And the horses you all rode in on, one at a time, then rotate.

By Thomas Posted in | Comments (47) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

You all have no idea how long I've wanted to write this. For the reasons set forth in my next diary, I can, and am; but I've been saving this up for a while. Pardon the spleen.

Dear Senators Thompson and McCain; Governors Romney and Huckabee; and Mayor Giuliani: You all suck.

Read on to see why. Or don't; I figure only two of you are smart enough to care why a conservative, Mass-going Catholic would personally drive the buggy to take you all to Hell.

Before I go any further, to any outraged supporters of any of these candidates: Toss it. So many of you have spent so much time shilling for your preferred choices, you've lost track of first principles. I have no time for far too many of you, and those of you with the brainpower to actually merit notice have picked the wrong company in which to travel.

Let's start with my favorite: Mayor Rudolph "Voting for Me is Material Cooperation with Evil" Giuliani. I owe you a sincere and hearty congratulations: You have taken what should have been a commanding lead in the primaries and run it into the ground through a combination of provincialism (you're a New Yorker, I guess I shouldn't expect any better), leftism on social principles, and the sort of rare political sophistication that comes from thinking that because you've faced down what New York has to offer, you are entitled to support. But what you've really done -- where you've truly shined -- is offered Republican voters a lesson in why not to vote for a liberal Catholic, a lesson they heretofore always thought could be summarized as "because he's a Democrat." Bravo, cretin.

The problem, at base, is two-fold: Part One: Your policy positions and natural inclinations would have left you a Democrat anywhere but New York City or San Francisco. Being honest with yourself is the first step on the road to recovery: Admit it. Deal with it. Move on. You are not a fiscal conservative (hint: fiscal conservatives do not adore the progressive tax structure). You are not a social conservative (oh, you are not a social conservative). You are not a small-government conservative (never, ever that). What you are is some guy who decided he didn't like crime and disorder. Bad news, buckaroo: This isn't the 1970s. 'Round these parts, even Democrats figured out -- heck, even the Clintons figured out -- that criminals are bad people years before anyone called you anything but "challenged by a combover."

You're a Democrat running for the Republican nomination. Admit it -- yell it to the Heavens -- and move on.

The second part is related. You are a liberal Catholic. I know, I know, my identification of this disqualifies everything I say hereafter; that's why you're not one of the two candidates smart enough to understand that there's a problem.

The problem with liberal Catholics is a flip of the problem with conservative Catholics who seek ecclesiastical support for their every preferred policy position: Instead of trying to stick a square peg in a round hole, as the latter do, the former insist that the peg is really round, and that it's their right to change the entire structure of everything in Creation to fit their preferred outcomes. This is a problematic attitude to hold in a Church that teaches that things simply are sometimes, and it's a horrible attitude to carry into trying to be the national standard bearer for an American political party.

Now, Republicans know that to run a campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination in the post-Reagan era, one must do at least minimal obeisance to the three pillars of modern Republicanism: Strong national defense, fiscal conservatism, and social conservatism. We also know that we have to speak in optimistic, glowing terms about the American Republic, because it really is the best nation on God's green Earth, and people would like to be reminded every so often; and following from that, our national candidate must speak of national beliefs and goals.

As a liberal Catholic Democrat with a bad tendency to provincialism, you have spent your entire campaign going on about the "two legs" of the Republican platform, omitting social conservatism, and your entire campaign has been spent talking about New York. You have tried to insist that the peg is really round, refusing to even speak of its angles, and you have run with the sort of provincialism that kills a political campaign. I know New Yorkers are convinced that they are uniquely qualified to be God because of where they live; and I know that you are convinced as a theological matter that everything should bend before you; but grow the Hell up.

