Sunday, April 16, 2006

Why Voters Can't Choose "Normalcy" in 2008

In the 1920 election, Warren Harding, an undistinguished senator from Ohio who somehow gained the Republican presidential nomination, ran with a pledge to restore "normalcy" (a word that apparently was coined for his campaign, or so we have heard) after the tumult of the Great War and Wilson's crusade for the League of Nations. Of course, the results were disastrous. Harding proved to be a president whose incompetence has only been exceeded by the dismal Andrew Johnson. In uneventful times, he managed to make a mess of things.

The times we live in are far from uneventful, and they are likely to get worse before they get better. That means that 2008 cannot be another election in which voters pine for "normalcy" after difficulty. They must steel themselves for the struggle ahead.

Nothing illustrates the nature of that struggle better than an opinion article in the Sunday Telegraph by Amir Taheri, a former Iranian newspaper editor now living in exile in Europe. Taheri argues with considerable persuasiveness that Iran's president Ahmadinejad sees George W. Bush as an aberration--an American president willing to fight rather than flee when faced with difficulty. So he's waiting for Bush to retire from the scene, meanwhile preparing a nuclear weapons program that will allow Iran to lead a long, twilight struggle in which American military supremacy will be checked by atomic weapons and Islam's advantages of oil, population and devotion will prove decisive.

Taheri's piece is a disturbing must-read, a chilling glimpse into the mind of the Iranian president's vision of the future.

And if he's right, the only way to foil Ahmadinejad's plans is to elect an American president willing to carry on the struggle as Bush has. And that person would be ...

Any Democrat? Please!

John McCain? He's been rattling his saber lately, but his record of mercurial posturing doesn't promise much by way of decisive military leadership. He could do it, but do we know he will?

Mitt Romney? The governor of Massachusetts has no foreign policy bona fides. He's a different kind of unknown from McCain, but still very much unknown.

George Allen? Bill Frist? We're getting nervous here.

Condi? Not running.

So that leaves ...

Rudy Giuliani. He's the only one whom we can imagine has the intestinal fortitude to face down Ahmadinejad and his Shiite head cases.

So we say it yet again: the republic needs the decisive leadership of a successful federal prosecutor and mayor who cleaned up America's biggest city and led it through the worst of times.

UPDATE: Here's one more good reason to back Rudy in '08: Jerry Falwell today said, "I couldn't support him for president."


bylaw said...

How about running the Olympics as an International bonafide for Romney? I'd hazard to say that the Olympics is just one of many. Still, you may have a point.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not crazy; Falwell IS a plagiarist. Look up "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal" while Yahooing. Other mind-blowing items to look up: "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)" [Ice is the BIG researcher for LaHaye etc.!] and "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" (don't overlook the "1880s" and "1992"!). AGENT 007

Dustin said...

Falwell yet again shows that his only reason for voting is to prevent gay marriage and outlaw abortion. He fits the mold of what much of the world believes about Christians, voters, and Christian voters--one or two issues define their whole process.

JB in CA said...

Politically speaking, Falwell's position is serious trouble for Giuliani (regardless of what one thinks of Falwell). The voters he represents could very well hand the election over to the Democrats simply by staying home on election day. Add that to Guilani's marital baggage, and he looks much less appealing as a candidate than one might otherwise have thought.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

I for one believe that Falwell has much less clout nationally than is widely believed. His natural constituency, fundamentalist Baptists, are by nature so fragmented, with primary loyalties going to local preachers, that he can command little on his own. Some other leaders may take their cues from him, but that's about it.

Further, though theoconservatives may want to sit out an election with Rudy at the head of the R-ticket, I believe that the specter of a Hillary presidency will be more than enough to motivate the social- and religious-conservative right to get out and vote for the other party.

Further, Falwell has been known to give his withheld support to anyone who will come to Lynchburg and kiss his papal ring.

Dustin said...

