Wednesday, May 30, 2007

McCain's Numbers are Up

According to the latest American Research Group Poll, McCain and Hillary are leading the pack in the battleground primary states. Head to head, McCain would edge out Clinton, according to Zogby.

In IOWA: New American Research Group polls show Hillary Clinton (D) and John McCain (R) holding narrow leads.
The Dem numbers: Clinton - 31%,
John Edwards - 25%;
Barack Obama - 11%;
Bill Richardson - 8%;
Dennis Kucinich - 4%,
Joe Biden - 3%;
Chris Dodd - 2%;
and Mike Gravel - 1%.

The GOP results:
McCain - 25%,
Rudy Giuliani - 23%,
Mitt Romney - 16%,
Newt Gingrich - 8%,
Fred Thompson - 6%,
Sam Brownback - 3%, and all others with 2% or less apiece.

In NEW HAMPSHIRE: The latest ARG tracking poll numbers in NH also show Clinton and McCain in the lead.
The Dem results: Clinton - 34%,
Edwards - 18%,
Obama - 15%,
Richardson - 9%,
Chris Dodd and
Joe Biden had 2% each,
and all others had 1% or less.

On the GOP side,
McCain had 30%,
Romney had 23%,
Giuliani - 21%,
Gingrich - 4%,
Fred Thompson - 3%,
and no other candidate broke the 1% mark.

In SOUTH CAROLINA: The same Clinton/McCain leads.
The Dems: Clinton - 34%,
Edwards - 30%,
Obama - 18%,
and all others at 2% each or less.

On the GOP side,
McCain had 32%,
Giuliani - 23%,
Fred Thompson - 13%,
Romney - 10%,
Gingrich - 6%,
and all others tied with 1% apiece.

In head to head competition, Zogby shows McCain edging Clinton 47%-43%

NEXT EDITION: What a Fred Thompson Candidacy means for McCain.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hardly Irrelevant, McCain stays at the Center of the Storm

The media this week has been dancing a jig over what they describe as the implosion of John McCain's bid for president. Headlines read "Immigration Makes Romney, Breaks McCain", "Polarized McCain Near Irrelevancy", and "Is It Adios, Amigo for McCain?".


For taking a position when others are like greased pigs in a pool, McCain has been cast to the ash heap of political campaigns by the yellowest of journalists. The insatiable desire for defeat, to sell newspapers, is shocking. And yet, there is not much in the way of defeat for McCain when it comes to the polls.

Recent polls show a spike in support for Romney, who is beginning to buy airtime in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, in the national head-t0-head polls, McCain still beats out Hillary Clinton while Romney cannot.

From Zogby:

"The poll shows that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton is the choice of likely Democratic Primary voters, beating out fellow senator Barack Obama. But the twist is, Obama would beat all Republicans in a race for the presidency, but Clinton would be defeated by both John McCain of Arizona and Rudy Giuliani of New York City, but would win against Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Fred Thompson of Tennessee, the survey shows." (Zogby, 5/25/07)

Romney's ad blitz and chameleon act might be working with some, but not everyone.

And even when it comes to the issue of immigration, while the media paints a defeated McCain, the polls show something different:

"The New York Times – CBS poll said that while most Americans favored eventual eligibility for citizenship for illegal immigrants, a similar majority also said illegals should only be eligible for citizenship after those who immigrated legally. The problem with the NYT-CBS poll, however, is that the data are not split by party. Given the hugely negative reaction to the Senate bill among conservatives, there seems to be no solace for McCain in the NYT-CBS results." (Michelle Oddis, Human Events, 5/25/07)

Conservatives flat out do not support anything but an expensive deportation of illegals, breaking up families and creating more problems of "reillegal" immigration in the future. Most moderate Americans support some sort of action. Yet Congress, whose approval rating is now as low as the President's, supports inaction over any action. Yet another year will pass without any key immigration reform. This topic has been a presidential election season issue for two cycles now, and seems to be for a third.

McCain shows, that by working with Ted Kennedy, he can not only be his own man, but work toward bipartisanship and compromise--something that has been forgotten on Capitol Hill. Hardly irrelevant, McCain seems to gravitate toward the middle of every debate, and not be cast into obscurity every time he takes a position.

