Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Starting to worry more

When people used to say that Giuliani might run for President, I'd snark, "Cool. Which party?"

I thought Giuliani was such an incredible (i.e. non-credible) GOP candidate that he didn't have a chance. Now I'm starting to worry.

First, I would have thought he'd have disappeared by now. So I've still been insisting that there was no way he could win the GOP primaries. But I've reconsidered the math, and now I'm worried.

Giuliani is the most liberal candidate by far. He's not the nuttiest; Ron Paul has that distinction. But he is by far the most liberal.

So naturally "moderates" go for him. But I've been hearing a distressing amount of professedly conservative Republicans say they intend to vote for Giuliniani in the primary.

Now, couple that with the fact that we have one, two, three, four, at least five more conservative candidates still in the race.

While people keep getting excited if Huckabee blips, or Romney maintains, or Hunter "surges" a decimal point or two, they need to break out their calculators and face facts.

The conservative vote may end up divided at least five different ways!

Who does that benefit? Giuliani.

And that benefits Hillary!, because you can argue all you want, but you just aren't going to get many values-voters to vote for Giuliani, much less work for him.

That's worrisome.


BugBlaster said...

Dan, I don't comprehend a frontloaded system that takes 1.5 years to elect a leader, but be that as it may, I don't think you need to worry about Giuliniani. From the outside looking in, it doesn't seem that a Republican candidate has a chance of winning this election.

Pin your hopes on Jeb Bush in 2012. I heard him speak a couple months ago, and he is one smart cookie. And wouldn't it be sweet to defeat Hilary after only one term?

DJP said...

Um, and the prospect of a Clinton presidency, with a bunch of Supremes being replaced, is supposed to comfort me? Eee.

Rob Mellen Jr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BugBlaster said...

Comfort only in the sense that you have time to brace for impact.

But really, what's up with a system that takes a year and a half (some would say two years) to elect someone for four years, only the first two of which will be in a mode other than lame duck or re-election campaigning. Your election is a whole year away, yet it's too late for a brilliant newcomer to enter the fray. That's nuts, and it's the reason that conservatives are stuck with unpalatable choices this time around.

Carlo said...


I just emailed you an article from today's Wall Street Journal. I don't think there is a big concern. Guiliani does have a commanding lead nationally - 33% to McCain's 16% and Thompson's 15%. But the base of the party as the article notes is still southern social conservatives (38% of Republicans are Southerners and 15% are from the NorthEast).

So, I think we're okay. I mean, if Guliani could ever win the Republican nomination (which I still believe he has no chance whatsoever of winning), then this country has bigger problems than Mrs. Bill Clinton becoming President.

Turretinfan said...

I horribly misunderstood your "incredible" remark until I was maybe halfway through the post.

Contextual reading - it's not easy.


DJP said...

Mm, I see your point. Added some clarification. Thanks!

Rob Mellen Jr. said...

I understand the sense of incredulity you are expressing. It seems to be based on some sense that the GOP is an ideologically unified party, which it is not.

The GOP does not have a single uniting normative philosophy. It is a coalition of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and neocons, each holding their own preferences. If the party were ideologically unified it would be a very small party incapable of electing anyone to national office. Thus, Rudy can do well in some states (outside of the south).

Personally, I see this race as having an excellent possibility to be a brokered nomination. Of course, everything hinges on the early primaries and caucuses. Romney will likely take IA and NH while Huckabee picks up some of the south along with Fred Thompson. Rudy will win states like NY and CA. I think it will be difficult for any one candidate to sweep the early primaries and bank the nomination...but I could be wrong.

If I had to rank order my preferences it would be:
1) Thompson
2) Huckabee
3) Giuliani
4) Romney

Yeah, Rudy comes in above Mitt for me because as an evangelical I don't want to give a Mormon the bully pulpit to preach his false gospel.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I'm anti-leftist more than being a pro-Republican. So even if Rudy gets the nomination I would still vote for him over Hilary.

I don't buy the argument to vote 3rd party as a means to "punish" the GOP apparatchik for abandoning its base.

As distasteful as Rudy G. is to this social conservative, he's still far better than Hilary.

Rudy's not getting my vote in the primary, but if he wins the nomination, I will certainly vote for him. I'll vote for any GOP candidate. "W" validated my vote in 2004 when he put Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court.

gcb620 said...


