My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Why Can't Democrats--MY Democrats--Think Reasonably? 

I was very happy to see Senate Bill 139 get through the state Senate easily today.

With only four "no" votes, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a Republican plan today helping employers screen for illegal immigrants in the work force. Senate Bill 139, authored by Sen. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, would require the state to notify employers that they can participate in the federal "E-Verify" program, which lets them check if a newly hired employee is in the country illegally.

This is a "no-brainer", right? All it says is that the state will keep employers up-to-date on federal databases to check on employees' immigration status.

So why would anybody vote against this? For that matter, WHO voted against this?

Oh. Sadly . . . my state Senator was one of the four.

[emphasis mine] The only members voting against the measure in the Senate were Sens. Gail Schwartz, of Aspen, Stephanie Takis, of Aurora, Jennifer Veiga, of Denver, and Sue Windels, of Arvada--all Democrats.

Gosh. That makes me proud.


Hillary's Last Stand 

Seems to have done about as well for her as George Custer's, if the punditry at The Corner is on the money.

So, let's work from the assumption that Obama is going to be the nominee. As painful and as ridiculous as it sounds, Obama will be the Democratic nominee.

So we have a vastly experienced Republican with a war hero's resume and a lifetime in the public eye pitted against a young, eloquent Democrat with next to no experience and no history worth mentioning.

Advantage, Republican, right?

Not so much.

Real Clear Politics has the McCain/Obama head to head at Obama +3.2%. Sure, it's early and its meaningless.

But on March 1, 2004 Bush and Kerry were even in the RCP average; then again on April 1.

I'm just sayin' . . . .

Watching Obama dismantle Hillary Clinton over the last few months should guarantee that nobody takes him lightly.


Reports of God's Death A Bit . . . Premature 

The Pew Center has released its latest look into the religious behavior of Americans. The results are rather interesting. Among the most interesting findings:

--78.4% of all Americans report that they are Christian; another 4.6% belong to other traditions;

--16.1% report no particular religious affiliation; but, of those, only 1.6% claim atheism as their "religious affiliation"

--in the key battleground states (thinking politically for a moment) of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, Evangelical Christians (the most reliable Republican vote) make up either the same percentage or a smaller percentage of the population than the national average

--however, nationally, Evangelical Christians are the largest single group, representing 26% of all Americans

By and large, Americans are clearly still a religious people, predominantly a Christian people. Thirty years of ACLU ascendancy can't change that, no matter how hard they try.


Registration Rolls Point Out The Path for GOP 

But they also slap us down for the last decades' worth of mis-governing.

From the Saturday Rocky:

The latest voter registration figures from the Secretary of State show that Republicans outnumbered unaffiliated voters in January only by about 12,000 people, 34.8 percent compared to 34.4 percent. In January 2004, the spread was almost five percentage points, 37 percent to 32.2 percent. Since then, unaffiliated registration has steadily increased.

During the same time, the Democratic Party has remained at about 30 percent of the electorate even though the party captured the governor's mansion and the state legislature.

[notice the total for GOP/Unaffil has held steady at 69.2%]

I think the lessons here are fairly self-evident, but I'm going to point them out, anyway.

First of all, as I've written before, "We on theRight may not be able to get our act together to elect people; but the state of Colorado is still, on the issues, a center-right state. The more we do to delineate those issue differences for the voters, the better off we will be." When 69 percent of the electorate is Republican or Unaffiliated, I think that pretty much qualifies you as "center-right." Add to that the long list of referenda and initiatives that the Left has tried for and not succeeded with, and you get a picture of good center-right state.

Unfortunately, the party that should be enjoying the largesse of that profile has proven over the past many years to be either indifferent to everyday people or incompetent in power--I tend to think the latter. I believe that when people want to feel good, they elect Democrats to tell them how to assuage their guilt (whether they actually accomplish anything is a different story); I also believe that when people want to get things done and have competent governance, they tend to elect Republicans.

Those registration numbers don't mean the state is changing nearly as much as they mean the Republicans have blown opportunitites to capitalize on their plurality, and now there's a significant chunk of the electorate who are actively repudiating the Party.

But not the ideas.

And, while this is--or should be--a wake-up call for the GOP, it also points the way back to the promised land.

First: have ideas that mesh with the electorate

Second: be competent, be ethical, and be transparent.

You wouldn't think the first would be very difficult for the Party of Reagan and of Newt Gingrich; and the Colorado GOP is pursuing a very ambitious agenda in the legislature this session; but for a few years there, the GOP was in charge of a system (not of their making) that prevented increasing revenue while mandating increasing expenditures while . . . Sure, the GOP isn't completely responsible for TABOR and Amendment 23; but they happened on their watch, and they couldn't solve the problem. So they get the blame.

But that second one has proven to be a real problem for us. I think the Colorado GOP lost some good will when it tried to ram through redistricting in a stealthy way back in 2000, and that opened the door for the state party to be tarnished by Hurricane Katrina and Iraq and all the other problems of the national GOP.

