Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Small Comfort

I heard Bill Clinton chew out a 9/11 conspiracy nut at a Hillary event. He even told him to go away. At least they're not moon-batty enough to buy into that nonsense.

McCain sweep on the horizon

See here.

Are we there yet?

It seems like we're days away from crowning McCain as the nominee. Insider Advantage has some new 2/5 polls out today, showing McCain with an 8 and 11 point lead over Huck in TN and GA, respectively. McCain's leading Mitt by 8 in IL and Huck by 20 in MN.

So before we close the book on the GOP primaries, let's have a little buyer's remorse in advance (I'd be doing the same thing regardless of whoever actually won the nomination), and take a look at some of the arguments being posted today on R 4 '08 contra-McCain's electability. Check out this and this, remind yourself that people being polled now only think they know the candidates, but could think very differently after months of being bombarded with information.

Here's a taste:

In a whole host of ways, I’m pretty close to John McCain ideologically and nearly supported him at various points this election season. But, the McCain of the last few weeks (who seems now to be simply McCain, with a bigger microphone, and on a larger stage) is a uniquely unappealing character, from his deeply flawed temperament, to his irrational lashing out at capitalism and capitalists, to his utter inability to answer a question substantively. He will lead us to a defeat of historic proportions, current polls notwithstanding.

And this:
Obama raises $32 Million in one month, McCain is in the red. Sorry, McCain will not have the MSM at his back and he has no idea how to run a campaign’s finances.

Well, this cinches it

I won't be voting McCain in the primary, even if it would have been nice to see the GOP choose a candidate before the Democrats.

Novak confirms John Fund's story about McCain's initial lukewarmness towards the nomination of Justice Alito:

[Fund] wrote that McCain "has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito because 'he wore his conservatism on his sleeve.'" In a conference call with bloggers that day, McCain said, "I don't recall a conversation where I would have said that." He was "astonished" by the Alito quote, he said, and repeatedly tells town meetings, "We're going to have justices like Roberts and Alito."

I found what he could not remember was a private, informal chat with conservative Republican lawyers shortly after McCain announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral for president, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Each said they were not Fund's source, and neither knew I was talking to the other. They gave me nearly identical accounts, as follows:

"Wouldn't it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?" one lawyer commented. McCain replied, "Well, certainly Roberts." Jaws were described as dropping. My sources cannot remember exactly what McCain said next, but their recollection is that he described Alito as too conservative.

Super Tuesday

Poll time! Which will occur on Super Tuesday:

1) McCain will win the most delegates, and his total number will be more than half making him the clear front-runner.

2) McCain will win the most delegates, but his total will be less than half, thus keeping Mitt and Huck's chances alive.

3) Mitt will win the most delegates.

4) Other.

McCain gets a big leg up if he wins NY and NJ, that's ~150 winner-take-all delegates. I think Mitt will do well in CA and win some of their 173, but realistically he probably won't get the half or more he needs. Mitt should take Utah's WTA 36 delegates. My guess is (1), but I'm hopeful enough people saw last night's debate that maybe we get (2).
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More McMentum

The Giuliani withdrawal and subsequent endorsement of McCain will certainly help Johnny Mac. I heard a rumor of a Schwartzenegger endorsement of McCain as well. If that happens, it could be the nail in the coffin for Romney.

Good news of the day

Please, please, please tell me this is true! Talk about an early Christmas, birthday, and anniversary gift in one.

Mitt's wheels spin. No traction.

I made this point to SHK on the phone last night.

Mad Money Update #3

ManBeast 3
Starving Econ Grad 1
Fredo 1
DC 0

MB cashes in with his 2 contracts on McMentum in FL. The train has left the station on this one boys, with MB holding a McCain 4-spot up his sleeve on CA and another McCain contract as well (PA?).

So long as Johnny Mac manages to get through the debate tonight without falling asleep, or cutting & snorting lines on his podium, I think this one is all sewn up.

Fait Accompli

The MSM should have been careful what they wished for. It's been clear the past several months, and in particular the last few weeks, that John McCain is who they want on Repub side. No doubt they want his run to end on Nov. 4 '08 and will do everything in their power to cut him down once he's nominated, but unfortunately for them he's not going to lose in the general. I am confident that McCain will beat Hillary and Obama, not just based on the head-to-head polls, but also based on people I know who would tend to vote for Dem and have said they will vote for McCain if he's the nominee. The MSM has created McCain, and soon they will get to watch him destroy their beloved Dem nominee.

McCain's win in FL came because of strong support from seniors and Hispanics, unfortunately probably because of his non-conservative stances on prescription drug companies and illegal immigration (exit polls indicated only a minority wanted deportation of illegals).

However, if McCain is the eventual party nominee, I'll take him 100 times over Hillary or Obama. At least with McCain you're getting conservative positions on a lot of other issues of importance, whereas you're getting the worst position on every issue with the Dems.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Q: which party wants a tax increase in 2011?

A: watch the politicians vote with their feet

HT: K Lo at NRO

Grading the polls

Here's where the pollsters came down. We'll see who's right:

Rasmussen: Tie, 31%
Insider Advange: McCain 31, +1
Mitchell Research: Romney 34, +2
Reuters/Zogby: McCain 35, +4
Branyard: Romney 38, +2
Survey USA: McCain 32, +1
Public Policy Florida: Romney 35, +7
Datamar: Romney 36, +12
Suffolk Univ: McCain 30, +3
Quinnipiac: McCain 32, +1
Strategic Vision: McCain 27, +1

NOW - What a Farce

This organization continues to prove itself to be a complete joke and totally irrelevant. The NY chapter is blasting Kennedy for endorsing Obama, with this to say:

"Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few."

Hmmmm, would the "name a few" imply Chappaquiddick by any chance???

Then, this:

He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton.

OK, first of all, if Kennedy was so bad for women's rights based on the list they provide above, WHY did NOW support him??? The same goes for Clinton: the guy has more publicly-known affairs than any public official I can recall, essentially objectifying women, yet NOW kept falling all over themselves to support all he had done to "advance the rights of women." How about this - if you want people to take you seriously as an organization, how about having at least ONE principle you will stand behind? Finally, if Kennedy's reason for not endorsing Hillary is that she's a woman, implying that he's somehow bigoted, do you really think he'd then pick Obama? Don't you think he would have picked John Edwards? The reason he picked Obama is likely a combination of some beef he had with the Clintons; a guess that Hillary would be too polarizing to win the general election; and thinking that he could have more influence over Obama with his minimal experience than Hillary.

Go Mitt!
Monday, January 28, 2008

FL thoughts

I don't think tomorrow will end whoever loses between Mitt and Mac. The winner gets a round of good press and 55 delegates, but both will go on to Super Tuesday.

Mac needs the win to establish he can win a closed primary and to keep the funds rolling in. But even if he loses he is still up in the polls in most of the Super Tuesday states, particularly the big ones.

Mitt needs to break Mac's momementum, although he can presumably still fund his TV and radio attacks, even in the major markets, after a loss in FL.

Rudy needs to defy the polls or his race ends tomorrow. He's saying he'll go on to Super Tuesday regardless of the outcome, but I think that's just posturing.

Huck doesn't have much at stake. By pulling out early, he's kept the expectations bar low. If he beats Rudy, that would be a coup and generate some free pub. But he's looking forward to next week and the chance to corral delegates in GA, MS, AL, TN and MO.

GOP Veepstakes

SHK and I were engaged in some veep prediction blather a few posts back. Thought I'd give you folks an idea of what people who are willing to risk their cash think.

Current Intrade ask prices on potential GOP VP's:

Huck 21
McCain 13.9
Pawlenty 13.8
Fred 9.8
Steele 6.9
Romney 4.9
Giuliani 6.9
Gingrich 4.9
Jeb 2.9
Hunter 3.2
Graham 4.9
Condi 3.8
Hutchison 3.5
Paul 0.9
Field 36.9

That's Funny...

