Friday, November 24, 2006

Romney Positioning Himself for the Right Wing

A recent article by Bill Sammon of The Examiner discusses Mitt Romney’s positioning with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Mitt is quoted as saying “I’m a conservative Republican, there’s no question about that. I’m at a different place than the other two.”

It is clear that Romney’s strategy is to play to the right wing conservative base of the Republican Party and run to the right of both McCain and Giuliani. That’s not necessarily bad as we have seen that both parties tend to nominate candidates that position themselves towards the left or right of their party. The question is: will the recent election results change that history? I think it is clear the electorate is fed up with extremists on both sides. They are yearning for a more moderate candidate that understands their issues and concerns and can work to bring both sides together to solve problems. So a strategy to pander to the right wing of the party might not be a sure thing after what we saw in the mid-term elections.

So if this is Romney’s strategy, why is he having trouble being accepted as that conservative as I mentioned in my post of November 21? Maybe voters are basing opinions on principles and not campaign rhetoric?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Front Runner McCain Challenged on Abortion Issue

As one would expect, abortion is and will continually be a dividing issue in any presidential election. Recently, several comments have been made questioning McCain’s position on abortion. It’s understandable that the right wing of the republican party would bring this issue to the forefront. After all, a common sense conservative is leading in the polls, a.k.a. a more moderate than they might like to see.

Patrick Hynes does a good job in summarizing the Senator’s position when he states “Let’s be clear: John McCain is pro-life and supports the overturn of Roe v. Wade. This has been his position throughout his career in politics and he has a twenty-four year voting record to back it up.”

An even better position statement can be found in RedState where the author states that “abortion polls show a pretty consistent national picture. 25% of the country supports ending abortion in all cases except the life of the mother. About 30% support the current regime of abortion-on-demand without restriction. The other 45% or so generally support major restrictions usually defined as legal abortion in cases or rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother. That moderate position is where Sen. McCain lies.”

In fact, McCain does support the overturn of Roe v. Wade and supports the more moderate approach of abortions with major restrictions. As a federalist, McCain strongly believes that this decision should be turned over to the states to decide, rather than having the courts make law.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

McCain Gains in Recent Poll

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, John McCain is the most popular Republican Party presidential contender. McCain had 29 per cent of respondents saying they would like to McCain nominated in the 2008 election, up 3 per cent from their August poll.

I suspect that McCain did himself well during the final days of the campaign while he was campaigning for fellow republicans. I’m sure his call for common sense conservatism is also winning him favor among the electorate.

Romney Is Having Troubles Flying the Conservative Flag

Back on September 9 th I questioned Romney’s movement towards a more conservative stand after his proven track record to the contrary. I guess I am not the only one.

A posting on Politics Central points out that Mitt received a less than enthusiastic greeting at a recent American Spectator event. While Rumsfeld was enthusiastically received, it appears that Romney gave a speech that was “a waterfall of platitudes, seemingly ripped from the pages of a 1964 edition of Reader’s Digest”. They quote attendees that were not pleased with his speech.

The author follows with a conversation with National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, who has been a strong Romney booster. She is quoted as saying “that Republicans should keep their options open for 2008”. So it looks like Romney is having difficulty in convincing people of his conservative principles. I wonder why?

Monday, November 20, 2006

McCain Positions Himself as the Common Sense Conservative

Last week Senator McCain gave two speeches that I believe put him at the forefront of the conservative approach to win back congress and keep the White House. Both speeches talk about the need for conservative leadership in this country, but leadership that uses common sense in its practice.

At the Federalist Society function last Thursday, McCain spoke about the mid-term elections and the need for a limited government and the importance of law. His position is that the voters did not vote for the democratic platform (if there was one), but rather they voted to send a clear message to the republican congress. McCain stated “Nor do I believe Americans rejected our values and governing philosophy. On the contrary, I think they rejected us because they felt we had come to value our incumbency over our principles, and partisanship, from both parties, was no longer a contest of ideas, but an ever cruder and uncivil brawl over the spoils of power. I am convinced that a majority of Americans still consider themselves conservatives or right of center. They still prefer common sense conservatism to the alternative. Americans had elected us to change government, and they rejected us because they believed government had changed us.”

At the GOPAC dinner, McCain followed the same line of thought but expanded upon his concept of “common sense conservatism. He stated: “Common sense conservatives believe in a short list of self-evident truths: love of country; respect for our unique influence on history; a strong defense and strong alliances based on mutual respect and mutual responsibility; steadfast opposition to threats to our security and values that matches resources to ends wisely; and confident, reliable, consistent leadership to advance human rights, democracy, peace and security.”

“We believe every individual has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach his or her God-given potential. We believe in increasing wealth and expanding opportunity; in low taxes; fiscal discipline, free trade and open markets. We believe in competition, rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.”

“We believe in work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility. We believe in the integrity and values of families, neighborhoods and communities. We believe in limited government in a federal system, individual and property rights, and finding solutions to public problems closest to the people.”

“We believe in the rule of law and equal justice under the law, victim’s rights and taxpayers’ rights, and judges who interpret the Constitution and don’t usurp, by legislating from the bench, the public’s right to elect representatives to write our laws.”

“Common sense conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best; that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves, and do them efficiently. Much rides on that principle: the integrity of the government, our prosperity; and every American’s self-respect, which depends, as it always has, on one’s own decisions and actions, and cannot be provided as another government benefit.”

