Category Archives: McCain

GOP to PA Republicans: Go Pound Sand

John McCain now has all the pledged delegates he needs to become the GOP nominee to be president of the United States.  I plan to support him.

Of course, we got to this point without anyone asking a single Pennsylvania Republican to actually, you know, vote on it.  That’s not democracy.  It’s not democratic republicanism, even.  I guess it’s sort of an oligarchy.  Not that this stopped the PA GOP from offering an endorsement.  Oddly, I’m actually a committeeman, and still nobody ever asked me about it.

So, those elected in April to be delegates to the GOP convention should know that the nation at large doesn’t care about their votes.  So treat it with the regard party leaders show it, and formally abstain.  If told it is important for party unity that they vote for John McCain, suggest then that the party should act in a way that values their participation.

If told they should observe the will of their districts, happily agree.  Then say as there is no way for any of us to actually know the will of these districts, thus an abstention is the best possible choice.

PA GOP Primary Results Officially In: They Won’t Matter

Did you stay up late last night awaiting the results of the Pennsylvania primary?  It certainly was dramatic waiting for the results from western Virginia to come in, but in the end the Huckster just couldn’t eat into enough of McCain’s support amongst moderates.

So by voting for McCain the other Commonwealth in the Union, Virginia, officially determined the results of Pennsylvania’s GOP primary.  And all the other remaining GOP primaries to boot.  In the words of McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis [ht Byron York at NRO]:

“The results from tonight’s primary elections in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., make it mathematically impossible for Governor Huckabee to secure the Republican nomination for president…He now needs 950 delegates to secure the required 1,191. But in the remaining contests there are only 774 delegates available. He would need to win 123 percent of remaining delegates.”

So it is official.  Pennsylvania’s uncommitted GOP delegates can pledge to support whoever they want without undermining McCain’s campaign.  They should, then, strike a blow for reform and abstain while expressing their unqualified moral support for the Senator from Arizona.

Or, novelly, they could pledge to support whoever their districts happened to support prior to the Four A poke and prod ethanol boondoggle in IA.

Your disenfranchisement brought to you by heartening bipartisan cooperation in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and the maneuvering of the state GOP.

Washington State GOP: Your Vote Doesn’t Matter, And We Might Not Count It Anyway

There’s some unhappy republican voters in Washington State.  You see, the state party decided to call John McCain the winner of their caucus before they actually bothered counting all the votes.  Funnily, these caucus votes don’t actually bind anyone to do anything anyway.

Here’s a link here to an e-mail sent to the folks at NRO laying it out.  Basically, what seems to have happened is the folks in more rural areas mail in their votes to HQ in Seattle.  They called McCain the winner before these votes showed up, so they only counted about 87% of the total votes, even though it was rather close.

Money sentences from the e-mail the disgruntled Washington GOP caucus-goer sent to NRO include:

So my question to the party was whether or not we should have even shown up to caucus? … It is this kind of treatment by the party establishment that has fueled the suspicions of the grass roots folk such as me. … And for what it is worth, my precinct did not include ONE McCain vote.  And we were not counted by Luke Esser?”

I for one think Luke could have gone the extra mile and actually counted your votes, sir.  Take comfort in this, though:  At least they have highlighted the absurdity of your meaningless caucus vote by giving it the due diligence its legal status merits.

Besides, at least they counted some of them!  Here in Pennsylvania the state GOP endorsed McCain before anyone anywhere voted for anything.

Huckabee, Pennsylvania, and the GOP

As I’ve noted, the PA GOP has endorsed John McCain.  This will likely greatly influence the votes of our unbound delegates to the GOP convention.

Thing is, Mike Huckabee hasn’t quit yet.  And since Tsunami Tuesday he’s won Kansas and Louisiana, and may or may not have upset McCain in Washington State this past weekend.  We don’t know yet.

In Pennsylvania, the most recent polling suggests his support in the Commonwealth is commensurate with that of John McCain, and his electability here against Hillary and Barack are similar as well.  Take a look at these Rasmussen numbers, for example.  And keep in mind those numbers were taken before the Huckster was the only anti-McCain option.

Furthermore, he’s just received the endorsements of influential conservative and Heritage Foundation co-founder Paul Weyrich, and social conservative bigwig James Dobson.  Those endorsements could mean something upstate.

Nevertheless, the PA GOP decided to endorse McCain prior to Pennsylvania’s kabuki primary in April.

Thus the Pennsylvania GOP cares more about the primary votes of independents in New Hampshire and retired New York republicans in Florida than it does about the will of republican voters in the Keystone State.

I’ll be hanging around Chester County GOP HQ later today, turning in some primary petitions.  I’ll see what the word on the street is regarding the state party endorsement.  I’ll also start the process of getting a list of people running to be delegates come primary time.

In case you’re wondering, I am not running to be a delegate.  I probably should have, but I selflessly spent my signature time ensuring my continued status as a committeeman, and also making sure Steve Kantrowitz and Guy Ciarrocchi had enough signatures.  They’ll be running for the state house seat in district 157, and state senate seat for district 19, respectively.