So, . . .Note to Bob Schaffer's campaign: have ideas that are in sync with the state (not a problem) but ALSO make the case that your ethical standards are unimpeachable (you did keep your term-limits promise) in the face of Lefty smears and that you will get things done (unlike the Democrats who are flailing about haplessly in Congress right now). Don't think too much about the Udall campaign--you need to get this one message through to the electorate or it won't matter how goofy Mark Udall is.

And, preferably, you need to get that message through to the electorate soon, before the smear campaign starts in the Spring.


Reflections On George Washington 

Today being the actual anniversary of the birth of George Washington, I thought it would be appropriate to hear some of the great man's, the Prince of America's own words. From his farewell address:

. . . .the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

One wonders if Washington had a crystal ball and could see both the last Republican Congress and the current Democrat one--it took the Republicans 10 years to learn how to misuse, abuse, then protect, and ultimately lose, power; the Democrats are on a much faster pace; and, certainly, the "mischiefs of the spirit of party" take a role [protection of Mark Foley; the payoffs to trial lawyers in the FISA fiasco last week].

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.

Give me a branch of government--PLEASE--and I'll demonstrate to you the accuracy of this assessment.

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.

I'm gonna put that statement on a plaque and mail it to the ACLU.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

Washington was a man born into the exact era where God wanted him to fix the world. It is difficult to image a U.S. now had George Washington not laid down the template of the Presidency.

The one thing that is obvious in his writing, and which is so startly missing from the current debate is the sense of selflessness, service and a calling to do what one, perhaps, does not want to do. " I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. "

I know Barack THINKS he's only being called to pursue this to "heal the country's soul;" but, in truth, the last man who became President who I would guess really didn't want the job is probably Gerald Ford. These days, you have to be running from about the seventh grade to get to be President.

And not that this, in itself, is reason to dismiss any of the current crop of candidates. I'm just saying a little humility from one of them would be refreshing. And historically respectful of the man who created the job they aspire to.


Chris Matthews Stands In Front of the Train 

Hat tip: CQ

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "You are a big Barack supporter, right, Senator?"

State Sen. Watson: "I am. Yes, I am."

Matthews: "Well, name some of his legislative accomplishments. No, Senator, I want you to name some of Barack Obama's legislative accomplishments tonight if you can."

State Sen. Watson: "Well, you know, what I will talk about is more about what he is offering the American people right now."

Matthews: "No. No. What has he accomplished, sir? You say you support him. Sir, you have to give me his accomplishments. You've supported him for president. You are on national television. Name his legislative accomplishments, Barack Obama, sir."

State Sen. Watson: "Well, I'm not going to be able to name you specific items of legislative accomplishments."

Matthews: "Can you name any? Can you name anything he's accomplished as a Congressman?"

State Sen. Watson: "No, I'm not going to be able to do that tonight."

Matthews: "Well, that is a problem isn't it?"

I would imagine the Obama campaign is going to start putting out some talking points on this little problem pretty soon.

In a similar vein, I had a thought last night: the single most logical choice for a running mate for Obama at this point is . . . . . . . .Gen. Wesley Clark. Can anybody think of anyone better? Shores up his obvious weakness on national security and inexperience at . . . well, everything . . . .while completely guaranteeing that he won't ever be overshadowed.

Climate Change: Missed This One 

Fortunately, Ben had his eyes open:

Satellite data shows that concerns over the levels of sea ice may have been premature.

It was feared that the polar caps were vanishing because of the effects of global warming.

But figures from the respected US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that almost all the “lost” ice has come back.

Ice levels which had shrunk from 13million sq km in January 2007 to just four million in October, are almost back to their original levels.

Hmmmm. Let's see now, what happened between January and October? . . . . Oh, I'm thinking . . . .it's on the tip of my tongue . . .

Oh, yeah. SUMMER!

So, I ask again: if it's reasonable, as all reasonable people must agree, that the earth goes through micro-climate changes that we frequently refer to as "seasons", why would it not, likewise, be reasonable to assume the the earth periodically goes through macro-clmate changes? Like the water being warmer in the oceans for a few years in a row.

All of nature operates in cycles; "global warming" is just one more example.


Could The Contrast Be More Stark? 

I bet you're thinking I'm thinking about McCain-Obama in November.

No. I'm talking about Obama and the serious people of the world.

On a day in which the new rulers in Pakistan announced they wanted to "talk" to militants, and the longest-ruling head of state in the western hemisphere announced his resignation, Obama wins what might be the clinching battle and gives a speech that says absolutely NOTHING!

And the "professional journalists" give him a pass.

The world is a serious place, and Barack Obama does NOT understand it.

Don't be fooled people.


Keep Our Eyes On the Ball, Please 

While the "professional journalists" all seem very happy to cover the Obama mini-scandal (someone once said "good writers borrow--great writers steal it outright), something actually important is happening in Pakistan:

Pakistanis dealt a crushing defeat to President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections on Monday, in what government and opposition politicians said was a firm rejection of his policies since 2001 and those of his close ally, the United States.

The actual meaning of this is difficult to assess. Benazir Bhutto was killed because Islamist militants thought she would make life harder on them; NYTimes writing aside, it's possible that a victory for her party--even in coalition--would be an incredibly good thing for the world.

