Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Schadenfreude, or Why It Isn't So Bad To Be A Republican Right Now

Times have been tough for Republicans in the last few years. It seems that many people would rather go on a blind date with Lucifer than countenance being governed by President Bush for 5 minutes. Throw-up-a-little-in-your-mouth-inducing scandals from Republicans Mark Foley, David Vitter, and Senator Tappy-toes, Larry Craig. Losing both Houses of Congress in 2006 despite the Democrats fielding cretins like Jim Webb, who daily shames the good reputation of my beloved Commonwealth of Virginia as its junior Senator. And despite the nearly indescribable incompetence of Democratic leadership of the current 110th Congress, it is almost a certainty that Democrats will actually expand their majority in both Houses in the next elections. And let's not forget the indigestion that is Nominee McCain. It's enough to make you want to move to Canada.

Then, just when it seems that your shiny dreams of Perpetual Republican Domination and Awesomeness (PRDA) are about to be dashed, you get the healing gift of Schadenfreude.

Yes, friends, it is time to take pleasure in the misfortune of the Democrats. There is, of course, the wonderful debacle that is the Democratic presidential primary. The Florida and Michigan problems, the Super Delegates, beer voters v. wine voters. There is so much to be enjoy in the, heh, quagmire that the Democrats have created for themselves that I'll address it more thoroughly in a future post. For now, I'll let Gov. Romney have the last word on the this:

"Listening to Obama and Clinton discuss their national security credentials, Romney said, is akin to “listening to two chihuahuas argue about which is the biggest dog.”

Then there is New York's Governor, Eliot Spitzer. Governor Spitzer was, of course, a star in the Democratic party. Nationally famous for appointing himself the "Sheriff of Wall Street" during his time as New York's Attorney General (although he was a scrupulous as the Sheriff of Nottingham by most accounts), he was elected Governor in 2006 with 70% of the vote promising to "bring ethics back to Albany".

Now, he has been implicated in a high-priced prostitution ring and may be indicted not only for solicitation but on federal money laundering and white-slave traffic charges. (Seriously. The formal name of the Mann Act that Spitzer allegedly violated is the United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910.)

This is delicious, of course, because Spitzer is a sanctimonious, self-righteous prat who regularly impugned the motives and character of his adversaries and abused his powers of office in his crusades against "corruption". There was a great piece on Spitzer's rise and fall in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

Not only is it nice to see a Democratic star knocked from the firmament (many Democrats thought that Spitzer could become the first Jewish president), but the fact that this is being played out in the New York media makes the scandal even more entertaining. To see what I mean, check out the great suggested Spitzer headlines from the readers of the New York Post below.

Best New York Post Readers' Spitzer Headlines

The New York Post, which is famous for its pithy headlines, asked its readers for some headline suggestions regarding the Spitzer scandal. Here are some of the best ones (I won't link to the Post website because some of the suggestions are just plain gross) for your enjoyment:

  • SPITZER INJECTS $4,300 INTO ECONOMY AS PART OF SWEEPING GOVERNMENT STIMULUS PACKAGE [$4,300 was the amount Spitzer allegedly paid for the rendezvous in question]
  • TXT FOR GOV: U R N TRBL [Spitzer allegedly used text messages to arrange his liaisons with the call girls.]
  • AT LEAST HE'S NOT GAY [An allusion to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey was resigned after he admitted to an extramarital affair with another man.]
  • WHAT DID SPITZER HO, AND WHEN DID HE HO IT? [A play on the famous question from the Watergate hearings.]
  • SCHTUPPER-GATE [An allusion to the "Troopergate" scandal where Arkansas state troopers allegedly arranged liaisons for then-Governor Bill Clinton.]
  • BILL WAS CLIENT #1, #2, #3, #4.... [Spitzer was referred to as "Client 9" in the FBI complaint.]
And my personal favorite:

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Ironical Nature of McCain's FEC Problems

(And, yes, that is a word.)

So, it seems that Senator McCain, the champion of the free speech-abridging campaign finance law which bears his name, is now having yet more problems regarding his campaign's finances.

