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Oh, Shit. It’s Going to be Mitt

By the sheer force of the man’s will to not lose, it seems it will be happening for Mitt Romney. I’ll be honest with you all, I was more willing to accept McCain, and heading into the silly season with McCain as the headliner was hard enough. My only comfort is that the alternative is Rick Santorum. Like I said previously, I’ll take the guy with no convictions over the guy with Rick Santorum’s convictions, or Obama’s convictions.

Clayton Cramer took part in the Idaho caucuses. I am not at all meaning to demean Clayton’s choice here, because we all ultimately have to make our compromises. If Santorum was the nominee, I’d vote for him over Obama. I wouldn’t like it, but Santorum would put nominees on the court who would strengthen Heller and McDonald. That’ll give me what I want right now, and I can leave the rest for future generations.

I think the caucus system has something going for it, because only the motivated are going to participate. It ultimately enforces compromises. I’d ideally like to see more caucuses going into the wee hours. This is a very personal, and local form of politics our country probably needs to see more of. In some ways I find it preferable than the political parties hijacking the election apparatus of the state, and giving any fool with a voter registration a say.

How do you feel about the not-so-super Tuesday results? How do you feel that this sorry lot is the best we can throw against the sorry lot of the Obama Administration, after people put so much hope in the tea party movement? Is this 1996 all over again? I don’t actually think so, because there’s a fundamental truth that the country is running out of other people’s money. What I’m not sure of, is whether this end result is going to be disaster.

96 Responses to “Oh, Shit. It’s Going to be Mitt”

  1. Wes says:

    For the Tea Party to embrace Sarah Palin like it has, and then for Sarah Palin to vote for Newt, is further proof the real Tea Party is dead.

  2. Wes says:

    I have to give Obama credit on one thing. At least he doesn’t automatically say, “How high?” when Netanyahu says, “Jump.” I can’t say the same for three of the four GOP candidates. The war drums are beating for Iran, and it’s not going to be a cakewalk like Iraq has been.

    • Ken says:

      Give me a fucking break. That “war drums are beating for Iran” thing has been a standby for the antiwar.com crowd since 9/11, and it hasn’t happened. Also, the leftists who want Israel done away with are, by and large, the same ones who are in the Ladd Everitt violent anti-gun faction.

      • Wes says:

        Yeah, right. We’ve got Netanyahu pushing hard for it in a speech in America, we’ve got 3 of 4 GOP candidates pushing for it… Santorum would probably bomb Iran his first week in office.

        All anyone has to do is read some sites covering Netanyahu’s speech the other day and see for themselves the mindset going on.

        • Sebastian says:

          You say bombing Iran like it’s a bad thing. I’m not exactly eager for them to acquire nuclear weapons, and then have my kids to have to go through another round of Mutually Assured Destruction with a country that’s way more off kilter than the Soviet Union was.

          • Ken says:

            Don’t forget that the Cold War largely propped up the “progressive” (read: regressive) movement. Gun control in England was implemented with the express intent of preventing a Communist revolution, and here in America with the express intent of suppressing leftist groups like the Black Panthers (who weren’t working for the USSR but were indirectly influenced by it). The massive spending spree of the 1960’s was justified by Sputnik.

            I expect that Obama would like nothing more than a Cold War with Iran. I don’t think he will get his way, because I don’t think Iran wants it–they want a hot war, and one way or the other they’ll get it.

            • Harold says:

              Given that the #1 reason by far for US gun control has been to keep blacks “in their place” I think you’re going to have to make a stronger case (remember our host’s motto, “Don’t scare white people”?). The ’60s race riots were said to be a major influence on the GCA of ’68, which among other things banned the importation of inexpensive military surplus guns (something the US gun manufacturers had absolutely no trouble with, ignoring the value of dirt cheap starter rifles and the like). Similarly the long campaign against inexpensive “Saturday Night Specials” (which the GCA of ’68 banned the import of), which had a history going back to post-Reconstruction South.

              • If you want to get the wits scared out of you, go to the library and start thumbing through 1967 issues of Newsweek and Time for the summer months. There is at least one race riot almost every week, and sometimes many such riots every week, throughout that summer.

