Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
By winning Florida, has McCain sewed up the nomination? Well, no. There are still lots of primaries, and Super Tuesday next week. But the establishment and conservative line has been that McCain won in New Hampshire and South Carolina because those states were "open" primaries -- independents and even some Democrats crossed over and voted for him.
But Florida was a closed primary -- only registered Republicans allowed. And McCain won. Now overwhelmingly., but enough.
So if Giuliani drops and endorses McCain, that should be enough to put McCain over the top.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
What I really wish, however, is that someone would choose some better hymns.
I sat through Mass on Sunday listening to the cantor warble through unsingable hymn after unsingable hymn. I tried to sing, but none of the hymns were singable. The words were vacant and tune tuneless. Save the last one, which was Amazing Grace.
I have complained about this before. Cannot someone in the Church write some hymns that (i) are singable and (ii) are beautiful?
If that is impossible, cannot we at least borrow from the Anglican hymnal or go back to singing some Latin hymns?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The speech is what you would expect of the Pope. The speech began with a discussion of historical context. It briefly traced the history of the university and its importance to the Italian state. It then discussed the Pope's connection to the actual invitation, noting that it was to the Pope as "bishop of Rome".
The speech then turned to discuss the nature and purpose of two institutions, the Papacy and the University. Looking to the history of words, the speech noted that the Pope was first and foremost a bishop, who Greek word is tied with the idea of the shepherd. So the Ope is, in essence, someone who is a voice to guide "ethical reasoning." But the Pope also speaks from faith. So as always, Pope Benedict sees faith and reason intertwined.
The Pope next turned to the purpose of the university. A university is a physical manifestation of man's quest for knowledge. Which again is where faith and reason connect. To the early Christians, the quest for knowledge was a way of blowing away the clouds of myth and understanding God. As the Pope put it, "to discover the God that is creative Reason as well as Reason-as-Love." And what is the end of knowledge? As the speech explained the "purpose of knowing the truth is to know what is good."
What is perhaps most ironic about this affair is that the Pope, the most scholarly of clerics by far, was forced away from a university. Those who protested his planned appearance would have done well to hear what would have been his closing words:
Anyway, do not take my word on it -- read the speech.
What does the Pope have to do or say in a university? He certainly should not try to impose in an authoritarian manner his faith on others, which can only be freely offered. Beyond his ministry as Pastor of the Church and on the basis of the intrinsic nature of this pastoral ministry, it is his task to keep alive man’s responsiveness to the truth. Similarly he must again and always invite reason to seek out truth, goodness and God, and on this path urge it to see the useful lights that emerged during the history of the Christian faith and perceive Jesus Christ as the light that illuminates history and helps find the way towards the future.
This has lead recriminations from Italy's left wing government, with both the president and Prime Minister condemning the actions of the protesters.
The Vatican has released the text of the Pope's undelivered speech. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find it in either English or Italian. I probably will have more to say once I read it.
Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune, on the Giants-Packers game
(And yes, I am really a Jets fan, but unlike baseball or football, I always root for both teams).
Friday, January 18, 2008
The polls show that Thompson is fighting Romney for third place in the state. His hoped for break through has not quite happened, though in this strange primary season who knows. If the posters in NRO's the Corner are to be believed, the Thompson rallies are enthusiastic and well attended.
You have to think that a poor showing in South Carolina will mark the end of Thompson's campaign. He may stay on through Super Tuesday hoping to win Tennessee (I imagine his delegate list is made up of old friends and supporters, and he will want to get them to the convention). But you have tho think he will quietly shut down operations.
One problem Thompson is facing is that his supporters seem to want it more than he does.
This may sound strange, but he fact that his supporters seem to want it more than Thompson himself does is, in fact, something that appeals to me. Thompson is probably my second choice right now, because he strikes me as a nice dull Cincinnatus as opposed to a rock star wannabe.
I wonder if Thompson's plan from the beginning has been to run for Vice President.