I respectfully disagree with your notion that Ron Paul is the "nuttiest” of the GOP candidates. My own appraisal of Ron Paul, a professed Evangelical Christian, is that he is, in my opinion, the most faithful candidate in espousing the normative principles of civil government found in the Constitution and Bible.

Putting his electability aside for now, sadly, I don’t find many critics of Ron Paul engaging him on the objective merits of his policies and beliefs. Instead, by erecting a straw man, and not engaging him in an objective, dispassionate analysis of his views -versus the “control” documents of the Constitution and Bible - most of his critics easily beat him up as anachronistic, unpractical and even crazy. For unbelievers, the rhetoric is expected, but for Christians, where sanctified debate should take the high road of charitable construction and a fair hearing, it’s a dilution of our witness to the world (Ex. 20:16 with Matt 5:16).

I’d like to stick up for the good Doctor (he’s an OB/GYN) and humbly submit that unless one can produce the countervailing historical, constitutional and biblical arguments to the contrary, there is a prima facie acceptability to the candidacy of Ron Paul within the GOP.

1. Ron Paul is thoroughly Constitutional, as he has consistently maintained that today’s Federal Government has grown exponentially beyond the focus and scope of the framers and must be circumscribed by the enumerated powers defined by Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution (cf. his track record in Congress and the US Taxpayers rating (http://www.ntu.org/misc_items/rating/VS_2005.pdf), and you’ll soon see why he is called, “Dr. No” – ie., he votes no, even at a loss to his district constituents, because he finds no warrant for most spending (or policies) in the US constitution.).

2. Ron Paul is thoroughly Biblical and has the approbation of Scripture for many of his views from an extremely limited function of the government in the areas of criminal justice and defensive wars (Rom. 13), optimal free markets (Matt 20: 1-15 with Exodus 20:15), to sound, non-fiat, monetary policy through revival of the gold standard (Prov 11:1, Lev. 19:36 and Deut. 25:13-16). And finally, as a practicing OB/GYN, who has delivered more than 4k babies, Dr. Paul is unequivocally Pro-Life.

Taken together, both 1 and 2 above, should be recognized by most Christians of Reformed persuasion, which I am, to be functionally equivalent to the “regulative principle” for government – ie.,, only those things that are positively affirmed or prohibited – by the Constitution or Bible - define the rightful jurisdiction of government regulation and control.


The social spheres and activities left untouched by the Constitution or the Bible, but where Christ still rules and holds us accountable (1 Cor. 10:31), is a) left to the states politically (Amendment 9 and 10 of the Bill of Rights) and most importantly, b) left to the influence, control and sanctions of the market, families, churches and other private organizations in non-political matters (eg., gluttony is a sin, but not a crime).

Finally, let me say that I purposely left the issue of Ron Paul’s foreign policy untouched, as that is what likely invokes the greatest reservation in the GOP. Here, briefly is why in this area too, I believe the good Dr. has the Constitution and the Bible supporting him

Because war is the most gravest of national actions, the Framers wanted to create a very high burden so not to create any political ambiguities in the country (or abroad) suggesting that the country was anything but unified. As such, NO war could ever be waged without a declaration of war by Congress, per the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8). Historically, only 5 wars passed this muster: War of 1812, Mexican American War – 1846, Spanish American War – 1898 and finally, the two World Wars. The current “wars”, both Iraq and the “war” on terror have never passed this constitutional test.

At no time did the framers or original GOP believe that committing troops to war be done by an unelected foreign body, such as the UN, through non-binding resolutions. This most paramount decision was the sole province of Congress.

Moreover, the recent phenomenon of US foreign intervention has NO historical precedent in either the framers or past history. In fact, the advent of today’s modern, messianic, democratizing and international-policing are actually quite new – circa 1900 (http://www.fff.org/freedom/0295c.asp) – and would not have been recognized by either Washington, Jefferson or even the original GOP. Today’s foreign policy is a complex amalgamation of a military-industrial complex with a pro-Israel lobby (http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/2_1/2_1_7.pdf) .

Biblically speaking, the framers advise of not meddling into affairs of sovereign nations and acting to guarantee their security is actually wisdom that is couched in the book of Wisdom, Proverbs: “Like one who take a dog by the ears, Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belong to him” (Prov 26:17), with the wisdom that one should not be a surety (or guarantee) for his neighbor (Prov. 17:18; 6:1-3; 11:15).

