The Coulter-Clinton-Buchanan Axis

Despite the talk of how divisive she'd be, Hillary Clinton is turning out to be quite the uniter. Prominent endorsements from the right wing keep pouring in.

First it was Ann Coulter. And now....

It's Pat Buchanan!

...On the three issues that have ravaged the Bush presidency--the misbegotten war in Iraq, the failure to secure America's borders, and the trade policy that has destroyed the dollar, de-industrialized the country, and left foreigners with $5 trillion to buy up America--McCain has sided with Bush.

Now McCain is running on a platform that says your jobs are not coming back, the illegals are not going home, but we are going to have more wars. If you don't like it, vote for Hillary.

(Emphasis added.)

When Ann Coulter endorsed Hillary, some people assumed she was just kidding, so she had to reiterate the endorsement by insisting she was serious. I don't doubt that Pat Buchanan means what he says too.

For years, I've been predicting support for Hillary coming from the far right, but I have to say, I didn't think it would be this blatant.

As to Hillary's reaction, she welcomed Ann Coulter's support, so I'm sure she's tickled pink to be attracting another "bedfellow."

Hey don't look at me. Hillary said that about her girlfriend Ann!

MORE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all.

I've been busy live-blogging the election here, and now that there's a battle between Huckabee and Romney over who's in second place, I'm wondering whether Hillary's right wing "axis" will be reevaluating their spin. (As Stephen Green reported earlier, "Romney is speaking in MA and says... that he's dropping out after a dismal showing.")


Would that be tilt?

All comments welcome.

posted by Eric on 02.05.08 at 05:02 PM


"attracting another "bedfellow.""

oh, sure... now I'll need clorox for my brain...

on the other hand, I'm sure this must make some of the most ardent hillaryites a little bit ill...

D   ·  February 5, 2008 11:13 PM

Anything that makes the Hillaryites a little bit ill is OK with me :-)

Darren   ·  February 5, 2008 11:53 PM

I could NEVER vote for Hillary, even if Coulter could support her.

On the other hand, I could easily find myself voting Libertarian rather than supporting either the lesser or the greater of two evils. Because, after all, the "lesser of two evils" is STILL EVIL.


Ken Mitchell   ·  February 5, 2008 11:57 PM

Yes, but again, it's LESS evil. That still matters.

John S.   ·  February 6, 2008 12:35 AM

It's remarkable how some of these people fall just as hard for the Clinton triangulation technique as so many liberals. They're suckers just like the rest of them. Although, neither Coulter nor Buchanan are known for their ability to see the forest for the trees.

Dav   ·  February 6, 2008 12:37 AM

I'm certainly not anxious to give Hillary the chance to appoint any Supremes, but God help me if the GOP puts Huckabee anywhere on the ticket; there's no way I'm going to cast my vote to put that Carter retread the proverbial heartbeat away from the Presidency when the top-ticket guy's already crankin' the actuarial volume control pretty good.

mrkwong   ·  February 6, 2008 12:43 AM

After all, if you were about to be bitten by a snake (I think we can all agree that politicians are, in general, snake-like), would you rather be bitten by one that's more venomous or less venomous? Both might really suck, but you sure have a better chance of walking away from the less venomous one. (Unfortunately, you can't say, "I refuse to pick either snake. I choose a three-toed sloth instead." Well, there aren't any sloths around, and one of the snakes is STILL going to bite you, no matter what other option you pick.)

Wow, that's the weirdest analogy I've ever come up with...

John S.   ·  February 6, 2008 12:45 AM

After seven years of watching and fighting against Americans who wish to see the country suffer so that they can get at George Bush, the last thing I wanted or expected to see was conservatives saying they would rather see the country suffer than support John McCain over Clinton or Obama, so that they can "get the blame."

A retreat before victory is assured in Iraq cannot be undone in 2012. And mandatory, single-payer, universal health care, once established, will not EVER go away either.

I am not impuning anyone's motives. I believe I have a reasonable understanding of principled behavior. But if your goal is to see the country punished because---

You can stop right there. If your goal is to see America punished, and her people open to attack and/or ruined financially in order to prove a point for any reason, then you do not deserve politial power nor are you likely to achieve it. A party is a compact. It is, essentially, a pleage of mutual support. As a matter of fact, it's nothing more or less than a promise.

A political party is a series of personal compromises in order to achieve a goal unattainable by the perfect political party: one's own self. If McCain is the legal and lawfully selected nominee, and Republicans decide to walk away from their party in droves, what makes them think they will be able to count on those who, you know, actually went out and voted Republican either joyfully or through clenched teeth, in order to prevent The Deluge?

If your idea of any political party is one that means unlimited support for your personal values if your candidate is ascendant, while you in turn owe none to those you dislike or even disdain, you might be in for a surprise in future elections.

Speaking as a FredHead myself, I am bitterly disappointed that I did not even have the chance to vote for a man I admired, and am more distraught still to find myself in the position I now occupy. I see many, many worrisome things about John McCain, but being tough on terror and spending are not among them. We could do worse. Two names come to mind immediately.

Much is said about principles, and since I am not able elect anyone BY MYSELF I have entered into this pact with the group of people who I feel most comfortable with in terms of values. If they, as a body, choose a candidate who is not my first, second, third or fourth choice, then I can look to the Democrats. There I find views so antithetical to everything I believe that I realize there is indeed something to this idea of party loyalty.

And I cannot help but think that such a kind and practical man as Ronald Reagan would be amazed that his name was being invoked so frequently in order to insure that the most liberal, socialist, power-hungry statist in my living memory is elected. I'm glad he's not here to see this because if he knew the consequences of what was being done in his name, I believe it would kill the man.

Bill Whittle   ·  February 6, 2008 1:06 AM

I recently subscribed to an over 30 year old print newsletter called "Access to Energy" based on my desire for more "other side" information from the usual global warming disaster mongers. But since it's such an old school pamphlet type of thing, not even a zine, but print with graphics, as in its first versions must have been made on the original Mac computer. So they recently sent a glossy (expensive) reprint of an article that bluntly debunks global warming as being either caused by burning oil, but has a libertarian, conservative tone to it too, and it points out that our main trade imbalance is due to OIL IMPORTS, meaning "energy." I hadn't thought about this, for, oh, 20 years, back when the whole schtick was rainforests being lost in 20 years (uh, oh, they're bigger than ever), mass starvation (overpopulation, but now less starvation than ever in modern history), "Save the Whales" (except that one in some big Chinese river that did indeed bite the dust this decade, as did a certain woodpecker, which are both news since the last *real* extinction due to man was the Dodo bird).

