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Tag Archives: John McCain

John McCain wasn’t originally my guy – I was a Huckabee man in the primaries – but I’m proud to have voted for such a great and accomplished American for president.  In his concession speech McCain showed that he possesses class and self-possession that Barack Obama can only dream of.

You can expect this blog to remain mostly silent for the foreseeable future, but I remain a committed supporter of conservative Republican principles.  There will be postings from time to time and I’ll use this blog as an outlet for my philosophical murmurings when my wife gets tired of listening to me.  Most of all, I’ll be watching and waiting for Mike Huckabee to signal his intentions with regard to 2012.

Pray for Barack Obama.  He’s our president for the next four years and there’s nothing to do now but hope for the best.

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If suffering builds character and struggling builds strength, then John McCain is a very strong man of great character.  His life story is well known, but just in case you missed it, he is a graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis MD, he served heroically during the USS Forrestal fire, suffering injuries while attempting to save another pilot from the flames and explosions.  Later McCain was shot down by North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire, held captive for more than five years, and endured countless beatings and torture sessions both before and after refusing to be released ahead of other prisoners who had been held longer.  By the time he retired from the navy in 1981, McCain had received 17 awards and decorations, including a Silver Star, Legion of Merit with a combat V and a gold star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with a combat V and two gold stars, two additional Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, and others.

A short question: what is the hardest thing Barack Obama has ever done?  Was it the long flight from Hawaii to his first college in California?  Was it his successful application to Harvard?  Maybe it was serving in the un-prestigious Illinois state assembly.

Just wondering….

Kill ’em with kindness if you can…

Right or wrong, the public perception of the federal response to hurricane Katrina is that it was a disaster within a disaster.  People believe that FEMA and the Bush administration showed a remarkable degree of ineptitude in dealing with the aftermath of Katrina back in 2005.  That’s a major reason for the curttailing of the Republican National Convention this week in St Paul – to show that in a pinch, Republicans are all business – so to speak.

One idea that’s being floated by the Republicans is to get all the official business overwith on day one and to turn the rest of the convention into a gigantic telethon to raise money for disaster relief.  Here’s a proposal from Righty Loosey.

I’m dying to see Habitat for Humanity receive a large portion of funds raised in such an operation.  On the surface it’s a generous non-partisan gesture, and in political terms it represents a grand photo-op, with the Republican party or some unnamed representative thereof handing over a giant cardboard check for millions of dollars to Jimmy Carter in front of cameras and reporters.

Think about it, John McCain.  This is your party now (literally and figuratively), and you can make this happen if you choose.

It looks like all the chattering knuckleheads of the commentator class were wrong about Tim Pawlenty (yours truly included), and John McCain has chosen Sarah Palin of Alaska to be his running mate.

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

One of the first and most widespread Democrat responses to this selection has been to disparage on the basis that “if McCain were a real maverick like people say, he would have picked someone unconventional, like Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge.”  This is an obvious false argument; to select Lieberman or Ridge wouldn’t make McCain a maverick, it would make him a contrarian.  And McCain is too prone to compromise to be considered a contrarian.

The other popular response from the dems is to run down Palin’s experience.  This is a definite non-starter, since her executive experience (mayor of Wasilla, governor of Alaska) dwarfs Obama’s (zero).  Say she isn’t ready to be president if you like, but she’s much more experienced and more qualified as a #2 than Barry is as a #1.

Red State says it’s Pawlenty, and shares some pro-Pawlenty talking points. http://www.redstate.com/diaries/redstate/2008/aug/28/mccains-vice-president-tim-pawlenty/

Bob Geraghty of The Campaign Spot says he’s being told by a source that Pawlenty is indeed McCain’s choice, but is skeptical. http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTAyYWU0MmVhNGUzMzhiNjhjZDQ2ZGIwNWZiMzhlODM=

Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty

A number of other commentators have predicted, either supportively or plaintively, that Pawlenty is likely to be announced as McCain’s running mate on Friday.  (I predicted that it would be Pawlenty two days ago, and along with everybody else I’m either going to look pretty smart tomorrow…or I’m going to look pretty foolish.)