And, perhaps, it would make it just a little bit less necessary for this sort of thing:

Officials say the incident was a model of how Washington often scores its rare victories these days in the fight against al-Qaeda inside Pakistan's national borders: It acts with assistance from well-paid sympathizers inside the country, but without getting the government's formal permission beforehand.

Then again, I suppose it's possible that Pakistan could deteriorate into a nuclear-fueled cesspool.

Either way, this is a helluva lot more important than Barack Obama borrowing a few lines from other liberal public officials.

But, I guess nobody gets to tell the "professional journalists" what really matters, do they?


If You're Going To Get In The Ring, Throw Some Punches 

The President gave a very strong radio address today (courtesy The Corner). The punchline:

At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning a new attack on America. And Congress has no higher responsibility than ensuring we have the tools to stop them.

Read the whole thing--it's good.

Except for one thing: in the whole of the speech the President mentions "Congress" four times and "House" or "House of Representatives" seven times. BUT IT WASN'T THE WHOLE OF THE HOUSE THAT WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS. It was the Democrats in the House, and the President should have called them out for that.

Somewhere, in some remote part of this country, there is some poor Joe who hasn't been paying too close of attention to the world over the last couple years (or who is soo diseased by Bush Derangement Syndrome so as not to know the difference), so Joe may still think the Republicans run the Congress. And, hearing the President's speech, Joe may say to himself "Damn Republicans--you'd think they could get something done." And so the President's speech failed to inform Joe with whom the fault actually lies, so Joe is no smarter going to the ballot box later on.

This unwillingness to engage is infuriating. This one is on a par with condemning the publication of national security secrets without actually mentioning the New York Times.

I don't know what is wrong with this President that he doesn't like to throw the heat, always dancing around the edge of the strike zone with breaking balls. He's gotta go after these guys--he's got 360 days left in office to do something. He should simply not care what it looks like doing his business--step on toes if he must, but let's call a spade a spade when it's appropriate.

Open Letter to Congressman Perlmutter 

Honorable Ed Perlmutter
12600 W. Colfax Ave, Suite B-400
Lakewood, CO 80215

Dear Congressman:

As one of your constituents, I find it embarrassing that my Congressman would be a party to the willful blinding of America's intelligence agencies.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; this version enjoyed bipartisan support, earning 68 votes in a Democrat-controlled Senate, and was already promised to be signed into law by the President. Yet, when this bill was sent to the House for action, Speaker Pelosi chose to bury this bill until after Congress' 10 day President's Day recess. Apparently, there was not enough time for the House of Representatives to act on this, even though it did have enough time to spend four hours with Roger Clemens regarding performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

Of course, I don't need to relate all of this to you--you were there, and know the history of this better than I do.

And that is the problem--you were there. And, apparently, did nothing to force action on this vital piece of legislation. Which, I suppose, would be understandable from a run-of-the-mill freshman Congressman. But from one who sits on the Homeland Security Committee it is shameful. And from one who represents--allegedly represents--me and my family I find it nothing less than breathtakingly partisan and irresponsible.

Perhaps you need to revisit your pledge:

As a member of Congress, I work daily to strengthen our intelligence community and its ability to gather, analyze, and share information that law enforcement and first responders need to prevent an attack. Among the most important responsibilities to ensuring our security is intelligence gathering and analysis. As a member of the Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee, . . .

You voted to organize the House with the Democrats; you voted to place Rep. Pelosi in the Speaker's chair; the responsibility for this fundamental lack of seriousness about national security lies with you.

Standard platitudes about "strengthening intelligence" and "important responsibilities" don't actually accomplish much on the floor of the House. I should hope that we can expect something more forceful and productive from you when you return from your long "weekend."


Arvada, CO


Quick Hits 

:Democrat's Screwed-Up Priorities

The House broke for a week’s recess Thursday without renewing terrorist surveillance authority demanded by President Bush, leading him to warn of risky intelligence gaps while Democrats accused him of reckless fear mongering.

The refusal of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, to schedule a vote on a surveillance measure approved Tuesday by the Senate . . .

Couldn't bother to protect the country, but there was plenty of time for this:

In a four-hour hearing in which Mr. Clemens and Mr. McNamee shared the same table but never seemed to directly look at each other, Mr. Clemens continued to insist, under sometimes strenuous questioning, that Mr. McNamee never injected him with steroids and human growth hormone, as Mr. McNamee maintains.

How refreshing that at least one Democrat is possessed of a tiny share of self-awareness:

A day after a dramatic, nationally televised hearing that pitted Roger Clemens against his former personal trainer and Democrats against Republicans, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said Thursday that he regretted holding the hearing in the first place.

The chairman, Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, said the four-hour hearing unnecessarily embarrassed Clemens . . .

Now, if only some Republicans could learn from him:

A day after meeting with N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the videotaping controversy that has entangled the league, Senator Arlen Specter said that he was “more determined” to continue probing.

:CU Should Have A New President Soon

Both the faculty, by a 40-4 vote of Reps, and the student union, by a 9-2 vote of Reps, oppose the hiring of Bruce Benson.

