National Review Does Not Speak For Me


National Review is set this Friday to release the names of four people it views as unacceptable Vice-Presidential Candidates: Tom Ridge, Charlie Crist, Joe Lieberman, and Mike Huckabee, and frankly I could care less.
In December, I listened to and joined in the DC echo-chamber that slammed Mike Huckabee mercilessly. I fed on the constant negative drumbeat of National Review and their relentless assaults on Arkansas’ former Governor. I bought into it, I regurgitated it.
I never bothered to look into the facts, particularly in regards to the charges against Mike Huckabee’s fiscal record. If I had, I would have found out that he had two court rulings come out against his state that forced increases in Medicaid and Education, and that on top of that he faced a legislature that was at least 70% Democrat every year he was in office and could override his veto by a simple majority. I wonder which Huckabee critic could have done more for conservative values than Huckabee under those circumstances.
If this past election cycle taught us nothing, it taught us that bias exists in the conservative media. The one-sided attacks on Mike Huckabee last December were not only unfair, they allowed the rise of John McCain to the Republican nomination, as the National Review-anointed leader of the Conservative movement surrendered on February 7th after having won only one competitive primary.
Conservative defeat is the legacy of National Review in the 2008 campaign. Why bother listening to them? Last week, I did a podcast in which I began to talk about some of the activities of John McCain, the nominee that obsessive huckacritics pushed over the top by becoming the echo chamber of groups like National Review and the Club for Growth and I wept for what I helped to bring about.
I feel as Heritage Foundation Founder Paul Weyrich did when he rose to speak to the National Policy Council to confess, “Friends, before all of you and before Almighty God, I want to say I was wrong.”
Over the years, conservative magazines have ceased to speak to common people and explain how and why conservative ideas can make our country better. Instead, the magazines are full of intellectual navel-gazing that no one outside of the conservative movement cares one whit about.
They missed, as we all did, the grassroots movement that was Huck’s Army: thousands of grassroots activists producing miracle wins on little money. They missed the optimism and faith in America that Mike Huckabee exuded? Why? He graduated from school they never heard of, he was an Evangelical, came from the rural South, and didn’t embrace Darwinism as unalienable truth.
There is much of the establishment conservative movement that represents conservative beltway elitism. There time is ending.
There was a time when the New York Times was a Christian-owned newspaper that railed against the evils of abortion and even called it medical malpractice. There was a time when the motto of Harvard was, “For Christ and the church.”
These institutions have become shadows of their former selves, enemies of the causes for which they once existed, but truth lives on. It does not live in the hearts of the Wall Street crowd, beltway political manipulators, or self-righteous pundits, it lives in the hearts of people we never hear from at the national level.
They’re people who work hard, earning $12 an hour if that. They’re the people Barack Obama thinks cling to religion and guns out of bitterness. They’re the people that National Review thinks only refused to back Mitt Romney because of anti-Mormon bigotry. They’re people the left scoffs at for voting against their own economic interests.
But these people really believe in America, and that it’s a place where they can still make a better life for themselves and their children. They believe in a God who still governs in the affairs of men. These are the people who National Review disdains.
So, National Review can feel free to lump Mike Huckabee in with liberal Republicans like Tom Ridge and Charlie Crist, and even a Scoop Jackson Democrat like Joe Lieberman. But it is they who are missing the next great wave of conservatives. 
Beyond this dark moment in the history of American Conservatism, I see glimmers of hope in those who are heeding the challenge of Alex and Brett Harris to “do hard things.” I see it in people across this country who will bare the battle in the heat of the day for the good of their country. There is hope for our country. It just won’t be found in places you’d expect like the offices of National Review.  


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My biggest problem with Mike Huckabee

Is that he ran a very lenient system regarding paroles and pardons. He has explained that this was due to his christian faith.

I think that one has to look at that aspect of his Arkansas record to project how he would deal with foreign policy and terrorism, and that is not encouraging to me.

And on the specific issue. my state has been terrorized by career criminals who scammed thrir way out of jail.  Protecting the public ought not be a "faith based" endeavor in my opinion.

Huckabee's System

Most of Huckabee's pardons and paroles were issued to people who were already released from prison.

The second issue he ran into in Arkansas was the fact that people wanted harsher sentences but didn't want to pay higher taxes for keeping people in jail longer. What Huckabee is against is a revenge-based "justice system" that keeps people in jail who we're mad at, who aren't really a threat. Now, if you want lower taxes, but you also want to abolish parole, you can't do both. It's that simple.

He was not soft on crime. He presided over the death penalty more times than any Governor in Arkansas in history.  I think he tried to find a balance and for the most part didn't do too bad.

This statement is liberal think tank bullhickey

 "What Huckabee is against is a revenge-based "justice system" that keeps people in jail who we're mad at, who aren't really a threat."