Vis-a-vis the old GOP, today’s religious neo-conservatives still attempt to claim Biblical justification for foreign intervention, as they invoke the time-honored classic of the Good Samaritan. But this invocation as a supporting analogy fails to support foreign intervention, as the time, resources and risks are all VOLUNTARILY accrued by the Samaritan in Jesus’s account. However, when the Govt goes outside it’s borders to putatively save others, it can only do so through the COERCIVE means of using other people lives (it’s soldiers) and other people’s money and resources (through taxes). Good Samaritanism is voluntary, foreign intervention is not.

In reality, the US is actually less safe when it meddles into the foreign affairs of other countries. In his book, “Blowback” (Holt/Owl), Chalmers Johnson points out that 9/11 was not an attack on America per se, but rather an attach on it’s foreign policy (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011015/johnson. It is a tough pill to swallow, but the axiom is worth repeating, viz - that when we pick up one end of a stick, we pick up the other end.

Ron Paul was ridiculed for mentioning Blowback during the 1st South Carolina debates (by Rudy), but the CIA was already using the term back in 1954 as describing the unintended consequences of it’s foreign policies. And in his own words, Bid Laden issued his 9/11 fatwa denouncing America for the support of Israel (a surety), the occupation of the Arabian peninsula and the war in Iraq (unnecessary intervention) as reasons for that fateful day.

Why aren’t there fatwas denouncing the Swiss or terrorist bombing in Switzerland? These countries are also freedom loving democracies. Could it be that they mind their own business? Put the shoe on the other foot: How would the US feel if China or Russia were conducting war exercises in the Gulf of Mexico or had military installations in Cuba, Canada or Mexico? Would we feel a little nervous?

We should patrol our borders both by land and sea, and invest heavily in SDI and other defensive weaponary, but we have no moral justification – Constitutionally or Biblically - in the foreign occupation of another sovereign country.

Ron Paul is not perfect, but no one is, but he has a demonstrated track record of being the most Constitutional and Biblical of all candidates. We cannot casually dismiss him as “nutty” unless we can show that his beliefs are clearly out of step with the source documents mentioned. Unless this is done, the burden is for the other candidates, to show that they are equally or more Constitutional and Biblical than Dr. Paul. Until such time, there is a prima facie acceptability to his candidacy.

Finally, but most importantly, the failure to tether the functions of the state to clear Constitutional and Biblical principles, results in leaving political policies to the subjective, humanistic – and in principal, uncheckable - imagination and devices of men. I much prefer the mistakes made by those wanting to use the right medicine (the Constitution and Bible) to those that play with poison.

May God bless America…


Insignificon said...

I'm just gonna do a quick hit-and-run, since some other Ron Paul nut has done a fair job defending him, but I will say this: Mainstream Republicans are willing to pay any price, bear any burden to win this war. If that means supporting a leftist who is pretending to be a rightist, because he says he wants to kill terrorists, then that's what they'll do, regardless of the consequences to more important things. We can recover from a lost war. Whatever else Vietnam proved, it proved that. Can we recover from a lost national identity? Can we recover all the unborn who have died because of Roe v. Wade? Can we recover the sense that we are truly One Nation Under God. Only one candidate in the running at the moment is both socially and fiscally conservative, and he's laughed at because he dares to actually believe in the things he says. The war is a no-compromise issue for many, and the federal reserve a fringe one nobody cares about, but Ron Paul is still the most consistent conservative we've seen in a long time, not a nut. Disagree with him or not, it's very unfair to take the attitude that he's not serious. He's serious, and his philosophy deserves some consideration before you dismiss him out of hand. He's only saying what the original founders of this country thought, for the most part. Which ones of them do you think were nuts?

DJP said...


In three...



Well, I've never said Paul's not serious. He's serious. And he's nuts. He's not a serious candidate, in that he has NO CHANCE of winning. He only has a chance of splitting the well-meaning but misled conservative vote so as to ease in the sort of man you and I both lament: Rudy Giuliani.

Paul's candidacy may have made sense 150 years ago. News flash: it isn't 150 years ago. At that time, nineteen idiots couldn't carry out a diabolical plot and kill 3K+ Americans in a flash. At that time, wars were declared, uniformed, geographically locatable, and fought by long-gone conventions.

Paul is a serious problem. But he is not a serious candidate. He's a vanity candidate, a distraction. The sooner gone from the scene, the better.

