January 21, 2008
And They're Off...
It has already been an enlightening day on the campaign trail in Florida, giving us some trends to watch leading up to Thursday's GOP debate in Boca Raton, especially since the
first two post-Nevada/South Carolina polls say "scrum!"
1) This is the first state in which John McCain is taking serious fire from two candidates. The deference of Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson has receded in conjunction with the wounding of their candidacies in South Carolina. And while Mitt Romney hasn't been shy about drawing contrasts with McCain, Rudy Giuliani has.
Not anymore. He's
blistering McCain for his record on the Bush tax cuts that he now claims to support.
Such copious attention from multiple opponents is a not a surprise given McCain's at least nominal front-runner status. How he holds up in a closed Republican primary under such circumstances is an important test of his candidacy.
2) Speaking of tests,
McCain is playing catch-up to Giuliani and Romney in terms of campaign infrastructure in the Sunshine State. That's not a small issue given the high number of absentee ballots in play and the organization needed to maximize such turnout. As Patrick Ruffini noted, such campaign operations have been critical in close races thus far in 2008.
3) Today's meltdown in stock markets across the globe may well spill over into US markets tomorrow morning. If that happens, the economy is going to move from being a top issue to being truly front and center.
Mitt Romney is jumping all over it just as he did in Michigan. The pressure will be on both McCain and Giuliani to at least mitigate a potential Romney advantage on that topic.
McCain handed Giuliani a gift in opposing a national catastrophic insurance fund that is an important issue for hurricane-vulnerable Florida. Giuliani had already made it a notable issue for his campaign prior to McCain's contrarian view, and it brings to mind a similar McCain error in 2000.
Heading into Washington's primary that year, riding a wave of momentum after a big win in Michigan, McCain refused to take a firm position on the possible removal of dams on the Snake River. The Bush campaign promptly hit McCain hard on that issue east of the Cascades, as part of a broader resurgence statewide. Bush consequently proceeded to run up huge electoral margins in Eastern Washington as part of
election results that saw McCain not only lose badly among Republicans, but also fall in the total tally that included "Unaffiliated" (Independent) voters as well.
It would seem Mr. Straight Talk may have repeated the blunder.
5) On the plus side for McCain, he's
racking up newspaper endorsements. On the down side are the reasons why, including "'"'His maverick's record of taking on GOP leaders...'" Plus: The Gainesville paper's endorsement praised McCain's advocacy of campaign finance reform, refusal to condone torture, opposition to the Bush administration's tax and support of a carbon cap-and-trade system. The Sun was most laudatory of McCain's immigration stance.
That's not the way to address McCain's difficulty winning among conservative Republicans, which is increasingly an angle in national press coverage of his candidacy. Nor frankly is McCain's first ad in the state:
Not a bad spot, but it doesn't break any new ground in the least.
6) Florida's large, diverse electorate makes this
interesting breakdown from Patrick Ruffini a must-read.
Eric Earling at January 21, 2008
07:53 PM | Email This
With the economy bound to be headline news the next few days assuming we have a huge stock drop tomorrow like the rest of the world already experienced it will be an extreme advantage to Romney. In Michigan Romney killed McCain when it came to the economy. Going into Florida Romney will play it up to success.
With Iraq becoming a back burner issue McCain has lost his key strength.
Also Florida being a closed primary will hurt McCain because he cannot get his Independent and Democrat he will be playing with out his base....
Do you think it was wrong for McCain to oppose the national disaster insurance policy wise or just politically? It is one of the few things I have heard come out of the mans mouth that I liked. I just wish he went further and proposed abolishing the unconstitutional Agency called FEMA.
As for the economy, I only see this helping wrong Paul unfortunately. I say unfortunately because I desperately wish he was wrong about the economy, but unfortunately he is not. He is the only candidate that has recognized the problem with our economy is not the tax rate, but the spending - borrowing - money printing rates. He is the only candidate suggesting that we stop allowing the fed to print as much money as it wants and demands that the federal government stop run away spending. Cutting the tax rate will do nothing without being coupled by reduced spending.
