Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Raising McCain, Hillary

New Hampshire results are in; Clinton edged out Obama while McCain walloped Romney. Edwards was in a distant third (and Richardson, sadly, barely registered), and Huckabee. Giuliani and Paul both finished around 10%. No other Democratic candidate polled well.

First off, I think we can safely say that Thompson is finished. I don't care how little you put into a primary; finishing in the Duncan Hunter Division means you're pretty much done. And it looks like Paul was hurt by those accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia/general asshattery that surfaced right before the vote.

Second, I'd like to caution people not to lose sight of Rudolph the Red-Faced Mayor. He'll be a factor in FL, MI, and the Feb. 4 states - I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him pull this one out. No one seems to be noticing him, and that's dangerous.

Third, a note on McCain, since he's clearly the biggest story here. I watched a bit of his victory speech, and he made a point to state that he deeply respected the Democrats and their volunteers because they are doing what they believe is best for the country, just like him. It's an obvious sentiment, but think about it - could you see any other candidate making a statement like that? Obama, maybe, but beyond that? Especially at this stage of the game, when candidates are trying to make appeals to their conservative/liberal base? This is why I'm conflicted about McCain. On the one hand, he's the most agreeable Republican - he's hard right, but he's a smart hard right, and I guess I can forgive him for the obnoxious Woodstock crack that I've been holding against him since he made it. I wouldn't complain too loudly about a McCain victory in November. On the other hand, he's about the only Republican at this point that could beat Randomly Selected Democrat in November.

Fourth, if the Dems are down to two (like it seems), I'll be backing Obama. I like Hillary, and I think she's got a brilliant mind for policy, well-thought-out proposals, the know-how to bring her ideas to fruition, and none of the ideologial rigidity that would stand in the way of progress. I would support her if she got the nod, no doubt. But I have to support Obama because a Hillary Clinton administration would probably be run with the same secrecy and cynical partisan politicking that characterized the Bush administration, and we don't need more of that. I trust Obama to be open and conciliatory to the folks across the aisle more than I trust Clinton to do the same. If her campaign can dissuade me from that notion, I'll switch, but until then, I'll support Obama.


Ben said...

For the first time, I just now noticed that John McCain's name is similar to Die Hard protagonist John McLane.

Yippee Kay-yay.

Mike said...

Sure, McCain's more than capable of making stupid wisecracks (Woodstock I forgive and in fact agree with to a large extent, but "Bomb-bomb Iran"? Please.) But I sure like the guy. I liked him in 2000 and I like him now, certain (unfortunately pragmatic) panderings to the Religious Wrong notwithstanding.

I'm rooting for a McCain vs. Obama matchup, mainly because I would actually be forced to make a choice. Just about any other Pub makes me vote Dem, except I like neither Hillary nor Edwards, so it would likely be Libertarian party for me, which is no fun.

Now that Richardson's out, I'm strongly rooting for him or Biden as the Vice President on the Dem ticket, because either one brings vastly more foreign policy experience than the remaining candidates. I think an Obama-Richardson ticket would be hard to beat.

On the other hand, I worry a McCain nomination might yield a Huckabee VP nod, which at least makes things easier for me because I would be hard-pressed to vote for a ticket with Huckabee on it. Maybe McCain-Paul? How much would that rock?

Anyway, it's way too early to speculate, but it's also way too fun.

Jeff said...

Mike, you raise an interesting point - McCain's VP selection will actually be fairly important because, not to put to fine a point on it, he's really freakin' old. I'd be cool with McCain, but I don't want Huckabee within twenty miles of the White House, much less a heartbeat.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Actually, Huckabee said pretty much the exact same thing as McCain about respecting the Democratic candidates (and I'm pretty sure he said it first). I don't get the deep-seated hatred of Huckabee. Did he say something stupid about evolution? Yes. Other than that? He's a republican who thinks Bush's foriegn policy is arrogant, who talks - like Obama - about moving beyond left vs. right politics, and who isn't beholden to big corporations.

I like McCain from the Republicans too, but I don't understand the great distaste for Huckabee.

Jeff said...

I don't dislike Huckabee on any personal level. But there are several reasons why I don't want him to be President, and among them are:

1) He's a tool of the Religious Right, the same people who have been poisoning our politics with red herring culture-war issues and encouraging people to be okay with government intrusion into the way we live our lives. Huck's a nice guy but he's still a culture warrior, and I can't trust a culture warrior to move us beyond left v. right politics.

2) He has an incredibly goofy - and regressive - tax plan that demonstrates that a) he hasn't thought about the ramifications of his policy stances all that well and b) he has no idea how to get anything done in Washington, i.e. incrementally. This is in contrast to Clinton, who has parsed her policy stances to their last word, and Obama, who doesn't have any policy stances. Both options are better than naive rigidity.

