Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Political Facts As Things Stand

I think it’s useful for you and I and others who care about the integrity of American policies like the respect of life, the respect of privacy, the respect of free people and free markets, etc, to acknowledge the facts of how the public behaves, which is not like you and I. I believe strongly that Huckabee brings and delivers the clearest and most urgent message for the good of American culture.

And, as to great extent illustrated in Iowa, when he has plenty of time to deliver that message to personally deliver that message to the American people, it is well-received by a substantial number of Americans. I also believe as I am sure you do that unforseen things can and do happen, as we have seen in this very unique presidential election cycle.

As long as he’s on the ballot, I wil vote for Huckabee. And in fact in Texas where he led in recent polls, he could win on March 4th if he’s still in the mix, and I expect he will if he is a strong presence. But the fact is that the vast majority of people do not vote on any sort of careful consideration: not in the manner that you and I do, nor in the aggravated visceral way that is so often exhibited on the blogs, across the political spectrum. Consider these things:

Only a couple of months ago, John McCain was considered politically dead. Many of the conservative blog bugs wish he still was. Mitt Romney was objectionable to many people, for reasons ranging from his religion to his posturing and pandering to his simple status among many conservatives as a governor of liberal Massachusetts.

Consider also that, as I have said elsewhere, in his last electoral faceoff only ten days ago, Huckabee drew 30% of the electorate, a majority of Republicans (McCain’s 33% included many Independents, who aren’ voting today and in most coming primaries), and almost surely would have won without Fred Thompson in the race and misleading people about both their records – he knew the conflicting truth).

Nevertheless, media and polls (chicken and egg?) today make Huckabee an also-ran in Florida and McCain and Romney the primary competitors. I think that we are in a much superior position today than we were ten years ago, but in terms of being mostly distracted by other things and politically lead around by the nose by media (even including the media, posts on which also largely reflect he promulgated pop-culture reality, there is still a substantial reality. I always strangely paid an extraordinary amount of attention to the political process. But even my perspective has been greatly exaggerated by a personal situation that has narrowed the focus of my life.

I don’t have to look far to see relative normalcy: my own friends and family are quite typically influenced by the popular culture prism. And, while I wish people paid a little closer attention, the bare fact is that most people, even beyond the bemusements of American life, are hard about what are, certainly in the near-term, much more critical activities without which essential concerns would not be met, including governmental ones. These are concerns like…oh, FOOD, clothing, housing, and every manner of industry.

Given those primary diversions yes, like it or not: most people will make their judgments on the pop-perception of the facts: do I prefer Romney or McCain, or later on, one of these or a Democrat? Are there objectionable things about Romney and McCain? Is Huckabee a better candidate? In both cases, I think, “Yes.” And in practical terms, it’s irrelevant. A sliver of the electorate that pays just a little attention with still very incomplete information, will determine two people from hundreds of millions of Americans, who will comprise Americans’ ultimate “choices.” I think that if that is going to change, it won’t be because of but in spite of Americans’ wisdom or lack thereof.

I think America needs dramatic change in its structure and perspective, and I think Huckabee is the only one who poses it: for example with his insistence on the sanctity of human life and his advocacy of The Fair Tax. But from the others, I don’t think we’ll get that change. In sum, I don’t trust McCain’s judgment and I don’t trust Romney’s character. But, I prefer a judgment defect to a character defect. And if McCain’s judgment is sometimes unfortunate, his sentiments are decidedly conservative in terms of spending and even in general.

I’d support a ticket McCain’s heart and and Huckabee’s judgment enthusiastically. I don’t think Romney will win in November and if he did, he would bring remarkable change: more business-as-usual.

3 comments:

Lee said...

In terms of the way we do politics in party nominations today, and with Super Tuesday up next week, I believe John McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination in Florida tonight. He's got a lead in the polls in most of the super tuesday states except Georgia and Alabama, where Huckabee has the lead.

From an ideological standpoint, a McCain-Huckabee ticket certainly doesn't seem likely, though they are probably closer than any of the other Republicans running. I somewhat expect McCain to grab one of the Florida politicians whose endorsements probably helped him win that state to run on the ticket with him.

Even so, the primary season has convinced me, seeing the turnouts and energy for the Democrats, getting more voters out and being the overwhelming choice of the 18-30 voters, that the Democratic nominee will cruise to a relatively easy election this year. Even in what was just a straw poll in Florida, they turned out more voters than the Republicans did, and also in South Carolina.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

McCain did everything tonight but offer the vice-presidency to Mike Huckabee. On my blog and elsewhere I'll be advocating that McCain choose Gov. Sarah Heath Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. If the V-P slot consisted mainly of doing monologues on late-night TV I'd be in favor of Mike. He talked tonight about " . . . finishing a strong fourth." As Fred Barnes pointed out, "There's no such thing as a STRONG FOURTH."

Larry said...

Lee:

I think McCain Huckabee makes sense fs not particularly offensive to Main Street (not NE/West Coast type) Democrats, especially if their candidate is Hillary with her high negatives. But, it will be aggravating and possibly repellant to a lot of conservative. For ill-studied or irrational reasons, there is a considerable correlation of those conservatives who hate both of them.

So, a Florida(Christ - Martinez is not American born) or Ohio or PA might be a better pick. That might leave social conservatives a bit left out. But, social conservatives aren't as likely as these flesh-eating conservatives to take a walk, I don't think.

Actually, I don't think Florida turned out more Democrats than Republicans. But, the difference certainly wasn't reflective of the relative importance of the prize.

If America is as far gone as you think, I don't know what we can do about it. But, my kids' generation is in for a hard-edged, self-absorbed, less productive and less benevolent world.

Steve:

I'd be happy with the choice of Palin. I think she'd offer some balance of McCain's occassional misjudgments.

I heard Fred Barnes' comments. I thought immediately: ten days ago, Mitt Romney finished fourth in South Carolina, after spending an enormously larger amount of time and money than third-place Fred Thompson.

Huckabee spent a fraction of the effort in Florida that Giuliani did, and with 3 or 4% probably rural votes remaining to report, Huckabee trailed Giuliani by a little more than 1%, about 22,000 votes. It could end up pretty near a tie for third.

I don't think Barnes was counting out Romney after SC. I don't think Barnes was deliberately discriminating against Huckabee. I think he has a natural, probably mostly subterrainian disdain for him.

As I said, Huckabee won among Republicans in SC, which he lost due to Independents and Fred Thompson, by around 7000 votes. The political chatters made quite a mountain of that molehill.