Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Case For Romney

Romney’s not a conservative. He’s hardly exciting or inspirational. He’s flopped around so much it’s just not possible to say what he really believes. But strangely, the more I think about it, he is the Republican candidate who would probably make the best President. Here’s my take on the strange case for Romney (since I can't have Cain.)

Let me start by pointing out that other conservatives are now making a case for Romney.

● Charles Krauthammer invokes the William Buckley rule: vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. He says that’s Romney.

● Ann Coulter argues Romney is the only candidate we can trust to both repeal ObamaCare and stop illegal immigration. Her point about ObamaCare is an “electability” argument, but her point on illegal immigration is solid. Only Romney and Bachmann actually oppose amnesty. The others claim to oppose amnesty, but really support it in hidden form. Some go even further. Perry wants to give illegals more rights than Americans. Newt wants to grant illegals all the rights of citizens without the name “citizen” and thereby hand the Democrats a double victory -- new voters through amnesty plus a political charge that Republicans want Hispanics to be second class citizens. Santorum actually opposes voluntary use of the e-Verify system because his Big Business friends want the system gone so they can hire cheap illegal labor.
My take is different. Not only do I believe Romney is most electable -- in fact, he may be the only electable candidate -- but I think Romney may turn out to be an excellent President, something I cannot say about the rest. Here’s why:
Most Electable
The electability case is simple. This election will be an referendum on Obama. And as such, Obama is doomed. No President has been so low in the polls so consistently for so long. This tells us the public has reached its verdict and will not change its mind. In 2010, we saw the result of this when the public punished Obama’s party with an historic thrashing. Even now, Democrats see the writing on the wall so clearly that people like Barney Frank and Ben Nelson are quitting before they get tossed out. The Democrats know they’re doomed.

The only thing that can save Obama would be if we pick a Republican who makes the race about themselves rather than a referendum on Obama. Egomaniacal loose-cannon Newt Gingrich, gay-baiting Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann, corrupt Bush-clone Perry, or the terrifying Ron Paul, would all make the race about themselves and the public would need to decide if it can trust these Republicans before it ever looks at Obama. That’s the only kind of race Obama can win because it distracts from his record. But Romney is mild, bland, and inoffensive. His background is competent and shows the right kind of experience. He isn’t someone the public will worry about. That leaves the election as a referendum on Obama’s record, and in that election, Obama goes down in an historic landslide. Thus, not only is Romney the most electable, he may be the only electable candidate on the Republican side.
The Best Potential President In The Bunch
But electability only goes you so far. The real question is, what kind of President would Romney make. In that regard, I’ve come to believe that for a very strange reason, Romney may end up being a really good President. Here’s the thing. Our two best Presidents in recent memory were Reagan and Clinton (after his disastrous start). What they had in common was a form of conservatism that just isn’t on display in any of the other candidates or in any of the recent Presidents. I think Romney has that.

The best way to explain what I mean is to first point out the problem with the other candidates: they all think they have magic bullets to fix the country. Santorum and Bachmann think they can fix America by ridding it of gays. Santorum now adds a new-found populism which mixes socialist ideas like favoring manufacturing with the middle-class-destroying policies of Big Business. Rick Perry thinks he can fix America by handing it over to his corporate donors. Huntsman thinks he can fix America by taking the partisanship out of politics. Newt thinks he’s God and can fix America by issuing grandiose ideas. And Paul thinks he can fix America by turning the clock back to an idealized 1776 that never was.

This is all destined to fail because it misunderstands why America and conservatism work. Genuine conservatism does not try to run an economy by fiat. It does not pick winners and losers and it does not look for magic policies to kickstart the country. Genuine conservatism recognizes that the government cannot fix America, only Americans can fix America. And Americans can only fix America if the government stops trying to organize the economy and lets people do their own things.

Reagan understood this. His goal in office was not to find some clever policy to spur something specific. His goal was to eliminate regulations and lower taxes and unleash the public to make their own choices. None of the candidates except Paul (who fails for other reasons) understand this because they aren’t genuine conservatives. . . they think they can tinker America to greatness by making its choices for it.

Unlike the others, I suspect Romney understands this. For one thing, Romney’s background as the hamstrung governor of a liberal state tells us that Romney knows the limitations of political power. Secondly, his business experience is critical. Since he didn’t just run a company, but was instead involved in buying failing companies and turning them around, he is familiar with the vagaries and uncertainties of the business world and the degree of latitude business needs to function. Those are exactly the kinds of lessons that underlie Reagan’s beliefs.

But even if Romney doesn’t get this, there’s another reason to suspect he would make an excellent President, and believe it or not, it’s his lack of principles. Clinton was an awful President when he first arrived. His people were far-left radicals who planned to remake America. The backlash against their hubris gave us the first Republican Congress in forever. That’s when an interesting thing happened. Clinton, who apparently had no values of his own, decided the best way to govern would be to stick his finger in the wind and do whatever the public wanted. Since the public was leaning right, Clinton ended up moving right and became one of the better Presidents in history because the public pushed him in the same direction Ronald Reagan had gone -- toward getting the government out of the way.

One of the concerns people have with Romney is that he lacks principle. This is true in a specific sense as he has been both liberal and conservative on almost every issues. But there is one overriding principle Romney does follow: he does what the public wants. Right now, the public is sending highly conservative, Reaganesque signals. Romney has adopted these and presents a platform that is easily the most conservative of any of the candidates. And there is good reason to believe he means it, because he thinks this is what the public wants and, thus, that is what he intends to deliver.

In other words, as strange as it may sound, Romney’s lack of principles may be what make him the most trustworthy candidate because he will do his best to please us, the public. And since the public is conservative in a Ronald Reagan sort of way, there is significant reason to believe Romney will adopt Reagan's principles. I don’t see that in any of the other candidates, each of whom seems more interested in legislating their own pet peeves.