We bought that insanity here in CT. Now three people in my home town are dead.

George Will's approach to crime makes more sense than Mike Huckabee's

Don't give me "it costs too much argument". The purpose of government is to protect its citizens. If it can't do that, like, what's the point?

Huckabee Has No Problem

Keeping people in jail who are a threat or using the death penalty when called for and he actually turned down about 3/4 of Clemency applications to cross his desk.

Ever hear of cost-cutting?

"The second issue he ran into in Arkansas was the fact that people wanted harsher sentences but didn't want to pay higher taxes for keeping people in jail longer. ...  [I]f you want lower taxes, but you also want to abolish parole, you can't do both. It's that simple."

Actually, No.  It's not.

How many dollars did Huckabee throw away on poorly managed government programs?  How many bills did he introduce to ferret out waste in government and bloated services that fail to achieve their goals?  How many times did he argue to the people that they should call on, no, demand their representatives seriously explore and expose fraud in government?

With the absolutely staggering amount of money spent at all levels of government, and the amazing amount of waste and abuse in the system, I don't accept from anyone an agrument that we can't afford to do more with the same amount of (or less) money.

The one thing we have a serious shortage of is political will.  Elected officials don't want to be unemployed, so they play it safe and look the other way rather than making tough decisions and leading.

Rather than standing before the Arkansas legislature and lining out the taxes he had no problem signing, a real conservative wuld have said, "I will veto any tax increase you send to me, so rather than simply raising taxes, put on your thinking caps and figure out ways and places to trim this government to pay for our priorities."

Only after that had been done, and all available "waste dollars" had been identified should he have agreed to any new taxes and spending.


So how do you get this by a legislature that's always at least 70% Democratic and could coverride your vote by a simple majority? That's what Huckabee faced.  That's reality, and there seems to a retiscence among Huck critics to own up to it.

Think Positive

My problem with Huckabee is that he would not help the ticket nor would the others listed.

My problem with NR is that instead of layiong down negative markers they should be making constructive recommendations like Eric Cantor for VP.

For a longer pitch read here.



National Review VP pick

I actually think Tom Ridge would be a really solid pick for McCain, he seems to be too quickly dismissed. The fact that he's pro-choice doesn't bother me, I think he's a solid conservative that is both articulate and charismatic.

I think he would make Pennsylvania turn from a toss-up state, to a "leans McCain" state.  If McCain wins Pennsylvania, he's President, even if we lose Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  On the fact alone, he should be a serious contender.

I like Huckabee, I think he's sincere and easily the best communicator of any Republican I can think of.  I do think, however,  he would be a drag on McCain's ticket. 

His appeal would be primarily to Southern states that will already be a lock for McCain, and he would face a lot of resistance in states that McCain will have a tougher time with.   Even though I'm a Baptist Christian, I think there's something unseemly about a Baptist preacher (or any denomination preacher for that matter) being a politician.  I just think those are two separate paths an individual should choose.  If I have a problem with it, you can imagine how more secular voters will feel about it.  I also have too many policy disagreements with him.  To me, he seems too much like a socially conservative Jimmy Carter.

My least favorite VP pick would have to be Minnesota's Governor Pawlenty.  To me he screams Dan Quayle, and I don't think he can deliver Minnesota for McCain anyway.

T-Paw is a Scrappy, Loyal, Mutt

Which makes him infinitely stronger in a dog fight and more immune to adversity than a to-the-manor-born purebred Republican like Quayle - especially in the land of a Democratic majority.  I totally disagree that he "screams Dan Quayle".  What were you thinkin' aboot, eh?

I cannot imagine Hugh Hewitt endorsing Dan Quayle.  I cannot imagine the Northern Alliance, including Chad the Elder and the Fraters Libertas gang endorsing Dan Quayle.  I cannot imagine Lileks endorsing Dan Quayle.  I cannot imagine Powerline endorsing Dan Quayle.  I certainly cannot imagine Ross Douthat endorsing Dan Quayle, and I completely agree with his Atlantic post in April '08:

The obvious way to thread this needle would be for McCain to find a reformist right-winger -- a politician who passes most conservative litmus tests but has shown a heterodox streak and a zest for policy innovation as well, and who's far enough from Washington to be untainted by the scandals and debacles associated with the Bush-era GOP. Unfortunately for McCain, two of the most appealing choices in this category -- Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Sarah Palin of Alaska -- are probably too young and politically untested to get the nod. This explains why the conventional wisdom keeps circling back to Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty. He's heterodox without being heretical, his state will be up for grabs come November, and he and McCain seem to get along well -- which is no small thing on the campaign trail, as John Kerry and John Edwards would be happy to tell you.