To my mind, that makes him very nearly the perfect person for the job.

:Laughably Stupid if it Weren't So Tragic

If there were lessons learned after the Virginia Tech massacre, they were: Lock down and notify. . .

Thursday's shootings at Northern Illinois provided the first test of one of those plans.

By many preliminary accounts, the university did well: Within 30 seconds of a report of shots fired at Cole Hall, the first officer was on the scene. But he was too late.

Maybe those weren't--or, at least, shouldn't have been--the lessons learned. It would seem the actual correct lesson was learned at New Life.

:Is THIS Bi-Partisanship?

Remember how Governor Ritter promised to be bi-partisan, to seek common ground to work from? Here's hilarious evidence of that:

The story title: "Ritter's Task Gets Tougher as Group Seeks Tax Increase"
The story subheading: "Governor Hoping For Consensus on Levies for Drilling"
BUT the caption on the photo that accompanies the story: "Ritter said he is listening to supporters of tax measure."

So, would those be Republican supporters of the tax measure? I don't think so.


Of Lincoln and These Times 

On this, the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth (how many of you knew that? used to be Lincoln and Washington BOTH got their day of glory; these days we've traded each in in favor of a hybrid plus Martin Luther King, Jr.), I was thinking about the great example Lincoln set in SO many ways.

And I was thinking it was a thing John McCain would be smart to emulate in many ways.

In particular, I was thinking this: since it now looks like the Obama-Clinton primary will continue now well into the summer, McCain needs to find a way to capitalize on that, and he can do it all on free media. He should follow the Democrats from primary to primary, PARTICULARLY when they have a "debate", and give a Lincoln-Douglas-like "response" in every state while the media is still there.

For instance, on February 21st the Democrats have a debate scheduled in Texas. John McCain should be in Texas, very publicly watching the debate, with a press conference scheduled for either immediately after the debate or for early the next morning. And, let's go out on a limb here and imagine that Barack Obama says something particularly asinine about foreign affairs--something like

[I] will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. [I] will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But [I] will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. [I] will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global.

And then McCain should say something like

Senator Obama sets some lofty goals with respect to nuclear weapons in the world. Unfortunately, Sen Obama is working under the assumption that Russia is an equal player on this field, and that the greatest threat we face is from well-established nation-states with a conventional mindset regarding warfare.

Russia, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has regressed dramatically in the past several years. Russia has been implicated in the murders of opposition journalists, it has used its oil reserves to blackmail the rest of Europe, and it has shown a woefully inadequate level of security with regards to its own latent nuclear arsenal. Besides which, a great many of the Russian nuclear weapons are no longer under Russia's control--they are in Estonia, Latvia, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, and throughout the independent states that used to be satellite countries of the old Soviet Union. etc, etc . . .

To assume that another international agreement will be sufficient to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran is the height of folly, in my opinion. There are already treaties in place forbidding the development of missile technology, but Iran has flaunted that to develop the Shahab-3 (or whatever) which has enough range to reach the Black Sea, Tel Aviv, or India. Given that Iran's leaders have professed the goal of eradicating our friend Israel from the face of the earth . . .

America deserves a serious debate, like the ones Lincoln and Douglass had those many years ago; and, knowing that the Dems will never agree to an unmediated, REAL debate, McCain should try to force the issue with long-form responses everywhere the media happens to be.

And, in honor of this anniversary, I leave you with some of the finest prose ever produced in America:

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.


OOOPS! Green Science Wrong 

This is how I love my irony:

Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded. . . .

It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in new lands being cleared, either for food or fuel.

“When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gasses substantially,” said Timothy Searchinger, lead author of one of the studies and a researcher in environment and economics at Princeton University. “Previously there’s been an accounting error: land use change has been left out of prior analysis.”

I love that . . . "accounting error." What sort of accounting error do you suppose that involved? Like, maybe, the kind that involves hiding facts against interest?

What other sort of facts against interest do you suppose the environmental lobby is hiding?

Colorado Democrats Invite Voter Fraud 

So, in case you haven't heard the news lately, the Colorado Secretary of State has de-certified all of the electronic voting machines in the state . . . because they are not secure or credible.

So, you would think that our legislators--those who are tasked with protecting our democracy--would then start taking steps to assure the election is accurate and authentic.

You would think wrong. At least, as far as the Democrats go.

Despite renewed calls by the public to secure the state's elections, majority Democrats on a House committee shut down a proposal Thursday to require proof of citizenship for those seeking to vote.

On a party-line vote, the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee killed the Republican-authored House Bill 1177, which would have required people registering to vote to show one of several commonly held forms of identification to prove citizenship. . . .

Disappointing. Not in the least bit surprising, of course. But disappointing.

Makes me wonder if the state GOP will have the wherewithal to make use of this in the elections.

The only thing that's more disappointing is that I have yet to see this story in the newspaper or on the evening news.

Not in the least bit surprising, of course. But disappointing.


New Rules Of Operation 

My policy differences with John McCain are legion--that much I have made abundantly clear.

However, following the lead of the man I supported for President, I am hereby declaring this blog a McCain-bashing-FREE zone.

