Saturday, February 9, 2008

Why Did We Get McCain

Charles Krauthammer has written an analysis of why McCain is winning the nomination. The charge is that there was no compelling conservative that ran:
There would have been a far smaller Republican constituency for the apostate sheriff had there been a compelling conservative to challenge him. But there never was.

The first messianic sighting was Fred Thompson, who soared in the early polls, then faded because he was too diffident and/or normal to embrace with any enthusiasm the indignities of the modern campaign.

Then, for that brief and shining Iowa moment, there was Huckabee -- until conservatives actually looked at his record (on taxes, for example) as governor of Arkansas, and listened to the music of his often unconservative populism.

That left Romney, the final stop in the search for the compelling conservative. I found him to be a fine candidate who would have made a fine president. But until very recently, he was shunned by most conservatives for ideological inauthenticity. Then, as the post-Florida McCain panic grew, conservatives tried to embrace Romney, but the gesture was both too late and as improvised and convenient-looking as Romney's own many conversions.
This seems to be a solid analysis. Krauthammer then turns to WHY there is no "next" Reagan:
But there's an even more profound reason why no Reagan showed up this election cycle and why the apostate sheriff is going to win the nomination. The reason is George W. Bush. He redefined conservatism with a "compassionate" variant that is a distinct departure from classic Reaganism.
Krauthammer then lists several ways that Bush has sold conservatism down the river. And he is right. I have no doubt that Bush has done a great amount of damage to the Republican Party and to a degree the conservative movement.

But while Bush is somewhat culpable for the breakdown of conservatism, the conservative movement itself is responsible as well. We have assumed that there would be a continual stream of leadership on the national level that would keep the movement going along. We have forgotten that each of us must be involved with the political process helping to infuse conservatism at all levels of government. Let us all begin now to build the conservative movement for the future.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fred Reportedly Endorses McCain

According to the The Trail at the Washington Post, Fred has issued a statement endorsing McCain.
"This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republican should close ranks behind John McCain," Thompson said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.
National Journal reports that McCain has already mentioned Fred's support:
"I also spoke again yesterday to my friend Fred Thompson who assured me he is ready to do whatever it takes to help me win the election in November," McCain said. "I'm very proud to have the friendship and support of Fred Thompson as well."
I have never put much into endorsements. First, if not expected this is certainly not a surprise to anyone. They have been friends for a long time and Fred was a national co-chair of McCain's 2000 campaign. Second, many who supported Fred will have nothing to do with McCain regardless of Fred's endorsement. For many, it causes them to scratch their heads.

What it means to me is that Fred is acting for the unity of the party first. But note that Fred did not endorse until Mitt had dropped out of the race and the nomination was more or less settled. This is also the first public statement that Fred has made since he dropped out of the race, though it was apparently a press release and not a personal statement.

What to Do About McCain?

Well, it looks like we have settled on a nominee. Well, there is still Huckabee and Paul, but we have pretty much settled the issue.

Not my choice, but things could be worse. The question is: what will happen now? Will Republicans put aside their reservations about McCain and present a united front? It appears that the other Republican candidates are ready to do that. But will the rest of us do the same?

I will personally vote for McCain in the general election. With all of his failures, he would still do a far better job than Obama or Hillary. I also do not feel that losing the Presidency will do anything for reinvigorating the conservative cause. Conversely, winning will not hinder the cause.

But this election is a call to action for conservatives. It is time to be the source of influence within the Republican party beginning at the local party level.

I'm still waiting for Fred to indicate what direction he is going to go.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romney (mostly) Out

Romney is suspending his campaign (not ending it). He has announced this at CPAC. I heard parts of the speech and he showed a lot of grace in stepping aside.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thoughts on Romney

The results of West Virginia begin to show why Mitt is running a doomed candidacy. In the first round of voting, Mitt has the largest number of supporters (41% to Huckabee's 33%). Since neither candidate reached 50%, the lowest vote getter (Ron Paul) was removed from the ballot. But McCain's campaign astutely released his delegates and encouraged them to vote for Huckabee. The second round came to 51% for Huckabee and 47% for Mitt (only 12 votes--1% stayed with McCain).

Votes do not go from other candidates to Mitt. I don't think I know exactly why--his money and his attitude, I guess.

But what that means is that as other candidates drop out of the race, Mitt is not helped. That just let votes go to McCain and Huck.

It's All Over But The Shouting

Well Super Tuesday did not guarantee that we would not have a brokered convention, but it did guarantee the result of the Republican nomination. According to CNN's count, McCain has 615 delegates of the 1,191 needed to win the nomination. About half of the delegates have been elected, so McCain is better than half-way there and has momentum.

