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Barack Obama has-as has been written here before, a dire need to win over white blue collar voters. If he fails to do so, he will lose the election in the fall. Who could Obama choose that has appeal to the voters that he cannot seem to win, no matter how hard he tries. If David Brooks is to be believed, it could be former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn:
Obama will need a vice president who knows the millions of ways that power is exercised and subverted in Washington. He’ll need someone who can be a senior, authoritative presence in a cabinet that may range from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to the labor leader Andy Stern. He’ll need someone who can supervise his young reformers and build transpartisan coalitions more effectively than Obama has as senator.
Sam Nunn and Tom Daschle seem to fit the bill. Nunn is one of those senior Democrats (like David Boren and Bob Kerrey) who left the Senate lamenting the dumbed-down nature of modern politics. Daschle was more partisan as majority leader, but he is still widely trusted and universally liked. As experienced legislators, both could take Obama’s lofty hopes and translate them into nitty-gritty action.
Barack Obama has managed to cultivate an image among the non-political and lesser-informed of his supporters (of which there are many, especially among the young college crowd he caters to) that he is the candidate of "change." Since most of his speeches are filled with lofty rhetoric and very little discussion of hard policy, a lot of these folks really have no clue what Obama means-they just know that when he talks it sounds really good, and it makes them feel wonderful, so change is good, right?
Of course, Barack Obama has been rated as the most liberal Senator of 2007 by the non-partisan National Journal. Obama's more political supporters (read: those who have a clue) like my friend Sharon Cobb (active Obama supporter, blogger, and former NBC News correspondent), or Nashville Young Democrat activist Sean Braisted, have a good reason to support Barack Obama-they are as liberal as he is. They support his vision for America, and they are ready to back their man to the hilt-and they know what kind of change Barack Obama means. One really has to give people like Sharon, Sean, and other hard activists on the other side credit because they know what their goals are, and those goals (as much as I detest them politically) are something that they can clearly define. This has not been true of many so-called Obama supporters that I have dealt with. "Change" is something that sounds good to them, but when you start dealing with hard issues and policy, they are lost (in fairness, they display all of the traits of the typical apathetic-until-someone-sounds-good American voter-this isn't a new phenomenon).
Middle America isn't nearly that far to the Left on the political spectrum as Barack Obama or many of his supporters. There are folks in the Obama camp who know this, and are aware that at some point the issue of his extremist liberal voting record will come to the fore and could be used against him to great effect. Obama has a voting record that makes Ted Kennedy look conservative-a look at the stats shows Kennedy ranked far below Obama for liberalism within one's voting pattern. That could explain why Obama started abstaining from more and more Senate votes the closer he got to diving into this campaign.
Knowing that Obama's record is what it is, how can he win over the voters that he must convince in order to be victorious in November? The voters that Obama is losing in the primaries are not exacly people that you can convince to support you by telling them how liberal you are-Tennessee or West Virginia or Idaho are not San Francisco. Obama must neutralize a very powerful argument that he is too extreme for many Americans-Sam Nunn could be the great neutralizer.
Sam Nunn was-and remains-a moderate-to-conservative Democrat of the Southern school. He opposed the Clinton budget and economic plan of 1993 that led to the Republican Congressional landslide of 1994. He voted to over-ride Bill Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and supported the Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, he is one of the few such more conservative Democrats to have endorsed Barack Obama.
Nunn is also one of this country's leading experts on foreign policy, and he has traditionally been seen as a hawk (though he voted against the 1991 Gulf War). He could play a significant role in moderating Barack Obama's tendency to show his inexperience by proposing to negotiate key points with rogue regimes. He could have a tendency to balance out a candidate who may lose without showing any ability to move to the right.
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's book is creating waves in the press and among liberal Democrats-and certainly among both Democratic presidential candidates-but this morning I've taken the time to read an excerpt from McClellan's work. In it, we find that Scott McClellan feels the same way about the Bush Presidency that many conservatives do:
...Let me observe that much of what the general public knows about Bush is true. He is a man of personal charm, wit, and enormous political skill. Like many other people, I was inspired to follow him by his disarming personality and by his record as a popular, bipartisan governor who set a constructive tone and got things done for the people. We all hoped and believed he could do the same for the nation.
Certainly the seeds of greatness seemed to be present in the Bush administration. Although Bush attained the White House only after an extended legal battle over the outcome of the 2000 election, he began his presidency with considerable goodwill. He commanded a rare, extended period of national unity following the unimaginable national tragedy that struck our nation in September 2001.