We are a coalition defined by conservatism of every manner and method. We expect our only national candidate to at least sorta pretend or at least kinda project a vague belief in all the kinds of conservatism, of which, bad news, Mayor, social conservatism is a vital part. What we require is so damned minimal it's not funny: We don't ask that you support executing abortionists, that you tattoo gay men with bar codes, that Federal marshals enforce Bible study time in public schools: We ask that you support the right of the people to choose socially conservative practices for themselves, or not. But because you're a Democrat (and a liberal Catholic), you just can't swallow that, can ya?

I personally know very smart people who have advised your campaign on how to avoid all of the problems your social policy preferences would yield, and because the freaking peg is round, their advice wasn't given the time of day. That worked out well, huh?

Relatedly, there's the whole "busted family" thing. One of the critical insights Republicans have offered is that a private life is suggestive of how a public life will work. It's something a lot of people instinctively understand. Now, your personal life is, let's put this delicately, FUBAR; but your decision not to deal with it early in the campaign is, as near as I can discern, not a function of dengue-fever level stupidity, but rather an insistence that the world reorder itself to you. That, too, has worked out pretty well.

The net result is that you have paved the way for Mitt Romney (below) to slide to the nomination, and to drag us all to the bottom of the ocean against Queen Thickankles. Oh, and if you somehow get the nomination, you'll break the Party in twain. Wonderful. Thanks, Mr. Mayor.

Now, for Governor Willard "Mitt" "Astroturf" Romney: God, what a waste you are. You know, I actually could have supported you, and have toyed with it. You seem like a nice, competent fellow. Were you like this the whole time, I'd have been with you from day one. Somewhere in there is a real human being, with real fire in his belly, and I would be proud to call that man "Mr. President."

Unfortunately, that guy's not running. Instead, we have Al Gore's anima infused in a Ken Doll, and gifted with actual business sense. You're clearly smarting from your Dad's self-destruction all those years ago -- an understandable impulse -- and so you've decided to be all things to all Republicans, and to run your political campaign like a modern business enterprise. Bad idea.

Our own Dan McLaughlin has extensively covered the numerous reasons you'd give us heartburn (here, here, here, here, and here), and on those counts, I don't think there's any point in repeating, less eloquently, what he's said. Instead, I'm going to tell you why a lot of grassroots Republicans want nothing to do with you, and it has nothing to do with you being Mormon.

Stephen Green, or perhaps Jonah Goldberg, noted that watching you campaign is like being asked, What do I have to do to put you in this BMW today? I think that's emblematic of the way your campaign has been run, and it's why those of us who pay attention to these things (and those of us who, unlike I, actually have the ability to influence opinion, have turned off on you) want nothing to do with the cult you've founded.

You sent astroturfers out into the blogging world, as bloggers, commenters, and, here, diarists. On its face, this sounds like a good business practice: Build demand and awareness for the product, then unleash the product. In real life, this is stupid. Like the fake websites that some PR companies set up for large corporations, anyone who's actually paying attention sniffs these things out in short order, and then you end up with egg on your face.

Your campaign is run like a cult-of-personality version of Amway. I don't want to steal anyone's thunder here, but let's just say it's possible to criticize your policy positions or record without caring what your religious beliefs are; it is, however, impossible to criticize your policy positions or record without being called a bigot, or having your livelihood threatened. (Oh, and Stephen, if you're reading this: You're part of the problem.) I loathe everyone and everything associated with your campaign, and by extension, this means I have to hope to Almighty God you don't take the nomination, because I know you will not only die in the general, you will do enormous collateral damage in your death-throes.

You lie about your record and your past. Don't do that. That's Al Gore's way of dealing with a disappointed father. I understand that this is an attempt to rebrand the product, but you aren't [bleep]ing Coca-Cola: We don't care about New Coke, we care that you pretend that public funding of abortions is taking a pro-life stance.

And yet, we're probably stuck with you, because of the incredible incompetence of your opponents. On the Wonder Years, an otherwise awful and highly forgettable show, the narrator once noted that his parents faced a conundrum when deciding how to decorate the kitchen. Dad would insist on some tile he liked. Mom would insist on some tile she liked. They'd compromise on some tile no one in our species liked.

