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Krauthammer Refuses to Jump Ship:
No one can accuse Charles Krauthammer of not calling it the way he sees it. Today he refused to join fellow conservative and/or Republican opinionators in abandoning the McCain candidacy. His column, McCain for President starts this way:
Contrarian that I am, I'm voting for John McCain. I'm not talking about bucking the polls or the media consensus that it's over before it's over. I'm talking about bucking the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama before they're left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years.

I stand athwart the rush of conservative ship-jumpers of every stripe — neo (Ken Adelman), moderate (Colin Powell), genetic/ironic (Christopher Buckley) and socialist/atheist (Christopher Hitchens) — yelling "Stop!" I shall have no part of this motley crew. I will go down with the McCain ship. I'd rather lose an election than lose my bearings.
This brought to mind Krauthammer's 2005 column, Withdraw This Nominee, which appeared in the Washington Post on Friday, October 7th, following the announcement on Monday, October 3, of Harriet Miers ill-fated Supreme Court nomination. Krauthammer's column along with George Will's Washington Post column on Wednesday Can This Nomination be Justified? did a lot to preempt any rush of Republicans to lock themselves in by publicly backing the nomination.
JB:
If only more Republicans had been so principled when George Bush was wrecking the old Conservative republican platform. Then McCain might have been able to run a better campaign, and would face a far less tilted field in any event.

The ship-jumpers are leaving through the holes created by the last 8 years of abandonment of principles, corruption, and dishonesty.

This, and various Volokh bloggers' warnings of upcoming losses of freedom, has the ring of closing the barn door after the horses are gone. Any loss of freedom or defeat of conservative ideals in the next 4 years can be laid directly at the feet of the people who should have been defending them, but did not, during the last 8.
10.24.2008 4:34pm
Steve:
Hey look, if the stalwarts of the Republican Party are determined to stay the course, far be it from me to dissuade them. Maybe all they have to do is sit tight and wait for Obama's liberalism to doom the Democrats in 2010, the same way Pelosi's liberalism was certain to doom their prospects in 2008.

If you don't like the direction your party is going in, you can stick around and try to change it, or you can simply switch sides. Lately a lot of dissatisfied Republicans seem to have concluded that, if anything, the party is determined to continue on a Palinesque trajectory rather than the one they believe is necessary for electoral viability.
10.24.2008 4:36pm
Richard A. (mail):
The fact that Krauthammer considers Christopher Hitchens to be a conservative tell us all we need to know about the conservatism of this former speech-writer for Walter Mondale and native of Canada. Only inside the Beltway could such characters as Krauthammer and Hitchens be seen as "conservative."
10.24.2008 4:39pm
A Law Dawg:
I think Krauthammer is characterizing Hitchens in the context of the latter's unflinching support of the War on Terror and the War in Iraq, since Charles' article is (kraut)hammering on the foreign policy argument.

However the fact that he completely ignores the Palin pick as a basis for voting Obama throws the entire piece into irrelevance, IMO.
10.24.2008 4:45pm
theobromophile (www):
His article about Harriet Miers seemed strange, in that he decried her lack of a record (understandably, justifiably, and correctly), but failed to place that in context. When people like Joe Biden proudly declare that they would not vote to appoint judges based on expertise, wisdom, and brilliance, but on the presence (or lack thereof) of a certain judicial temperament, it seems strange to complain when a President acts in the face of such a reality. Is anyone surprised when a President would consider a "tabula rasa" to be a feature, not a bug?
10.24.2008 4:52pm
Arkady:
Well, I for one am relieved. Charles has been on the wrong side for the last eight years. I take comfort in that.

In his defense, though, he is not a native of Canada (not that there's anything wrong with that)--he was born in New York City.
10.24.2008 4:52pm
sputnik (mail):
Krauthammer shows us the the strength of Neoconservatism. First you accept the premise that American morality, and the morality of American causes is supreme. Then you just need to believe that cost-benefit analysis can not be applied to those causes. Once you do that, Neo-conservatism is unfalsifiable.