It fun watching the Repub candidates duke it out for a chance to lose to the Dems.
How bleak it must be to be Republican these days.
4. It fun watching the Repub candidates duke it out for a chance to lose to the Dems.
-Posted by: doC on January 21, 2008 08:36 PM
I guess you haven't been watching Whorrabillary and Barry Hussein lately.... and pity poor Silky Pony, unable to get a word in edgewise.
While McCain has a strong stance on fighting the Islamofacists he has two major faults that should make him unelectable.
The first is the McCain-Feingold legislation that puts a real crimp in our First Amendment rights. It is an extremely dangerous precedent that could be twisted to serve the malign purposes of any power luster.
The second fault is McCain's enthusiasm for the global warming scam which he has apparently swallowed hook, line and sinker. McCain is completely in line with the Democrats in this regard which would mean massive energy taxes and other nightmare scenarios.
Like a nutburger bigot like Paul can get it done? Please. And, since that moron has no chance, we're not going to have to worry about it.
As for the Larry, (Edwards) Curley (SheBilly) and Mo? (Obama) this is, perhaps, the thinest, lamest slate of presidential candidates since, well, the last lame slate of democrats (04) and the lame slate before that (00).
I was actually concerned before this election started... But all the experience those 3 clowns have together wouldn fit into a phone booth with a mile of room left over... and experience will win this election.
7. Mrs Clinton gets stronger with each debate, speech and/or question and answer session.
She has the advantage of having an extremely well-known husband who can spearhead the attack thus keeping her away from seeming like the aggressor.
I continue to be very impressed with her strength, determination and passion for becoming the first female POTUS. I can hardly wait to read the comments in the peanut gallery herein come this November.
Stock market opened down about 450 points (on the Dow). With the Fed cutting the Fed Funds rate by .75%, it will be interesting to see if that does anything to stem the downward movement. This will certainly put the economy in the forefront, especially in Florida with all the retirees who are invested in the stock market.
Watch the polls this week to see if Romney gets a boost and/or if McCain takes a hit. As Eric said, Giuliani has also been talking about the economy and his tax cuts in Florida for awhile, so he could get a bump from the market's gyrations as well.
I guess you missed the debates yesterday, with Barak and Hillary feuding like a dysfunctional married couple, and also missed the clip of Willie sound asleep at the MLK celebration speeches. Dynamic, huh? He just keeps getting better known each day!
At McCain's age and his melanoma and the pressures of being president, we will have to look closely at who he would put as VP just in case. Right now, my bet is on Lieberman as VP. Just imagine a President Lieberman from the Republican ticket.
Rudy does seem to be motivated now. Orbus claims that Huckabee staffers are quitting due to lack of money and Thompson may fold.
With the video of the Slicker sleeping during a campaign stop at a (choke-choke) church, I couldn't help but marvel at the extreme amount of pressure and energy that these candidates have put into the campaign. The freshest seem to be Giuliani and Romney (the Eveready bunny) with McCain right behind living on the adrenaline high of being front-runner.
11. Yeah, Bill 'sleeping' like that was not too good for public consumption, however since it was hyped by Drudge it may be discounted. This time around I believe we can throw out the typical objective criteria for selecting our POTUS. First of all it's my belief and 'feel' that the Country indeed wants a Democratic administration. The other thing is 'change' (an over-hyped word lately) but one that I think is valid. The 'good-ol'boy' objectivity that typically gets spun will, I think, get little weight this time. We're heading for a 'dramatic'change in direction. I think America wants it and I think America is ready for it. A new day is indeed dawning and the annals of American history will reflect a significant turning point in our political system.
duffer, aren't you being a tad bit hypocritical?
On one hand, you flame on Bush for being loosey-goosey with the purse strings and now you say you and America want Democrats so that they will, what- spend even more money?
Good thing to do in a bad economy, don't ya think?
13. Swat..to ' some' degree, it comes down to 'trust' doesn't it. I trust that 'purse strings' will be re-defined and re-prioritized under total Democrat control.