But suddenly the Left no longer, now that global warming has been mostly shown to be natural instead of a massive emergency...has a MEGA crisis to play off of, and thus cannot really round up the usual fear mongering votes that say, the Right did with the Drug War or (with actual justification), the Red Scare.

But it does NOT "take a village" to raise a kid. It takes a parent. Actually, it takes a playground that is more or less UNSUPERVISED, and a lack of untested-on-children behavioral drugs, along with and end to FRUCTOSE and other refined carbohydrates (that make kids hyper in the first place).

Endorsement of Hillary is not because the Right stopped embracing the Religious Right. It's because they stopped embracing Libertarianism, which they snuck into politics under the guise of religion. If Hillary was being elected Queen, a disaster would be indeed a worry, but a mere President doesn't matter as much. All a President can do is declare war and appoint a few judges.

I wish I had something smarter to say. But that's the whole point of this election cycle, despite the fact that in the last few elections of new candidates, Americans have effectively voted randomly, so it's almost always just about even.

In a way, it's payback for Bill's combination of letting his wife run the household as he fooled around with the maid, and that's about as deep as it seems to run except that Ann is supporting a white female like herself, and Pat is on record as being in panic about the dilution of the white European race with darker skin folks.

There's an old young adult chant about how stupid leaders are, and how "if only I was president, I'd make things right." But this round? I would not want to be president. That's akin to so many people wondering who is the least worst person. McCain just doesn't inspire people, so isn't a great singular leader. Hillary? At least she gets attention. Obama? He's a leader, at least, in the way he inspires people, even if he does not currently have any more direction than did young George Bush Jr.

NikFromNYC   ·  February 6, 2008 1:11 AM

Jesus, as I wrote a flippant brainstorming essay, the actual demigod of patriotic politics, Bill Whittle was just posting here too. I'll sit up straighter.

He assumes Hillary will be effective. I invoke the Dan Quail effect, that Hillary is seen as being the least likely president to be able to get anything done, whereas McCain could really damage the Right, and *besides*, whoever the candidates are, there might be a Democratic landslide in the works no matter what, since Fred Thompson was just too old and boring. The president is not the entire (3 houses of government) party anyway. And, if you look at a graph of casualties of Vietnam vs. Iraq over the equivalent number of years, Irag isn't even really a "war" but more like at the level of yearly sport motorcycle enthusiast fatalities.

So what are the real sound-bite issues? There aren't any that any candidate really wants to mention, such as national debt, especially with a rapidly aging Boomers that want their medicines for the next 15 years before they die. Can you blame them? Self-interest at work, for the greater good. In a way, due to this population that will necessarily turn the USA into a temporary welfare (medicaid) state, we must go further into debt. This is because propaganda has ended the ability of any candidate to support more oil drilling or more nuclear energy...for now.

NikFromNYC   ·  February 6, 2008 1:33 AM

No good choices for anyone center-right at this point. I'll probably do as BW suggests and go w/McCain. Wish I could do it enthusiastically. Maybe it'll take the emergence of a Dem nominee to generate that sentiment. Right now, I understand the dejection but w/fight succumbing to it.

C   ·  February 6, 2008 1:51 AM

I am sick and tired of the blogorati whining about voting for the lesser of 2 evils "still being evil."

This is not to say that we need to vote our principles, but there are larger issues at stake.

For my part, I'm wary enough of McCain to listen to an argument as to whether conservatives might not be better off sitting this one out. The Republic shows itself to be quite resilient, and if a Clinton win means and R house and senate in 2010, then a case can be made. This is not the point.

As moral actors, we have duty to vote for the "lesser of 2 evils" for the obvious reason that less evil gets done.

We can slice this any way we want (rationalize), but we can't evade moral responsibility.

Is McCain better because he will do less damage to our freedom than Hillary? If so, then vote for McCain.

Is sitting out an election a decent option for uber-conservatives? Maybe. In that case, a vote for a Green or Nader may "send a message."

Will Western Civ decline faster under Clinton or under McCain. What about Obama? What if you live in Illinois or New York? What difference would it make?

These are important questions. Far more important than wallowing in Limbaugh's or Kristol's version of ideological purity.

At this moment in time, I think I'll vote McCain despite my issues with his attack on the First Amendment. I may change my mind.

But at least I won't spew some nonsense about not liking the "lesser of 2 evils."

You have moral obligation to make sure less evils is done. How you arrive at that is up to you.

We can't evade these choices.

Bruno   ·  February 6, 2008 2:48 AM

Thanks for a breath of sanity, Bill Whittle.

Here is a clue to the "hold your noses and vote for John McCain" promoters: the people who have been getting out the vote for Republicans will not do what you recommend. All of you Schwarzeneggers and Lindsay Grahams and pragmatists-in-your-own-minds.

By actually believing opinion polls put out over 6 months before an election, you have lobotomised your party. The motive force is gone--it will not work for McCain.

The bloodless "leadership" of the Republican party has dropped the ball, and now the biggest energy crisis for republicans is lack of energy to try to elect an eminently unpalatable candidate. Bob Dole redux.

Al Fin   ·  February 6, 2008 4:27 AM

To some extent I'd guess that McCain is reaping what he has sown. For all the talk of supporting the party, regardless, I've noticed a lot of high profile lack of support from McCain over the years.

The vitriol does seem out of proportion, yet maybe it will prove beneficial yet. McCain knew he would have to tack right at some point. Hopefully this will drive the point home.

Of course, who he names as VP nominee could completely end his chances by Labor Day. Adding Jimmy Carter Lite to the ticket isn't going to win him any fans.

ken   ·  February 6, 2008 8:03 AM

I never made any "pact" with the Republican party, and though I vote almost exclusively Republican, they do not own my allegience.

