January 30, 2008

Election commentary

I guess I'm supposed to provide some primary punditry ... hmmhmhh ... Okay, in the Florida primary, the winner was McCain and the big loser was former frontrunner Giuliani who skipped all those earlier primaries so he could concentrate on Florida, with all its ex-New Yorkers. And he still got only about 15% of the vote.

So, are all the neocons who got jobs in the Giuliani campaign, like N. Podhoretz, Frum, Rubin, going to jump ship and join the McCain campaign? A lot of them supported McCain back in 2000. And will they be greeted with open arms by the McCain campaign, or will they be told they're losers -- as shown by the Giuliani steamroller -- and should stay away. My guess is the former, mostly because neocons are harder to kill than Rasputin. No matter how often everything they touch turns to ashes, they, personally, pop right back up with nice new sinecures in influential institutions.

Also, can somebody explain exactly what the difference is between McCain and Giuliani? They both are invade-the-world, invite-the-world, in-hock-to-the-world guys, just like Bush. So, why is McCain doing well and Giuliani is in the tank? Is it just because McCain showed up in the first few primaries while Giuliani was off acting like he had something better to do than run for President? Perhaps Woody Allen was right and 90% of success is showing up.

And do voters have any idea what anybody really stands for? I'd like to use Giuliani's flop as a weapon against the neocons -- The voters rejected your man overwhelmingly, proving that your World War IV policies are bankrupt! -- but I have this vague hunch that practically nobody who voted in Florida knew that Giuliani had thrown his lot in with the World War IV crowd anyway. (And the folks who vote in primaries are the hard core public affairs junkies compared to the crowd that turns out in November!)

And what exactly is the deal with Romney? I don't watch TV much other than American Idol, so I've never seen the man say one word. When he speaks, is there something about him that makes people just not like him? On magazine covers, he looks like a distinguished President, and his resume makes him sound like the least likely to screw up royally of all the current candidates in either party. But I've almost never seen anybody anywhere express any warm feelings toward him. Does he just get on people's nerves or what?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Romney can leave a lot repubs flat - he's sort of dorky, he's a northeasterner, he's flipped on a few big issues in the past few years and he's a mormon (which doesn't bug me but does others). I like him, however, for simply the reason that he's competent ("wicked smart" is how MASS republicans describe him). We need competence after Iraq, Katrina, Medicare, etc. etc. Also, he's easily the toughest on immigration. But I can definitely see why he turns people off: fake, looks almost *too* good, tends to change positions "based on the data", etc.

We can, and seems we will, do a lot worse.

Frankie639 said...

I'm someone who has never been active in politics, but I flew down here to Florida, from PA, to become what they call a grassroot. I have met Romney, and I know many who know him, including some who have worked with him and I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes him. Hugh difference between the real guy and his media projection. I also think there is some strong psychological force at work here. We admire a great man better when we know his faults, and suspiciously dislike him when he shines in near perfection.
-Frank

michael farris said...

Whenever Romney is giving a public speech, the whole crowd is imagining him in his underwear...

mutt said...

the Onion has the scoop

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/mitt_romney_is_candidate_most

Ali said...

He's too much of a corporate smoothie and seems more suited to being a technocrat than a political leader.

rightsaidfred said...

>>Is it just because McCain showed up in the first few primaries...?

I suppose Giuliani would have lost in the early primaries anyway.

>>Also, can somebody explain exactly what the difference is between McCain and Giuliani?

Heck, I'm trying to figure out the difference between McCain and Hillary.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, intelligent and competent are two words that accurately describe Romney. Plus he must have some political skills if he got himself elected Republican governor of the most liberal state in the union. McCain, by contrast, looks pretty dumb to me - his class standing at Annapolis was fifth from the bottom. Plus his career after leaving the Navy was pretty undistinguished until he got himself elected senator from Arizona. And he hasn't exactly set the world on fire while in the Senate. He looks more and more like a Bush clone - another pseudo-conservative who will do further damage to the conservative cause. Romney, by contrast, made a lot of money in the private sector and is obviously very bright. And given all the problems facing this country, intelligence and competence are certainly something we need.

Fred said...

Agreed on Romney. He clearly has the best resume of any candidate in either party, with successful executive experience in the business, not-for-profit, and government sectors, and I plan on voting for him next week. He is also the toughest on illegal immigration, having won Tancredo's endorsement (even though this is a relatively new position for Romney). The biggest challenge for Romney has been, as anonymous said, that he seems fake, for two reasons.

First he seems fake in the way successful Mormons sometimes do -- like a real-life "Flanders" from The Simpsons. A lot of Americans, I think, are initially suspicious of someone who has such a perfect family life (still married to his high school sweetheart; his kids like him, etc.).

