more cheap shots

Apparently my previous post struck a nerve with my buddy Chris.  I don’t recall saying anything about cheap shots being the sole domain of the Democrats.  I also think there’s a difference between saying something really stupid, like the GOP Congressional candidate he mentions in his post, and calling a candidate a “warmonger” and a “blatant opportunist”. I do give Obama credit for apologizing for Ed Schultz, but he had to do that, even if he agrees with Schultz. It’s hard to decide how outraged to be about what this McCain supporter said about Obama when it’s unclear what the guy meant by that statement (as Chris admits in his post).

I disagree with Chris and with Ed Schultz about McCain being a warmonger.  Maybe it’s the definition we disagree about here.  McCain intends to keep troops in Iraq as long as they are necessary to keep Iraq from falling apart.  You can support that position or not, but this doesn’t automatically make him a warmonger. McCain won’t be trigger-happy on potential future wars.  No one who has served in the military would be.  I thought the Democrats had this view — that those who have never served should have less credibility than those who have when it comes to discussions of war.  There’s another reason that McCain has a stake in Iraq, and it’s that his son is serving there.  Do the Dems really want to argue that McCain wouldn’t take every future decision on what to do next in Iraq seriously with his son’s life on the line?

I’m not trying to defend Iraq.  I don’t think it’s possible to make any progress on that argument at this point, since both sides have dug in their heels and nothing will keep them from believing what they believe about Iraq. But McCain has less faith in the Bush democracy project than he will admit.

cheap shot artists

Thanks for reminding John McCain who his opposition really is, Democrats. In case he wasn’t sure that the Democrats would say anything mean about him before the election, now he knows differently. Step right up and take those cheap shots. I’m talking to you, Ed Schultz, Howard Dean, and John F. Kerry. For those who have never heard of Ed Schultz, he is a liberal talk radio guy who occasionally appears on cable news shows and represents the Airhead America point of view. He called John McCain a warmonger. That doesn’t sound all that inflammatory in print, but it suggests that McCain is someone who is looking to pick fights that have nothing to do with our national security interests. I don’t see McCain this way, and in spite of his bad joke about bombing Iran, I don’t think he would be as willing to do it as the Democrats suggest that he is. I also think he’s more open to the kind of diplomacy Hillary and Obama keep talking about than he can admit as the Republican nominee.

DNC chairman Howard Dean is the gift that keeps on giving for Republicans. He always gives us such great material for our campaign ads. Think you might see this quote again?

He says:

John McCain can try to reintroduce himself to the country, but he can’t change the fact that he cast aside his principles to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush for the last seven years.

While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years.

That’s right. Howard Dean calls John McCain a blatant opportunist. I suppose that this could be interpreted any number of ways, but to suggest, as Media Matters does, that Dean wasn’t accusing McCain of playing politics with his military service — that claim is laughable. Besides, under the Democrat rules of engagement, only those who have served in the military are qualified to support or criticize wars. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t include Howard Dean. Also, Dean is being disingenuous with his claim that McCain is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years. McCain did no such thing.

McCain has every right to include his military service in his re-introduction to the American people, because that’s a big part of who the man is. If his intention was to exploit that military service for maximum advantage, he would probably mention it every three seconds like John F. Kerry did in 2004. He also wouldn’t keep the fact that his son James is serving our country in Iraq a secret (more on that later).

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leave mitt alone

Some social conservatives can’t accept victory. Mitt Romney will not be our next President. They got what they wanted. They won. Seems to me they can’t take yes for an answer. Thanks to their support of anyone but Romney, we are now stuck with McCain. Now a small vocal group of malcontents is making threats not to support McCain if he picks Romney as VP. They even have printed an ad (see PDF here). First of all, McCain knows that he got this far without their support, so what makes them think they have any influence on him now?  There’s also no guarantee this group wouldn’t sit the election out no matter what McCain does with Romney.

This is incredibly stupid on their part.  There’s no need to make threats about it, because McCain wouldn’t pick Romney anyway.  In some ways, Romney would be a smart choice.  He does shore up a McCain weakness as far as knowing something about the economy, so it does make sense in these economic times to take that aspect into consideration.  He would certainly be a desirable choice over Governor Crist, Governor Pawlenty, and McCain’s BFF Lindsey Graham.  Any of these guys more closely mirror McCain’s positions on the issues than Romney does.  But as much as I think Romney would make a fine VP, and even President someday,  now is not the time, and McCain has some better choices if he really cares what social conservatives want (that’s doubtful).