Those who support the choice of Pawlenty point to his background, his achievements, and his personality.  Those who oppose seem to fall into two camps: those who are farting sour grapes because they wanted Romney, and those who don’t like the pick because they don’t know anything about Pawlenty.

The Romney-ites get their answer first: Romney lost to McCain, he was a bad candidate, McCain doesn’t like him anyway, so get over it.

To everyone else I say this: It doesn’t matter what you knew about Pawlenty yesterday or today.  It only matters what you will learn about him tomorrow, and how his presence helps the McCain campaign from now till November.  John McCain has known Pawlenty for twenty years, and McCain likes and trusts him.  Some of the virtues that matter the most to McCain, loyalty and honor, have been cultivated in Pawlenty for these twenty years.  Ultimately, being the independent spirit he is, McCain will need someone he trusts to be loyal, to be honorable, to be trustworthy, and to be competent.

That’s it, I’ve convinced myself.  Not only to the point of certainty, but so much so that I’m convinced that my certainty is certainly justified: Tim Pawlenty is going to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

John McCain with future vice president Tim Pawlenty

John McCain with future vice president Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty is a conservative Evangelical Christian with a compelling “poor-boy-makes-good” story, legislative and executive experience, and a good reputation.  He’s been elected as a conservative twice in a majority-liberal state, and he’s quick with an answer and (usually) clever with a quip.  Pawlenty has been a personal friend of McCain for more than twenty years, he has been a loyal McCain supporter since the very beginning of McCain’s campaign (he was the co-chair of McCain’s exploratory committee) and he stuck with McCain even during the darkest hours of the campaign when his staff was abandoning him for Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

It seems that lately the chatter about potential Republican veep candidates has centered around the runner-up and second runner-up in the Republican contest, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.  But neither man is likely to get the nod.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee

Despite frequent praise and compliments during the campaign, McCain isn’t going to name Mike Huckabee because Huckabee is scorned by the fiscal conservative establishment and the East Coast intellectual class.

And despite the demands of the fiscal conservative establishment, McCain isn’t going to name Mitt Romney because he already knows that Romney is a man without honor – and honor is important to McCain.  Romney is a plastic man, a man without principles, who only turned conservative in his late fifties when he began to eye the White House.  Besides, Romney wrote the book on how to waste millions of dollars while losing an election.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Pawlenty will be a darling of conservative Christians and he can pick up many of the Southern voters who would otherwise have voted for Huckabee.  Pawlenty came from humble roots (unlike Romney) to put himself through college and law school (unlike Romney) and has legislative experience (unlike Romney).  Like Romney, Pawlenty ran for governor in a liberal state and won, but he did it by campaigning as a conservative (unlike Romney).

It would be a great public relations gift for McCain to announce Pawlenty as his running mate at the national convention in St Paul – the capital of the state that Pawlenty has been governing since 2002; the networks would have a irresistible opportunity to fawn over a new name and a fresh face in an adoring environment.

If you happened to watch McCain on Jay Leno’s show on August 25, you saw him praise Pawlenty (when Leno asked specifically about Pawlenty) by calling him a great governor with whom he has ideals and principles in common.

Final clue that McCain plans to pick Pawlenty: Pawlenty has already been designated as a featured speaker on the final day of the Republican convention.  Seriously, John McCain, this is no way to keep a secret!

Read this instead: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,395081,00.html

Here’s a rundown of some possible Republican vice presidential candidates and why they won’t be picked.  Bear in mind that this article doesn’t represent a prediction, but an analysis.  Prospects are named in alphabetical order:

Charlie Crist – Because of the slick metrosexual image he projects, Crist won’t appeal to a large portion of the meat-and-potatoes Republican crowd.  The too-tan skin, the snow-white hair and the waxed eyebrows are just too much for most regular guys, even if they do appeal to some fractional portion of the female conservative electorate.

