Saturday, February 10, 2007

Guiliani and the future of the Republican party

John Podhoretz weighs in on Guiliani as a candidate:

So I don't think he can win the nomination without making some peace with social conservatives. The question then is what responsibility social conservatives — or, more precisely, those who lead social-conservative organizations — will do then. Because here is the profound problem facing us in 2008: If social conservatives decide to run a third-party candidate out of disgust with Rudy (or even John McCain, who could cause the same sort of schism on, say, immigration), they will ensure the election of Hillary or Barack or John Edwards.

No one should surrender their deepest beliefs on the altar of political expediency. But American politics is most often a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. That's the real choice social conservatives may have to make in 2008 — between a principled stand that leads to a terrible result or a more pragmatic stand that requires some real bending.

L.A. Times:State aims for Feb. 5 primary to boost clout

With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's backing, state lawmakers from both parties are moving rapidly to make California a player in choosing the nation's next president by holding the state's primary four months earlier.

A bipartisan group of state senators introduced legislation Friday to change the 2008 presidential primary from June 3 to Feb. 5. Another bill was introduced by an Assembly Republican on Thursday, the day after Schwarzenegger declared that moving up the primary date would make California "relevant" nationally and was "something to shoot for."

The February date — the earliest the state can choose under national party rules — would place California at the beginning of the election season, right after four states that have secured the most privileged spots in January for their Democratic caucuses or primaries: Iowa (Jan. 14), Nevada (Jan. 19), New Hampshire (Jan. 22) and South Carolina (Jan. 29). The Republican calendar has Iowa and New Hampshire first, with the rest of the schedule in flux.

......Republican moderates such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who might face opposition in Southern states for their liberal views on social issues, could benefit from the change.

The train wreck I see coming here is "values" voters being faced with nothing but unpalatable choices in a Giuliani candidacy. They could walk away from the Republican party and try to build something new from scratch (which probably will go nowhere and then they will be going back hat in hand). They could take one for the team and pull the lever for the lesser of two evils. Of course once the GOP gets away with a pro abortion president are they ever going to willingly go back to nominating pro-life presidential candidates (we'd probably get a veep or some other consolation prize)? Or, they can stay home in 08 to teach the Party a lesson and let the Democrats have the keys to the "anti-Terrorism" Leviathan Bush built (which if Clinton the First's term is any guide will probably be targeted against "domestic terrorism"). On the other hand, one lesson the party brass might take from this would is the Christians are not to be trusted, leading to even more unpalatable candidates as the GOP tries to forge a new consensus not overly reliant on values voters.

The Democrats would cheer any of these outcomes for the immediate partisan boost. But I'm not sure convincing a decent sized swath of the populace they that the federal government is an unrestrainable bad actor is a good thing for the future of progressive values, or for that matter of the nation. The Anti-D.C. strain of political thought is strong enough without adding fuel to the fire.

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