Neither am I morally compelled to choose (and validate) the lesser of two evils - even if that were possible between McCain and Clinton.

Here's the deal - the Republican Party will submit their candidate, and if worthy I will vote for him/her. If not, I won't. I'm not happy that the process has failed to deliver, nor do I seek to punish - that's just the way it is.

This chicken-little shit is unbecoming of free men. Man up, Ladies, and take your lumps for the GOP foisting the 'Maverick' upon us.

Barbula   ·  February 6, 2008 8:15 AM

No Mr. Whittle, we do not wish the country to suffer. We see that it will under the Dems and McCain as they are one and the same. There is no difference between then as far as we can see.

We only wish the suffering that will come to not be at the hands of a RINO to be blamed on the GOP.

Miller Smith   ·  February 6, 2008 8:42 AM

Think back to 1992 and 1994. Now imagine that Bush Sr. had won in 1992. Do you think for a moment that Republicans would have won big in 1994? No, if Bush had managed to win in 1992, Democrats would have picked up even larger control of Congress in 1994, and would have won the White House in 1996, and very likely have nationalized health care back then.

The point is that short-term pain can lead to long-term gain. And the pain of a Hillary or Obama presidency wouldn't even be that bad because Republicans in Congress would fight.

A McCain presidency would be bad because Congressional Republicans would go along with his bad ideas - e.g. a carbon tax which would cause a huge price increase on gasoline and electricity. E.g. immigration which would raise the burden of taxpayers providing benefits for illegal aliens.

So no, I don't want the country to suffer but it likely would suffer just as much with McCain as with the Democrats and in the long-term the suffering would be less if the Democrats had control for a couple of years followed by a decade of limited government conservatism, as compared to four years of McCain followed by another dozen years of socialist Democrats.

FredP   ·  February 6, 2008 9:10 AM

Thanks for towing the party line, Mr. Whittle and John S. I agree with you John, that "As a matter of fact, it's (the party) nothing more or less than a promise." And that is why I'll vote democrat again this year. The GOP is just too consistent with breaking their primary promise – the promise of limited and smaller government. And I will not reward their behavior by re-electing them.

Sure the dems are worse – I’ve been voting libertarian/conservative since I’ve been voting (save for ’04 – and for the same reasons) so I know this. However, I do hold the GOP to a higher standard then I hold the Dems. and their continued sacrifice of principles – their own principles – leave me little choice but to vote for the greater of two evils.

In truth, there really is little difference between the two parties anymore. Sure, one wants to cut and run from a military endeavor of which we started (foolhearty) and one wants to guarantee the ‘Right to Life’ (but only for fetuses). At the end of the day, they are both proponents of spending more on government programs (albet at different rates of increase) and increasing government intrusion into my life.

Hillary care or Patriot Act, I really don’t know which is more damaging to our great country. Both are totally inconsistent with the constitution. So until the GOP starts to honor their commitment to constitutional law, I’ll vote for the party that doesn’t give even the pretense of doing so. Only then will they get the message that We the People are serious. Otherwise, why should they change?

Robert S   ·  February 6, 2008 9:15 AM

Mr. Whittle, I've read about all of your essays, and have been moved to tears. I'm a fan.

However, you're ignoring the reasons the other side has in an effort to peddle what looks like propaganda to me. If the issues you deal with were the only factors in play, then sure, you'd be right. But you're ignoring the possible, and even probable destruction of the Conservative Movement which McCain has been for for the last fifteen years. Destroy the Conservatives, and you destroy the nation.

Oh, Limbaugh isn't 'hard-right'...he's basic conservative. The hard right is further along. If you can't get people like Limbaugh and Coulter to swallow this tripe, you might as well give up.

Eric R. Ashley   ·  February 6, 2008 10:12 AM

For all of those who insist that it is moral to vote forthelesserof two evil - you're wrong, at least from a moral point of view. my moral theology professors tought clearly that it isalways wrong to choose and evil -whether or not it is less evil than another choice, doesn't make it un-evil.
Much of the confusion with this thinking is related to the classic moral principle of "double effect"- that when choosing a good, it may also have an evil effect attached to it. There are four conditions required before making such choice.

1) the act must be good or indifferent.
2)the good effect must not be caused by the evil effect.
3)the good effect must be directly intended -not the evil effect.
4) the good must outweigh the evil (proportionality)

With out seriously weighing a judgment as to correct choice using these criteria, moral certainty is mere game playing.

Don L   ·  February 6, 2008 10:20 AM

I have no promise with or from the Republican Party although I have always voted Republican. I will reserve my decision on how I will vote during these many months until November. After Fred Thompson dropped out, no candidate, except Ron Paul, even displays an awareness that there is a Constitution to be honored by elected officials. This is nothing new since it has gone on for at least 80 years and most elected officials give little consideration to our Constitution. The Republican Party has abandoned federalism and this is where it no longer has any claim on my vote.

As of now, I see our country as it was founded with individual liberty as its greatest value moving in a direction where this value is lost regardless of party in power.

Thompson's candidacy gave us a chance but we rejected it. It remains to be seen if any effective turnaround can happen.

Bob Thompson   ·  February 6, 2008 10:25 AM

I don't think they should tell people to vote for Hillary, because that could give her a mandate. Conservatives should vote for a third party or leave the President blank and vote for conservative Congressmen and Senators.

Conservative   ·  February 6, 2008 10:29 AM

"If your idea of any political party is one that means unlimited support for your personal values if your candidate is ascendant, while you in turn owe none to those you dislike or even disdain, you might be in for a surprise in future elections."