I don't remember being followed by all those cameramen...

This two-man race is getting entertaining

Politics still ain't beanbag, and Mitt and McCain seem intent on proving the point in FL. Check out McCain's most recent radio ad:

ANNCR: They say Mitt Romney likes numbers.

His campaign says he likes to look at data.

Well here are some numbers that should scare every Florida Republican.

400 million dollars.

That’s how much over budget the Romney health care debacle costs taxpayers in Massachusetts.

700 million.

A tax increase Romney stuck to the people of Massachusetts.

20 billion dollars – that’s what Romney promised Detroit. To bail out the auto industry on the back of taxpayers.

And here is the number that should scare Florida Republicans most.

16 points.

The Wall Street Journal says Hillary Clinton beats Mitt Romney by 16 points.

The bottom line. Mitt Romney loses to Hillary Clinton.

Republicans lose.

We can’t afford Mitt Romney.

John McCain. He’s the one Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton

JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.

ANNCR: Paid for by John McCain 2008.

Then there was this little back-and-forth:

Romney struck first on the day before the winner-take-all Florida primary, criticizing the Arizona senator for his legislation reducing the role of money in politics, for his position on immigration and for his support of an energy bill that he said would have driven up consumer costs.

"If you ask people, 'Look at the three things Senator McCain has done as a senator,' if you want that kind of a liberal Democrat course as president, then you can vote for him," Romney told campaign workers. "But those three pieces of legislation, those aren't conservative, those aren't Republican, those are not the kind of leadership that we need as we go forward."

McCain answered swiftly in a statement to The Associated Press. He accused the former Massachusetts governor of "wholesale deception of voters. On every one of the issues he has attacked us on, Mitt Romney was for it before he was against it."

He added, "The truth is, Mitt Romney was a liberal governor of Massachusetts who raised taxes, imposed with Ted Kennedy a big government mandate health care plan that is now a quarter of a billion dollars in the red, and managed his state's economy incompetently, leaving Massachusetts with less job growth than 46 other states."...

...Addressing phone bank workers who came out to the airport to see him off on a state flyaround, Romney said three key bills that McCain pushed in Congress steered the country on "a liberal Democrat course."

Romney said the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law "hit the First Amendment" with its controls over advertising spending.

He labeled last year's failed McCain-Kennedy immigration bill "the amnesty bill" because it would have allowed illegal immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely. Romney also said a 2003 McCain- Lieberman energy cap-and-trade bill would have increased energy costs for the average Florida family of four by $1,000.

He also drew chuckles from his audience when he recalled there was talk during the 2004 campaign of McCain teaming up with Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee, on the opposing party's ticket.

"Had someone asked me that question, there would not have been a nanosecond of thought about it; it would have been an immediate laugh," Romney said. "And, of course, if someone asked him if he would consider me as a running mate, he would have also laughed immediately."

Emphasizing his signature issue, McCain toured the grounds of Atlantic Machine, which builds Navy ships and commercial vessels, before holding a roundtable in one of the company's warehouses with national security experts, including Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey and former Veterans Affairs Secretary Tony Principi.

In his statement issued before the event, McCain likened Romney to Kerry over the weekend in a Web ad that superimposed the face of the former governor on an image of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate windsurfing.

He said Romney "was for campaign finance reform, and even proposed taxing political contributions. He was for cap and trade and even proposed a tax that would have increased the price of gasoline at the pump. He called our immigration bill reasonable and not amnesty."


Thought the readers of OccObs might appreciate this collection.
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Might it be Obama?

I've never believed anyone other than Hillary would win Dem nomination. I figured the Clinton political machine was too strong to be beat. But now, I am actually thinking Obama has a legitimate chance. Not only did he win resoundingly in IA and SC, but now he just got what is (to me) a shocking endorsement from the overbloated granddaddy of the Dem party: Ted Kennedy. It was said that the Clintons went into overdrive to prevent this, including a phone call from Bill himself. But in the end it wasn't enough.

All this leads to Fredo's question from below: how do you take down a guy who only talks in generalities and has yet to commit to many specifics that could be used to alienate voters? I think Mitt gave an indication of what tactic he would (not surprisingly) use: My record of accomplishment, compared with his rhetoric, is going to be a pretty stark contrast. I think you have to talk specifics, to force Obama to do the same or look like he is either afraid to do so or too inexperienced/lacking knowledge.

Repub National Poll

Good news for Mitt: this poll from Rasmussen shows him in a dead tie with McCain (27% apiece) for national favorite for Republican nomination. I believe this is the first time he's polled this high.
Saturday, January 26, 2008

What will Giuliani do?

Now Rudy's bound to be helped by the fact that 400,000 GOP absentee ballots have already been cast, so he could significantly outperform his current polling numbers, but let's just say that he doesn't. Let's say he finished around 10%, a couple of points ahead of Huck and 25 points behind the second place finisher (Mitt 39, McCain 35, Rudy 10, Huck 8, Paul 7). Is there any chance he drops out right then and there?

I mean, you'd think he'd want to at least give NY a shot, after having invested so much time, energy and money in this campaign. But could he really endure watching his homestate repudiate him? His ego (and reputation) might be better served by bowing out more quickly.

The Obama smackdown

He doubled up Hill. What a relentless beating. I know the Clintons were planning on spinning Obama's win into white fright (Obama won b/c 50% of the SC Dem voters are black, donchaknow), but this doesn't give them too much to work with. Obama's speech was typical: idealistic rhetoric that no one can criticize and everyone can praise. I don't know how you drag this guy down the detail level where someone out there will actually notice, "hey, that propsoal is going to hurt me."

I'm starting to think that it might be good the GOP race won't be decided until later. It might be helpful to know who the Dem is first.

Crist endorses McCain

Here's the clip.

This was the biggest get out there (well, second biggest) and McCain needed it. Mitt's surging and in a race this tight, momentum is gold. Crist will bring a lot to the table. His endorsement probably ensures that it will stay close and Mitt won't run away with a 10 point win.

Unless Jeb endorses him, that is.
Friday, January 25, 2008

McCain and Hillary: BFF?

At least according to Bill they are. Coming on the heels of his NYT endorsement this can't be good news for McCain headed into FL. As a republican voter one has to stop at some point and say, "Why do liberals love McCain so?" Of course, Bill being so calculating, I'm guessing he's most afraid of Hillary running against McCain given how well he polls against her, so this is his way of trying to turn Repub voters off from McCain and keep him from the nomination.

Heard by Fredo while in Vegas:

Mrs. Fredo: Why are there sparks coming from our electrical outlets? And why do two of the outlets keep losing power? I'm worried there's going to be an electrical fire while we're asleep.

Fredo: You're being ridiculous. Go back to sleep.


Proving yet again, that it's not just the male intellect that is superior, but the important ability to ignore facts in order to meet required conclusions.

BTW, here's the hotel we stayed in two weeks ago.

Name dropping

Perhaps Hillary should be a little more careful about who she identifies as a bad person with ties to Obama. Might want to check your own photo history first..

What's next?

Let's get hypothetical for a moment, assume no brokered convention, and assume Mitt or McCain locks up the nomination soon. Have there been any rumors about who they might select as running mates? Any chance that one of the candidates would get tapped as VP, or more likely will it be someone outside the field? (My guess is the latter; except for Huck, Fred, and Hunter I can't see any of the other candidates interested in taking a secondary role.)

If McCain is the nominee, do you think he would go so far as to pick Lieberman as VP? I'd have to think it's a likely possibility. If it's Mitt, I'm not sure at all who he'll pick. He could go one of two ways: pick someone with more solid SoCon creds to ensure he energizes that part of the base, or pick someone less conservative in the hopes of stealing Ind votes. My guess is that he'll assume that SoCons would rather vote for him than stay at home and help Hillary be our next president, so if he takes that bloc for granted, he will go the other way and try to steal Ind votes via a McCain-like VP.

