Carol Platt Liebau

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Over at the Real Clear Politics blog, Red Wilson opines that McCain is very well-positioned despite -- or in some cases, because of -- a very different electoral scenario than 2000.

It does seem that McCain is enjoying something of a resurgence. But the question is whether Republicans are so unhappy with the other choices that they will back a man who has supported immigration "reform" that rewards wrongdoing, campaign finance "reform" that stifles the First Amendment, and publicly defining and limiting the measures our government can take in extracting information from terrorists. Add that to the fact that he's opposed some of the Bush tax cuts.

It would strike me as passing strange if Republicans in New Hampshire chose McCain over Romney. After all, whatever his positions in the past, Romney now supports conservative principles in every area -- social, foreign policy and economic. The same isn't true in all cases for McCain. Fred Thompson is also pretty much a consistent conservative -- but it's easier to understand why someone might go with McCain over Thompson.

After all, one of the key questions is whether a candidate can win. Thompson has shown none of the fire and drive that's required to win a presidential election. Giuliani's support for abortion and other liberal social views threatens the Republican coalition. McCain, as noted above, holds views that are antithetical to most Republicans on a variety of topics. And Huckabee is so utterly out of his league -- from his attempts to introduce sectarian religion into the contest to his frighteningly uninformed foreign policy views -- that he's a non-starter.

That's why, in my book, it's gotta be Romney.


Blogger Wile E Coyote said...

Coyote here.

I have to disagree with Carol's comment on Giuliani.

From a conservative perspective, abortion should not be a federal issue. So long as Giuliani agrees to appoint struct constructionist judges and not to sign a bill removing restrictions on federal funding on abortion (unlikely to get through a Senate filibuster anyway), I don't see why opinions of his that might be relevant to state or local legislation should be a problem. (I also note that while the 2004 Republican platform advocates the right to life of an unborn child, the platform does not define what an unborn child is or when it comes into being.)

Similarly, Carol's comment about Giuliani's "other liberal social views" should be unpacked to determine to what extent they are relevant to a candidate for federal office, to what extent they constitute "core" Republican beiefs, and to what extent any core beliefs conflict with other core beliefs (e.g., federalism).

12:58 PM  
Blogger Mr. Skulduggery said...

I definitely agree with the Coyote about Giuliani. I look at the candidates through a filter that only lets me see what they can actually do as president. The primary of these roles is to drive foreign policy, appoint judges, and utilize the veto. In these areas, I trust Giuliani quite a bit despite his views on particular issues.

I also take exception to the assumption that "fire" need be a requirement to win the presidency. Don't we as voters decide what is electable and what is not? It's high time voters ignore the polls and the media hubbub and vote for the candidate they think would make the best president, no matter what. Moreover, it seems to me that "fire" most often comes from ego, madness, obsession, or a combination thereof. Think of the most laudable and the most condemnable leaders throughout history, and then think of which group had the most "fire".

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I have to disagree with pretty much everything wile e coyote writes here, and side with Carol.

Wile e coyote wrote, "From a conservative perspective, abortion should not be a federal issue." For a libertarian this would be a valid point. From the current Republican point of view, however, this claim is pure and utter bunkum.

The Republican "conservative" majority had absolutely no problems federalizing abortion when it came to late term abortions. They did not allow the states to deal with the issue, they stepped in and pre-emptively legislated against various medical procedures. You can't go back now and claim that conservatives honor some vague concept of states' rights after repeatedly voting to federalize abortion.

The second issue lies with the entirety of Mr. Coyote's last paragraph. I'm not sure if he paid attention to the elections of 2000 and 2004, but there were absolutely no "core" Republican beliefs that trumped the concerns of social conservatives. They needed the religious right to provide votes and--more importantly--boots on the ground (similar to how the Democrats depend on labor) to win those elections.

The Republican party cannot now disavow the social conservatives claiming loftier ideals, any more than the Democrats can disavow labor. The religious right has bought and paid for the Republican party, and they are more than willing to sit this election out if the party ceases to reflect their agenda.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

As Twister can guess, I am unhappy with efforts of many Republicans to federalize issues that should be left to states. Those responsible may self-identify as Republicans, but have no grounds to call themselves conservative.

If Twister re-reads the first paragraph, he will see that I say "from a conservative perspective", not "from a Republican perspective". The hokum/bunk lies in the assumption of many evangelicals that all their beliefs are inherently conservative. Here, we have Huckabee as an example.

Similarly, with my second paragraph, my goal is argue that the range of conservative positions is both broader and more complex than the original post would have it. My beef with Carol's comment its assumption that Giuliani's social views are necessarily liberal AND disqualifying from a conservative perspective. Here, if Republicans look back to their origins, they will see Lincoln's nuanced position on slavery which identified it as immoral, promised not to disturb it through federal power in the states where slavery existed (and by extension to enforce the federal Fugitive Slave Act), but promised to halt slavery's territorial expansion in the belief that such a halt would leave to slavery's ultimate extinction.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Wile E...

Like I said earlier, you are making perfectly valid libertarian arguments. I guess what has me a little confused is why you think that these arguments have anything to do with Giuliani's candidacy.

Rudy's problem lies in that he is not running as a Libertarian, he is running to be the Republican nominee for President. Carol is exactly right that Giuliani's social positions are disqualifying from a Republican perspective. More than disqualifying, those positions threaten to disrupt the Republican coalition that Reagan built and Bush expanded upon.

P.S. Carol, do you see how my condolences in November of 2006 were sincere? Less than a week in and I'm already defending your positions. ;)

10:23 PM  

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