That would be fine, and make sense, if the party system just had some mechnism for rewarding loyalty and punishing fair weather friends. Oh wait, it does, it's called VOTING. If McCain gets a pass because a couple of his beliefs coincedentally coincide with the core party values, what use is party? There are Democrats my beliefs coincide with on a couple of points as well. Or if the presumptive nominee had shown any non-recent predisposition toward holding the party line above his own thoughts or ambitions, then maybe blindly voting for him would make sense, in the hope that he holds the White House for the ideals of the party. But this guy hasn't. A party IS NOT "a pleage of mutual support." It's a pledge of shared belief and commitment; it's shorthand for 'this guy feels the same way about issues as you, and if elected will act as your proxy'. If it's not that, then it's just a vote trading racket. How many Republicans seriously think that John McCain shares their views to any major extent? In which case voting for him incentivises the party to ignore your vote in future since your vote is in the bag regardless, as long as they pin an "R" on some guy's lapel. As such, it's an act against your self interest to devalue your vote by taking it out of contention. Blacks, as a demographic group, would have a lot more political power if their votes weren't overwhelmingly party loyal, because if their votes were in play, both parties would have to work to have a shot at them. As it is, the Dems, play them a little lip service, count their votes and move on. You want to bet that McCain's initial stance on immigration wasn't a pragmatic choice based on being in a state that's 30% Latino, who's votes swing fairly easily? But now conservatives are being told that "loyalty" demands that they voluntarily commit themselves to electoral irrelvance.

And I love how abstaining or deliberately throwing your support the other direction is characterized as 'wanting to see America punished'. That's like saying that letting my kid get boffed after I've warned him a couple of time about running behind the swings without looking means I "want to see the kid get knocked over". What I want, for that kid and America, is to let them do their thing, in opposition (heck in comtempt of) my advice, and see how well it turns out. I accept that my conservative values may be completely wrong; obviously the party thinks so, because they've kicked me in the face and told me I'm not wanted. So let's see work from that assumption and give it a chance. It's called openmindedness.

And finally, the expectation that the party can throw up anyone, say "well he doesn't agree with you on much, but he's better than the other guy" and expect your vote is a sucker's game, and as long as people keep playing it and are encouraged to keep playing it, the country is being punished. Punished by a string of bad political hacks, career public "servants", who's spent a life time not doing much beyond building a resume for the big chair. Punished by a process where only a narrow sliver of viewpoints dare be put forward, and none seriously discussed. Punished by the party's getting pushed further and further to one side until the coalition breaks. This is the same process that gave the Dems John Kerry - 'But he's so electable, and we have to beat the other guy, so let's hold our nose and vote for someone we hate because the country will vote for him'. And we all know how well that turned out.

rayster   ·  February 6, 2008 10:49 AM

I have no principles. I think economic growth is good and that our tax policy should encourage growth. I think once a level of wealth is achieved then some of that wealth should be redistributed towards the less fortunate. I have only the most vague sense of how to achieve this. I think that Billaryabama would probably emphasize wealth redistribution over wealth creation. Romney, perhaps unfairly, gives me the sense of a corp exec who gives himself a bonus for downsizing the staff. He would favor wealth creation measures, but there are other metrics besides wealth. I like McCain. He may be wrong, but I prefer someone who is wrong on the side of generosity.

william   ·  February 6, 2008 11:28 AM

I don’t see this as a lesser of two evils but a choice between two equal but slightly differently evils. Yes, McCain actively pushed for a surge much to his credit, but too many people who demand I vote McCain strictly for the parties sake, conveniently leave out the facts that McCain also wants to close Gitmo, wants to end water boarding and wants to try enemy combatants under our own constitution.
I am also required to take on faith that he will close and secure our borders though the man has no credibility in this area to warrant such faith on my part. An open border effects this country both from a security aspect as well as an economic one, the former he only takes partly serious (fight the enemy abroad but leave your flanks wide open and unprotected?) and the latter he is ignorant of. Coming from California, I’ve seen what happens when you vote party over principle. We now have a Democrat who ran as a Republican and we still ended up with all the problems we thought we were going to avoid.
Andy McCarthy, Bill Quick and George Moneo have made excellent arguments that should be read more than once as to why we should think twice about voting for McCain.
As for Bill Whittle’s strawman post, I’m not voting to hurt my country to spite the Republicans, I’m trying to decide between the difference of two evils. My life would be easier if one were the lesser.

Vic   ·  February 6, 2008 11:49 AM

Mr. Whittle, I humbly disagree.

Political parties do not keep their promises and do not have beliefs. They are organizations that exist only to win elections, and they change their platforms over time to build the biggest coalition they can in order to win. Now, the 20th century coalitions, built to fight the Cold War, are collapsing and new coalitions are being built. The Cold War Republican coalitions was composed of nationalist/social/cultural conservatives, militarist/national defense conservatives, and capitalist/free market libertarians. The Cold War Democrat coalition was composed of multiculturalist/counterculture liberals, pacifist/anti-war liberals, and socialist/populist/protectionist liberals. The Republicans for some time have been moving away from capitalist/free-market libertarian positions to embrace the much larger population of socialist/populist/protectionist liberals, many of whom are good Americans who despise the multiculturalists and/or pacifists. They have been working to form a nationalist/militarist/socialist party for some time, not because they are evil, but because it will win. The fascist promise of "The State will provide for you and protect you from the Other" is more popular than either the Cold War Republicans' message of "The State will protect you from the Other, but you must provide for yourself" or the Cold War Democrats' "The State will provide for you, but you must pretend there is no Other." McCain's nomination is just a milestone in the New Republican Coalition project, and, for many of us, this is simply the point where we realize that we are no longer part of that coalition. The point where you realize this obviously has not come yet, but it will. I've read your work, and you are no fascist.

James C. Bennett   ·  February 6, 2008 12:09 PM

Looking at Vic's comment I once again am hit by the the sheer illogic of this. He says McCain wants to close Gitmo, end water boarding and try enemy combatants under the constitution.

And Obama? waterboard weveryone, will he? Expand Gitmo, do you think?

Disadvantages in McCain's positions are only relevent if they are UNIQUE disadvantages. I have yet to see a single reasonable case where one of McCain's most disappointing or worrysome positions is not exceeded by the Democrats, who have no Surge support or spenmding discipline to counterbalance anything at all.

As I have said from the beginning: this is not an up-or-down vote on John McCain as President. That would be easy for me. Like it or not, your choice will likely be between McCain vs. Obama or Clinton.

This is what is driving your fellow republicans INSANE on this issue:

1. How do we measure these candidates> Can we agree that The American Conservative Union is not the same as a New York Times rating, say? That it is a reasonably accurate measure of a person's conservative bona fides?