The McCain-Feingold bill put a limit on the amount of money that an individual could give to a political candidate; $2300 for the primaries and $2300 for the general election. This proved especially problematic for McCain as there were 5 different Republicans who, at one time or another, led in the national polls before McCain secured a clear front-runner status. This had the practical effect of spreading Republican donations out amongst many different candidates. In fact, both Governor Romney and Mayor Giuliani, who have both dropped their bids, had raised more money than McCain as of the last Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing on January 31 (Romney raised $14m more than McCain, not counting his own money; Giuliani raised $13m more than McCain).

In order to keep his campaign afloat, McCain took out a $3m line of credit with a bank, pledging his donor lists and a life insurance policy as collateral. Now it appears that he was loaned another $1m using his eligibility for federal matching funds as collateral, for which he applied when it looked like he might need to rely on public financing when his campaign was floundering and his donations were drying up.

Well, now that he's the only Republican left standing (and, no, I don't count Huckabee), he doesn't want to use public financing as it would basically hamstring his campaign until September. And by hamstring, I mean hamstring. If I understand the byzantine strictures of the public financing rules correctly, McCain would only be allowed to spend $50m on his primary campaign. Well, McCain has already spent roughly $48.5m as of January 31. For all practical purposes, this would mean that McCain could not spend any money between now and September. Barak Obama spent nearly $30m in January alone and he's reportedly raised $60m in February alone.

McCain is now trying to lawyer his way out of this mess, saying that they didn't actually pledge his federal funds eligibility but that he pledged to pledge for future federal funds, or some such nonsense. The FEC chairman made it known that he still has "questions" about whether McCain's loan shenanigans will allow him to drop out of the public financing regime. The ironical part, of course, is that McCain never would have even considered applying for public financing were it not for the unconstitutional donation restrictions of his own legislation.

The other ironical part of this charade is that, even if McCain did violate FEC rules, it may not matter because the FEC is currently operating without a quorum amongst its commissioners, which is required in order to issue enforcement edicts. There are currently only 2 commissioners out of 6 that are have been confirmed by the Senate, leaving the FEC in the role of an non-binding advisory panel and not an enforcement agency. This situation is the doing can't make this stuff up...Barak Obama and Russ Feingold. Senators Obama and Feingold put a "hold" one of the Republican nominees, Hans von Spakovsky, for the FEC (which is comprised of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats). Mr. von Spakovsky believes that people should be forced to show an ID before they vote, which is apparently a racist notion (because somehow forcing poor minorities to get a photo ID is akin to disenfranchisement even though you can't so much as cash a check without one).

Many have speculated that Obama (the idealist) was motivated by a desire to trip up his primary opponent John Edwards, who was the only major Democratic candidate who had applied for public funds, and Russ Feingold was probably either motivated by his profound sense of White Guilt or by his desire to make federal elections as difficult as possible (see the aforementioned McCain-Feingold law). The Republicans responded by putting a reciprocal "hold" on the Democratic nominees, and it's been a standoff ever since.

So, McCain's likely opponent and the co-sponsor of the legislation that created this loan mess for McCain in the first place, may likely save his hide with their back room maneuvering. Like I said, you can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Questions for Oscar Night

My apologies for my extremely lackluster posting performance in the last week. To get us back into the swing of things, here's a little something that I've worked up for those of you who will be watching the Oscars this Sunday.

One frustration in being a political junkie is that the answers to political questions can be a long time coming. Will Congress ever be able be able to clear its schedule of such pressing matters as naming a "National Quilt Museum of the United States" so that the FISA legislation can be passed? Will Michelle Obama ever find something in this dear country of ours to be proud of besides her husband? How long will it take for John McCain to realize that he was profoundly silly for believing the MSM wouldn't turn on him the moment that he secured the nomination? (With Gov. Romney's delegates included, McCain has enough delegates with his win Tuesday in Wisconsin to secure the nomination. And on Wednesday, we have this.) These are all questions for which we may not find any answer for a very long time.

However, here are some questions for which you will likely find answers during this year's Oscar telecast:
  • Given that this will be the last Oscar ceremony during the Bush Administration, how many celebrities will take the opportunity to make one last demeaning remark about President Bush's supposed lack of intelligence, despite the fact that very few celebrities today have more than a high school education? (An old-school item on that here.)
  • Which celebrities who've flown to LA in fuel-sucking private jets will roll up to the red carpet in hybrid cars?

  • Which starlets will be wearing dresses custom-made by a prestigious designers--and which cost more than your car--and will still look like your crazy cousin Lacey when she showed up drunk to your brother's wedding wearing her prom dress that didn't fit her even back when she wore it to her prom?

