Tuesday, June 20, 2006


2008 Hijinks

If the biggest cliche in politics is "XXXX days/weeks/months is an eternity/lifetime...", the next favorite is, "It's later than you think." (Yes, these are somewhat contradictory. What do you expect? We're talking politics and you're demanding consistency from me!?!?!?)

Anyway, in the spirit of the latter phrase, it's about time to start checking into some '08 candidates. Thus, for the informed learning of RT readers, here are a couple of piecess on possible contenders in the next presidential race.

My erstwhile colleague Ryan Sager notes that
Sen. George Allen of Virginia comes correct on the gnarly issue of campaign finance "reform":

"Republicans do not need, and should not attempt, to muzzle their opponents."

Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? Howard Dean?

Try Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), presumed 2008 presidential candidate, in a laudable attempt to return the Republican Party to its historic role as opponent of political-speech regulation. While Newt Gingrich has been railing against 2002's McCain-Feingold legislation in recent months, Allen's attack on the GOP's current effort to regulate so-called 527 groups -- independent organizations banned from coordinating with candidates or parties -- makes him the first top-tier '08 candidate to come out swinging against campaign-finance "reform."

Whether it's enough to force a serious confrontation on the issue between status quo politicians such as Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Bill Frist and the fed-up conservative base remains to be seen. But it's at least a start. And where the various candidates line up on the issue over the next year and a half will tell Republican primary voters quite a lot about who's on board with Karl Rove's vision of a permanent, principle-less majority and who's ready to ready to rethink the mistakes of the last five-plus years.

Allen's attack on speech regulation (and threat to aid a filibuster) comes in a letter to Frist dated June 9, and is signed by six of his Senate colleagues: Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), John Sununu (R-N.H.) and David Vitter (R-La.). It has received little attention from the press, but it's quite a stinging rebuke to the party's leadership.
It would be nice to have at least one Republican reaffirming their belief in quaint notions such as the First Amendment. Good for George Allen being the first one out of the block.

Meanwhile, my friend Jim Pinkerton zooms into the mind of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich:
If I can help shape the agenda for both parties in 2006, I can win the presidency in 2008.

I'm looking now at the recent record, starting with two hot issues: health care and immigration. On health care, the June 12 Washington Post ran a front-page story, "States' Changes Reshape Medicaid/New Restrictions Aim to Save Money"; the piece gave me, and my group, The Center for Health Transformation, credit for instigating the shift toward prevention and personal responsibility among Medicaid recipients. Outcomes are improved, and money is saved -- it's a win-win for governors of both parties.

And as for immigration, I was one of the first to see the importance of border control. Even before 9/11, I argued for a Department of Homeland Security. So now, Bush's plan for guest workers will have to wait. The House Republicans, who still listen to me, will be the big winners; they will block the White House plan and reap the benefit with the voters. By contrast, the Senate Republicans sided with the White House, taking the side of open borders; now they will reap an unpleasant political whirlwind. Indeed, the Senate whirlwind-reapers include most of the '08 hopefuls: John McCain, Bill Frist, Chuck Hagel and Sam Brownback. All voted wrong this year; all will be blown away in the GOP primaries.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are using my political ideas. Look at this headline in The Hill on June 15: "Democrats can't get enough of Newt Gingrich's slogan." Back in March I had said the Democrats could recapture Congress by using a two-word slogan: "Had enough?" Those two simple words, after all, were used by the Republicans back in their victorious year of 1946.

And now the Pelosi Democrats, proving again that they have no ideas of their own, have taken my advice. Here's a quote from that newspaper piece: "During her speech to the liberal group Campaign for America's Future this week, [House Democratic Leader Nancy] Pelosi asked the crowd, "Have you had enough?'"Those Democrats sure are blockheads. I tell them to use a 60-year-old campaign slogan, and they do it. Maybe I should next tell them to buy a big billboard at Ebbets Field.

The whole column is quite good and, I believe, a fairly accurate reflection of Gingrich's thinking (and no, I have no insider knowledge in that regard). Oh, and, Jim? You should have give William Safire some props for your shameless lifting of that "inside the mind of X" gimmick! ;-)

By the way, I don't feel it necessary to throw in the disclaimer every time I mention Gingrich that I used to work for him. I believe that fact is pretty well known -- generally and certainly to regular readers here. I haven't made a determination on whom I plan on supporting in '08 -- if anyone. I hope to treat Newt -- if he runs -- just as I would any other White House aspirant.

Yep -- cynically, viciously and without remorse.

Let the games begin!

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