Fidel Castro Out!

The biggest and most important news story of the day is that Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary who ascended to power in 1959, effectually gave up his position as dictator-president of Cuba. This will lead to monumental change in Cuba; not right away but slowly. It is a very good day for Cubans even though not much has changed yet. Maybe Cubans will soon have the freedom they deserve.

For almost 50 years Castro has ruled Cuba. He was always a thorn in the sides of American presidents. Numerous assassination attempts against him failed. He robbed from his people and was responsible for nearly 50 years of poverty and starvation. Anyone who thinks that Cuba is some wonderful Communist Mecca with wonderful health care and people who only starve because of U.S. trade embargoes need only to look at how many Cubans there are in America. There are millions of people trying to leave the country with no one really trying to get in. That alone speaks volumes. Now is the time for Cubans to clamor for their freedom.

In the U.S., we need a president who will continue to press for freedom and democracy in Cuba. The ongoing primaries and upcoming general election are important because we will choose who will lead our nation. Let’s hope that it is someone who will make wise foreign policy decisions and continually urge other nations to accept and promote democracy.

Mitt Romney Endorses McCain

In a move that shows both political awareness and good character, Mitt Romney will endorse John McCain for president. Many might question his motives – is he seeking for nomination as a running mate? Maybe. Is he trying to consolidate the Republicans in order to muster the strength to beat the Democrats? Yes. Is he reaching out to McCain to build bridges that were torched during a sometimes acerbic campaign? Yes. Again, Romney is showing that he can put the interests of the country and party ahead of his own ambitions. Some may argue that putting a “liberal” like John McCain in office is not helping the country. However, Romney realizes that “liberal” McCain is more than a stone throw conservative than either Democratic candidate.

I am always amazed at how good Mitt Romney is (good as in a honest person with good character and values). I shouldn’t be amazed but in the context of general American politics, it’s easy to become jaded about politicians. Romney isn’t a politician though. He was a governor and tried to get into politics in the 1990s but he’s a businessman, a family man, and a conservative who happens to have held political office. Romney’s endorsement will seal the nomination for McCain (even though McCain will still be a few delegates shy of the total needed, assuming all of Romney’s delegates decide to support McCain).

Primaries This Weekend

There are a number of contests this weekend for both Republicans and Democrats. There are more caucuses than primaries, which is good for Obama – he has done very well in caucuses. If Mitt Romney was still in the Republican race he would do well too – he had consistent and strong support in caucuses. As it stands, McCain will win all of the contests tonight.

Republicans

February 9

Guam caucuses (6 unpledged delegates), Kansas caucuses (36 pledged delegates), Louisiana primary (20 pledged delegates), Virgin Islands caucuses (6 unpledged delegates), Washington State caucuses (18 pledged delegates), Northern Mariana Islands caucuses (6 unpledged delegates).

Total of 56 delegates for the Republican candidates.

Democrats

February 9

Louisiana primaries (56 pledged delegates), Nebraska caucuses (24 pledged delegates), Washington State caucuses (78 pledged delegates).

February 10

Maine Democratic caucuses (24 pledged delegates).

Total of 182 delegates up for grabs this weekend for the Democratic candidates.

Mitt Romney Suspends Campaign!

In a blow to conservatives across the nation, Mitt Romney has decided to suspend his campaign. By suspending his campaign the states get to control how the delegates are used. Romney’s campaign was the most inspiring conservative campaign since Reagan’s 1980 campaign. He just had to fight against too many character attacks by his opponents (Romney may have started the “negative campaigning” but his attacks were always over policies, not personal characteristic or character). He also faced great latent Anti-Mormon sentiments (and overt attacks).

The one consolation is that Mitt Romney is in a very good position for a nomination in 4 or 8 years. I don’t know why Mike Huckabee is still in the race (not that Romney is out, he’s just not really in anymore). He had fewer delegates than Romney and much narrower appeal.