Like momma said, if you don't have anything nice to say . . .

I will find some way to channel all of my disdain at the Democrats. Somehow, I will find a way.

Romney Goes Out With Class 

My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

Mitt Romney will continue to be a presence and a force in Republican Party politics for the years to come. Whether he gets to run against an incumbent Democrat in four years, or tries to follow President McCain in eight years, remains to be seen. But he will be back.

In the meantime, I hope he finds a very visible way to put his considerable talent to use for the good of the Party and of the country in the near future.


And the Nominees Are . . . . 

Regardless of the mathematical models that make it possible for Romney to remain in the race and hope to win, well . . .I've never been a Cleveland Browns fan, so I don't put much stock in "mathematical possibilities."

The race is over. McCain will be the Republican nominee. I'm very willing to be optimistic, but, as of this late hour, with 43% of the precincts reporting, McCain has a 15 point lead in California.

15 points. Game over.

So the really important questions are twofold, now. One, how does McCain forge a coalition of centrists to beat what looks like a Hillary Clinton candidacy? And two, what does Mitt Romney do now?

For McCain, the road is steep. Just from my own informal observations at the precinct caucus tonight, I would say that McCain may be among the least popular people in the world with Republican diehards. In the three precincts that reported their straw vote talley, McCain was third in two and fourth in the other. The core of the party does not trust him, and the one bill he seems destined to push through this Congress (McCain-Leiberman) won't win him any new friends.

I'll be curious to see what sort of a tone he strikes at CPAC on Thursday. Oration is not his strong suit (even Fox News cut away from his speech tonight to cover Obama), so if he decides to come out straight and say "this is who I am--I'm with you on 80%" then I can at least respect that, even if the other 20% is really important and he's REALLY wrong on it. On the other hand, if he tries to make some of the same awkward gestures towards conservatives that he has in the last couple months, he could just turn off all the people who might be willing to listen to him at this point.

I think what is more interesting is to watch what happens on the Democratic side. If the Dems look at McCain and, en masse, decide they don't want to send up against him another slightly cranky, old-school Washington insider, then Obama could be set up pretty nicely. We'll have to wait and see. Dems may just follow the Republicans down the "safe" path and put up their "heir apparent", too. Man, what a boring election that would be.

As for Mitt Romney, surely he sees the writing on the wall. A man who supposedly made his bones crunching data has got to be discouraged by the data he's seeing so far. So what now?

First of all, I hope he drops out sooner rather than later. Not because I want him out, but because, as a self-financed candidate, I think there are better uses for his personal fortune than buying second place finishes.

I think, if he wants another shot in four years, he should get out now and try to built party unity. That's the obligatory gesture of loyalty that is a minimum expectation of Republicans who fail to win the nomination.

And then he should take his millions and start helping people and parties who are being overrun by the debris from McCain-Feingold. For instance, we learned last week that two billionaire liberals are going to sink $12 million into this election in Colorado; I don't know why Romney would want to try to match that, but a 527 with a $2 or $3 million dollar stake could make an ENORMOUS difference in Colorado's Senate seat and the 4th and 7th CD's.

A little largesse spread around the country over the next four years could do Mitt a great deal of good, earning him the goodwill of a body politic that is starting to gather its non-perishables and extra long underwear for their trip into the political wilderness. He wouldn't have to be exorbitant, either--certainly nothing George Soros-like. If he could target 10-20 critical races and states and help create independent expenditure committes that would work on behalf of conservative/Republican causes, he could make a huge difference. And, in another four years, he would likely be lavishly rewarded by the GOP base. In fact, I'd like to volunteer my services to that hypothetical committee.

Beyond that, it would do him a lot of good to get deeply involved in the intellectual debates going on around the country. Perhaps he and Newt could come together to form a new Republican "ideas agenda" for the 21st century. Newt has always been a big idea guy in the party, and Romney could increase his name I.D., be involved in the intellectual discussions, and come out stronger for his next bid. Not to mention that being around Newt and probably being on numerous political panels like Hannity and Colmes would force him to grow a little spinal fortitude, so next time McCain lies about him he knows how to handle it right then and there.

I'm not going to sugar coat it--I'm disappointed in the outcome. I think McCain will be a terrible candidate, assisted only by Hillary's similar badness as a candidate.

Ronald Reagan lost a close battle with Gerald Ford in 76; political death is NOT a permanent state. How Romney handles the next 8 months will go far to determining what sort of candidate he will make in 2012.


Super Tuesday Prediction 

I have already said that I'm not going to drink the Cool-Aid, no matter how many times it gets re-mixed. Tonight, after reading Geraghty, I'm even more convinced about how tomorrow is going to play out.

There are, in my analysis, three salient observations. One: that Republicans, in general, are scared. Check that--they're scared silly. Which is leading many of them to turn at the last moment for the person they think has the best chance to win in November, regardless of orthodoxy. Two: that there are just enough truly undecided Republicans that I don't think the polls are able to come at all close to predicting much--perhaps, there is as much as a 10-12 point swing on the day of the vote. Three: when in doubt, the default position of a Republican is to go to national security, and to then go to the person they are most comfortable with--whoever is most established on the issue and has the best name recognition--and to pull the lever for that person. It's not the most informed way to vote, but, contrary to some optimistic analysis by Hugh, I still think the majority of Republicans are still not ver tuned in to the details of this race. Just the way it is.

