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Friday, February 01, 2008

Conservatives to McCain: This ain't over!

Yesterday Hugh Hewitt ran the numbers on the delegate situation and came up some interesting results that are not being reported by the lame-stream media.

Senator McCain does not have the nomination wrapped up in spite of the wishes of the media.

Looking at the polling data for the various contests and caucuses and assuming the worst case outcomes for Romney, Hewitt makes the following observations:
Total at the end of Super Tuesday without a major reversal of fortune for Romney:

McCain 745, Romney 327, and Huck 197.

It takes 1,191 delegates to secure the nomination. There are more than 900 delegates left to fight for after Super Tuesday.

Start looking hard at the numbers and put yourself in the discussions with Team Romney. It isn't pretty, but it is far, far from over.

And if the Huckabee voters look at the reality and see they are voting for McCain when they vote for Huck, anything can happen.
Romney is not a "movement Conservative", but he has shown much more of a willingness to listen to, and often come over to, our positions.

The McCainiacs will be out in force next Tuesday, but just as we Conservatives can put a candidate over the top in a general election we can make a difference at the caucus. Even if McCain ends up winning the caucus polls, a strong showing of Conservative opposition may change the minds of some of the Huckabee voters when they see how futile their candidate's campaign has become if it comes down to a brokered convention.

Maybe more importantly, a strong Conservative showing would go a long way towards waking up the McCain campaign to the fact that if he does end up getting the nomination he had better damn well address some of our concerns if he wants our support in the general election.


Blogger Force50 said...

I agree with Right Hook. This is far from over. The major media is having a frenzy praising Mish-Mash McCain but we conservatives must steel ourselves against this and any weak Republicans drawn to McCain. Suddenly a brokered convention looks more likely.

Also I did not get a chance to comment before how Ron Carey stupidly jumped on the Huckabee bandwagon after Iowa. What credibility does Carey have now?

2/01/2008 10:24 AM  
Blogger Daria said...

When did Carey ever have any credibility?

- D

2/01/2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Carey sold himself as a one of us – one who supports and stands behind the grass roots Republicans. But, in 2006 he forgot about us. By jumping on Huck's wagon this year, he has neglected us once again.

There was a valiant effort to unseat Carey last June, but those who pushed for his election in 2005 stood with him last year. They said the 2006 election was an anomaly and should not be blamed on Carey. Carey pledged to further support the local Republican grass roots districts, but we are still waiting for that support.

Those who truly lost credibility are the fellow party activists who stood behind Carey's re-election – which includes many leaders of the Fourth Congressional District. Problem is, I don't know if they know that they lost credibility.

2/01/2008 1:49 PM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

This shameless rush by the establishment to line up behind McCain puts me in mind of the 2002 race for MN Governor between Tim Pawlenty and Brian Sullivan.

Pawlenty was seen as a squish, someone who could not be counted on to adhere to conservative positions. Sullivan was the upstart, thought to be more conservative due to his founding and support of a small government group (the name of which escapes me) that ran a series of radio ads narrated by Sullivan.

Conservatives wanted Sullivan, but the establishment pulled out all the stops for Pawlenty. I did not make it to the marathon Convention, but I do remember the harangue by Rep. Osskop at the House District convention, practically commanding us to support Pawlenty because he was electable. It was a rather grotesque scene, listening to this callow politician with an interest in nothing more than winning plead with us to put aside our principles and vote electability.

Right now, the least reliable barometers of who to support in this race are Republican elected officials. They're looking out for themselves right now; they could give a tinker's dam about those they represent. It's an ugly spectacle.

2/01/2008 2:52 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Thrifty Scott, you have the 2002 convention a little jumbled. The "establishment" within the Party picked Sullivan for Governor and Pawlenty for Senator. This ball got rolling a year before the convention and became public at the 2001 summer State Central meeting.

Then came the call from Vice-President Cheney to then-Majority Leader Pawlenty, the White House wanted Coleman for the Senate. Coleman was deemed "more electable". The White House put strategy before ideology – more Republican Senate seats helped the President.

After this phone call, Tim Pawlenty stepped aside. He was out of both races. Sullivan remained the candidate of the "establishment". But, there was a grass roots effort to push Pawlenty into the Governor's race (I know this first hand).

Brian Sullivan certainly said the right things and sounded very conservative. (I happen to believe that he meant what he said.) But, Sullivan was untested in a government environment where the CEO doesn't have the final say. Further, there was concern about his electability. The media was expected to denigrate Sullivan for his financial success.

