While the calendar says we have just a week until Santa commences his worldwide reindeer-driven journey (by the way, I wonder if all that reindeer flatulence contributes to global climate change?), Presidential campaign politics continues to run in high gear with the Iowa caucuses just 9 days afterward. Over the last few days we had a series of endorsements and fundraising efforts that made news.
Most prominent among the goings-on are a few items from the Republican side. Michelle Malkin chimes in with a report about Iowa Congressman Steve King endorsing Fred Thompson. However, while King is an important figure in Iowa politics, the overall GOP lead according to a compilation by The Hill website of Congressional endorsements belongs to Mitt Romney with 31, followed by John McCain with 28, Rudy Giuliani 25, and then Thompson with 21. It’s sort of surprising that Mike Huckabee, while surging in the polls, has just four endorsements from Congressional members – even fewer than Duncan Hunter’s seven. (Keyes, Paul, and Tancredo have none.) The Hill hasn’t added in the most recent endorsements yet, but the order should remain similar.
A much more intriguing endorsement comes from former Democrat VP candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman, who crossed the aisle to endorse John McCain. It was a bit of payback for Lieberman, who got McCain’s endorsement when Joe ran as an independent in his 2006 Senate race as he defeated Democrat primary opponent Ned Lamont along with Republican Alan Schlesinger. While conservatives like Lieberman’s pro-Long War stance, the idea behind the endorsement of McCain was to sway independents who can vote in the New Hampshire GOP primary to go McCain’s way. Senator McCain also garnered the endorsement of two prominent newspapers in the region, the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Boston Globe.
Another GOP candidate who’s making news is Ron Paul, who raised $6.04 million in one day, mostly from the internet. As Paul writes in an e-mail:
On just one day, in honor of the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the new American revolutionaries brought in $6.04 million, another one-day record. The average donation was $102; we had 58,407 individual contributors, of whom an astounding 24,915 were first-time donors. And it was an entirely voluntary, self-organized, decentralized, independent effort on the internet. Must be the “spammers” I keep hearing about!
Obviously Paul has struck a chord among a lot of voters. It sort of makes an e-mail I received from Duncan Hunter’s campaign a lot paler by comparison:
You made the month of November huge for online giving! (…) In just over 3 weeks time, YOU raised over $25,000 to help take Duncan Hunter to the White House!
Now here’s the most amazing number: that was accomplished with only 1% of Hunter’s online supporters donating.
In other words, using my public school math skills it took about 6 minutes for the “Paulbots” to raise what the Hunter campaign raised in a month. But, excerpting again…
Duncan Hunter refuses:
-to throw hordes of critical cash to mass media advertising like the other guys
-to take money from folks who don’t share his principles, unlike some of the other guys
-to kowtow to special interests in dictating where he spends his time
-to allow the media to define him
The Hunter strategy of staying below the radar while maintaining a course of character and Reagan leadership is working!
I hate to say it, but I’m not so sure that it’s working. Maybe it worked for a Congressional campaign, but this strategy needs to go national. It would work a lot better if the first primaries were in March, but right now is crunch time.
Of course, I have to add that his fundraising prowess is about all that’s disappointed me about Duncan Hunter. If you look at everyone else in the race and some of what they’ve said or done, the race is otherwise devolving into a least of several evils:
Mike Huckabee is squishy on illegal immigration given his record in Arkansas, and he has some nanny state tendencies like advocating a nationwide smoking ban.
Rudy Giuliani also has some issues with immigration along with his moderate stance on several social issues and believing the hype on global climate change.
Mitt Romney raised his hand (sort of) on whether global warming is a problem but also put mandated health insurance on the map in Massachusetts.
Fred Thompson is pretty good on several issues but just doesn’t come across well in most of the debates I’ve seen. He’s probably my backup choice.
I’ve not liked John McCain since the days of campaign finance and the amnesty bill really did him in with me.
Ron Paul has some really good stances on domestic issues, but is completely off the deep end on national security.
I really like Tom Tancredo’s work on immigration, but he also doesn’t seem deeply committed to winning the Long War.
Alan Keyes has many good issues, but rubs me and a lot of other voters the wrong way with his bombastic personality. It’s why his TV show was such a resounding success. (/ sarcasm)
So that leaves Hunter, who unfortunately can’t get out of single digits in the polls. I think his hope is to be a second choice of a lot of Iowa caucus-goers and create buzz with an unexpectedly high finish there.
It’s a shame because, for all the talk of resurrecting a Reagan-style conservative that could win nationally, only Hunter seems to have most of those attributes going for him. Unfortunately, movement conservatives seem to be in a compromising mood – just give them anyone who can defeat Hillary.
Hillary can easily beat herself; if she survives to get the Democrat nomination there’s enough of middle America out there to sink her candidacy. She’s running with a negative number near 50% so her best hope is for the GOP to pick a candidate that conservatives can’t get excited about. There’s still time to pick a principled conservative who can energize the GOP base, but the hopefuls need to get their act together. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and encourage others to do the same.
Crossposted on Red Maryland.