2. Looking up ACU ratings for the last year they have, 2006 (and NOT taking lifetime ratings), we get:

McCain - 65
Clinton - 8
Obama - 4

By any resonable reading of ths data, that makes McCain a center-right moderate, and Clinto and Obama about as far left as you can be and still live in the world.

2. There are 100 points on the ACU scale, and 100 yards on the football field. So think of these ratings as a kickoff receieved at your own goal line, and you want to scor on the other side of the field. Where would you rather start?

Your own 4 yard line (Obama)
Your own 8 yard line (Clinton)
The other teams 35 yard line (McCain)

These ratings are not my personal opinion. These are ratings compiled by committed conservatives to inform the electorate. If sixty-odd points of difference -- more than half the field -- is not something you can ascertain, I cannot help you not do I wish to.

So Vic, if using data and facts to present a logical argument is a strawman tactic, then please tell me what isn't.

Bill Whittle   ·  February 6, 2008 12:26 PM

...and a phone call caught me and I hit the post button without reviewing for typos and spelling. I hope you can make sense out of it nevertheless.

Bill Whittle   ·  February 6, 2008 12:30 PM

Romney, perhaps unfairly, gives me the sense of a corp exec who gives himself a bonus for downsizing the staff.

William ... OTOH, if he is able to downsize DC, any bonus would have to be considered EARNED income.

Part of the problem with our federal government is that they don't seem to be subject to such consequences in the aftermath of mismanagement.


Vic's take on the driving forces behind the election is spot-on ... for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about K Street and the "culture of corruption", the two biggest special-interest institutions are still free and clear to operate -- the DNC and RNC.

The mere fact that they are institutions means that their members' ability to develop and execute sound policy for the governance of this nation is compromised ... because the care and feeding of the institution inevitably -- no matter how pure the members' motives -- becomes a gating item in any decision-making process.

My biggest disappointment is that a President McCain would maintain this status quo of policy making in Washington ... and looking at the last four years or so, that status quo is taking this nation on a downhill slide to multiple crises ... including the erosion of support for small-government conservatism within the body politic, which we are already beginning to see.

You would get the same, or a faster slide with more collateral damage, with either Dem candidate.

Romney at least offers a chance to have someone who has demonstrated an interest in "doing what works" ... and he has the right view of things in one regard, at least:

Change Begins With Us

In contrast, what McCain and his supporters have become is a mirror image of the Left's Best and Brightest ... out to solve problems FOR us.

And you can add to that a sense of political entitlement, on the part of the GOP establishment, which also has been overriding sound principle for many years. That is one BIG reason the GOP no longer holds Congress.

It is they who are telling us what to do ... not Rush, Michelle, et. al. who are doing what they have historically done -- reporting on what conservatives were ALREADY thinking about McCain, and reinforcing it.

The McCain faction has the wrong focus, when it comes to dealing with the problems we face ... almost as wrong as the Dems.

And all who hold that focus, need to be called on it ... including the New JFK.

Romney is the most likely man to do just that.

If he does not carry the day, I will in all probability end up supporting McCain if he is the nominee.

But we will be only fighting a holding action if he is the nominee, and his focus does not radically change.

At this time ... why settle for fighting a holding action?

Let's back someone who can take the offensive, instead.

OTOH, if the Senator from Arizona wishes to take that offensive and earn the trust of skeptics like myself, I have a suggestion:

The best thing John McCain could do for his campaign is, instead of merely campaigning, go back to the Senate and see to it that effective border enforcement is instituted ... BEFORE anything else is done with the present group of illegals in-country.

Let him back up his "changed" viewpoint on this with some action. Then, he might just give people like me the confidence that, not only will he do the right thing if elected President ... but will be willing to shift paradigms where needed to make it happen.

Rich Casebolt   ·  February 6, 2008 12:53 PM

With the prescription drug benefit, George W. Bush did more to advance socialized medicine in this country than Bill and Hillary were able to do in 8 years in the White House.

So I'm voting for Hillary if she wins the primary. Not to punish the country, but to help it. Not because I believe in her agenda, but because I believe the best way to stymie her agenda is to have her in office rather than a big government Republican.

Dana H.   ·  February 6, 2008 12:55 PM

Ron Paul got 25% Republican support in Montana and was above 15% support in a lot of states west of the Mississippi. Watch Washington State on Saturday where he will get more than 25%.

McCain is not going to get the support of any of these people in November UNLESS he sets out to repeal a raft of laws as well as apologize for laws he got passed that have already been overturned by the courts.

Read The Elephant in the Room. Libertarian Republicanism is the future.

There is no party loyalty with RINOs and the kind of Evangelist who think it is OK to socially regulate others.

This is blackmail people. We Ron Paul supporters are blackmailing McCain to at least become a libertarian in 2008 or lose.

It is that simple.

Jim Peterson   ·  February 6, 2008 1:02 PM

John McCain has been a fighter for control of government spending, hates earmarks, worked to secure confirmation of Bush's Supreme Court nominees and would appoint more of the same (at least in the Roberts mold, which is good enough for me), is sound on national defense and the Second Amendment, is pro-Life, and has a lifetime ACU rating of 83 (vs. 8 for Hillary).

On issues where he has disagreed with conservatives, such as the Bush tax cuts and securing the border, he has moved towards their positions. As he is anything but a panderer, it is likely that his statements on these subjects are sincere.

Campaign Finance Reform is a bit of an outlier, but (1) the status quo in that area was clearly broken and (2) political discourse seems to have survived more or less intact.

Gitmo and torture are two areas where he doesn't seem likely to come around, but they are small potatoes and he has come by his convictions honorably (being tortured himself has probably given him some pretty unique insights into what it does to both captors and prisoners alike).