Paul's candidacy makes as much sense as saying, "Oil problem? What oil problem? Back in the Founders' days, we all walked, or rode horses!"

That was then, this is now. Unfortunately the quarrel that is going on in the Middle East does concern me. You may look out the window at the hoodlum who keeps hiring men to attack your house, and you may mutter "Better locks! That's what I need — better locks!"

I say deal with the source, and the supply will dwindle.

The sooner the Paul candidacy folds, the better for this too-important-to-be-wasted-on-vanity election cycle can move forward.

I'm sure that as far as principle is concerned, you and I would agree that we've drifted far afield. So we just declare that we're going for a touch-down in one play? We didn't get here by one play. It will take a foot here, a foot there, a yard here.

Right now, Paul is standing with the Dems, and they love him for it. Sorry, but I don't respect him for that.

gcb620 said...

Dan – with all due respect, your argument presupposes that Dr. Paul is not living in the real world - that his ideas are outdated, anachronistic, and not cognizant of the realities of the modern world (akin to what liberals say about strict construction judges by the way).

But this retort so conveniently forgets that, as Christians, we live in a world 2000 years removed from the 1st century, and a couple of thousands years (more) removed from the inscripturation of pertinent OT revelation. Yet, despite being multiple generations removed from the norms that we hold true and believe are binding for all of life (2 Tim 3:16-17), we don’t for a second, bend the principles or rules to fit our situations.

Instead as Christians, we believe that God’s ethical demands are absolute, universal and invariable. We are not cultural relativists who believe that modern societies - however complex – change the core of wrong and right or preclude the applicability of God’s revelation and principles in our lives or to the world at large (Matt 5:17-19). We must still engage society and live and apply His Word and principles to the modern world as best we can. The world must bend, not the normativity of His prescriptions.

There are (2) issues here: Dr. Paul’s elect-ability and the objective merits of his positions. I’ve only so far defended the latter, as I believe that most Christians have (incorrectly) marginalized his positions. Yet, until someone can refute his beliefs, in the same way that I have argued that history, the Constitution and the Bible support his beliefs (reply #10), then there still (remains) a prima facie case that Dr. Paul is the candidate most faithful to the Christian Worldview.

Question begging or simply stipulating the appropriateness of political conduct without offering careful, cogent reasoning and application from Scripture (or the Constitution) – such as simply assuming the morality of foreign intervention – is tantamount to circular-pontification (or “saying so, makes it so”), not good constructive debate. Instead, arguments should be analytically engaged, non-rhetorical, and ultimately supportable from the baseline documents that the participants believe are the standards (ie., the Bible and/or Constitution) - unless of course, these documents are considered anachronistic because of their antiquity.

Finally, and on a practical level, I do struggle with whether Dr. Paul can win. Yet, as an incrementalist (not revolutionary), do believe that God’s common mode of change is gradual, imperceptible and long term (Deut 7: 22; Exodus 23: 29-30), and this dynamic of change may suggest that certain battles will be lost, only to win the ultimate war.

As a result, I can go both ways: Work within the GOP party for the change (thus vote for the winner of the primary – whoever it is). Or, as I have been thinking lately, start looking at the longer term, beyond 2008, and start looking at the war (not merely battle) inter-generationally - for our children’s, children.

For example, although right principles invariably succeed overtime (witness the fall of the USSR), this inter-generational approach implies that the right principles “fail” in the short term battle (to Hillary or whomever), but there is confidence that, like a seed that germinates and grows imperceptibly underground, with nurturing and watering overtime, the seed blossoms into a much more robust, stronger tree with intractable roots – ie., a resultant new party in the long run, where we’re better positioned to win the war.

I’m still open, but I’m leaning in this direction today, as the trajectory of the GOP is getting worst, not better. Today’s GOP, where pragmatism trumps principle, is a shell of what it was, and there are no signposts indicating that we’re moving any closer towards federalism, liberty, principles and the free-market. Instead, all indications is that the Leviathan, even with the GOP in control, is getting bigger and more intrusive. Therefore, without disparaging those that differ, I admire and respect those that want to work within the party; I just have serious doubts that meaningful change is possible.

Long term change isn’t always linear, but sometime requires disequilibrium to disrupt the old order. Einstein’s comments are helpful here: “The problems we now face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. Perhaps, a paradigm shift, in party, is what is needed. A step back, only to take several steps forward. Losing a battle, but winning the war.