Even if he does not manage to make it all the way, it has become clear that Huckabee and McCain are willing to work together. The prospect of a McCain/Huckabee ticket is a distinct possibility.

I am not going to argue that this is an "unelectable" ticket--on the contrary, I think it is a very electable ticket. On the other hand, this is quite dangerous for the Republican Party.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Re-Draft Fred?

There is apparently a letter floating about indicating that a movement is afloat to re-draft Fred to get back into the election process. First, I doubt that Fred would do it. Second, the only situation that it would make sense if if he does well in Tennessee today AND the end results of today is a hopelessly brokered situation.

If you want to talk about an "unconventional campaign"--that would be it!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Write-in Fred Movement

There is a web site collecting commitments from voters who are planning on writing in Fred for their primary. Take a look at

The Laffer Curve

Here is a video produced by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity explaining the Laffer curve that says that increases in tax rates do not always produce more revenue and neither do decreases in tax rates. This is very well explained.

More to come...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lessons From Fred08

Michael Turk, the web architect for (the Fred Thompson campaign web site) has written an article for talking about some of the things that went right in the Thompson campaign. This is a fascinating read to understand a little of what happened with the campaign, but also how technology can play a significant role in a campaign.

He starts with a history of the web site. In that history, we find out a little about the general campaign. Specifically, they were originally scheduled to announce in July:
Described inappropriately as 2.0 by some creative types, the actual site was finished the week of July 9th. We had been asked to shoot for having the live site ready the first week of July (timed to be released with the announcement). The site was delayed by a week. The announcement was delayed by two months.
So they were planning on announcing in early July, as many speculated, but for some unexplained reason it did not happen. He also notes that the campaign turnover happened in late summer, just after the announcement was supposed to happen and the focus on the web site lessened with the new staff. He tells the history of the "Little Red Truck" which was used several times to help with fundraising efforts. It was ready to go on the original FredGiving day:
As we moved through November, we began to hear rumblings of Fredsgiving Day - a third party money bomb effort scheduled the day before Thanksgiving.

It was unclear whether the campaign would support the effort. There were concerns (voiced by many online) that the timing was off - nobody would pay attention the day before the holiday. In the event the campaign decided to jump in, we went ahead and built the little red truck to track contributions that day. It was never deployed.

It was late in December when the little red truck finally saw the sunlight. Over the next three weeks, that little red pickup helped the campaign raise 1.25 million dollars. Had it been unveiled sooner, who knows what might have happened.
Turk has a great section on "Lessons Learned" from the effort. Among the lessons learned were:

  • In the first and last days of the campaign, the Thompson Internet operation was second to none
  • Fred08 enabled a strong community through allowing comments on its blog. He notes the differences between Fred's site and other Republicans:
    Rudy's blog doesn't allow comments. Romney's gets a few per post. Ron Paul just recently launched a blog (despite the fact that blog software is largely free). He currently gets between a handful and a few dozen comments.

    I don't think this indicates a lack of supporter enthusiasm as much as it indicates that the campaigns have created a blog with nothing to say on sites that are so scrubbed of interesting content they're alsmost sterile. Most of the posts are rehashed press releases, rehashed campaign e-mails, or occasionally a video so overscripted it becomes almost completely unwatchable.
  • Campaign operations need to build online operations that invite people into the discussion rather than turning them off
  • If there is no time for the candidate to blog, use video of the candidate as they campaign. (Fred08 did this extensively during the heavy campaigning of Iowa and South Carolina).
  • The interview process for a Communications Director should include their understanding of internet networking--specifically blogs and banner ads

Missing Fred

From Save the GOP:

Yes, I'm missing Fred.

Is A Vote For Fred A Protest Vote

I came across an editorial from an Oklahoma newspaper telling Oklahomans not to vote for any candidate who is no longer in the campaign. For instance, Fred got 22,288 votes in the Florida primary on Tuesday when he had already pulled out of the campaign.

So is a vote for Fred a protest vote? How about a vote for any candidate who "doesn't have a chance" to win? Let me use Ron Paul as an example. If you have read much of my blog, you know that I have a lot of disdain for Paul--and a lot of his followers. Ron Paul does not have an iota of a chance of winning the Republican nomination. This has been the case since before the first vote was cast in Iowa. So is a vote for Ron Paul a protest vote, even though he is in the campaign?

Not necessarily. Search your motives as your primary election nears. If you want to vote for Fred to "send a message" to the party then you are casting a protest vote. If you want to vote for Fred because he is the only candidate that you can support for the Republican nomination then you are not protesting anything.

And if you think that Ron Paul would lead us in the right direction go ahead and vote for him. (But please start reading some things so that you can get over this guys weird ideas)

Cast away.