  • Will Ben Stiller seem pissed because he's been asked to present another Oscar--like he is every year--even though he'll never, ever, ever get nominated for one, and despite the fact that his movies routinely make more money than all the Best Picture nominees put together?

  • How many times will you want to punch Sean Penn when he makes a snitty political comment that's less original than the novelty t-shirt you just bought, but then looks so pleased with himself like he's just cured cancer or something?

  • How many times will the camera show Jack Nicholson looking crazy and raising his eyebrows?

  • How many fights will break out when the guys all comment on how hot Penelope Cruz is and the girls say that they don't get it and that her face is out of proportion?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

4 out of 34 for McCain!

So, after another round of primary contests yesterday in the "Potomac Primary", Senator McCain has carried the conservative another blue state. McCain won handily overall in the three primary contests that were held yesterday in Maryland, Washington, DC, and my beloved Commonwealth of Virginia. True to form, however, he lost the conservative vote in Virginia.

Virginia is, of course, the only one of the the (DC isn't a state and, hopefully, never will be, although they do get 3 electoral votes), that McCain could conceivably carry in the general election. Maryland is a true blue state that hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush's landslide in 1988 and doesn't have a single Republican to be found in a statewide office. The District of Columbia is the deepest of all They haven't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since...1956. That's right! Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last Republican that got the stamp of approval from the good folks in the District.

Virginia's electoral votes, on the other hand, haven't gone to a Democrat since 1964.

(Parenthetically, you'll hear a lot of commentators refer to Virginia as a "purple state" on the theory that it's becoming more liberal. I don't know that I buy that. Although Democrats have had a lot of electoral success in the last number of years, I think it has much more to do with the horrid candidates that the Republicans cranked out than some newly discovered appeal of liberal ideology. The last two candidates for governor were simply awful, George Allen is an idiot who never should have lost to Jim Webb (thanks, Macaca!), and dopey Jim Gilmore has no business running for retiring Senator John Warner's seat and will surely lose. The Republicans in the Commonwealth just need to retire the old guard and get some fresh blood.)

McCain did win the conservative vote in Maryland. There isn't any exit poll information for the District, but I don't think that any self-respecting conservative could actually live in the District, so let's just assume that the 5711 Republicans (there were over 100,000 Democratic voters) that voted there fall in the "moderate" camp.

So, this brings the grand total of states in which McCain has carried the conservative vote to...drum roll...4. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and now Maryland. 4 states out of the 34 that have voted in primary contests so far, and all in states that he has virtually zero chance of carrying in the Fall.

But McCain's conservative problem is way overblown.

Free Speech Solidarity

A little change of pace here.

As noted by Capt. Ed on the excellent "Captain's Quarters" blog, Danish newspapers have reprinted the infamous editorial cartoon showing the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb wrapped in his turban, which set off riots around the Muslim world last year, in solidarity with the cartoonist who created the drawing after an alleged Islamist plot to assassinate him was foiled by Dutch authorities. As Capt. Ed writes, the Dutch papers, "...want to make the point that no one can intimidate them into silence."

Capt. Ed also notes that American media outlets have not been so brave in showing such solidarity as none of them have chosen to reprint the cartoon, nor have many outlets even reported on the arrests of the alleged assassins. Capt. Ed called on bloggers to take up some of the slack of the MSM and, "salute the courage of the Dutch on the front lines for free speech."

Here, here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guess That Politician

A fun new game over at Hot Air:

It’s the game in which I give you the answers that a select politician gave during an interview, and you guess who the politician is. Are you ready? Well, let’s play!

First question: America has lost a lot of friends because President George W. Bush angered, indeed outraged, them. He allowed human rights to be violated at Guantanamo Bay, and he dismissed the joint effort to combat global warming. Under a President [Myster Politician}, could we expect a change of course?

Mystery Politician: Yes. I would announce that we are not ever going to torture anyone held in American custody. I would announce that we were closing Guantanamo Bay and moving those prisoners to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and I would announce a commitment to addressing climate change and my dedication to a global agreement — but it has to include India and China.

Answer: A) Hillary Clinton; B) John Edwards; C) John McCain; D) Ron Paul

Second Question: Will America attempt to go it alone less frequently in the future?