That’s why I think Romney deserves support. Not only is he the most likely to beat Obama, who simply must be beaten for the sake of the country, but he also has the potential to become an excellent President. I understand the fear that a man without principles is unpredictable and that RINOs have too often lied about their views to sneak through the elections, but I think Romney is a different case because Romney isn’t a principled RINO who has adopted a conservative cloak, he’s a principle-less mirror who adopts whatever the public currently wants. And with the public channeling Reagan and Romney signaling that he understands that, I think he could well become a President in the conservative mold of a Reagan or the good-Bill Clinton years.

That’s my take on it. I guess we’ll see what Iowa thinks tonight?

129 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

FYI, in case anyone missed it, there is a Star Trek article today at the film site.

LINK

Ed said...

Interesting Andrew. Very interesting. I will need to think about this and get back to you.

LawHawkRFD said...

Since my New Year’s Revolution is extremely unlikely to occur, I have to go along with you on Romney. I’m pretty sure he’ll make a good President, though I’m not quite ready yet to concede that he will be an excellent one. I know he’s listening to what conservatives and Republicans are saying, and he seems to sense the national mood. I also agree that like Clinton, Romney will respond favorably to what he considers to be the public will. Being concerned about one’s “legacy” is not always a bad thing.

That said, I think the most obvious expression of the people’s will to which Romney would respond would be a heavy victory in both houses of Congress for moderate-conservative to conservative Republicans. The will of the people often changes with the wind, which is why we have a small “r” republican form of government—to avoid the will of temporary majorities. But a solid Republican victory in Congress would likely act as a brake on any liberal views Romney might hold while at the same time preventing him from acting on what he might think is the public will of the day. That would give him at least two years to begin starving the federal leviathan that Barack Obama has fed with a high-fat diet.

In addition, I also think Romney can make hard and unpopular decisions because of his success in business. He is much maligned on the left for taking over corporations and “costing people their jobs.” If someone is incapable of doing that, he shouldn’t be in office. He let some employees go because they were either surplusage or performing tasks that were no longer necessary to the success of the business. Cutting payroll in tough times is simply good leadership. Carrying that experience over, I can see the possibility of Romney doing the same thing with public employment, which is far more loaded than private enterprise with useless departments, duplication of effort, and unproductive and even counterproductive employees.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed. Feel free to disagree, but that is my take.

T-Rav said...

Andrew....grrr.

My intense dislike of Romney notwithstanding, I did try to clear my mind and consider this impartially. And I can agree with the electability argument, at least to the extent that everyone else is likely to make the election a referendum on themselves and not Obama. I also can see your point that he could be the GOP version of Clinton.

But it seems to me like many of these arguments for Romney depend heavily on how you personally view the man. If you think he is a conservative at heart, then sure, I can see the "he knows how far right you can govern in a blue state" and so on. But if you don't--and I don't--then it looks more like spinelessness. Taking this line seems to require a belief that Romney is a shrewd calculator of the political temperature, which is highly uncertain, to say the least.

Also, keep in mind that this is a double-edged sword. If we suddenly get screwed over in the midterm elections (which has been known to happen), then we go from a soft push of conservatism to a total stall--or worse.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Good points. I think having solid conservative majorities in the House and Senate, even if we don't have a veto-proof majority, would go a long way to keeping someone like Romney on the straight and narrow. I can't say the same about Newt unfortunately.

I also think the point about him having the management experience to be able to lay people off is a key point. That's not something lifetime politicians know anything about. They think in terms of laws and then expect things to happen. Romney has the experience to know how to make those kinds of decisions, which will be necessary if we are to start trimming the federal payroll.

Individualist said...

Andrew

I am not against Romney per se and I could live with him.

My problem is that not one single vote has yet to be cast and it appears I again have no choice.

I am tired of this.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Trust me, I'm not jumping up and down thrilled about the guy. He would not be in my top ten list of people I'd like to see in the job.

BUT out of the present group, I think he's the best choice and I think he has the potential to be really solid.

And on that point, my argument actually doesn't rely on knowing whether he's conservative or liberal deep down. I don't think it matters what he is. His history has shown that he reflects what the public wants. The public wants solid conservatism. Thus, that's what's he's going to try to deliver.

If the public suddenly became liberal, then I think there would be a problem with him... but that won't happen. The national public has always been conservative to one degree or another and right now there is so much momentum to the right that I can't see that waning for a very long time.

In other words, the cynical part of me says that he is perfect for the job at the moment because he will deliver what we want, not because he will try to deliver something he believes in which we happen to agree with.

Ed said...

Andrew, I'm still thinking. LOL! You make a good point, I just want something more like a candidate where I believe what they believe. But I definitely see the problems with the rest because they don't believe what I want. As you say, they are concerned with pet peeves.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That seems to be the state of our elections and I'm not happy about it either. What bothers me is, ok, Cain failed, but why don't we have 10-12 Cains ready to take his place? Why can't we get actual conservatives in the race?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's a pretty big problem if you ask me. I think it tells us that these people (1) are destined for failure and (2) aren't going to advance conservatism. In fact, one or two of them might be worse than Obama when it comes to trying to move the country further left... they just don't get that because they think they're right.

CrispyRice said...

I don't know, I still can't see myself supporting Romney.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Obviously the choice is up to you. I'm just pointing out that I think a case can be made for him that he would turn out to be a pretty good President. I'm having a very hard time making a similar case for the other candidates.

Ed said...

T-Rav, I'm not picking on you so please don't take it that way, but who else would you choose at this point? Also, do you disagree with Andrew's take on why Reagan's conservatism works and Newt's won't?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I sincerely hope that is what would happen. I do, however, have serious doubts.