PA State GOP Endorses McCain

Nary a delegate has been elected, nor a farcical primary vote cast.  Nevertheless, my state GOP committee has endorsed John McCain to be the nominee for the Republican party in the race for president.

Reasons likely to be offered for this endorsement will include the following:  All his other competition has dropped out, except for Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.  It is important for the GOP to unite behind a single candidate.  Polls say John McCain can win.  John McCain is Tom Ridge’s friend.

You’ll note none of these reasons have anything to do with the wishes of Pennsylvania’s GOP voters.

Maine Caucus is Irrelevent & Absurd; Not As Bad As PA

Did you know Maine had a caucus this weekend, and Romney won?  But nobody cares.  Know why?  First, because all it means is that the GOP caucus-goers in Maine have made a recommendation to the party insiders who will meet at a nominating convention in a month or so.  It is binding in no way, much like a Pennsylvania voter’s opinion means nothing.

So, rightly, nobody particularly cares.

Pennsylvania, shockingly, is even more anti-democratic.  Two weeks ago my county GOP committee met to determine endorsements for the upcoming primaries.  At that meeting we endorsed delegates to the convention as an afterthought.  Perhaps the people steering the meeting wanted it that way.  Perhaps it’s always that way.  I don’t know.  These delegates never expressed any position at all– at least that I was aware of– prior to being endorsed.

This is important:  I am a voting member of the party who attended the county endorsement convention, and I do not know who the nominated delegates preferred.  The argument for why this system theoretically makes sense is that a regular voter is supposed to know what candidate a delegate prefers.

Of course, those delegates are not legally bound by anything anyway.

Now, in a week the state GOP will have a similar meeting, wherein they will nominate candidates at the state level for things like Treasurer and Attorney General.  This is also where a presidential endorsement could, theoretically, be forthcoming.  This is supposed to inform the delegate’s decision at the party convention, you see.

This year, at least, that question may or may not be taken up.  It appears if Tsunami Tuesday delivers results indicating the primary process will linger on, they definitely will not take up the question.  Perhaps, though, if Mac hazes Romney like a first-year midshipman they will just endorse McCain.

So the Pennsylvania GOP’s endorsement has more to do with the opinion of people in other statesthan it does with the opinions of a Pennsylvania county committeeman, let alone a regular Keystone State GOP voter.  It is this party endorsement that, arguably, most informs the decisions of a delegate at the GOP’s national convention.

So, it appears the Pennsylvania GOP has voluntarily abrogated its right to allow Pennsylvania’s voters to have any say at all in who the national party nominates to be president.  Because of the late date, the fact that the delegates are not legally bound to the preferences of the voters, and because the state committee itself seems to mostly base it’s recommendation on the primary results of states that do have primaries that matter.

There must be a reason for this.  But trying to figure out why actual smokers never saw any money out of the class-action tobacco settlement confused me less than this.

Dueling PA GOP Endorsements

State GOP chair Bob Gleason has endorsed McCain.  Fightin’ Rick Santorum is now a Romney man. [HT Pennsyltucky & The Corner, respectively]

Rick has been hurling invective at McCain for months now like a monkey flinging poo, so this is no surprise.  Gleason is a party man, and front-runner, so his endorsement is to be expected as well.  Besides, our state GOP leaders have always been McCain men, I think.

One wonders how attracted the GOP establishment will be to my uncommitted idea, eh?

I mean, Santorum was an advocate for an uncommitted delegation, but appears to have succumbed to his personal loathing of Mac.  Gleason’s counterpart for for County GOP– Skip Brion– has not yet responded to my e-mail.  The new political director for County HQ has not responded to my entreaty for advice, either.

Perhaps they’re just busy.  I would remind all of them, though, that this is an issue on which all voters would agree reform is necessary.  I would also remind them that– as shocking as it sounds– most voters care as much about internal political party priorities as they do about the status of the solution to the Poincaré Theorem, or about personal and rancorous spats in consciousness studies.

In short, at a state level, or in our case Commonwealth level, this issue could generate votes for someone who chose to spend a few minutes talking about it.  And the only risk is with the party itself.  Last I checked the party was supposed to represent GOP voters, not the other way ’round.

UPDATE: Skip Brion, the head of my county GOP committee, was indeed just busy.  With committee stuff.  Not even his day job.  One wonders where he finds the time!  Anyhow, we are communicating, and he seems in general agreement that the lack of influence PA GOP voters have on determining the presidential nominee is less than ideal.

National GOP Ambivalent About GOP Votes

Rich Lowry of National Review presents one reason why our primary system is incoherent on NRO’s Corner blog:

“Has this ever happened before? This is kind of amazing. I’m looking at CNN exit polls at the numbers for self-identified Republicans. McCain lost self-identified Republicans by a point in New Hampshire (oddly, he won registered Republicans); he lost self-identified Republicans by 14 points in Michigan; and he tied among self-identified Republicans in South Carolina and Florida. In other words, McCain is close to the presumptive nominee GOP nominee without having won self-identified Republican voters anywhere. What an extraordinary—and utterly unlikely—path to the nomination. Presumably, with his front-runner status enhanced, McCain will now begin to win self-identified Republicans, but he has pulled the political equivalent of an inside-straight to get here.”