Second, Romney seems fake because he started the campaign running as a faux social conservative, not the sort of pro-choice Republican he had to be to get elected governor of MA.

Dick Morris had another explanation for the election results last night though, based on exit polling data. He thinks the GOP electorate itself has drifted to the left, which benefits McCain, particularly with Huckabee pealing off conservative votes from Romney.

Anonymous said...

I'm not 100% sure McCain can be tagged with the "in hock to the world" label. He's more of a deficit hawk, and seems genuinely hard on Bush's/Congress' runaway spending the last 7 years. On the other hand, with his foreign policy perspective and the strucutrual problems of the U.S.' globalized economy (i.e., being habitually in debt to China, Saudi, etc. like a drug addict), his foreign policy may easily be unsustainable. Moreover he himself admits the economics is not his "strong suit". What this means is that no amount of "duty and honor" will financially sustain his foreign policy objectives, unless he is able to radically and magically change the way the current American economy works. I don't know if he can increase American savings and decrease its consumption to near-WWII-like levels to enable America to independently (i.e., without Chinese/Saudi/etc.-provided "credit") fund his interventionist proclivities.

jody said...

the US is in deep trouble if john mccain becomes president. he is wrong on every single issue.

i just can't understand how people are voting for him. he is the worst possible candidate.

Anonymous said...

Steve, people hate him because he's an fake, arrogant human Ken doll.

Bruce Wayne said...

No, this is why people dislike Romney:
href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=6lAFfLy05_Y" target="_blank">The Real Romney

Steve, I don't know why you are completely missing the boat on Ron Paul's candidacy as it is the most interesting story this season. It is a bit dissapointing actually that you have no interest in it.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm from Germany and I don't understand American politics. So what happens when Hillary is prez?

Anonymous said...

Basically, the anti-elite
element of the Repub. party
demand someone who is elite
but makes a career out of
seeming regular (Thompson,
McCain, Bush etc.)

Mitt just doesn't play that
game. He is a Northeastern
square born in Michigan, when
there was still a solid
Northeastern element there.

By the way, the Catholic
Republicans in Mass really like
this guy. If it wasn't for the
bizarre cult of Ted Kennedy
this guy would a Senator.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me we have the worst crop of candidates in history. Out of 300 million people this is all we can come up with to run the country?

RWF said...

Does the failure of Romney and Edwards to win their respective nominations mark the decline in the importance of having presidential hair?

Anonymous said...

When my mother, as non-political and non-demoninational a person as you'll find, won't vote for someone because of his religion, guys like Romney are in trouble.

This is really too bad, because he finally gets to run as the guy he is, not the vague guy who ran the perfect campaign to get elected up here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. He didn't flip on abortion; he stated when he ran for governor that he would uphold the law. Same for gay marriage, which he fought. Our gutless legislature, 80% Democrat, didn't have the stones to vote yes on gay marriage, but instead let the courts establish it by judicial fiat, led by a South African expat!!!

Our coarsened society can't understand a guy who doesn't swear, doesn't drink and loves his wife and family (not the newly-mandated 2nd/3rd/trophy wife like his opponents all seem to have). His lack of support is more a commentary on us, not him.

Thursday said...

Also, can somebody explain exactly what the difference is between McCain and Giuliani?

Giuliani was pretty much in-your-face about his socially liberal views on abortion and gay rights. That pissed off a lot of the social conservatives who still make up a large part of the Republican base. As best I can tell, McCain doesn't really care for the whole social conservative thing either, but has voted against Roe v. Wade, cultivated connections with the religious right, and has generally been more circumspect about his more socially liberal instincts.

Udolpho said...

I don't have especially warm feelings for Romney but he's the only candidate I can stomach. God help us if McCain gets the nomination, because I can't stand him and he's for unabated Mexican immigration and all the corruption and erosion of the body politic that means.

Also, look at the way Obama is pandering to the Mexican vote. Don't get between this man and a fallen chimichanga. My stomach turns at the thought of (yet another) ingenue boy president who will spend his time in office pulling levers to see what happens and leave us with the mess. If Barry Hussein Obama Christ becomes president there better be a Republican takeover of Congress to go with it, or we are screwed.

Leonard said...

Romney looks fake. I don't know how he sounds. But you combine a plastic appearance, with his obviously flippity-floppity political "beliefs", and you've got a problem: every time you look at the guy you are reminded how fake he is.