Mike Huckabee – So many religious conservatives are demanding that Huckabee be added to the ticket, it just might provoke McCain’s contrarian nature into giving Huck the old heave-ho.  There’s also the concern that having two gaffe-prone white guys on the ticket is too risky in the age of the modern media, where every mistake and mispronunciation is published on a million blogs and websites within hours.  Huckabee has a fantastic future ahead of him, but it may not include the senior Senator from Arizona.

Kay Bailey Hutchison – Hutchison is no spring chicken at 65 years old, and she has said publicly that she doesn’t even want the job – she’d rather be governor of Texas.  There’s also the little nitpicky fact that Hutchison is a centrist Republican, as is McCain.  So this would be a moderate-moderate ticket, not likely to appeal to the conservative base.

Bobby Jindal – Though Jindal’s conservatism is manifested in very practical ways (i.e. opposition to corruption, reform of Louisiana’s state government), his devout Catholicism and his youth can be used against him.  Critics will draw attention to what they see as a quaint and backward perspective on the world, and they will point out that at age 37 he is younger and less experienced that Barack Obama.

Joe Lieberman – Despite McCain’s close friendship with Lieberman, this is a mistake that must never be made.  Lieberman is a liberal hawk, which is exactly how  many conservatives see McCain.  The Lieberman option would be a disaster for McCain’s candidacy and for the Republican party, and Senator McCain is smart enough to know that.

Tim Pawlenty – Like John McCain, Pawlenty is a very intelligent and very glib individual who sometimes makes off-the-cuff remarks that he later regrets.  Pawlenty is in some respects a younger version of McCain, and despite their mutual admiration, the two don’t make a complementary pairing.

David Petraeus – A McCain-Petraeus ticket would be an all-military ticket (remember that McCain was a naval officer), and though most conservatives would love it, at the same time it would give many Americans the willies.  In this case, the upside is the downside.  Besides, not enough is known about Petraeus’s views on moral and political matters.

Rob Portman – Portman is just the sort of wonky politico-type whose expertise would compensate for McCain’s non-detail-oriented approach to politics.  Portman’s experience is extensive and varied, his resume dazzling.  But the campaign might have a hard time selling this former member of the Bush administration to the American public, and anyway, he’s believed to have his eye on the Ohio governor’s mansion.

Condoleeza Rice – Though some may consider it a coup for McCain to have a black woman for his running mate, Rice is probably too closely associated with George W. Bush to help McCain win any significant portion of the black vote.  Besides, Ms. Rice has repeatedly and adamantly stated that she has absolutely no desire to be anyone’s vice president.  After nearly eight years of working in the White House, Rice is believed to be yearning for the quiet academic environment of her beloved Stanford University.

Tom Ridge – Ridge certainly has the homeland security chops and serious demeanor to head up the anti-terrorism front of a presidential campaign (or adminstration), but he’s old and white and boring.  Ridge won’t dazzle the younger voters and he won’t win over the swing voters.  He’s better suited to a role in the cabinet than to one on the campaign trail.

Mitt Romney – If McCain is looking for someone to perform as a surrogate campaigner, he’d better look elsewhere.  No one has ever spent so much money to perform so dismally on the campaign trail and at the polls as Romney in the Republican primaries.  Romney can occasionally put together a few good minutes on the campaign trail, but he’s too surly and too obnoxious – and too ambitious – to be an effective running mate.  Romney is also a pathological flip-flopper, and that means that he isn’t to be trusted.

Mark Sanford – Sanford is a youthful and appealing party loyalist, an ideological conservative, and a good public speaker.  Sanford might be an effective campaigner among the southern conservative set; those who want their politicians to be like their pastors: true believers.  The evangelical community is leery of McCain’s conservative creds, and it may be that Sanford can seal the South for McCain.  Unfortunately for Sanford, he’s a southern white man, and if McCain wanted one of those he would probably pick his friend Mike Huckabee.

Michael Steele – The Republicans would love to have a conservative black leader step up to the plate, and Michael Steele’s name has frequently been mentioned in that context.  Unfortunately, it seems to this commentator that Steele’s reputation exceeds him.  His supposedly great oratorical skills are dwarfed by those of such stalwarts as Allan Keyes and Mike Huckabee, and his career seems to be stalled somewhere between minor state office and the major national stage.