The continued assault on McCain, and media outlets who savor defeat for sales' sake, are quick to judge. Should McCain get a few more whiffs that the base is unwilling to work for change, and the moderates of America are crying for a champion, the prospects of an independent McCain bid for the White House grow daily (a prospect that will, like 1992 and 1996, doom the Republican candidate, and propel another Clinton into the White House)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Something is Better Than Nothing When it Comes to Immigration

This past week, McCain has taken lumps from the other presidential hopefuls in supporting a bill that tries to address the immigration problem in the US. McCain rightfully has said that we need to get beyond this issue, and move toward substantive debate over the ineffectiveness of government. Opponents of the bill call the fines and path to citizenship components "amnesty", and ignore the strengthening of the border provisions in McCain-Kennedy.

This is the second time that the base has sounded shrill to the ear in as many months. In the last debate, McCain was the only voice of reason when it comes to torture. The rest of the field ranged from blood lust to summoning Jack Bauer. Recall that the only candidate with some experience in the matter is McCain, who has been on the business end of a captor's torture.

Now, McCain, who lives on a border state, has tried to reach a compromise, and the base is screaming "amnesty". Their alternative? Nothing. There is nothing out there that can get the majority of votes out of Congress. Trying to arrest 12 million people and force an exodus out of the border will go down as the next "trail of tears". How is the inaction proposed by the base better than some action, some direction?

McCain is right, that the future of the party hinges on outreach to issues beyond the WASP's and the Skull and Bones crowd. Bush accurately identified the Latino vote as conservative, and we should be courting that vote, the now largest minority group, into the public sphere and out of the shadows. Hispanics are traditionally pro-family, pro-life, for small businesses and small government. Why we would attempt to disenfranchise Latinos is beyond me. McCain might end up sacrificing his political capital on this issue, but it seems worth it for the future of the party and more important, the future of the country.

If another session of Congress passes without any sort of action, that inaction will benefit only the illegal immigrants. The public will be enraged. The Latino community will continue to galvanize against the Republicans. The problems associated with displaced and disenfranchised people will continue in the border states. We need a direction, a course. McCain-Kennedy does not give blanket amnesty, but a chance to come out of the shadows or be deported. It builds border fences and secures the southern border, where the majority of illegals enter.

The current republican alternative is hardly conservative, yet like the torture issue, is full of blood lust.

Susan Estrich points out in her column "That [proposal] suggests that we break up families in which the parents are undocumented and the children are citizens, deporting the parents and leaving the children homeless[.] That we tell those who were brought here as children and have lived here their entire lives that they are about to be shipped out to countries which are as foreign to them as they would be to you and me? And what about the 5 million would-be immigrants who have applied to reunite with their families, some of whom have waited 20 years or more to be with loved ones. The bill aims to clear that backlog within five years. Is there something wrong with that too?"

I have to agree, I fail to see the conservative principals of pro-family at work, when we threaten gestapo-like proposals to break up families. McCain-Kennedy refuses to go that far, and for that, deserves a chance. I would rather have 12 million new voters that are sympathetic to our cause, than 12 million exiles who will be back in the US, illegally, in 6 months after banishment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

McCain's the Only Star in Debate Blood Lust

The second republican presidential primary debate aired last night on Fox News Channel. The questions in this second round were darted and controversial at the most, and intentional and misguided at the least. There were shining moments for all the front runners, including Giuliani's prosecutorial assault on Ron Paul, and Romney's Teflon-news-anchor ability to shirk off the tough questions.

The shining moment for me was in the hypothetical attack question. Every candidate with a chance had condoned the used of torture, or the more political correct "enhanced interrogation measures". Every candidate, except one.

John McCain.

When it comes to torture, one has to have a pretty insatiable blood lust to proudly announce to the world that we will do whatever it takes to save American lives. Seems like a logical enough answer. McCain says however, as a victim of a half-decade of torture at the hands of the Viet Cong, that "[we] could never gain as much from that torture as we would lose in world opinion."