As for Guiliani, his problem was the success of the last year in Iraq. He had positioned himself as Rudy "9/11" G. The meanest, toughest, nastiest SOB in the race, even more awful than McNasty himself. He'd start more wars, and crack down on civil liberties, torture anyone who might have some information. This was supposed to appeal to the hardcore bedwetter types, the 30% or whatever who really do believe we're in danger of being invaded and conquered by radical muslims. Well, insofar as the past year has seen Iraq drop from issue #1 to maybe #3, Rudy loses. The base is still worried about dhimmitude, but it's no longer the only thing on their minds.

Once you stop thinking strictly in terms "Ohmygod they hate us for our freedom", then if you look at Rudy you see a philandering, gay-friendly, corrupt, venal politician. These things do not appeal to Republicans. That McNasty is a bit less brutish about the war -- he seems to actually be against torture, damn him! -- doesn't seem as bad. He fought for "the surge", and is more Bush than Bush himself in most ways, so he's acceptable.

Mike McKeown said...

This election was not just for policy wonks. There was a big tax proposition on the ballot. I believe that a few years ago they capped prop taxes at 3% of assessed value, but allowed continual reassessment, thus taxes actually sky rocketed without the voters or officials ever voting to raise them. The proposition was to slow the rate at which assessments could go up. In essence, this was the 2nd half of their prop 13.

Re Romney. He is very smart and has taken advantage of educational opportunities available to the smart and children of the influential. He has succeeded at almost everything he has done (Olympics, business, MA Governor). He is youthfully handsome and highly articulate. He married his highly attractive high school sweetheart, is still married to her, and they have four handsome, successful sons who seem to really like each other and their parents. Doesn't drink or smoke. None of this seems to be an act.

So, why might people not like him?

Maybe he needs to enter rehab for addiction to high end flavored water, or go postal on a photographer. That would make him seem a bit more real and able to identify.

Howard J. Harrison said...

I'm pro-Romney, but even I can see the problem with the man. He's plastic. He exudes energy and competence but not sincerity. It is not an issue of resume; it is an issue of personal style. John McCain is the polar opposite of Mitt Romney in this respect.

(You don't have to watch TV to search for "Mitt Romney" at youtube.com, incidentally. You'll see what I mean if you do.)

Anonymous said...

I voted for Romney in the early voting in my state, a Super Tuesday state.

Im not "over-the-moon" about the guy, but folks.............we are running out of chances as this country is demographically tilting more democratic by the day. We have to stop the "invite-the-world" before all else or we wont be able to electorally support conservatism period in twenty-five more years.

Suggestion........alot of paleocons need to send Romney about fifty bucks in the next week so he has the money to run ALOT of ads. McCain has the establishment firmly behind him. Hillary would cream McCain because paleos wont even bother. Your getting practically the same policy positions with either of them.


Its brass tacks time folks.

Rosamund said...

Lawrence Auster has some of the best commentary on Romney. I like him immensely. You have a field of a bunch of libs: Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani. The first two, who went mano a mano with Romney in the first two states absolutely hate him, and this is partly why they hate him. Huckabee seems to have severe jealousy issues with the guy and his upbringing; he never fails to bring it up, even going after him personally when Romney had been in Nevada all by himself with the others duking it out in S.C. For McCain, the more conservative one is, the more he hates that person. Giuliani was the only one who never expressed animosity towards the guy and I suspect that is because he is a tough S.O.B. and doesn't take anything personally. Which begs the question: how bad is it that we have such thin-skinned people running?

Steve, you truly are missing out on this Huckabee character: very, very nasty and spiteful when opposed. The Arkansas press, conservative Republicans, and Democrats said he was, but I, and most others, didn't believe it. Boy, oh boy. He is staying in the race and I suspect that a good deal of the reason is just to get back at Romney. Romney's sins were pointing to two facts (there were others, but these were the two that have derailed Huckles after Iowa). He released over 1,000 criminals into the populace, about 12 of them were murderers. And then there was the redistribution of wealth towards illegal immigrant youngsters in the form of in-state college tuition breaks.

McCain has the moderate/liberal vote all sewn up. There may be no coalescing around a single conservative because many conservatives are blinded by Huckabee not just for being an evangelical, but having been a preacher. And one who it seems will stop at nothing in taking down the guy who mortally wounded him and is a Mormon to boot. Plus, being a lib, he loves John McCain!

SKT said...

What's interesting is that last night they said that the Republicans who approve of GWB most strongly support Romney, not McCain or Giuliani.

And it's not surprising. Romney is cut from the same mold as GWB, except that he's a Mormon. He was born into a rich family, grew up playing tennis, and his father groomed him for the Presidency. Becoming President of America is just the next step in his life, which was always promised to him, kind of like how you might have assumed that going to college after high school would be the next step for you. People knew that about GWB and Gore back in 2000, and it didn't bother them. But now GWB is the most loathed President in decades, and people hate that about him, so they hate Romney as well.