John Thune – The future of the Republican party resides in people like Thune, a regular looking guy who can appeal to Southern conservatives, midwestern evangelicals, and western libertarians alike.  His resume isn’t as thin as some would suggest, with three terms as a member of the US House of Representatives and one term as a US Senator, but he is still rather young and Republicans do prefer their politicians to be rather more seasoned.  More importantly from the strategic standpoint, Thune is from South Dakota, a state with only three electoral votes.  And his profile is very low even in neighboring states, so he brings very little to the table electorally.

Have I missed anyone?  Please let me know with a comment if there’s anyone else whose resume you would like me to shred.

Barack Obama and his handlers have cultivated an image of Obama as a Starry-Eyed Optimist (SEO) and an agent of positive change in Washington DC.  But today you’re going to read and learn on the Righty Loosey blog that Obama’s really a Cynical Political Hack (CPH).

Barack Obama

From Reuters:

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.

“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

Essentially, Senator Obama is setting the stage for a nasty, divisive campaign, and SEOs don’t do that.  He’s too smart not to have thought this through before saying it; he’s making a negative attack on himself in order to blame it on someone else.  And that makes Obama a CPH.

Think about this: John McCain is a principled and decent man.  That, along with his military service (including the five and a half years he spent as a POW), is his claim to fame.  In the past McCain has been the victim of the same kind of dishonest and contemptible whispering campaign that Obama is now trying to pin on him – before it happens.  Last summer, before the first primary votes were cast and when his campaign was broke and foundering, elements of McCain’s team wanted him to go negative and he wouldn’t do it.  As a result some of his campaign staff jumped ship and joined the Mitt Romney campaign, where they ran negative (and dishonest) negative ads against fellow Republicans McCain and Mike Huckabee.

So does it ring truthful that McCain would authorize his campaign to run the kind of campaign Obama is predicting?  Or does it seem more likely that Obama is going the CPH route and attempting to demonize his opponent?

That’s a rhetorical question – I know you know the answer.

As the Democrats bite, scratch, and kick down the homestretch and it appears more and more likely that Barack Obama is going to be their nominee, it’s also becoming ever more obvious that John McCain needs Mike Huckabee to be his running mate.

Obama is a gifted campaigner and the Democrats are enthusiastic about their chances for the presidency this election cycle.  That enthusiasm has been translating into fundraising dollars at an impressive rate ever since campaigning began back in the spring of 2007.

Much has been made of the fact that while Obama and Clintn have been emptying their bank accounts to fund their primary campaigns, John McCain has been attending to behind-the-scenes business, raising funds for his general election campaign, and vetting possible VP candidates.  He’s been spending very little money since his rivals all petered out earlier this spring, but fundraising hasn’t exactly been gangbusters, either.

Whether it’s a result of ineptitude or a general lack of interest in the subject, McCain has never been an effective fundraiser.  In an election year when much of the electorate is going to embrace Obama’s issues, McCain will find that money is an even more important consideration in this election than most.  So how do the Republicans compensate for the old soldier’s fiscal deficiency?

The suggestion from Righty Loosey is to bring Mike Huckabee fully into the fold.  Huckabee brings with him a ready-made and highly committed grassroots movement (“Huck’s Army”) which already has experience with fundraising, volunteer telemarketing, and get-out-the-vote campaigns.  The infrastructure is already there and the experience is there.  The results are plain to see – just see how Huckabee overachieved at the polls during the primary campaign.  His financial resources were modest, but Huckabee was able to motivate his followers to make committed and effective efforts to boost the campaign – and it worked!  Huckabee won nine states outright and would have received an enormous boost by winning South Carolina as well, had Fred Thompson not been doing McCain’s dirty work by stealing votes from Huckabee in that state.

By linking himself to Huckabee, McCain can sign on thousands of committed and effective volunteers, a resource he’ll be glad to have once general campaigning begins in earnest in July.  It’s the smart move, and no less so for being such an obvious one.

Pick Mike Huckabee, Senator McCain.