That's what liberals can't understand. The fact that Neo-Conservative actions lead to a more dangerous world justifies the need for more Neo-conservative action. Afterall we must not be defeated by the terrorists.
10.24.2008 4:57pm
Steve:
I wonder if that post identifying Krauthammer as insufficiently conservative was a spoof. It's hard to tell.
10.24.2008 5:08pm
Sarcastro (www):
Yep, the only motivation a conservative would possibly have to support Obama is a state dinner.

Republicans are always so hungry!!

REPUBLICANS!! SERVE YOUR PRINCIPLES, NOT YOUR STOMACHS!
10.24.2008 5:09pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Is anyone surprised when a President would consider a "tabula rasa" to be a feature, not a bug? --
.
Not me. I was pissed off about the Miers pick, on the grounds that blank slates are a vehicle to avoid responsibility for the consequences of a decision. It's kinda like voting on a law that you can't read in advance -- "don't blame me for passing it, I didn't know what it said."
.
Congress and executives are darned skilled at passing the buck between each other (and the ever-present administrative agencies, and the ever-present Courts), and the public is generally unable to make a clear assignment of responsibility with consequences. "You're fired."
.
Now the public will get to disclaim responsibility for voting for a blank-slate presidential candidate. Whoopee!!
10.24.2008 5:17pm
David Warner:
Steve,

"the party is determined to continue on a Palinesque trajectory rather than the one they believe is necessary for electoral viability."

The two are not mutually exclusive. Hard to fathom, I know. Not sure how one continues on a trajectory only six weeks old. She's been doing her best to back the candidate and fire up the party. That's her present job. After the election, she'll have more options.
10.24.2008 5:22pm
A Law Dawg:
That's her present job. After the election, she'll have more options.


I sure do hope the one she picks is "Never leave Alaska again." I say this as a Republican.
10.24.2008 5:24pm
MS (mail):


Colin Powell is the only of these endorsement that could plausibly be characterized as a power play, though I see very little reason to suspect that it is. Doug Kemeic endorsed long ago. Christopher Hitchens isn't getting invited to anything, no matter whom he endoreses. And Fried doesn't jump ship, he is the freaking ship.
10.24.2008 5:25pm
A Law Dawg:
Christopher Hitchens isn't getting invited to anything, no matter whom he endoreses.


Bah, I'd invite him to my New Year's party. The man is a riot.
10.24.2008 5:27pm
MS (mail):
David Warner,

You make a good point that isn't said enough: It's Palin's job right now to be nasty and fire up the base. Only after the election will we be able to assess her broader appeal.

That said, as a Democrat who barfs whenever I see a picture of Al Gore or John Kerry, I think you might be underestimating the emotional realignment that comes from watching your candidate lose a presidential campaign (and no wonder, you guys haven't lost one in a while). Like any breakup, love can turn to hate pretty quickly.
10.24.2008 5:32pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

You make a good point that isn't said enough: It's Palin's job right now to be nasty and fire up the base. Only after the election will we be able to assess her broader appeal.


I think it's entirely possible to assess her broader appeal now.


A new national Pew Research Center poll put Obama up by 14 points. It found voters losing confidence in McCain's judgment, more confident about Obama's qualifications, and Palin's unfavorability increasing to 60 percent.


The verdict being, she has no broader appeal (although a narrow one, certainly.)
10.24.2008 5:51pm
D Palmer (mail):
I would be a fan of Palin if she wasn't right of the Pope on social issues.

But regardless of my STRONG disagreement with her on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, I still refuse to vote for Obama. Obama's focus is correctly on taxes, regulation, and healthcare. Unfortunately his views on those issues are as far left as Palin's social view are to the right.

The difference is that banning abortion and gay marriage won't destroy the US economy while Obama and the democrat's plans will.

Frankly the decision regarding who to vote for is not even close.
10.24.2008 6:02pm
matt b (mail):
priorities. chuck put ideology above his innate elitism. this should be modeled.
10.24.2008 6:23pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I wonder how many of those public Obama voters are really voting for McCain. I'll bet there are more than a few.

Of course, I am voting for Obama. Take my word for it. I would never lie about that just so I am in with the cool kids.
10.24.2008 6:24pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
In other news, Charles Krauthammer's crushed body was found today in a doorway covered with footprints.
10.24.2008 6:41pm
eyesay:
D Palmer: “Obama's focus is correctly on taxes, regulation, and healthcare. Unfortunately his views on those issues are as far left as Palin's social view are to the right.”

