Friday, October 26, 2007

Hope for the GOP in '08?

Bill Kristol thinks so in "Hold you conventional wisdom"

"In case you missed it, a few days ago Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock concert museum. Now, my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time." This jab by John McCain at Hillary Clinton at the most recent Republican presidential debate received the evening's only standing ovation. Admittedly, those standing were partisan Florida Republicans. Still, it was a moment--in its combination of high-spirited playfulness and polemical sharpness--that made me think happier days may lie ahead for the GOP...

...And then there's the McCain moment. Why did it galvanize the crowd? Perhaps because it brought together three Republican themes: the Democrats are the party of big spending (the museum earmark) and cultural liberalism (the Woodstock concert), while the GOP is the party that understands war ("I was tied up at the time"). It's true that McCain is uniquely qualified to make that last point--but if he's not the presidential candidate, he can advance it as the vice-presidential nominee or as a prospective Secretary of Defense. At a time of war, in a culturally conservative country with voters suspicious of Big Government liberalism, it would be foolish to underrate the chances of the presidential nominee of the more hawkish, socially conservative and anti-Big Government party.
Charles Krauthammer also saw something brewing:

So no more gnashing of teeth. Republicans have 4 1/2 good presidential candidates. All five would make fine Cabinet members: Romney at Treasury, Thompson at Justice, McCain at Defense, Giuliani at Homeland Security, Huckabee at Interior. All the team needs now is to pick a captain who can beat Hillary.
When 50% of Americans declare they will not vote for Hillary (including 48% of independents) and stories like this are starting to bubble up, maybe it's early to measure the curtains. A year is an eternity in politics.


Silly Kristol said...

This past July, Bill Kristol also predicted that Bush's Presidency would be "a successful one," because "we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome" in Iraq, which was justified since without the occupation, Saddam Hussein's "connections with al-Qaeda" would have been strengthened. If all that isn't translating to the American public, the reason is because the administration has been... wait for it... too "apologetic" when explaining its policies. Kristol had earlier declared plainly that, following the invasion, the Shia and Sunnis would "get along."

And now Kristol takes that canny interpretive streak and bets it against Hillary Clinton. Clearly, she's doomed.

Three years ago, Kristol touted the permanent conservative majority that didn't quite stick-- "the culmination of a 36-year rolling alignment," said Kristol. Now he mewls, "Voters like checks and balances." Three years ago, Kristol talked about beaten opponents who'd "underestimated" Bush. Now he gasps that Clinton and Obama are vulnerable, because they have "little in the way of legislative achievements."

Bill Kristol's killing himself smiling and sweating and trying, you gotta give him that. He's a trooper. But the money quote for 2008 may have already been written, and comes from Matt Taibbi:
"Romney may be a great salesman, but he's running for the nomination of a party that has nothing left to sell."

freetofly said...

I agree there are many good possibilities. United we stand, divided we fall. The best thing that moment had going (besides what Kristol said re: bringing 3 Dem weaknesses together, in one fell swoop of humor) is that the GOP was united in their perception of this issue and it gave a jolt of electricity.

We have to learn to focus on what we agree on, if we have any hope of gaining traction for momentum


Anonymous said...

If Bill Kristol's point had been that the GOP candidate will not lose by a Bushian 70/30 margin, the only response would be "Durrrrrr! You don't say!"

But Kristol says that the GOP candidate has a BETTER THAN 50 PERCENT SHOT of winning the Presidency in 2008. In this, Kristol has evolved from party hack to loony bird.