The Duffster and his cohorts are giddy over the prospects of a Dem victory-reordering priorities, raising taxes, universal health care and exerting command/control over the economy.
Really worked out well for the general populace of USSR over 70 yrs, for Cuba over 50 yrs. Duh..
Complete eoonomic illiteracy, total ignorance of history, facts and reality.
Hillary is unelectable. Period. Life is a bitch, dont elect one.
Obama is an empty suit, lack of experience at most anything, a classic tax and spend liberal.
The Dems are in the worst shape for candidates since McGovern. Boy, did he do well.....
But, Duffster, dont let reality get in the way.
Good Lord, petulant children fill the Democratic Party.
Adults run things, children whine, pout and cry...
Thanks Hank...me thinks you will be schooled in 'tolerance' come November.
"Hillary is unelectable. Period. Life is a bitch, dont elect one."
Don't mind if I save this quote, do you? :)
Folks, if electability is your main issue McCain is the only choice. He is the only Republican who leads both Clinton and Obama in the national polls; a trend that has been pretty consistent since this thing started. All the other Rs trail by wide magins.
Whomever we nominate needs to attract independents by making it clear that they are a departure from Bush. Anyone think Romney can do that? I don't.
Chris, I would rather have NO ONE rather than have McCain. McCain is the worst possible choice for Republicans. This article lays out the reason to stop McCain from getting the nomination:
Why McCain Needs to Be Stopped
I don't necessarily agree with him that Giuliani is the ONLY one who can stop McCain--I think Romney could also--but I think Giuliani is the best choice we have remaining after Fred Thompson.
Recessions are not proof that our economic model is all wrong and that we should scrap the fed, radically alter our monetary policy or anything like that. Recessions are a natural product of an economy. Humans tend to get a bit to excited during periods of growth overdoing it a bit. That then has to be corrected.
For the past 60 years our current monetary policy has kept those recessions form spiraling out of control and has created the strongest economy in the world. Something we were not before the changes of the 30's and 40's.
People just need to take a deep breath. Are we going to have a recession, probably. Will it be harder to borrow money, most likely. Will spending fall a bit as people deal with high levels of consumer debt, hopefully. Will this spell the end of the modern economy, no.
Bill, I was responding to the electability argument. For months people here have been saying McCain can't win. The evidence is exactly the opposite. Right now he is the most popular of all the candidates, R or D.
Is McCain right on the issues? That is a different debate.
Bill H @ 17 is right-on. The article he links to is a must-read. Here is a key part of it, for those who don't feel like hitting the link:
"The voters who support McCain over Giuliani are making a dangerously short-sighted trade. McCain is a suicidal choice for Republicans, because on every issue other than the war, he stands for capitulation to the left.
There are three big domestic issues that will be decided by the 2008 election: socialized medicine, higher taxes, and global warming regulations. The Democrats are in favor of all three--and John McCain won't stop them."
Republicans: of what benefit is it to win the election, but lose your soul?
21. McCain reminds me of Cotton Hill from king of the hill.
Chris Vance, on the other side of the coin, if you want a Democrat to be president, why don't you just elect one?
Or, if you can't tell the difference between the D and the R candidate, why not nominate someone who can give you contrast?
Chris, can you remember back to the heydays of '06 and the subsequent bloodbath? At the beginning of the year, the Ds were belly-aching amoung themselves and fretting a super-majority by- the Republicans.
Then, they began a steady hate Bush drumbeat tempered with anti Republican tones. Whether the points were valid or not, the president and Republicans did not fight back. After a drumbeat of almost a year, it shouldn't be a surprise the electorate was in a mood to elect Democrats.
Now, they are doing a bangup job? NOT!!
This year, the Rs are getting a lot of free press and because it is an election, the press is neutral as it can be and I have noticed that the R points are not thought of so badly as they came to be in '06.
So, while I would like a nominee to emerge, the longer it is up in the air, the better it will be for the R cause. Rs need to stand for their principles at least 80% of the time and their candidate should be such a person.