One is how deep the current conservative instincts of the public go. Voters keep saying they want less government, lower taxes, less spending, etc.; however, as is often the case, they don't want to lose their benefits from Big Government. My perpetual fear is that some kind of reaction may break out among the public and sink us just as they're trying to turn the country around. To be clear, this applies to every potential POTUS, not just Romney, but I am very much afraid that he would back off at the first sign of popular opposition. It might even compromise the repeal of ObamaCare.

Which takes me to my second doubt. I am not sure just what Romney sincerely believes in, or why he believes in it. Over the holidays, he told Fox News that the MA individual mandate was a "fundamentally conservative" approach. ???? If it was the best he could do, okay; but to say that an individual mandate is conservative in and of itself sets off alarm bells in my head.

I think we could probably beat Obama with Romney (although I think the electability thing is a bit overplayed). But there are way too many question marks about what comes next for me to be comfortable.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: Don't feel too bad. In the past four years I've supported Thompson, Giuliani, Pawlenty, Daniels, Jindal, Rubio, Ryan, et al. That's why my article yesterday was an exercise in frustration.

CrispyRice said...

Grrr, yeah, well...

Anyway, who do you think is going to win Iowa tonight?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, No one can disagree with my take1 ;)

T-Rav said...

Ed, don't worry, I don't mind if you pick on me. :-)

The answer is I really have no idea at this point, because they're all so bad in so many ways. Gingrich's brain reminds me of scrambled eggs. Perry is an idiot. Huntsman is a nonentity. Bachmann and Santorum both appeal to me as social conservatives, but their dalliance with statist solutions and multiple character flaws are highly suspicious and probably make them unviable. As for Ron Paul....well, check back here in a couple days to get the long version of how I feel about Ron Paul. I thought a process of elimination was supposed to leave you with one or two options, not zero. (sigh)

On Andrew's argument, let me clarify. I agree with his premises; a Reagan-type conservative would be infinitely preferable to a Newt-type conservative. I just don't agree that Romney is a Reagan-type conservative. Reagan was someone who took the initiative, who actively pushed for conservatism even in the face of opposition, and got more done than most observers believed he could. Romney doesn't strike me as that kind of guy. I think he's more "go along to get along" than Bush ever was; besides, this requires a knowledge of when to push and when to compromise. This goes back to my previously stated doubts about how politically sharp he really is.

T-Rav said...

P.S. re Indi's post, I don't think Romney would bother me quite as much if it weren't for this attitude among the Republican establishment and to some extent Romney himself that "He's going to be the nominee no matter what the voters say, because it's his turn." That kind of arrogance got us McCain in '08, which alone should have disqualified the establishment from any further say in picking conservative candidates. I too am sick of it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav,

I have to say that you're right about the public. The public is much more conservative in principle than in practice and people get upset once their goodies start to get cut. That will always be a problem. BUT...

1. I think any sort of real change must begin in the Congress. If the Congress passes it, Romney will sign it. I can't say the same about the rest who have shown they will often toss other conservatives under the bus to make themselves look good.

If the Congress doesn't pass it, then it's a moot point who the President is on those issues.

2. The other areas where we need real change will all be things the public does not see. These are administrative changes. These are exactly the kinds of changes Romney made at Bain. They also happen to be the exact kinds of changes the other candidates disdain either because they aren't public enough, large enough, or the candidates just aren't smart enough to care. There will be no public backlash about revisions to regulations and that is where 90% of what we need will come from.

3. Romney will not get himself bogged down in the huge but typically pointless fights that the other candidates will choose. That means the likelihood of a backlash will be small. In other words, Romney won't be out there making wild statements or pushing things like constitutional changes. That means he won't be a lightening rod for useless antagonism. That means much more can get done without people noticing or getting upset because people only pay attention when big issues are debated.

4. On what he said about RomneyCare, he's lying. That's what politicians do. I know that's not comforting, but they all do it. I think it's more important to look at his platform which is an expression of what he thinks the public wants. If he interpreted the public as being more liberal than we are, then his platform would be different. His platform represents exactly what he thinks we want to hear... which his history tells us is what he will try to deliver.

Compare that to the others whose platforms are platitudes or half-finished or contain bizarre socialist or far-left ideas mixed with utopian garbage that will destroy their administration and the public's good will.

I'm not saying Romney is a conservative, I'm just saying that his history tells me he will act like a conservative right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, You and me both. It starts to feel like every time I like someone, it's the kiss of death.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I honestly have no idea. If I was forced to bet, I would say Paul wins because his people are good at these kinds of things. But I wouldn't count out Romney.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. T-Rav, speaking about tonight and Paul... did you get my e-mail?

T-Rav said...

Crispy (and everyone else), I heard Breitbart's Larry O'Connor saying about 30 minutes ago that the late surge for Santorum is higher than estimated; he has a good chance at taking second, and a not-insignificant chance at taking first. (Note: I'm just reporting this, not pimping for Rick. Oof--there's a creepy thought.) The Daily Caller has a returns graphic up in the sidebar, if you want to follow along tonight (you have to scroll down the front page a bit).

Individualist said...

Lawhawk

I find it interesting that Guiliani and Thompson did not attempt to run this time around.

I am remembering Andrew's (I believe it was Andrew but if it was you I apologize) article on the flaws in the primary system. especially how Iowa and New Hampshire have much more influence on our electorial choices than they other wise should.


Paul is an example. Any of the more populous states than Iowa he would have single digit support and would not be a factor. If Florida were first and not Iowa we'd be talking about Romney and Gingrith. If Texas was first it would be Romney and Perry or maybe even Perry and Gingritch with Romney behind.

If Guiliani were in the Race, then Romney would not be the front runner now and would not have enjoyed a solid 20% all along. The New England establishment Rockefeller Republicans would be split. If any New England state were first Guiliani might have had the means to run this time. Not that I want Guiliani mind you just musing.

