Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Potomac Tuesday

So it's our Super Tuesday here in the Potomac area. And a lot has changed over the past couple of weeks on both sides of the political aisle. So here's my take on what happened on the big Super Tuesday and what my perspective is going forward.

Super Tuesday saw John McCain basically wrap up the nomination. Fred Thompson dropped out and Big Mac took a commanding lead in the delegate count. Also Mike Huckabee did very well in the south taking some states that Romney had high hopes of picking up.

But the big story on Super Tuesday was how poorly John McCain did in the south. In fact Huckabee's success could be seen more as a negative reaction to McCain than a positive for Huck. And this is a situation that needs to get fixed, soon. McCain's large delegate pickups came from California and New York. Which makes sense, he is very popular with the Independents and soft liberals who live in those states. But come general election time those states will be blue. And he is silly if he thinks that he can win without the south. For a Republican to win he needs to win the whole south, and a majority of the Midwestern states as well. McCain polls really well against Hillary and Obama, but they will kick his tail in NY/CA.

And to his credit McCain has been saying all the right things and is trying to convince people that he really is a conservative who is compatible with the lifestyles of people in the South. Time will tell how successful he is in this endeavor. Of course a lot will depend on who he picks as his running mate. And also if Hillary gets the Dem nod then the South would automagically be united against her.

As sad as I was to see Mit Romney drop out. It was probably best for the party. McCain had beaten him despite a great stage presence and millions of dollars spent on advertising. So it was the right thing to do. It is better for him to drop out and encourage McCain to embrace more conservative positions than to spend months bashing his past record. I liked Mitt a lot, and I think he will be back in 2012. There is also some talk of him taking over the head of the GOP. But honestly, it's nice to be reassured that our elections aren't totally about who has the most money.

Rush Limbaugh has been lambasted by our media and some high ranking conservatives for not supporting John McCain. Rush has been very critical of Mac's 'maverick' tendencies. And not unjustly so. The claim is that Rush will ruin the party by not getting in line behind McCain. And frankly I find the claim ridiculous! Rush has always dealt with principles and ideals, not candidates and parties. Rush is the Maha Rushie because he articulates conservative life views in an entertaining manner. And while he supports certain candidates, based on their positions and ideology, he has never tried to play king maker nor has he ever wanted to take on that mantle. And really did John McCain think that he could take liberal positions on things like Global Warming, Campaign Finance, Taxes, and Illegal Immigration without coming under fire from someone who's job it is to to refute such positions?Seriously if Rush were to say "no it's ok, those issues don't matter" the he would basically be saying that he himself doesn't matter.

And really, these criticisms betray a lack of understanding about Rush's show. Rush has never been a spoon feeder of ideas. His show is popular because he uses clear and reasoned opinions and a rapier wit to gives voice to a lifestyle that already exists. Despite what talking head "drive by media" types would have you believe he is not a Pied Piper telling people what to think and how to vote. The Truth is that if Rush were trying to lead people around by the nose he would not be as successful as he is today.

Where do we go from here? That is the question facing many conservatives today. Who do you vote for? Do you jump on the McCain bandwagon? Or do you vote for the pastor with the populist rhetoric? Or do you sit out to teach the Republicans a lesson? Well honestly the Primary today makes very little difference. McCain will win, and VA is not a state that splits it's delegates, so the only reason to watch Huckabee's numbers is to see if he's close enough to get the VP spot.

McCain has the support of some people I respect (George Allen) and some that I don't (John Warner). At this point voting against him won't do much anyway. So what is the answer?

I think Michelle Malkin hit on it earlier this week:

Some on the Right advise their readers and listeners to vote Democrat or sit home. My advice is exactly the opposite: Get off the couch and walk the walk for conservative candidates and officeholders who need all the help they can get defending free markets, free minds, and secure borders—no matter who takes the White House in November.

Dissatisfied with the flawed crop of GOP candidates who lacked the energy, organizational skills, and ideological strength to carry the conservative banner and ignite your passions? Then pay attention to the next generation of Republican state legislators who do vote consistently to lower your taxes, uphold the sanctity of life, defend marriage, and cut government spending. Support their re-election bids. Reward them for standing with you instead of their Democrat opponents and the liberal media.

Look at Barack Obama. Four years ago, he was in the Illiniois legislature. Now, he’s on the cusp of the presidency.

If you can’t stomach John McCain, channel your support and energies to Republicans who do represent your values and who have treated the conservative base as allies instead of enemies. There are a new generation of combat veterans running for office who haven’t made a career of trashing the base. Check out staunch economic, social, and national security conservative congressional candidates like Iraq/Afghanistan veteran Eric Egland in California’s fourth district. Check out the Vets for Freedom (vetsforfreedom.org) group for their endorsements.

Opposed to the amnesty bill? Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and John Cornyn of Texas all fought the McCain-Kennedy-Graham-Martinez-Bush open-borders disaster. All of those Senators are up for re-election this year. Send them some money. Then send a few more bucks to the enforcement proponents on the House side as well.


Get involved. Don’t calm down. Get fired up.

She has it exactly right. We shouldn't whine about the Republican establishment abandoning conservatism. We should be supporting and promoting tomorrow's establishment.

Sour grapes? Maybe. Or maybe just correcting a mistake that has been made in the past. Stay tuned because I intend to do exactly what Michelle suggests.