Monday, February 19, 2007



Three Republican politicians who have always acted as though coming across as moderates-- at least image-wise-- are facing up to the realities of GOP presidential primary politics. If you think Republicans who vote in the general election are right-wing, aside from being correct, you should also imagine the politics of the hard core base Republicans who vote in that party's primaries. To appeal to the voters in Republican primaries you are appealing to many folks who feel perfectly at home with a total top down authoritarian-- if not a fascist or even monarchial-- approach to government.

Suddenly you find McCain, Giuliani and Romney, all of whom owe some of their success to the careful nurturing of a moderate image distinct from the radical right, racing each other to the extreme edges of the Republican spectrum. Although McCain's well-honed p.r. machine has always prided itself on passing him off-- disingenuously-- as a moderate, he has the voting record that really does prove that he is and always has been-- regardless of the hype-- a right wing nut. He hopes to overcome his reputation as a loose cannon and a short-triggered powder keg by screaming his right wing record from the roof tops, something neither Romney nor Giulinai can do (at least not with straight faces).

Today McCain was trolling for votes in ultra right-wing South Carolina and he decided to run to the right of Bush on Iraq. He points out that the reason for the mess in Iraq is not because it was a mistake to invade Iraq but because the Bush Regime has mismanaged the whole mess for years. "We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement-- that's the kindest word I can give you-- of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war." The audience applauded when McCain said "I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." (Expect Fox News to start identifying Rumsfeld soon with a "Democrat" chiron.)

An A.P. report today illustrated why this is a problem for McCain, who is quickly painting himself as the most flip-floppin' guy to ever run for president.
The comments were in sharp contrast to McCain's statement when Rumsfeld resigned in November, and failed to address the reality that President Bush is the commander in chief.
"While Secretary Rumsfeld and I have had our differences, he deserves Americans' respect and gratitude for his many years of public service," McCain said last year when Rumfeld stepped down.

It's even harder for Romney and Giuliani to make GOP primary voters to think they're right-wing enough. Today the Boston Globe points to long time gun-control advocate Romney trying to make nice with NRA fanatics.
Mitt Romney, who has touted his support of gun owners since launching his presidential campaign, yesterday acknowledged he did not become a member of the National Rifle Association until last August, campaign officials said.

A former advocate of gun control, Romney during his 1994 run for the US Senate backed measures the gun-rights group opposed, such as a five-day waiting period on gun sales and a ban on certain assault weapons.

The former Massachusetts governor has been criticized for changing his positions to appeal to social conservatives voting in Republican primaries. In a nationally broadcast interview yesterday, he also had to explain his switch to a conservative stance on abortion and why he once voted for Democrats in Massachusetts primaries...

Not all gun advocates are convinced of Romney's commitment to their cause.
"His past votes have been anti-gun and I feel like it may just be a campaign strategy that we're not going to fall for," said Gerald Stoudemire, president of Gun Owners of South Carolina, an NRA state association. "I've never seen a politician change their way of thinking 180 degrees, except when they were running for office."

I'm sure Giuliani has a braintrust working on how he's going to explain his career-long support for abortion, gays and gun-control once low-information Republican voters figure it out. For his sake, let's hope they are also coming up with answers to questions about why he has been photographed dressed in women's clothes in public at least a dozen times, especially now that he is being supported by several high profile Republican gay politicos like David Dreier and Ken Mehlman.


It was all over CNN when I woke up this morning-- McCain, flip-floppin' again, blames the Bush Regime for the disaster in Iraq. All we need to win is to send more troops. That's going to be the end of the road for the senile old warmonger with normal Americans. But the far right is even more pissed off than the rest of us. Extremist right bloggers are spinning out of control this morning. "Whatever causes McCain to come up with his talking points, or if they are points off the cuff, they're wrong. And the man is getting annoying to have around. He should go back to the Senate and perform his job, ensuring victory in Iraq. His campaign for the Presidency is going to be a well-deserved rout. He has nothing to offer. We need to look forward, not back." See? Just because the Extreme Right Blogosphere shills for the Regime 24/7 doesn't mean they are always wrong about everything.

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