CrisD said...

I have spent a lot of years doing the phone calss the week before and day-of an election for Rs. And the absolutely worst feeling is to have fellow Rs be lukewarm or POed at the slate!
I liked your article, Andrew, but my crystal ball says "lukewarm". Lets hope the anger stays focused at the true problem--Obummer.

BevfromNYC said...

I agree with everything you write. I think he has experience and hopefully savvy enough to know he can't be a good politician, a good leader AND be doctrinaire. A good leader/politician can pull the best ideas from both sides and come to the middle. Clinton was the master at this. Obama is abysmal at this. Probably one of Obama's worst problems.

But Clinton had Gingrich to move him right. Who will be Romney's Gingrich to KEEP him moving right?

BUT someone do something about Romney's hair. It's too stiff and perfect and it really bothers me.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav... let me clarify:

You said: I just don't agree that Romney is a Reagan-type conservative. Reagan was someone who took the initiative, who actively pushed for conservatism even in the face of opposition, and got more done than most observers believed he could. Romney doesn't strike me as that kind of guy. I think he's more "go along to get along" than Bush ever was; besides, this requires a knowledge of when to push and when to compromise.

First, I absolutely do not mean to imply that Romney is a Reagan conservative. Please don't think that.

What I am saying is that (1) Romney is a man who will reflect the public. (2) The public is in a very Reagan conservative mood -- moreso than anyone in Washington. (3) A Republican Congress and Republican House will try to be largely Reaganesque. (4) Romney is the perfect candidate to run the White House under those conditions.

Where Romney works best is in two areas. First, he won't stand in the way of the Congress. Newt, for example, would. Newt is a guy who wants to be loved and will come up with wild ideas to make that happen and will fight Congress over them. Romney is not that guy. He will work with the Congress to get what he thinks the public wants but he won't be out there upsetting people and making people take notice. That means a LOT can get done without people getting upset.

Secondly, Romney is the best technocrat up there and he will be a real asset when it comes time to rework all the regulations and trim the budgets. His lack of a grand vision will mean his work will go unnoticed and one day we'll wake up with a significantly smaller book of regulations, government, and federal work force. I don't think the other candidates care about this aspect because it's not sexy.

If we had a Democratic Congress, then Romney would be a horrible choice. But I don't see that happening. And given the Congress we are likely to have, I think Romney is the best choice and the kind of conservativism he will push is the Reagan kind, not the kind we see out of people like Perry and Newt.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm sick of the "it's my turn" stuff too. What concerns me more this time though is that people are jumping on irrelevant things like youtube videos and proclaiming the next Reagan without any sense that they know who Reagan was or what he believed.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Pimping for Santorum! LOL! Yeah, nice imagery.

It will be interesting how it turns out tonight, but it is true that Iowa never seems to pick the person who ultimately becomes the nominee.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, It was indeed one of my articles. :)

I am frustrated by the primary system because it lets some very unrepresentative states basically weed out the candidates before the public gets to vote. I think it distorts our elections with disastrous results because we keep ending up with races between people who just aren't all that great for the vast majority of Americans.

I would like to see the primaries all done on one day or done in 3-4 national waves to minimize the influence of any particular state.

Individualist said...

OK offtopic but here is what the enemy has to say:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/us/politics/iowa-caucus-votes.html?_r=1&hp

I find it odd that they used this picture. And does it strike you that the people were at a point in motion that makes them appear to be in a "crazy" stance.


The other thing is that they state positive things said by all the candidates in Iowa but when they talk of Newt it is to call Romney a liar. I note this because it is decidedly at odds with the theme of the rest of the article.

hmmm....

T-Rav said...

CrisD, as someone who did the same sort of thing in the 2006 and 2008 disasters, I feel your pain and share both your hopes and your concerns. Let's hope the nominee can focus dissatisfaction on Obama, indeed.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: I would have supported Thompson again if he had chosen to run. I would also have given some support to Giuliani, if only because of his proven leadership and complete disdain for the MSM. But the mood of the country has changed, and I don't think Giuliani's liberal views would fit anymore.

I mentioned in a comment yesterday my experience being bumped as a delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention. The ruling from the chair killed California's winner-take-all primary. As a result, the most populous state of all has very little influence on who the ultimate nominee will be. I'm still debating with myself about whether that's a good or bad thing.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I know that's not what you meant, and I was partly going off of Ed's question in that case. Sorry to confuse. Clearly, Romney is not a Reagan conservative; however, I'm not even sure he fits your description of being someone who could do as much for conservatism as Reagan. His character just doesn't seem to me to fit the bill. He is, as you say, a technocrat; and if "small-government technocrat" isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is.

I don't want to belabor the point too much, so I'll just say that I will certainly vote for him if he becomes the nominee, I'll do my best to warm up to him between now and November, and I will certainly be overjoyed if he defeats TOTUS. I just worry that he will turn out to be everything you hated about Bush, only without the adorable Texas accent. :-S

Mike Huckabee said...

"It will be interesting how it turns out tonight, but it is true that Iowa never seems to pick the person who ultimately becomes the nominee."

Don't remind me....

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, Thanks. Sadly, this is the best I can do for Romney.

I honestly wish I could deliver a passionate defense of Romney but I don't feel any passion for the guy and I'm not sure there is any reason to feel passionate about him -- he's not the kind of inspirational guy who gets people dreaming of the possibilities. In fact, I'm not even sure he wants to be.

I think logically, he should make an excellent conservative president and he has the potential to be great. And that's enough for me to support him. BUT that's just a cold logical assessment (with a bit of supposition), and it will be hard to REALLY want the guy to win. As you say, he's "lukewarm." Fortunately for him, Obama has infuriated his base and they're going to have a really hard time working for him.