There are many other ways for Romney to raise his 2012 or 2016 profile without tying himself to a possible McCain presidency.  Of course, McCain’s VP may be the Republicans’ 2012 nominee, but I think Romney would be a strong contender without that built-in advantage.   He will have 4 to 8 years after the 2008 election to build up his conservative credentials.  I know that there are fellow Mitt fans out there who have complete faith in the guy, and who may find it unfair that he still has to prove himself to social conservatives, but we have to acknowledge that there are misconceptions out there that cause people not to trust him.  He has the ability to change this.  He just needs time.  Being McCain’s VP isn’t the right move for Mitt Romney, and with the other options McCain has, it’s not the right move for McCain either.

be very afraid of president mccain

So says the Financial Times.

McCain is even scarier than Bush because he will start more wars!  He will spread more “democracy by force”!  He’s actually serious about dealing with rogue states!  He really is a neocon, and his “realist” advisors — mere window-dressing.  Be very very afraid of this man.  He’s a close friend of Bill Kristol, who, as the left reminds us, has to be the most terrifying advocate of pre-emptive war EVER.  The Financial Times’ writer, Anatol Leiven, worries that McCain won’t talk to our allies enough before pursuing US foreign policy.  He seems to be fearful that a President McCain would get the UK into another war.  Does he seriously believe that PM Gordon Brown (for as long as he remains PM) and possible successor, David Cameron, have the same instincts as Tony Blair as far as a joint venture in more wars?  I don’t know the answer to that.

I do know what would happen if we let Europe attempt to defend itself.  It would be a miserable failure.  The UK has its own national identity crisis right now. The leadership there is willing to surrender piece by piece the UK’s national sovereignty.  There’s a reason why PM Brown and Labour will not allow the people to have a say on the Treaty of Lisbon, which gives more and more control and authority to the European Union.  It’s not much different from the EU Constitution, which was decisively rejected by several EU member states.  Why do I bring that up?  It’s important to recognize the signs of a fading power in the world.  A country unwilling to protect and preserve its own existence would hardly be a country willing to defend its allies, or to be a useful asset in the pursuit of the terrorists.

All I have to say to those like Leiven is: Be careful what you wish for.  After 4 years of President Obama or President Hillary, you might be sorry that you questioned the wisdom of electing John McCain.

mark sanford is now on the record


Mark Sanford, also known as the libertarian/conservative governor of South Carolina, tells conservatives why we should support John McCain in November and work to get him elected. The article is notable in what it doesn’t say. Sanford, like other South Carolina conservatives, has serious problems with McCain’s failed immigration plan, and shares most of the other concerns we have with John McCain — but he does not mention any of those concerns here.  Even though he didn’t endorse anyone when it could have mattered, I suspect Gov. Sanford was secretly backing someone other than McCain.  He’s doing what he feels he should do to support the Republican nominee, but this doesn’t look like someone who wants to be McCain’s VP.

Of course, I would lose much respect for Sanford if he started acting like Lindsey Graham around McCain.  But it is refreshing that even in his request for conservatives to support McCain, he doesn’t try to convince us that all the disagreements we have with him aren’t all that serious. I think Governor Sanford would be an excellent choice by McCain for VP. I know he’s not well-known nationally, but there’s no question conservatives can trust this guy to follow conservative principles because he’s done that as governor of SC. And by the way, I can’t believe McCain would be stupid enough to pick his BFF (Graham) for VP. If it’s not Sanford, I hope McCain’s VP pick is someone conservatives can trust, not a moderate Republican.

Read Governor Sanford’s argument for yourself here.  (It’s all about the fiscal conservatism of John McCain compared to Hillary and Barack’s many new spending proposals and the very real possibility of higher taxes to fund those proposals.) With the economy the way it is, it wouldn’t hurt to have a President committed to reducing spending, and that wouldn’t be either of the Democrats.


It’s all a matter of priorities. What we consider important in a President determines how we will vote.  I know I have been ignoring the Democrats lately, and I fully intend to remedy that in this post.

If you believe you have too much control of your own life, and would like to give some of that control to the government, vote for a Democrat.

If you believe that your fellow citizens should be paying for your health care, and that it’s the right of all Americans to have government-funded health care (no matter how much it costs), then vote for a Democrat.

If you value experience over change (and you are a Democrat), vote for Hillary.