Mystery Politician: Well, we all hope that America will be multilateral again in the future. There were times when the United States acted unilaterally, but I think we would all prefer to work in concert with our friends and allies.

Answer: A) Barack Obama; B) Hillary Clinton; C) Mike Huckabee; D) John McCain

Third Question: So is America coming back to renegotiate the Kyoto Protocol?

Mystery Politician: I believe America is going to enter into negotiations to try to reach a global agreement. But, as I said, that agreement must include India and China, two of the emerging economies of the world. We would be foolish not to do so.

Answer: A) Al Gore; B) John McCain; C) Dennis Kucinich; D) Hillary Clinton

No Googling. Lock in your replies and then click here for the answers.

I guess it won't come as much of a surprise to the reader(s) of this blog as to who the politician in question is. Read the whole interview.

Another fascinating tidbit you'll find is that the politician in question (if you haven't really figured it out by now, you need a Diet Coke to get your brain working or something), denies that he has a temper. He says the various reports of his, for example, screaming profanities at his colleagues are "...completely false and orchestrated by my political opponents." I've linked this article before, but it's a nice roundup of those smears by his "political opponents":

Why does...the politician in question...deny things that he has already said multiple times to the press (e.g. his not being well-versed in economic matters), or which have already been reported on multiple times by the press (e.g. his temper tantrums)?

Also, why does he give an interview like this, which simply reaffirms some conservatives' complaints about him, on the day of the Potomac Primary?

Maybe he thought that Americans wouldn't see the interview since it appeared in a German paper. Many people of his generation are confused about how information travels these days via the Interweb.

Monday, February 11, 2008

McCain's Conservative Problem Overblown?

According to Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner it is. He argues that conservatives, "...shouldn't ask [McCain], in this difficult year for conservative political prospects, to do anything that compromises his standing with independents..." Ah, the elusive and ever-important Independent Voter.

The problem with self-identified independents, of course, is that most of them aren't. Even if voters chooses not to affiliate themselves with either of the two dominant political parties, they tend to "lean" towards one or the other. To be truly "independent" of either party in a two-party system, you must either vote for infeasible third-party candidates, or not vote at all. As Professor Matthew Baum of UCLA explains, "Cynicism is inversely related to political involvement. Those who vote tend to be ideologically driven. True independents are just not as politically active."

I think it would be more accurate for Mr. Ponnuru to say that conservatives shouldn't ask McCain to do anything that would compromise his standing with moderate and liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats whose votes he could conceivably lose to Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama.

The problem, of course, is that McCain doesn't have a problem with any of these groups. They are the ones that have put him where he is today as the presumptive nominee of the party. As I discussed in my blog posting way back in, er, last week, McCain won amongst self-identified conservatives in only 3 of the 28 states that had voted as of Super Tuesday (IL, NY, NJ), none of which he's likely to carry in the general election. Even after the exits of Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney from the race--leaving only the neopopulist Huckabee and the moonbat Paul as competitors--it seems that McCain still can't win the conservative vote.

Since Super Tuesday, we've had 3 more contests. In Louisiana, he lost the conservative vote to Huckabee, and although I can't find exit polling from Kansas or Washington, it seems safe to assume that he lost it in those states given that 75% and 74% of their voters, respectively, voted for someone who wasn't John McCain.

Commentators such as Mr. Ponnuru, Bill Kristol (and, seemingly, the whole staff at The Weekly Standard), and others seems to think that conservatives just need to suck it up and not make any demands of Senator McCain lest he lose the magical maverickness that makes him so scrumdiddlyumptious to "independents"...who are either just Republicans or Democrats with commitment issues, or people who will be voting for such candidates as Lydon LaRouche.

The better argument would seem to be that McCain should be a lot more worried about making the bloc of voters which he doesn't already have in his back pocket (that would be, say it with me now, the conservatives!) decide that they can actually trust him after nearly a decade of high profile love-ins with the most liberal senators in the land.