McCain’s charge to his fellow conservatives is simple. “We must spend the next two years reacquainting the public and ourselves with the reason we came to office in the first place: to serve a cause greater than our self-interest.”

The Senator hit a home run with these two speeches. He is absolutely right in that the majority of people are to the right of center. Any candidate that can run holding the base and attract moderates will be a successful candidate and President. McCain has clearly positioned himself as that candidate.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

McCain Takes First Step for 2008 Run

Those of us who believe John McCain is the best candidate for President in 2008 received an early Christmas present. Senator McCain is setting up his 2008 exploratory committee. While officially stating that this is a first step, and that a final decision won’t be made until early next year, all signs point to his running.

Why wouldn’t he? He’s already viewed by many to be a front runner. And after the drubbing the Republicans took in the mid-term elections, it is clear that a candidate is needed that can get back the more moderate voters. And this fact will be a key frustration to the more right wing of the Republican Party. Do they support a proven conservative that is more moderate on some issues and is proven to be able to win moderate voters back to the republican camp? Or do they fight to push a more right-wing candidate that will risk the Republicans losing non only congress, but the White House as well?

This will be a very interesting campaign. I can see the evangelical wing of the party wanting to stay far to the right, but believe the party faithful will vote for the candidate that better insures keeping the White House and winning back congress. I look forward to Senator McCain’s formal announcement of his candidacy. The sooner the better.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Election Post Mortem -- How do the Republicans Win in 2008?

The elections are over, and the Republicans did much worse than I thought. I really expected (or maybe hoped) they would hold on to the Senate. So what happened?

Cleary Iraq was a major issue. Bush waited too long to fire Rumsfeld. But the dems did not have a plan for Iraq. I guess the voters wanted change, no mater what. But was it just Iraq?

I don’t think so. Both parties gravitated more towards its edges than towards the middle. Awhile ago I wrote that one of John McCain’s strengths was that he could win the middle. After last Tuesday, that is exactly what the Republicans need for 2008. They need a proven conservative that can win the moderate vote.

Patrick Hynes does a great job analyzing the election and clearly points out that it was the middle that gave this election to the dems and not a revolt by the conservative base. Patrick makes it clear that “Core conservative messaging is a clear winner. Smaller government, lower taxes, a muscular foreign policy, and traditional social values resonate so overwhelmingly with the American populous that even our Democrat opponents appropriated these—or some of these—messages this election year. Any Republican success in the future will be built on this matrix of issues.”

I agree! As we move into the 2008 presidential primary season, I expect that McCain will be well placed to hold the base with his conservative principles, and also win the moderates with his realistic approach to problem solving.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Thoughts – Let the Fun Begin

Today millions of Americans are casting votes in the mid-term elections. As with many political junkies, I will be up late tonight seeing how the balance of power on Capitol Hill may change. If the pundits are correct, I fear that Nancy Pelosi as Speaker will not bode well for a productive final two years in the Bush presidency.

This thought alone gives me an added incentive to want to get the 2008 race into full swing. The good news from my perspective is that early polls put Senator McCain in a strong position.

In New Hampshire, a recent Concord Monitor poll gives McCain front runner status. The Monitor gives McCain 26 percent, to Giuliani’s 18 percent, with Romney in third place with 12 percent.

The news is just as good on a national basis. Angus Reid Consultants quotes a recent poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN that shows Giuliani as the nationwide front runner for the republican nomination with 29 per cent, McCain a strong second at 27 percent, with Newt Gingrich in third with 12 per cent. This poll is actually really positive news for McCain. While Giuliani is in the lead, his numbers were down 2 percent from their September poll data, while McCain’s numbers were up 7 percent from September’s data. This clearly shows that McCain’s steady leadership and handling of recent campaign issues, and his active support for republican candidates around the country, is successfully setting the stage for John’s 2008 run.

So let’s see what happens tonight, and let the fun begin towards 2008!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kerry’s Military Education Comment

So Kerry has apologized. What took him so long?
I thought John McCain’s call for an apology hit the mark. Two specific quotes in his statement including: “They all deserve our respect and deepest gratitude for their service.” And “Without them, we wouldn't live in a country where people securely possess all their God-given rights, including the right to express insensitive, ill-considered and uninformed remarks” point out yet again why McCain is well qualified to lead this country and be commander-in-chief.
Kerry’s on the other hand, points out yet again, why the democrats just don’t get it.
During the 2004 NH primary I served as a Republican Party monitor. I had the very interesting job of attending democratic candidate campaign stops and videotape the speeches. John Kerry was one of the ones I enjoyed most as I could clearly see his position sway depending on the audience, as well as his sarcasm and elitism. When he lost the presidential election, I really believed he was his own worse enemy.

So he has done it again. Why would anyone with an once of intelligence make a statement that if you are not well educated you end up in Iraq. But worse, he spins his comment that he was taliking about Bush. How stupid does he think the American people are? First, he was speaking to college students and using the clear term “you”. Anyone with a basic understanding of grammar would logically conclude he was speaking to the students. Second, does he forget that Bush attended Yale? And if my memory serves me right, his GPA was not far off from Kerry’s.

The net of all of this is that Kerry has likely taken himself out of the running as a leading presidential candidate. That’s actually too bad. Senator McCain would eat his lunch.