Contrast that with Hillary. If elected, she is certain to move the Supreme Court far to the left for a generation. She will abandon our allies in Iraq, allow Iran to get the bomb, will implement universal health care and is guaranteed to watch the Bush tax cuts expire. She will gut the national defense (good bye missile defense, new weapons systems, F22 procurement, and Army expansion) while maintaining the deficits at high levels by redirecting that money into wasteful social programs (recently I heard her promise to implement universal health care, make college affordable for everyone and take things away from the rich for the good of all, three things that John McCain has never even suggested). And forget about border control and say hello to full-on, blatant amnesty, as opposed to McCain's policy of reviewing immigration applicants on a case-by-case basis and deporting the criminals. Oh, and need I remind you that she will almost certainly join the ICC and subject our soldiers and citizens to foreign "justice"? Just try and undo that one.

And as Bill Whittle notes, a lot of the damage she would do would be irreversible. No 1994-style resurrection of the Republicans would enable them to undo most of her damage, even if it weren't made impossible by the effects of the shift in the legal and political landscape that she would engineer through amnesty and intimidation of her opponents.

Anyone who says that these two candidates are the same needs to see their optometrist. Or ophthalmologist. Possibly both.

Understand that I am not saying McCain is perfect, that he was my first choice, or that he won't need to be lobbied hard by conservatives on certain issues. Only that the argument that he is the same as Hillary and that therefore it's OK to sit this one out is so easy to disprove that it should be shunned by all.

HTL   ·  February 6, 2008 1:11 PM

I am tired of hearing Mike Gallegher and like minded pundits raving about how WE have to elect McCain, because he has promised to do the conservative things if President. I voted twice for George Bush, stupidly not understanding that "compassionate conservative" means God-fearing liberal in sheeps clothing. I am grateful for safety we have had from domestic terrorism. I am sick of everything else this administration and both party's congresses have done and/or failed to do.
The same is true for Texas Governor Rick Perry, Bush's replacement Republican governor who leaves the border open, supports a trans mexican highway and selling off highways to foreign entities who will charge tolls for travel.
I do not TRUST John McCain at all...he is just like the rest of the old school Republican party power mongers. McCain's campaign tactics prove to me what I felt to be true...he, just like Hilliary, will say and do WHATEVER it takes to GET ELECTED...and then he will prove to be a RINO just like Bush and Perry.
I was naive before, and trusting. I no longer give money nor support to the Republican Party. I am a CONSERVATIVE by my values. I will not vote for a candidate any more just because the Republican Party Nominates him or her. I would elect Governor Romney in a flash, but the McCain/Huckabee "Sigfried and Roy" pair of bookend campaigners will keep him from gaining the conservative votes that would make him the party leader.....all of which proves to me that the Republican Party as it stands today just wants to do another "Bush deal" on us....bought and paid for....but in the case of McCain....he is so uncontrollable, sneaky and devious....that even the Party should be smarter than to think they can trust him to do the party plank. Never, Never will vote for McCain. Don't care if Hilliary gets elected....she will fail so badly on the world stage that her party will lose in 2012....and based on what they have failed to do in the present Congress since the Dems took over....nothing will pass nothing WILL happen but more Billiary foolishness and pandering from the White House....maybe they will rent out the Lincoln Bedroom to pay for healthcare.

But McCain will not get my vote...and the talk show guys pushing him are on the way out with true Conservative audiences as well!

Robert L.   ·  February 6, 2008 1:12 PM

In other words, we libertarian conservatives want complete control of the Republican Party and the dismissal of Neocons now working in DC (Neocon is defined as someone who would give the liberals anything they want so long as they vote for war funding - I don't mind the Iraq War per se otherwise).

It is impossible for us to take control of the Republican Party if we keep the Neocons in power via McCain.

Asking us to vote for McCain for party loyalty is, therefore, like asking Beria if he was still a loyal commie when he was about to be executed.

Democrats will do much of our firing in Washington for us (although the slimiest Neocons will grovel successfully to the Dems so they can keep their jobs - examples would include supposedly anti-feminist Republican women).

So, in 2010 and 2012, there would be a clean slate. Neocons will know that they need not apply.

Again, the word Neocon does not mean pro-war per se, it means the willingness to give away on every other issue in order to get liberals to agree to support war.

Jim Peterson   ·  February 6, 2008 1:19 PM

Bill, I wish you'd put a list of the places you read/post on your site... that way I could read your thoughts during those days/weeks/months between essays. Good stuff (that I'd already read elsewhere and grudgingly agreed with... doesn't mean I don't like to see your name); just can't weait for an Instalink to one of your comments :).

Still no Robot, BTW...

hindmost   ·  February 6, 2008 1:23 PM

Let's look again at the Ron Paul theme.

McCain and his pundit legions in the media (and so-called right-wing blogs that are financed by the media) are basically saying this to the 15-25% of western Americans who support Ron Paul (and 3-11% of eastern Americans):

"We continue to laugh at you. We will never do anything you ask, especially pay lip service to that quaint word you call the Constitution. If you are a male and/or a veteran, our legislative aides in Washington DC will not field calls from you (Brandon Ashley and Lee Dunn are the aides). Now stop being babies and vote for us".

Think about this as the Washington State vote approaches on Saturday. What if Ron Paul gets 20-30% there which is likely?

Jim Peterson   ·  February 6, 2008 1:36 PM

Bill Whittle's comment is brilliant, and the criticisms of it have repeatedly not answered him but have just shouted louder. I'm a libertarian conservative, I'm reading your reasons carefully, and they don't make sense. Your emotion is spilling out over the page like a bunch of liberal Democrats, for Pete's sake. Inflated rhetoric about other folks not caring about the Constitution - oh my aching back! Did you clutch your breast and gaze off into the horizon with angels singing when you wrote that?

Repeated assertions that McCain is just as bad as Hillary are just nuts, devoid of objective evidence but cherry-picking data to create an appearance. The odious Medicare package was a result of pressure from Democrats, which Bush (not very ably or energetically, I admit) tried to limit the damage of. Your solution is to put the people pressuring him in charge instead? Bush and McCain have a Comprehensive Beltway Mixed Grill approach to immigration, which I dislike. Therefore we should bring in Hillary, who wants sped-up naturalization so they can vote, and get on her new Universal single-payer? And all you can give me in response is "well, at least we won't be blamed?" If you thought Bush was anything but a big-govt conservative when you voted for him, then you were swamped by image, not data. Moderate Republicans are what we have always elected back to Coolidge. Reagan was passionate about two conservative issues but otherwise centrist in governing. If someone told you this was a conservative country, and with a few slaps every few years would come back to its senses, they lied to you. McCain is a middle Republican like most of the others, with us on some issues, not with us on others. If he's not good enough for you, fine, don't vote for him. But if you are going to give explanations for that, try and make some sense.