Many of these commentators keep alluding to the possibility of McCain being the only Republican who could conceivably get a solid percentage of the "independent" and crossover Democratic vote like President Reagan did in 1980. Just a couple of points on that theory:
  1. John McCain is no Ronald Reagan. Reagan was one of the most naturally gifted politicians of the modern age who also had the power of ideas, idealism, and solid policy solutions winding his sails (unlike other natural politicians who are just, as they say, empty suits, like Bill Clinton and Barak Obama).
  2. Reagan was running against one of the worst and most unpopular presidents of the modern age. McCain will suffer from his soon-to-be-former friends in the MSM trying to tie him at every turn to President Bush (who is very unpopular, but will, I suspect, actually get some grudging respect down the road...unlike Jimmy Carter).
  3. Reagan didn't lose the conservative vote. He convinced the "independents" and Democrats to vote for a conservative, not the other way around.
So, au contraire, M. Ponnuru! McCain's conservative problem is just that. A problem.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sorrow Cake

My hilarious little sister (she's 25, but still) made me a "sorrow cake" to salve my wounded spirit after Governor Romney suspended his bid for the White House.

The writing is blue because "McCain's a Democrat" and she included the "Over the Hill" tombstone candle because McCain's probably going he's of such an advanced age.

I'll probably have to make my sister a cake if (when?) Hillary wins in November. She really doesn't like Hillary.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"I'm a Conservative. For Realsies."

So, here we are. Barring his untimely demise before the convention in St. Paul (which, I have to suspect, is why Romney is only "suspending" his campaign), Old Man McCain (hereafter, OMM) is going to be our nominee. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I downed a half-bottle of Pepto and forced myself to watch OMM's speech at CPAC. It was a good enough speech. OMM tried his best to be humble instead of sanctimonious, to be good-humored instead of snearing, to be conciliatory instead of obstinate, and he sold the act fairly well. One has to wonder if the late start of his speech was not the result of overly-long introductions by Senators Allen and Coburn, but, rather, of his aides keeping him off the rostrum until he was sufficiently buzzed so he wouldn't give the crowd the bird if they booed him. (Word is that the CPAC people packed the hall with McCainiacs so any potential hecklers were in the back and out of earshot.)

After the speech, many commentators said such silly things as, "He hit it out of the park!" I have to wonder if the children of many of these commentators have an overdeveloped sense of self-esteem.
Commentator: What's this, sweetie?

3-year-old Child of Commentator: It's a doggy.

Commentator: Oh, yes. These four squiggly lines and this spiraly thing definitely look like a doggy. I don't know how I missed that before. You hit this doggy picture out of the park!

But I digress. It was a good enough speech. OMM did two really smart things:
  1. He pointed out the areas in which he is and has been a reliable conservative (for the most part). He has a great record against pork barrel spending, on life issues, on Iraq.
  2. He pointed out how scary many of the policy positions of the potential Democratic nominees are.
Where OMM still has to refine his pitch is in explaining all of the various and sundry ways that he has put his finger in the collective eye of conservatives over the past 7 years. To his credit, he didn't seem to be laboring under any illusion as to the specific issues that comprise the conservative complaint against him, and he enumerated many of them explicitly. The problem, in my eyes, is that his defense of these "departures" rarely rose above any of the material that he's already trotted out on the stump or in the debates. His defense usually takes one or more of the following tacts:
  1. I won't admit that I was wrong in the first instance, but I'll change my behavior now because you insist upon it, and that should be enough (e.g. "Securing the border", "Making the Bush tax cuts permanent").
  2. I may have strayed from conservative orthodoxy in the past, but I'm now being advised by people who haven't (e.g. Phil Gramm, Jack Kemp, Ted Olson, et al).
  3. I may have strayed from conservative orthodoxy in the past, I won't address whether I'll continue to do so in the future, but know that at least my positions are sincerely held (e.g. Free speech, global warming, Gitmo, etc.).
  4. Some mix of allusions to Reagan foot soldiering, ACU ratings, Vietnam, defending the country, loving the country, serving the county, etc.
Now, the problem with these various tacts is that if conservatives liked mushiness, they'd be liberals. Conservatives are to concrete as liberals are to peat bog. They don't want to hear peat-y pronouncements about Phil Gramm, they want to hear, "I was wrong to vote against the Bush tax cuts and to use liberal class warfare rhetoric to justify my votes, and I won't ever do it again. Cross my heart. No take-backs."

Until we hear some of that music coming out of OMM's mouth, he's not going to make the sale. For realsies.

Governor Romney Exits, Stage Right

Governor Mitt Romney just announced at CPAC that he is suspending his presidential campaign, with a great and gracious speech. Read it here:

If anyone needs me, I'll be crying into my Mitt '08 shirt, eating chocolate, and watching old Romney speeches on YouTube.