          • Wes says:

            If someone wants to bomb Iran for nuclear weapons, great. Show the evidence they’re actually working on such weapons, and then have Congress authorize the bombing.

  3. Bubblehead Les says:

    Read what I just wrote for Bitter.

  4. Brad says:

    So the Massachusetts Moderate will face off against the Chicago Socialist. Great. (sigh)

    With Romney following McCain, the RINOs will have had two bites of the apple. If Romney loses, can we finally put an end to the B.S. which claims that the moderate is the “most electable”? Will we finally stop letting the hostile press bamboozle the Republicans into nominating the weakest, most left wing person?

    • Jay G. says:

      Smart money’s on “No”…

      • It isn’t just the press. We have to get the people that don’t stand for very much who are in the middle.

        • Sebastian says:

          Yes. To some degree I’ve wondered whether the big problem is that there are a lot of people who really pay scant attention to politics, but yet they go out and vote. I don’t believe in restricting the franchise, since that has an ugly history in this country, but maybe it should be harder to register to vote than it is.

          If you really look at it, elections aren’t so much value judgements on the principles of a candidate, so much as elites manipulating the ignorant to vote a certain way… with the guy who can bring along more ignorants being the winner.

          • I’m afraid you may be right about which elite can manipulate the ignorant the most.

            Voter registration SHOULD be harder. I’m not advocating a literacy test or a poll tax but at least you should have to go down to the Board of Elections and do it. As it is, it takes more effort to rent a video from Blockbuster or even Redbox than to register to vote.

            I’m to the point where I think restricting voting to those who own property – as in land or other real estate – is not a bad idea. Then, at least, you know the voter would be a taxpayer instead of a tax consumer.

          • Harold says:

            It’s easier when the incumbent has a lousy economic record. It’s not hard for “the ignorant” to decide to fire that guy.

          • Much of the “middle” of American politics is not really in the middle because they are antiideological, but not paying much attention. The college students that I have are startlingly unknowledgeable about what is going on. I don’t mean that they disagree with me about politics; I mean that they do not know what is going on. They often do not know that Iran appears to be building a nuclear bomb; they frequently have only the vaguest notion that there was something called a “housing bubble” in the last few years. Many are absolutely SHOCKED to find out that it used to be illegal to have non-vaginal sexual intercourse.

  5. Brad says:

    “By the sheer force of the man’s will to not lose…”

    Gee, I thought it was tens of millions of dollars spent on negative ads that made the difference.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/mitt-romney-florida-primary-newt-gingrich-super-pac_n_1239002.html

    • As long as he willing to spend that money in the general election to defeat Obama.

      • Harold says:

        But the other half of this is that his opponents haven’t had that kind of money to spend. How many times has this proposition been tested when at least one of his opponents spent comparable amounts of money in a state?

        Obama might not raise that 1 billion US$ he’s aiming for, but he’s going to have plenty to spend.

  6. thirdpower says:

    Like there was ever any doubt it was going to be Mittens. He was the GOP’s choice from day one. That’s why they kept him ‘#2’ all last year while the press destroyed ‘frontrunner’ after ‘frontrunner’. Now they’re running the primaries like we actually have a choice and there might be some competition but in reality he was already the winner.

  7. A Critic says:

    Like I said previously, I’ll take the guy with no convictions

    You are what is wrong with this country.

    • Sebastian says:

      I didn’t vote for the guy. This is the choice others have imposed on me. Pennsylvania’s primary isn’t until april.

  8. Weer'd Beard says:

    It ain’t gonna be Mitt. Its gonna be Four more years, and we’re gonna deserve it.

  9. Let me emphasize that Santorum was a message sending choice for me. If I thought that there was any possibility of him getting the nomination, I would have worked aggressively for…heck, I don’t know.

    What a disappointing field to pick from. Each candidate has some strengths (even if it is just presidential hair and a vast personal fortune to put into the campaign), but all of them had serious weaknesses.

    • Clayton, I’m curious about your “message sending” choice. Was your vote for Santorum more message-sending, or more I-like-Santorum-more-than-all-the-others?

      Because if it is the former, I would think that you might pick someone besides Santorum to get the leadership to understand.

