28 October 2008

Responses to Krauthammer (UPDATED)

Yesterday's post--dominated by Krauthammer--which discussed the state of conservatism, prompted a number of good responses from readers, two of which I will post here.

First, Matt P. wrote about McCain and doing his job as Senator from the state of Arizona:
The Charles Krauthammer article that you posted reminded me of a conversation that I had recently about "McCain's risky and unsuccessful but in no way irrational attempt to tactically maneuver his way through the economic tsunami that came crashing down a month ago." The fascinating point that I never heard was about what McCain actually did... his job. He is not being paid by the American taxpayer to campaign for the presidency of the United States. He is being paid to represent the citizens of Arizona as a member of the U.S. Senate. If I decided that I wanted to interview and schmooze for a position on a board of directors somewhere, you better bet that I'm either taking vacation time, doing it outside of work hours or not getting paid for it. You can debate about how productive his time was while he was in DC for the matter, but you cannot dispute the fact that his paycheck shows that he was where should have been.
Careful, Matt P., with those crazy ideas of yours--that politicians should actually do the job for which they are paid.

Meanwhile, Matt B. "gets it":
If the GOP even thinks about hanging a McCain lost election around Palin's neck I am officially renouncing my membership and $ from the GOP and going independent. I cant stand these stories about McCain staffers who are infected with Potomac Fever complaining about Palin going off script and possibly costing McCain the election. Let her go off script, she clearly had to "wing it" at the convention and it was one of the most powerful and invigorating speeches I have ever seen and millions went into the GOP war chest in the days following. The whole reason they didnt call the election for Obama 3 months ago is because of Palin. She has rallied the base and alot of people (real americans) identify with her or want to identify her.
It's one thing to lose an election, it's a whole other thing to draw the wrong conclusions from that loss.

If McCain loses, Palin won't be the reason. Like I said yesterday and Matt B. explains clearly above, McCain wouldn't even have a chance without Sarah Palin. People who argue otherwise either a) don't get how elections are won or 2) are trying to cover themselves.

Sarah Palin motivates the base to vote and GOTV. W/o Palin, those people probably stay home. This is more than half of the battle. The other part is either persuading enough "independents" to put you over the top or depressing the other side.

I'm not going to join the MSM chorus declaring the election for Barack Obama because I've counted out John McCain in the past and been proven wrong. This election is still close enough (especially in the battleground states) that if the national trackers close to within 3 points, McCain will have an honest to goodness shot at pulling this thing out.

Plus, no one really has any idea what's really going on with the polls. They're all over the place and they're accounting for all sorts of supposedly new trends. Democrats are telling us, yet again, that this is the year young voters actually turn out to vote. We'll see. I've been hearing that as long as I've been following Presidential elections ("This is the year young Americans make themselves heard!!!1!!").

I don't want to say that I doubt the Obama hipsters, because that would make me cynical about young Americans, but, well, I doubt the hipsters.

Just about anything could happen in this election--Obama landslide, McCain landslide, close win either way, endless litigation of results in several battleground states--and I wouldn't be surprised.

UPDATE 2:49pm BST: Ben T. responds:
Don't you think McCain would have done far better picking Lieberman? The man he really wanted on his ticket? Yes, Palin rallied the base. But to be honest with you it is a base that is increasingly irrelevant. In an age where the middle majority are tired of partisanship, having a split ticket would have gone a long way. Not sure how it would have affected financing or GOTV efforts, but it would have been huge for middle voters.
I don't think McCain would have done better picking Lieberman because I don't think the Republican base would have voted for them. John McCain is already far and away more "centrist" than Barack Obama. Adding Joe Lieberman would have made it a center-left ticket--what Obama and Biden claim to be. The base would have stayed home and Obama's current 5-7 point national advantage would be in the double digits.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.