October 13, 2008

Desperate advice for McCain.

You might have noticed that Bill Kristol called the McCain campaign "pathetic"...



... and wrote an op-ed saying McCain ought to fire everyone:
What McCain needs to do is junk the whole thing and start over...

There are still enough doubts about Obama to allow McCain to win. But McCain needs to make his case, and do so as a serious but cheerful candidate for times that need a serious but upbeat leader....

McCain can make the substantive case for his broadly centrist conservatism.....
Let's see what Rush Limbaugh said about that:
What is "centrist conservatism"? I don't know what centrist conservatism is. I think centrist conservatism is probably what Senator McCain believes himself to be. I know he says he's a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. Let me ask you a question. Throughout this whole campaign... Forget the primaries, 'cause what happened in the primaries is an anomaly. But throughout this whole presidential campaign, when was the one time Senator McCain surged? It was when he moved not to the center, but to the right! When he chose Sarah Palin.

What is it for the first time that actually excited people in the Republican Party about his campaign? It was the selection of Sarah Palin -- and then they hid her for a while. Now, what I hate to see about this... I am not gloating. What I hate to see about this is, this is the exact kind of thing -- this is the exact kind of campaign -- that those of us who had worries about Senator McCain a year ago, six months ago, nine months ago, eight years ago. This is exactly what we saw coming to fruition. But don't forget, there was and there is a battle in the Republican Party for its heart and soul. The country club blue-blood Republican media elites are trying to wrest control of the party from the conservative base that has made the party a dominant (and even landslide victorious) party since the 1980s.
This all has the sound of pre-mature post-mortem.

50 comments:

Simon said...

Doesn't calling it a premature postmortem presuppose one of two things: either all the polls are completely wrong, or something unimaginably huge is going to happen to fundamentally alter the dynamics of the race in the next three weeks?

This will sound like a rhetorical question, but it isn't, it's meant sincerely: When was the last time that a Presidential campaign looked this lopsided three weeks before election day and that person didn't go on to win? This time four years ago, for example, Bush was ahead comfortably.

Baron Zemo said...

The polls are not correct my dear Simon. Many people will not admit that will not be voting for black gentlemen. So they treat answering these polls as a silly game.

It's called the Milton Bradley effect.

Darcy said...

Well, not a premature postmorem. An advance postmortem?

But yeah, I'm sure Bill Kristol and Rush believe that McCain will probably lose. For different reasons, I'll bet.

Rush is right. But conservatives already knew that.

john said...

Saying centrist conservative is like saying compassionate conservative. It's another way of saying "I spit in your face".

Host with the Most said...

Since Ann wants to ignore the unexamined hatred from Obama supporters - just as the media does - how about the Obama supporters wearing "Sarah Palin is a Cunt" shirts?

Of course, McCain supporters are unhinged. But the people in Madison just know that there are no Obama supporters who hate.

john said...

Baron,

I think it was Omar Bradley.

Or Bill Bradley.

Something to do with sports.

Baron Zemo said...

No, no my dear boy.

Omar Hussien Bradley was a Muslim general in World War Two.

Bill Bradley was a famous communist from the Ivy League who got a scholarship through life.

None of that has anything to do with the dear fellow Barack Obama.

mark said...

I think what Ann really meant by "pre-mature" was an "early" post-mortem, not one based on a wrong assumption about who wins, but simply a post-mortem of an expected loss before the actual vote is taken.

I suspect the polls are not a true indicator of the state of the race - in part the polls are too heavily weighted towards Democratic respondents based on registration numbers and MSM bias, and we all know how dilligently ACORN has been stuffing the Dem's registration boxes.. You also have a large number of newly registered people in age demographics who are on average less likely to vote. Plus, the lopsided margins may make Obama supporters less likely to actually go and vote since his victory seems certain anyway. My hunch is that 4-5 margin points disappears at the voting booth just because of these factors.

Whether McCain can pull a few of the key battleground states towards the red column or not remains to be seen (eg, hold OH and take PA), but it is certainly possible in the next two weeks or so.

Beth said...

Hey, it's fun to see a little class warfare over on the right wing. "Country club, blue-blood" types. Purge them!

And the ever dreaded "elites" -- a terrible word unless embossed on a golf ball.

Rush's picture of the GOP is as the party of Frankenstein villagers rushing along with their torches, looking for the monster in everyone. There's the elite! Get him!

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

If McCain follows Kristol advice will he be greeted as a liberator by the huddled masses in Ohio and PA?

mccullough said...

Ronald Reagan and W. were big deficit spenders, so I don't see how they can be called "conservatives." I suppose they were social issue conservatives, so is this all Rush refers to?

