Friday, February 08, 2008

Mitt Quits To Win Bush's War

The American Right is obsessed with using the old Nazi "stab in the back" argument to justify being wrong about Iraq. As Mitt Romney did yesterday. Romney tried to cloak his ignoble defeat in the robe of Imperial triumph appearing as the retiring Ceaser not the vanquished Republican Presidential gladiator.

Explaining his decision, he said he believed it was in the best interest of the country's national security -- he told conservatives a Democratic victory would lead to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, defeat in the war on terrorism and future domestic terror attacks.

"If I fight on, in my campaign ... I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I'd make it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win," Mr. Romney said.

"Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

The much vaunted Bush War On Terror was lost the day the U.S. left Afghanistan for Baghdad, and since then it has become the Politics of Fear, which Romney stooped to use as a parting shot in his wimp out speech.

No sir he was no quitter he was doing this for the good of the party and the good of the country and the good of the war, he was a good old boy. Seems though that it did little to quell the split in the party or on the right.

For one long, uncomfortable moment, John McCain was silenced by the boos at a meeting of the influential Conservative Political Action Committee.

They erupted from the back of the ballroom at the Omni hotel in Washington, a lusty chorus of catcalls from conservatives not ready to accept they were almost certainly listening to the next Republican presidential nominee.

And what does it say of Ron Paul the Republican Presidential candidate who also opposes the Bush War and who has not dropped out of the race. I guess he too is a defeatist prepared to surrender America to her terrorist enemies. Logic was never Romney's strong suit, opportunism was.

Ron Paul tapped in to a wide array of interests,
and his appeal went well beyond the simple "opposition to the war" explanation arrogant journalists favored. But let's just say he could have tapped in a lot deeper and with more lasting results. It's not like we don't need the help right about now. The country is seeing the beginnings of a real leftwing backlash and the Republicans are about to nominate a "national greatness" conservative who is in every respect the anti-Goldwater. (Good luck getting any libertarian leverage from those Paul delegates at the convention.)

After the smoke cleared at the Conservative Political Action Conference – the public withdrawal of Mitt Romney from the Republican presidential race, and the attempt of John McCain to make friends with the party’s staunchest conservatives – a conservative crowd-pleaser stepped forward .

Ron Paul, the Republican representative from Texas.

Paul was playing on the frustrations in this hall, with many voicing worries about McCain, the all-but annointed nominee.

Now the party has an apparent candidate who is a friend of Sen. Russ Feingold – on campaign finance reform – Paul said. And now the party has an apparent candidate who is a friend of Ted Kennedy – on immigration – Paul said.

He raised cheers in the hall – perhaps the first genuine cheers of the day.

“If you think we can lead this country back to conservative principles… you have another thing coming, because it’s not going to happen,’’ Paul said.

“The answer is found in fiscal conservatism – live within our means,’’ he said to cheers in the hall.

“As long as a government can stir up fear, sometimes real and sometimes not real, the people are expected to do one thing, sacrifice their liberty,’’ he said to cheers.

And then there is the war in Iraq, with Paul the only one of several Republican candidates for president this year who took a stance against the war.
“McCain says we should stay there for 100 years if necessary – I say there is no need,’’ Paul said to more cheers in the hall.

“We campaigned in 2000 for a humble foreign policy, no policing of the world – and now we are doing the very same thing,’’ Paul said.

But this is where he started to lose his audience: “Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.’’

The Paulites in the hall were happy, but the rest of the crowd was starting to part ways with a Republican who has sharply parted ways with most of the candidates.

Romney was never the real conservative contender against McCain, Mr. Slick was just another liberal in conservative clothing. The real conservative contender is still in the race; Mike Huckabee. Watch conservative voters swing to him not Ron Paul despite the illusions held by his followers.

However the party establishment and the Conservative Political Establishment won't, most rank and file Republicans will hold their noses and support McCain. While those who remain McCain's critics will remain ineffectual offering no alternative since they backed Romney. And that will put them between a rock and a hard place, as the impact of their denunciations will give the conservative base of the party no alternative but Huckabee.

While the pundits like Chris Matthews, see Romney's quitting as giving McCain his coronation as the Republican Presidential nominee, it ain't over yet. And the divisiveness on the right will not be quelled by Romney's absence. The right and the Republican party is irreparably split.

"I will not vote for John McCain and it is our belief that he will destroy the Republican party," Vincent Chiarello, a retired foreign service officer from Virginia, told Al Jazeera. "I'd rather vote Democrat."

At a Friday campaign stop in Denver, the Texas Republican Congressman spoke to a standing room only crowd of 2,000 supporters-nearly double the number that came out earlier in the day to cheer on ordained front-runner Mitt Romney.

Paul’s speech was greeted with the eagerness of a religious revival. One supporter broke down in tears at the microphone as she described Paul as her “hero.” Sitting next to me in the front row was a 61-year-old lifelong Republican. She said she had never missed an opportunity to vote in her four decades of eligibility. Without Dr. Paul (this is how the obstetrician’s supporters affectionately refer to him) she said she would have sat this election out. She says she is most motivated by his anti-war stance. When greeted by a 20-something activist, they both nod in unison about their frustration with the drug war.

The interaction is a familiar one. This is not your father’s Republican party.

Dred-locked hippies stand united with Christian homeschoolers. Democrats and independents also pepper the crowd, proclaiming our need for renewable energy initiated within the private sector. There are no staged applause lines. On multiple occasions, an impromptu chant begins, “Ron Paul Revolution! Give us back our Constitution!” On stage, Paul is greeted by a drum line dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers.

The Democrats will continue to have the advantage, because even if McCain is now the presumptive candidate, the media will focus increasingly on the horse race that is on between Clinton and Obama. This is an advantage not a disadvantage in particular for Obama who can now make the case that only he can defeat McCain as national polls have shown.

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