You are that tile, Mitt. You are the "Eh," Candidate. Congratulations.

Now, for an old nemesis: St. John the McCain. Man, you just never got it. You were, by rights, the front-runner. You had your shot in 2000, missed, said and did most (but, critically, not all) of the right things, and you lined up for your coronation. But you never really internalized that there is a difference between saying what a reporter thinks is a good thing, and saying what the average Republican voter thinks is a good thing. I would say this is merely a form of error, but repeated over the course of eight years, I'm forced to conclude that it's actually a form of powerful stupidity. This sucks, because I think you're our best chance to beat the Hildebeest.

Think it through: Does the average Republican voter like that you helped form a compromise on judges that left some very good judges out in the cold? Does the average Republican voter like restrictions on his political speech near election time? Does the average Republican voter like that you've all but accused American soldiers of torturing others? Does the average Republican voter like that you side with the Democrats on global warming? Does the average Republican voter like that you've all but called anyone who disagrees with your immigration stance a bigot? If you've answered any of these questions (or, apparently, all of these questions) "Yes," then I'd respectfully submit that you deserve the drubbing you're about to get.

You're going, I'll bet, to win New Hampshire, thereby proving once and for all that New Hampshire Republicans aren't. And after that, you're going to go down in flames, helping The Chief Astroturfer take the rest of us down. You're going to do this because you've so enjoyed playing up the maverick part of "maverick Republican" that you've neglected to show Republican voters that you're actually much more Republican than maverick. Instead, these last seven years, instead of publicly mending bridges burned in 2000, you have Schumered to every camera you could find whenever you wanted to share your latest deviation from the Republican Party. As a way to get free press, it beats everything but public human sacrifice to Moloch. As a way to win the Republican nomination for President of the United States, it's up there with public human sacrifice to Moloch. (And, as you at one point endorsed worship of Moloch for scientific purposes, you already lost that portion of the base that understands the allusion.)

That you're clearly nuts isn't the problem; I don't know that we'd mind a nutter for the Presidency. The problem is that, to paraphrase a wag at the Washington Post Online seven years ago, you keep alienating a key constituency in the Republican Party: Republicans. Put differently: The general election happens second. You have to win the primaries first.

I really think you could have squared the circle and made everyone understand what you brought to the table; but history is sometimes prologue, and for you, it's every damned chapter.

Now, for the second coming of Huey Long: Governor Huckabee. I'd like to congratulate you on getting a core component of the Republican base to forget one of the most vital lessons of modern American politics: Never vote for the governor of Arkansas for anything. Now, as Texan, and son of Louisiana, I have to confess I'm perhaps disproportionately amazed at this feat, as we get to see you and yours on an unfortunately consistent basis. But credit where due: You're offering a lot of my fellow conservatives a cyanide pill, and they're begging for the chance to swallow it.

Your problems are two-fold, and in a sense, it's not fair for me to criticize you: You've only been on the radar for a little while, and haven't had the chance to lie yourself into a pretzel the way Mitt Romney has.

But, let's just get them out there: Your foreign policy instincts smell like Matt Stoller. I don't care what your positions are: You can, if you somehow miraculously secure funding, hire gurus to tell you what to think on each policy position; heck, hire a whole Potemkin Village of eminences grises for foreign policy, much as Giuliani has done for judges. Your instincts -- what you say off the cuff -- suggest to me that you should never be allowed near the big, shiny red button, and that you cannot be trusted not to Carter your way through foreign affairs.

The second problem -- and why I'm frightened you could win with enough funding -- is that I think real populism sells. The Democrats' immoral approach to human life and the social ills of our nation probably only buys them about a third of their general election support. Where they cash in is being massive redistributionists, and, as a son of Louisiana, I can see that healthy sparkle in your eyes. Combine an economically liberal approach to the world with social conservatism, and I think there's a guaran-damn-teed election winner right there.