That and he's just a lame candidate. The only reason we're having this conversation is that the new campaign finance rules have rigged the system heavily in favor of someone whose already rich and self finance campaigns.

Also Republican voters are rebelling against the establishment. Everyone knows that Romney is the GOP establishment's preferred candidate. That's why they're backing McCain who has long been seen as a Republican renegade. To be honest with you, I think if the GOP is to win in 2008, they will need some sort of non-traditional Republican like McCain to do it.

Cal said...

Giuliani just never liked campaigning. McCain loves it. His peers might not like him, but the people do.

Moreover, McCain is a genuine conservative in many ways. He's always been pro-life and tough on spending.

Romney ran Massachusetts as a liberal and ran for Senator before that claiming he was to the left of Kennedy. He then "reinvented" himself as a conservative without missing a beat. Then, since Michigan, he reinvented himself again as a technocrat businessman.

There wasn't a there there.

And yes, the religion didn't help.

SKT said...

I actually also disagree with the negativity being posted here. I think the current crop of candidates on both sides is excellent. Voters are being presented with a clear choice, and they have competitive primaries to actually make their vote count for something. I'm a lifelong GOP supporter, and I even enthusiastically voted for Bush in 2004. But the man's policies have hurt the country, and it's hard to imagine any candidate in the current race on the right or left become a worse President than he has become.

Yes, I think either way this ends, the future will be bright for America.

SKT said...

"
Our coarsened society can't understand a guy who doesn't swear, doesn't drink and loves his wife and family (not the newly-mandated 2nd/3rd/trophy wife like his opponents all seem to have). His lack of support is more a commentary on us, not him."

Keep in mind that a major reason why GWB and Gore survived the vetting process in 2000 is that they were rare men in their parties who had never cheated on their wives.

The voters have now come around. They don't want some sleaze bag groping interns like Bill Clinton, but on the other hand they're willing to overlook the past transgressions of someone like McCain.

Anonymous said...

The paleocons wont vote for McCain so he is toast. Oh yes that is all anyone is talking about. The paleocons are about as relevant to this campaign as Mike Gravel. McCain maybe Bush III but alot of Republicans seem satisfied with that. Conservatives(deluded as they are) can't say that the war is the most important issue in the campaign and then send an Annapolis grad, Navy Captain and probable Hillary beater to the bench. Nothing against Romney but he is drifting towards Steve Forbes teritory.

stan said...

The media backs McCain since they know America will never vote for a damaged POW as president.

David Davenport said...

He thinks the GOP electorate itself has drifted to the left ...

That's partly it. There's not much traditional Republican GOP electorate left, even in a supposedly Republicans-only primary. Traditional Republicans are going the way of Ron R. -- to the graveyard.

Romney's image is too rich to sell himself successfully to the mass market. I suggest that Mitt announce that Fred Thompson is his choice for Veep, and the two have a video made of themselves digging in the dirt or nailing studs and then riding around in an old pickup truck, whilst Fred smokes a ceegar and Mitt wipes the sweat off his face..

Huckleberry may be angling to be MacAmnesty's running mate.

Also, perhaps a large % of FL Repub. primary voters were Cuban-Amnerican, and they liked Macamnesty's open borders policy.

Btw, I beleive the polls today have Johnny ahead of Hillary or Osama.

Hibernia Girl said...

I'm predicting Romney as the winner in Nov 'cause he's the tallest candidate now that Thompson has dropped out. ;-)

He's taller than Obama by an inch if it should come down to the two of them.

Arthur said...

In short, there were three slots in the race. First, the conservative slot. It could have been taken by George Allen or Fred Thompson, but was ultimately taken by Huckabee. Second, the moderate slot. It would either be Rudy or McCain. Third, there was the Howard Dean slot, filled by Romney. That's the unelectably weird centrist governor from state adjacent to NH, pretending to be an extremist to win primary votes, but who can't close the deal.

Early on, Romney (like Dean) sucked the wind out of everybody else. Around one month before Iowa, people started to get serious. The conservative (Huckabee) and the moderate (McCain) emerged, with Romney there to act as spoiler for the conservative.

When McCain was on the ropes in the summer, instead of applauding him and assuming he was dead, Rudy should have put him away. You need silver bullets and wooden stakes to stop McCain. Rudy (like Thompson) didn't work hard enough to win his slot. He was right, though, that the moderate slot would ultimately win as Romney and the conservative slot split the vote.

Rosamund said...

Steve,
As you can see from your own comments section, there's a fight going on over the soul of the Republican Party ala 1976's Ford vs. Reagan.