McCain strikes me more like H.W. Bush. He's not really into the social issue stuff. McCain doesn't look comfortable talking about abortion and gay marriage.

I thinks that's a good quality in him. The President of the United States should not really be a social issues person. They should be for free trade, balanced budgets, and dealing with our friends and enemies abroad.

McCain seems a lot closer to this than Obama. Obama wants to remake society. He'll be on a fool's errand.

peter hoh said...

I thought James Fallows had an important post today. I wonder where Palin is planning to spend election eve.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Let me try this out. McCain saw himself before the Democratic convention as a little bit behind. He attempted what would be called in military terms an encirclement (see The German Way of War). This included an attack from the socially conservative base; the pick of Palin was in that sense like Eisenhower's pick of Nixon. He also hoped with her to attack another front, the gender gap, which Republicans have 'suffered.' The MSM blew Palin out on the latter front. McCain was not preparing himself to govern in his pick; that would have invloved shoring up his acknowledged weakness which is economics. He could have picked Romney or, if he could have talked him into it, Larry Summers who is an Obama 'advisor' or Bloomberg who cut the NY city budget 8% in expectation of troubles on Wall Street. Then economics due to the credit crisis became the central issue and McCain's VP pick couldn't help him with an attack on Obama's 'Bush deregulated, the credit markets regurgitated' line even though Obama's action were more culpable. The rest is (almost) postmortem.

bleeper said...

The old guy has faded in the stretch. Shall we hold the election, anyway? You know, just to make sure that The One is truly The One?

Ignacio said...

Milton Bradley is a professional baseball player. Tom Bradley was the black mayor of Los Angeles, former police chief, who ran for governor and lost to George Deukmajian (sp?) when all the polls up to the actual election proved wrong.

MadisonMan said...

I would say that centrist conservatism is somewhere between McCain "conservatism" and Palin conservatism.

Donn said...

Certainly McCain's campaign has been run rather poorly, with the "suspend the campaign" nonsense surely the high point (in a low point sort of way). Whoever came up with that idea SHOULD be fired, and if it was all McCain's idea, maybe....no, I can't say it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Pre-mature post-mortem. Boy, that one really got me. Too early for after-death analysis. Because he's not dead? Insufficiently dead? Too early to be called dead. Still alive. *head spins* This causes me to bake up some sourdough bread in an effort to stop the spinning. It's been retarding for two days developing flavor. The timing is perfect.

God, I hate this PC. * switches to Mac *

Darcy said...

a psychiatrist: That sounds close to what I've been thinking, actually. Interesting.

I'm still hoping he can pull this off, but it definitely looks grim.

Baron Zemo said...

Why are you silly white Republicans clinging to your guns, religion and candidates. Just let go and lay down. Do not fight it. You are supposed to give up. You should not try to win.

Suicide is painless.

Revenant said...

Ronald Reagan and W. were big deficit spenders, so I don't see how they can be called "conservatives."

Repeat after me: "Presidents neither determine how much money the government will spend nor determine what taxes the government will levy. Presidents do not balance budgets. Congress does.".

This concludes today's episode of "American Government for Dummies".

Harwood said...

This all has the sound of pre-mature post-mortem.
---
It will soon be a mature post-mortem. But imagine, if you can, the scope and anguish of the autopsy that will be performed on the first and probably second Obama administrations. We will be many years identifying and classifying all the punctures, fractures, lacerations and other traumas inflicted on the body politic by this bright, slick-talking young man. Compared with BHO, Slick Willie is rough as a cob.

Titusbackintownok? said...

Why is it somehow bad to be "elite", whatever that means, in republican circles.

Does elite mean having a good education, good job and living on the costs?

What if you are really rich like Rush. Is that elite?

Is Mitt Romney elite? Is that a bad quality.

Yet, there he was at the republican convention yelling about east coast elites.

What about the NYC mayor Giulani? Is he elite? Is he "cosmopolitan" while living on the Upper East Side?

Does the republican party not want "country club republicans" included in their big family.

What about all of the writers at NRO that live in NYC. Are they elite?

I thought if you were elite it meant that you may have achieved things in life like getting a good education, a well paying job, a nice home, a great family, good friends.

Why all the hating on elite?

Titusbackintownok? said...

living on the coasts not costs.

Should the republican party be purging all of the country club republicans from their ranks?

If they do they they will be the party of the south. Good luck winning elections that way.

Titusbackintownok? said...

Oh and by the way go Sox and Phillies.

A baseball team from Tampa Bay in the world series just doesn't sound right. Not elite of me, just don't think of Tampa Bay as a baseball town.

reader_iam said...

Me? I think the devil is in the hyphenation.

reader_iam said...