Ok so I'm using the word "endorse" loosely - but you get my drift.  Matthew Continetti had a very detailed article about Pawlenty a year ago in the Weekly Standard:  Tooting the Horn of Pawlenty

Pawlenty embodies the concept known as Minnesota Nice. Minnesotans are impeccably polite. They always seem to be smiling. They seem shorn of arrogance. They avoid conflict. How these people elected Jesse Ventura governor is a mystery. Playing wall ball, Pawlenty lets the kids take the lead and congratulates the members of other teams when they hit a hard-to-reach target. Someone jokes that if Ventura were here he would tackle the kids and use the reporters as human javelins with which to pierce the wall pads.

The thing about Minnesota Nice is that it can blind outsiders to the strong convictions that motivate Minnesotans, the politicians in particular. Hubert Humphrey was nice, but he was also remarkably effective. The late Democratic senator Paul Wellstone was nice, but he was also the subject of bipartisan admiration because he refused to betray his ideals. Of course, what such notable political figures from the Upper Midwest have in common is their progressivism. They are all men of the left. The new crop of young, promising politicians from the Upper Midwest, however, tend to be men of the right--men like Pawlenty, Coleman, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The source of Pawlenty's energy is his frustration at the contemporary GOP. He becomes most passionate when he discusses Sam's Club Republicanism--a theory of politics he's done more than anyone else to put into action. (Pawlenty shops frequently at Wal-Mart, incidentally. He and his brother recently bought storage racks for his basement at Sam's Club, however.) He can go on and on about how conservatives wear these ideological blinders that prevent them from seeing new political realities.

"The country is changing," Pawlenty says. "Socially, demographically, economically, technologically. And that doesn't mean that you throw your principles that you built your party on, your philosophy on, out the window--you just have to make sure they are translated into terms . . . relevant in the political marketplace of today, not to mention tomorrow."

I totally agree that National Review should accentuate the positive instead of the negative.  And as far as any VP bringing in the majority of votes in their home state during a Presidential campaign, is there historical evidence to back this up as a proven strategy?  I'm just asking. 


Dan Quayle Comparison

I have to respectfully disagree with your assesment of Pawlenty.

Most of the endorsements you list for Pawlenty are, not suprisingly from Minnesotans.  I think they're so excited to even have a Republican elected there, they probably think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  

My comparison to Quayle is I feel Pawlenty seems very young (not in a good way), even more so next to John McCain, which then makes McCain look even older.  Pawlenty comes off more like a Kindergarten teacher, not the future leader of the free world and the Conservative movement..   It's also well known that Pawlenty is very much a moderate Republican (too moderate IMO), for example, he's really bought into the global warming hysteria, and he's also pushed for numerous tax increases in Minnesota.  He also won reelection by the skin of his teeth, winning by less than 1% of the vote (hardly comforting).  He also couldn't even win the state for McCain in the primary, he got slaughtered by Romney by nearly 20 points.

I just don't feel Pawlenty brings anything to the table.  He's not some incredible vote getting politician, he won his first term as a result of a 3rd party spoiler Democrat candidate, and his reelection, he won, again as a result of several 3rd party liberal spoiler candidates, and only then by less than 1%.  He has never won even close to a majority of votes in Minnesota, I think he averaged around 45% of the vote in both elections.

So what does he bring to the table? He's a moderate Republican that's probably to the left on many issues compared to McCain, he has little appeal outside of Minnesota (and is not much of a vote getter even there),  it's doubtful he will be able to even carry Minnesota for McCain, and IMO comes off as a lightweight.   The one thing I continually hear touted is his "working class" upbringing.  I'm sorry, but that's a weak case to vote for somebody.

McCain already has trouble with his base, a VP pick to the left of McCain would hardly make things better.

I do think picking someone from a home state on the ticket can work in a close battleground state.  It doesn't work, however, if the state is a solid Red or Blue state.  If a state is within a couple points, like Pennsylvania will probably be,  I could easily see a VP pick of Ridge (who won reelection as Governor with nearly 60% of the vote) making the difference, and thus winning McCain the Presidency.  When JFK put LBJ on the ticket, it won him the state of Texas, thus the Presidency, so it does happen. 

I will of course still vote and support McCain if he chooses Pawlenty, and I don't think Pawlenty is a horrible conservative, but I see very little upside for McCain to put him on the ticket.



I also get that Dan Quayle vibe

I really don't see Pawlenty's appeal, either politically or ideologically. I also don't see Minnesota as a serious swing state. I think the last time it went Republican was 30 years ago during the Nixon blowout election, and I don't see Pawlenty as being the politician to break that streak.

I also look at McCain's VP pick as the next front runner for the Presidency, and our face for the Republican Party. I just don't think Pawlenty has the right stuff, and I also really don't want another squishy moderate to lead our Party, I want our next nominee to be to the right of McCain. I can only grin and bear it so many times.

I see....