In his official announcement Romney called for unity while appearing selfless: “If this were only about me, I’d go on. But it’s never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.” That is character. Romney knows when to put the needs of his party ahead of his own aspirations. He said it is time for the Republicans to unite and go forward. He feels that either Democratic candidate, if elected, would not fight the War on Terror as effectively as McCain. It’s not a battle we can afford to lose.

I would be surprised and very disappointed if Huckabee did not suspend his campaign or drop out shortly.

Super Tuesday Results

West Virginia
The first results are in from Super Tuesday. Mike Huckabee won the convention in West Virginia. No candidate had a majority in the first round, although Mitt Romney had a comfortable lead, but in the second round most McCain supporters (McCain was in 3rd place) switched to support Huckabee (the delegates were told by the McCain campaign to go and support Huckabee), who ended up winning by a slim majority. Will this change the overall results of Super Tuesday? Not a bit. Huckabee has as much chance of winning as I do. I’d feel pretty bad if I knew that I only won West Virginia only because most McCain supporters were voting against Romney. It looks like the W. Virginia delegates were wasted on the least viable candidate the Republican Party has produced in a long time.

Georgia
Barack Obama won Georgia with a strong showing of support from African-American voters and young voters. He will receive more than 50% of the vote. Hillary Clinton had the most support from older white women and men. The Republican race is still too close to call. Exit polls show a close race. Huckabee has more support from younger voters than Romney does but Romney has more support from older voters. Romney has more support from people with more education while Huckabee has support from people with less education (less than high school). Both Romney and Huckabee attract many more conservative voters than McCain does. He still hasn’t shown that he can win the core conservative voters in the Republican Party.

The results pour in from the various states and I won’t take the time to cover them all. Mike Huckabee has done surprisingly well. His wins have all been (mostly) in the South though. Even though the South is very important to the Republican Party (and Democratic Party), it does not represent the general demographics and ideologies of the Republican Party.

Arizona
Mitt Romney did very well in Arizona considering the fact that McCain is from there. Romney received almost half of the votes of Republican Arizonans who consider themselves conservative, to McCain’s third. This is a bit of a slap in the face to McCain. He just didn’t win Arizona by very much (right now it looks like less than a majority). While he has fairly consistently won around the country, he has not won the conservative vote. Many conservatives around the country are disenfranchised with his success. McCain lacks character. Barack Obama has solid character, Mitt Romney has a very solid character, Ron Paul has character, and Mike Huckabee even has decent character but John McCain does not, or at least has shown his many character flaws in this primary race. His whole campaign slogan is a lie – “I’m a Straight-Talker.” During his campaign he showed that he was anything but a “straight-talker.” I used to really like John McCain; after all, I grew up in Arizona. I still respect him for the service he’s rendered the nation but I just don’t feel that I can really trust him anymore. He’s the supreme “flip-flopper” in the campaign because he does it without the mainstream media calling him on it. He’s changed his positions back and forth many times. Romney at least only changed a few of his positions once.
If the general election came down to Obama and McCain, I would have no qualms about voting for Obama if he was not so pro-abortion (he voted against the partial-birth abortion bill; I find it appalling that he could support them). He also has a too-simplistic view of the war in Iraq. In spite of that, Obama has character. Even though he is more liberal than Hillary Clinton, I’d support him any day over Clinton. She has questionable character at best. She’s had too many scandals, too much double-talking and acting to make me feel that I could really support her. A lot of it stems from her time in the White House as First Lady.

Regions
McCain has strong support in the northeast (except for Massachusetts). McCain has a lot of support all around the country as well. Huckabee has his support in the South, specifically the Southeast (except Florida). Huckabee has basically no support in the Mid-West, Northeast, or the West. His delegates are essentially worthless. He does not have wide appeal within the Republican Party (outside the South) – Iowa was a fluke. Mitt Romney has very strong support in the Midwest and the West. He’s also done very well in the rest of the states, except in the South, where Huckabee sucks up a lot of his support.

Hillary Clinton has strong support all over the country. She consistently does well in the primaries. However, Barack Obama is having a wonderful night. He will win more states than Clinton (although not necessarily more delegates). He has wide support through the heart of the country and in the mountain west (interestingly, many of the same areas that Mitt Romney has the strongest support; this is not a coincidence. Both Obama and Romney have really strong support in the caucus states).