I would say that centrist conservatism is somewhere between McCain "conservatism" and Palin conservatism.

MM: Oh, I would beg to differ, at least in terms of what would be more useful in terms of analyzing unbridged divides for quite a while (not to mention the seriously effective tactics of those--on both sides of the divide!--who stand most to benefit by hyperbole). I would say that centrist conservatism bound with centrist liberalism is the yin-and-yang, yank-and-yin of moderation. The key is that they are both bound together, in tension. Flying off on their own, both sides are sucked into the turbine that is each of their second names (that is, not centrist), and it is in that event one finds the death of moderation.

reader_iam said...

Me? I think the devil is in the hyphenation.

To be clear, I'm not accusing Althouse of being The Devil, or of hyphens being Demons.

reader_iam said...

MM: Now, if you'd said "Conservative centrist," my response would be different. I might well come close to agreeing, even.

reader_iam said...

That should be "closeR" to agreeing. Palin is not farthest right, as benchmarking goes.

rhhardin said...

how about the Obama supporters wearing "Sarah Palin is a Cunt" shirts?

Synecdoche.

Wiki: for example, a character might be consistently described by a single body part, such as the eyes, which come to represent the character.

Let's hear it for Ears.

mccullough said...

Thanks Revenant,

I didn't realize W. could have vetoed the NCLB and the Medicare drug bills because we couldn't afford it, instead of pushing for them.

I didn't realize W. could have avoided the Iraq War because we couldn't afford or proposed tax increases to fund it.

I could go on, but your quaint notion of how the federal government works is outdated by about 70 years.

Original George said...

Only a fool would attack at night on a holiday during a blizzard when the cause is so obviously lost and so many common foot soldiers are exhausted from the long struggle.

All it takes is for one man to believe, and others will follow and cross an icy river.

We take a lot for granted in this country because a lot of things happened a long time ago.

blake said...

Interesting how many completely miss the point about "the elites". The Dems got 'em running things, too, but they seem to be okay with that.

The point about "the elites" is that they're self-proclaimed elites, and their voices shouldn't have any more weight than the rest of us commoners. (Which we here in Blogistan most assuredly are.)

"The elites" are often wrong. Often horribly, horribly wrong. And really, the only criteria for being elite (in the media-political complex :-)) is other elites saying you are.

A big part of the Rep base thinks that's hooey.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

Rush Limbaugh seems to be falling back on an old populist line: "We don't like people who are smarter and richer than us! Palin is regular people!" Well, Bush came from a family of privelage. And McCain has more personal wealth than Obama. What "Frustrated 'Real conservatives'" don't get is that Palin is NOT mainstream conservatism; she is the fringe made likeable.

Revenant said...

I didn't realize W. could have vetoed the NCLB and the Medicare drug bills because we couldn't afford it, instead of pushing for them.

And in your magical fantasyland, Congress would react to the veto of an unbalanced budget by cutting spending and raising taxes, rather than by -- for example -- larding it up with even more pork in order to get a veto-proof majority on board? What an interesting alternate reality you live in.

Congress writes the budget. The President has a limited oversight role, but he does not have the final say in how much money the government opts to spend; Congress does. Nothing changed seventy years ago to make that no longer the case.

I didn't realize W. could have avoided the Iraq War because we couldn't afford or proposed tax increases to fund it.

Putting off a necessary war because you'd have to borrow money to fight it is an action best described as "idiotic", not "conservative".

reader_iam said...

Blake: That's always been so, and not just in a Rep way. Do you actually think that both sides, over some time now, haven't been gutting, and been gutted, in order to create widen and deepen the divide?

Do you?

reader_iam said...

[S]he is the fringe made likeable.

The thing is: She is NOT the far fringe, made likeable or not. Nor is Obama the far fringe, made likeable or not. Over the longer term, this is dangerous thinking: deluding, at best; blinding, at worse; and stupidity celebrated, at worst.

reader_iam said...

Be careful what you wish for, when what you wish for is to shape thought on the flattest, narrowest lines possible.

Revenant said...

Rush Limbaugh seems to be falling back on an old populist line: "We don't like people who are smarter and richer than us! Palin is regular people!"

Two points:

(1): When's the last time a Democrat ran for office without encouraging populist resentment of the wealthy? 1792?

(2): The complaint about elites isn't that they are "smarter than us", but that they are technocratic. They are smart enough to think they're better-suited to run everything without being smart enough to realize that NOBODY is smart enough to run everything. There are countless areas of American life in which the true experts are, say, a mixed group of blue-collar workers in Phoenix, or a couple of schoolteachers in Sacramento. Even the biggest, sexiest Ivy League degree you can get doesn't teach you one one-millionth of what you'd need to know to ACTUALLY know how to make everybody's lives better.

mccullough said...