McCain said that those with military service side with him because of the threat to U.S. soldiers who may be captured. "This is not about terrorists, it's about us, what kind of country we are."
He also said that at some point, victims will tell you whatever they think you want to hear, to stop the pain. Here is an impassioned plea to Americans, to not lose our humanity, and become the enemy.

And yet, in an arena full of blood lust, the audience cheers not this plea, but the use of torture..."doubling Guantanamo" as Romney calls for, and the hell with world opinion in the eyes of a unforgiving Giuliani. Such comments seem pandering and insincere in the wake of McCain's impassioned comments, that emanate from a body crippled at the hand of torture.

I believe that this one issue, which seems so small, proves to many that McCain is thoughtful and frank with the electorate, where other candidates will pander to the crowd for their insatiable blood lust for votes, losing our American humanity along the way.

We do not need a Jack Bauer, we need a Harry Truman understanding of the limits, and an understanding of who bears the burden of that limit. Since the buck stops with the POTUS, we need someone who has an understanding built on a lifetime of experience and moral authority to make that tough call. No other candidate proved to me to have the real gravitas to fully comprehend the question, of whether torture is acceptable. Only McCain "gets it", and it is clear, that the buck stops with him on this issue.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

McCain Updates: Meet the Press and Fox News Debate

John McCain appeared on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert for the full hour on Sunday. More than half the interview was spent exfoliating the Senator's position on the war. Of which, Senator McCain could sum up with this quote:

"Because it's my job to give my best estimate to the American people, no matter what the political calculations may be, as to what's the best in our nation's national security interest. Young men and women are risking their lives as we speak in, in, in Iraq. And I know that they will be in greater harm's way if we withdraw from Iraq, as we keep debating over and over and over again. And I know what's best, in my mind, in my experience, in my knowledge, in my inspiration, as to what's best for this country. So political calculations such as polls, I understand that if the American people don't continue to support this effort that we will be forced to withdraw. But it's also my obligation to tell the American people and my constituents in Arizona that I represent, what the consequences of failure will be; and I believe they will be catastrophic."

What is so profound about this quote is that McCain is the only candidate being candid and "straight-talking" with the American people. There is an ugly truth to this campaign season, and it is that no candidate except McCain is willing to talk about "the next five words" of the Iraq policy. It is so very easy to scream "Get Out! Now!" and think that all the problems go away so long as the troops are home. Our exodus from the middle east will be a great vacuum, and we will drag home in our wake the terrorists, emboldened from their victory, to bring the battle to our soil.

McCain is banking on the fact that in our hearts, we do not want our neighborhoods to resemble Baghdad and Gaza. He hopes that liberals do not need the war in our backyard in order to rally our nation behind the "next five words", a strategy.

McCain also recognizes that even though he is running for president, the government does not go on vacation until 2009, when "lame ducks" are replaced. We have a strategy ongoing, and that strategy deserves support, not blanket denunciations to get good polling numbers. Should the strategy fail, then McCain, as a responsible lawmaker, will adjust (not "flip-flop")

McCain, and the others, will be debating live from South Carolina on Fox News, 9 PM EDT. Tune in, and be informed.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Albatrosses

This week, John McCain indicated in his straight-talk style the two issues that are plaguing the republican primary. The twin "albatrosses around the neck" are Bush's war record, and abortion. McCain said in regards to the war, that Bush's numbers and strategy are dragging the party down. And in regards to abortion, the republican candidate who is, or was recently, pro-choice has a lot of baggage in the eyes of the republican base.

Take McCain's first comment, that the war is hurting a republican's chance for the White House in 2008. McCain has chosen to continue a stance that is in support of taking the war to our enemies, and finding those responsible for 9-11 and all terror. And even though he has been critical of Bush's management of the war, McCain is the one candidate identified as "close" to Bush's philosophy. McCain is right on this issue, much to the chagrin of the left and anti-war activists in the country. A defeat in the Middle East for the US is the beginning of a war brought to our soil, by an enemy without a country to bomb, but a nation of thousands of Islamic extremists in every realm. The polls do not reflect thinking beyond the gut reaction of "getting us out of Iraq", and that is short-sighted.