But it would be nice if for once I could really feel passionately about the candidate.

I'll tell you what would help a lot would be if Romney came up with a clear, simple and strongly conservative plan (like the 9-9-9 plan or something in education) and started touting "his vision" of a better, more free America.

Tennessee Jed said...

you see this much as I do, Andrew. Why am I not surprised. That said, I wish I had an answer for you on the "why can't we have a good eloquent conservative candidate?" I wish I could tell you. Part of the answer may be "nobody is perfect" and any conservative will have EVERY flaw magnified. If none can actually be found, they will make some up. Conversely, a DEmocrat will be built up. Flaws will be minimized and they will all be discussed in terms of their great nuanced intellect.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Who will be Romney's Newt? The Congress. That's Romney's secret weapon.

The Congress and Senate will be in Republican hands and there are a lot of radical conservatives there and some real go-getters like Ryan, Rubio, West, etc. I think they will drive the agenda with Romney in the White House and I think Romney is smart enough to sit back and let them.

That's one of my prime concerns with the other candidates is that several of them will spend more time fighting with the Congress than working with them. I don't think we'll have that problem with Romney.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Ya know... all these pictures are kind of odd. Newt looks like he's a fool who has never seen a counter before, Santorum looks like he's wearing a bullet proof vest and is being led to a court house and Perry is delivering the most uncomfortable kiss on record.

Well, that is the NYT for ya.

Here's your link: LINK

LawHawkRFD said...

BTW: If you think caucuses and straw polls are a strange way for the people of a state to choose their presidential nominee, wait 'til you see California's new system. The primary ballot will contain the list of certified candidates. Party affiliation (if any) will be included on the ballot. BUT--only the two top vote-getters will appear on the general election ballot--regardless of party affiliation. It's supposed to cause candidates to stop playing to the extremes of their party bases and become centrists (whatever that is). In reality, it could very well mean that California voters won't even have a Republican candidate on the general election ballot, but would instead be choosing between two Democrats. This is called "direct democracy."

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav and Cris, I think the Republican will be lucky this time -- whoever it is -- because there is a huge amount of energy and determination to get rid of Obama. So I don't think the candidate needs to be as inspirational as they might otherwise be because people should be motivated already.

Also, Obama is in real trouble this time. He inspires no one anymore. In fact, he's anti-inspirational.

I wouldn't normally recommend an uninspired candidate, but this time it can work.

(P.S. I actually put up signs for Bob Dole in Virginia... if you want to talk about uninspired candidates.)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, California seems to have worked overtime to make itself irrelevant time and again.

Someone made the point the other day (it might have been Ann Coulter) that the fact that neither liberal nor conservative Republicans can win statewide anymore really means Republicans should just surrender the state. I don't fully agree with that, but if I were running for President as a Republican, I wouldn't waste a single peso in the state.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yeah. That's the downside. If he isn't pushed to being conservative by the Congress and public opinion, then the danger becomes that his instincts might be "compassionate conservatism," i.e. big government liberalism hiding behind a fake label.

I don't think he would be as bad as Bush for several reasons -- he appears to be very competent as a manager, I see no evidence of cronyism, and he's much brighter, but the result could be the same if he gets in there and decides he just wants to tinker.

But I have to say I genuinely don't think he thinks that way. I think he is a guy who believes the job of a President is to enact the will of the people rather than lead the people. And right now the people are sending solidly conservative signals.

But it is a risk that I cannot deny.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! Sorry Gov. Huckabee. At least it kept you in the race for a long time. Though I'm not sure you got anything out of that except the Fox News job.

CrisD said...

Andrew-
"Sorry, its the best I could do"

LOL! (I don't know if you meant to make me laugh) Hey, I saw problems all along with other candidates. Your man, Cain sounded interesting-sorry about that...
Well, now we must dig deep. I will practice saying, "He's got his marching orders, friend, he won't let us down!" before I work the phones. I still feel like I will be sending snarky Obama jokes and will find my real delight in the relative silence from my liberal friends!
e'll have fun no matter what!

rlaWTX said...

Andrew, while that is an excellent analysis, I must admit it's one of the most pathetic rah-rah speeches ever! Go Romney - just because! ;)

[yes, I know rah-rah wasn't your exact intent, but it's as good of one as we're liable to get...]

But, back to the analysis... I only hope that "logic" rules and we end up with this "best case scenario". [which is yet another saw-dust flavored phase in this case]

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think there is a lot to that. People have said this before, but if Reagan ran today, he wouldn't make it through Iowa. Look at some of the things he did.

He signed pro-abortion and pro-divorce legislation as Governor of California. He was divorced himself. His background is as an actor and union leader. As President he raised taxes (1986), create "massive" deficits, got a bunch of Marines killed in Beiruit, traded away our nukes in Iceland, and many other similar things that would disqualify him. Even his kids were a mess -- tabloid fodder.

You can rest assured he would have been savaged today. He was back then too, but not like they do it today.

I think conservatives need to start looking at the bigger picture with our candidates rather than just nitpicking them to death. The question should be "are they conservative" not "are they perfect."

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, California has become a one-party state... like Cuba.

I hope the Republicans learn how to game this system and make fools of the Democrats. Maybe it's time to encourage lots of new parties to split the Democrats?

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, Sure, laugh at my pain! LOL!

I will do my best to come up with something more inspirational about Romney (or whoever wins) as the election nears. :)

On the Obama jokes, we should start collecting those!

Yeah, Cain was interesting. Despite a few flaws, I think he was a great example of the kind of people who should be running for office. Sadly, his flaws ended up being too much for him.