Revenant,

Iraq was not a necessary war, whether you agree that is was/is a good idea or not.

Even based on the intelligence we had at the time (which Congress and the President thought was good) it was still not a necessary war.

You appear to be one of a handful of people not named Bush, Rumsfeld, or Cheney to still believe this to be the case, even with the benefit of hindsight.

Again, W. proposed NCLB and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. He proposed the tax cuts. Congress "passed" these and they were incorporated into the budget but no one, except you, thinks that these actions were part of the President's "limited oversight" role.

Congress "passes the budget," but the President's proposals for new spending initiatives and tax cuts and raises become part of the budget. If W. had not pushed for tax cuts, Congress would not have enacted them on their own.

FDR proposed Social Security and LBJ Medicare and Medicaid. They are still part of the budget that Congress passes each year.

Beth said...

What about all of the writers at NRO that live in NYC. Are they elite?

Good one, Titus! I laugh every time I see K-Lo piously invoke "fly-over country."

Revenant said...

What "Frustrated 'Real conservatives'" don't get is that Palin is NOT mainstream conservatism; she is the fringe made likeable.

What, exactly, are her "fringe" beliefs? Her most outrageous belief that I've heard of is the belief that abortion shouldn't be allowed in cases of rape, and that opinion is shared by one in five Americans. Interestingly enough, "one in five Americans" is also the segment of the electorate that thinks partial birth abortion ought to be legal. Does Barack Obama's vote against a PBA ban place him "on the fringe" of the abortion issue, too?

Revenant said...

Iraq was not a necessary war

The best evidence that we had at the time -- despite attempts to deny it in hindsight -- was that Hussein's WMD stockpiles and development represented a credible near-future terrorist threat to the United States. The fact that we turned out to have been wrong about the danger doesn't mean that the choice we made wasn't the necessary one. For example, we know now that neither Japan nor Germany posed any credible threat to the United States, but we did not know that in 1941. Based on the information we had *then*, it looked like we faced a serious existential threat.

Again, W. proposed NCLB and the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

I propose that you get down on your knees and kiss my ass, yet mysteriously I'm not feeling the damp warm sensation of moist lips down there. The President has a bully pulpit postion, but he does not determine what does into the budget.

veni vidi vici said...

"I laugh every time I see K-Lo piously invoke "fly-over country.""

I'm impressed. Personally, I skip any and all things with "K-Lo"'s name on them over there. And those pieces where her photo is up top always make me throw up a little, in the back of my mouth.

She's the highest order of unbearable.

Rose said...

Palin is far from the fringe. She is simply part of the unsung heroes of our time. The people who go to school, get jobs, get married, have kids, play by the rules, pay their mortgages, take good care of their kids, give of themselves, give up things they would like to have (sporty cars, exotic vacations, fancy clothes), so that they might provide for their families.

What gets glorified today are those who have trashed their lives, trashed their families lives, messed up their kids, crashed their fancy cars, blown their brains out with drugs and self indulgence...

There's no ribbons and trophies and ticker tape parades for the Dad who stays up nights with a sick kid, a Mom who juggles work and family, or chooses to stay at home...

The insanity of portraying her as fringe is baffling in the extreme.

Why does this get perpetuated?

Because, with all of that, she IS extraordinary. A force to be reckoned with. An amazing phenomenon.

A happy person. With scruples. And charisma.

What will we do?

Give her the chance!

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

The encirclement of the Obama campaign by the Palin pick has failed (6:24 ABOVE). McCain needs to have one of those guided conversations with Palin that a boss has. She needs to give a Checker's speech, resign and McCain needs to pick Romney, Summers, or Bloomberg to win.

Revenant said...

That's a nutty suggestion, Psych. The only time McCain got a boost in the polls was when he picked Palin. It would make more sense for *McCain* to step down and let somebody better run. :)

blake said...

reader_iam sez: That's always been so, and not just in a Rep way. Do you actually think that both sides, over some time now, haven't been gutting, and been gutted, in order to create widen and deepen the divide?

Do you?


Too many negatives. I'm not sure what a "yes" or "no" answer would mean.

Do I think it's party specific? No. Do I think that one side has an "in" with the educational bureaucracy that sets children up to believe in their state-lovin' betters? Yep.

But what was reaffirmed for me during the Rep congress is that the party in power can be expected to act like the party in power.

What I'd like to think is that people learn from this what our Founding Fathers knew: The only hope is to limit the extent of that power. Thing is, you have to do it when you hold the reins.

That takes more integrity than our system can muster.