The National Whig

Serving to make the United States better by arguing for Liberty and its best ingredient Limited Government.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John McCain Wins Florida, The GOP Loses

Senator John McCain has been riding a wave of independent voters to victory pretty much since New Hampshire and it would seem that he did the same in Florida. The first sign of this came when the South Florida Sun-Sentinal reported a story of how an independent voter went into a polling place and admitted to not being registered in any party and yet was still allowed to vote in the Republican primary. And now, with the vote count finished and McCain annointed the leader, we see that the exit polls show that McCain received 44 percent of the independent vote, which made up 17 percent of the total vote in the Republican primary. Two assessments can be made from this fact: 1) independents were allowed to vote in the primary and 2) Conservatives do not like McCain.

First, everyone following this process knows that you cannot vote in the primary in Florida unless you are registered the particular party that you wish to vote in. So how in the world did John McCain--Mr. Independent--get independent votes in a state where the primary is closed to party members? Perhaps it was Charlie Crist, Florida's Governor who endorsed McCain, that managed to get a last minute rule change or maybe it was individual polling place workers who took it upon themselves to put the fix in for McCain. No one knows as of yet, but I will say that something stinks.

Next, is the lack of support for McCain from the base of the Republican Party. According the exit polls on CNN, McCain lost the Conservative vote to Mitt Romney by nearly ten percentage points. It has been that way for McCain the entire primary season. He is winning the Republican Party nomination race without winning the one segment of the Republican Party that makes up the base. It is looking like Huckabee is staying in it just to badger Romney and siphon off enough of the Conservative vote from Romney, giving McCain the victory. Maybe McCain and Huck have made an arrangement for the Huckster to be his running mate, I don't know. I do know this: Florida has set McCain up to be the Republican nominee and he has yet to garner a majority of the Conservative vote.

At this stage in the game, I am pretty certain that Hillary is going to be the Democrats' nominee, and as much as I do not want those two back in the Oval Office, I will never, ever vote for John McCain. I have gone through McCain's faults numerous times in this space, so there is no need to do so now. The only observation I will make is that it seems to me that the Republican Party is having their nominee stolen from them by the likes of a McCain/Huckabee agreement. Many pundits are making the case that the Republicans are looking for the candidate most likely to win in November, but that is not the case when you look at the current frontrunner and his support from Republicans/Conservatives. What Liberals and Moderates could not accomplish in 2000, they are doing in 2008 and it is at the detriment of the Republican Party.

Go here to look at the CNN exit polls:

Here's the Sun-Sentinal piece:,0,6968764,print.story

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nostalgia for Reagan is not the Problem

With the current Republican field beating each other up over who is the "real" Conservative in the primaries, there is a huge battle going on as to whether or not the Conservative movement is dead. Rush Limbaugh got into it with NY Times columnist David Brooks and over at National Review Online Mona Charen sings the praises of a new book by David Frum where he says, among other things, to "drop Reagan" and advocates a carbon tax. Now, over at The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol is picking up the mantra of drop Reagan and make a new conservatism.

Mr. Kristol begins by listing off the top Republicans and their good points and then tells Conservatives to overlook their other trangressions. He begins with John McCain and his "lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 82.3." McCain's lifetime ACU rating is fine, but let's look at recent history shall we? McCain's support for Campaign Finance Reform, amnesty for illegals, voting twice against President Bush's tax cuts, joining Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in wanting to fight man-made global warming are all signs that McCain cannot be trusted to govern even as a quasi-conservative. McCain's ACU rating would be well into the 90's had it not been for his support of these items. But above all, McCain's biggest fault is his insistance that the people down at Guantanamo Bay are sadists and torture the detainees there. There can be nothing more distrubing than for some one claiming to support the troops to call some of them sadists.