I agree that the country wants the anti-Bush as we wanted the anti-Clinton in 2000. For me, the anti-Bush is one who can talk the issues and has a firm grasp of all the details. Romney and Giuliani fit the bill for me, while McCain, I don't think, can articulate enough to be the anti-Bush.
McCain just like a Democrat? Really?
Solid on the war and national security.
Has voted several times to make the tax cuts permanent.
The leader in the Senate on fighting pork.
Pro-life voting record in the Senate.
Has said he will appoint judges similar to those appointed by Bush.
Endorsed by Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm, and TOM COBURN.
I understand why conservative activists disagree with McCain on some issues. I have disagreed with him on major issues too. But he is solid on taxes, spending, and national security.
And if you think there is no difference between Clinton/Obama and John McCain then you aren't paying attention.
"Folks, if electability is your main issue McCain is the only choice." - Chris Vance
WRONG! I will never, ever vote for John McCain. I am a mainstream Republican and I will never, ever vote for John McCain. I do not want to be responsible for putting this Democrat in the White House. I don't want him in the U.S. Senate, I don't want him in the White House. John McCain is not electable for most people in the GOP! If he isn't electable for us, his supposed party, how the heck can he win?
John McCain can never win a national election, because true Republicans will never vote for the guy. Sorry Chris, but McCain is a loser. Your support of McCain because "he can win" shows why the GOP in this state is dead. Our GOP leaders are complete morons. We can and will win on our ideas, not by nominating guys who oppose most of our ideas. John McCain will do more damage to America working with his buddy Ted Kennedy thatn Hillary Clinton could ever do aqgainst a united GOP congress.
"Bill, I was responding to the electability argument. For months people here have been saying McCain can't win. The evidence is exactly the opposite." - Chris Vance
READ THIS BLOG CHRIS! McCain won't win because me and other Republicans will never vote for him. The evidence is right in front your face to why he can't win! No wonder the GOP in this state are in the minority; they don't listen to their base!
I didn't get the whole picture since I don't get good reception, but Laura Ingraham kinda, sorta debunked the pro-life position of McCain. What I heard it sounded like a stretch, but there was more to it.
As for "he was against the troop levels before he was for the surge", I have to go back to the debate on the troop levels needed in Iraq. I agreed with Rummy that we needed the 150k troop level (could be 250k but doesn't affect the result) but McCain and many generals wanted 400k.
Seeing as how the lower number caused the Iraqis to unfairly complain that the US was going to occupy forever, can you imagine the angst at 400k?
The surge added, what, 30-40k troops? Perhaps the mistake was not adding troops to somewhere in between the original estimates?
Again, McCain-Lieberman as your ticket?
What about McCain-Feingold? McCain-Kennedy? Gang of 14? Global warming? Energy independence? ANWAR? Amnesty?
Chris, I agree with McCain at much less than 80% of his issues, which was the Reagan threshold.
I've said before, I can vote McCain but not Huckabee. It wouldn't be a good choice in my opinion but the only one.
To be honest, I am not even sure McCain would pick the right judges for the Supremes. It would be more like him to deal his picks for favors to the likes of his buddy, Leahy and Kennedy and Feingold.
27. ^Exactly. The GOP actually had control of all three branches of govt. recently, but because of "maverick" loose cannons like McCain, the Democrats were able to be the quasi majority party in at least one chamber.
28. THOMPSON, party of ?...your plane is ready! BUH-bye! :)
Thompson ran a horrible campaign from the start...it was just plain lazy. No wonder
Thompson dropped out
Chris @16 -
Do you really believe that McCain's current honeymoon with the MSM would continue if (God forbid) he won the GOP nomination?
McCain has a tremendous amount of baggage (remember the Keating Five?), and the MSM will use every bit of it against him if he becomes the GOP candidate.
Chris @ 16:
McCain is a departure from Bush? i suppose but i thought we wanted a departure in the positive direction not the opposite. Americans do not want to be in Iraq for 100 years. At least Bush recognized that the McCain-Feingold incumbant protection act was unconstitutional before he approved.