      • The primary message was: “I know that we’re running a candidate for President of Sodom and Gomorrah, but there are still a lot of Americans who are not happy about this.”

  10. mike says:

    All I know is that come November, I won’t be voting for the gun-grabbing socialist. And I won’t be voting for Obama either.

  11. Jake says:

    Interestingly enough, even though Mittens won VA (the only big surprise is how close it was, 19%), my county went to Ron Paul – by 0.8%.

    On the other hand, given local demographics, I suspect a significant number of Democrats may have voted in the Republican primary here.

  12. denton says:

    I’m a LOT more pleased with Mitt that some of you seem to be. I share a profession with him, and I know how minds work in that profession. To the extent that those instincts govern his actions, he will be “looking for the successful little company inside the unsuccessful big one” and will be a relentless cutter of unproductive programs and agencies. Isn’t that what those of us with TEA Party inclinations want?

    Issues like 2A are likely not essential to his vision. And it doesn’t matter much because the courts are doing a very good job of clearing that matter up for us. As long as another branch of government will carry the ball, he won’t spend capital on it, and he shouldn’t.

    I think his chances against Obama are much better than even. People may grumble now, but my bet is that he is going to be President and that at the end of four years those of us in favor of less intrusive government will be pretty happy with what he has done.

    • mike says:

      Yeah, and he’ll get rid of those weapons of “unusual lethality” that we all have in our safes too. It’s for the children. Or the cops. Or something. But don’t worry, we’ll all still be able to hunt varmints with BB guns. Except in NJ.

      • Sebastian says:

        I’m kind of wondering… if Obama… who’s voting record on guns is nothing short of atrocious… is afraid to touch the gun issue…. why do folks think Mittens is going to feel up to it?

        Mitt Romney blows with the wind. That’s the kind of guy he is. If he thinks he needs gun owners on his side, he’ll be pro-gun. If he thinks he needs anti-gun people on his side, he’ll go the other way.

        This is one of the problems I have with Mitt, because it tends to make him unreliable, but chances are Mitt is going to see his self-interest in siding with gun owners.

        • why do folks think Mittens is going to feel up to it?

          Only Nixon could go to China …

          • Harold says:

            Because Nixon’s anti-communist credentials were unquestioned, nationally starting with his critical role in the Hiss case as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee, not to mention he’d paid a lot politically for them, starting with his 1950 Senate race, for which the establishment never forgave him.

            I was politically aware at that time; we trusted Nixon in this and our trust was not misplaced (finishing the split between the USSR and the PRC was critical to winning the Cold War).

        • Jack says:

          Mitten’s one advantage over Obama on guns is the same he has on other issues: Bipartisanship.

          On just about anything “sensible” he could get more Republican votes in congress than Obama could simply by having the R. And if it’s “sensible” enough he could retain enough D votes to make it a net win.

          Thankfully guns are a very toxic issue so it wouldn’t be as many votes as on other issues. So a low probabilty but one that is there.

          Also Obama is afraid to directly touch the issue, but he’ll do alot indirectly. As we saw with Holder and the ATF.

          And I suppose Mitt couldn’t get away with something like Fast and Furious under his watch. So there’s that.

        • mike says:

          When there’s an other school shooting, do you trust that Romney’s wind won’t tell him to get those weapons of unusual lethality off the streets – you know, like he said he wants to do? Then the guy pretends he’s a hunter. He has no conviction. We might as well elect a self-interested coin flip to be president.

          I don’t vote for gun banners, not even gun banners(R).

          • Wes says:

            lol, I was just about to post that… that probably the main good(?) thing about Romney is he’s a bit of a roll of the dice. With Obama, you know what you’re getting. With Romney, you don’t really know, but at the worst, it likely can’t be much worse.

          • Sebastian says:

            I trust the guy will stick with where he thinks his interest is. He’s not going to put any political capital behind gun control. Now if Congress sends him a gun control bill in response to a school shooting, we could be in trouble. There are limits to how far I think Romney can be expected to go.

            But on balance, I expect he’ll be better than Obama for the things we need him to do for us.

            • mike says:

              Did you read what you wrote?

              Now if Congress sends him a gun control bill in response to a school shooting, we could be in trouble.