People blame the auto industry, yet, elsewhere in the US, the auto industry seems to be doing well. VW has decided to build another plant in the US and they are looking at sites down south, not in Michigan.
So maybe the issue is not the federal government but (i) the fact that US auto makers are not building cars people actually want to buy and (ii) that there is something wrong in Michigan's business environment.
But Romney decides pandering is better politics than truth. And he wins.
It reminds me of the moment I realized I could never be a good politician. As a college kid I got myself elected to the Nassau County Republican committee. This is not really a big deal really. There are two committee persons per election district (maybe 800 registered voters) of which about 400 were registered Republicans.
I ended up running unopposed, so there was no election.
When I was going door to door, I had someone complain simultaneously that (i) housing prices were too high on Long Island, (ii) Long Island was over developed, and (iii) that she could not sell her house for the price she wanted (which was too high). I told her she could take care of all three problems by halving the price of her house and taking the money, buy an open field and live in a tent. Then she would sell her house, reduce housing prices and prevent over development
She actually thought it was funny and decided to support me, but I knew I could not do this 400 times.
I do not think Ron Paul is a racist. And I accept his statement that someone else wrote the newsletters and he had little input or control. But he was indifferent to what was said in his name and showed poor judgment and poor management.
This leads to a larger question though -- namely, has the Ron Paul campaign been good or bad for the libertarian movement in America. Paul was NEVER going to be the GOP nominee. But Paul wants to talk about the fiscal policy and constitutionalism and changing American foreign policy. I had hoped that lead to a widening of the debate.
Instead, however, libertarianism again is shown to be a strange and alien political philosophy. I have never been a "movement" libertarian. Mostly, I think, this is due to the fact that libertarianism tends to shade off into strange places. It has always been more comfortable to consider myself a conservative for that reason.
The Paul campaign has again lead libertarianism down this road. Paul's supporters have a tendency to get in your face. And he has attracted a motley crew of 9/11 Truthers, new world order conspiracy theorists and other marginal types to his campaign. Even the "Don't Tase Me bro" guy is a Paul supporter.
This newsletter affair seems to go beyond the one article that has been discussed. Basically, you have a guy making money using his name to sell newsletters that contain things that are considered outside the realm of polite society. The articles are unsigned and give the impression that he either wrote them (which he did not) or that he gave his seal of approval.
I do not believe in censorship of ideas. Paul and his supporters can say what they feel like until they are blue in their collective faces. But this is yet more proof that Paul was the wrong champion of libertarian ideas in this election.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We really won't see a brokered convention, will we?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Then look at these pictures and ask your gut -- who do you trust to have the words "the most powerful person on Earth" after their name.
Which is why many in the blogspehere are saddened today that he announced he has abdominal cancer.
So Tim, here are prayers and good wishes. But no head tilts for yoy!
Apparently the Democratic establishment is not happy whenever a black man wonders off the plantation. Well, I say good for Obama. I now seriously want him to win the Democratic nomination -- because I fear not a Clinton presidency, but a Clinton campaign. A Clinton presidency would be well, another Clinton presidency. A Clinton campaign will further poison the political atmosphere in this country.
A McCain-Obama race will send Carville and Rove slinking back under their rocks.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I'm not an expert on this, but is there an obvious explanation for why Obama had a 7.5 percent advantage over Clinton in New Hampshire votes counted by hand and Clinton had a 5.5 percent advantage in votes counted by machine? I presume that it's a function of differing locations, with the more urban Clinton districts relying more on machines. Is that the right inference?
Uh, yes. You figured it all out, not very hard. (HT: Instapundit)
Actually, it is pretty easy to understand. HRC won "old New Hampshire" the urban, industrial areas where the Clinton machine could operate full throttle. Obama won the more upscale, less populated places, the small college towns, of "New New Hampshire." Basically, Dunkin' Donuts beat Starbucks (I saw that somewhere today, though I forget where).
Unless of course, it is all a conspiracy by Karl Rove in connection with Diebold. Yea, that it.
