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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Actually, Less Surprising Than You Might Imagine

What shocks Rich Lowry doesn’t seem very shocking to me at all:

The GOP Vote [Rich Lowry]

Romney won it 33-31 according to CNN exits. Even in Florida, independents were McCain’s margin of victory. Kind of incredible.

That doesn’t surprise me in the least, and here’s why.

  1. I haven’t seen a breakdown recently, but the last time I saw national data, about as many (or possibly a bit more) people self-identified as “independent” as self-identified “Republican.”
  2. So, if the Republican vote broke only marginally for Romney, and an overwhelmingly better known “maverick” like McCain has the potential to win pretty strongly even when losing some of those independent votes to Rudy.
  3. Lots of people will not vote for McCain on principle--and some of those principles are pretty good. Those people, though, tend to be either pretty far to the left (they don’t count in this exercise), strong libertarians (who seem to be a small portion of the population), and strong conservatives (who were the folks that voted for Romney). The center left and moderate conservatives, who make up a good chunk of the population, don’t have the same issues with voting McCain.
  4. This is a tough one, I think, for stronger conservatives to accept--especially inasmuch as they are running out of conservatives to root for--but Romney doesn’t have a particularly strong personality. I made a joke about him once that wasn’t entirely fair ("the GOP’s answer to John Edwards’ hair,” if I remember correctly); Romney has more substance than Edwards, which isn’t hard to achieve, but his capacity for leadership seems to hover somewhere in Edwards’ general vicinity. McCain doesn’t have a perfect conservative record, but he does have a proven capacity for leadership and a willingness to go against prevailing opinions to achieve his ends. He’s a better leader. It’s just a shame that his capabilities didn’t come in a package that conservatives can rally around.

It isn’t unusual at all that the political center and the independents would be gravitating in McCain’s direction.

Now, ask me who, in my post-Fred depression, I will be supporting. That’s a much harder question.

My cyclical Quixotic urges were fulfilled in throwing in behind Thompson for a while, so I can’t imagine even pretending to support Ron Paul’s more fringe ideas. Besides, his support has peaked: it’s amazing how much quieter the Internet is without his more vocal hordes galloping from blog to blog to defend their love. Don’t get me wrong: there are good, principled reasons to support Paul, but some of his supporters seem to mistake their principles for cause to pummel even principled opponents into submission with the power of their swarming voices.

Beyond that, Rudy is damned near the end of his run. This leaves two GOP choices, and I’m not happy with either of them.

More on that later.

For now, let’s just be happy we have something easy to address: it isn’t shocking that independent votes might be the key to winning even a Republican primary. Now, imagine how important those voters might be to winning an election against Obama.

Update: Funny. Unless it’s not. You choose.

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”...it isn’t shocking that independent votes might be the key to winning even a Republican primary.”

It should be.  Not because independents might be important in a general election - that’s always going to be the case.  But because independents should not be allowed input into the choice of a party representative.

This is a basic freedom-of-association issue:  If you aren’t a member of my book club, you don’t get input on what book we are going to read next.  If you aren’t a member of the Moose Lodge, you don’t get to vote in the election for Bull Moose (or whatever).  And you shouldn’t.

If you don’t care enough to join the party, your input should not be considered in choosing candidates to represent that party.  Even more, if you are a member of an opposing party, you should not be allowed to poison the well by voting.  The time for those votes is in the general election.

If you do care, either join the party or start your own party as a competitor.

on Jan 30 2008 @ 09:45 AM

I say “Funny” because it isn’t really true.

Go all the way back to the last time we had a President and Vice President who were “Republican” but whose only conservative principles were by association, rather than action.  Why, you have to go all the way back to 1988, with Bush I and Quayle!

Or let’s try to find a “Republican” President who screwed the conservative base by adopting some Big Govt principles from Democrats in order to (fruitlessly, as it turns out, after the election) court Democrat and independent support: Our very own President W, in the 2000 election.

...I wasn’t that happy with W at the time, to tell the truth, but I accept what I can do nothing to change.  Still, most of McCain’s “Maverickness for non-GOP support and media accolades” happened after he lost the nomination to a guy with money and name recognition advantages...I wonder how things would have been different if we’d nominated McCain instead of Bush.  Would we have had the awful Medicare expansion?  It’s almost a sure thing we wouldn’t have had McCain-Feingold, right?  Wasn’t that after the 2000 election?

on Jan 30 2008 @ 10:18 AM

It’s almost a sure thing we wouldn’t have had McCain-Feingold, right?  Wasn’t that after the 2000 election?

He started pushing that $#!t long before the 2000 election.

on Jan 30 2008 @ 04:03 PM

He started pushing that $#!t long before the 2000 election.

I’ve had the thought of “What if...McCain had won in 2000”.  Biggest negative would’ve still been McCain-Feingold, but that was signed into law by Bush anyway

I’m sure it was passed after the election, but I have no doubt a version by President McCain would’ve been substantively the same.  Then again, had he been elected, Democrats might have voted against it out of “Current Republican Officeholder Derangement Syndrome”.

on Jan 30 2008 @ 06:26 PM
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