That’s right:  The presumptive GOP nominee has yet to have a convincing win in a GOP primary dominated by Republicans.

His last remaining real challenger wouldn’t even be able to stay in the race, either, if he didn’t have millions of dollars on which he never paid income taxes.  Of course, he paid capital gains taxes.  Nice work if you can get it…

Test Two for National Strategy: NH

Well, Team Rudy’s national strategy passed its second test last night.  McCain won, Huck disappointed, and Hizzoner avoided the awkwardness of having the eighth paragraph of NH primary coverage reading “Ron Paul finished strong in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, edging Giuliani…”

Avoiding early states and planting a flag in FL immediately before Tsunami Tuesday is looking less and less mad every day.

Still, despite this being about as wide-open a GOP primary as I am likely to see in my lifetime, there’s constant talk of candidates needing to drop out, perhaps even before Feb. 5, due to lack of funds.  Last night could have been a mortal blow to Romney.  Thompson is on fumes before his Southern base ever casts a vote.

And without a NH victory, there would have been talk about McCain needing to drop out after only 10% of Iowans and often intentionally mis-registered New Hampshire residents casting malicious ballots have had a chance to vote.  Now instead there’s talk of McCain being the frontrunner. 

I get to vote in April.

GOP Delegate Math & PA

Miss me?  Well, I’m back.  And much like Nixon in ’88, I’m tanned, rested, and ready.

It seems the ascension of the Huck– which he may or may not have you believe is Divinely directed— has scrambled every campaign’s electoral math.  McCain thought social conservatives would forget about McCain/Fiengold and give him a boost since he’s been strong on abortion.  Mitt put about 8 million dollars worth of eggs in Iowa, and they’ve rotted prematurely.  Thompson thought he could be the Southern candidate.

And Team Rudy figured a top tier of four candidates and Ron Paul would be crowded enough to diffuse opposition support, but not so crowded that it would keep him from getting a majority of convention delegates with the support of all those big states with just a few smaller ones mixed in.

Well, Huck has ruined all that.  Turns out there are a lot more dissatisfied Red Staters out there with unread copies of Friedman’s “Free to Choose” that seem to dig a cross between Bill Clinton and Huey Long.

What does this mean to humble voters in PA?  Well, it means that I may have to eat my hat.  Our Coelacanth of a primary in the spring may actually mean something.  As this would be a once a generation occurrence– the exception that proved the rule– this does not obviate my criticisms of our silly later primary.  Reform is still necessary.

But the delegate math presented here seems to suggest that not only may all primaries matter in the GOP race in 2008, but we may actually be in for a brokered convention.  Well, it at least isn’t tin-foil hat territory for political geeks like me to start hoping for one.

A brokered convention would be bad, bad news for Giuliani.  His personal platform is, shall we say, a little too quirky to win in that environment, one would think.

It would be fun, though.  It also may be good for the GOP generally, monopolizing all the press coverage for MONTHS while Ms. Clinton (or, less likely, Obama) stuggles to get some attention.  I never thought I’d have to type those words.  Imagine.  A democrat presidential nominee struggling to get attention from the MSM…

So what’s Team Rudy to do?  As much as it pains me to admit it– as to me the entertainment value of a meaningful convention approaches that of a Genesis reunion including Peter Gabriel– he has to get a majority of delegates prior to the convention.  Giuliani is, rightly, the first choice of many GOP voters.  Alas, he is not anyone’s second choice.  Except for maybe my Dad’s.  We are not case studies one would choose if looking for a typical GOP voter.

So Giuliani needs to kill in Florida.  Anyone else noticing all those Florida focused e-mails from the Giuliani campaign, lately?  You know what other state they’re talking about a lot in New York?  South Carolina.  If Rudy kills in FL, and does especially well in SC, he’s off to a good start.

But if he slips in either state, he’s got problems.  He also has problems in CA.  He’ll win the most delegates out of CA on Feb. 5, but CA is also a proportional state, and right now it ain’t shaping up to be a TKO.

Finally, and strangely, it looks like Giuliani’s big mo may need to come out of MO.  Missouri, that is.  MO is a winner take all state on Feb. 5.  Team Rudy is strong there, but not prohibitively.  So here is my prognostication:

If Giuliani wins FL and MO, he will win the nomination.  If not, my primary vote in PA may matter, and we may be in for a fun convention.

What else should be on the top of Team Giuliani’s to do list?  Buttering up John McCain.  Being low on money and long in the tooth, he stands the highest chance of opting out of this mess and retiring from the race.  Of the top tier candidates, he’s the most likely to endorse Giuliani.

Perhaps people should also start explaining to Fred Thompson that the veep slot seems to suit his temperament more than the CEO’s chair…