Five Stages of Voting in the Republican Primary

Denial (December 31, 2007): Duncan Hunter has a chance.

Anger (after Iowa): If Huckabee gets the nomination, I'll just stay home. The GOP is doomed.

Bargaining (after South Carolina): Please Fred, stay in the race till Super Tuesday.

Depression (after Florida): This is the field we have left to choose from? Why can't we have a conservative choice?

Acceptance (today): Next Tuesday, I'll hold my nose and vote for John McCain. He's better than Hillary.

with apologies to Dr. Kubler-Ross


A Small Piece of Advice for Barack Obama

Take the endorsement of Teddy Kennedy and milk it for all it's worth. But if he offers you a ride to the rally, don't take it!

As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal would say, Mary Jo Kopecne could not be reached for comment.


"I'd Croak in a Month"

25 years ago today, the greatest football coach ever kept his word. He'd told people for a long time that he'd "croak in a month" if he retired, and 28 days following Bama's win over Illinois in the Liberty Bowl, Bear Bryant died of a heart attack. There's no way to overstate his impact on the game, on his players, or on those of us who grew up worshipping from afar.

He was, as his autobiography put it, nothing but a winner. I still miss him. (Nobody like Keith Jackson left either.) He left the game as the all time winningest major college coach. And if he'd had the extra 3 or 4 games a year they've had, Bowden and Paterno would still be chasing his mark.
We will, as they said of Patton, never see his like again.
Paul Bear Bryant (1913-1983) RIP


A Small Word for John Edwards

Dude, you got 4% of the vote in Nevada--a heavily unionized state, and you're supposedly backed by some of the biggest unions in the country. Go home. You are not going to be the kingmaker, power broker, spoiler or anything else...including the VP candidate again. It's over. Deal with it. Go back to your hedge fund job and earn another $500k to "learn about poverty."

Oh, and maybe Breck would hire you for some ads....


South Carolina Sends a Message

The Presidential aspirations of the Republican Jimmy Carter suffered a fatal blow tonight in the Palmetto State. When 59% of the electorate identifies as evangelical and Huckabee doesn't win, it's all over. Outside of Arksansas, it's hard to see where else he picks up a win. Goodbye and good riddance to the populist pretender. And please, please, please, let the eventual nominee be smart enough not to pick him for VP.

South Carolina didn't do Flippin Mitt any favors either. Finishing fourth there takes the luster there was off his winning a state today that no one else contested (Nevada) for Romney. While he has the money to stay in the race as long as he's willing to write checks, the ground doesn't look too good for him either. If he doesn't win Florida, (and I suspect he's looking at another 3rd or even 4th place finish there) he's going to limp into Super Tuesday having won only a single contested race. I'm sure Hugh Hewitt will be around on Monday to tell us how losing another election is all part of Romney's master strategy, but he's in trouble.

At this point we appear to be down to McCain and Guiliani. Thompson's third in SC may keep him alive for another week, but it's hard to see how he improves on that in Florida.

The party of Ronald Reagan will thus probably be led at the polls this fall by either a pro-choice, three times married, anti-gun mayor or a maverick Senator who's against free speech, for amnesty for illegals and against tax cuts. Ugh. The sad thing is that either one of them will be a vast improvement on the Democratic alternative, so I'll probably end up having to vote for one of them. Double Ugh.

The one true conservative in the race, my guy Duncan Hunter, quit today. The fact that he couldn't muster any support anywhere is a sad commentary on today's GOP.


Three Races, Three Winners

With Romney's win in Michigan tonight, there has now been a different winner in each of the first three contested Republican primary/caucus states. Maybe South Carolina will sort things out of Saturday...but I'm not sure. It's a mess. That's the one thing we know for sure.


I'm Glad Ben Franklin Lost

When they were picking our national bird, Ben Franklin wanted the turkey. He thought the eagle wasn't right for the job. I'm sure glad he lost that argument!

Today we went over to Fort Gibson to check out the eagles. They migrate down from the Upper Midwest and Canada for the winter. They had one injured eagle at the nature center...but then we saw one in the wild, just up from the dam. It was a great experience--the first time I've seen one outside a cage. You have to look pretty close at the second picture to see the one in the wild, but he's right there in the middle.

After being seriously endangered once, the bald eagle is now thriving...and I'm glad. I can't imagine a better symbol for our great country.