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, P.S. I'm already enjoying the stony silence from liberals about Obama. They were truly obnoxious in 2008 and now they are dead silent -- except for guys like Matt Damon who are openly pouting. :)

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I've been through so many changes with the primary system in California that I expect this one will change in two to four years anyway. I've been through three open primaries, a bunch of closed primaries, cross-filing primaries and a few I don't even recall. California voters seem to have a Newt Gingrich mentality. "Hey, that's a cool idea, let's try that one this week. If we work hard on this, we can make all our votes meaningless."

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I'm actually pretty confident in the analysis. People's fundamental natures just don't change and Romney's nature seems to be to reflect the people around him.

That said, you're right, this wasn't really a very good rah-rah argument. That's why I'm not a football coach... "team, they're better than we are, but we should be able to keep this within the spread if everything goes right." ;)

I'll see what I can do about coming up with something more inspirational. :)

California "Moderates" said...

We don't see why you have a problem with this. Shouldn't we elect politicians based on how many people like them?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I've noticed. It seems like in every election cycle, California changes their rules. I always took that as the Democrats trying to find new ways to win.

T-Rav said...

Oh Good Lord--Brian Williams and the rest of the NBC crew are busy fellating Iowans and their caucus procedure, talking about how it's democracy and action and all that. Maybe I should have sockpuppeted them instead of Californians.

AndrewPrice said...

I like how "moderates" is in quotes in "California 'moderates'." I'm thinking that word doesn't mean what they think it means. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I have to say, I can't stand the whole Iowa process. They act like they have the right to meet the candidates personally before they vote for them. I find that obnoxious. Plus, caucuses are undemocratic by their very nature.

T-Rav said...

In my personal opinion, the GOP needs to drop all statewide efforts in California, Vermont, Rhode Island, and maybe Delaware, and tell the local party organizations and candidates there to get their act together and prove they can produce victories before receiving any more money from the national group. Seems like the common-sense thing to do, which means it won't happen.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree. Why waste money on states you can't win? Every election we hear how close we are to wining in those places and then we lose by 8-10% as always. We're just wasting money trying to chase these mirages.

Spend the money in the local races where you can win and otherwise spend it nationally.

Patti said...

i was just saying this weekend that if we can get a republican in the WH this round it would almost be a throw-away for conservatives, but could set the stage for a real conservative down the road. my logic being that even a candidate like ~holding nose here~ romney would whet america's appetite for a strong conservative and we'd (conservatives) get it right in the next round.

i swear i haven't been drinking. that's my story and i'm sticking to it.

some days, baby steps are huge victories.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, True. Sometimes, baby steps are the best way to go. As they always say, a journal of a thousand miles begins with one step. And there is definitely something to incrementalism to win over people's confidence before you start taking bigger steps. That was Obama's big problem -- he dove right in when he should have gone little by little.

rlaWTX said...

I see a GOP commercial in this line of yours: "team, they're better than we are, but we should be able to keep this within the spread if everything goes right."

awesomely awful!!!

T-Rav said...

One bit of humor in all this: Keith Olbermann's been tweeting that he would be on tonight, despite rumors to the contrary (from people who I assume want to see him/Miss Precious Perfect); then corrected himself not long ago, saying he'd been told he would not be on for "Countdown," which was being pre-empted for Iowa coverage. Apparently poor Keith's not getting along with the management at Current TV any better than at MSNBC. What are the odds?

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, There does seem to be a direct connection between demotivational posters and GOP commercials. :(

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED I say! LOL!

Olbermann is really ruining a promising (if vile) career by being insanely hateful in all aspects of his life. Good for him.

BTW, I hear Current TV is borderline failing at this point.

T-Rav said...

Oh dear...what is happening tonight? Chris Matthews earlier on MSNBC: Romney's attack ads on Gingrich are the equivalent of the Dresden bombing in 1945.

No, you guys, you are doing it wrong! You wait to see who will become the Republican nominee, THEN you go totally unhinged!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's not unhinged, that's the new normal. Unhinged comes in a few weeks when they start showing graphics of our nominee slaughtering minority babies and biting off their heads as Chris Matthews cries and scream plaintively.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, btw, this is what the typical NY elite journalists think of the "fly-over" states like Iowa.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/iowa-america-heartland-york-a-accurate-reflection-nation-demographics-article-1.1000148

T-Rav said...

Bev, someone made a point this afternoon: How many leading journalists/anchors in the MSM are minorities? Answer: fewer proportionally than there are minorities in Iowa. Yep.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, There's no love for flyover country in the nation's elitist newsrooms.

Here's you're link: LINK

Individualist said...

Bev ...

What a joke....

Andrew... Earlier when I made the link the feature picture in the article was four Ron Paul supporters carrying signs. Simnple enough except they caught one arm half raised before a wave, one looked contorted, was probably preparing to jump up an down. on had his head turned and the fourth the sign covered their face based on the angle.

The picture was so weird thaat you would have to think the photiographer made a video of the supporters waving and cheering for a camera and reviewed it frame by frame to find the worst one.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, the title in the actual newspaper this morning was "The Honeygoobers - Iowa? Voting might as well start on Moon". I'm guessing that someone thought insulting "regular folkses" might not play well in the long run, so the title was scrubbed from the internet search engine.

Individualist said...

I guess they must have decided to change it with Newt half in shadow.

Waht clowns!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That doesn't surprise me. Newsrooms are hardly examples of diversity -- white liberals.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I saw that one and you're right, it looks like the photographer took a whole bunch of photos and then picked the one that looked the most confused.

T-Rav said...

Update from Iowa, for those who are interested (and if you're not, you're probably saner than I):

Paul 24
Santorum 23
Romney 23
Gingrich 13
Perry 9
Bachmann 6
Huntsman 1
Cain <1
Roemer <1

Not sure on what percentage of the total this is but I think it's a little below 10%.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm surprised anyone realized that this wouldn't play well with the rubes.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Those are the numbers CNN is giving right now.

tryanmax said...

