Sunday, April 29, 2007

Impressions of John McCain

Senator John McCain appeared on Fox News Sunday today as a Presidential candidate.

Overall I think McCain did himself no harm, and possibly some good. He somehow avoided having to give a lengthy defense of his Iraq policy, which is good for McCain because he has a communication problem on that issue more than a policy problem.

He simultaneously denied the existence of his temper problem and defended it. Good job.

He defended his conservative street-cred without lashing back at Romney or Giuliani.

He made a decent defense of his anti-torture policy. He communicated it in such a way that a person who disagrees with him would probably still respect his position.

He defended campaign finance restrictions, declaring that 527 groups are actually against current law. I find this position extremely hard to swallow, though it probably resonates well with the public. I am always disturbed to hear a politician play fast and loose with a specifically enumerated right in the Constitution. This point reminded me why I can't vote for McCain in the primary.

Fred - get the lead out and declare already. You're slipping in the polls.

Impressions of Joe Biden

Senator Joseph Biden appeared on Meet the Press this Sunday as a Presidential candidate. I won't go through all the areas where I agreed or disagreed with some of what he said, but here are a few highlights.

Biden's biggest fault isn't that he has a big mouth (which he does), but that he's arrogant. He had some good ideas about defense policy, some bad ideas, but generally I got the impression that he lacks the very humility he faults the Bush administration for lacking. To vote for Biden is to vote specifically for his policies and hope like heck he can pull them off, just as Bush voters like myself did in 2004.

Biden was asked to comment about some remarks made by Rudy Giuliani where he claimed the Democratic candidates were committed to playing defense rather than offense, and that a Republican President alone could prevent further 9-11 style attacks. Giuliani went too far in promising the efficacy of his potential future administration, but Biden seemed intent on proving him right by immediately listing a slew of "defensive" policies.

On abortion, Biden's specific position didn't surprise me as much as his defense of Roe-v-Wade as a "political" template that makes sense as a sliding scale of moral intensity and state interest. The problem I see is that Roe is not a political template, it was a judicial decree - almost totally removed from the "political" process. The only tentative link to the political process is the nomination of Supreme Court Justices by the President, which is the only reason a Presidential candidate might be asked about the issue.

On the economy, Biden represents nonsense on stilts. Tax increases for those making over $1M (which would hit many small business owners in the teeth if they aren't incorporated), tax increases on dividends- a topic on which I've written before. Basically, tax increases all around. Good way to wreck the economy. Biden cited a "cost" of the dividend tax cuts as $195B. Unfortunately, no tax increase ever raises as much money as it intends to, nor does any tax cut ever "cost" as much as it appears on paper due to the much-derided Laffer effect which every Democrat would deny exists despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sowell, so close

Thomas Sowell has identified a critical skill lacking amongst Republicans generally, and which must be possessed by a successful Presidential candidate - communication.

I'm glad Sowell could finally get on my "communication" boat. Ha. (Seriously though, Thomas Sowell is one of the most intelligent people in America.)

Sowell also comes up with a further piece of this communication skill - the ability to express outrage. He points to Giuliani and Newt Gingrich as perhaps the most articulate communicators, but faults Gingrich for allowing himself to be smeared during a time when he accomplished much good legislative work. ("It is hard to recall Newt Gingrich expressing any outrage, even when he was falsely accused of abandoning and starving the poor by not appropriating enough money for programs to help them—even after he had in fact increased the spending for such programs.")

Sowell would do well to download some of Fred Thompson's radio commentary on the Paul Harvey show. There's some articulate outrage.

Right Said Fred (Thompson)

I finally finished watching the Easter Sunday edition of Meet the Press. (Thank goodness for my DVR.) Aside from my general dislike for Judy Woodruff and my rejection of any analysis she might offer pertaining to how Republican voters think, I find myself stuck on a statement made by Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director.

Todd compared the potential Fred Thompson candidacy to that of General Wes Clark's 2004 Dem candidacy. According to Chuck Todd, Wes Clark was supposed to be the "savior" of the crowded and unappealing Democratic field of candidates. Likewise, Thompson is thought to be the potential savior of the 2008 Republican slate, and that Thompson more than possibly will share Clark's fate as a false messiah.

Kate O'Beirne rightly pointed out that Thompson had actually been elected to office. Whether his landslide victory in Tennessee counts as a good thing or points to his lack of experience in tough races is open to debate as far as this blog is concerned. Thompson offers, as O'Beirne (I think) pointed out, a chance to unify the coalitions that have elected so many Republican Presidents, that coalition being conservatives of cultural, economic, and military flavors.

I agree with O'Beirne as far as she takes it, but it goes much further. The difference rests upon what the particular candidate offers the party. Clark was supposed to offer Democrats a candidate with military gravitas - the rest of everything else was just supposed to fall into place.

Put more simply, Thompson potentially offers everything that many believe are the best parts of being a Republican. Clark offered something that was distinctly against the grain of a typical Democrat, and he did it without any particularly interesting domestic platform.

Thompson = uber-Republican who can communicate well
Clark = atypical Democrat who couldn't communicate to save his life

(Aside: Romney is now the only major Republican candidate who hasn't had cancer. Add that to his status as the only R married just once. Oh yeah, and that pile of money too.)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Everything's coming up Rosie

It's pretty clear that the conservative blogs and media aren't getting anywhere by decrying Rosie O'Donnell's insane ramblings on The View. In fact, she seems to be getting more attention, which would presumably lead to higher ratings and more advertising money.

It was one thing when she just thought Bush was stupid and disagreed with everything he said and did. Lots of people do that. Not many of them have daytime TV shows, but hey, who's counting? Now that Rosie is a 9-11 "truther" I think we're clearly in the realm of clinical insanity well beyond your standard "Bush Derangement Syndrome". The "truther" argument is basically that the Bush government, which 99% of the time can barely tie its own shoelaces, pulled off the biggest conspiracy ever, ever, then subsequently has failed to kill those who would expose them. Makes perfect sense.

The thing is, I can't get away from this crap. I read conservative media to get away from garbage like this. America would be a better place if it took away Rosie's megaphone. The only way to do that at this point is to boycott products advertised on The View until such time as they stop advertising or Rosie is booted.

Anybody want to volunteer to actually watch the show and see who's advertising? Such a person would almost certainly be eligible for a Congressional Medal of Honor or a Nobel prize of some sort for actually watching that crap against his/her better judgment.