February 6, 2008


Voters Reject Romney ... and Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson (Jennifer Rubin, February 6, 2008, NY Observer)

Then the voters had their say. McCain racked up victories from California to New York to Missouri. Romney was pretty much relegated to Utah and Massachusetts, two more home states to go along with his Michigan win. Mike Huckabee, also the object of talk show and blogger derision (for, among other grave offenses, raising taxes to build schools and allowing children of illegal immigrants access to college scholarships) had a fine night, taking a batch of southern states.

The talk-show conservatives who were so successful in riling the conservative opposition to immigration reform in 2007 proved to be the flimsiest of paper tigers. Their shouted directions to the conservative foot soldiers, and their warnings of the dangers of a McCain presidency, were ignored.

They did their best to boost Romney, who had striven mightily to endear himself to this crowd, but the voters shrugged and rejected him overwhelmingly. Had Romney not changed residences so often he might have been shut out of the primaries entirely.

So will McCain’s opponents climb down off the ledge and accept the possibility of him being the nominee? Surely they must realize, even grudgingly, that their intellectual credibility among conservatives would be further eroded by failing to back a pro-life, pro-surge, fiscal conservative over a Democratic opponent with diametrically opposing views.

But clearly some of them have priorities other than maintaining credibility. They are in the business, a lucrative business, of drumming up the discontented, playing to the G.O.P.’s most conservative elements and enjoying the applause of their fellow pundits. It is a closed circle—talk-show host interviewing talk-show host and blogger quoting blogger. Their audience is devoted but limited. Their influence beyond that sphere is nil.

The last time this crew was this deranged it cost the GOP control of Congress, but they think Republicans ought to follow their lead?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2008 9:25 PM

Not to strike too close to home here, but when's the last time you heard anyone but a blogger or TV talking head rail about McCain-Feingold? What's the over/under on the % of the populace who knows what it is?

Posted by: AC at February 6, 2008 10:13 PM

And then if you were to explain that it's campaign finance reform, I'm sure you'd get a, "Yeah, so what's the problem?" as a reply.

I was trying to explain to my wife why the Right hates McCain and she asked me, "Well, where does he stand on abortion?" I said, "Solidly pro-life for decades." She just looked at me and said, "I don't get it."

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at February 6, 2008 10:51 PM

That is why.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2008 12:43 AM

Those who do know approve of it by wide margins.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2008 12:48 AM

It's just like smoking. Rush Limbaugh and other members of the conservative elite will rail against the evils of the anti-smoking movement, but I suspect the average conservative across the country thinks discouraging smoking is really a pretty good idea.

Posted by: Vince at February 7, 2008 2:04 AM

If McCain-Feingold gutted the First Amendment (As I have heard) then why were so many still talking about politics right up through the 2004 and 2006 elections?

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2008 7:33 AM

Vince, discouraging something isn't the same as banning it.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2008 10:03 AM


But just the mere discouragement causes the conservative elites' mouths to foam.

Posted by: Vince at February 7, 2008 4:54 PM


I think part of the problem is that it's inherently difficult to understand the connection between money and speech. Also, the whole thing is important but arcane. I had to study the issue for a while (during the last McCain presidential run) before I got what it was about, and I was willing to spend some time researching it. Most folks aren't, and it's hard to blame them.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 7, 2008 8:46 PM