Next on Kristol's list is former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Kristol says that the Huckster is staunchly pro-life and pro-gun--which is great--but then goes on to make a major mistake in saying that Huckabee "is consistently supported by the most conservative primary voters." Huckabee has not been getting tremendous support from Conservative voters in the primaries; he's been getting his support from Evangelicals that are also identified as Conservatives. According to the exit polls from CNN's "Politics" page, Huckabee received 35 percent of the Conservative vote in South Carolina. The combined Conservative vote of McCain, Romney and Thompson swamp Huckabee's total. Just the combonation of Romney and Thompson alone are enough to tie Huck's total. In the Iowa caucuses, those who identified themselves as "somewhat to very" Conservative, again Huckabee got 34 and 35 percent respectively. Once again not enough to total the Conservative vote that went to Romney and Thompson, 45 and 36 percent. In New Hampshire Huckabee gets demolished by Romney among Conservatives, 18 to 38 respectively. Romney won Wyoming handily and there can be no question that the majority of voters there are Conservatives. In Michigan, Romney won that state as well with the support of 41 percent of the Conservative vote, while Huckabee received just 20 percent. And finally in Nevada, which Romney won the entire primary with 51 percent, Conservatives voted for Romney with 56 percent support. Huckabee garnered only 8 percent. It looks as though Mr. Kristol needs to go look at the exit polls and revise his comments about the Conservative support of Huckabee.

Now, I am singling out McCain and Huckabee because these are the two candidates that Conservatives are having a hard time voting for. If you listen to Limbaugh or go over to, you will find out real quick that Conservatives have a hard time getting behind McCain or Huckabee. And yet, in leading off his column telling us to drop Reagan, Kristol goes with McCain and Huckabee. It should be known that Kristol is a huge John McCain fan and he knows the troubles that McCain has in getting Conservative support. It would seem that Kristol is urging, not so much a dropping of Reaganism, but a redifinition of it to suit his chosen candidate's recent political stance. And that is where I, Rush and a whole host of Conservatives have a problem with the current wave of inside-the-Beltway wisdom. Why should we have to redefine Conservatism in order to win elections? Conservatism is being narrowly defined by people wanting to redefine it so as to make the case that it needs to be "modernized." They tell us that taxes are low, the Soviet Union is gone, crime is low and welfare has been reformed, so why do we need to hold on to Reagan's strand of Conservatism? The answer is quite simple: Reagan wasn't about specific issues, he was about leading a movement that happened to solve those specific issues.

Yeah, taxes are low today compared to when Reagan first took the oath of office, but they are creeping back up. When you combine all the taxes paid by the top income earners, you will see that they are paying nearly 45 percent on their income. Thanks to "man made global warming" regulations on the private sector are coming back and in worse ways than before. The energy bill that was signed last November by President Bush contained a little passage in it that outlaws the use of regular old light bulbs by 2012. Sure, welfare has been reformed, but we are no closer to downsizing the Federal government and that is because Conservatives haven't won the battle on dependency. It is a striking scene when you tell the American people that their Social Security will not be solvent by 2025 and give them a solution to fix it and then have them tell you no, leave it how it is. The amount of dependency in this country is striking and Conservatives are not going to turn the tide by "modernizing" the ideology.

What Conservatism needs is leadership from the elected side of the house. Conservatives have leaders such as Rush and National Review, but we need some one running for office to lead the movement and show us that it wins. We need some one to get into office and show us that Conservative principles work when implemented. There is no elected leadership in the Conservative movement. That's what ails us, not a clinging nostalgia for another Ronald Reagan.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Game On!!

Presidential election season 2008 is upon us and it has already delivered some rather exciting fireworks. On January 3 the people of Iowa kicked things off with their famous caucus in which two surprise victories happened, one for Barack Obama and the other for Mike Huckabee. Now, January 8, we have the first-of-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. As I write this, it is a close match for the Democrats between Obama and Hillary Clinton. For the Republicans, it was called early for John McCain. So at this very moment we still have a wide open race, at least for now.


