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McCain, Romney run right

Two of the major contenders for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination spent the weekend burnishing their conservative credentials. Romney reversed his old position on allowing gays to serve openly in the military, while McCain underlined his pro-life bone fides by calling for the overturning of Roe v Wade and the appointment of strict constructionist judges. Ed Morrissey said of McCain at Captain's Quarters:

Later, he appeared at an abstinence rally, talking to teenagers about making the right choices in life. McCain told them that he had made poor choices in the past, although it wasn't clear whether he meant the Gang of 14 or not. McCain led the Senate caucus that effectively took the power of judicial nominations out of George Bush's hands when Bush nominated the kind of judges that McCain now endorses. As a result, a few strict constructionists like Henry Saad got thrown under the bus by McCain and his Gang.

Will McCain now endorse Brett Cavanaugh and William Haynes? Will he renominate Henry Saad? It seems that the moment may have passed for a McCain endorsement of strict constructionists.

The whole post is at the link above. It might not be correct to say McCain is "running to the right" on abortion, though, since his pro-like positions haven't changed. The judges issue will haunt him in this campaign, though.

Romney pulled a complete reversal, though, saying we shouldn't change the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in time of conflict. Cap'n Ed again:

That seems rather convenient. We're likely to remain in a conflict with radical Islamist terrorists for years, which means that he won't have to address his previous position even if elected for two terms. Instead -- and this is really rich -- he now runs to the right by endorsing a Bill Clinton policy meant to transition to a more liberal standard. At the same time, he says he opposes discrimination of gays and lesbians. If that doesn't make heads spin, I'm not sure what will.

This does tend to underline the "flip-flop" rap against Romney. His positions on gay rights and abortion, in particular, were quite different as he ran for office in liberal Massachusetts, and have moved drastically and suddenly to the right now that he needs to appeal to the GOP primary voter base. Morrissey also observes:

This is what's wrong with a long primary campaign. It doesn't give us any better look at the candidates, and it puts far too much pressure on them to be all things to all people. In this environment, a man like Rudy Giuliani will do better just by remaining in one spot and not trying to be a chameleon for all of the different factions of the GOP.

Quite so. Guiliani has adopted the stance of, "I am who I am, and you may disagree with some of my positions on key issues, but you can bet I'm talking straight, and not trying to pull the wool over your eyes by changing my long-held views." The new "Straight Talk Express" may be carrying America's Mayor . . .

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Comments (9)

I really like the fact that... (Below threshold)

I really like the fact that Rudy is a straight talker. He makes it very clear that he is not a conservative and will not pretend to be.

This makes my vote in the primary that much easier.

Rudy may be a straight talk... (Below threshold)

Rudy may be a straight talker, but his problem is, he is a straight-talking liberal. His candidacy will be a disaster for the party, as a large percentage of the Republican voters cannot in good conscience vote for him under any circumstance.

Also, I can't see the judge... (Below threshold)

Also, I can't see the judges issue holding McCain back. He can rightly point to the fact that his intervention got judges like Owens and Brown on the bench, after they had been languishing in the Senate for years. After all, where did the so-called conservative leaders in the Senate - Frist, Brownback, Santorum, Allen et al - take the nominations? It is only after McCain and the gang of 14 stepped in that these judges got confirmed.

sam, you misunderstand the ... (Below threshold)

sam, you misunderstand the effect of the Gang of 14.

ALL of the judicial nominees reported out of Committee which were being held up would have been forced to the floor for an up-or-down vote by the "nuclear option." That would have eliminated the filibuster threat for judicial nominees.

The "Gang" stopped that by taking away the votes to change the rules. While the aligning Democrats came on agreeing to votes on a couple of nominees who were being forestalled, the compromise left dozens unprotected - and unconfirmed to this day.

Now, Democrats could have continued to delay the committee vote on some - as they did after the "Gang" compromise. But reported nominations would have received a floor vote under Frist's plan. Under McCain's they have not.