              This is why we WANT gridlock. We don’t want Congress working with the president – we want them fighting, and on different teams. We have much better chance of winning the Senate than the WH, and we should focus on making sure we get actual conservatives in there who would scuttle any more far left SC nominees.

              • Sebastian says:

                The Senate will not save us on court nominees. The best that will happen is Obama nominating leftists who don’t have a paper trail.

                • Jake says:

                  The Senate will not save us on court nominees.

                  Neither will Romney.

                • Sebastian says:

                  I’m unconvinced Romney is going to have much wiggle room when it comes to picking court nominees. He’ll have a GOP short list, and those are going to be more likely than not to vote the right way on gun sissies. Presidents use court picks to please the base, and part of that base is gun owners.

                  If Bush can go two our of two, I can at least expect 50%, and I’ll take my chances with that.

                • Sebastian says:

                  Make that “gun issues” not gun sissies. Autocorrect must have been channeling Ladd Everitt.

              • Sebastian says:

                I read it. I would have said the same thing about Bush… and as I mentioned in another thread, we got out of Bush what we needed to get out of him.

        • denton says:

          I know something about Mitt’s personal history, and I’m comfortable that since he has promised to defend 2A rights, he will. It may not be with much personal enthusiasm, but he will do as he has promised.

          The man is determined, organized, and dedicated. He does not have the narcissistic ego that so many Dems seem to sport. He’s been married to one woman his whole adult life, and there isn’t even a hint of scandal. If he will cut nonproductive programs and agencies, cut spending, and turn back government intrusiveness, that’s a huge improvement as far as I’m concerned.

        • Harold says:

          […] why do folks think Mittens is going to feel up to it?

          Because he’s an awful politician? What makes us think Romney has a clue about this issue? His bang up performance at that signing? What if he gets an advisory who’s anti-gun like G. H. W. Bush had when the Stockton shooting occurred (one reason I’ll never give any money to the Heritage Foundation)?

          After the string of stunning losses the Democrats suffered due to gun control, from losing the Congress in 1994 including the Speaker of the House, which hadn’t happened since the Civil War era, to the very narrow loss by Gore who couldn’t even carry his home state, they got a clue. Kerry was certainly anti-gun but didn’t run on the issue like Gore did. Obama constantly told us he wasn’t going to take our guns away, we had a Constitutional right to hunt, fish (sic) and defend ourselves, etc. etc.

          The Republican party has no such institutional memory.

          • Sebastian says:

            That’s a good point.

          • Sebastian says:

            I guess my response to that is that Mitt is going to have the same people surrounding him as advisors that Bush did, and Bush’s pro-gun instincts were tenuous, at best. But Bush did four things we really needed him to do:

            1. Not actually push Congress to renew the assault weapons ban, even though he gave lip service to it.
            2. Sign the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
            3. Nominate John Roberts to the Supreme Court to be Chief Justice.
            4. Nominate Sam Alito to the Supreme Court to replace Sandra Day O’Conner

            And Bush did cross us, such as having his solicitor argue against us in Heller. But at the end of the day we got what we needed to get done done under Bush.

            • Ken says:

              Not actually push Congress to renew the assault weapons ban, even though he gave lip service to it.

              Yeah, and that’s a major reason I voted for his reelection. But his cowardly approach pissed me off, and gave a clue to the future problems in his Presidency.

            • Keep in mind that the job of the Solicitor General is to defend laws of the United States, even if the laws are stupid or wrong.

          • Ken says:

            I don’t know if they lack institutional memory, or if they actively are suppressing it. Forget Mitt Romney; if George W. Bush said the things today about guns that he said in 1999, he would not be elected. The GOP was up to the neck in support for Clinton’s anti-gun fanaticism, because the David Brooks types told them that support for the NRA was a loser. They had no real basis for this belief, other than their general contempt for anyone not in the Beltway.

            And yes, I agree that the GOP still hasn’t really come to terms with the massive shift on gun rights–even though this shift was already apparent by mid-2000, with the success of the Smith and Wesson boycott. The GOP in the 1990s acted as if gun control were overwhelmingly popular, when in reality it was considerably less so and pretty much an overall negative. Now it acts as if it’s a 50-50 proposition, when in reality 2A support is pretty much a guaranteed winner.

