Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Imaginary Reagans & Political Realities: My Quarrel with Larry

NOTE: WHAT A DAY! THIS IS ONE OF TWO COLUMNS FOR TUESDAY, JULY 31. A HEARTY WELCOME TO VISITORS TODAY, THE LAST 10 OF WHOM (AT 1 P.M. EDT) HAVE BEEN FROM: Istanbul, Turkey; Cagnes-sur-Mer, France; Dallas, TX; Manchester, NH; Eagle River, AK; Pittsburgh, PA; Sough, UK; Torino, Italy; Rome, Italy; and Waianae, Hawaii. Talk about an international flavor! (I'm located in Ambridge, PA, 15 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.)

Thanks very much to Gop44 (D. R.) from Green Bay for joining the "4 Palin" movement. Along with Kerry and OpionatedCatholic, he joins the Team Huckabee advocates who are also supporting Sarah. His blog is at: http://themaritimesentry.blogspot.com/

I sent the following to several dozen people today and, happily, some of them are responding, curious about a truly remarkable woman, Gov. Sarah Palin:

I'd like to invite you to support Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's candidacy for Vice-President on the Republican Ticket. Sarah is an absolutely remarkable elected official, the nation's most popular state official.

I urge you to read Fred's laudatory piece about Sarah in The Weekly Standard, available by clicking on the link in the blogroll. He says the following:

"The wipeout in the 2006 election left Republicans in such a state of dejection that they've overlooked the one shining victory in which a Republican star was born. The triumph came in Alaska where Sarah Palin, a politician of eye-popping integrity, was elected governor. She is now the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state.

Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle-especially to transparency and accountability in government-can produce political success. And by the way, Palin is a conservative who only last month vetoed 13 percent of the state's proposed budget for capital projects. The cuts, the Anchorage Daily News said, "may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history."

Here's what I recently wrote about Sarah on my blog: Campaign2008VictoryA (reachable at http://camp2008victorya.blogspot.com/

"If the Democrats had a Sarah Palin -- which they don't -- she'd be up on stage battling it out with Hillary, Barack, and John. When the Democrats have someone who's highly electable, they put him or her out there in front of the nation -- as they did at the convention with Obama. We Republicans have a lot to learn when it comes to highlighting candidates like Sarah (and Michael Steele and J. C. Watts)."

The mother of four, Sarah is ardently pro-life.

Frankly, if we Republicans are to win in 2008, we have to present candidates -- plural -- who are appealing, dynamic, and diverse. Right now, we're way behind in fundraising and marginally behind in national polls. We won't overcome these deficits by pursuing "business as usual." We need to put our very best people forward.

If you want to learn more about Sarah -- or, to join the number of bloggers and others who support her candidacy for V-P-- please let me know either by e-mail (TalkTop65@aol.com) or by leaving a comment on my site.

Today at that site I've had many visitors from the U.S., but also people from the UK, Denmark, the French Alps, Italy, and Turkey. I guess our movement is becoming worldwide.

Thanks for your interest!

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA
National Coordinator, Palin for V-P

P.S. In addition to the Barnes piece, other recent articles about Sarah by important conservatives include Dimitri Vassilaros' Palin is GOP's beacon - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Tom Koenniger's piece at: http://palintology.com/. (You can find the links on the blogroll.)

Imaginary Reagans and Political Realities: My Quarrel with Larry

In my conversations with Mike Huckabee supporters yesterday, I ended up blasting one of them: Larry, who’s present in the comments on yesterday’s piece (and with whom I exchanged several e-mails). Larry believes the nation is being manipulated by the media and the big-money boys into choosing a Republican candidate who’s “not a real conservative,” etc., etc.

I told him his views are paranoid and ultimately destructive of the Party and the nation. In other words, I deviated from my usual (and ultimately unsustainable) role as Mr. Nice Guy.

Larry looks back nostalgically to Ronald Reagan and essentially demands the system produce a candidate like him. I reminded him that Reagan (twice-married) was a proponent of amnesty (the real kind, not the rhetorical type used as a weapon by the anti-Hispanic crew); was pro-choice as governor of California; was an advocate of women’s rights (Sandra Day O’Connor); was friendly with a bunch of gay people in Hollywood; and was the generator of huge financial deficits.

Not exactly a doctrinaire right-winger. In today’s climate, Reagn would be denounced by the “base” as a repulsive RINO. Presumably, he’d get the same treatment as John McCain.

For obvious reasons, an imaginary Reagan is much more palatable to the famed “base” than the real one.

The Republican nominee in 2008 will be the one who wins the primaries. No candidate of any viability (and some with no viability) in either Party is being blocked from participation in the debates. Each candidate is free to raise money and solicit votes, which they’re all doing.

Most American voters are moderates – not strong conservatives or strong liberals. Polls show that Democrats – up to 90% of them – are happy with the candidates they’re offered, all of whom are staunch liberals. Those candidates, from Senators Clinton and Obama to Kucinich and Gravel, offer the usual bagful of goodies (“free health care!”). They offer no plan for conducting a successful WOT.

The polls show that roughly 25% of Republicans currently aren’t happy with the announced candidates. In part, that may reflect the “revenge” of the legendary base. To me, it’s somewhat mystifying – and perhaps a sign of the immaturity of some Republican voters.

My correspondent Larry favors Mike Huckabee and suggests that if he doesn’t get the nomination it will be the result of manipulation by some dark force (the media?). Huckabee seems to be an exemplary man, but he has a hard time raising money. (He raised less than three-quarters-of-a-million dollars in the second fiscal quarter, compared to Giuliani’s $17-million-plus and Obama’s $32-million-plus.)

Without a lot of money, a candidate can’t run TV ads in big states (New York, California, Florida, and Illinois) necessary to win the mega-primaries to be held on January 29 (FL) and Feb. 5 (just about everywhere else).

States like Iowa, New Hampshire, and (to a degree) South Carolina aren’t going to count as much in 2008 as they did previously. (The MSM hasn’t discovered this yet.)

Florida has many more electoral votes than all the other early states combined. Candidates like Clinton, Obama, Giuliani, and Romney are filling up their piggybanks with tens of millions of dollars to advertise in the big states.

The irony with someone like Larry is that he’s a major critic of McCain-Feingold, admittedly a very imperfect piece of legislation. However, one of its purposes was to make it possible for someone like Mike Huckabee to compete. McCain-Feingold didn’t achieve that, but its goal certainly wasn’t ignoble.

With the current primary set-up, no candidate from a small state – such as Arkansas – can compete. People like Larry assert – wrongly – that there’s no constitutionally permissible way to change this situation. Thus, we could end up with a presidential race with three nominees (if Bloomberg gets in) from New York State. Presumably, next time around, it will be California’s turn (Schwarzenegger, Pelosi, and Bill Gates?).

As I said in a previous column, my questions to the Republican candidates, especially Giuliani, McCain, and Huckabee are these: what are you going to do to rebuild the Republican Party? Especially, what are you going to do to repair relations with Blacks, Hispanics, women professionals (teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc.), and younger people? If the candidates don’t have good answers to those critical questions, voters should ignore them.

Candidates who appeal only to the conservative “base” risk losing everything – with the exceptions perhaps of Utah, Idaho, Alabama, and Mississippi. That would result in a Senate with perhaps 60-plus Democrats and a House with perhaps 290-plus Democrats. We might end up looking back at 2006 as a relatively good year for Republicans.

So, that’s why I became so impatient with Larry. Holding your breath until you turn blue – or until you detect the Second Coming of the Gipper – is not a responsible approach. In fact, it’s the height of irresponsibility, a political philosophy that’s worthy of a two-year-old.

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