And I'll go to my grave before I support you. Because even if that blood-marker Roe is overturned on your watch, I'll be fighting that war all over again in two decades. The growth of the welfare state and Federal power was a necessary precondition to Roe's dark birth. When you trust the government to tell you what rights you have and have not, it will give you whatever will keep you most passive. And dead children don't spark revolutions.

I stress that I don't doubt your pro-life bona fides in the slightest. I simply know as surely as I know the gray in my beard that your success would spell the death of the modern Republican Party, and that in turn would lead to the death of the Republic, together with those altars to Moloch I mentioned above.

No dice, preacher man.

And now, most painfully, we come to Fred! Ah, Senator Thompson. I say painfully because I would have loved to support you. Now I'm glad I didn't.

I have only two questions to ask.

(1) What the Hell is wrong with you?

(2) Why are you running some weird amalgam of Phil Gramm's and Bob Dole's 1996 campaigns?

Let's deal with the first. You had a ready, built-in, national base of support begging you to run. They waited. You waited. They waited. You announced and...

...let everyone decide you didn't want the job.

Now, before I go any farther: I think not wanting the job is a good thing. Part of what scares me about Mitt Romney, as with Al Gore, is that they have clearly wanted this job for basically their entire adult lives. That is unhealthy, and frightening. Bless you for not being unbalanced.

But the morons need to think you want the job, in no small part because they are morons. Humans, depressingly, want to be led. They want to think their leader wants to lead them. And unfortunately, far too many of these people watch the evening news, and vote in all sorts of elections where, were we a sane polity, we'd give them toy voting machines to use instead of allowing their votes to count. (All upside: Flashing lights and bells go off when they pull the lever, so they feel good, and their votes don't count, so we feel good.) And you have allowed the evening news to portray you as lazy and uninterested. You slept through the first debates after you entered.

Aphrodite's teeth and painted toenails, what is wrong with you? I mean, all of this bleeds into your campaign and how it's been run. (Second question segue.) Do you maybe remember that neither Gramm nor Dole won the Presidency, against one of the weakest Democrats to have the Presidency in a century? Your ideas and your positions are simply awesome. Your campaign is the weakest, most directionless, poorly organized thing you'll see outside of Ted Kennedy's bathroom every morning. Your run to the Presidency is not a coronation, and the media must be manipulated as any good campaign -- Hillary's, George W. Bush's, Ronald Reagan's, even the first Bill Clinton campaign -- does.

One of our Contributors, Bob Hahn, noted that how one runs a campaign tells you something about how the man at the head will run his Administration. (A better reason to stop Mitt Romney I can't imagine.) If this is true -- and the longer I think on it, I'm sure it is -- this is not only a searing indictment of every man running for the nomination from our side of the "v," it is a giant, glowing warning sign about your potential Presidency. We have had seven years of a Presidency that doesn't do message control. We don't need four more years of that.

In order words, with the last shreds of the respect I once had for you: You don't deserve to be on the stage with the other men, poor, sad, and wanting though they may be, because they did their homework. You have not.

You fail.

I could go on like this for days. I'd like to finish by noting where the fault for all this truly lies: In the voters. We allowed these men to think they had a chance. We encouraged them to be as weak and pathetic as they are, when on paper, we should be sitting in our best position in decades.

On our own heads shall be the results of the 2008 election. God have mercy on our souls, though we don't deserve it.

While I can agree with most of what you said, you might want to see someone. heh.
It's not all that bad Thomas, and don't count FDT out just yet, it is a question of if he is going to get his sea legs, and if so, will it be in time, I think he will.

That was entertaining. Much more so than the fatalism in your post-2006 election analysis.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

after reading that, maybe you really do need a break.

I believe Fred Thompson will be our next president. I probably wouldn't have run a campaign as he has, but you know what, sometimes crazy works.

