05 Feb 2008

Drop Back Ten Yards and Punt

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If John McCain wins today’s primaries, he will probably be unstoppably headed for the GOP nomination, but that will not matter very much, because he isn’t going to win. Senator McCain has no chance of winning, because real conservatives, movement conservatives, people like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and me are not going to support him.

There has been a spate of realist editorials recently (Bill Kristol, Steve Calabresi and John McGinnis, Roger Kimball), arguing that McCain is more conservative than Hillary, Supreme Court seats will be at stake, and this is the most important election in history, and that we’ve got to win at any price.


We have a two-party system, and a two party system actually presupposes that the other side wins some of the time. They win when our side has done a bad job, and when our leaders, policies, and party have become unpopular. They win when we lack enthusiasm, unity, and a decent candidate.

Unfortunately, that’s the way things are this year. How did we get here? We got here by too much success. As Republicans became winners, we attracted, and elected to Congress, a bunch of opportunists and time-servers, who might just as well have been in the other party. They accomplished nothing but losing control of the legislature and ruining the Republican reputation for honesty and principle. We are losing also, because we elected a semi-, demi-, trying-to-have-it-both-ways nice guy, who in the final analysis didn’t pack the gear to lead successfully.

We owe George W. Bush a debt of gratitude for keeping a buffoon like Al Gore and a scoundrel like John Kerry out of the White House, but as a leader he resembles George Armstrong Custer. The opposition has good opportunity and strong momentum, and he gave it to them.

This, of course, is how things are supposed to work. When the people are persuaded that representatives of one party have screwed up, they get to give the other team a chance.

And that is precisely why you don’t want to go around desperately trying to throw Hail Mary electoral passes. Supporting the less-than-intellectually-gifted candidate, supporting the unprincipled candidate, supporting the really-a-liberal candidate is a recipe for disaster.

We do not want to elect Richard Nixon and destroy the Republican Party’s record, image, and reputation, assuring a major democrat party landslide down the road. It is actually better to take our medicine, and let them elect another Jimmy Carter.

And electing Jimmy Carter may well be exactly what they are preparing to do. Both leading democrats really have their roots in the leftwing base of the other party, and both are committed to policies leading inevitably to problems at home and abroad. Besides, can there really be another four years of a Clinton Administration without a conviction?

Let us accept four years of exile in the wilderness with as good a grace as possible. Let the Republican base become re-energized in opposition. And let the democrats preside over their usual mess. When it’s our turn again, it will be for another generation of the ascendancy of Conservatism and the Republican Party.

Time to drop back ten yards, and punt.

3 Feedbacks on "Drop Back Ten Yards and Punt"

David Iams

Victory in 2020!

The Apostate

If it were about the next four years, or even eight years, I would agree. Unfortunately, it’s about Supreme Court precedents which tend to have a rather long life.

I don’t fully trust McCain to appoint constructionist judges, but I absolutely trust either of the Democrats not to.

Scott D

It’s not at all clear that punting is the best strategy. You can point to 1976-80 where we were beaten by nominating a guy whose deep reasoning brought him to W.I.N buttons, but while waiting for 1980, this country suffered substantially. We are still paying for the cowardly behavior of President Carter in Iraq.
If a Democrat is elected this year, there will surely be two retirements on the Supreme Court, which positions will be filled by young Ginsburg clones. There will be nobody to veto the onset of socialized medicine. There may not be many things that you can count on from a stubborn President McCain, but two of them would be resisting spending and maintaining a tough front against our enemies.


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