McCain's second comment is telling, for that in the republican party, 60% of voters are pro-life. To run as a candidate, aloof to abortion, is perilous. Giuliani cannot come out and say "I hate abortion" but be ambivalent in abortions nationwide, as a matter of settled law. There is no way he wins the nomination with that position. Moreover, anyone who has as recent as their last bid for office been in support of abortion has a hard sell as well. This is Romney's albatross. McCain does not have these issues with the base, and should enjoy their support of his pro-life stand.

Some polls suggest that McCain is hurting in the money race as well as the primary states. I think that as we approach the first primaries in (possibly) December of 2007, you will see a shift from the RINO's to the only consistent and experienced candidate in the field, John McCain.

Monday, May 7, 2007

McCain and the French Connection

Let me preface this article with the cliche: "Politics makes strange bedfellows". Now that this thought is in your mind's eye, listen closely.

Over the weekend, the French did something remarkable. For years now, the United States has enjoyed a bit of fun insulting our French allies as little more than cheese eating surrender monkeys. We chortle over the French's inability to grasp the big picture, and all the while they revel in how mighty the Euro is to the US Dollar. Their historic ego in full tilt under President Chirac, they enjoyed a few laughs as their socialist system and grande European Union was burying the American Spirit. Chirac, a conservative in name only, was at the tail end of a 25 year old dynasty of America bashing. Something had to give.

The election in France should have been a socialist slam dunk, but quite the contrary occurred. Nicolas Sarcozy, the son of Hungarian immigrants, was elected over the socialist, Segolene Royal. Where Chirac was very much Anti-American, Sarcozy ran on a platform that included a stronger relationship with the US. The message resonated with the French, and he was elected by a wide margin.

Flip back a few years to the German election for Chancellor. It was a squeaker, but Angela Merkel won over Gerhard Schroeder, another Old World leader drunk with anti-American banter. Merkel has worked to restore relations with America.

What does all of this have to do with McCain? Last week, John McCain spoke of a “League of Democracies". He called the idea “the core of an international order of peace based on freedom” in a speech at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

McCain finds new leadership in Old Europe. In Britain, Tony Blair is stepping down to a party successor, Gordon Brown. France and Germany have recently switched leadership, and many in the EU do not want animus between the two greatest economic and political systems in the history of man. The new faces in power in Europe might be open to the idea of a League of Democracies, one that shows the world that a democratic and free society is the key to economic and social equality. The time is ripe for such an endeavor, and here, you have a candidate actually laying out a long term strategy for peace, not just platitudes and soundbites. With new leadership in our old democratic allies, we have an opportunity in the next few years to change course for the better, or continue down a path of "us versus them".

Friday, May 4, 2007

McCain's Passion; The GOP Debate

After watching the GOP debate last night, I admittedly was nonplussed. I expected the candidates to all make a reach for the mantle of Reagan. I expected Ron Paul to be the libertarian he is. I expected some of the second tier candidates to look and sound like "grumpy old men."

Here is what I did not expect. McCain spoke with an excited, fiery passion when it came to matters of our national security. As he went as far as the "follow [bin Laden] to the Gates of Hell", we got a sense of the urgency that faces our nation. It is one thing, to make platitudes on some of the issues, and it is another to be "presidential" when it comes to defending America. This debate was not about "winners and losers", it was a chance to make a pitch to the base, as to why one of these candidates should be our nominee. Without exception, McCain made that case where the other candidates ranged from well-intentioned t0 simply out of touch.

One of the surprisingly out of touch candidates was Rudy Giuliani. "Being Okay" with Roe v. Wade will not win you the nomination of this party. He knows this, as he referenced his ability to govern liberal New York. Well, Rudy, New York City is not the U.S. of A. Most of your party is "not okay" with Roe v. Wade. Rudy's only saving grace was Senator Brownback's comment that we are a big "coalition party" and that Reagan himself would have said that "someone who agrees with you 80% of the time in not your enemy". However, being ambivalent toward the unborn and voiceless in our society is a tough sell.