Overall
Right now it looks like Romney will win at least 6 states (with 2 still up in the air – California and Alaska). McCain will win at least 7. Huckabee will win at least 5. My numbers might be off slightly but overall, it is a pretty close night for all three Republicans. The delegate count will be different though. McCain will have the most delegates.

Obama will win at least 11 states to Clinton’s 9.

Super Duper Tuesday GOP Predictions

By Daniel B. Kay

With so many contests going on tomorrow it has been fun trying to figure out how thing will play out. Some contests are a given while others are wide open. Undoubtable the predicitons for the delegate count are as much a shoot in the dark as anything but here are my predictions for the GOP nonetheless.

McCain:
520 delegates
Winning Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, & Tennessee.

Romney:
481 delegates
Winning Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, & West Virginia.

Huckabee: 80 delegates
Winning Arkansas

Mitt Romney: The Man for the Economic Crisis in America

I normally take a very positive view of the economy; I’m optimistic about the future. However, there are a number of disturbing signs that point to the serious faults in our economy. One problem is the fiscal irresponsibility of many Americans. I do not blame the banking industry completely, although the relative ease at which credit is obtained is problematic. The fault lies with us as consumers. We live in a disposable society, one where cell phones are replaced almost yearly, food containers are largely disposable, food is fast, and people always desire more. The impulsive and uninhibited spending is correlated with impulsive and uninhibited eating our country seems to suffer from. How can people control their spending if they cannot control their eating? Granted, some people have biological or psychological issues that lead to impulsive eating and spending, but that is relatively rare compared to the overwhelming problem our country has with obesity. The fiscal irresponsibility in our country is manifest in the recent sub-prime lending fiasco that is still shaking up the economy (it is one of the major contributers to the flailing stock markets). The fiscal irresponsibility in our country also is manifest in the high bankruptcy rates. I am generalizing of course. There are people who have financial difficulties without any irresponsibility but they are often a minority of cases.

How can we expect our politicians to run the government in a fiscally-sound manner if we can’t run our own homes that way? I’m not implying that we all need to roll in riches but there is a definite problem with too many people living outside their means, which problem is reflected by the federal government. The question now with our tenuously-perched economy is who is the best presidential candidate to help strengthen the economy?

While there are fiscally conservative Democrats and fiscally liberal Republicans as well as fiscally-responsible and irresponsible Democrats and Republicans, the Republican Party has traditionally been the party of good fiscal conservatism and responsibility. The distinction between Republicans and Democrats has become blurred recently with many Republicans becoming fiscally liberal and supporters of “big government” (which actually is a “return to their roots” per se. The early Republicans grew out of the old Federalists, in part, who were for a strong central government compared to the old Democratic Party of Jefferson, which was in favor of states’ rights and small federal government. This is, however, a discussion for another time). Of note though is that just because someone favors “big government” does not mean that they are fiscally-irresponsible. Continue reading “Mitt Romney: The Man for the Economic Crisis in America”

McCain Loses Maine – Win for Romney

February 2nd is not only Groundhog Day, it is also the date of Maine’s caucuses for the republicans. These caucuses are completely overshadowed by Super Tuesday but still very important. There are still a few municipalities that will hold caucuses tomorrow and even later but right now it looks as if Romney will win all 18 caucus delegates (of course, how they actually will be divided up won’t be decided until May). That gives him 92 delegates to McCain’s 97 going in to Super Tuesday. It’s a virtually tied race right now. Romney’s overwhelming support in Maine (>50% to McCain’s 20%) shows that many people see through McCain’s self-applied label as a “true conservative.” He’s not a true conservative, he’s a moderate; his recent disingenuous ad shows him with Reagan and other conservative leaders. McCain is the only one who’s been flip-flopping. Romney flipped a couple times but McCain goes back and forth in his views. He says one thing while his hands do something else. At one point McCain stood for something but now he comes across as a bitter old man looking for his handout.