I also think it will be interesting to see if Mitt (assuming he wins) picks someone from inside or outside Washington. On the one hand, if he picks someone with relatively little DC experience he can run on a "We're the successful business outsiders who will fix what Washington insiders cannot" platform. On the other hand, will general election voters be nervous if he has too little "inside" political experience on his ticket? Might he be better served to take an experienced insider to counter any claims sure to come from Hillary that an outside ticket just won't have the experience to navigate tricky political waters? I can see her trying to crush the position that business experience will translate into (more) successful political results. After all, she'll say, G.W. Bush was the first president with an MBA...
Thursday, January 24, 2008


Latest Rasmussen poll still has Mitt leading in FL, this time by +4. Insider Advantage, who had Mitt as +5 pre-Fred drop-out, now has McCain +1. However, Mason-Dixon, also post-Fred, has Mitt +4 like Rasmussen. Mitt is also leading in the intrade bids and has enjoyed great momentum recently. Mitt is certainly breaking in the right direction at the right time.

Sobering ...

Watch this short video of Newt Gingrich and you'll realize just how terrifying a Democrat President and Congress will be:

Jeb for Mitt?

Interesting speculation by NBC that Jeb Bush might be silently supporting Mitt:

Romney's operation in Florida should not be underestimated. He's got many of Jeb Bush's best political aides behind him and he may tacitly have Jeb behind him as well.

But that's pure speculation on my part.

However, if you read some of the things Jeb has said about Romney versus what he’s said about the other candidates, it's clear with whom Jeb has a lot in common.

He sees more of himself in Romney: He too is a former governor with a problem solving business background who is more of an ideological social conservative than the rest of the field.

Sen. McCain's letter to the March for Life

Read by Sen. Brownback at the March in DC, on the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:

Dear Fellow Pro-Lifers,

I join you today in marking the 35th anniversary of the tragic Roe vs. Wade decision made on January 22, 1973. I salute you for taking the time to show that the cause of Life is alive and well in the hearts of millions of Americans.

As a prisoner of war at the hands of a communist dictatorship, I saw firsthand the perils faced when human dignity and human life are not respected.

Whenever the value of one class of persons is not respected whether they are unborn, handicapped, and elderly; the dignity of all mankind is threatened.

For this reason, I have been a strong supporter of the right to life movement since I was first elected to Congress in 1982. As the father of seven children, two of which were adopted, my wife Cindy and I understand how every child has a value which can never be calculated or cheapened. Every child literally alters the course of human history.

America stands for an ideal that all people are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I know what it is like to live without those rights, and I have an obligation to advocate them wherever they are denied: in Bosnia or Burma, in Cuba or the Middle East; and in our own country when we fail to respect the inherent dignity of all human life, born or unborn. That is why I am pro-life.

While our nation struggles with the issue of abortion and the division it has wrought on our society and culture, Americans on both sides of this debate should agree that the proper solution for this debate to be settled is through the democratic process, not through judicial dictate. Seven judges in 1973 took the issue of abortion on themselves to settle this issue for every American, in all fifty states. They assured us that by sheer judicial will and power, the question of a so- called right to abortion was settled' and that our society would now arrive at a shared consensus by virtue of their ruling.

They were wrong to make this assumption. Your presence in Washington today marching for Life proves just how wrong they were.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the next President of the United States, I pledge to you to be a loyal and unswerving friend of the right to life movement. The pro-life movement appeals to the best instincts within each and every one of us. In that regard, our pro-life cause will ultimately be successful.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today and please be assured of my best wishes and prayers for all those who labor for the cause of Life.


John McCain
United States Senator
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Duncan Hunter endorses Huck

Details here.

In Huck news, I think he's making a big mistake not competing in FL. It might be a swing for the fences, all or nothing move, but I'd let it all hang out. A win in FL, and he'd have his mojo back. And unquestionably a bunch of wins waiting on 2/5. By not competing, he's sending the message that his campagin is already on life support.

McCain wins the LA Caucus

Shady details are here. Apparently, this means he will have a plurality of delegates at the state convention to vote for his national delegates. Unless, of course, someone receives over 50% of the vote in the primary in February, in which case they are automatically entitled to all the delegates.

Makes a whole lot of sense.

UPDATE: More here.

Insider Advantage FL poll

So for those who were wondering how Fred's exit would affect the FL polling, we have our first good indication. Insider Advantage has the first FL poll in the RCP average that excludes Fred, taken 1/20-1/21. A look at how it came out, with the previous poll (1/15-16) in brackets:

Mitt 24 [20]
Rudy 19 [21]
McCain 18 [20]
Huck 12 [13]
Paul 7 [6]
Fred -- [7]

Telling: no bounce for Huck. Nice bounce for Mitt. As Tommy Oliver at R 4 '08 said, looks like the Fred support is migrating to Mitt.

Huckabee needs some Huck-a-bills

Huck's campaign apparently nearly out of cash, with several top aides going without pay and others quitting recently. Certainly a 3rd or 4th place finish in FL (which is likely given polls from last month) should mean the end of the road for him. A 3rd place finish by Rudy would mean he is in effect also done (I don't think he could overcome the negative momentum of a loss in FL and still win CA, NY, and NJ), leaving us with the two-man race of Mitt and McCain.

If Huck were to be the front-runner, it is a very troubling sign that he has been unable to raise sufficient money to compete. It either shows that: (a) he has not assembled an effective team for fundraising, and/or (b) he has been unable to tap a support base with large funds. Either way, it would spell difficulty if he was competing in the general election. Of course, I assume once the Republican nominee is selected, funds will start rolling in from across the party base almost regardless of who it is. But even still, to have any chance of winning in the general, we need a candidate who is exceptionally well-funded, well-organized, and able to fight to the fullest.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mad Money Update #2!

With three post NH primaries down, here's the standings. The first number is points earned. The second number in brackets represents the projected points if the current leaders in the RCP poll averages win the states they're leading in:

ManBeast 1 [8]
Fredo 1 [3]
Starving Econ Grad 1 [2]
SHK 1 [2]
D.C. 0 [2] - but still ridiculously sexy

Beasty off to a commanding lead on the strength of his quadrupling down on McCain CA and doubling down on McCain-FL. I only wish I'd thought of doubling down on contracts, but I guess that's what makes you engineering/computer/econ guys so smart.

Gratuitous movie quote:
"[Fredo] is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking."

Fred Drops Out

Here's the skinny.

This clearly helps Mitt in FL, as discussed below. It could also helps Huck whose vote was clearly split with Fred's, assuming he still has the cash to compete.

Could this news cause Huck to reconsider abandoning FL?

Watch the Mitt futures soar

If this story from the Politico bears out, Mitt should be able to capture Florida rather easily.

No Huckabee or Fred in FL? That's Mitt's dream come true.

Please fasten your seatbelts

We're about to hit some nasty turbulence. The crappy plunge in the stock market that is January 2008 is about to get even uglier today, if US markets follow the international lead.

Housing market will continue to decline in '08; sub-prime mess is spreading to defaults on auto and credit loans; unemployment is up and credit market is tight. By the way, another nice feature of the sub-prime debacle is that now our leading banking institutions (due to their own overplayed hands) are being purchased on the cheap by sovereign wealth funds, particularly from Arab and Chinese countries. No downside there, I'm sure. I'm not usually a big fan of regulation, but it seems like some minimal oversight might be required here???
Monday, January 21, 2008

Early Florida thoughts

Mitt's "pull out to NV" was largely spin (e.g., he still spent more than any other candidate on advertising to come in 4th behind Thompson, in a state where he briefly held the lead in the RCP poll average as recently as Nov), but he made hay out of the spin, and now finds himself in a good position. Make no mistake, Mitt holds the cards in FL at this point.