Another surprise is what I will just have to call "Massachusetts Syndrome". Seems Romney and Kerry both caught the disease while living in Boston. The symptoms are pretty support one issue up until you decide to run for President, then, you all of a sudden change your mind. Romney paints a broad stroke portrait of how he became pro-life by policy, in a mere two years before running for office. He even reaches for the mantle of Reagan, saying "Shucks, Ronny and GHWB also liked abortion once". Yet, Reagan saw the light in 1968, some 12 years before becoming elected as president, and did the unthinkable...he wrote a book against abortion from the oval office in 1983. That is way more than an op-ed in the Boston Globe, and way more than a nuanced ephiphany about cloning. Abortion is wrong well before you get to the ehtics of cloning, Mitt, there is no threshold. Yet, to win in liberal Massachusetts, Mitt HAD to be pro-choice. This is some slimy politicking, and I cannot be for it (and I will not flop, and later be against it).

Of the top three, McCain's vigor, and nervousness at first, were sincere. Here we have a candidate who's love of America comes from every pore, who has suffered for us, and who has fought for us. How fortunate we are that the choice is so very clear.

Of the other candidates, Mike Huckabee gets a nod from me as being very comfortable in his skin, poised, and well-spoken. There must be something in the water in Hope, Arkansas, as another Hope favorite son, Bill Clinton, had that same communicative appeal. Huckabee might be the first social conservative I have heard in some time that comes off as sincere about his faith. For that, I give him a kudos, and a young southern governor might be the balance our party ticket needs in 2008 to succeed.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

GOP Debate Tonight

MSNBC hosts the first Republican Primary Debate, from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The debate is on at 8PM EDT.

In this early debate, I would look for everyone to be rusty. McCain should be in good form, as he is a legislator and debator for a living. Only the most die-hard politicos will be watching tonight. If the Democrats' debate is any indicator, I would not look for too many surprises. Of course, the media can be expected to me more abrasive to our candidates.

This debate should be a test run, as the ones who have something to lose, McCain, Giuliani, and Romney, will play it safe. Hunter, Brownback, Thompson, Gilmore, and Paul need some big points to get their campaigns going. Regardless, there is only one person on stage with more experience, and that is John McCain.

As Iowa goes, so will Indiana for McCain

The latest battleground primary states show McCain taking a slight lead over his rivals. In IOWA, the latest American Research Group poll of likely caucus-goers shows John McCain leading in the Republican Primary.

For the GOP:
McCain - 26%,
Rudy Giuliani - 19%,
Mitt Romney - 14%,
Fred Thompson - 13%,
Newt Gingrich - 8%,
Mike Huckabee and
Tom Tancredo tied with 2% apiece,
and everyone else each at 1% or less.

In NEW HAMPSHIRE, a new American Research Group poll of likely primary voters shows McCain leading Romney by a 29% to 24% vote. Giuliani was third with 17%, followed by Fred Thompson at 7%, Gingrich at 4%, and everyone else each at 1% or less.

In SOUTH CAROLINA: ARG is also out with a South Carolina poll. Again the early leader is McCain.

For The GOP:
McCain - 36%,
Giualiani - 23%,
Fred Thompson - 10%,
Romney and Gingrich tied with 6% each,
Huckabee - 2%, and all others at 1% or less.

IOWA will be the trigger for Indiana to go for McCain. With Iowans warming to McCain's energy security policy, the #1 producing corn state will likely influence Indiana Farmers to see McCain is the right choice for Hoosiers. Add in the recent support of Mitch Daniels, and Indiana is McCain country.

Hoosier Governor, Attorney General, Support McCain

In February, Governor Mitch Daniels gave his official endorsement of John McCain for President. Daniels said "John McCain is a long-time friend. More importantly, he is a principled leader with a history of integrity, opposing excessive government spending and dealing honestly with the American people." Also in early 2007, McCain gained the endorsement of the States Attorneys General Association, including Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter.

Daniels, the first republican governor of Indiana in sixteen years, cannot be ignored for his potential as a cabinet member, if not a midwestern candidate for Vice-President. Daniels has both the gravitas as the OMB Director under George W. Bush, and experience as an advisor to Reagan. Daniels is another straight-talker, earning the nickname, "The Blade" while presiding over the early lean budgets of the Bush Administration. McCain could use the support from the only Republican governor in the Midwest, a place that McCain must carry to win both the nomination and the election.