I definitely think there is a place in politics for the sort of politician who puts his own principles (if he has them) in the back seat and does his best to govern the way the people want him to govern. This is the kind of president Bush 41 tried to be, but he couldn't make it work because he failed to negotiate Congress effectively. Romney shouldn't have to face that problem.

I like that you brought this concept out because I have bit my tongue expressing it for more than a decade now. It always finds bad reception. The whole "We need a principled leader!" thing, you know. That's fine so long as his principles are sound, but we've experienced too many principled presidents of the wrong sort.

Besides, what is better, a leader who respects his constituents' wishes, or one one who bears forward with his own agenda regardless of those wishes? It's not a hard choice when it's put like that.

BevfromNYC said...

If by some freak accident Ron Paul wins the nomination, I will go on vacation to Canada...

No offense to Paul supporters, but...

T-Rav said...

Andrew, based on what I've been reading, Paul is being a spoiler for both Romney and Santorum; although maybe more so for Romney, as he's drawing a lot of support from the eastern counties where Mitt did well back in '08.

Everyone is predicting this will be the end of Bachmann's campaign, and I'd hazard a guess it will be a mortal blow for Perry as well if he can't beat Newt for fourth place.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I suspect you'll be sharing a flight with T-Rav if that happens.


fyi, CNN is pimping Ron Paul and Santorum.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Bachmann should have quit a long time ago. I don't know what will happen with Perry. He has a lot of money and may hang on to see how things go in South Carolina.

T-Rav said...

Okay by me, but those kittens are going into the cargo hold. I'm not letting them fly business class again.

T-Rav said...

I'm going to predict a very narrow win for Santorum in Iowa. He's probably going to clean up the northwestern counties, and he's being fairly competitive everywhere else.

BevfromNYC said...

Business class?? Kittens in business class? What are you some miserly Scrooge?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think there are many facets to this. One problem people have with the concept is that liberals often cloak themselves in this language. So you get a guy like Obama who talks about respecting the will of the voters blah blah, but his real goal is to implement liberal policies while pretending he's listening to the voter. And he knows the MSM will help him with that by making it sound that the voters want liberalism.

There is also a sense that there's something wrong with someone who has no principles because it's been beaten into us that this means someone who truly has no morals and believes in nothing.

I don't think that's a fair assessment. Take Romney, I get the feeling he's a decent, moral guy. I suspect his compass is to do what the public wants within reason. Thus, if a sudden clamor arose for televised human sacrifice, he would not do it because it is way beyond something he believes to be morally acceptable. But on issues that aren't so obvious, he's willing to let the public have their waying by recognizing that his own views should not trump the public when there is no consensus.

The other problem with people "with principles" is that often these principles are little more than a desire to use government power to impose laws regulating pet peeves. Those aren't the kinds of people whose principles should be respected.

But on the other hand, someone who is truly without principles is just as dangerous. There must be some principle to filter what the public is saying or else you end up with an unpredictable, uncontrolled swing back and forth that is even worse that someone trying to get their way against an unwilling public.

In the end, I think the best politicians are those with principles that fit the idea of America who recognize that when there is doubt about what the public believes, the government should not be settling the dispute.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm predicting a surprise win for Perry... or maybe my drink has gone bad and I'm hallucinating. Is he wearing a clown suit?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, the last time I saw Perry, he was wearing a rabbit suit and telling me the world would end in 24 days. But it's probably nothing.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Clearly, you and I got our hands on the same bad something or other.

T-Rav said...

New Update:

Santorum 24
Romney 24
Paul 22
Gingrich 13
Perry 10
Bachmann 6
Huntsman 1
Cain <1
Roemer <1

About a third of precincts in.

AndrewPrice said...

It looks like Paul is slipping firmly to third place. I'm a little surprised.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, bad news for those of us wanting to see Iowa marginalized as a primary state but good news for the GOP in general.

Rumors are flying online that both Perry and Bachmann may be about to drop out. If so, that would give both Newt and Santorum new life.

CrisD said...

..and Santorum is pulling ahead with 50% of the vote in. But I can't see a precinct map anywhere.

CrisD said...

whoops! 80% in and Romney comes back!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I suspect Bachmann dropping out will help Santorum. I don't know who Perry's people would go to, maybe Exxon?

CrisD said...

whoops again..thats 50 something % in. I need your operation on my eyes, Andrew!

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, I haven't seen the 80% result yet. I'm still getting 55%.

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, It's great to be able to see again! :)

Dan Rather said...

This race is tighter than a deer tick on a Cadillac! Hey, what are you guys doing with that net?

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, It just jumped to 83% and Romney's back in the lead.

Dan Rather's Desk said...

Look out, Dan! Earthquake!!

T-Rav said...

If I had to guess, I'd say Perry's people will go to Newt, based on what I've read from the blogs. That's assuming he drops out, of course.

I think the more important story tonight is Paul's third-place finish. 21 percent is a lot, but it's below the recent polls and no doubt his supporters' expectations. He may cool off after tonight.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think the big stories tonight in order are:

1. Paul support weak.
2. Bachmann finished.
3. Perry finished.
4. Newt dead man walking
5. Renewed calls for Ryan/Rubio/Christie to jump into race.
6. Tim Pawlenty kills self
7. Romney survives Iowa
8. Biden locked in toilet for seven hours
9. Muppet Treasure Island not very good movie....

T-Rav said...

You forgot No. 10: Bilderbergers start new chain of restaurants which only accept fiat money.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! Ah yes.... Feddy's

I just read that Rick Perry may end up being excluded from the South Carolina debates because of his finish tonight. Apparently, he would need to end up in the top 4 tonight or in New Hampshire.

AndrewPrice said...