Paul however is a truly refreshing departure. he calls for a sound fiscal policy (Bush and Mccain do not). Paul calls for actually cutting government programs. Mccain and bush have been responsible for much growth in government the past 10 years. Paul wants to end the war in Iraq, Bush and Mccain argue about who wanted to send more troops and leave them their longer!
McCain falls miserably short in three of the four areas of character required in a leader, as pointed out by ThoughtRogue:
(hat tip to JeffersonPaine)
That does put him ahead of Billary and Obama (who fall miserably short in all four areas), but that's not saying much.
33. ewaggin: good link, very informative - thanks.
Is it better to be pure for the party faithful or to win with crossover appeal? That's the central question facing both parties this year. If the R's nominate McCain, they win. If the D's nominate Obama, they win - except against McCain.
If we want an sure, easy win, it's McCain all the way.
Fortunately, it looks like the D's are going to put up sure-loser Hillary. On that note, maybe we should draft Newt at the convention so that when we win, we win with our better principles intact.
Oh, and anyone who thinks Giuliani's somehow a more authentic Republican than McCain seriously needs to put down the crack pipe.
You guys are all nuts for quoting polls on who is or isn't going to win in November when it is still January. Four months ago there wasn't a Republican within about ten points of any Democrat. Now, they are bunched up.
You guys take too little pride in the American electorate. Fickle they may be and not educated on the races, but don't you think when they focus after Labor Day they will go eyeball to eyeball between an R and a D and go with an R for president. They normally do. If it weren't for a third party candidate in '92 it still would have been an R.
36. Chris V: Here is one more conservative Republican who REALLY DOES NOT WANT TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN! Yes, he is a patriot. Yes, he was a POW and tortured, and I am sorry for that. And yes, he betrayed conservatism so many times in so many ways as shown by his voting record that I can't forget that part of him. His tendency toward political expedience trumps character, and his temper is not that of a statesman. My first choices were Thompson or Hunter, but they both ran abominable campaigns. I'll take Rudy or Mitt in a heartbeat over McCain. They far outclass him.
I just don't see how McCain can win in November.
I haven't trusted him since McCain-Feingold.
Sure he'd be preferrable to Hillary or Obama. I think McCain loses lots of conservates to a possible third party candidate. I don't see how he attracts so-called independents, either. They will gravitate to the Democratic candidate in my view. The left wants McCain to be the Republican candidate because they know he will be easily defeated. I'm listening to Michael Medved advocate for McCain this afternoon. I don't get it. Maybe Medved has decided he is really still a liberal after all. There is a reason I'm suspicious of anyone who eats tofurky and doesn't allow TV in his house.
I shudder to think who we will end up with as a candidate. Huckabee, who is a nanny state liberal, McCain whom we can not trust, Romney that will be gored by the media for his religion, or Giuliani who I believe is probably electable but perhaps has a failed primary strategy.
I just hope we are not foolishly handing the election to the socialists.
If you vote for a candidate that you think is inferior because he appears more electable in polls 8 months out from an election when the vast majority of the people only know what the MSM has spoon fed them over the last month or so, then you will get an inferior candidate. When the public starts learning about him, they may well pick up on what's wrong with him too and vote against him.
If you want to win, vote for the candidate you really think is the best. He will probably stand up better under scrutiny.
Don't lose heart Chris V. Here is one who is the McCain camp, as far as Republicans. At least he wouldn't be a electoral college disaster like Romney who would probably come close to matching the electoral results of the previous MA Governor who decided to run for President. Add to this Guiliani's mistriss problem, you are correct that McCain is the best candidate for the Republicans, naysayer's be damned. Who will they go to, Bloomberg? I think not. Will they go to some wacko Libertarian?