McCain and Rudy are likley to split from the same set of voters in FL, and neither will have the advertising budget Mitt will. McCain is continuing to consolidate support, with the highest national lead he's shown in the Ras. tracking poll since I don't know when, probably early '07. If you look at the larger trend in the naitonal polls since NH, McCain has risen, Mitt has stayed constant, Rudy and Fred stayed constant and low, and Huck fell off after SC with his support mostly going to McCain.

McCain probably needs Huck to maintain viability, as he will be counting on Huck to siphon off SoCon votes from Romney in Florida if he's going to win.

So much of the interesting stuff has yet to play out. For instance, who targets who? Will Rudy dedicate his budget to trashing Mitt, the candidate standing in his way as the executive experience/FiCon candidate? Or will Rudy decide he's going to focus his fire on McCain, who is his chief competitor in the states where he needs to do well (CA/NY/NJ)?

Does Huck focus on Romney because Huck still has an intrinsic advantage with Southern SoCon voters? Meanwhile, if Florida voters decide that the race is, in fact, a McCain-Romney matchup, Mitt's in the driver seat as the more conservative of the two.

Meanwhile, FL is now a necessity for Rudy, with him running behind McCain even in his home base region (NJ and NY polls both show him trailing McCain significantly). Rudy will probably focus his fire on McCain and try to knock him down a peg, figuring if he loses FL he could still have a play in NY.

Basically, the race right now consists of McCain trying to woo Rudy supporters and Mitt trying to woo Huck supporters, and Huck is more wounded at this point than Rudy. Advantage Mitt.

Mitt leading in FL?

If this flash from Drudge is true, it is huge. Rasmussen is perhaps the most accurate of all the polls (I'd say equal to Zogby).

FLASH: RASMUSSEN Florida poll to be released: Romney 25, McCain 20, Giuliani 19... Developing...
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just because

Courtesy of Caribou Express:

Funny Kid Isnt Sorry About Huge Party - Watch more free videos
Saturday, January 19, 2008

McCain wins SC!

Well, SC has been the bellwether in the GOP presidential race. Now McCain has the McMentum.

Romney wins NV

According to the AP. With one third of caucusers LDS and Mitt the only GOP candidate prioritizing NV over SC, not too much surprise here. A nice hedge on his part if he wasn't going to carry SC.

While Fredo v. Worm

doesn't quite have the cachet of Fischer v. Spassky, I've always enjoyed a good game of chess. Something more than a casual player, I was on my high school's chess team for 4 years, eventually playing 1st board as a senior (although doing it quite poorly). I was never more than a poor amateur as a chess player, but the game has always interested and intrigued me.

And no part of the game's recent history was more intriguing to my youthful self than that of Bobby Fischer. He seemed to me one part national hero, one part sports star, one part genius, and one part (the largest part) mystery. I can remember asking my parents over and over again about him. Why would you become world champion and quit the game? Why would a person choose to vanish into thin air?

Of course I was too naive at that point to really understand madness. And what little of it I did understand seemed incompatible with genius. I hadn't yet encountered the grand tradition of the insane artist.

Bobby Fischer was a lot of things to me. The nostalgic pull of my youth. The competitive excitement of the Cold War (hindsight and victory can defang the tiger, no?). The personification of a truly enjoyable hobby that I no longer have the time for. The inexplicable tendency of humanity to sully the great gifts bestowed upon us.

Of course, in the end, Bobby Fischer was a human being, and one more tortured than most of us. May he rest in peace.
Friday, January 18, 2008

Rush pulling for Mitt?

According to the Globe, Rush is increasing support for Mitt. This will certainly be true if Fred drops out after SC.

We need to have a two-man race between Mitt and McCain as soon as possible, and then just settle on one and begin to rally the troops.
Thursday, January 17, 2008

GOP Scoreboard

Since delegates are actually what counts, I thought I'd post on the current totals with 1,191 being the magic number:

Romney 54
Huckabee 22
McCain 15
Thompson 6
Paul 2
Giuliani 1
Hunter 1

more detail here

Here are the number of delegates at stake in upcoming races:
SC 46
NV 32
FL 113

And did you know this?
Guam has 9 delegates
Virgin Islands has 9 delegates
Puerto Rice has 23 delegates
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Romney lowering the bar in SC

This is a truly shocking move. Mitt must really believe he can't win in SC, b/c winning there would have solidified him as the frontrunner and given him serious momentum. It also would have shattered the idea that he can't win in the South.

Instead, he seems willing to play into the idea that he can't win in SC, and wants to focus on states where he has a "strategic advantage." All well and good, but NV is a caucus with no track record of being meaningful in the GOP primary calendar, while SC has proved necessary for virtually every modern-era candidate that went on to earn the Republican nomination.

Assuming Mitt feels he can't win in SC, I guess he's found a new strategy. After his success in MI harping on his executive and business experience, and promising it would help him right the ship in shaky economic times, perhaps he's finally going to embrace the "technocrat" role that he always seemed suited for (instead of the Reagan-redux/3-legged stool candidate).

If this is where he's headed (ceding SoCon territory for Giuliani territory), it would be another sign that the nomination fight will drag out for a long time. Mitt getting rust belt, western, and some northeastern support, and leaving McCain and the SC SoCon survivor (Huck or Fred) to fight it out elsewhere.

I guess you could say it's one last Mitt flip-flop: after running from his moderate track record b/c the party lacked a perceived SoCon standard bearer (if you take the cynical view of Mitt's conversion), Mitt's now determined at the 11th hour that it's the moderate wing of the party with the biggest power vacuum (now that Rudy seems to be in free-fall).

We'll see if SC proves an aberration, or if this is part of a larger strategy for Mitt: confronting Rudy for moderate states and then hoping he can win the nomination late against whoever consolidates the conservative states (assuming someone actually does).

Here's a link to the story. Key paragraph:

While several Republican presidential hopefuls -- including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee -- are focused on winning here in South Carolina on Saturday in order to emerge as their party's front-runner, Romney is spending just one day in the Palmetto State before leaving to campaign in Nevada, which holds its primary on the same day. All the other Republican candidates are skipping Nevada in favor of South Carolina, a traditional primary powerhouse.

Fredo's Mad Money Update

After Mitt's win in MI here's the update:
Fredo, Starving Econ Grad, SheaHeyKid and Manbeast all get it correct.
D.C. - no bet - no win or loss.

So Fredo, what does this mean? One point per correct pick? Do you get 1:1 odds on your pick giving you more mad money to make more picks? Can you sells picks and buy others?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's Mitt!

At least so say the exit polls after ~9% precincts are in. Mitt seems to have a steady lead of 5-6 %age points. This is a huge win if it holds up, especially with all the non-Republican voters trying to skew things.

Rush on Republicans

Limbaugh skewers Newt on recent comments that the Reagan era is over, and really slices into both McCain and Huck as liberals masquerading as Republicans. He basically says only Mitt, Rudy, and Thompson are pursuing true Republican votes, while the other two are out chasing Dems and Indies.

I also think he makes the key point, worth repeating, that the Republican party has lost its way and essentially mirrored the Dems if we need to take polls to see which way to stand on the issues. What made the Republican party great was basically saying "this is what we stand for, this is how we're going to fix these issues", and actually providing real, tangible plans, instead of smoke and mirrors like the Dems. The ability to talk specifics and implement a real plan is what originally led me to support Mitt (of course along with his specific position on many issues), although he stumbled somewhat by veering away from that approach along the way. Recently, though, in fighting for MI, he has returned to what can make him and the Republican party great: providing specific ideas and goals to turn around the economy of MI. Hopefully it's enough to propel him to a win there, but as we all know even though he leads strongly among true Repub voters in that state, he'll need a ton of them to turn out to overcome the Dems and Indies voting for McCain and others.

If this is what they do to themselves...

Check out these photos of Afghan Shiites beating themselves, especially #11, 1, and 13. I'll stick with Christmas and Easter, thanks.
Monday, January 14, 2008

Is it McCain?