3) On a more indescribable level, he seems like Bush. He talks about being a uniter, but he's hard right all the way. He seems likeable, but I'm also not sure I'd trust him with my life - which is what you have to do with a President.

Ben said...

I like how I'm the only one who made an utterly frivolous comment.

Okay, Mike...I don't get it. What don't you like about Hillary Clinton? Edwards I get....he's a populist and you've got libertarian leanings. (Of course, that's what makes me like him and what makes me cringe at the thought of Ron Paul being anywhere near the White House, despite his anti-abortion, anti-war leanings.)

But Clinton? She's centrist, competent, intelligent.....what's not to like? I mean, I get that she's the bogeyman to the Right as much as Bush is to the Left, but why do you - Mike - hold her in such disdain?

Matthew B. Novak said...

I guess I understand your reasons for disliking Huckabee on a level of "if they were true they'd make sense", but I don't see any truth to them.

Is he a social conservative who's pro-life and anti-same-sex marriage? Yes. Does that make him a tool of the religious right? No. Their tool - specifically designated as such - was Thompson. He's gone nowhere. And though the religious right pushes those issues, a huge swath of mainstream America agrees with the religous right on some major socially conservative issues. Huckabee is more of a mainstream guy who happens to have socially conservative views than he is an idealogue.

2. The tax policy is a little troubling, yes. I'm not a really fan of it. But it's probably not a realistic threat to happen, and at least he's all about not taxing the poor and putting more of the burden on the wealthy.

3. I don't think he seems like Bush one bit. He talks about modesty and humility and listening to others. He talks about not playing partisian politics in an intelligent way (much like Obama), unlike Bush's simplistic "uniter" approach.

Thing is, I "get" your reasons, but they just don't ring true for me. And that's why I'm so puzzled. People who don't like Huckabee seem to think it'll be a third term of Bush, but if you listen to the guy for 2 minutes you can see that's not what we'd be getting. Bush is a president ruled by corporate interests and warhawks. Huckabee is nothing like that.

Matthew B. Novak said...

All this pro-Huckabee stuff aside, I still like Clinton and McCain. I could get on board behind any one of these three candidates, and Clinton would probably get my vote over either Republican (but that's a long way off).

Kenny said...

Today for the first time I read somebody actually defending Huckabee’s tax plan:

I was surprised that it actually made some sense, but the gist is that an income tax is only different from a sales tax in that it takes the tax up front, and by taking the tax on the back end, it’s essentially just like an unlimited IRA, which a lot of economists, according to the article, think is great.

McCain/Huckabee is the (D)s worst nightmare.

Mike said...

So much to say...

Ben, to answer your question about Hillary, the main problem is her last name. This year's incoming college freshman will never have know a president not named Bush or Clinton. I don't want them to graduate the same. The whole thing smacks of monarchy. In addition, Hillary is still a very divisive figure, and that's the last thing we need in our next president. Finally, I'm a fan of looking ahead, not back. I don't want to revert to the Clinton years. And besides, my former disdain for her has softened greatly over the past few months. I certainly agree with all your statements about her competency. I wouldn't flee to Canada were she elected. But I would still have a difficult time voting for her.

Matt, you're not looking at this from a non-Christian perspective. While I do not believe by any means that Huckabee is a "tool" of the Religious Wrong, as Jeff states, he is undoubtedly a member. And honestly, the thought of a former minister in the White House worries me too. Certainly it should suggest he would be moral and honorable, though that's not always the case. But to me, it feels like it would go too far towards diminishing the separation between church and state, and bring our country even closer to theocracy. Just my opinion. Please note, I have nothing against Huckabee personally, he seems like a great guy and he's a music lover. Nor do I have anything against Christian ministers; I frequently play softball and beer pong with one. But still, theocracy man, theocracy.

But finally, I think Kenny's right: the Dems would have a hard time beating a McCain/Huckabee ticket. But Obama/Richardson would still be quite compelling.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I very much doubt your fears of theocracy are well-founded. Especially given this thing called "The Constitution".

I'd also point out that people had the exact same fears about Kennedy.

I'm of the mind that generally speaking religious fears are enormously exaggerated. Whether they're fears of our free exercise being eliminated (Religious right), or fears of having religion imposed (strong secularist left) doesn't matter. No one in government really wants to accomplish one or the other, and neither would be able to anyway.

Mike said...

I'm not seriously worried about our government turning into a theocracy, I just don't like the way our government begins to resemble one once we elect a former preacher to the White House.

As for that whole "Constitution" thing, that hasn't really been too much of an affront to our current president, so...