            • Ken says:

              Speaking of which, it is well past time for someone to write a book about the late stages of the gun rights war. (As I understand it, Knox’s book, which I regretfully admit I haven’t yet read, does not cover those years). We need to straighten out some of the myths–such as the myth that the 1994 election turned the tide. It didn’t; it was a solitary and largely empty victory that was followed by Dole’s betrayal on the AWB, and by the passage of the Lautenberg Amendment. What turned the tide was the S&W boycott, and then the Bellesiles scandal. This book would also go into detail regarding the support of “mainstream” politicians such as Rudolph Giuliani for massive and draconian expansion of gun control laws nationally.

              • Sebastian says:

                Yeah… I think the 1994 AWB was the anti-gun movement’s bridge too far, but it took a lot more activism on the part of gun owners before it really started turning around.

                • Ken says:

                  Also, people need to realize what an absolute extremist Clinton was on the issue. Considering the popularity of guns today, it would probably dehabilitate (hey, I can make a word too) his reputation.

                • It also took 9/11. A lot of Americans came out of fantasyland about defensive violence because of that horrible day. A piece I wrote for Shotgun News on the subject starts this way:

                  Gun Control on the Ropes?

                  There are momentous events that, overnight, change how a whole society thinks and acts, when the fantasies that many people hold must be abandoned. The change to our lives is sudden and obvious—like turning a light switch on or off. Suddenly, everything that went before seems quaint, or naive, or just overwhelmingly old-fashioned. These moments are the great dividing lines of a society, and while some of the changes are immediately visible, others may take weeks, months, or years to be noticed.

                  Pearl Harbor was one of those events. America had a large community of isolationists and pacifists who sincerely held to a certain misplaced understanding of our place in the world, and how our nation should operate. With a few notable exceptions, such as Rep. Jeanette Rankin, who ended her career in politics by casting the only vote against the declaration of war on Japan, isolationists and pacifists changed their position; the evidence of their error was too strong to ignore.

                  The discovery of the Holocaust was another of those moments, even though it spread out over many months, as each camp’s liberation added to the list of horrors. For many intellectuals, the death camp crematoria did more than burn bodies; also up in smoke went the then-fashionable delusions about the goodness of human nature. It is no surprise that Americans in the 1950s were as God-fearing and church-going a bunch as we had seen in a generation. You cannot confront real Evil, without starting to ask hard questions about right and wrong.

            • Wes says:

              Heck, if Bush said the same things today about foreign policy that he said in 1999, he would not be elected.

              Eisenhower used his final speech to America to warn people about the military industrial complex. The guy’s magic 8-ball was right on the money.

              • Keep in mind that Bush was elected in 2000 at least in part because he kept emphasizing that nation-building wasn’t part of what we were going to do. Democrats were furious at him for his isolationism. Of course, 9/11 changed all that.

        • Wes says:

          Romney has a worse record on guns than Obama does. At least that we know about.

          • You mean based on what Obama has actually signed. Of course, Congress hasn’t given him anything bad to sign. Obama made it clear in earlier campaigns that he supported banning handguns.

  13. Ken says:

    My question: if the GOP nomination is such a loser, then why are these candidates fighting so long and hard for it? More value = more cost. Simple economics.

    Note that in 2008(R), 2004(D), and 1996(R) these nominations were wrapped up fast. I realize it may seem different in your memory, since you remember the sound and the fury rather than the actual dates, but Romney was already out by the end of February in 2008. Huckabee nominally stayed in, but made no real effort to win.

    Basically, the GOP establishment has been trying to treat it like a command economy: the experts decide who will be the candidate and enact it, believing that their expertise will bring a good candidate. What works, though, is a free political market, where the consumers (voters) choose their own products and put money on them (whether just in the form of gas money to get to the polling booth, or in actual contributions of time and money).

    If anything, the fact that Santorum and Gingrich have done as well as they have is a good sign for Romney in November. Romney supporters tend to be Nice Republicans who Accept Defeat With Honor. Santorum and Gingrich supporters are right-wing diehards who want Obama out. If Romney had won easily, it would have been a sign of lack of enthusiasm on the right. As it is, the signs point to a Romney victory in November.