Texas Proud and Texas Loud

Jeremiah 17:9.

I really wish I could much to disagree with up there, I really, really, really do.

I am a Positivist Pastafarian for the alliteration alone.

You musta got up on the wrong side of the bed the last two weeks and wrote that in pieces...

Nonetheless - a fair piece that dissects the candidates without insulting their supporters.

The Unofficial RedState FAQ
“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. ” - Martin Luther

The sad fact of the matter is that everything you said is true. I am a Fred Head and found your criticism of him spot there too.

The ugly truth is "where do we go from here?"

My support is staying with Fred because he is right on the issues, but unless something changes, it is a sinking ship. I am hoping it changes. I have nothing left to hold on too.

Your thoughts on where we go?

Wubbies World, MSgt, USAF (Retired):
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println("An argument is a sequence of statements aimed at demonstrating the truth of an assertion.); }

The glass is half empty. Thomas has an opinion piece basically saying that if Jesus isn't running the GOP is doomed.

It's just Thomas' opinion, that's all.

Look, where we go from here is not bashing our friends.

Thomas should be listing all the strengths of the candidates, and then pointing out where to change. OH, but wait, any candidate who changes is Flip Flopping right??

We used to let candidates grow a little on the campaign trail, but now we just harpoon any imperfections. It is my firm belief that all the negativity is caused by the FEAR of losing the white house to some really destructive Dem types. Our fear is not becoming and will make for a self fulfilling prophecy.

Stop the negativity, I tried to get Jesus to run, but he's busy with really important stuff. Until that time, we have to take imperfect mortals.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

of these guys win.

While you nail their faults, voting for Fred or Rudy will be a breeze.

John ... eh .. I'll close my eyes to a few things (not the least of which is losing another Senate seat).

Rudy and Huck... will be votes for "Better than Hillary"

And, of course, Recommended

There is no President but Lincoln, and Reagan is his prophet

I want everyone to read it. However, I find it difficult to recommend it because I happen to be very down on negativism right now. It's why I didn't recommend the Romney ENDA blog and why my last blog supported a candidate I don't even like very much. Maybe in the morning, I'll hit that button, but not now.

Mind you, I think your criticism of all the candidates, including my top two, is valid and important. But I'm worried that too many people are in danger of feeling negative on all our candidates, which may not stop them from voting for them, but it will damage our activism.

By the way, this:

Combine an economically liberal approach to the world with social conservatism, and I think there's a guaran-damn-teed election winner right there.

is something I think is very, very, very true. Ask Rick Santorum how dangerous that perspective can be in an election.

No one of good character leaves behind a wasted life - John McCain

I'd love to see someone do the same thing at Kos over on the Democratic side with the top 3. (Anyone beyond the top 3 is viewed like Duncan Hunter is on the GOP side).

since none of our candidates meets you idea of perfection, why don't you just join the Hillary campaign? Oh But wait! I am probably just one of those idiots you speak of who just cannot understand. It must be a real burden having all that insight and being so morally and intellectually superior to not only the rest of us, but to people who have been in public service their entire lives. So much hate, so much cynicism.

You will excuse us if we don't join in on the pity party.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

All she said was that pandering and lying about what they believe is going to get Hillary elected.

The powers at be don't care if it is Hillary or Giuliani or even Romney. The same people, hedge funders, and big business have supported them all.........including Murdoch.

You don't find that odd? You don't find that you are being told who to vote for, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.....the deck has been stacked.

Why are religious whackoes supporting Giuliani? Then ask yourself why true right to lifers are supporting Thompson?

Maybe because the far, far right mostly cares about their investments in offshore bank accounts laundering all that money in their Third World plantations and amusement parks.

" Got to love the Lord for making things like that."
Morally Compromised

Daniel 2:20 And he [God] changeth the times and seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.

this is probably one of the best blogs I've ever seen here.

Completely agree w/ your assessment of each candidate.


now...and holiday depression suddenly makes sense.