Since my last post the RCP polling numbers have turned even more in McCain's favor. I think it will be difficult for Mitt to win the Republican primary in MI for the simple reason that is anything but a Republican primary. With the Dems basically skipping MI, and MI rules allowing not only Independent voters but also registered DEMOCRATS to vote in the Republican primary, it is an absolute farce of a situation as Fredo has mentioned before. It disgusts me that even though among Republican voters Mitt leads McCain in that state, and even more tellingly by a 2:1 margin among those who say the economy is the biggest issue this election (and that is certainly #1 in MI with job losses), McCain could still win because of all the non-Republican votes.

Bottom line is that it seems McCain might have the nomination locked up, with leading positions in polls in MI, SC, and FL. However, Jay Cost at RCP says hold on a sec, keep in mind that the leaders of conservative party don't like McCain, which is why he is lagging in endorsements and support. This may catch up to him, they claim.

We unfortunately though now come back to the age-old question of compatibility vs. electability. As I've mentioned several times, I am most in agreement with Mitt and Thompson on the issues, and I believe they would provide the leadership we need on both foreign and domestic issues. That said, based on the number and type of voter turnout to date I am starting to accept that of the Republican candidates, only McCain can win in the general. He is the only one who appeals to Ind voters, Dem voters, and young voters, and I think is seeming like the only one who can win in '08. Perhaps we'll see a McCain-Thompson ticket?
Saturday, January 12, 2008

McCain or bust?

This CNN poll says only McCain has a shot against Hill and Obama. Granted, this poll (as for all head-to-head general election polls this early) should be taken with a grain of salt because it suggests that Huck, Mitt, and Rudy would lose by double digits, and does anyone really believe that either the Repub or Dem candidate will lose by more than a few points? (That is, assuming no legit 3rd party candidate runs.)

There are also early indications that young voters will turn out in significantly higher numbers than ever, based on primaries and their involvement in campaigns. Of course, the road to the White House is paved with the remains of candidates who thought they would win on the backs on young voters, only to find out that they don't actually show up to vote when it comes down to it. BUT, if indeed this turns out to be the year of young voter turnout, that can only mean bad things for the Repubs. Most young voters go for Obama, followed by Hill, and only McCain among Repubs polls well among young voters.

I think the Republicans are a real long shot in this election, and for them to have any chance requires that they settle on a candidate a LOT sooner than the convention to have as much time to build support as possible. But, that seems unlikely as of now.

I can only say that there is a 99% chance taxes and spending will go up in the next 4 years. I only have faith in Mitt, Thompson, and Rudy to not do that, and they seem unlikely to win the general. Whether Obama or Hillary or Huck wins, and even McCain, you can all but count on tax increases and probably spending increases as well.
Friday, January 11, 2008

Time for a Break from Elections

There's no better distraction to me than the folks at PETA and I'd like to share their latest blunder. I appreciate their presence because we need people like PETA for the rest of us to feel superior. You are what you eat and they are just nuts.

Who else could look at cannibalism and see opportunity for publicity? Read the article yourself. The letter PETA wrote to the local sheriff who is detaining the alleged cannibal is here.

But this comes with a warning. This is funny. Murder should not be. You will be faced with a moral dilemma at having found humor in the demise of others.
Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fred Eviscerates Huck

Wow. If you've been watching the FNC SC GOP debate, you saw Fred Thompson call out Huckabee as a Democrat. If the facts he gave are indeed facts, there's some truth the claim. I'll bet this hurts Huckabee such that he finishes third by 4 points or more in SC.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008

About as unexpected as Caribou Express sipping on bourbon

No surprises here.

Fredo's Mad Money Challenge

OK. You see the intrade contract prices from the previous post.

You get $250 to pick all the contracts you want. You can buy multiple contracts on the same primary, if you want.

If you ought the priciest contracts in each race, you'd be up to $415 or so in cost, so you're going to have to go for some value plays.

Best of luck, gentlemen! I'll go first in the comments, but I think it's best if you make your picks looking at mine, so we don't end up gaming each other picks. That would give the person who goes last an advantage over the person who goes first. Try to make your picks ASAP so the later pickers don't get the advantage of more info.

I'll provide an example below:

Joe Schmo could buy:

NJ-Giuliani 85
NJ McCain 14
NV-McCain 45
SC-Field 61
CA-Romney 15
MI-Field 30

$250 and he's tapped out.

Current intrade ask prices

Winner of 2008 Republican South Carolina Primary
John McCain to Win M 47.7
Mitt Romney to Win M 1.1
Fred Thompson to Win M 1.2
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 1.0
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
REP.SC.FIELD(includes Huck)
Field (any other individual) to Win M 61.0

Winner of 2008 Republican Florida Primary
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 39.0
John McCain to Win M 28.9
Mitt Romney to Win M 5.0
Fred Thompson to Win M 3.0
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
Field (any other individual) to Win M 35.0

Winner of 2008 Republican Nevada Caucus
John McCain to Win M 44.8
Mitt Romney to Win M 33.8
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 23.9
Fred Thompson to Win M 8.0
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
Field (any other individual) to Win M 25.6

Winner of 2008 Republican Michigan Primary
John McCain to Win M 64.0
Mitt Romney to Win M 20.0
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 0.9
Fred Thompson to Win M 0.1
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
Field (any other individual) to Win M 30.0

Winner of 2008 Republican California Primary
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 52.0
John McCain to Win M 33.0
Mitt Romney to Win M 15.0
Fred Thompson to Win M 9.5
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
Field (any other individual) to Win M 10.0

Winner of 2008 Republican Pennsylvania Primary
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 69.5
John McCain to Win M 38.0
Mitt Romney to Win M 10.0
Fred Thompson to Win M 5.0
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
Field (any other individual) to Win M 12.0

Winner of 2008 Republican New Jersey Primary
Rudy Giuliani to Win M 85.0
John McCain to Win M 14.0
Mitt Romney to Win M 15.0
Fred Thompson to Win M 10.0
Newt Gingrich to Win M 0.1
Field (any other individual) to Win M 10.0

Mitt Pulls Ads in FL, SC...

...according to this. He's still advertising in MI. So it seems pretty likely Mitt's making a last stand in MI, figuring he'll either win his homestate from his youth, or else he's done. Beating McCain and Huck would springboard him into SC. Losing, and I guess he's calling it quits. I can't imagine he thinks he can lose his 3rd straight contested primary, then lay low for a few weeks while Huck or McCain consolidate momentum and support, and then come back on Super Tuesday, could he? I mean, would you want to try to out-Rudy Rudy?

Should their votes count?

One has to wonder whether the delegates of NY, MA, and other clearly liberal states that will not actually go Republican in general election ought to have their votes worth less during the primary. Specifically, suppose Rudy actually ends up winning the nomination because of the skewed influence of CA, NY, and other states unlikely to go Repub. This doesn't help during general election since those states are going Democrat anyway, so it seems that the states that are on the fence ought to be the most important. We'd like to have a nominee who could swing them towards Repub ticket. Of course if one candidate is a dominant favorite nationwide then this is a moot point, so my guess is this type of reasoning takes place if need be during a brokered convention where there is no clear winner.

Candidate Quiz

Courtesy of Beets McDogg via email, comes this link to a fun candidate quiz that he asked me to post:

The Fredo's Crystal Ball Primary Challenge

Fredo thinks he can come close to 100% accuracy in predicting winners in the GOP primaries if he can update his predictions after making correct ones. Buried in the comments, I challenge him to do so with a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed as a prize if he breaks 80% and a case a Sam Adams for me if he doesn't. Here are my proposed rules:

All predictions must be for future events.
You must pick the winner - i.e. the candidate that gets more delegates than any other candidate.
You get one update for each correct prediction.
Your existing record counts which means you are at 0% and you don't get an update until you get a winner right.

Do you accept Fredo?

Scenario: What happens in a GOP Brokered Convention?