I believed in George W. Bush’s leadership and agenda for America, and had confidence in his authenticity, integrity, and judgment. But today the high hopes that accompanied the early days of his presidency have fallen back to earth.
Although my time in the Bush White House did not work out as I once hoped, my optimism regarding America has been strengthened. I’ve met many, many people who are eager for positive change and are ready to devote their lives and energies to the future of our country. I still believe, in the words of then-Governor Bush, that it’s possible to show “that politics, after a time of tarnished ideals, can be higher and better.” I’m convinced that, if we take a clear-eyed look at how our system has gone awry and think seriously about how to ﬁx it, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.
Many Administration partisans are now attempting to say that Scott McClellan has an agenda of his own. Karl Rove has said that McClellan sounds like a left-wing blogger. I've only read a tiny portion of McClellan's book, but whatever may (or may not) have changed in McClellan's political views as a result of his White House experience, I do not believe McClellan is a liberal or is somehow out to do the bidding of the Left, or undermine the Republican Party in an election year (as some have accused him). I don't necessarily agree with McClellan's apparent notion that the partisanship we are seeing is a function solely of Washington (I think it is a function of a deeper cultural divide in our country that is reflected in the national political map and makeup), but I do think McClellan is as upset with the direction that this Administration has taken as many of us are-and we can't lie and say that it is all fine with us.
In 2000, many of us who voted for the President did so because he promised to pursue a domestic agenda in which many of us passionately believed. While it is quite understandable that the events of September 11, 2001 should have pushed the nation to war, we were primed for a fight in Afghanistan-a fight that has since taken second-fiddle to Iraq and has suffered as a result. The domestic agenda the President promised has largely fallen by the wayside along with the fight in Afghanistan.
How will McClellan's book impact the Republican Presidential campaign? Not as much, perhaps, as Democrats might like. John McCain has already distanced himself from policies such as warrantless wiretapping and other constitutionally questionable practices (a good thing-I despise the PATRIOT Act on purely constitutional grounds, and I think those conservatives who support it are being very short-sighted, since they easily forget that our political opponents would likely have no trouble using its provisions against us).
In years to come, conservatives will have to deal directly amongst themselves with the failures of this Administration and why they happened if our movement is to advance in the years ahead. Scott McClellan has merely decided, it would seem, that the time has come to start the discussion.
There are those who mistakenly believe that the failures of the Bush Administration mean that conservatism has somehow failed in this country. Conservative ideas have not failed, the Administration has instead been the failure because it has utterly refused to utilize the principles of real conservatism and apply those principles to problems. Neither the PATRIOT Act, nor the massive new Homeland Security bureacracy, nor the President's inaction to stablilize the money supply and the dollar reflect conservative ideas in the least. Conservatives should not abandon conservatism because the Administration has done so, but should instead seek its revival.
When conservative principles are brought to bear in a situation such as the country now faces, what is often seen is a great deal of short-term pain but long-term success. In the early days of Margaret Thatcher's premiership in Britain, she understood that the only way that she could get her country on the right track was to give it some economic and social medicine that would taste bad going down, but would work better than anything previously tried in the long run. The loudest opposition to the right course often came from within her own Conservative Party. "Turn if you like," she told her compatriots, "the Lady's not for turning."
Conservatives need to re-establish the principles of limited government and personal responsibility that made the movement work in this country. People want the truth, and conservatives ought to give it to them, rather than paint a rosy picture merely for the sake of winning an election.
I am not a conservative of convenience, but one of the heart and soul. I believe in conservatism because I know that it is right-it will always be proven right both now and in the world to come. There is no question of its ideological, social, and spiritual superiority to all other thought systems. I believe in conservative principles because they are rooted in the truth, not merely because it is an ideology that some people in a certain political party to which I happen to belong embrace when it is advantantageous to do so. Conservatives must remember that the failures at the present time are not due to conservatism, but have occured because people have failed to follow the conservative path.
The Democrats are attempting to make political hay over John McCain's non-press political fundraisers with the President. Barack Obama is attempting to say that the reason these events are closed to the press is because McCain does not want to be seen with the President in public, as it will somehow re-inforce the notion that McCain is tied to Bush. Indeed, both Obama and Hillary Clinton are doing their level best to paint John McCain as "George Bush's third term."