Excellent parting shot, Thomas.


Disclaimer: I am a member of a state-wide executive committee that is affiliated with Governor Mike Huckabee's campaign for the GOP presidential nomination

It is a shame to lose you as a contributor even more than it is a shame to lose you as an admin here.

Brilliant, incisive skewering of our candidates and summations of each of them that cut to the heart of why there is no clear front-runner nationally and in every region:

"Your policy positions and natural inclinations would have left you a Democrat anywhere but New York City or San Francisco."

"Al Gore's anima infused in a Ken Doll, and gifted with actual business sense."

"'ve so enjoyed playing up the maverick part of "maverick Republican" that you've neglected to show Republican voters that you're actually much more Republican than maverick.

"...the second coming of Huey Long: Governor Huckabee. I'd like to congratulate you on getting a core component of the Republican base to forget one of the most vital lessons of modern American politics: Never vote for the governor of Arkansas for anything."

"Your campaign is the weakest, most directionless, poorly organized thing you'll see outside of Ted Kennedy's bathroom every morning.

Brilliant, darkly funny, frightening and thought-provoking all rolled into one great read. I wish I could disagree with you, or offer some hopeful, positive words, or even dismiss what you've said as depression, sour grapes or an unrealistic desire for perfection in an imperfect word.

I can't though. You've summed up the mess we are in. And pointed forward to the much bigger mess we may be in later on in '08 and beyond.

And I say all this even though one of the candidates you skewered so effectively is someone I am supporting...

It is small, cold comfort that the Dems are in a somewhat similar mess as Hillary finds her annointing somewhat premature. Even if she goes on to win the nomination, as is probably most likely, she will be far more damaged by the primaries than we could have hoped.

And if Obama pulls an upset, it will be interesting to see if Clinton and Co. have their eyes on 2012 and how better it would be for Hillary to run against an incumbent Republican. And if because of all the in-fighting, Edwards goes on to win the nomination -- and what political hay could be made of the Democrats rejecting a woman and an African-American (and a Hispanic) in favor of a white, male lawyer...we really aren't in a good position to capitalize on what could be their dissaray.

Sad. And depressing. And all too true.

I'm looking back fondly to when it was morning in America.

Based on the candidates both parties are fielding in this election, and the divisions in our nation, it seems more like late afternoon in America, with evening approaching all too fast.

That in itself Sucks.

The oldest of all is my first choice.

McCain will be elected, if he is, for one reason: To Finish the Job of Iraq.

But he has presented no plausible way for us to pay for continuing this mission.

Universal Health Care is going to look quite affordable by comparison.

Is that he isn't proposing tax hikes? If it makes you feel any better, he doesn't seem to be all that serious about renewing those tax cuts he voted against.

Universal Health Care is going to look quite affordable by comparison.

You have to be joking. You know how much we're spending on just Medicare (which, as you probably know, is far from universal)? More than we are spending Iraq AND Afghanistan. And that's every year from here to eternity. It doesn't even wind down. Instead, it winds up. Medicare is expected to suck up 6.5% of our GDP by the year 2030. Universal health care would be the same deal, only magnified many times.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

But it always comes down to $$$$$.

When Billions become Trillions, expect more questions.

And Medicare is going to some American grandmother. That's why Medicare expenses are seen differently by the majority. Hey, even Medicare wastes, All Those Billions, stay at home.

It's a tough sell.

While some think that this group stinks (I don't, but then again I am not disagreeing with Thomas either - always look on the brights side of life), our BEST guys are actually too young right now or named Jeb. Pawlenty, Sanford, Barbour and most importantly, Jindal are all guys who have a legitimate shot at the presidency in the near future, and that's just off the top of my head. Throw in a few senators (who wouldn't love to see a Trainwreck presidential campaign?) and you have a deep bench for the GOP side, though most are batting AAA and are not quite ready for the majors, but will be shortly. We're fielding an aging team this year, but they can still play. Ok enough sports metaphors :)

Two thirds of the world is covered by water,
the other third is covered by Champ Bailey.