Since I so ingraciously called out Fredo, I'll start a post to play out his prediction of a brokered convention. Here's my take:

McCain has the most delegates but not enough for the nomination.
Mitt has a good number of delegates even without lots of big wins.
Huck wins a lot of delegates in the South, but is about equal with Mitt.
Rudy picks up enough to make a difference, but not enough to have a chance at the nomination.

As several pundits have stated, McCain and Rudy occupy much of the same space within the GOP. Mitt does well in the areas where Huck does poorly and vice-versa. Huck and McCain dislike Mitt. McCain has lots of supporters in the GOP establishment after years in the Senate. The McCain folks strike a deal with the Huck folks promising him a position in the administration, giving McCain enough mass to bring over the Rudy folks with a similar promise. McCain gets the nod.

Gotta Love the KosKidz

If their guy lost, must've been a stolen election.

ht: John Tabin

More Speculation for the Sake of Speculation

Calling out Fredo - do you still think I was wrong in saying it's too early to call the Dem nod for Obama?

NH results are obviously not good for Mitt. This is not any groundbreaking guesswork, but if Mitt doesn't convincingly win MI, he's done. My newish guess is the following:

Dems - this will be a ping-pong match between Hillary and Obama with Obama getting the nod after Edwards drops out and endorses him

GOP - McCain wins MI, Huck wins SC, Fred drops out after SC, McCain wins FL, Rudy drops out, Mitt has a disappointing Super Tuesday, Huck does well on Super Tuesday in the South making it a Huck-McCain battle, McCain wins the nomination and the White House
Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Enjoy the drama

While a million things could happen between now and June, the cold reality is that the person who wins the NH primary will the front runner to win the nomination. That means that we are in 4 hours of delicious limbo, with what looks to be a nail-biting squeaker to determine the probably GOP nominee. I can't think of a circumstance like this in my lifetime. Am I missing one? I guess Reagan/Ford in '76 was a nailbiter, but I was too young to remember it. I also don't know the chronology, but I think Ford had a commanding delegate lead and Reagan made a late charge? Bush 41 needed NH after losing IA, but I believe that by primary day he had a commanding lead in the polls. W needed SC after losing NH, and made a big comeback, but people kind of expected it after he'd rolled up all the money and establishment support. This year: it's anyone's guess. 4 more hours.

Check out the NH open thread over at R 4 '08. People are going nuts.

Huck's good ear

Huck has the best ear for what the public likes of this GOP crop. Sensing the momentum Mitt's gotten from harping on immigration the last few days, he's trying to nip Mitt-mentum in the bud. This is a bold recommendation and one I heartily agree with:

Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens, according to his top immigration surrogate — a radical step no other major presidential candidate has embraced.

Mr. Huckabee, who won last week's Republican Iowa caucuses, promised Minuteman Project founder James Gilchrist that he would force a test case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship, and would push Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to remove any doubt.

Nothing like avoiding loaded language like "radical." I'm not sure what's so radical about the idea that people shouldn't be rewarded for breaking the law. I don't see how this proposal can possibly hurt, but it sure could be some more fuel for the Huckaboom.

Mitt found his mojo

Some nice debate performances by Romney, some ill-tempered grousing by McCain and some waffling by Huck about his record in the same events, mix 'em together, and what do you have? Mo Mitt Mo.

Check out the RCP poll averages here. Rasmussen has him closing to within 1 point over the past two days. The local poll (Suffolk) has Romney in the lead. Remember how predictive the local poll was in Iowa, the Des Moines register was far and away the most predictive.

This is more interesting than Iowa, because the press has been writing two days of "Mac is Back" stories, based on the polling data post-Iowa and pre-debates. Now that the impact of the debates is being felt, Mitt is closing, has the mo, and those numbers are just starting to be reflected in polls as the late breakers settle on a candidate. Can he make up 5 points in three days, when he'd already saturated the market with name and brand recognition for months? It looks that way. I'm sticking with the prediction that Mitt pulls it out in NH, and a lot of columnists like Chuck Todd are going to have egg on their face for crowning McCain before the votes got counted.

Of course, I could have egg on my face, but who cares? Only a bunch of drunk incompetents read this blog anyway.
Monday, January 07, 2008

Why Rudy is still viable

Despite Rudy's slide and aforementioned hit on "electability," he's stil viable and could win the nomination. He's taken a huge, and probably unwise, gamble by not participating in the early states. The other candidates are sucking up all the oxygen and Rudy's support is plummeting. But he hasn't been "defeated" yet because he hasn't really been trying, so he'll get his shot in FL or maybe even keep his powder dry for 2/5.

The real reason he still has a shot is because he can just flat-out handle himself in difficult situations, under duress. Check out this story. What could've been an ugly flare up, with the potential to further alienate the GOP base, was swatted away with ease, and with the crowd chanting their approval:

DERRY, N.H. -- Toward the conclusion of a town hall meeting here, Rudy Giuliani called on a woman to ask the last question when a man stood up and screamed, "What about the 50 million?" He continued to scream at Rudy about his pro-choice views while Rudy smiled and urged the woman to continue her question and ignore the protester. The woman screamed at the protester, "You are out of line. Sit down." Then the crowd started chanting, "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!..." Security came and escorted the screaming man out. As he was being dragged off, he was yelling, "All these children are dying and you want to continue this holocaust." After the protester was removed from the room, a smiling and composed Rudy said, "It's okay, I'm from New York." The crowd laughed and cheered.

Anyone reading this blog probably knows I abhor Rudy's pro-choice stance, and that I rank him 5th out of the 5 viable candidates on my "who-to-support" list for that very reason.

But that's not the point I'm making here. A successful candidate at the national level has got to be able to deflect the harshest criticism, and Rudy never seems uncomfortable when the spotlight is squarely on him. Almost all victorious candidates have "a moment" that comes to show that they can rise to the moment. Usually, such moments come at unexpected and challenging times. I think it could be argued that Obama just had his "moment" a few weeks ago, when, with Hillary mocking him in the background, he coolly looked across at her and informed her that she can work for him when he is President. I think of Reagan's "I paid for this microphone" comment, or Bush 41 in the snows of New Hampshire. While not an election moment, W taking the bullhorn on the rubble of the WTC was another example of spontaneous leadership. Rudy is capable of those kinds of moments, probably more so than any other candidate in the GOP field.

If Rudy doesn't win the nomination, his passive strategy will be maligned forever. With his pure political talent, impressive resume and formidable early lead, he should've been able to put the hammer down in NH and MI.

Caribou Express and Worm were in New Hampshire today

I just wish I'd get a phone call and not have to hear about it from the national media:

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign stop was interrupted on Monday when two stood in the crowd and began screaming, "Iron my shirt!" during one the New York senator's final appearances before New Hampshire voters cast primary ballots Tuesday.

One more poll in the hopper,

and it's a goody. National GOP poll from Gallup/USA Today, based on calls from 1/4-1/6:

Mike Huckabee 25% (16%)
Rudy Giuliani 20% (27%)
John McCain 19% (14%)
Fred Thompson 12% (14%)
Mitt Romney 9% (14%)
Ron Paul 4% (3%)

Two new S-USA polls

These are interesting states to poll for head-to-head matchups. KY is a border/Southern state, a traditionally GOP state that Dems are able to pick off in years when they win. OH is a closely divided state, with a Dem governor and split Senators, and a state that the GOP must win to take the general. I don't think the GOP has ever won the White House without taking Ohio.

With that in mind, one has to admit that the Rudy campaign's "electability" talking point is basically in tatters, even though these are RV and not LV polls.