I read several other posts bring up the Quayle factor in terms of low national recognition.  In that regard, in addition to your points, I can see where that could go against some of the young guns like Pawlenty and Cantor.  I hadn't really given a lot of thought to Tom Ridge, to be honest.  In addition to your comments, why not write a blog post about him and why you think McCain should select him so it can be promoted to the front page?  Based on your JFK/Johnson analogy, he might be a very interesting prospect. 

And of course you're right about my list of endorsers all being either located in or sympathetic toward Minnesota with the exception of Ross Douthat, who hails from New Haven, CT, I believe.  I attended WSU and Purdue, and I enjoy the sensibilities of Midwesterners such as Hugh Hewitt and John Kasich, not to mention those beer-swilling, hockey-loving NARN bloggers.  My personal theory is that the Fraters' real names are Bob and Doug McKenzie. 

Bob: Take off, eh?  Take me to the brewery.


Pawlenty handled the bridge collapse pretty well

Executive experience or experience handling a media maelstorm were not on Quayle's resume.  I'm not as down on Quayle as some folks---he did well debating Gore in '92---but obviously he is remembered primarily for the "you're no Jack Kennedy" moment.

Pawlenty is a low risk choice and could help in the critical Rust Belt states. But he doesn't have a huge ceiling and we seem to be so far behind in MN he won't flip his home state. 

Look, I'm a Condi Rice fan, so I'm biased.

I think Condi would be a home run for Johnnie Mac. I simply think McCain and the people around him have their hearts set on T-Paw and are simply being polite to everyone else, including the wimmen. However, I think they're going to have to spend a month of valuable time that they don't have rolling out T-Paw to the country so he doesn't get Quayleized.

Eric Cantor: great guy, same problem. Nobody knows who he is except the Movement Cons and the conservative bloggers. 

There comes a point at which the Republicans are going to have to be satisfied with what they get from McCain as their best shot in a very Democratic year. 

I don't think she's interested - seriously

And as much as I like her also, I'm just not completely convinced that she's scrappy enough to be President.  When I think of scrappy, no-nonsense, congenial women ( a very rare combination!), I think of Sarah Palin.  Condi's been a loyal team player, but I think in her heart of hearts she's ready to return to the academic haven of Stanford where she can do what she loves, relax, and write her memoirs.  She's worked hard, maybe she deserves a break now. 

Palin's The Ticket

Palin would be a home-run for McCain. Putting a woman on the ticket would help the Republican's with a demographic that is unfortunately slipping away. It also would help that she's such a solid conservative. She could be the next Margaret Thatcher for the Republican Party.

I think McCain would be a fool to pass her up.

Thinking about the appeal to the female demographic

is very appropriate this year, for more reasons than just disgruntled Hillary supporters.  I remember reading how little girls in the Silicon Valley area saw Carly Fiorina as one of the pioneer role models for women who have often been underachievers in math, science, engineering and computer science disciplines.  They started fan clubs and websites in her honor, it was a very big deal in the '90's and early 2000's. 

Once Sarah's brand is recognized nationwide, she's going to take off like a rocket and little girls all over the U.S. are going to want to become Governors - hopefully conservative Republican Governors.  I can see it now - Sarah Palin dolls (complete with Polar Bear, hybrid Jeep and pop-up Governor's Mansion), Sarah Palin kicks-corrupt-politician-and-terrorist-butt video games, Sarah Palin beauty queen Halloween costumes, Sarah Palin adventure comics, Sarah Palin cartoons, Sarah Palin cereal and Sarah Palin hi-protein energy drinks. 

If a person has already attained the position of State Governor, and the current nominee indicates that she has "a future in the Party", that would seem to be a ringing endorsement for...what - Senator?  House Majority Leader?  Cabinet Member?  President of the United States? VP would certainly provide a path to the Presidency.  I hope that is her destiny no matter who McCain selects, because I think you're spot-on about Palin being very Thatcheresque. Maybe Carly will put a bug in his ear. 

My husband builds fine scale military models, and he wondered if maybe BradleyFightingVehicle was too many characters for you to type when you log in.  Heh. 

Great minds think alike I guess, mine is just slower.

Hey,  I am already looking for a source for Sara Palin Dolls. No luck yet though. Looks like this site  is on it.  I hope they find some! I want one with a caribo, rifle and snowmobile! Closest thing I have found yet is a Presidential Barbie. The Hispanic one looks the closest to Sarah.

Does anyone else know that you have the power to see so far into the future? ;-)

National Review

I think we can all agree that NR has lost the plot in recent years. The most telling sign was all the cheerleading there for Rudy Giulaini, who was never any sort of viable candidate.

The NR people need to start spending a little more time outside of Manhattan and DC. They've gone native. In fact it might help if they had a few people writing there who actually lived in Republican country and rubbed shoulders with real live conservatives on a daily basis.