    • You make a good point, but quite a number of very qualified candidates dropped out early, or chose not to run this time, presumably because they either saw Obama as unbeatable, or were afraid of the background check stuff that Obama’s goons would do to destroy them.

      • Ken says:

        They seem like “very qualified candidates” mostly because they haven’t been vetted. There are plenty of candidates running, and the fight is going longer than usual.

        About the “very qualified candidates”: Marco Rubio I love, but he is a first-term Senator. (Yeah, I know–but Obama had the media on his side, in a heavily pro-Democrat year, and still only won 53%). Chris Christie is a first-term governor and hasn’t even completed his job yet. Mitch Daniels has foot in mouth disease, and his marital history would make him a laughingstock. If they were running, they’d be hotly contesting the nomination, and people would regret that good candidates like Romney and Gingrich weren’t running.

        • Wes says:

          Chris Christie only passes for a Republican in NJ.

          Is Rubio even a natural-born citizen?

          • Ken says:

            Is Rubio even a natural-born citizen?

            Seek treatment.

            • Wes says:

              Hey, smart guy, there are articles about whether both his parents were U.S. citizens or not when he was born.

              Just because he’s a native-born citizen doesn’t necessarily make him a natural-born citizen.

  14. Ken says:

    Speaking of gridlock, what we need is one-dimensional gridlock. We don’t need a Democrat Congress holding back a Republican President. We need a Republican Congress holding back the President, of either party.

  15. Ken says:

    Another thing that gets me angry: the commentators who act as if the shift toward pro-gun sentiment never happened. I’m not even talking about anti-gun liars like ThinkProgress or Ladd Everitt here; I’m already angry at them. I’m talking about people like Dick Morris, who generally espouses more or less center right views, but who consistently opposes any liberalization of gun rights on the theory that it will hurt Republicans–a view 180 degrees divorced from reality. I’ve seen Mort Kondracke do the same thing, saying that Mitt Romney needs to embrace gun control if he wants to have a chance.

    This points to a bigger problem with the “move to the center” strategy. Put bluntly, most GOP strategists are stupid. I don’t mean “foolish,” I mean actually stupid, as in “incapable of thinking.” Simple logic tells you that voters choose candidates who will do things they agree with. If you adopt anti-gun positions, you may win over anti-gun voters (but probably won’t, since the Democrat in that situation will probably be more anti-gun), but you will also alienate the greater number of pro-gun voters. Net loss. However, since most Republican consultants are incapable of thinking, they instinctively Move to the Center and sacrifice votes.

    Note that this does not mean you should always take a hard-right stance. On some issues, such as the minimum wage, the left-wing position is hugely popular and it would be political suicide to oppose it. What it does mean is that moving to the center is a dicey proposition and that you should pick and choose your issues. For instance, David Frum’s strategy of having the GOP embrace cap and trade–in the middle of a recession, with an energy shortage–ought to disqualify him from ever being taken seriously again.

    • Harold says:

      Put bluntly, most GOP strategists are stupid. I don’t mean “foolish,” I mean actually stupid, as in “incapable of thinking.”

      Indeed … which does not reassure me WRT to the thesis that Romney won’t do dumb RKBA things because his advisers will tell him the right things to do. Just like they did at the bill signing.

      I grant you he perhaps learned his lesson about making such extreme anti-gun statements but there’s much less overt stuff that could cause us a lot of pain. He does, at least, seem less anti-gun than G. H. W. Bush. Then again that just may mean he’s even less principled that the elder Bush.

  16. Dan says:

    While in state legislatures we are getting important bills through we have to acknowledge that the front lines for gun rights nationally have moved to the courts. Even the “worst” republican presidents on this have been putting judges in place that can be convinced by the Alan Gura’s of the world. The question right now is how we can get judges willing to hear us out in these court battles. The only national level electoral influence we can bear on this comes from a republican president. Any republican president.

    • Harold says:

      This is the second good point made about the Federal judiciary (the previous by Sebastian was that the Supremes et. al. might without overturning Heller and McDonald “[limit] the right to utter meaninglessness”.)