First, Ohio:

SurveyUSA Ohio Presidential Election

Hillary Clinton 49% (49%)
Rudy Giuliani 41% (40%)

Barack Obama 49% (40%)
Rudy Giuliani 41% (46%)

Hillary Clinton 47% (51%)
Mike Huckabee 46% (39%)

Mike Huckabee 46% (42%)
Barack Obama 46% (43%)

Hillary Clinton 49% (51%)
Mitt Romney 41% (40%)

Barack Obama 51% (43%)
Mitt Romney 39% (42%)

John McCain 48% (45%)
Hillary Clinton 46% (45%)

John McCain 50% (47%)
Barack Obama 43% (38%)

Survey of 535 registered voters was conducted January 4-6, 2008. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted December 13-15, 2007 are in parentheses.

Next, KY:

SurveyUSA Kentucky Presidential Election

Rudy Giuliani 46% (45%)
Hillary Clinton 44% (47%)

Rudy Giuliani 47% (50%)
Barack Obama 41% (40%)

Hillary Clinton 48% (48%)
Mitt Romney 42% (44%)

Barack Obama 44% (40%)
Mitt Romney 43% (46%)

Mike Huckabee 53% (46%)
Hillary Clinton 41% (47%)

Mike Huckabee 54% (51%)
Barack Obama 35% (38%)

John McCain 51% (50%)
Hillary Clinton 41% (44%)

John McCain 54% (53%)
Barack Obama 35% (35%)

Survey of 554 registered voters was conducted January 4-6, 2008. The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted December 13-15, 2007 are in parentheses. In the 2004 election, President Bush defeated Senator Kerry in Kentucky, 60-40%.

HT: Aron Goldman

Just as an aside

After Hillary drops out, what's the over/under on how many months it takes her to file papers? And I ain't talkin' election papers, if you know what I'm sayin'...

Is it already over?

I want to pick up on a point Fredo made in an earlier post that I had heard several pundits also discuss before the Iowa caucuses, which is the voter turnout by party. The overall turnout for both parties was far larger than in the past, but the Dems blew away Repubs by over 2:1. This, plus the fact that Obama is surging in popularity suggests to me that the Republicans may have no chance of winning in '08. The reason I say this is because if Dem voters are so desperate for change in Washington that they are willing to rally behind the most inexperienced candidate from either party just because he represents "change", I don't think we'll be able to overcome their turnout.

McCain and ironically Thompson may be the only two who have a shot. McCain because he would steal votes from the other side, and Thompson because policy-wise he is in broad agreement with Republican base (although he has run an uninspired campaign to this point). I think the other candidates might not garner enough support: Romney and Rudy might result in too many evangelicals staying home; while Huck would not turn out FiCon support.

That said, Mitt is still my #1 because I think he'd put the right policies in place and could get something done. I think Thompson might also be fine, but I can't get fired up about somebody who to this point doesn't seem fired up himself. I'm leery of McCain because he has a maverick wild-card streak in him, and he's opposed the Republican base too often. I think Rudy would be great economically and with GWOT, but not sure what he'd do on social policies. Finally, while I think many of Huck's proposed policies on his website sound reasonable, I just think we need someone with more experience. For me, the stakes are too high with GWOT and other issues to simply elect someone who "seems like a nice guy" or is "someone I could relate to". What I want is someone who stands for the same things I do, knows more than I do, and has the experience and leadership to get things done.
Saturday, January 05, 2008

Mitt Wins WY

He has 6 of the 8 national delegates already selected. Hunter has 1, and Ferd 1. Mitt's total will be the highest regardless of what hapens the remaining 4 counties.

Making Sausage is Aesthetically Appealing by Compairson

The Wyoming Cawkeye are today. Well, sort of. There are "County Delegates" who seem to be mostly juiced in locals. And then other "County Delegates" who were elected/selected last month. And these "County Delegates" select "National Delegates" who represent a given candidate at the Covention this summer.

That's if I have it right, which I probably don't. Here's the Weekly Standard trying to make sense of it for us:

...12 of the state's counties will independently elect one national delegate each at their county conventions. These county conventions range in size from about fifty county delegates in Teton county (pop. 19,288) to a hundred county delegates in Laramie county (pop. 515,004). In most counties, about two-thirds to three-fourths of the county delegates are committeemen and women who were elected back in 2006, while the remaining county delegates were elected at presidential caucuses held in December 2007 or appointed by the county chairmen in case of vacancies.

So the majority of county delegates who will choose Wyoming's 12 national delegates were not elected because of their presidential preference, but were vested with this power on account of being active party members. It's not exactly a model of Athenian democracy, but in Wyoming's defense, the county conventions are more democratic than the smoke-filled room where Warren G. Harding was nominated in 1920.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I would be remiss not to repeat a frightening statistic from the Cawkeye live blog. Fox News reported that a MAJORITY of Democrats caucusing were doing so for the first time. Oh, and secondarily, there were more than twice as many voters in Dem caucus sites than GOP, despite the fact this state went for W in '04.

Why the Dem surge? Just pick your favorite reason from the following list: B.D.S., GOP fatigue, Obama's star quality, people wanting to touch Obama's cloak to wipe away their White Guilt, or a fundamental change in the ideological outlook of American voters. What's clear is that in Iowa, people who weren't traditionally Democrats wanted to make their voice heard as part of the Dem "change machine."

To that fact I would add this story, reported from Brett Passmore this morning on Race 4 2008:

If there is any impression left in any one’s mind that Hillary has any chance of winning New Hampshire, you are now officially delusional.

Obama is about to walk out to a crowd of thousands at a High School in Nashua. They were expecting 1000 to 1200. They have 2 to 3 thousand, with traffic jammed up for miles around the school.

Hillary is speaking at a “Pick Your Pres” event to about 200 people.

(According to my eye based in the video on MSNBC, she had about 300 open seats.)

The rock star is shooting - Obama is gonna sweep this thing.

Still think I was getting ahead of myself Thursday night, MB?
Friday, January 04, 2008

A Republican "Reformation"

DaveG (a Rudy supporter) has written an interesting piece at Race 4 '08. It expands on David Brooks' article in the NY Times concerning the rise of Huckabee and McCain, and treating it as a possible turning point in the core principles of the GOP. Here's the concluding portion of Dave's post:

...the national Republican Party may also be ready for its Pete Wilson moment, i.e., for an election that transforms the party from one that adheres to the Reagan model of supply-side economics, limited government, a quiet social conservatism, and a hawkishness on defense to something other than that. In California, the evolution was towards a new liberal Republicanism. But nationally, we may be seeing the beginning of the Party of Pawlenty.

If John McCain wins New Hampshire next Tuesday, this will mark the first time ever that both the Hawkeye and Granite States have given their respective top spots to culturally conservative economic pragmatists without any real philosophical opposition to government action. Mike Huckabee and John McCain are far from the same candidate, but on domestic issues, both seem to be cut from a similar cloth, which is also the formula embraced and perhaps embodied by the current governor of Minnesota. This is why all three men are viewed suspiciously by the increasingly irrelevant conservative establishment, which, in an almost Pharisaic manner, demands only that candidates check very specific boxes without concern for new, inventive approaches to running government in a changing world.

As Brooks notes, though, the differences between McCain and Huckabee are real, and they seem to represent dueling, if imperfect, prototypes for a post-Reagan Republicanism. But both seem to emanate from the Pawlenty formula, which consists of a non-ideological economic policy with a focus on problem-solving and a post-culture-war cultural conservatism that emphasizes the human dignity side of social issues and that comprehends the overlap between social policy and other sorts of policy, such as the relationship between single-parent homes, poverty, and crime. This sort of real-world, hands-on conservatism seems to be the form of Republicanism that is catching on along the Mississippi River. Should the race for the GOP nod come down to Huckabee and McCain on Super Tuesday, we’ll be looking at a very different set of Republican philosophies battling to lead an ever-evolving Republican Party. In that sense, perhaps 2008 is not the year in which conservatism will be condemned, but fulfilled. Perhaps the Republican Party won’t go the way of the Whigs, but will instead be born anew.