Does SWNID truly believe Hillary will garner the Democratic nomination? As one who leans independent, I still find it hard to believe the Dems would risk alienating the moderates and independents such as myself who would not turn out to vote for Hillary.

Here's to Barak Obama in '08 (even though I already know the opinion of SWNID).


Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Hillary is too beloved by Democratic party regulars, too well funded, too well connected, and her competition too weak in all areas to consider that she might not get the nomination.

The only thing that can prevent it is a seizure of sensibility regarding her high polarizing and alienating ability. But right now the Angry Left has so much voice among Ds that the mantra is likely to become "State your convictions loudly for all to hear, and you'll get elected." Just like in 1972 and 1984.

Her other vulnerability will be from her one-time support for the war. She's tried to triangulate on that one from the beginning, but it's doubtful that an end run to her left will be successful, as it will make her appear more mainstream, briefly, of course, but long enough to get the nomination sewed up.

Calus The Great said...

Shoot, even NPR says that Falwell's influence has been greatly exaggerated. I recall hearing a program about a year ago claiming that James Dobson and Charles Colson were the two most influential evangelicals on political issues, and that Falwell and Robertson had comparatively small followings. And this is from a syndicate that probably wishes that more evangelicals were as easy to ridicule as Falwell.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Note that an unscientific straw poll on several major blogs (Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit, Little Green Footballs, etc.) shows Rudy as the big leader in a big field, with plenty of support from self-identified Christians, evangelicals and Catholics (though George Allen is the favorite of religious conservatives right now).

We believe that Mayor G is simply waiting for the right moment, much nearer the '08 primaries, to start acting like a candidate. And when he does, he will know how to present himself to maximize his coalition. He doesn't need every religious conservative to vote for him because he'll get every moderate Democrat.

Big Mark said...

Ollie for Prez!

JB in CA said...

Perhaps I should clarify my position. I'm not saying that Falwell wields a great deal of influence (or any influence, for that matter), but only that his views represent those of a large number of people that won't vote at all rather than vote for someone who does not support their brand of social conservatism.

Anonymous said...

What about Jeb Bush as the man needed to carry his brother's standard?
Or,perhaps, Hilary Clinton who sounds as tough as her usband was soft?
And letus not forget Newt Gringrich, if he is still around.

Anonymous said...

Rudy can't win the primary. And why would you want him to win? The Supreme Court arguably is more important than national security, as a long-term issue for our country. We don't need liberal justices on the court. It's not just Roe V. Wade. It's property rights, gun rights, the rule of law, sovereignty (not using foreign laws and constitutions to overrule our constitution). It's so many things on top of the moral issues. It's truth in sentencing, victims' rights, capital punishment, etc. The Supreme Court that is on the verge of shutting down Guantanimo (a national security issue), is the same court that Rudy will appoint "moderates" to. "Moderates" like Kennedy and Souter. With moderates like these, who needs liberals?

JB in CA said...


Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

So how's that "appointing conservative justices thing" going, anyway?

And how does the appointment thing go for a moderate Republican president with a conservative Republican Senate?

Frankly, I don't think that it makes any sense at all to say that the Supremes matter more than national security. Being blown up by terrorists really ruins your day whether the Supreme Court just decided your case on the basis of Maori tribal law or the Constitution of the United States.

But I also suspect that the actual power of the Supremes may be, though clearly greater than it ought, actually much less than it is often thought. Historical analyses of Supreme Court decisions of which we are aware have noted that they generally track closely with broad public opinion. Those guys and gals aren't sages so much as they are robed politicians pretending to be sages. Mostly they do what a considerable plurality of people want done most of the time. It's the muddled thinking of Americans that concerns me, not the Supremes.

And by the way, most polling shows that Rudy can win the primaries, even South Carolina.

bryan dove said...

Being a Libertarian, I am more than used to making concessions based on practicality and possibility. But being such means I can still stick my pretentious nose up at Republican politicians when they inevitably fail to meet my fancy.