If you think that George Bush has irrevocably hosed the country,and that it doesn’t matter who’s President because the problems in this country are unfixable – then you probably need to take a break from politics for awhile.

If you can’t handle any of the pieces of good news coming out of Iraq, don’t worry, Hillary and Barack will fix that soon enough.  I do think that, despite what Hillary says, she would take a wiser course on troop withdrawals than Barack would. Hillary has tacked left and right on the war in Iraq, but I suspect that once the war is her responsibility, she will act differently than she claims now.

If you are pro-choice, vote for a Democrat.

If you value change for the sake of change, vote for Barack.

If you think your taxes are way too low and that the rich aren’t paying enough, vote for a Democrat.

If you hate corporations, who employ people and create jobs in addition to making a profit, McCain, Hillary, and Obama all have a little red meat for ya.

If you care more about making a statement to the national Republican party instead of settling for someone who will give us more of what conservatives want than either Democrat, don’t vote — and no matter who wins, you can’t complain about the result. By the way, how did that work in ’06?

But if you care what happens to Iraq, and you want to see more justices on the Supreme Court like Alito, Roberts, and Thomas — vote for McCain.

If you are willing to settle for less than Reagan (and you should), then McCain is the best of the non-Reagan group.

I’m not saying that McCain should get a pass for all those dreadful pieces of legislation bearing his name.  I’m just pointing out that yes, there are significant differences between McCain and the Democrats opposing him in this election.

Conservatives have a decision to make.  It’s not about falling in line with the wishes of the Washington elites or the talk radio pundit class who disagree with the Washington elites.  We have to decide what is in the best interest of our country at this point in our history with the problems we face as a nation.  I think McCain is the candidate we should support.  I’m not thrilled about the choice, but it’s not just about me.  It’s not only about Rush, Levin, or Ann Coulter.  It’s about all of us.  We should be making decisions on that basis, not merely in our own self-interest.

mccain makes his pitch at CPAC

Here’s part of it:

All I ask of any American, conservative, moderate, independent, or enlightened Democrat, is to judge my record as a whole, and accept that I am not in the habit of making promises to my country that I do not intend to keep. I hope I have proven that in my life even to my critics. Then vote for or against me based on that record, my qualifications for the office, and the direction where I plainly state I intend to lead our country. If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for President, I will offer Americans, in what will be a very challenging and spirited contest, a clearly conservative approach to governing. I will make my case to voters, no matter what state they reside in, in the same way. I will not obscure my positions from voters who I fear might not share them. I will stand on my convictions, my conservative convictions, and trust in the good sense of the voters, and in my confidence that conservative principles still appeal to a majority of Americans, Republicans, Independents and Reagan Democrats.

Often elections in this country are fought within the margins of small differences. This one will not be. We are arguing about hugely consequential things. Whomever the Democrats nominate, they would govern this country in a way that will, in my opinion, take this country backward to the days when government felt empowered to take from us our freedom to decide for ourselves the course and quality of our lives; to substitute the muddled judgment of large and expanding federal bureaucracies for the common sense and values of the American people; to the timidity and wishful thinking of a time when we averted our eyes from terrible threats to our security that were so plainly gathering strength abroad. It is shameful and dangerous that Senate Democrats are blocking an extension of surveillance powers that enable our intelligence and law enforcement to defend our country against radical Islamic extremists. This election is going to be about big things, not small things. And I intend to fight as hard as I can to ensure that our principles prevail over theirs.

The good news and the bad news about McCain being our nominee is that we know what we are getting with him. If John McCain says he is going to do something, he is stubborn enough to follow through with it, whether we like it or not. It is encouraging that he is making the attempt to find common ground with his fierce opposition, and that attempt should be acknowledged as the inward struggle it must have been for him. He goes on to admit that he has made mistakes, although he still doesn’t agree with most conservatives on illegal immigration. If we can’t find total agreement with McCain, maybe it would be possible for us to agree that in most ways, he is much more conservative than either Hillary and Obama. Voting for either Democrat would mean that we would definitely regret that vote later, because there are glaring differences between the Democrats and John McCain.

nothing left to say

McCain wins big, Mitt struggles, and Huckabee picks up some southern states. The future of the race doesn’t look good for anyone but McCain, and we may have to resign ourselves to the real possibility that John McCain will be the Republican nominee for President.  There are no guarantees that he can beat Hillary or Obama, despite what the polls seem to be telling us.  He definitely won’t win if conservatives stay home, so I hope he plans a significant outreach program between now and the election.  He can’t change his record, but he can do more to reassure us that he has learned from his past mistakes.  Whether McCain does this or not, ultimately we all have to make the choice whether to support him or stay home.  It’s hard to motivate the base in an election year when your nominee is someone like McCain.