Byron York: How Huck Beat the Romney Machine

It was probably a bitter pill for the folks over at NRO, but Huck beat any and all expectations in Iowa yesterday. Can he get a bounce out of this in NH? Most people seem to thing "no way." And he doesn't necessarily need one, with SC and FL around the corner on friendlier turf. And yet, would anyone be totally surprised if Huck shot up to challenge for 2nd place?

As for York's column, he points to an interesting anecdote about Mitt's campaign:

On the day of the caucuses...Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman who had traveled with Romney all around Iowa, explained his view of the Huckabee campaign. “We’re going up against a loose confederation of fair taxers, and homeschoolers, and Bible study members, and so this will be a test to see who can generate the most bodies on caucus day,” Fehrnstrom said.“Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those groups?” I interrupted.“Not that there’s anything wrong, but that’s just a fact,” Fehrnstrom continued. “That’s just where he has found his support. I have a theory about why Mike Huckabee holds public events in Iowa like getting a haircut or going jogging, or actually leaving Iowa and going to California to appear on the Jay Leno show. It’s because he doesn’t have the infrastructure to plan events for him. And when he does do events in Iowa, he goes to the Pizza Ranch, where you have a built-in crowd, so you don’t have to make calls to turn people out. We’re very proud of the organization we have built in Iowa.”

Fehrnstrom, like the rest of Romney’s team, was unfailingly professional. But his analysis pointed to a blind spot in the Romney campaign, a blind spot most likely shared by the candidate himself. For all his money, and all his energy, and all his organizational skills, Romney could not put to rest the doubts many Iowa Republicans felt about his genuineness, or lack of genuineness.

As they paid more attention to politics in the days leading up to the caucuses, some of those voters came to believe that Huckabee had more of that indefinable something that they want in a candidate. In the end, the race wasn’t about structure at all — something Romney never figured out but Huckabee knew all along.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Live Blogging the Cawkeye

I'll be occasionally weighing in down in the comments. Feel free to join me.

Buying a solid bolt action deer rifle

From the Russ Chastain column on the best bolt deer guns, here are some quality guns (with Kimber added by me).

Quality guns made in America:

Ruger M77 Mk II
Remington 700
Kimber 84M & 8400 Standard (more expensive, higher end)

Quality guns NOT made in America:

Browning A-Bolt
Winchester Model 70
Weatherby (actions from Japan)
Savage 110

Another good one:

Not sure what the tag line of this story should be:

"Never touch another man's pork chop"

"Don't make me go all Samson on your rear"

"He weilded his pork chop like SHK handles his silverware after a night of drinking"

"While I was tryin' to figure out why the guy was sayin' what he was sayin', Nicky just stabbed him with his pork bone."

Novak with one of the great headlines:

Hillary's Premature Triangulation

Real-time Caucus results & bloggers conference call

I will calling in to a teleconference this evening covering the results of the IA Caucuses in real time. It is being hosted by Michael Illions of PoliPundit, and will have Kavon Nikrad of Race 4 2008, among others, on the line.

If any of you are interested in joining the call, see the information here.

Also, for online results in real time, you can check in here.

Bar Stool Economics

Courtesy of MB comes the following tale. I have no idea if the author is as stated, but the numbers seem to pass the smell test. Also, funny as heck:

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers?How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Hideous thought of the day

Rumors abound that a President Hillary Clinton would nominate Bill Clinton to Supreme Court. I'm sure he'd want that: he misses public spotlight, he already made a ton of cash with book deals and speaking engagements, and it's a true position of authority. The question is, would Hillary do it? She clearly only stayed with him to win the presidency, so if she does that then she doesn't need to give him any further favors and I doubt the two of them can stand each other. So I'm not sure she would do it and give him the satisfaction (that's the type of logic and hope I'm reduced to in this situation!!)

Paging Linderman, Protium, DC!

C'mon, get in on the fun with your primary predictions. The person who does the best wins a free car.

Prediction Summary


IA, NH - Mitt
SC, FL - Huck
Nomination - Brokered convention


IA - Huck
NH - McCain
SC, FL - Mitt
Nomination - Mitt


IA, NH - Mitt
SC - Huck
FL - Rudy
Nomination - Mitt

Mayor Protium (!):

MI - Paul (!)
Nomination - Huckabee
Wednesday, January 02, 2008

One Day More

With tomorrow's Hawkeye Cawkeye, as many as 4 candidates (if you count Keyes as a candidate) could end up dropping out. A sound victory for Romney, say, 7 points or more (highly unlikely but stranger things have happened), and Huck could decide to hang it up. A weak showing for Fred (4th or worse) and he's done. Hunter should probably drop out after Iowa. I have a sneaking suspicion that all 3 of them will probably try to hang on until South Carolina and hope for some Southern Home Cookin' (military home cookin', in Duncan's case), but it's possible the field could be down to 4 candidates.


A Romney operative over at R 4 '08 says he has it on "good authority" that Fred's planning on dropping out post-Iowa. Apparently, he's seen the tea leaves about the results of the Cawkeye, and he's not seeing anything encouraging.

The Politico has picked up the story.

Thompson denies the story.


On Monday, someone's releasing a book with "startling charges," meant to impugn a major candidate on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. Early betting is on McCain as the targeted candidate.

Topic du jour

Following up on the Brooks article is this National Review Online forum, dealing with the same topic: the health of the Reagan coalition. I don't have time for a review of the various comments made by some big guns of the conservative movement, but it's definitely worth a read.

David Brooks sees the forest

His NYT column out today is mostly about how Mitt has made himself the most likely GOP candidate, but has also made himself nearly unelectable in the general. He makes similar points to those I've been making, except Brooks uses both facts and logic.

But the Romney stuff, both pro- and con-, is covered ground for the well read OccObs audience. What is more interesting is Brooks' big picture assessment of where the GOP is headed:

As Walter Mondale was the last gasp of the fading New Deal coalition, Romney has turned himself into the last gasp of the Reagan coalition.

That coalition had its day, but it is shrinking now. The Republican Party is more unpopular than at any point in the past 40 years. Democrats have a 50 to 36 party identification advantage, the widest in a generation. The general public prefers Democratic approaches on health care, corruption, the economy and Iraq by double-digit margins. Republicans’ losses have come across the board, but the G.O.P. has been hemorrhaging support among independent voters. Surveys from the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, Kaiser Foundation and Harvard University show that independents are moving away from the G.O.P. on social issues, globalization and the roles of religion and government.

If any Republican candidate is going to win this year, he will have to offer a new brand of Republicanism.

In Brooks' comments there are echos of Newt's Sarko critique. The GOP brand must evolve to remain relevant. It's hard for people of a naturally conservative temperment to move on from a successful template, and that's no doubt why Republican candidates hitch themselves to the Reagan wagon at least thrice per speech, and Republican voters lament the existence of a Reagan in the field with equal frequency.

Can a non-traditional Reagan Republican (Rudy, Huckabee) carry enough of the base to win, while simultaneously re-branding the party to appeal to a new voting block? Can a traditional Reagan Republican (Mitt, Fred) win when, in 2008, the public seems to prefer the Democratic issue basket by a wide margin?

Iowa is a means to an end

The '08 campaign, like every campaign, makes for some fun speculation. But it is not an end unto itself. Lest anyone take a "l'campaign pour l'campaign" approach to American politics, it's good to remember that our future security and prosperity are on the line.

Forces are stirring in the East, and this autocratic regime will seek the ring of power for itself:

2008: The year a new superpower is born

Here comes the world's newest superpower. The rest of the world is gloomily contemplating economic slowdown and even recession. Not in Beijing. China is set to make 2008 the year it asserts its status as a global colossus by flexing frightening economic muscle on international markets, enjoying unprecedented levels of domestic consumption and showcasing itself to a watching world with a glittering £20bn Olympic Games.

The world's most populous nation will mark the next 12 months with a coming-of-age party that will confirm its transformation in three decades from one of the poorest countries of the 20th century into the globe's third-largest economy, its hungriest (and most polluting) consumer and the engine room of economic growth.


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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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