “I’m conservative, but I’m not mad at anybody about it.” That’s the model of Christ, who represented a just father, but was only angry at those who wrongly spoke for God. But, I’ve never perceived a lack of passion.

In one of the debates, Tancredo came out against LEGAL immigration. He's trying to take more water out of that well than there is. To me, his position on immigration may make sense legalistically but I wonder if it's compatiable with Christianity, which frankly doesn't recognize borders as morally compelling. We have 6 billion "neighbors."

It really isn’t compatible with Christianity, in action if not in intention. It’s Christianity that says that suffering matters among all men. So, we’ve disconnected something if we won’t use the tools we have to relieve the suffering of other people. Some like Ron Paul and liberals sound as though working for other people isn’t our business , though he may well think that private interest should tend to that. But, private interests don’t have the means to unseat tyranny. I can only shake my head at the supposedly “loving” people who pushed us out of Vietnam and never said a peep when 3 million people were subsequently slaughtered.

There is NO national will (and no national majority) to deport 12 million illegals (many, many of whom are children). We need to admit that and then go on from there. Otherwise, we keep poor Emma Lazurus turning over in her grave.

Besides that, there’s no national ability. The problem is our officials and our law, more than it is the immigrants. Physician, heal thyself.

As for the nominee, I think it probably will be Giuliani, although that will play itself out over the fall. National security is the Republicans biggest issue, and Giuliani benefits from his image as America's Mayor. He also benefits from the perception that it's going to take a somewhat mean-son-of-a-gun to beat Hillary. I see someone like Mike matching up well against someone like Obama (and Biden), but I wonder how he as a true gentleman would do against Hillary.

If Americans don’t prefer a gentleman, whose problem is that? They’ll get what they deserve.

Fred Thompson? I doubt he'll even enter the race. He has more baggage than the lost-luggage warehouse at U. S. Airways. Does anyone think he has a chance to beat a Clinton-Richardson ticket? If so, on what basis?

The more the days pass, the more I’m thinking in the same direction. We aren’t the only ones saying that, now. Luntz and others have said that he’s losing at this point. I said that if he really cares, he needs to get in, this week, to get any bump in his now stagnant and leaning downward status. He may have ridden that no-risk media attention horse for too long.

Romney has spent tons of money but his standing in (most) of the Feb. 5 states (aside from Michigan and Utah) is anemic. His Mormon religion is (was?) helping him raise money but it's putting a low ceiling on his ability to attract non-Mormon votes. I think he knows this and is trying to figure out to counteract the problem.

About Romney, speaking of the general election: Everyone worried whether Christian conservatives would support a Mormon. But, maybe they ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til he wins the Republican nomination and liberals treat his Mormonism like a plunger in the hands of a brutal NY cop.

It's critical to see a President -- and conservatives rarely do -- as governing an extremely diverse and cantankerous country, one with 100 million legal minorities. It is extremely hard to govern this country on an ideological basis -- Reagan certainly knew that.

Huckabee again…He’s gracious AND a true conservative.

GWB and Dick Cheney ("deficits don't matter anymore") believed (believe?) that it's impossible to govern in classic Republican style. GWB also believes (probably correctly) that it's critical not to lose the Hispanic vote if Republicans are to continue to contend in national elections. Is he wrong? It's not at all obvious that he is.

I certainly agree with that, and so would Huckabee. Some people seem to think there’s a secret to dealing with minorities. Here’s an idea: treat them like humans, brothers and children of God.

Frankly, in terms of social issues, GWB may be the most conservative President we see in the remainder of our lifetimes.

That’s like saying he high-jumped over a toothpick on the ground.


1 comment:

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I think our mutual analysis of the situation re: presidential politics is a lot better than you'll read in the Des Moine Register and the NY Times. :-)

The whole Fred Thompson thing has been slightly eerie. I know Luntz (as good as it gets) thinks Fred has "peaked." There's an old line in Pittsburgh, with its Steeler-mania that the best quarterback in town is ALWAYS the second-string guy, the one who's never played. He must be better than the starter, right? Well, wrong.

I'm wearing my Diana Irey tee-shirt (for Congress), so I'm really in my political mode!

I believe the MSM has been somewhat less objectinable this year in trying to influence how people vote. It isn't that they've "gotten religion" in terms of fairness, just that there are so many candidates and so many debates, which are good.

Even Chris Dodd said something intelligent recently, and that's a very good week. (He said Musharraf was the only thing standing between us and a fundamentalist Pakistan.) He then went on to pretend that al Qaeda was not a major force in Iraq, which spoiled the rare moment.

I wish Mike had more even more of his strong point, which is that goodness and decency are exactly what the country needs. He has both in abundance.

I noted recently that I never (well, rarely) mentioned that Sarah Palin is physically attractive (which of course she is). Another thing I mention infrequently is the need for an anti-Hillary. I can imagine the race, even with Sarah in the second spot, turning into a Hillary-Sarah battle, which would be, as my father used to say, a "wing-doozer."