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it’s not personal

There are still many people who have serious policy disagreements with John McCain.  I am one of those people.  It is possible to believe that McCain is wrong on many of the issues conservative activists and talk show hosts care about, and still find him to be worthy of respect for his military service to our country.  McCain doesn’t make it easy to like him, and conservatives are having a tough time trying to accept that he might be our nominee.  I’m fighting that possibility myself.

But we can’t start attacking McCain’s military service.  He’s wrong on so many issues.  Let’s stick to arguments about policy, and leave the personal mudslinging to the nutroots and the Clinton campaign.  We shouldn’t be ok with this message:


I found this picture on  It’s a picture that one of their bloggers took at a Mitt Romney event.  People have strong feelings about illegal immigration.  I understand that, but comparing John McCain to Benedict Arnold is wrong, and we shouldn’t have to resort to this type of personal attack.  John McCain served our country honorably in the military, and he deserves our respect for that, if for no other reason.

it’s just not enough

If you scored this debate on points, then Mitt Romney won. Romney was able to get all of the arguments against McCain into this debate, and he was very effective in laying out the case against John McCain. Senator McCain is determined to make an issue out of something that Governor Romney said about timetables, and make him appear to be weak on the war in Iraq, just like the Democrats. He doesn’t have the evidence for that. Sure Romney could have had a stronger answer initially, but McCain has no additional evidence that Mitt Romney didn’t support the surge, once he got up-to-speed on what was going to happen. Mitt Romney isn’t comfortable being on the attack. He did land some punches on McCain, and he defended his own Massachusetts record the best he could. But once the focus gets off of Mitt’s strength (the economy) and shifts to the war in Iraq, that’s McCain’s home turf and Romney is a lot less comfortable talking about the war.

It’s a shame that we couldn’t see McCain/Romney head-to-head before Super Tuesday. They have plenty of differences that need to be further explored that we didn’t get to Wednesday night. Those two REALLY don’t like each other. I’m sure somebody will fact-check McCain’s slippery answers on immigration and his flip-flop on the reason for previously opposing the Bush tax cuts (twice). He said on Meet the Press on Sunday that in fact he would sign his own amnesty bill if it got to his desk. I’ve quoted it in a previous post. Then tonight, he said no, and then launched into the canned talking points he mentioned on Sunday. I feel like a broken record here talking about McCain’s record. His VP, Huck, is also ok with McCain’s views on immigration. He isn’t any more serious about bringing accountability to border security / immigration policy than McCain is.

Let’s talk about McCain and the tax cuts. His initial reason for opposing the tax cuts was that they “favored the wealthy too much”. Now he says that the reason was that Bush’s tax cuts were not offset by spending cuts. He was called on this by Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times. McCain ignores that part of the question, and instead repeats his new position that tax cuts should require spending cuts. I’m sympathetic to this argument, but McCain is not answering the question she asked, and even though he doesn’t invoke class warfare in his answer at this point — he does in the rest of the debate.

Huckabee and McCain are shameless in their anti-business rhetoric. I thought one of them would mention the “two Americas” at some point. This isn’t representative of Republicans or of conservatives. We appreciate people who don’t have to (or want to) depend on a government check every month, and who take the initiative to make something of their lives without much interference from the government. Freedom and liberty are conservative ideas. So is personal responsibility for your own success. Small business people take risks, and big corporations take risks. Sometimes they work. Sometimes the small businesses and big corporations have to lay people off. It happens. But the last thing we want to do is demonize the producers in this country, whether it’s people who have big jobs or people who have small jobs. They all drive the economy and make a positive contribution to this country. Stop ripping the rich people. They support your big government agendas. (Of course this could just be anti-Mitt rhetoric, but I think Huck and McCain are talking about more than just Mitt’s personal fortune.)

I hope Mitt did enough, but he’s not comfortable being the attack dog. Maybe his campaign will launch a better assault on McCain’s record than he did in this debate. That’s the only hope he has at this point, regardless of Hugh Hewitt’s support and his rosy scenarios on how Romney pulls off the upset. If he really wants to make a comeback and win more delegates, it might be a good idea to keep running some ads in the Super Tuesday states.

Transcript available here.

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