Here is how the McCain backers feel:

"To be honest with you, I think if the GOP is to win in 2008, they will need some sort of non-traditional Republican like McCain to do it."

****


"Keep in mind that a major reason why GWB and Gore survived the vetting process in 2000 is that they were rare men in their parties who had never cheated on their wives.

The voters have now come around. They don't want some sleaze bag groping interns like Bill Clinton, but on the other hand they're willing to overlook the past transgressions of someone like McCain."

****

"The paleocons are about as relevant to this campaign as Mike Gravel."

******

Meanwhile, Romney has the support and endorsements of some genuine conservatives, "Paleocons", such as Bay Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, etc. I suspect that Huckabee supporters have little idea of the intra-party war going on (or even why their guy is aptly called a liberal), but McCain's sure do.

johnt said...

JOHN MCCAIN IS SCARY. HE NEVER MET A MILITARY INTERVENTION HE DID NOT SUPPORT. PAT BUCHANAN DESCRIBES HIS FOREIGN POLICY VIEWS AS "BUSH ON STEROIDS." I PREDICT MCCAIN WILL NOMINATE JOE LIEBERMAN (I TEL AVIV) AS HIS SECRETARY OF STATE. IF MCCAIN IS ELECTED, I SUSPECT THE GOVERNMENT WILL MANUFACTURE A "PROVOCATION" AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR AN INVASION OF IRAN OR SYRIA OR ANY ARAB/MUSLIM NATION THE NEOCONS DEEM ENEMIES OF ISRAEL.

Ben Franklin said...

Stan is correct; the media like McCain not only because he bends to their will, but because they think he can’t win in November.

I would add that many of McCain’s voters hate Bush and oppose the Iraq war. I don’t think they will be voting for McCain in the fall.

Pat Buchanan summed up McCain’s platform so far as the following:

The jobs we’ve lost will never come back.

The illegal aliens here will never go home.

And there will be other wars like Iraq.


If anyone thinks that is a winning platform, they need their heads examined, as so many have suggested that McCain needs his examined.

ash said...

Regarding Romney, think about Homer Simpson's neighbor Flanders. That's sort of how he comes across.

Kent Gatewood said...

The Republicans should hold their primaries in the order the highest percentage Republican vote in the last presidential election. Probably Utah would votefirst, and the D.C. primary could actually be scheduled after the general election.

fifi said...

Romney represents brains and class. That's why people feel threatened by him. He exhibits the traits of elite white males from a by-gone era. Also, he's a bit stiff in his movements due to muscle tone and either a very muscular or short neck. This is where people get the impression of insincerity and, unfortunately, is something that can't be changed.

The truth about Romney is that he is a classy guy with the credentials and temperament to make an excellent president. There won't be many more like him in the future. I guess whatever the commenters here decide to contribute to the gene pool will be our intellectual elite but it takes more than the kind of churlishness I've seen around here to lead. I fear your children may be a bit spoiled, feeling entitled and superior based on not much more than SAT scores. Oh yes, and your Darwinian comparisons of value by race. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

McCain won because he played identity politics. McCain's policies: Amnesty/Open Borders, soft-on-terrorists (he courts the press so won't waterboard Osama or listen in on his phone calls, IMs, etc), "religion of peace" PC nonsense was trumped by his playing the "Patriotic White Guy" card aka white identity politics.

Identity politics hit the Republican Party, and voters overlooked Lettuce McAmnesty's actual positions and policies for his Identity posturing.

Romney is a serious, pro-growth, competent, fairly conservative candidate who is much better than Lettuce McAmnesty. Unlike McCain he has no history of betraying conservative principles to court the press, which btw loathes him. But he's unable to play the Identity Politics card the way Obama does.

Steve your obsession with "neocons" and invade-the-world-invite the world is frankly, beneath you and not respondent to reality. ANYTHING Westerners do: Teddy Bears named Mohammed, cartoons, something the Pope said, a Dutch pol tearing pages out of the Koran on the internet, false Korans in a toilet rumors, will set Muslims off world-wide and eventually get a Western city nuked, given widespread nuclear proliferation.

Westerners can't control everything people do or say and won't convert to Sharia anytime soon which is the only way to stop Muslims from being constantly enraged. Muslims are tribal, polygamous "Big Man," disorganized people with kin-networks and "honor/shame" cultures, who know only what the see on CNN about the West. Most of their men are denied sex and family and substitute gay sex which they find demeaning, shameful, and enraging. Of the 19 hijackers only one had a relationship, and he almost pulled out (his compatriots pressed him and convinced him his German wife was not a "real Muslim wife.")