So, raising the income tax rate from 36% to 39% in incomes over $250,000 per year is “far to the left”? A majority of Americans now favor national health care, so how can Obama's embracing of that issue be “far to the left”?
10.24.2008 7:00pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
"I'd rather lose an election than lose my bearings."

Too late on both counts.
10.24.2008 7:09pm
Michael B (mail):
Krauthammer was right on the Miers nomination and his convictions are equally sound presently.

Another opinion in the WaPo, Michael Gerson's, is an equally, perhaps more probative reflection, especially so his summation.
10.24.2008 7:35pm
PLR:
Krauthammer was right on the Miers nomination and his convictions are equally sound presently.

Indeed they are sound. Those with a neo-conservative predilection for genocide of the less well-behaved should stick with the GOP nominee in this race, and not be fooled by Obama's fake support for Israel, Georgia and Kosovo.
10.24.2008 8:05pm
tsotha:
Bah, I'd invite him to my New Year's party. The man is a riot.

You wouldn't if you were providing the libations. He's rather famous on that score.

The idea Hitchens is any kind of conservative is laughable. He's a proponent of the "war on terror", but mostly because he's a devout (heh) atheist with an abiding hatred of religion in all its guises. His non-war political positions are left of the center of the Democratic party, let alone the Republican. The surprise would be if he endorsed McCain.

Powell was a Republican because it was politically convenient. He's always been too liberal to fit in, is the ultimate expression of the affirmative action climber, and is mostly famous in military circles for being the guy in the Pentagon you don't want to turn your back on. If Obama gives Powell a job of any import it just proves he's as dumb as I think he is.

As for Adelman, a Dick Morris-style operative who is famous for having made the dumbest remark of the Bush administration (the Iraq war will be "a cakewalk"), and Buckley The Lesser, never actually a conservative... well, no surprise there either. I would add Scott McClellan, the most incompetent press secretary in my lifetime, and maybe Kathleen Parker (who?).

Krauthammer is using "Republican" and "conservative" interchangeably here, which is either sloppy or disingenuous. I have yet to see Obama endorsed by an actual conservative.

I do have a question, though. What does Krauthammer mean by "wet-fingered"?
10.24.2008 8:12pm
tsotha:
A new national Pew Research Center poll put Obama up by 14 points.

Obama isn't up by 14 points in any serious poll. That's Pew, which you have to take with bucket of salt. Will you be quoting Zogby next?
10.24.2008 8:17pm
wolfefan (mail):
Hi -

I suspect "wet-fingered" refers to seeing which way the wind is blowing. There are too many other options that I will refrain from exploring.
10.24.2008 8:20pm
Krahling (mail):
I took it to mean that they wet their fingers and put them in the air to see which way the wind was blowing.
10.24.2008 8:24pm
Michael B (mail):
"Indeed they are sound. Those with a neo-conservative predilection for genocide of the less well-behaved should stick with the GOP nominee in this race, and not be fooled by Obama's fake support for Israel, Georgia and Kosovo." PLR

The vapid sneer and accompanying arrogation is a useful form of rhetorical genocide, no doubt.

No thought, no problem.
10.24.2008 8:56pm
cboldt (mail):
-- What does Krauthammer mean by "wet-fingered"? --
.
It's a reference to the waiter who has his finger in your soup. When called on it, he says "my finger hurts, and putting it in a warm place makes it feel better." Comes back the restaurant-goer, why don't you take that finger and stick it in your ass? "I do, when I'm in the kitchen."
10.24.2008 9:55pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):

The idea Hitchens is any kind of conservative is laughable.


Hitchens is a neo-conservative in the true sense of the world -- a reformed commie who finds himself supporting conservatives because he sees their foreign policy as a way to create a better tomorrow.
10.25.2008 12:42am
David Warner:
A Law Dawg,

"I sure do hope the one she picks is "Never leave Alaska again." I say this as a Republican."

As a non-Republican, I don't share your hope. I'm curious what she'll come up with outside of the McCain Campaign/2-month-hate the media and friends laid on her. Hopefully we'll have eight years of Obama to find out.