When Ron Paul didn't get a lot of votes even in NH, that wasn't a clue? Middling numbers in states where no one campaigned are not a sign of anything. Libertarian conservatives are not the one true soul of the party who have done all the heavy lifting for years and not gotten their proper credit. We are one movement or sector among half-a-dozen. If we were the growth area, or the biggest contributors, or the hardest workers, we'd have more cause to complain about being heard. But we haven't been any of those things.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  February 6, 2008 2:25 PM

Bravo Bill Whittle. Your words echo my sentiments and thoughts.

On a personal note: Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, and now Michelle Malkin have become an embarrassment to conservatives with their endless screeds and rather repugnant vitrol aimed at a man who for well over 15 years has been a staunch Republican in DC: Pro military, strongly supported the Surge, pro life, and leans right on most issues.

To quote Jonah Goldberg:

"But the sort of moronic, venal, cowardly, and immoral stuff being thrown at McCain from certain segments of the loony Right is sending me his way. At the risk of e-mail-box overflow, I think these people are revealing themselves as fools and they are hurting the conservative movement."


Coulter, Malkin, Limbaugh, Buchanan, Jim Dobson, DO NOT speak for me NOR the overwhelming majority of Republicans - be they moderate, social, evangelical or whatever other terms we are using to micro define the different factions-who have cast their vote and let their voices be heard LOUDLY and definitively on Super Tuesday.

Tara   ·  February 6, 2008 2:49 PM

and let me add Laura Ingraham to the above list of "certain segments of the Looney Right".

I am tempted to shout out STFU Ann, Rush, Michell, Laura, Pat, Jim - but I don't need too--- the Republicans who voted on Super Tuesday drowned out their hateful rhetoric.

Tara   ·  February 6, 2008 2:58 PM

Colitis is a painful ailment. There is an effective medication for this ailment but it is relatively expensive. Seniors without insurance coverage would try to work around it by skipping doses for a day or two. It caused pain and discomfort, but it was manageable. Now with Medicare coverage they do not have to. Reagan ratified the New Deal: social security, unemployment benefits etc. In a free society people make bad choices, and not everyone wins the golden prize. In a humane society, we make an effort to minimize the pain and suffering extant. The Marxists on behalf of equality executed the fortunate and the talented. Do the liberterarians on behalf of freedom wish pain upon the feckless and improvident?....It seems to me that most conservatives think that McCain's objection to Bush's tax cuts is a truer test of his character than his behavior as a POW.

william   ·  February 6, 2008 4:10 PM

1. McCAIN TOUGH ON TERROR FALLACY - Our borders & ports remain wide open to terrorists. The entry-exit system that allowed 9/11 terrorist leader Mohammed Atta and 2 others to remain in the U.S. has not been fixed these past 7 years. In addition, there is no “surge” within our own borders to find millions of illegal alien criminals victimizing us on our own turf.
McCAIN TOUGH ON SPENDING FALLACY – First of all, McCain’s low ethical standards, Congressional sanctions; “Keating 5” scandal cost Taxpayers billions – leading to his phony “campaign finance reform”, which has done what?....stopped the Enron scandal, no……the sub-prime mortgage scandal, no……????? MCCAIN – KENNEDY ALONE WOULD HAVE COST TAXPAYERS 2 TRILLION DOLLARS, BUT MCCAIN DID NO DUE DILIGENCE.

2. The psychotic Neo Cons and cult-like free trade advocates, in general, like McCain, are intent on turning the U.S. into a third world munitions and chicken factory?

I have read the comments on this blog and it is becoming clear why the Republican electorate continues to select candidates that are observably mentally incompetent.

By the way, I am a Republican who will not vote for John McCain. PARTY POLITICS IS FOR COMMUNISTS.

Nevada voter   ·  February 6, 2008 6:05 PM

Glad to see more conservatives speaking out against the Rush-Coulter-Buchanan bullying. In the 1970s, I gave up on my SDS past when I grew tired of purists who find the thrills of the narcisssism of small differences with their own side more energizing than getting anything done. I will not now abandon conservatism because this same Leninist distemper has arisen within it, but I will be looking more closely at the crisis within conservatism that I think Rush and others have transmutted into blame and resentment directed at their own.

In particular, immigration and the war have rattled conservatives and disoriented, and yes, Roger Simon, deraanged them. They in fact have NO solutions to the immigration crisis, or none they are smart enough to fight for - such as a plausible plan for restore a real assimilationist spirit in the culture and institutions responsible for immigrants. On the war, they are absolutely not serious about the sacrifices we will all have to make, sacrifices of principle as well as pocketbook, before this is over. How else to explain the venom directed at a warrior on behalf of bland, normalcy oriented vacillator who has temporized about the war and played both ends of it against the middle?

As for myself, I call myself a conservative. But I am far more fundamentally a patriot first. I will not put abstractions over and above my country losing a war by resigning myself to the election of those who would lose it. That's the bottom line for me, not my ideological identity. Rush and the rest can have that, for all the good it will do them.

Jon Burack   ·  February 6, 2008 6:11 PM

Do the libertarians on behalf of freedom wish pain upon the feckless and improvident?

I don't think that libertarians -- or conservatives like myself -- wish pain upon anyone.

But there are two things to keep in mind ...

1> The discomfort that results from bad choices (as opposed to the pain resulting from events beyond our control and/or ability to remedy) is an effective feedback mechanism in our society to prevent future repetition of those choices ... and the subsequent costs in treasure, pain, and even blood that derive from those choices.

2> Where the real conflict is, is in the choice of vehicle used to deliver that relief ... its effectiveness, its efficiency, and its side effects upon our society.

For instance, some drug companies have programs that offer reduced-price or free product to those who demonstrate they can't afford to pay.