McCain's Electibility

I was out running around all day and I missed all the crazy excitement on my new blog, which included the link from pro-blogger Dan Riehl (see the post below) and the very first snarky comment from a reader. I feel like Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich when she finds out that her baby has said her first word while she was out fighting The Man (or the power company...whatever). I wasn't out fighting The Man (nor the power company), but still.

Moving on...

Once I become a blogger of Riehlian proportions, I surely won't have time to respond to all of the comments that are left on my blog, but in honor of my first reader comment (and because the reader was snarky, quoted Strong Bad, and brings up an excellent topic of discussion), I shall respond herewith.

The reader commented thus:

As Strongbad would say, "So friggin' what?"

All that verbosity, and what's your point? Do you actually claim Romney, or any other Republican currently running for president, would do better?

Let's put the "Romney is more viable" thing to bed once and for all. Huckabee can't win outside the South. Romney can't win in the South. McCain has the broadest appeal, and he beats Hillary in the general:

"Hillary Clinton will help drive conservatives and independents McCain's way overnight," said Republican strategist Scott Reed. "I believe that would be a more attractive race for Republicans."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney matches up far worse against the two Democrats. In polls on a head-to-head matchup with Mrs. Clinton stretching back more than a year, Mr. Romney topped the senator just twice in 77 surveys.

In 55 polls against Mr. Obama, he lost in every one. An ABC News/Washington Post poll from Friday put the senator up by 25 points.

Now, much of the reader's argument is based on head-to-head polls 9-10 months out that show that McCain can beat Hillary or Barak in November and that Romney can't. Remember who was the prohibitive Republican front runner for nearly all of 2007 according to the polls? Rudy Giuliani. Remember how every poll in NH showed Barak beating Hillary? Whether there are 2 polls or 200 all saying the same thing, polls are a notoriously unreliable indicators in general and are bordering on meaningless this far out.

The second part of the reader's argument trots out the meme that the conservative base will be scared into voting for McCain by the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. This hasn't been borne out by the results thus far. Hillary Clinton has been the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination all along (and probably still is despite Barak's strong campaign) and conservatives have, nevertheless, overwhelmingly NOT voted for McCain. The conservative base in the 28 states that have voted so far have had a chance to huddle behind McCain to protect them from evil HRC and they haven't done so.

It's true that McCain has a much broader appeal with moderates and independents, but he has not shown any strength with the base whatsoever. The whole point of my post was that the majority of the states that have propelled McCain into the lead will not be in the Republicans' column in November no matter who becomes the nominee. Romney and Huckabee have won nearly all of the "red" states that have voted thus far, despite the fact that McCain has won the moderate and independent votes in nearly all of those same states. There simply aren't enough moderates and independents to push McCain to a win in November if the base stays home.

To answer the reader's question, yes, I believe Romney would do better than McCain in November. First, he's won more conservative votes than either McCain or Huckabee, which is a clear indication that he has a good shot at rallying the base. Second, Romney hasn't won any Southern states, but he also hasn't been routed in any of them, with the exception of Arkansas. There is no reason to believe that Romney couldn't carry these very red states if he were the nominee (thus taking Huckabee out of the equation), again given his demonstrated strength with the base.

Lastly, let's not forget that the Democrats are energized, organized, and have a ton of money. McCain mismanaged his campaign nearly to the point of extinction when the race had barely heated up last summer, and had to pledge his donor lists as collateral to get a $3 million loan to keep his campaign afloat in the fall. His fund raising "prowess" is exceptionally weak, and his campaign has very little ground organization. McCain's ability to manage a large campaign enterprise has not been demonstrated by any objective measure. Romney has raised more money than any other Republican, and has done little but manage large enterprises his whole life.

Not to mention that Romney has his personal wealth to draw on, he has no issues in terms of age or health (McCain will be 12 or 26 years older than the Democrat), he has no personal baggage (McCain's temper, Keating 5, multiple affairs, leaving his sick wife, etc.), and he has actual executive experience which neither McCain, Clinton, or Obama can claim.

So, in all of my verbosity, yes, I think that Romney would stand a better chance of winning against the Democrats in November. But, alas, the blue states and the 10-month-out polls say otherwise.

Linked by a First String Blogger!