All of which points to a rather sweeping night for John McCain.

I don't have the exact numbers the Geraghty came up with, but I can say that the night will swing mostly for McCain. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, all winner-take-all to McCain; worse, I'm guessing that Illinois, Missouri, and even California slip into the McCain pile. In the end, the default vote of Republicans across the country will give John McCain the prohibitive favorite status heading out of Super Tuesday, and on to the nomination.

Not what I want to happen, again--just what I think will happen.

If this is what happens, I would hope Romney would see the writing on the wall and drop out soon. More thoughts on what he should do once he drops out tomorrow.

By the way, as an ancilliary prediction, should I be correct in my prediction for tomorrow and the Fall, I would further predict McCain loses between 36 and 38 states in the general election to Hillary, with 2-4 Senate seats gone, and 10-15 House seats.

To Obama, I would guess it would be more like 42-44 states, 4-6 Senate, and 20+ House.


So . . . No Fear of This Becoming A SportsBlog 

. . . No defense, fun to watch--Patriots 44, Giants 31


So, next time I make a prediction, get your wallets out and GO THE OTHER WAY!

Speaking of which, Super Tuesday predictions coming tomorrow.

By the way--don't drink the cool-aid. I will expound on this more tomorrow, but Republicans will again go to the booth on Tuesday and ask themselves first about the war. Everything else fades.


Patriots, In a Walk 

On to the more important stuff . . . .

I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow's Super Bowl--for really the first time since the Broncos were in the Bowl I actually care about the game. That's probably just because I appreciate the history of the possibility of the Patriots completing a perfect season, but whatever the case, I think this will be a fun game.

From what I've seen of the two teams this year, and in particularly over the past two weeks, I would simply say that the Patriots act like professionals. That's not a personality assessment, mind you--that's just looking at how they go about their business. There is something unflappable, unexcitable and altogether heartless about how they've plowed through the NFL this year that makes it easy to picture them doing the exact same thing tomorrow. The Giants, on the other hand, are a great story over the past two months, but they've shown the capacity to do and say stupid things. In a battle with a professional, that'll get you killed.

No defense, fun to watch--Patriots 44, Giants 31.

P.S. if I end up being pretty close to right on this prediction--unlike ALL of my political predictions lately--this blog will probably quickly transform into a sports blog.

Best Destiny's Endorsement: Mitt Romney 

This should not come as a surprise to regular readers.

I considered very seriously all of the other top-tier candidates, and found that a couple of them could easily have earned my support.

Fred Thompson has an impeccable voting record; he also has a background as a prosecutor of some distinction, and those two qualities are attractive. On a personal level, he veritably oozes "gravitas," and brought to the debates he was awake for a distinct sense of seriousness and deep-thought that never devolved into "scripting." I have no doubts that, as a President, he would have been able to command and hold the attention of the nation, and be seen as someone to be reckoned with by foreigners.

Rudy Giuliani has an amazingly good history. From being a prosecutor who took on the mafia, to being a mayor of the "most ungovernable city in the world" and turning it around, to his poise and command in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, he has proven again and again his courage and his ability to get things done. He also commands a deep well of respect and admiration from the American public that he could have used very effectively were he President.

Unfortunately, neither of them ran a good--or an even competent--campaign. Fred never quite seemed to even want the job, from his too-long delayed announcement of intent, to his less-than-grueling campaign schedule, he was never able to convince people that he really meant to be President. And Giuliani's Florida Strategy has, obviously, been proven wrong. You can't stay out of the headlines for weeks at a time and hope to bring people over to your side.

And what of John McCain? Um, . . . just read a little of this blog. Ditto Mike Huckabee.

Which leaves Mitt Romney. And that is NOT to say that Romney is my pick by process of elimination. On the contrary, I believe that the next decade will see the world absolutely transformed, as the War of Islamic Jihad moves to new fronts and sees new strategems, as the old dichotomies of East/West and First World/Third World get replaced by Connected/Disconnected, as the world turns its ingenuity to new forms of energy and new means of communication, and a host of other changes we haven't even conceived of yet. And the qualities of the man that I want at the helm for events such as these are intellect, eloquence, temperance, and the sort of facile thinking that grasps the swirl of events and takes a hold of them. Those are all qualities that I perceive in Gov. Mitt Romney.

Romney's background as a successful businessman, transforming businesses and putting companies on the cutting edge of the economy would be invaluable in the next ten years. His experience resurrecting the Salt Lake City Olympics has demonstrated an ability to grasp the intractable and turn it into success. And his experience as governor has given him the sort of Executive political experience that the country looks to in its leadership. Mitt Romney strikes me as the sort of man who is deliberate in his thinking, who likes to know where all the pieces are on the board, and who is creative in his application of power to make systems work. These are perilous times, indeed, but these are also the times that make men--and nations--significantly greater if they understand the opportunity inherent in the danger. Mitt Romney has the unusual capacity to do just that.