That in itself Sucks.

The oldest of all is my first choice.

You are aware McCain is not the oldest candidate running? You-know-who holds that honor.

I'm sure I could find something to disagree with, but where would be the fun in that? I especially like the Huey Long reference. I used it myself last week, I think. But you're closer to the source in Louisiana, apparently.

I wish I could say you are wrong about Fred, but you just wrote the words that express the ennui I felt as I watched Fred on Fox News Sunday yesterday. It was not an inspiring performance, and I agree that he is wasting a wonderful opportunity. He is approaching the elections with the soft mouth of a Labrador retriever, rather than going for the throat like a Jack Russell terrier on a rat.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

Good stuff. What is with the hate of Romney's campaign? This sounds like some behind the scenes sort of beef and I’m intrigued. I am voting for Romney and having only voted for Bush (twice) can say that I am much more excited about Romney. So what is the beef, I've heard all the flip flop stuff and plastic stuff, but this beef with his campaign sounds entirely new. Since Thomas won't likely respond, anyone else have a clue?

Rudy never tried to run from his record (for the most part)... I admired him (even though I disagreed) for running as a socially liberal, foreign policy conservative. I do believe he would have been a fiscon. However, his campaign strategy appears like it will be ill-conceived.

Romney, I agree.

Huck-disagree. He pulled middle class and poor people into the conversation for Republicans. It was about time. Our policies work for them, and someone forgot to tell them.

McCain-best chance we have to win the White House. Conservative enough, while appealing to the masses. His critics are silly if they think McCain will not be conservative enough.

Thompson-he simply will not win. Even if he did, I do not think he would be our best shot at winning.

I will say this. Despite the fact that we have no clear winner yet, I do believe we have a very talented pool--even Romney. Our nomination is a campaign of ideas. The Dems is simply a campaign of winning at any cost. I like the fact that we have a talented pool. While frustrating, it is one of the most interesting things Bush has done--he left no successor.

If you're not writing caustic novels or opinion for a living, you should be. You make great points and there's so much I agree with, but I end up wanting to shoot myself. What a sad state of affairs our party is in if most of what you say is true, and I find your criticisms milder by far than what spews from my own mouth some days.

You write like Ann Coulter, only focused on our side. Can you eviscerate the Dems? (Sorry if you have in the past and I missed it.) T'would be a sight to behold.

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

But instead of judging him for not bowing to the lowest common denominator, why not give him credit he thinks more of the real base of the GOP than to cow tow to religious extremists and wearing stupid hats to fit in.

Vote your conscience, not on how well you believe he is running his campaign (although for the life of me I can't figure out how Mary Matalin fits in, except to do exactly what you want...which is how Bush won).

Besides he won the senate seat in Tennessee with naysayers saying the same thing about him.

You know what I wish? I wish he'd drop he is the next best thing to Reagen. Reagen is dead and I voted for him twice, but Reagen really was a Democrat. I just want Fred Thompson.

Cow tow


Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

Envisioning when all that is Left is the Right.

The perfect Republican and the perfect Democrat do not exist. Unfortunatly,it is the pursuit of them that has caused the gridlock.

I am conflicted with your findings on Fred. Somewhat conflicted on MsCain (whom I do NOT support); and completely in accord with the remainder of your insights.

Despite Fred's obvious campaign faults, I believe we need to realize that he, and maybe McCain, are the only two in the Republican candidate cohort with a chance to shoulder into the forthcoming combined Dem/MSM massed assault - and survive to win. And, maybe - just maybe - give as good as they get.

Fred and Mac (or Mac and Fred) are doubtless our best chance to retain the White House and maybe gain a little in Congress.

Having said all this, let me also compliment you on the precision and impact of your views here. I enjoyed reading every word of this commentary - even those with which I am conflicted. One thing, however . . .