News flash: These two men don't like each other in the least, and all indications are that McCain despises the President. The argument that it is somehow shadowy that McCain has had a private fundraiser with the President rings hollow when one considers that Democratic presidents have done the same sort of thing in areas where being seen with certain Congressional candidates makes those candidates political pariahs. What John McCain has done may be an unfortunate practice, but it is not in any way an unusual one.
Anyone who has ever run for office, whether for a small office or a very significant one, will tell you that as a candidate you have to take any legally raised money that you can get. So long as the cash is raised in a legally appropriate way and doesn't come from Nazis or Communists (or similar characters), a candidate has got to be willing to take the money. The reason is because your opponent won't care where they get their money, so long as they have it and can use it against you. Attempting to somehow tie McCain to the President because the President had a private fundraiser for the Republican nominee is extremely disingenuous-both the President and McCain are trying to play the loyal Republican-the President by staying out of the public eye where McCain is concerned, and McCain because base Republicans like myself who have always been loyal to the GOP already (rightly) question McCain's loyalty to the party. John McCain needs to show us that he is willing to sacrifice for the sake of the party, just as the party has often asked us to hold our noses and sacrifice for it.
It is disingenuous of Democrats to make too much political hay over something that they would do if the political situation were reversed-they've had private fundraisers before. Reality never stopped the Left from running their mouths, however.
My saying this shouldn't be seen as a defense of the President. I was opposed to the Iraq War from the beginning, and when other conservatives were calling me crazy for saying that starting a war in Iraq would undermine our progress in the Afghan theatre and the overall War on Terror, I maintained that Iraq was a huge political as well as military blunder. I've been proven right on that score several times over the last five years, and former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book seems to confirm my original opposition yet again.
The problem now is that we can't simply withdraw our forces from Iraq with our tails between our legs and expect the problem there to go away. To do so would create a foreign policy disaster on a parallel with Jimmy Carter's handling of the Iran Hostage Crisis, and would simply bolster our enemies around the world with the notion that all they need to do is push the squishy Americans just long enough, and the Americans will run away. For the sake of our national security, we simply cannot afford any strategy that gives comfort to our enemies-period. The United States cannot withdraw forces from Iraq without some kind of settlement in place at this point that allows us to declare victory and mean it. Unilateral withdraw without such an arrangement will likely create multiple crises in the Middle East that could explode at once. If Barack Obama, his advisors, or the Left of the Democratic Party cannot see that (and I think they do, they would just never admit it) then they are all living in Cloud-cukoo-land.
Yesterday I discussed the political scenario within the Republican Party that could unfold if John McCain were to lose to Barack Obama. As nasty as that sounds to those of us who consider ourselves conservative bona fides and rock-ribbed Republicans, the situation within the party opposite if Obama should lose in November will be unlike anything the Democrats have experienced since the 1950's and 1960's, and would rock that party to its core:
Now, let's turn to the Democrats, a loss by potential nominee Obama would arguably be more catastrophic to the short-term future of the Democrats than a McCain loss would be for the GOP.
Why? Because the Democrats are supposed to win.
But whatever the reason, losing is not an option and an Obama loss would bring out the long knives inside the party walls.
This bitterness between the Clinton and Obama factions will be very personal and very bitter, opening up the possibility for a third faction to develop, one that will argue that Clinton and Obama were both too divisive to win.
This group could, ironically, be led by folks like Al Gore and John Edwards, two other failed presidential candidates in their own right.
Bottom line on the Democrats: an Obama loss would create a nasty, personal fight inside the party that the media will obsess about because the characters are so television friendly.
Conservatives cannot pretend that the present Administration is popular-it is not, and there are good conservative reasons why that is the case. Not only has the President shown a propensity to spend uncontrollably, but he led us into a war in Iraq that we soon collectively discovered was unnecessary (and now can't afford to lose because of what that would do to bolster our enemies in the Arab world), and presides over an economy that is in a badly weakened state. These kinds of circumstances are what generally keeps conservatives home during an election, since they don't want to endorse failed liberal policies or a candidate many don't see as a conservative at all.
In any ordinary year, we would not be discussing whether the Democrats would win in November, but by how much they would win. Conservative Republicans like me would be giving serious thought to how the GOP could stop the bleeding.
The polls are so far showing that this is no ordinary year, however. What is developing is an extremely tight national race, with the sum of all polls being within the margin or error. Further, State-by-State polls in nearly every Southern State and in several key electoral battleground States (including this one), show that McCain could win a sizable majority in the electoral vote. An Obama loss is a serious possibility in November.
