Monday, January 28, 2008

The Biggest Losers

For those of you who are political junkies (which I’m assuming is ANYBODY who is taking the time to read this blog) already knows that Republicans in Florida vote in their primary tomorrow (Tuesday).

This primary is important for a variety of reasons. For a Republican field with no clear front-runner, delegates have been distributed pretty evenly among the candidates and this state’s delegates could go to just about anybody. Also, the winner of the Florida primary will have momentum heading into "Super Tuesday" in one week. When some 22 states have their primaries at the same time, the Florida winner will be the last winner the Super Tuesday voters see before they cast their ballots. Rudy Giuliani has picked up on the importance of Florida and has spent his campaign fortune on Florida. He has been unable to compete in the more conservative states of Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina. If he can win in Florida, then the momentum will be his going into Super Tuesday.

The reasons for conservatives to bemoan Giuliani are almost too many to mention, but here are a few: he is a pro-abortion Republican, he restricted the gun rights of New Yorkers, he did nothing to solve the problem of illegal immigration, he exercised authority in New York autocratically, and there is plenty of reason to believe that he would be even more bellicose than Bush internationally. Is that enough or should I go on?

However, Mitt Romney and John McCain have been the ones with momentum lately and they have been duking it out in Florida. Romney has flip-flopped most noticeably on abortion becoming pro-life only in the last couple years (that is, once he stopped running for public office in Massachusetts). Romney exudes competence without clubbing people over the head with it the way Hillary Clinton or John McCain do. He has run tight businesses in the private sector and is the personification of the "Country Club Republican" stereotype. He has the smarts but none of the touch of a Mike Huckabee that tends to connect with people on a personal level. However, conservatives tired of the Bush foreign policy should be wary of Romney as he was praised and ultimately endorsed by "National Review" in part for sharing the same foreign policy instincts of the current president. However, he has made no indication that he would expand the War on Terror.

John McCain is pro-life but he has never befriended conservatives so there is little reason for him to be trusted now. He is a belligerent warmonger who has said he would be perfectly fine if American troops spent the next 50 to 100 years pacifying Iraq while he fixes his eyes on Iran. He has voted against the Bush tax cuts, he was part of the "Gang of 14" Republicans and Democrats who blocked then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's "Nuclear Option" which would have halted Democratic filibusters of Bush's judicial nominees. And conservatives should always be cautious of the Democrats' favorite Republican. A McCain victory is no victory for conservatives.

But, some good news is that Giuliani is mired somewhere around third place currently in Florida. He will probably fluctate with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul between third and fifth. And if Giuliani can't pull off at least third, his campaign will be effectively finished. That will be the closest thing to a victory for conservatives (as well as paleoconservatives like myself). Romney is still a little slick and McCain is as disloyal to the conservative base of the party as ever so there is a possibility it won't matter whether a Republican or a Democrat wins in this year's election. Clinton, Obama, Romney, McCain, or Giuliani. What choices. If the final two nominees are any of the five people listed, conservatives may end up this year's biggest losers.

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