Jason Lewis was in the Sullivan camp and beat up on Pawlenty often, but in 2002, it was unwarranted. Pawlenty's conservative credentials were sound. As a majority leader of a Republican caucus that included many left-leaning Republicans, Pawlenty arguably had to take measured steps toward the goal. When faced against the former Governor of the Feathered Boa and the Roger Moe DFL Senate, Pawlenty and Speaker Sviggum were still able to get tax cuts passed.

Then came budget surpluses which Gov. Jesse and Roger Moe spent followed by 9/11. In 2002, we were facing a $4 billion dollar deficit. It is true that many in the Republican caucus rallied behind Pawlenty. Pawlenty was intimate with the budget process and was deemed best able to hit the ground running. During his first year in office, after eliminating the deficit without raising taxes, he proved his critics wrong.

We can still debate about who would have been a more conservative governor, Sullivan or Pawlenty. I supported Pawlenty in 2002, but would certainly like to enlist Sullivan for 2010. Truth be told, in 2002, both candidates were VERY close in ideology and no comparison between the schism between McCain and Romney. Still, Pawlenty's nomination was a monument to the power of grass roots support AGAINST the establishment.

Backed by the numerous leaders of the Minnesota Republican Party, Sullivan ran a well funded campaign of radio, TV, and mail ads BEFORE the caucus. Indeed we had many first time caucus attendees who came to become Sullivan delegates. Sullivan did a great job inspiring people to get involved.

Meanwhile, Pawlenty's resources were more limited. More of his support came from grass roots activists within the party who generally oppose the idea of Party Leaders picking our candidates.

It's too late to make this long story short, but Pawlenty's nomination in 2002 demonstrated that grass roots support can overpower "the establishment". It also demonstrated that it takes more than money to win the nomination.

It is my hope that grass roots will rally behind Romney to defeat the media darling of John McCain – and that Romney's well funded ads effectively inspire the revolution.

[Footnote: Let's be honest about this rush to endorse McCain. There are a lot of Republican politicians who want a position in Washington and they are all stepping over each other to get in line. They aren't endorsing for the good of the Party, they are endorsing for their own benefit.]

2/01/2008 4:07 PM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

I chose to define the "establishment" as elected officials, which I suppose isn't correct. But what I was getting at was the tendency of elected officials as a class to value winning over ideas, and political experience over all other forms of experience. Pawlenty had a lot of his House colleagues asking us to support him for a host of dubious reasons.

Regarding Pawlenty's conservative credentials - I'm not at all surprised that he's gone astray. The indicators were all there in 2002, namely, an obvious fondness for government as a profession, a profession that he'd strived hard to be proficient at. He was not a conservative as much as he was a "good government" Republican with conservative instincts. Those types inevitably drift leftward, as Pawlenty has.

2/01/2008 8:07 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

I was a Sullivan supporter and was uneasy about Pawlenty as he had the look and feel of a career politician.

For the first couple of years I was beginning to think that my concerns were unfounded, but the last couple of years have proved my original instincts correct.

Too often when the party big shots push a candidate on the basis of "electability" it turns out that the red flag that pops up ends up being warranted.

2/01/2008 8:36 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Thrifty Scott makes a valid point about the career politician. Still, my connection with Pawlenty predated his gubernatorial run. I caught him after a local convention speech to complain that the tax cuts weren't deep enough. This led to quite a few lengthy email conversations which he took the time to reply – and I wasn't in his district. Further conversations ensued at additional conventions. Ultimately, he won me over. I came believe that we both shared the same objectives but only differed on the size of the steps to get there.

Pawlenty was right. We did have many luke-warm Republicans in the House that were not ready for big conservative steps.

I still think that Pawlenty was sincere in his desire for a smaller government, but he plays political chess more than I would like. He seems uncomfortable leading a conservative cause. Nonetheless, he went off the deep-end after losing the support of the House.

Not to nit pick, but in 2002, it wasn't the Republican big shots that touted electability – it was the grass roots base – including me. This was a difficult convention because we believed that both candidates would serve us well. But, Pawlenty/Sviggum had proven themselves with a tax cuts against the odds with a DFL senate and the Feathered One in the Mansion. We went with the team that got us to this point.

The old guard Republican Big Shots were supporting Sullivan. Sadly, this old-guard isn't around anymore. (I think some moved out of state.) I think they would do a better job leading the Party than Carey and Company.

2/01/2008 10:39 PM  

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