No candidate has any response for that problem, or will discuss save Obama who thinks his Kenyan granny living in a mud hut will make "Muslims love us." Heck Britain calls jihadist terror "anti-Islamic activity" and has banned Piglet, the Three Little Pigs, Ice Cream swirls, and anything else Muslims rage about and they still have native and Pakistani Muslims blowing things up on their streets.

Because Romney is smart he's likely to eventually understand this and spell out "red lines" ala the NATO report here. People in say, Denmark are already scared. One nuke in Copenhagen essentially ends the Danish people. The others including McAmnesty will put being "nice" and being liked by the Press over the national security of the US.

Sadly, Identity Politics and the skill with which it can be deployed are key to winning.

Audacious Epigone said...

A WSJ/NBC poll back in March queried people on different demographic attributes in a prospective President they claimed to be have reservations about or be uncomfortable with. Here's how it broke down (category - % of those surveyed who said they had serious reservations):

Mormon - 38%
Female - 23%
Hispanic - 20%
Black - 13%

In Nevada, 95% of Mormons voted for Romney. This matters quite a lot.

Anecdotally, I see it among those at my church. Many of them are socially conservative, but Mormonism is looked upon as something akin to Albigensianism. Among the secular, I think it's thought of more along the lines of white trash chauvinists living in trailer parks while their multiple wives labor barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen(s).

Re: the black number, I suspect that if they asked people the same as pertained to white men, it would top the black rate.

Also, if you listen to Romney's delivery, he'll probably bring to mind a debate captain unloading facts in a rapid succession, as though afraid he'll leave something out if he doesn't pile it on while he has time. Thus he doesn't sound 'passionate' even though it is apparent that he 'knows his stuff'.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: I don't watch TV much other than American Idol

Well then how are you going to know that HBO's Rome is what you ought to nominate for that American Film Renaissance award?

SFG said...

Steve, you're a nerd. Romney is liked by nerds because we care about competence and intelligence more than sincerity. In fact, we tend to be suspicious of charismatic 'Big Man' types because they tended to dump us in the trash can before recess.

The candidate I've supported has lost in every election, and I've switched parties a few times.

Steve Sailer said...

Well, I can't afford cable and TV shows aren't eligible in the AFR voting, so it's moot. But I did see an hour or two of "Rome" in a hotel room on a business trip last year, and it was good.

Truth said...

"Keep in mind that a major reason why GWB and Gore survived the vetting process in 2000 is that they were rare men in their parties who had never cheated on their wives."

Never cheated, or were never caught. Puh-leese; practically all Alpha male types cheat on their wives.

Anonymous said...

"And do voters have any idea what anybody really stands for? I'd like to use Giuliani's flop as a weapon against the neocons -- The voters rejected your man overwhelmingly, proving that your World War IV policies are bankrupt! -- but I have this vague hunch that practically nobody who voted in Florida knew that Giuliani had thrown his lot in with the World War IV crowd anyway. (And the folks who vote in primaries are the hard core public affairs junkies compared to the crowd that turns out in November!)"


It's interesting that no one mentions people are as cluless as you could possibly imagine about every candidate.


I often find it amusing how much you have in common with the skeptical approach of the Left (the real Left, not Democrats).

"The third crucial sign of America's failure, he says, is that "there's a huge gap between public opinion and public policy. Both political parties are well to the right of the population on a host of major issues, and the elections that are run are carefully designed so that issues do not arise."

But Americans still voted overwhelmingly for either Bush or Kerry in 2004, didn't they? "I don't know if you watched the presidential debates. I didn't but my wife [they have been married since 1949] did. She has a college PhD and taught for 25 years at Harvard and is presumably capable of following arguments. She literally couldn't tell where the candidates stood on issues, and people didn't because the elections are designed that way."



"nd that goes straight to the democratic deficit. The U.S. does not have elections in a serious sense. It has advertising campaigns, run by the same industries that sell toothpaste: public relations industry. When they're selling candidates, they don't tell you -- provide you with information about them, any more than they do about lifestyle drugs or cars. What they do is create imagery to delude and deceive. That's what's called an electoral campaign. The result is that people are just unaware of the stands of candidates on issues.

So to take one critical example, take, say, the Kyoto Protocols. I mean, they're not the be all and end all, but environmental catastrophe is a serious matter. The public is strongly in favor of the Kyoto Protocols, so strongly in favor that a majority of Bush voters -- Bush voters -- thought that he was in favor of it. They are simply unaware. And it's not because of mental incapacity or a lack of interest. It's because that's the way campaigns are presented. They're presented to keep issues off the agenda. Striking cases.

