The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Worst. Headline. Evah.

Posted on | November 17, 2010 | 15 Comments

Some things make you want to gouge your eyes out:

Murkowski now has apparently insurmountable lead of 10,000+ votes

When I saw that at Hot Air Headlines, I knew that it was time to confront this ugly reality head-on.  That dreadful excuse for a human being has been re-elected, and we must ask ourselves, “Why?”

Let me remind you of a headline from Oct. 5:

Palin Backers Suspect Huckabee Loyalists on Joe Miller Staff Behind E-Mail Leak

Other observers will analyze this campaign in detail, but the essence of what seems to have happened is that somebody on Team Joe got the clever idea that what they needed to do was to “distance” their candidate from Sarah Palin.

This was a tragic miscalculation. In a two-way campaign against the Democrat Scott McAdams, perhaps, the Republican candidate might have wished to avoid being seen as a Palin proxy. But once Murkowski’s write-in campaign became a viable enterprise — a development that I certainly never expected — any attempt to “distance” Miller from Palin was clearly counter-productive. For Miller to offend the pro-Palin vote was to alienate the very voters who were essential to his election.

Whether there is any truth to the widespread suspicion that pro-Huckabee members of Team Joe were responsible for the Miller campaign’s blunders, the lesson in the end is the same: In politics, as folks say down home, it is always best to “dance with the one that brung ya.”

Is there any silver lining here, any cause for cheer? Not much, although some may take encouragement from the fact that the Democrat got just 23% of the vote. Still, we are left with the inescapable fact that some 40% of Alaskans cast write-in votes for an unprincipled pro-abortion pork-barrel Republican.

And John Cornyn, who congratulated her on her re-election, was unanimously re-elected chairman of the NRSC.


UPDATE: “My precioussss.” The power-crazed bitch blames Jim DeMint for the NRSC’s blundering away the Senate majority — a majority which, as William Jacobson has pointed out, would have been utterly useless to accomplish anything meaningful in terms of advancing a conservative agenda.

Here you have the mile-deep taproot of my disagreement with those who claim that, by backing Miller, Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, et al., conservatives lost the oportunity for a GOP majority in the Senate. That this is supposed to be the sophisticated intellectual belief sticks in my craw for several reasons:

  • A Republican majority in the Senate was always a longshot. Simply as an exercise in political math, it was hard to calculate a way for Republicans to get to 51 seats.
  • Carly Fiorina. Hello? The establishmentarians got their dream candidate in California and what was the result? 43 percent. It is therefore difficult to credit the GOP Establishment with a monopoly on political wisdom.
  • A 51-seat Senate majority isn’t too useful from a policy perspective. The supermajority requirement of 60 votes for cloture prevents the Senate Majority Leader from exercising the kind of all-or-nothing power enjoyed by the Speaker of the House. This was why the election of Scott Brown as the “41st vote” was so important, a fact that some of our sophisticated intellectual friends seem to have forgotten.

Under current circumstances, with Obama in the White House, a narrow Senate majority for Republicans is even more problematic than it was during the Bush years. This is another thing that seems to have slipped down the Memory Hole for our sophisticated friends. Throughout the Bush presidency, the administration always began its policy calculations with the question: How can we get 60 votes in the Senate for it?

The result was a tendency toward pre-emptive triangulation, where any legislation  Republicans wanted to get passed had to be loaded up with enough goodies for Democrats to get past the cloture hurdle. Much mischief in the way of GOP “brand damage” can be blamed on that tendency, because whatever the Bush administration did was labeled “Republican” and reflexively defended by conservatives.

(Hey, am I the only one who remembers when conservatives opposed federalization of airport security, until political geniuses in the Bush administration decided that Republicans must support federalization of airport security? Think about that, the next time you’re getting groped by TSA.)

A slender Republican Senate would be automatically compromised as a policy vehicle by the presence of GOP liberals like Snowe and Collins, and the addition of Mike Castle to the RINO Caucus would only aggravate that problem. You would have an ostensibly “Republican” Senate pre-ordained to sell out in a heartbeat to whatever Obama wanted, with GOP spokesmen compelled to go on TV and praise this awful legislation (as such compromises inevitably are) as a great idea.

Have conservatives learned nothing from their experiences when Bob Dole and Trent Lott were dealing with Clinton in the 1990s? My argument is not that there would have been no advantage to a 51-seat GOP majority, but rather that the disadvantages are obvious enough that it’s wrong for pundits to act so butt-hurt over the failure to achieve that majority.

Furthermore — and I’m going to come right out and make this accusation as plain as possible — a lot of the people bitching and moaning about Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle are really aiming at Sarah Palin, because they desperately don’t want her to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2012.

There, I’ve said it. And please, my sophisticated friends, stop pretending that the rest of us are too stupid to see what you’ve been up to, and also stop pretending that we are unaware of the potential downside of a Palin 2012 campaign.

And since this little update will probably spark a new round of flame-wars, let me go ahead and take it thermonuclear: Do you really think that Sarah Palin is so stupid or such an egotistical prima donna that she is unaware of the downside potential of a 2012 presidential campaign?

When Sarah Palin says she wants what’s good for America, good for the Republican Party and good for the conservative cause, I take her seriously. I think she is capable of weighing the positive and negative factors of a 2012 campaign and making rational decisions. I think she’s probably going to run — I fully expect her to be at the first debate at the Reagan Library this spring — but I also think that, if the primary campaign develops to her disadvantage, she’d drop out of the race and support the winner.

Therefore, my sophisticated friends, your attempts to pre-emptively undermining Palin by blaming her by proxy for the loss of a GOP Senate majority signals that you are afraid you can’t muster enough primary votes to stop her in 2012.

But we’re too stupid to see that, I suppose.

All through the 2010 campaign, I tried to discourage readers from the distracting temptation of looking forward to the 2012 presidential campaign. And what I’d like to do at this point is to ask that readers try to avoid that distraction even now.

Forget about the presidential campaign, and let’s focus on getting good conservative challengers to the 22 Democrat Senate incumbents who will be defending their seats in 2012. We might also think about primary challengers for any weak-kneed Republican Senators who would be an obstacle to a conservative agenda should we get a GOP Majority Leader in the next election.

Finally, I remind you of what a GOP operative said to me after that treacherous bastard John Cornyn endorsed Charlie Crist:

“All they care about is getting their chairmanships back, and they don’t care how they get there.”

They didn’t get there, did they? And don’t expect me to shed any tears over their failure.


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