      This is where the real action is, with the states in more of a mopping up level and nothing pro-gun on the horizon from the Congress and Executive. I’m skeptical about the prospects here (e.g. read my reply to Sebastian above) but if you want to seriously move the ball forward this is where to aim your efforts. E.g. donate to the SAF and other parties that fund this sort of litigation. And, yeah, rah rah Romney….

  17. Ken says:

    Clayton Cramer, for whatever reason I can’t reply directly to your post about 9/11 as a catalyst for gun rights, so I’ll do it here.

    In a nutshell, I see your point but I disagree overall. I saw firsthand the people working for the Bush campaign in 2000. Most of them gave out a big yawn at his various proposals. What motivated them, overwhelmingly, was 2nd Amendment rights. Note that the “Bread and Peace” algorithm, which is almost always very close to the mark on elections, had Gore winning 55% of the vote. He won 49%. He lost most of the swing states, precisely because gun owners were so angry.

    Had 9/11 never happened, you would probably have seen less of a huge swing toward actual gun ownership, but it’s unlikely you would have seen a repeat of the Clinton anti-gun pogrom–although the AWB might have been renewed. Keep in mind that even before 9/11, Terry McAuliffe was already moving the Democrats away from their anti-gun positions.

  18. Harold says:

    Had 9/11 never happened, you would probably have seen less of a huge swing toward actual gun ownership….

    Ah, but I think the huge extent of that swing, and the movement of the attitudes of people who didn’t go that far, at least right then, made the big difference (remember the talk about “security moms”?). From having the most committed activists on your side as you cite to gun control becoming a 3rd rail of US national politics. Which goes hand in hand with the nationwide sweep of shall issue laws that 9/11 was in the tail? end of.

    One other 9/11 point: the message of Bush et. al. for what the ordinary person could do about 9/11 was to shop (spend money; this coincided with and probably deepened the dot.com crash). That wasn’t … satisfying, shall I say. The obvious security theater of the TSA et. al. left plenty of people with the correct impression that “you’re on your own” and I think that pushed many people towards gun ownership.

    • Ken says:

      Yeah…that still pisses me off. I also don’t like the title of the Cheney site “Keep America Safe”: it reminds me of the old Benjamin Franklin saying about liberty and security. The Todd Beamer War became the TSA War.

      My favorite bumper sticker: “The Second Amendment–the ORIGINAL Homeland Security.” It was an obvious dig at the Left, but also a more subtle dig at Bush.

    • Ken says:

      Also, the “security moms” I considered to be part of the problem. There are too many people living their lives in fear and wanting the government to make them warm and cozy. I’ll take gun girls over security moms any day.

      And you can take that any way you want. ;)

      • Harold says:

        While I’m sure there were many definitions, I thought one of the defining characteristics of “security moms” was buying guns to protect their cubs. I don’t pay deep attention to US society at that level so I could well be wrong; substitute whatever phrase you want for the cohort of moms/families that armed themselves after 9/11 explicitly to protect their children.

        Or maybe grandchildren; I’ve noted before that those getting Missouri CCW permit training were heavily weighted towards the older set; self-protection including protection of your spouse was probably not the only motivation. Note also that the press, local at least, tends to view favorably grandmothers who use their guns to stop a criminal.

  19. aeronathan says:

    Sometimes you step in Mitt and sometimes Mitt just happens. Not sure which this is…

  20. Reese Cooper says:

    Utah is a caucus state and I have to admit that I both like and dislike it.

    Pros: It’s local. I enjoy going to my caucus and seeing people from my neighborhood. We get to sit down and talk about the issues that matter to our neighborhood. It truly is the most grassroots that you can get in the American political system. It’s exclusive, meaning that you have to be affiliated with the party to attend its caucus meetings and be involved in the primary process.

    Cons: It’s exclusive, meaning that you have to be affiliated with the party to attend its caucus meetings and be involved in the primary process.

    In Utah, something like 12.5% of voters are registered Democrats, while 34% of voters are registered Republicans. That leaves 53.5% of voters unaffiliated/independent. As caucus attendance numbers dwindle, elected candidates come more from the fringe of each party, alienating a large portion of general election voters. How do you think Utah elected Mike Lee?! Mike Lee won the Republican nomination in a hotly contested Republican Primary 51%-49% (the final count was around 2,000 votes). He was carried by one ULTRA conservative county. When it came to the general election, Lee (R) defeated Granato (D) by almost a 2-1 margin. Many of Utah’s independents are Republican-leaning, and 7 times out of 10 candidate (R) is going to win in a national election.

