Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Taking Some Time in the Wilderness

To many of the folks over at NRO's The Corner, the prospect of a McCain sweep today is being looked at rather like a hangman's noose. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the conservative movement would be better off spending 4-8 years "in the wilderness" under a President Hillary than under a President McCain. The theory is, that with a clear foe in the White House, conservatives would have to go off and re-group and come up with new ideas.

While I normally enjoy National Review a great deal, I've been having an oddly distant feel reading their election coverate lately. Perhaps part of this is that while many of their regular writers seem to have latched onto Romney as the best way of avoiding McCain, I'm unclear in my mind as to whether Romney would actually govern noticably more conservatively than McCain. Yes, he's running to the right of McCain at the moment, but given he re-invention over the last couple years, I'm not sure how solidly I believe it. President Bush has not governed as a movement conservative, and I suspect that Romney would, if anything, be even less so than Bush.

Now, McCain is clearly not a movement conservative either. The difference is, everyone seems pretty clear on that. Given the fits they're having about him at the moment, it seems to me that conservative writers should be motivated by a McCain presidency to go off, do some thinking, and come up with some direction which has in many ways been lacking since the days of the Contract With America. With a President Romney, on the other hand (assuming he could even win the White House, which I kind of doubt) I fear we'd have another case of conservative writers spending much of their efforts running cover for a president who is not actually governing that conservatively.

In other words, couldn't we spend our time in the wilderness under a President McCain rather than a President Hillary?

Call me crazy, but I think McCain would do much less damage to the country than Hillary would. And unlike the prospect of a Giuliani presidency, I don't think that McCain winning would do long term damage to the political alignment of the Repulican party. McCain is made possible by the unique blend of his biography, his perceived (and sometimes real) centrism, and his clear representation of a break with the unpopular current administration. (With disapproval ratings for Bush around 65%, there are clearly Republicans who don't think he's doing a good job as well as Democrats.)

That said, since we don't vote here till March 4th, I'm currently sitting and waiting to see what will happen by then. My interest in a McCain nomination is partly a reflection of not being greatly impressed with any of the candidates.


Jay Anderson said...

Excellent analysis. While I'm not exactly inclined toward McCain, I'm even less so toward Romney.

Jim said...

You guys are off your rockers. Bush has done untold damage to this country in the last 8 years. We don’t need more of the same. Maybe Hillary was right, it took a Clinton to clean-up after Bush I, maybe we need a Clinton to clean-up after Bush II.

Darwin said...

Real analysis please...

There simply wasn't any "clean up" do to after George H. W. Bush -- the economy was coming back out or recession just fine on its own before Clinton even came into office.

An in 2004, there was an attempt to act as if Bush's policies had somehow created an economic disaster -- except that he was re-elected and we got four years of generally strong economic growth that are only gradually softening now.

Honestly, there is far too much credit often given to the current office holder when it comes to the economy. I'm not sure the direct actions of any president since 1988 have had a strong directional effect on the economy.

Bender said...

It could very well be over by March 4. Even so -- it is a LONG time until the general election - nine long months. So, no need to pledge any votes for McCain at this point.

To be sure, if the polls are not very close on a state-by-state basis the weekend before Election Day, if a nominee McCain is not up more than 2 points or down more than 2 points, the outcome will not be close, no matter how one votes, so there would be no need to "hold your nose" and violate your conscience in order to vote McCain, and you could safely stay home.

Darwin said...

Fair point -- though I don't know that my nose would have to be all that tightly clenched to vote for McCain.

I'm not as bothered by his positions on immigration and campaign finance reform as some, and my big hope is that he would be the right person to get spending back under control in a big way. Something which, sad to say, the conservative movement has not made more than token noise about lately.

My big concerns with him center around pro-life issues, most especially ESCR and judges. If I see some reassurance on that, I could be moderately enthusiastic for him.

Jay Anderson said...

"Maybe Hillary was right, it took a Clinton to clean-up after Bush I, maybe we need a Clinton to clean-up after Bush II."

Because the previous Clinton really "cleaned" things up, didn't he?

With all the scandals and BJs and destruction of political enemies and hostility toward traditional values, Slick didn't so much "clean up" after the last Bush, as turned out to be the turd between two Bushes.

It's interesting that so many in his own party have finally caught on to the Clinton schtick and are now distancing themselves from that set of grifters.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that 71% of Republicans approve of President Bush's performance, compared to about 10% of independents and 5% of Democrats.

Clearly, Republicans are out of touch with the rest of the country. In fact, it may be that the reason they dislike McCain is precisely because he is in touch with the electorate.


Kyle R. Cupp said...

I don't welcome a McCain presidency, but I think I could tolerate it.

And not being above schadenfreude, I am enjoying Mark Levin's temper tantrums over the prospect.