January 19, 2008


McCain Wins South Carolina Primary (MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM and MICHAEL LUO, 1/19/08, NY Times)

Instead, according to exit polls, Mr. McCain gained enough support from a mostly conservative voting base -- and siphoned enough votes away from the evangelical bloc -- to best his rival.

With 83 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. McCain, of Arizona, was leading with 33 percent of the vote, just ahead of Mr. Huckabee’s 29 percent.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who coasted to an easy victory earlier on Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, was vying for third place with Fred Thompson, the former senator of Tennessee.

Having won by carrying exactly the sorts of folks who the inside the Beltway Right thinks hate him, Maverick is undeniable at this point. The free media he gets will suck all the oxygen out of the other campaigns and the Fred Thompson endorsement will be useful.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 19, 2008 9:35 PM

I try to avoid such hyperbole, but I really felt that either McCain or Huck would be knocked out tonight. So good riddance to that blithering idiot Huckabee. As I said before, a lot of the "I'll vote for Hillary before I vote for McCain!!!" crowd will be holding their noses while pulling the lever for McCain come November.

But at least they'll be pulling the lever.

It's really unbelievable that the GOP will probably win the presidency this year; normal fatigue after 8 years of one party presidency, unpopular president, economy slipping. Thank God the Dems somehow managed to come up with two unelectables. Heads you win, tails they lose.

Posted by: Fugate at January 19, 2008 10:01 PM

McCain is GHW Bush.

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2008 10:14 PM

Anyone who visits here knows that John McCain is not our favorite Republican. Indeed, many of us wonder if he is a Republican at all.

But the 1st question in my mind tonight is this: how can Huckabee get 30% of the vote? I am an evangelical, and I would never vote for an opportunist like Huck in a primary. He may be a pastor, a Christian, and a good story-teller, but that is thin when voting for President, when stacked against his negatives. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Republican voters 'do' identity politics just like Democrats, but I am (a little).

McCain's 33% of the vote is not convincing, but he did win in a state that (except for veterans) is not disposed towards him.

Had Huck never risen, would Romney have won NH? Probably not. But Fred might have beaten McCain today. Perhaps McCain will assuage the right-wing with Fred as V-P. Hillary is almost certain to choose Ted Strickland, perhaps Mark Warner, or maybe even Ed Rendell. Richardson (while tempting) has too many skeletons in the closet regarding women, and she can't afford someone that much like Bill on the ticket.

All in all, an interesting night, unless Rudy wins big in FL. Then it will be forgotten.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 19, 2008 10:16 PM

Huck is the most like Clinton and W. He's just not next and in '12 he'd have to beat Jeb.

Rudy won't be a factor in FL.

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2008 11:25 PM

Not sure Johnny Mac got "exactly the sort of votes" he'll need to win the general, oj. Haven't seen any of the SC demographics as of yet. But there sure be a passel of mournful movement conservatives in the blogosphere tonight.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 19, 2008 11:51 PM

With the two conservative "apostates", McCain and Huckabee, winning over two-thirds of the votes in one of the most "conservative" states, despite the constant barrage of braying from the "movement conservatives" on talk radio (that's Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin et al, if I was not clear) and the blogosphere (I am looking at NRO) against the two, we have to wonder whether the movement conservatives are out of touch with the people.

Posted by: sam at January 20, 2008 12:02 AM

Grown ups understand that winning is more important than having the perfect candidate. The movement conservatives are Paleocons that don't know when they've won. God, guns and gays are avoided by the dems in national and most statewide elections. The rest of us understand that another win means more conservative judges and justices, more dead terrorists and at worst gridlock in the legislature. Now if we can get some 3rd way fixes for entitlements the liberals are dead.

Posted by: Patrick H at January 20, 2008 12:18 AM

Agreed, Sam. Question is, have they ever been in touch? Wasn't Reagan pilloried by this sort of folk, only later to be canonized (well beyond his actual record)?


Posted by: Jorge Curioso at January 20, 2008 2:41 AM

When are East Coast intellectuals ever in touch with America?

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2008 7:16 AM

Patrick: BINGO!

Posted by: JR at January 20, 2008 9:04 AM

No, I don't think the "movement" conservatives were (are) out of touch. The GOP field for this election cycle just didn't include anyone who the whole base could rally behind. And, despite his low poll numbers, Bush got the whole base (plus good number of independents) behind him in 2004, and almost all of it in 2000.

McCain has belittled Republicans more than Democrats over the past 8 years. Rudy and Romney had problems with religious conservatives, and Romney made too many strategic errors. Fred inspired, but way too late. And the minor candidates (except for Hunter) were completely unimpressive.

Now, Huckabee lured a lot of evangelicals to vote for him, but he is a showman, not a statesman. And his habit of taking money as governor (gifts, etc.) is just too Creflo Dollar for me. But, the evangelical voters saw him as the "alternative", so he surged. However, his notoriety doesn't mean 'movement' conservatives are out of touch. Rush and Mark Levin and others were just willing to call a huckster a huckster, at a time when the mainstream media were pumping him up, because it saw him as their easy victim in November.

After all the Democratic bile, cowardice, and foolishness of the past 8 years, many Republicans wanted someone who would "fight" Clinton, Schumer, Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, Kennedy, Murtha, and the media. Perhaps that is why Rudy polled so well at the beginning. But fighting just to fight is not nearly as important as winning. McCain can win in November, and could possibly win big (with a strong independent vote, he might get 53-54%). But McCain needs to understand tax cuts, tax revenue, and economic growth very well, because Carville and Co. are most likely going to run a reprise of 1992 against him. Their big lie (the worst economy in 50 years) worked then.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 20, 2008 11:33 AM


The talk radio conservatives have never pilloried Reagan, only to turn back and lionize. Reagan, after all, signed the order to remove the Fairness Doctrine, which jump-started Limbaugh's business model to the heights it enjoys today.

BTW, look for the newly-merged XM/Sirius radio to go all out in luring Limbaugh to their fold once Limbaugh's contract ends next year. That will be the next wave in the talk radio business, and will put terrestrial radio in the hole, big time.

Posted by: Brad S at January 20, 2008 11:47 AM

There was no talk radio as we know it, but Weyrich, Phillips, Viguerie, etc. all turned on him.

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2008 3:37 PM

No, they didn't. They want McCain. But you read the Beltway types so you're confused.

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2008 3:38 PM

"Grownups" holding their noses and voting for McCain will prove that violence against the First Amendment has no consequences; this will further corrode whatever confidence ordinary people place in the integrity of the leadership of the conservative movement.

Posted by: Paula R. Robinson MD at January 20, 2008 7:08 PM

When 70% of the American people, Congress, the president and the Court agree on a legal matter it's settled law.

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2008 8:46 PM

The Court is going to throw out CFR this term.

The recent 'cases' in WA and OK (where individuals have been limited in their free speech on radio talk shows or due to restrictions on actual domecile) are on the horizon as well. CFR is nothing more than incumbent protection and the anointing of the media as a privileged class with respect to commentary.

As has been said before, if CFR were so popular, Granny D would be your Senator.

Posted by: ratbert at January 21, 2008 12:33 AM

your Granny D bit represents a threshhold error. You assume that just because you care passionately about CFR normal voters do. No one cares much, they just generally support it. It's a trivial issue.

Posted by: oj at January 21, 2008 9:03 AM