As for hating losers and high unfavorables, don't be so sure you won't have Palin to kick around anymore after the election. She is a journalism major, and the GOP really needs a new media strategy...
10.25.2008 12:48am
Asher (mail):
I found that column singularly unconvincing. He won't countenance the erratic argument because... McCain was a prisoner of war, and he hung on after his campaign appeared to be finished. Well good for him, the man's a trooper. But it doesn't mean he isn't an impulsive decider, as Bush would put it. The attempt to save the bailout negotiations is hardly the worst of it. I'm more concerned about his randomly proposing to cap executive salaries at the firms that took bailout money at four hundred grand (the same the President makes!), and then having the gall to call Obama a crypto-socialist for proposing to raise the rate on the top bracket by three points. Which of those two proposals is more socialist? What does executive compensation have to do with anything? What a bright idea, seeing to it that executives make no more than mediocre corporate lawyers. Can you say "talent drain"? Then his next bright idea was to fire Chris Cox and replace him with Andrew Cuomo. Because Cuomo was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Clinton, so - oh wait, he helped cause this mess! But hey, at least it was bipartisan and mavericky. Then there was the oversight commission proposal, featuring some of the most respected names in business, like Bloomberg, Buffett, and Mitt Rommney. Because the sitting Mayor of New York City has the time to oversee the bailout. Then there was the lunatic mortgage buyback plan that no one thinks could work. Then, he comes out with a new economic plan, and the centerpiece is a capital gains tax cut. Because we all have so much capital gains these days. Instant stimulus! Then there was the time in the debate when he proposed to make the ex-eBay CEO his Treasury Secretary. I guess now that Gramm's popularity is kind of shot, Meg was the logical fallback. What does Meg Whitman know about macroeconomics, really? At least she'd be our first Treasury Secretary with experience managing the Mr. Potato Head brand. (No, I didn't make that up. Her last job was doing just that for Hasbro.) So I buy the erratic argument. Then Krauthammer says that the world is really "dangerous out there," so surely you want the "most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate" at the helm. Not really saying much, that plaudit, but what makes McCain such a serious foreign policy thinker? Here's what I've learned from McCain on foreign policy this election:

1. When he looks in Putin's eyes, he sees a K, a G, and a B. Even Reagan, you know, didn't go around personally attacking the Russian leaders.
2. Putin wants to restore the borders of the Russian Empire. Even though he can't even afford to take out Ukraine.
3. We can never talk to, in any circumstances, a guy who denies the Holocaust. That would be really dangerous and naive, as we'd somehow legitimate his Holocaust-denial by the mere act of speaking to him. However, if he agrees to scrap his nuclear program before we talk - which of course is the whole purpose of talking to the guy in the first place - then it just might be safe to talk.
4. Surges are good. General Petraeus is a wise, wise man.
5. "We are all Georgians now."
10.25.2008 4:28am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
warner:

don't be so sure you won't have Palin to kick around anymore after the election


Don't be so sure that her career isn't over. When Palin tiptoes back to Alaska on 11/5, she's in for a rough ride. Petumenos might find even more dirt than Branchflower did. Read some Alaska papers, and don't skip the comments. Alaskans are not happy. When the Legislative Council voted unanimously to release the Branchflower report, I think they were paying attention to what they were hearing from their constituents.

Petumenos deposed Sarah and Todd yesterday.

I think she would be wise to make a deal for a reality show. The ratings would be stellar.
10.25.2008 11:23am
Randy R. (mail):
"When Palin tiptoes back to Alaska on 11/5, she's in for a rough ride."

But she'll have a fabulous wardrobe. And in the end, isn't that all that really matters?
10.25.2008 2:52pm
PLR:
[Michael B.]The vapid sneer and accompanying arrogation is a useful form of rhetorical genocide, no doubt.

I guess you just can't agree with some people.
10.25.2008 3:05pm
Obvious (mail):
Randy B: "Krauthammer Refuses to Jump Ship"

Am I the only one who finds this a nasty albeit clever phrase to use to describe the actions of a paraplegic?
10.25.2008 4:00pm