Could our seniors be better served with programs like that, instead of tying everything up in a large government bureaucracy whose speed of error-correction is glacial ... and whose costs require a level of taxation or deficit that saps resources -- including those that would be used to develop the next-generation remedies -- from our society without a consummate return?

It is not that conservatives/libertarians lack compassion ... it is that we take a long-term view of it, realizing that effective and efficient use of our financial and social resources maximizes our ability to be compassionate.

Unfortunately, the emotionally-driven Left can't see that forest, for the trees of pain and injustice we all want to see cut down.

Rich Casebolt   ·  February 6, 2008 7:18 PM

Meta-comment: I'm going to say something radical, as in conspiracy theory radical, by quoting Timothy Leary (LSD guru of the 60s who was a hard scientist who wanted to popularize brain chemistry alteration, after scientific experimentation was outlawed, and found, politically, that the only "movement" around was the "youth movement" and Black Panthers/Weather Underground (guns and bombs) who he initially embraced due to how the 50's was consumerist propaganda, being the devil child of WWII propaganda, but this time in color):

"He who controls your eye's controls your mind." - Leary

I ask: *who* is acting aloof, yet pointing our eyes, circa 2008 instead of 1968? INSTAPUNDIT. He has replaced Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite.

Nixon called Leary the "most dangerous man in America." Guess of what political affiliation Glen Reynolds is? Libertarian. He is a CONSTITUTIONAL law professor.

What's my conspiracy theory? That he acts aloof, yet points the eyes of a critical million people a day very carefully (besides hat-tips to his wive's latest DVD, which I did indeed buy, and enjoy, involving hot high school chicks who killed some friends)...he points our eyes to respectable COMMENT-READY sections of blog entries, each of which leads to either a much-racking type of injustice exposure, or also to this type of page, tonight, so we spend an hour of our time, in my case, two days in a row, hashing out LIBERTARIAN (= small government) politics.

This is my positive-conspiracy theory. Glen sits in his Ivory Tower, merely making pithy "ha ha" comments here and there such as "Indeed" and thus blamelessly steers debate. But I thus call him the "most dangerous man in America" to the status quo of a REBELLION AGAINST BULLSHIT POLITICS.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

Good thing is, the Net has finally come of age, so we are literally experiencing a very RETRO experience: that of re–connected CIVIL SOCIETY, of the Town Hall, the Global Village ideal that the fax machine or TV promised but never delivered.

One thing that has not been mentioned in this election cycle is the nature of REPRESENTATIVE government, along with the somewhat related fact that potentially BETTER methods of "counting votes" exists, namely that you RATE each candidate on a scale of 1-5 instead of just vote for one or the other, period. Statisticians claim this would clear up the problem of candidates winning who actually got fewer (absolute yes/no) votes than the other one.

But the other fact of Civil Society is that REPRESENTATIVE government is indeed still a good idea, compared to "Direct Democracy" since in order to maintain the economy, each one of use 300 million people cannot be expected to competently vote one fine day on the safety codes for bridge design, or whether a damn here or there should be put up or torn down. Why do we PAY taxes for others to RELIABLY decide such things for us, anyway?

NikFromNYC   ·  February 6, 2008 7:37 PM

It's pretty clear from reading the above comments that the Republicans are done for this election cycle. I see no way this spat is going to get resolved when even Bill Whittle is going into attack mode against conservatives.

All moderation is out the window, and big government republicans--in their pyrrhic victory--are starting to slaughter their more conservative comrades.

Too, too bad.

Al Fin   ·  February 6, 2008 7:43 PM

A correction is in order ...

... it is James C. Bennett (not Vic) who made the spot-on points regarding the driving forces behind this election, that I referred to.

Memo to self: on this blog, the commenter's name is BELOW his post.

The Alleged Mental Case regrets the error.

If I was perfect, I'd be too expensive to hire ...

Rich Casebolt   ·  February 7, 2008 7:34 AM

Rather than go over quite the same points again, which all sides are finding tedious, I would like to highlight a few things that have gone by and seem important, though underemphasised. There is a great deal of prediction of what will happen if we do or don't do something. These include predictions of what will happen in the November elections and in elections to come. It is not merely that predictions sometimes go awry that worries me. I am greatly suspicious of the general intelligence of anyone who asserts that the Democrats will have a landslide, or that McCain will definitely win, or whatever. We don't know either way, and people making those assertions are fools. Making your voting decisions on the basis of political gamesmanship that your are "just sure" is going to work is unthinking. I mistrust in general the gamesmanship that advocates strategic retreats, sure that all will pay back later. Life is simply not that predictable. Take such a calculated risk if you must, but do so humbly and fearful of consequences. Making up a narrative of how you are pretty sure its going to work out is dangerous fantasy. Retrospectives of how great such maneuvers worked in the past are equally blinkered. Focussing on only the plusses of getting Reagan after Carter, or 1994 because of Clinton, or Reagan because of the long haul after Goldwater ignores the negatives. We also got 30 years of Iranian theocracy, we got 8 full years of Clinton, and got Vietnam, Nixon, and Ford from those things. We don't know what would have happened otherwise, so we have no way - no way - of knowing whether it was worth it. Retrospective cherry-picking means nothing.

Much of the argument seems to revolve around whether McCain is a D-minus in comparison to the Democrats F-plus, or whether McCain is a C+ conservative. Obviously, obviously, one's voting calculation will be different depending on that grade. If he's a D-, then the there's-no-difference argument makes some sense. If he's a C+, then the he's-good-enough argument makes sense. The fevered complaints of "You're telling us we'd have to vote for anyone, well I won't put up with it!" are getting wearisome. No one here has come remotely close to advocating that you should vote for Any Nominated Republican. Stop exaggerating. Nor is anyone telling the anti-McCain voters that they shouldn't speak or advocate their position. We're telling you we think your wrong, but that's different than telling you to shut up. Don't exaggerate that point.

There have been a few reasonable arguments made by folks on the other side of this issue from me, but the wave of mindlessness is making it hard to hear.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  February 7, 2008 2:49 PM

In response to several emails on the point, the "James C. Bennett" who posted at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2008 is a different person than me, the James C. Bennett who wrote The Anglosphere Challenge (

James C. Bennett   ·  February 7, 2008 5:49 PM

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