I will be enthusiastically caucusing for Mitt Romney on Tuesday night.

How Teddy Roosevelt Became Tony Blair 

I've been puzzling quite a bit over the last few days about just what it is that makes John McCain tick. You see, if you examine his legislative record, there are very few pieces of evidence that point to a coherent governing philosophy. He has been, however, roundly criticized--including on this blog--for his seeming willingness, and even joy, at sticking it to members of his own party.

And then, today, a thought occurred to me: he's been listening to his constituents in the "professional journalist" class so much that he's bought into one of their underlying beliefs: that the last "good" Republican was Teddy Roosevelt.

Consider the similarities (Roosevelt quotes from the White House biography site):

:Teddy Roosevelt was a war hero, having led the Rough Riders in their charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War; John McCain was a war hero, too--did you know he was in Vietnam?

:TR "emerged spectacularly as a "trust buster" by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad combination in the Northwest;" JM has the instincts of an anti-capitalist and said in last week's debate "I think that there's some greedy people on Wall Street that perhaps need to be punished."

:TR's corollary to the Monroe Doctrine prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and arrogated the sole right of intervention in Latin America to the United States; JM, based on the Iraq debate, has at least as muscular an idea of the use of American force as TR ever did

:TR's most effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects; JM has shown such environmental instincts in his opposition to drilling in ANWAR and in the McCain-Lieberman Environmental Bill

:TR had strong regulatory instincts, [holding] the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation; JM, likewise, has strong regulatory instincts, evidenced by McCain-Feingold and McCain-Leiberman, among other things.

:TR was frequently criticized for being "imperial;" sound familiar?

The problem with the anti-capitalist instincts John McCain displays these days is that the capitalists are not anywhere near as overbearing as they were at the turn of the century; in fact, we've pretty much learned in the last twenty-five years that the capitalists are what make the country work, what give us the financial basis to maintain our military, and what make it possible for everybody--even the "little guy"--to have a chance at prosperity. There is no great need for the sort of regulation that McCain seems to reflexively embrace, and his fundamental lack of understanding of the economy is bound to do terrible damage to our economy.

What has happened, instead with McCain, is that we have a man who believes in big-government solutions, the regulation of industry, the abbrogation of sovereignty to world bodies and world opinion, and political correctness, all disguised under a muscular idea of foreign policy.

In other words: Tony Blair.


What Makes You Think John McCain Would Win The War On Terror? 

I know this is heresy--John McCain is a war hero, and his qualifications to be Commander -In-Chief are "unimpeachable." All of the disputes conservatives have with him are supposed to be on the domestic/social side of the ledger, but his qualifications on the war are unquestioned.


What spawned this thought is the interview Hugh conducted yesterday with Bruce Hirschensohn. I was able to --through inductive reasoning (shyeeah!)--distill that that BH, like many conservatives, has made his choice for who to endorse (John McCain) based solely on the basis of who is best suited to be Commander-In-Chief during the next years of the Global War On Terror. And that's fine--I don't mind anybody making that the deciding factor in their decision.

But I found myself wanting to yell at the car stereo "What makes you think John McCain will win this war!?!?"

Let's look at those specific qualifications. Sure, let's hand it to McCain: he stood up for the "surge" strategy when it looked like all around him would fold on it, and made it okay for Republicans to get behind the President on this one strategic shift to save the war.

But let's look at the bigger picture in the GWOT outside of Iraq.

What is our greatest need with regard to winning the GWOT? I would submit to you that our greatest tool/weapon/need is intelligence. I know, that's not exactly a bold or unique thought, but it HAS to be the starting point of any serious discussion of winning.

How has John McCain been on intelligence?

What's our greatest asset in gaining intel? Obviously, interviews with captured terrorists have to be near the top of the list of central sources of information. And John McCain has made it quite clear that getting intel from "aggressive" interviews is something that he's not interested in.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) named three measures that he said would no longer be allowed under a provision barring techniques that cause serious mental or physical suffering by U.S. detainees: extreme sleep deprivation, forced hypothermia and "waterboarding," which simulates drowning. He also said other "extreme measures" would be banned. . . .

"It's clear we have to have the high moral ground," said McCain, a former POW tortured by prison guards in Vietnam, on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I am confident that some of the abuses that were reportedly committed in the past will be prohibited in the future."

This, in spite of the fact recently revealed, that waterboarding has worked:

It was the interrogation of Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee taken by the CIA in 2002, that led us to 9/11 accomplice Ramzi Binalshibh. Interrogations of both terrorists then led us to Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Former CIA agent John Kiriakou, leader of the team that captured Zubaydah, said waterboarding broke the jihadist in about 35 seconds. Use of the technique gained information that probably disrupted "dozens" of planned al-Qaida attacks, saving countless lives, Kiriakou says.

According to reports, waterboarding has only been used on three post-9/11 prisoners, so its not as if its the default interrogation technique of the military or the CIA. But, you know, now that's one less thing the terrorists have to prepare for.