Take, say, healthcare, one of the worst domestic problem -- most serious domestic problems; for most people, a major problem. I mean, it's the most inefficient healthcare system in the world, double the per capita cost of other comparable countries, some of the worst health outcomes, mainly because it is privatized. The public is strongly against it. For a long period the public has been in favor of some kind of national healthcare system.

Well, you know, Kerry is supposed to be the candidate of, you know -- speaking for whose constituency calls for social spending, and so on and so forth. The last presidential debate, a couple days before the election, was on domestic issues. And the New York Times had an accurate account of it. It described it as -- it pointed out that Kerry made no mention of any government involvement in any healthcare system. And the reason, according to the Times reporter, is that the idea lacks political support, meaning it only has the support of the overwhelming majority of the population, but it's opposed by the pharmaceutical corporations, the insurance industry, and so on. That's what counts as political support. So Kerry didn't mention it, and the public didn't know his stand on these issues. And so it goes issue after issue. So, these are not real elections. We'd laugh at them, [if] they were [in] some third world country."

steve wood said...

McCain’s public personality is more positive than Romney’s. McCain’s image is that of an irascible but likeable guy who stands up for what he believes, sticks to his beliefs and is a straight-shooter and a man’s man. In public, Romney is a Suit, and lots people don’t like Suits. He looks like a guy who gives a business-jargon-filled Power Point presentation to rationalize laying off thousands of American workers and shipping their jobs overseas. The two images are not exactly opposites – except the part about sticking to one’s beliefs – but McCain’s is complimentary, whereas Romney’s is not.

McCain also appeals to people who are generally conservative on social issues but who dislike the intensity of the Christian right. I think McCain is sincere is his pro-life, anti-gay-marriage beliefs, but I don’t think they fill his belly with fire. That is potentially true of Romney as well, but his need to spurn his earlier, more liberal opinions makes it harder to know where he stands. Also, McCain has a good-time Charlie air about him, leading one to suspect that he won’t try to stamp out smoking or make anti-porn crusades the number one priority of the Justice Department (as Bush the Younger did before 9/11 reset priorities). He doesn’t seem like a moral crusader; lots of people like that about him.

Finally, there is the matter of electability. Barring disaster, McCain will beat Hillary in a walk. Beyond her fanatical base of middle-aged, upper-middle class feminists, people just don’t like Hillary, and they do like McCain. He might have a harder time against Obama, who has more charisma than either of them.

It's laughable to imagine that the paleocon vote will make a difference. First of all, by nature paleocons tend to vote, and they're not going to vote for Hillary. Secondly, they are a tiny fraction of the electorate, far outnumbered by the moderates McCain will draw.

Issues? Issues? What are those? No matter who wins: (1) We are not going to pull abruptly out of Iraq. On the other hand, we are not going to war in Iran (unless Baby Bush pulls it off before 1/20/09). (2) We are not going to throw all the illegals out. (3) We are not going to abolish the IRS or have a flat tax or a “fair tax,” nor are we going to abolish Medicare or Social Security. That’s not to say that issues don’t matter at all, but on the issues that seem to fire up most folks hereabouts, the outcome of the election is probably not going to matter much.

Meanwhile, Romney has the support and endorsements of some genuine conservatives, "Paleocons", such as Bay Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, etc. I suspect that Huckabee supporters have little idea of the intra-party war going on (or even why their guy is aptly called a liberal), but McCain's sure do.

Indeed. Romney's OK with me; if he gets the nomination, I'll vote for him. However, if the soul of Party is torn between the Bible-thumpers and the Establishment, in the personae of Huckabee and McCain, I'll go with the Establishment every time.

lucius vorenus said...

When's your birthday?

We can send you the DVDs.

[You do have a DVD player, right?]

lucius vorenus said...

Audacious Epigone: Mormonism is looked upon as something akin to Albigensianism

Okay, I had to look that one up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigenses

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01267e.htm

Elzair said...

This may sadden you, but in this book review, Jon Dolan raises some doubts about the validity of the claims about Rasputin's death.

Anonymous said...

I think the republican establishment is behind mccain. Romney doesn't owe anyone anything.

i still can't believe steve sailer doesn't have CNN. you need a fundraising drive.

Fred said...

"Also, McCain has a good-time Charlie air about him, leading one to suspect that he won’t try to stamp out smoking or make anti-porn crusades the number one priority of the Justice Department (as Bush the Younger did before 9/11 reset priorities). He doesn’t seem like a moral crusader; lots of people like that about him."

Actually, McCain is a moral crusader. He effectively shutdown competitive mixed martial arts (the original UFC) in the '90's), though arguably the sport is stronger now due to reforms inspired by McCain. McCain also wasted Senate time on his concerns about professional boxing and steroids in baseball.