Because Democrats won control of Congress in 2006 by running some unusually conservative candidates in key seats-and they plan to repeat this tactic in 2008-Congressional results can't really be seen as an indicator that the country is taking a dramatic turn to the Left. If Barack Obama were to lose, it could be seen as a serious rebuke to the social philosophy of the modern Democratic Party. In a year that they should win decisively, to lose would cause Democrats to re-examine the party's ties to the radical Left-failure to do so could mean more losses.
The Obama camp cannot expect disgruntled conservatives to stay home in numbers. I've spoken with too many conservatives who tell me that they dislike McCain, but will do whatever it takes to stop Barack Obama. Combine this group with the Democrats who say they are voting for McCain (at least one I spoke with told me that they've never voted Republican, but will this year) because of Obama, and Hillary supporters who vote for McCain in protest, and Obama has powerful political numbers aligned against him.
If Barack Obama loses in November, it may not just precipitate a Democratic Party civil war, but a complete restructuring of the Democratic Party as a political entity.
Every time that I see this address at the beginning of the movie Patton, I am reminded of why I am proud to be a conservative. Others are willing to hold hands and sing Kumbuya with the enemies of America. The rest of us are willing to fight those enemies. If I were asked to do it I would gladly give my life to bring about the defeat of those enemies.
Today is all about those men and women who did make that ultimate sacrifice for the defense of the Republic.
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd has hit the nail on the head when he says that "civil war" awaits the loser of the 2008 Presidential Election. On the Republican side, Todd hypothesizes who will fight for control of the GOP should John McCain come up on the short end:
Expect the loudest critics to be movement conservatives.
They'll claim that McCain was doomed from the start because he failed to win the hearts and minds of conservatives during his primary run.
And because conservatives were letdown by primary results, they never came around for him in the general election.
These folks will make their point by claiming the follwing: McCain won the Republican nomination without the significant support of any movement or social conservatives.
Think about his primary wins which set the stage for wrapping up the nomination.
They occurred in New Hampshire (where he was buoyed by an influx of independents), South Carolina (where social conservatives split their support three ways between, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney) and Florida (where moderate Gov. Charlie Crist threw his considerable political muscle behind turning out casual — translation: moderate — Republicans).
He didn't win a single important primary where he proved he could win over social conservatives.
John McCain's biggest difficulty is that he does not unite the conservative movement behind him, but instead causes conservatives to mistrust or have an outright dislike of the Republican nominee. McCain's choice of a running mate could help him win, only because many conservatives believe that whoever McCain's Vice President happens to be could be the next Commander-in-Chief.
If Mike Huckabee is on the ticket with McCain and the ticket goes down to defeat, Rockefeller Republicans will attempt to blame Huckabee's presence on the ticket for the loss. The reality will likely be more unease with McCain than Huckabee among the party base, and one would hope that a McCain defeat would teach the national GOP that they should never again nominate anyone but a bona fide conservative. Much will depend on who John McCain's running mate happens to be. If the man chosen really is Mike Huckabee, than Huckabee people will likely be wondering how a McCain loss would impact Huckabee's 2012 chances. One thing a McCain loss would likely do is solidify conservative control of the Republican Party for 2012
Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory, Of His flesh the mystery sing, Of the blood, all price exceeding, Shed by our immortal King, Destined, for the world’s redemption, From a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless virgin, Born for us, His love to show, He, as man, with man conversing, Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow; Then He closed in wondrous fashion, This His life on earth below.
On the night of that Last Supper, Seated with His chosen band, He, the paschal victim eating, First fulfills the law’s command; Then as food to all His brethren Gives Himself with His own hand.
Christ, the Word made Flesh, by speaking, Earthly bread to flesh He turns; Wine becomes His blood so precious— Unconceived in human terms! Hearts sincere perceive this marvel; Faith its lessons quickly learns.
Down in adoration falling, This great sacrament we hail; Over ancient forms of worship Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith tells us that Christ is present When our human senses fail.
To the everlasting Father, And the Son Who made us free, And the Spirit, God proceeding, From them each eternally, Be salvation, honor, blessing, Might and endless majesty.
A conservative journal of social, cultural, and ecclesiatical affairs grounded in a realistic Catholic Christian worldview. It is my hope that this site will be a reflection of Christ,the teachings of His Holy Church, and of the basic vision of a Christian social morality.