Conservatives who care about judicial nominations and free political speech will not support McCain just because he has a good pro-life record. And his support for the war is peppered with enough whining about strategy (when did he become a strategist, anyway? he was a flyboy) to queer the taste to many. Heck, he just said Rumsfeld was the "worst Defense Secretary in history," of all things. Is he losing his memory? Has it been so long since Bill Cohen and Les Aspin?

If Guiliani's social positions mean you can't vote for him, you better sign on with Romney. He'll tell you what you want to hear. McCain's going nowhere. If you won't vote for Guiliani against Hillary, get used to hearing "President Clinton" again.

"...under Frist's plan". S... (Below threshold)

"...under Frist's plan". Sorry, I don't believe Frist had a plan, or the strategy to make the plan work. If he had, he would have implemented it. How many weeks, months, years did Frist, Allen and Santorum babble about the "nuclear option"? Did they ever deliver?

The bottom line is, Frist was a failure, could not get a single judge confirmed. McCain at least got dozens on the bench. Results matter, not "nuclear option" babble from losers.

I'm in agreement with what ... (Below threshold)

I'm in agreement with what sam's said, previous...and, I believe that Guiliani's appeal is being greatly overestimated at this stage, for the same reasons sam expresses hesitation (describes my views, also -- Guiliani is a Liberal and I see very little difference between his intents and positions and Hillary Clinton's).

About this:
"...If Guiliani's social positions mean you can't vote for him, you better sign on with Romney. He'll tell you what you want to hear. McCain's going nowhere. If you won't vote for Guiliani against Hillary, get used to hearing "President Clinton" again..."

Romney, also, is not the deflection from Guiliani for Conservativse. Duncan Hunter is polling near to Guiliani's popularity among registered Republicans (although Hunter would provide greater incentive for Liberals to target, I realize).

My point here is that for Conservatives, Guiliani (AND McCain) are very hard to consider voting for for Conservatives. Romney, a great deal, too.

If I had to chose from those three (Guiliani, McCain, Romney)...as of this day, I'd vote for Romney but it would not be without a great deal of hesitation.

The GOP is smart to give greater support to the likes of persons who reflect, say, Senator Ted Sessions' ethics, politics and legislative behaviors. For that matter, why Sessions isn't being considered is beyond me.

But, we still have time to organize. I don't think declaring "all Guiliani or Hillary" at this time is the way to go because it's scaring a lot of people off.

Sorry (^^): JEFF SESSIONS ... (Below threshold)

Sorry (^^): JEFF SESSIONS (not "Ted" Sessions).

I'm not sold on any candida... (Below threshold)

I'm not sold on any candidate as of yet. There are some i'm completely off of though, like Rudy and Clinton. I'm also tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

So as of now i'm probably going to vote for Romney, even though i'm personally turned off by his Mormon faith. I do find it to be a bit over-the-top to say that Romney is not sincere.

How do you know, Jim, that he is not sincere?

Baggi, I don't think I said... (Below threshold)

Baggi, I don't think I said Romney's recent rightward shifts of position were insincere. However, they have the appearance of being convenient. Someone pointed out today - sorry, I can remember who it was - that we used to EXPECT Republican candidates to move right for the primaries. But it IS a problem for Romney with the single-issue voters he hopes to court away from McCain, Gingrich, or Brownback. The YouTube videos of his passionate defense, only five years ago, of his pro-choice beliefs are already up.

Only Romney knows if his conversions were sincere or not. What I'm saying is that they present a potential pitfall for his campaign - even as Guiliani's failure to convert may become for him.

sam ~ If the McCainiacs are trying to rewrite history, they should have picked something further in the past that isn't fresh in people's minds. The ENTIRE purpose of the "Gang of 14" was to THWART the "nuclear option," which is the ONLY reason the Democrats joined the effort. To attempt to give McCain credit for the judges who were subsequently confirmed (which he IN NO WAY deserves) but NOT the blame for those who were not (which were DIRECTLY his fault) just doesn't fly.







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