    In my discussions with many former-Republican-now-unaffiliated Utahn’s, they say that they left the party because of the caucus system. They feel that only “extreme” voices were “allowed” or “heard” and that anybody who questioned the “official party position” was ostracized. Because of the neighborhood affiliation of the caucus system, this created strain between neighbors and rather than potentially lose close friendships or create negative feelings within the neighborhood, they simply left the party (or no longer attend caucus meetings if they’re still affiliated).

    So what’s the answer? Part of the answer is for more people to get involved in their caucus to make it truly more “representative” than it currently is. Of course, this means that people will have to care enough to get involved and to take the risk of arguing with neighbors. Until then, the more “extreme” elements of each party will continue to dominate Utah politics and we’ll continue electing jackasses like Mike Lee.

    • Harold says:

      Errr, for those of us not familiar with Utah politics, what’s so bad about Mike Lee? Wikipedia didn’t have any dirt on him (besides being … overly familiar ^_^ with neighbor Harry Reid and family while his father was doing things like being Reagan’s Solicitor General (Wikipedia had a quote about how this period outside of the Utah Republican monoculture was very useful to him)).

      Caucuses can also be done in ridiculous ways that make citizen participation a fig leaf for the party establishment. I don’t know the exact story, but what’s happening in Missouri is of a nature that there’s little purpose in showing up to one (I thought I knew the story, but according to this it’s even more complicated than I’d read).

      I wonder if the Republican legislature insisted on bundling this with Voter ID, which our otherwise very good Democratic Governor (sic) vetoed. That would given them a campaign issue while allowing the insiders (who of course are at minimum quasi-corrupt, the state is overall Purple but that a geographical thing) to control who gets the RNC delegates.

      • Reese Cooper says:

        I guess my main point can be summed up here. My beef isn’t so much with Senator Lee (though I didn’t vote for him), it’s that a super small minority of voters put him on the ballot, and thus put him in Washington.

        • Alpheus says:

          As someone who actually participated in the Caucus system that year, for my first time (though I ended up only being a county delegate), I would say this: the Caucus system didn’t give us Mike Lee so much as it took out Bob Bennett. Mike Lee didn’t get enough State delegates to carry him to the Republican nomination–instead, it went to Primaries, which he managed to win.

          When I was at the Utah County convention, all the Senator candidates spoke there, and a straw poll was taken for them. The impression I got was that it was a little like what we have today with the Republican Presidential Candidates: people weren’t thrilled with the choices; indeed, I, for one, am glad that Lee is doing ok so far.

        • Alpheus says:

          I would also add that it seems that when someone loses, there always seem to be those people who whine that “the system isn’t working!” In this case, people didn’t like it that Bob Bennett lost, and now they want a different system.

          The same thing happened with Bush vs. Gore (the Electoral College is flawed!), though Democrats that wanted things switched to a popular vote system were hoping, four years later, that Kerry would get Ohio, even though that would have given him enough electoral candidates to overcome the popular vote!

          Mathematically speaking, every voting system is flawed, and can be gamed for results that are not in the best interest of the voters. (Well, every “discrete” system, where votes have to be cast at given moments…I don’t know if it’s possible to manipualte what I would call “continuous” elections, where representatives can gain or lose their “votes” at any moment.) While it’s reasonable to discuss whether or not to change a given electorial system, I’m always suspicious of those who advocate such change when their preferred candidate lost!

          That, and ultimately, every system’s foundation is based on the people who vote, and the people who can vote, but don’t. If those people are flawed, no amount of tinkering with the electorial processes is going to fix anything!

  21. emdfl says:

    I’m sure Bob Dole the Third will do as well as Bob Dole the Second and Bob Dole the First.

  22. Alpheus says:

    Oh, Crap! It’s going to be a Republican!

    There, I fixed your title. Not only did I clean up the language a little bit (I’m a bit of a prude), but I made it more accurate!

    Sadly, this headline would have been applicable this year, regardless of candidate. :-(

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