Johnson said...


When my mother, as non-political and non-demoninational a person as you'll find, won't vote for someone because of his religion, guys like Romney are in trouble.


I would agree with you if not for Romney's disturbing "freedom requires religion" speech to the evangelicals.

And if you want to know why Romney stands for nothing, watch this

SKT said...

Look, I'm no fan of Mexican illegals. I would hate to live in a place like Texas that's infested with them. But I think you guys are completely blinded by this issue. You think any of these guys is going to send them all packing to Mexico, even if they wanted to? Not even Tancredo could accomplish that as President.

I think some of you have become blinded by Romney's recent claims that he's the conservative on the issue of illegal immigration and his attacks on McCain for it. But to start saying that McCain is exactly like GWB or that he's a liberal is absurd. McCain is nothing like GWB, and the voters in this election who support GWB are going solidly for Romney. McCain's voting record is solidly conservative.

McCain is basically a pragmatist. He wasn't all that gung ho on the Iraq war, but he went along with it for the sake of being a team player (yes, this in spite of his media image of being a Republican spoiler). Then the leader of his party and the President wants to give amnesty to Mexican illegals, so he has to step up to the plate and start crafting that policy in the Senate. That's how party politics works. He was probably lied to and pressured by Karl Rove, et al. Of course it backfired, and since then McCain has been pragmatic and dropped support for Mexican illegals.

Romney on the other hand has a solidly liberal record. His positions changes aren't convincing. And he's no anti-Mexican crusader either.

I'm not a historic fan of McCain. I actually supported GWB back in 2000, and voted for him in 2004. I previously did not like McCain all that much for his seeming chumminess with Senate Democrats. But when having to make a choice amongst the candidates who are presented, and also having to confront the unpleasant prospect of a Democrat in the Whitehouse (making rules that could hurt me), I have to go with a candidate that I can live with and who can win the election. And that candidate is McCain.

SKT said...

"In Nevada, 95% of Mormons voted for Romney. This matters quite a lot."

People talk about whether Romney's religion has hurt him. Well, in some ways its actually helped him. He won in Wyoming and Nevada, where Mormons are something like 15-20%. Given the overwhelming affiliation with the Republican party in the Mormon community, plus the overwhelming support for Romney that's something like a 30% voting block at least.

The only other place he won was in his native Michigan, where his Dad was the chairman of AMC, and also governor back during the last time Michigan's economy was actually doing well.

Udolpho said...

If McCain is the Republican nominee I simply will not vote, period. Better a Democrat for four years than a Republican who will complete the total meltdown of that party. It is mind-boggling how anyone remotely conservative in viewpoint could support McCain, who has time and again shown himself to be a loser in the realm of politics. Get ready for Nixon II.

rommel said...

I still don't know what will happen when Hillary is prez.

Audacious Epigone said...

Lucius Vorenus,

Heh, the comparison was specifically in reference to 'Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the Devil are brothers?' Huckabee comment.

SKT,

It helped him in Nevada. That's about it. If more than 1-in-3 people express reservations about voting for a Mormon, any Mormon candidate is facing an uphill battle.

The pro-Mormon bounce is not going to neutralize this. It comes nowhere near comprising 30% of the Republican primary voters--it can't be higher than ~4%, as only 2% of the country as a whole is Mormon.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Audacious Epigone: Heh, the comparison was specifically in reference to 'Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the Devil are brothers?' Huckabee comment.

But apparently the Mormons DO believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers.

Which, as I was saying on another thread here at iSteve, is gonna be kinda hard to square [no pun intended] with traditional Trinitarianism.

Anonymous said...

McCain is basically a pragmatist. He wasn't all that gung ho on the Iraq war, but he went along with it for the sake of being a team player

Say what?

Dahinda said...

Television is overrated. I lived from July of 06 to Aug of 07 living with relatives, who have no cable, in a town where the local TV news reports more in depth on the local junior high girls volleyball team than they do on world affairs. Since I can't stand most network programming, I basically did not watch TV during this time. I think that I logged in about 2 hours of TV watching in all of that time (no exaggeration!). I kept up with the world through the internet, newspapers and magazines. I did not miss a thing. I was as aware of the world as anybody I know. Since moving, and now having cable, I realize that I did not miss a thing. CNN, MSNBC, the Networks, and all the rest just report the canned politically correct hash that they always have.

David Davenport said...

I would agree with you if not for Romney's disturbing "freedom requires religion" speech to the evangelicals.

Romney's right about that.

Audacious Epigone said...

lv,

Right. And the Albegensians believed that the Jewish God (OT) was Satan while the NT God was, well, God.