Why is McCain the front-runner? The media generally supports him (what the main papers have said about McCain {and the Democratic candidates} simply shows their heavy liberal bias. The NYT editors said that they really like the Democrats and reluctantly supported McCain as the least offensive (i.e., most liberal) Republican candidate. The LA Times also endorsed him – “McCain opposes abortion and rejects the right of gays and lesbians to marry — two positions we reject. He supports the war in Iraq, whereas we see this nation’s interests better served by a prompt and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces.” Source.), so he receives mass exposure for virtually no cost. He also ran against Pres. Bush in the 2000 primaries and with Pres. Bush’s less-than-ideal approval rating (which, incidentally is largely driven by media), McCain looks like a Republican who is not like Pres. Bush; after all, they were opponents 8 years ago. Again, the main reason that John McCain is the Republican front-runner is because the media declare him so. Huckabee being the race also hurts Romney. Huckabee has substantial support but it is from a very limited slice of the Republican party (in Maine he only received 6% of the vote). Bigotry against Mormonism also hurts Romney.

Why Anti-Hillary or Anti-Obama Votes Won’t be Enough for John McCain

John McCain has emerged as the front-runner of the GOP race for the presidency and by all accounts has gained the momentum to take the nomination. Conservatives are not happy and even pundits such as Hannity, who have vowed to not endorse a candidate, have come out in open opposition to McCain and endorsed Mitt Romney. Their opposition is not without valid concerns; most notably McCain’s willingness to compromise conservative positions and unwillingness to champion the conservative cause. The goal of conservatism is not to find a middle ground with liberals; No, it is to fight for our positions. McCain is not a conservative he is a compromiser. And, being a compromiser is worse than being a liberal, in the eyes of many conservatives. If McCain is elected he will be more able to compromise conservative principles than Hillary or Obama and better able to get liberal leaning republicans to vote liberally. While Hillary will have to overcome conservative and party opposition, McCain will be able to act as the conservative working with the liberals to get things done.

McCain’s supporters have taken the view that he has the best chance of winning in the general election. This assumption, however, relies entirely on the anti-democrat vote. McCain will find that this assumption is invalid because there are two types of conservative voter styles. First, there are the “vote for the most conservative candidate” types; and second, there are the “vote against the most liberal candidate” types. I wish I know how many conservative are the “vote against” vs. “vote for” types, but my guess is that there are far more like myself that are the ‘vote for’ types. I recently met a social conservative who switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat so he could vote against Hillary in the closed Florida Primary. This decision was driven by fear and not conviction. He will now change his affiliation back to Republican to vote against Hillary again in November even though his has missed the chance to add his voice with other conservatives to nominate the strongest conservative GOP candidate. In large numbers this strategy, what I believe is a strategy driven by fear, will be detrimental for the GOP because all conservative votes are needed in the party to ensure that the strongest conservative gains the nomination. Undeniably McCain can rely on the ‘vote against the most liberal candidate’ conservatives in November. McCain will rally their fears of what the world will look like given Hillary or Obama becoming president.

But what of the ‘vote for the most conservative candidate’ voters, such as myself? The ‘vote against’ voters are happy with even a candidate that is only slightly less liberal than another, while a ‘vote for’ voter is only satisfied with someone who represents their cause and will not compromise our positions as our so-called representative. We are not driven by fear but conviction in our principles which we do not want to see compromised by someone claiming to be one of our own. ‘Vote for’ types are no more happy with the less liberal candidate than the more liberal one. I say, the lesser of two evils is still evil and the lesser of two liberals is still liberal. I am not interested in voting against the more liberal if the alternative is also a liberal

At the end of the day those who vote for McCain have voted against conservatism by voting for a compromiser. I refuse to vote for a compromiser such as McCain, regardless what the liberal alternative is. Frankly, those who embrace the “vote for” mentality will not be motivated to support someone we do not support nor to vote for someone that does not represent our positions. I will be one of many conservatives that will stay at home and prays for the country on election day given the choice of “the lesser of two evil” because a prayer may help while a vote for either cannot.