The Democrats: Slate’s smart and moderate Mickey Kaus says the best thing for Obama’s campaign would be for him to become the (black) anti-affirmative action candidate, not so unlike the suggestion I made recently. It would certainly be a neat way of underscoring the idea that Hillary is both the establishment candidate and the scary-leftist in this campaign, not him.
The Libertarian Party: As if engaged in self-parody, the LP candidates who have thus far declared (with the nominee to be chosen in May in Denver) are (a) a gambling odds-maker, (b) a California pot-smoker with cancer, (c) a Northeastern antiwar physics professor, and (d) a dopey-sounding businessman who wants the FDA to extract more money from pharmaceutical companies (which doesn’t seem very libertarian to me). The gambling odds-maker, Wayne Allyn Root, actually strikes me as the most credible, which isn’t saying much. So — unless they throw a Nader-sized wrench into the election by drafting Ron Paul — that brings limited-government fans back, wearily, like an abused spouse, to…
The Republicans: It’s looking like Florida’s primary tomorrow may confirm it’s a two-man race between McCain and Romney on the Republican side, so, in one order or the other, perhaps they’ll both end up on the ticket.
•Huckabee, it seems, was acceptable only to the religious-partisan Republicans and Giuliani only acceptable to the Republicans (like me) who don’t much care about religion (this blog’s “Month Without God” begins this Friday, after all). A gung-ho Catholic-conservative co-worker and I pretty much demonstrate why neither Huckabee nor Giuliani can win: though we’re both registered Republicans, I’ve vowed not to vote for Huckabee, and she’s vowed not to vote for Giuliani. The End for both of them, I think, though I’m no polling agency, and my co-worker and I are admittedly a sample of N = 2.
•We do have a perpetually BlackBerry-checking co-worker who’s gung-ho for Giuliani, and I couldn’t help thinking of him when Peggy Noonan wrote recently that Giuliani struck her as having a large number of supporters at an appearance of his she attended over the summer, but they all seemed to be ignoring Giuliani and checking their BlackBerrys — instead of getting fired up like, say, Huckabee supporters. The New York fiscal-conservative candidate has to fit into some very tight, cold-hearted yuppie schedules, whereas I’ll bet, say, Kuncinich supporters have a lot more spare time on their hands to fan the flames of political passion.
•So, if fiscal conservatives want to have a real impact, perhaps our (pathetic) fallback position at this point has to be voting for Romney, the one candidate who can fend off McCain (though we may regret that, if Romney fares worse in the general election, since we’ll need those independents who love McCain — and if McCain merely becomes v.p., it seems unlikely he’d be young enough to run for president after a Romney administration, whereas Romney works just fine as a “legacy” for President McCain). As a friend of mine said (indeed, the same one who posed the “sweetest taboo” question in my prior blog entry), the tough McCain/Romney choice is sort of a choice between a man who seems to believe some conservative things strongly and some liberal things strongly vs. a man who doesn’t seem to believe much of anything strongly. Hard to decide which is worse.
Romney 2008: Given the ambiguity, though, perhaps in next week’s New York primary I should at least cast a vote for the man in that pair who is more widely perceived as fiscally-focused — Romney — to help pull the Republicans some small way back toward focusing on the economic issues that should be their strength instead of the war/populist stuff that may only lead to more trouble.
All right, then: the unwavering and principled ToddSeavey.com has now gone Giuliani > Paul > Giuliani? > Thompson > McCain > don’t vote? > LP? > Romney. My apologies to National Review for not backing their man Romney in the first place. (For sales-maximizing purposes, I highly recommend that The Weekly Standard endorse McCain and then spend the rest of the primary season in an ugly pseudo-spat with NR about it, if any of my acquaintances at either magazine are reading this. I’m also looking forward to all those NR essays about Mormonism being the glorious, logical fulfillment of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.)
Advice for My New Candidate Pick: And Romney should focus his whole remaining campaign on the idea of bringing fiscal stability to the U.S., calming those panicked, Dow-watching Wall Streeters who liked Rudy and those panicked, inflation-fearing Main Streeters who liked Huck — maybe even picking up some fiscal-insolvency-decrying ex-Paulistas while he’s at it — while trying to sound a bit less pleasant/presentable/diplomatic and a bit more like he can make the tough decisions (principally about Social Security and Medicare) that McCain might well make along with numerous bad decisions.
But then, I think the time for talking about “reforming” Social Security and Medicare passed with the nation’s tragic failure to embrace Bush’s partial-privatization plans. You all laughed at him and spent eight years calling him dumb, but now I think we’re fiscally screwed and it’s time to start talking about abolishing Social Security and Medicare, not reforming them.
Luckily for the candidates, none of them have me as a speechwriter or campaign advisor, though. Keep on smiling, keep on shaking hands, brighter tomorrow, everything’s gonna be fine…
UPDATE: No sooner do I drift to Romney than Deroy Murdock argues that he’s the worst of McCain, Giuliani, and Romney — by fiscal standards. I think I’ll just give up and talk about religion and atheism for a month instead (while Romney and others mourn the death of the president of the Mormon church, as it happens).