The naysayers want to quote their conservative credentials and claim McCain isn't conservative, even though his long voting record states otherwise. They want to claim worn out excuses, yet overlook flaws in other candidates (like Guiliani's mistress saga, and Romney's flip-flops). They naysayer's are by hypocrits. Let their Romney or Guilani win and be prepared for an electoral disaster. Have they looked at the electoral map? Yes, Romney could win Utah, Wyoming, and a few other solid Red states, but forget about the big swing states, like PA, Ohio, etc.
McCain naysayers, go ahead nominate someone else and see where it gets you.
41. And I'm absolutely certain, certain that "tc" is not a liberal troll.
I note in comment 40 from "tc" he did not say that Rudy can't win Ohio or Pennsylvania. In fact Rudy does well in head to head polls against Democratic candidates in those states.
Isn't it interesting that Bill Clinton was accused of many affairs but won election twice despite little accomplishment in Arkansas. Yet for some reason tc thinks Rudy not only cannot win but will be an electoral disaster even though he had amazing results as Mayor of New York. Notice how Ted Kennedy wins landslides in Ma. Is his personal life story better than Rudy's?
People care about results more than private life issues.
Interesting link on RealClearPolitics regarding Rudy's decline. It all goes to what I have been saying. Rudy's mistress saga is a real problem and suicide for Republicans if they nominate him. It will keep social conservatives from voting, which in turn will mean Republican can't win no matter who the Democrats nominate (okay, he could win against UFO Kuchinich).
Rudy's "mistress saga" doesn't mean diddly in 2008 America.
The fact that you focus on it, "tc" tells me you are more scared of Rudy than perhaps any other Republican candidate. And that's a good sign!
AP, Swatter and the like who are adamantly opposed to McCain. I just want to say that it is people like you, in South Carolina, who voted en masse for Romney and Fred Thompson, that gave McCain the front runner position for the nomination. You do realize if the people like you would have voted for Huckabee there, then McCain would have been finished, alas, pride rules out.
McCain is electable, even if he doesn't get AP's vote (which must be all important because he seems to think without it, McCain hasn't a prayer), he likely is the most electable of the Republicans. Paul is the least, Romney is next least followed by Huckabee, with McCain the most likely followed by Rudy. However, I see Bloomberg in the race if Rudy has a good Super Tuesday, my ticket preference of Rudy/Huckabee may not do well if Bloomberg's in it.
McCain remains my least favorite of all of them, except for Ron Paul - however, Mitt Romney has not shown that he could beat Hillary anywhere significant, according head-to-heads, there's no way he has a remote chance at all to beat her, let alone Obama - at this point. The one good thing about McCain is that he will be the only candidate the R's can nominate that will have any coattails.
Bill C at 41, I spit out my coffee at your comment. Hilarious. You sounded so serious.
Doug, one thing about this cycle is that all the pollsters and pundits don't know diddilyswat.
WVH has a good point, nominate the guy you want. And not the so-call Independents who prefer McCain over the other Rs, but when election comes, they will vote D.
47. Doug, why do you think Bloomberg would enter the race if Rudy gets the nomination? I can't see him getting in if the two nominees are Rudy and Hillary--he wouldn't even be competitive in NY with the two of them running. I think he would be more likely to run if Romney were the nominee since he could present himself as a moderate in the middle between the liberal D and the conservative R. I can't see him running if Rudy and Hillary are the nominees.
Bloomberg knows he can't win the Presidency as a third party it's just that simple. He only enters the race to let Hillary win, or rather to keep Rudy from winning - he really doesn't like Rudy. It was something he said during the summer, I don't recall exactly, but he wanted to see Hillary in the Presidency before Rudy and was really talking her up.
He'll make it look like he's getting in to win, but in reality would only compete in a handful of states where he sees he can take away votes, ala Perot, to give Hillary the Electoral college win. I think he would do that with Obama/Rudy combo as well.
There's a limit to what one person can spend to help a campaign, but nothing can stop him from spending hundreds of millions to help his candidate in this fashion.
Rudy and Hillary are two sides of the same dress....both figuratively and literally in this case.
The RNC has failed big time to get a viable candidate for 2008 and their ineptitude will reverberate long after the nightmare that will ensue after November 4th.
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