Your words compelled me to give my computer a 'TUMS for its 'tummy.' It isn't accustomed to so much vinegar and 'sauce' on the same plate.

Happy New Year!


De Opresso Liber

You even hit my top two favorites: Thompson and Romney. But they deserved it.

and I just wish that I could indeed find something in it with which to disagree.

In Vino Veritas

No matter what you've done, are doing, or will do.

But, hey! Soon you'll be able to start pretending that she was what you wanted all along. Just like you probably did with Kerry.


PS: You'll notice that your account isn't working anymore. You see, while we don't mind liberals posting here - and we also don't mind in the slightest the frantic masturbation that this post has caused over on your usual site - we do mind people trying to lie to us.

Do you understand? I can use shorter words, if you like.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

Thomas -

The election is not about you. It sure seems that your rant is about you being left behind.

In the real world of U.S. election politics you will find the GOP will continue in the White House.

Regards and best wishes . . . . .

Or do you think, as Fortune magazine does, that Hillary Clinton is a Republican?

Do you really think most of the people who support Romney around here are taking their orders from the campaign? Astroturfers? Geez.

Not that I wouldn't vote for 'None of the Above,' but I think you'd be better off leaving politics alone for a month or two until your equilibrium is restored.

The malaise evident in Thomas' assessment of the candidates is not only a serious disease, it is contagious as well. It is easy to see the flaws and deficiencies of each candidate and to pick apart their campaigns. I would agree with most of the objective analysis offered in this diary, however I don't want to join in the depressing sentiment lurking under the surface.

St. Augustine talked about politics as a kind of longing for the world to be more like the kingdom of heaven. We want our society to reflect our values and provide a peaceful fruitful life that enables us to experience some glimmers of the paradise to come. In that longing for a better society we will be disappointed because this world will always disappoint. But, it is worth the struggle to make it better and we must not give in to depression no matter how bleak the outlook or how flawed the standard bearer.

As Thomas has delineated, each of the top five candidates has serious weaknesses. However, each will be better than any of the Democrats. The office of President causes some to step up to the demands of the day and exert the leadership and decision making that is the mark of a true leader. The perspective of the Oval Office is different than any other and changes everyone privileged to occupy it.

Since policy is a dance between Congress and the White House and neither gets everything they want, I want to see who has the character to rise up to the challenges of leadership, practical and effective decision making, and principled vision that will carry them through the most difficult job in the world.

So far on the leadership question I think Romney and Guiliani have shown the kind of leadership that is a combination of principle and practicality necessary to be effective. McCain is there too, but is perhaps too willing to broker a deal when standing firm is the better position.

Huckabee and Thompson have both been disappointing on that score. Each is suffering from the draft me syndrome that feels good for awhile, but neither candidate can live up to the hype and expectations and ultimately cannot win the general election.

Romney and Guiliani have both contended and won in opposition territory, which is more reflective of the mixed opinions of the electorate as a whole. To that end I think they have the best chance of winning a general election.

The question for Republicans then is can we be enthusiastic in supporting either one? This is the point at which we must overcome the malaise of Thomas and support our candidate enthusiastically and help him win the election. I don't believe either one would signal the end of the Republican party or conservative politics. The party is changing and it must change by adapting the conservative principles to fit changing times. To that end I think Gingrich has the right vision for the next decade. We must demonstrate why conservative values are better for the country and better in governance. It would be naive to trust that such values will persist without continual advocacy and demonstration. My biggest problem with Bush is that he did not effectively showcase a conservative agenda.

We must rearticulate conservative values and a vision of sound government that is better than the easy populism of the Democrats. We must also elect conservatives to Congress to help make up for any deficiencies found in the White House.

I won't get the perfect candidate this time, but I am optimistic that we can retain the White House and regain some strength in Congress if we are smart and enthused and work hard for it between now and November '08.

--To remain free we must think freely.

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