If you ever happen to be in a place where they tell you that the eagles are coming (with apologies to Bilbo Baggins and J. R. R. Tolkein) you should go and see them. it's truly worth the effort.

George Bush Sells Out Conservatives and the Constitution (Again)

Well, he did it again. Our President has once again (see campaign finance reform, immigration reform, government spending, etc.) sold out the Constitution and the conservatives he claims to represent and lead.

Today the Department of Justice filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the District of Columbia against gun owners. Guess that whole Second Amendment and "shall not be abridged" thing is optional for him. What a disgusted waste of a vote that was. Gore and Kerry could hardly have been worse for individual freedom.


Some Quick Thoughts on New Hampshire

1) It's a delight to see both Romney and Huckabee giving concession speeches. Hopefully that will keep happening a lot.

2) That whole Obama hype thing? Not so much. Big difference between a public vote in a caucus and a secret ballot in a primary. Call it the Wilder effect or the Bradley effect, but it's real.

3) The Democratic race may be over. Edwards isn't likely to be a factor again (except maybe in North Carolina) which puts Obama in a tough spot. He's drawing a lot of support from people who don't often (or never) vote. It's hard to translate that into wins. You're going to hear a lot of talking heads going on and on about long races and brokered conventions, but I'm not so sure. Hillary has huge built in advantages that will stay with her. I think she's going to win, and it may not be close.

4) The GOP race is a mess. Three states (yep, did you forget Wyoming?) and three different winners. The party is (perhaps hopelessly) divided. Romney's got the money to finish second another 40 times, but will he spend it for that? Huckabee has to win South Carolina or he's toast--and I'd get the butter at this point. McCain is wildly unpopular with a lot of people, but he may win by process of elimination. (And yes, I did already write a campaign obituary for him, so if he does, I'll have egg on my face.)

5) It's amusing to hear dozens of highly paid people who didn't see an election result coming tell you why it happened. Maybe a little more humility from the press would be in order. HA.

A Question for Undecided Voters

I keep hearing about the large number (25% heading into today's voting in New Hampshire according to polling data) of undecided voters. I'd love to have somebody explain this to me. What are you waiting on to make up your mind? It's not like these candidates are running from undisclosed locations. They all have websites that spell out (or hide) their positions. The numerous debates have been telecast across the country. What will make your decision?

I understand not loving the available choices. My guy, the only true conservative in the Republican field--Duncan Hunter--has no chance of winning. If he's out of the race by February 5 when we vote in Oklahoma though, I won't be undecided. I'll vote for Fred Thompson as the most conservative option available.

Unless somebody can give me a good answer to my question, I'm going to say that people who can't decide who to vote for probably should just stay home and leave the electing to those of us who are paying attention.


Everything You Need To Know About Mitt Romney

John McCain is not my guy. I hope he's not the Republican nominee. I hate his position on immigration, judges, and especially campaign finance "reform." But I have to give the man credit. In the GOP debate tonight, he nailed Mitt Romney square between the eyes. In one sentence, he clearly painted the problem with the governor.

"You're definitely the candidate of change," McCain said. And that's the truth. Romney has changed his positions on issues more than anyone else in the field. He's NOT a conservative--even though he talks that way (now). It just doesn't match his record...or his family history...or anything else about him--until he started running for President. Now all of a sudden he wants us to believe he's the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Sorry, not buying it.

Hopefully the next few states will eliminate both the second coming of Jimmy Carter (Mike Huckabee) and the non-conservative Romney.


You Ought To Give Iowa a Try

Tomorrow the (already nearly eternal) presidential nominating process actually begins with the Iowa cacuses. The polling data is contradictory and the Iowa process doesn't lend itself to easy pre-evaluation. Nobody really knows who is going to win for either party. Hillary may win...or come in third. Either is possible. The GOP is apparently between Romney and Huckabee--ugh.

The one thing to remember tomorrow is that the first numbers you'll hear (if you care enough to listen) will probably not be all that accurate. The rural precincts take a long time to come in, and that's after the two to three hours the caucus process can take. So wait a little before believing the entrance polls (that's what the networks will use) regarding who wins.

And for all of the flaws of Iowa as a standin for the rest of the country, at least after tomorrow we'll know how the first act ends.