Barack Obama, the junior Senator of Illinois, went into Iowa and won handily over Hillary Clinton. And he is giving another great performance in New Hampshire, trailing Clinton by 4000 votes. After Iowa, he was looked at as the frontrunner going into the Granite State, and rightfully so. All the polls leading up to today had him leading and the actions from the Hillary camp were anything but confident. There is an electricity in the air--so we're told--when Obama enters a room to give his stump speech. He is particularly liked by younger voters. But after all of this, he is still trailing Clinton.


Ah, Mrs. Inevitibility! She came in third in Iowa, getting beat by, not just Obama, but John Edwards. She has had a tough weekend in the press between then and tonight. And yesterday, she was holding back tears when explaining why she so badly wants to be president. Well, New Hampshire may just be the spark that ignites the inevitibility of Clinton to where it was just four months ago. It is looking pretty good that she is going to take New Hampshire and then the Democrats go on from there. The next state is South Carolina and the question is whether or not the predominantly black Democrat voters will support her or Obama. Many of the Democrat leaders within the black community are not sold on Obama so she may just come out on top, we'll see. One thing is certain, if you are an inevitible candidate, you do not loose even in Iowa.


On the Republican side, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has plenty of money and--according to him--the best organization. He spent more than any other Republican in Iowa and came in second to Huckabee. In New Hampshire, he went up against John McCain and again came in second. Seems that we have a running theme. A couple of things stand out though. In Iowa, Romney beat all Republicans when it came to non-evangelical caucus goers. There other thing is that the conventional wisdom said that, because of New Hampshires open primaries, McCain was going to have to court the independents in order to beat Romney, meaning that the Republicans like Romney despite some of the hangups that have been flung around his kneck. One more observation: Romney has plenty of money to make it to the end and he is the only Republican to finish where he was the state before.


He didn't really spend much time in Iowa and he technically came in fourth behind some one who was considered lazy when it comes to campaigning, Fred Thompson. New Hampshire was supposed to be his to loose, after all he beat a sitting president there in 2000 and is well liked in New Hampshire. McCain's biggest problem is that the Conservative base does not like him, and let's be honest, Iowa and New Hampshire are not good indicators into the preferences of the Conservative base. He has to go to South Carolina where it is expected that he will not do quite as well as he did tonight. The other state that is looking for McCain is Michigan, but he will have to do battle with Romney there once again and it will not be easy. McCain could be considered the darkhorse in the Republican race, but realistically I don't see him winning.


The victor in Iowa came in....third in New Hampshire. Not too surprising. Huckabee is running on his evangelical credentials with a splash of economic populism. He is going to South Carolina where his chances are remarkably better than they were in New Hampshire. He poses a great threat to the other Republicans because the Conservative coalition is heavily populated with evangelicals. He also poses a great threat to the Conservative movement because many within the movement that aren't evangelicals will have a hard time voting for him due to his economic acts while governor or Arkansas.


America's Mayor is waiting until February 5 when Florida and a whole host of other states are voting. Something like 22 states will be casting ballots, and Rudy is hoping that those states, many of which are friendly to him, will be there to propell him to the top. It's a gutsy move giving the rest of the field a whole month to gain momentum and peel off some of the states that the mayor is banking on. He, like Romney, does have a substantial amount of money, so with him skipping out of the hardcore campaigning in the early states he will have some ammo come February 5. The question for the Rudy camp is will it be enough.

The bottom line for both parties is that their nomination race is wide open. For the Democrats it is really a two person race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, while for the Republicans it is a little more wide open. The Republicans can claim no real frontrunner and right now it looks like a four way race. No one has won back to back and only one has held steady at second place with a lot more game to be played. The Democrats are going to have decide if they want to add more fuel to the dynasty fire that has risen since '88 when Bush 41 began the alternating presidencies. Or are they going to want to go with the guy that is being compared to the second coming of Bobby Kennedy. Either way, this year is going to be one of the most exciting presidential elections in my memory.