But more interestingly, his sanctimonious claim that we have to have the moral high ground is based in some reality far, FAR from this one. Did moral high ground protect him once upon a time, even in a U.N.-sponsored action? And how'd that moral high ground thing work out for Danny Pearl? Does McCain, for some bizarre reason, assume that people who would strap bombs to retarded women and send them into crowds to blow them up would really give anything resembling a crap about how we treat THEIR people.

It's delusional--it's beyond normal for a person with his background to refuse to deal in reality in such a way.

But that's John McCain.

But maybe his delusions are confined to that one area--maybe his background gives him a block where "torture" is concerned.

Nope. From FoxNewsSunday re: warrantless wiretaps of foreign-originated and ended calls that route through the U.S.

WALLACE: But you do not believe that currently he has the legal authority to engage in these warrant-less wiretaps.
MCCAIN: You know, I don't think so, but why not come to Congress? We can sort this all out. I don't think -- I know of no member of Congress, frankly, who, if the administration came and said here's why we need this capability, that they wouldn't get it.

I wonder if St. John will still feel that way when it's him in the Oval Office. I'm pretty sure it's easy to come up with a list of Congress people who would deny this--or his--administration the capability therein.

So if McCain doesn't feel very good about direct intelligence gathering, and he doesn't really want to gather intel with advanced technological means, how--EXACTLY--does he propose getting the intel that we so desparately need to successfully wage the GWOT?

Well, you would think that the answer to a significant question of that nature would take a prominent place on the campaign website. Or not (follow the link then scroll down).

America faces a dedicated, focused, and intelligent foe in the war on terrorism. This enemy will probe to find America's weaknesses and strike against them. The United States cannot afford to be complacent about the threat, naive about terrorist intentions, unrealistic about their capabilities, or ignorant to our national vulnerabilities.

In the aftermath of 9/11 John McCain fought for the creation of an independent 9/11 Commission to identify how to best address the terrorist threat and decrease our domestic vulnerability. [How'd THAT work out, St. John?] He fought for the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the creation of the U.S. Northern Command with the specific responsibility of protecting the U.S. homeland.

As President, John McCain will ensure that America has the quality intelligence necessary to uncover plots before they take root, the resources to protect critical infrastructure and our borders against attack, and the capability to respond and recover from a terrorist incident swiftly.

And its not that I disagree with anything here. It's that there's nothing to disagree with--for a man who is supposedly "perfectly qualified" for this fight at this time in history, he is remarkably short on specific ideas. For instance, where was the "McCain-generic Senator" legislation expanding the CIA, broadening the mandate of the military intelligence services, and expanding the investment in electronic intelligence equipment over the last seven years? Where was the righteous indignation McCain seems to reserve for his fellow Republicans when it comes to the publication of classified programs and intelligence on the pagesof the NTYimes or the Washington Post?

I think, despite McCain's claim that he's been at the "center of every major foreign policy debate of the last 20 years," he has clearly been missing in action on taking the war to the terrorists.

So, while it's true that McCain was important to the now-inevitable victory in Iraq, that is but one battlefield in the larger war. And I haven't seen much from him to indicate he has any great ideas to push forward as far as dealing with the other pieces of the puzzle.

For instance: what happens if Pakistan goes on the edge, and a rogue general gets control of a few nukes, points them at India, and provokes a potentially nuclear confrontation in a region that has spillover into India and China? What does he do in a meeting with the Joint Chiefs when nobody has any answers? How does he handle Vlad Putin when Putin announces that he has to move three battalions onto the Indian border to protect his oil interests?

What, for instance, would McCain do if his emissary got played at the U.N. the way Colin Powell got played by Dominique DeVillepin?

It isn't that he doesn't have experience--clearly he does. In a large, force-on-force war, and in politics.

But I've never--NEVER--seen from him any indication of the capacity to manipulate strategic events in a way that forwards U.S. interests. For that matter, I've never seen from him the interest in forwarding U.S. interests.

His claim that he "knows how to get Bin Laden" has never been backed up by any action. That's a problem, as far as I'm concerned.

And when push comes to shove with Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi about shutting down intel ops on American soil, will McCain push back, or will he capitulate, and then shove back at Republicans who point it out?

If Vlad Putin decides to pursue his own interests and expand the totalitarian reach of his regime while denying America access to the intel and ground WE need, how would McCain deal with him? Conciliatory, like he is with Democrats? Or sanctimonious and insulting, like he deals with Republicans?

His pattern of operations shows an almost whimsical quality which is very poorly suited to winning a long, difficult war against constantly mutating and very persistent enemies. I have very little confidence in his ability to either craft a clever policy that ends our enemies, or in his ability to sell his ideas to the American public, which has an even shorter span of attention than he seems to.

I would submit that John McCain is, at best, only marginally better-suited to pursue the Global War on Terror than the other major candidates--including the Democrats. While I think he would be forceful in dealing with attacks on us, I also don't think he would be nearly forceful enough in attacking the enemy until they were dead. And that hardly makes him the undisputed CINC-in-waiting.

Just my opinion. I would love to hear from people with better military backgrounds than myself what they think of this opinion.

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