96% and Beeker is back in the lead by about 100 votes over Mittens.

If Huntsman's going to make a move, he better make it now...

T-Rav said...

Amazingly, Bachmann is not dropping out after getting only 5% of the vote in her native state. Good God.

AndrewPrice said...

She's seriously sticking around? I'd love to know what her reasoning is.....

"...got nothing better to do."

"...can't find the 'quit now' forms."

"...ego-pattern insanity."

"...bet heavily in Vegas that she would continue through Alabama primary."

"...thinks every other candidate will be caught snorting coke at after-caucus party."

????

T-Rav said...

Um, she mumbled something about how she's the only one who's stood up to Obama and led the fight against his health care or something, and she can and will be the next president, blah blah blah. Honestly, I'm starting to suspect she's trying to angle for a VP or cabinet slot in a Romney administration and deliberatly busting up the Not-Romney field. And I HATE that.

Also, I'm not watching it, but I get the strong impression from the online comments that Perry really is going to drop out within the next few days.

AndrewPrice said...

I really can't see the point to her sticking around. She's shown she doesn't have the support to help or hurt anyone so all she's doing is showing that she doesn't understand what the voters are telling her... which wouldn't be anything new.


Perry should drop out too. We'll see if he does though -- massive ego combined with delusion can create some strange decisions.

I read the other day that his staff was already splitting into two factions to explain "what went wrong" and were blaming it on each other.

AndrewPrice said...

Perry just announced he's going home to think about whether or not to continue. Sounds like he's done.

T-Rav said...

99% of precincts in:

Romney 29,957
Santorum 29,956

One. Freaking. VOTE????????????

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!
(snort) (giggle) (gag)

AndrewPrice said...

Hey, one vote never mattered for anything.

Actually, in this case it probably won't since they'll both get the same number of delegates. If this had been winner take all, that would have been wild.

darski said...

Just a note... I posted a link to this article at BIG GOV. I'm still catching up on views about the Hawkeye Caucii results. Can't wait for Rush today :)

The Original Donald said...

I'd say the GOP shouldn't waste any money on Connecticut either. I doubt Romney can win it, and having Linda McMahon as Senate nominee again? UGH!!!!!!!

tryanmax said...

I wish I coulda joined you all last night, but I wasn't feeling well. Looks like a lot of good convo.

tryanmax said...

Bev, that article is truly astounding. I always knew New Yorkers were a bunch of egomaniacs (present company excepted (at least, I think so)), but to assert that New York is a much more accurate reflection of the nation's demographics! It's absurd! Clearly that author doesn't get out of the city much--except probably to visit LA.

I'm not the most well-heeled person, but I've done my fair share of traveling. As an Eastern Nebraskan, it is required that I rag on Iowa at least daily, but here I have to come to her defense. There is a lot more of America that is like Iowa than there is like New York. A lot more!

I realize I am probably preaching to the choir when I say that. But my brain momentarily exploded and that was the only way to put it back together.

tryanmax said...

Oh, and how much do you want to bet that someone at NYDN thought that man in the plaid shirt and cap in the photo looks crazy? They'd probably crap themselves if they learned that plaid is considered appropriate office casual in most of the country.

Although, I have to say, naming a town after an arcane term for a piece of living-room furniture is bizarre. (There, I got it in for the day.)

tryanmax said...

Okay, I finally read to the bottom and, of course, it comes down to that liberal conceit that diversity means diversity of appearance. Or, more specifically, diversity means more black people.

The funny thing is, they contrast the NYS demos with the Iowa demos but compare neither to the national demo. NY would still look good in reference to the point the author is making, but that would probably be a little too to-the-point for him.

And what is with that borderline offensive tom-tom roll remark?

T-Rav said...

The end: Bachmann to announce suspension of presidential campaign.

AndrewPrice said...

darski, No problem. Thanks for posting the link! :)

Rush should be very interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

The Original Donald, I agree. I've seen no evidence that the Republicans will ever win Connecticut, so why waste money there? They really need to start focusing their spending better.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said Andrew!
You do a far better job than Coulter did putting lipstick on Romney (allegorically speaking of course...I hope).

And hey, it ain't all lipstick.

It appears as if Mittens heard us because he hasn't said anything to get the conservative base fired up (in a bad way) for quite awhile now (for him). :^)

Perhaps he recalls some childhood advice: if you can't say something nice to conservatives then don't say nothing at...what the hell is wrong with you? Did you really say that? Really?

Um, sorry, I'm still having flashbacks and coming to grips with the reality of: President Mittens.

Well, gotta say it sounds a heckuva lot better that President ObaMao! So there is that. :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! No, no actual lipstick was used. LOL!

I'm not thrilled with Romney, but I think there is solid potential there. And that makes me much more comfortable with him, especially given the lack of alternatives.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Incidently, Thomas Sowell has been putting lipstick on Newt lately and does a considerable job, considering what he has to work with.

I would like to ask him specific questions as to Newt's ego/mental stability though.

Although I suppose one could say Romney and Newt are basically the same, or at least they were for the same leftist agenda albeit slower than Obama and may still be in some cases (looniversal healthscare, cap and tax among others).

Neither one has repudiated the idea of tinkering with that stuff 100% so either they both still believe it's good for the GOP to get involved in social, big govt. programs or they both wanna be liked by independents and the left.
Or perhaps a bit of both.

Would be nice to get them both together and call them out on their reticence to drop those issues in word and on their websites.

I will say this, of the two I believe Romney is the more predictable one.

Ben L. Kemer said...

Ben, I think the good news is Romney gives reason for us involved in the grassroots issues to stay active, and not get comfortable, which to me is important. However, what would you prefer, someone who is conservative, and whom you are comfortable with, or someone whom you really have to knock and deliver your message to? I would prefer the latter.

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