Many thanks go out to Dan Riehl at the Riehl World View blog for linking to my last post. Dan is one of the few blogs that I read on a daily basis, so a link on his blog is very exciting.

If you don't have Riehl World View in your bookmarks, you should. Check it out here:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

There's no way this would be happening if these candidates were on "American Idol"

Can we please scrap this absurd primary "system" already? Honestly, is this any way to select a presidential nominee? And, lest we forget, the Republican nominee will also become the de facto head--the standard bearer--of the Republican party. At least until, if McCain is the nominee, he loses the election for us and goes back with his RINO buddies in that mud wallow that we call the US Senate to resume his battle against the Republican party.

So, let's look at how we arrived at this juncture where McCain has vaulted to the head of the pack in the race to lead the Republican party.

Here are the states that McCain has won thus far:

Now, I went through and did a little analysis of how these states have voted in the last four presidential elections which have all been, more or less, of the non-landslide variety. States that voted 100% Republican or Democratic were labeled red or blue, respectively; states that went 3 out of 4 one way or the other were labeled as leaning red or blue; and those which were split 50:50 were labeled as toss-ups. A case can be made that some of these states are trending one way or another based on recent state elections and other factors, but I thought I'd keep it simple for this analysis. Here we have the breakdown of Senator McCain's primary victories in red and blue:

Red States: SC, OK
Lean Red: FL, AZ
Toss-up: MO
Lean Blue: NH
Blue: NY, NJ, CT, DE, IL, CA

To put this in perspective, the 7 "blue" and "lean blue" states that McCain has won thus far have cast a grand total of 552 electoral votes in the last 4 elections. 548 of those votes have gone to the Democratic nominee, and 4 (count 'em!) to the Republican. Furthermore, all 14 of the US Senators from these states are Democrats, such as current and former Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Joe Lieberman of Kerry/Lieberman fame. Bottom line: These are not states that the Republicans are going to carry in November.

Further, the largest chunk of McCain's delegates have come from the deep blue "winner take all" states of NY, NJ, CT, and DE (IL is not technically a "winner take all" state, but it might as well be as McCain got 55 delegates to Romney's 3 for a 47/29% win), which means, in effect, that these states which will not vote for the Republican nominee in November have an out-sized influence in determining who that nominee will be.

Also, according to exit poll data available through CNN, McCain has failed to carry the voters who identify themselves as "conservative" in all of the states that he has won except for the deep blue states of IL, NJ, and NY (I can't find any poll data for DE), and he hasn't won the conservative vote in any of the states that he hasn't won. (Romney and Huckabee have both won the conservative vote in states that they lost overall.)

So, to recap:
  • McCain now has a huge advantage in terms of delegates and momentum to gain the Republican nomination
  • McCain's front runner status is the result of his winning 7 deep blue states (including the states with the 1st and 3rd largest number of electoral votes) that, if history holds, won't vote for a Republican in November, 3 that might (MO, FL, AZ), and 2 that probably will (SC, OK)
  • The largest chunk of McCain's delegates come from deep blue "winner take all" states that, again, won't vote for a Republican in November
  • McCain has lost the conservative vote in every one of the 28 states that have held contests thus far (I'm leaving LA and HI out for now since no delegates have been assigned) except for the 3 deep blues states of IL, NY, and NJ
So, McCain rides into St. Paul on the great wave of blue state delegates and moderates and independents (i.e. not the base) to carry the Grand Old Party to...a crushing defeat against either of the Democratic nominees, neither of whom has any business running for president.

What a great primary system! Totally fitting for the greatest democracy the world has ever known. Special thanks go out to Iowa and New Hampshire for insisting on having to be first at any cost, all the other states that moved up their primaries so as to allow no time for the voting public to digest and correct the inevitable idiocy of the early states, to Rudy Giuliani and the various state legislatures for the "winner take all" rules (which even the Democrats were clever enough to see as a unhelpful in a primary process), and to the RNC and Congress which let is all happen. Well played.

How about, for 2012, we just have the candidates get on TV, give a stump speech, sing a song, hear what Randy, Paula, and Simon have to say, and then let everyone just text in their vote for the nominee? It couldn't possibly be any worse than what we're seeing right now.

And the sad reality, or course, is that about 8 times as many people decide who should stay in the race to be the American Idol every week as have cast their vote to determine who our nominee is going to be.

As Liz Lemon would say, "Blerg".