But Lopez's comment: "But on a whole host of issues — including water boarding, tax cuts, and the freedom of speech — he’s not one of us."
OK, you can argue with him on tax cuts, you can argue with him on campaign finance reform (which is what she means on freedom of speech). But suddenly, support for water boarding is necessary to get the support of conservatives? And if we see McCain as the GOP nominee, does this mean they will not support him? Would they rather see HRC (who is a cynical paranoid) or Senator Obama (who may be honorable, but is too naive to be president) just because they like water boarding?
Is this what the conservative coalition has come too -- water boarding and tax cuts uber alles?
My second worst fear is Mike Huckabee getting the nomination. Not just because he will lose, but because he might win.
So what is my third worst fear? That Mitt Romney wins Michigan, Fred Thompson wins South Carolina, and Rudy Giuliani wins Florida. The result is that NO ONE has momentum going into Super Tuesday. Those five pretty much split the delegates and no one ends up as the clear nominee.
Pundits have been dreaming about this since 1980, when Ted Kennedy tried to release the delegates. The last time a winner was not certain going into a convention was in 1976 when Reagan came within a whisper of knocking off Ford. (I actually remember watching the convention with my parents in a hotel room in Cooperstown).
Back in the old days, before McCain Feingold, the conventions were early in the summer. This gave the parties time to choose a candidate and still have a real long campaign, in the days when the candidate was actually chosen at the convention. Now the conventions keep getting pushed back as the nominee is known, and this way they can hold off making it official, allowing money to be saved for the general election. BUT if it is late August and there are two or three candidates that think they can win, what happens then?
Sunday, January 6, 2008
While Kemp has been out of the public eye for a few years, this will help McCain counter arguments that he is not properly conservative enough on economic issues.
Reason number one is that of all the candidates of either party running, only John McCain is ready, on day one, to face the rest of the world. We can dream about pulling up the drawbridge and returning to the good old days when we minded our own business. We can fantasize that once George Bush leaves office the rest of the world will love us again.
But the truth is that the world is a dangerous place. Wishful thinking will not make it go away. Anti-Americanism long predates George Bush (when vacation in Italy in 1999, I got an earful from lots of Italians claiming Bill Clinton was a war criminal for intervening in Kosovo).
HRC represents a return to the vacation from history of the Bill Clinton years. Barack Obama does not have the experience and seems to naive. Romney would be a competent executive but would have to learn on the job. Giuliani would make an excellent Homeland Security director. Huckabee's foreign policy is an incoherent jumble and would be a disaster.
Hence, we need John McCain.
However, my old acquaintance Robert George has come to the conclusion that John Edwards is the most annoying man running for President.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Romney is now damaged. The way is open for McCain to extend his lead in New Hampshire and put himself on top!
This was Edwards best chance and I think he will now fade. HRC needed to keep this close and she did, but if she loses New Hampshire she is in real trouble.
On the GOP side, Huckabee's supporters have come out in droves at 35%, with Romney second at 23%. Thompson is third. If this holds, Romney is in a lot of trouble. Huckabee does not have the money or the constituency in New Hampshire, where McCain is in the lead and growing. A distant second place finish and Romney is done.
This is telling because Richardson was clearly, until about a week or two ago, positioning himself to be HRC's VP. Then when HRC started to show signs of trouble, he started to attack her. This may be the final sign that HRC is in trouble.
This makes some sense. The conventional wisdom is that you need to run to the base in the primaries (hence Democrats run left and GOPers run right) then run to the center for the general. Such a course requires a lot of verbal and intellectual gymnastics, and the person who best does it ends up winning the presidency.
HRC, figuring she was inevitable, skipped the first part and immediately started triangulating. The base it turned out was not as supportive as she expected and she is now paying the price.
Well whatever. After listening to pundits yammer about since November 2006, we now get the chance to hear them yammer about for the rest of the year.
Edwards if everyones real second choice, so despite Richardson and Kucinich's decision to back Obama second, I think Edwards still wins.
In the GOP, there are no second choices, and Romney holds on to win.