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Brownback's Out. Who's Helped?

The news that Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) will likely leave the 2008 presidential race tomorrow comes as little surprise to close watchers of the race.

While The Fix was an early believer in Brownback's ability to influence the race in Iowa due to his roots in the plains and strong social conservative ideology, the Kansas Senator was never able to articulate a real argument for his candidacy.

The death knell of Brownback's campaign came on August 11 when he was finished third in the Ames Straw Poll. Brownback made no secret of the importance of Ames to his candidacy and besides former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) had the largest operation at the event.

But, he was beaten by not only Romney but also former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.). Huckabee's win installed him as the most electable social conservative candidate -- knocking Brownback off that pedestal and, for all intents and purposes, ending the rationale for his candidacy.

Brownback's struggle for traction was clear in fundraising reports filed earlier this week with the Federal Election Commission. He raised just $817,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30 and ended the period with a meager $95,000 left in the bank. Couple those anemic fundraising numbers with a decided lack of movement in the polls and it's not hard to see how Brownback reached his decision to leave the race.

It remains to be seen what impact -- if any -- Brownback's departure will have. If he simply steps aside and does not endorse a candidate, it seems likely that many people attracted to his pro-family message would naturally migrate to Huckabee's campaign. Huckabee, despite his own fundraising problems, is showing signs of life in Iowa and could benefit from an influx of former Brownback supporters in the Hawkeye State.

If Brownback wades in and backs a candidate -- the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder floats former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain as possibilities; New Republic's Noam Scheiber posits Romney -- he could give either of their Iowa campaigns a shot in the arm.

Romney looks like the clear favorite in Iowa but second place is very much up for grabs with Huckabee, Giuliani, McCain and former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) all with an eye on a surprise showing. A Brownback endorsement won't guarantee that result but it could be a boost of momentum that any of the campaigns would welcome..

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 18, 2007; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Two quick points.
1. RE abortion and life.
1.1. The risk of spontaneous abortion (defined as the uninduced demise of a fetus younger than 20 weeks or smaller than 500 g) is about 50%. Thus, equating the life potential of a fetus to a person born healthy is an exaggeration. The health and well-being of the mother will always trump the survival of the fetus.

2. RE Iraq.
The war in Iraq has created loss of life, misery and loss of property that is easily comparable to whatever dreadful things Saddam has ever done. Do you call 600,000 civilian deaths, 2 million refugees, a destroyed infrastructure, close to 4000 US military deaths, and close to 500 billion of US taxpayer money a good price of getting rid of Saddam???? I don't think so. Even if you do, we have gotten rid of Saddam. What are we still doing there? Waiting for the oil law so that US oil companies can cash in? Or generating revenue for Blackwater, Haliburton and the like???

Posted by: urban4 | October 21, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"Respecting life means more than being against abortion, it means respecting those living too." So fetus' are what... dead? not living? But let's move on to the other idiotic notion you have that religious people, be they Catholics, evangelicals or whoever, either need to live a life to match Jesus or, on the slim chance that they fall short of His perfection, they become either hypocrits or are seen as drifting away from that religion. You ask "Are American Catholics still affiliated with the rest of the Catholic Church?". bsimon thinks it an interesting question. I think that it is an ignorant question. You also ask "A lot of Christians need to reread their bible and ask themselves would Jesus support occupying another country?" I don't claim to know what Jesus would support but I get the feeling that He might be OK with trying to end a sadistic and brutal reign that included torture and killing and maiming of hundred of thousands of people.

Posted by: dave | October 20, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

"If the US has followed the Geneva Conventions for 60-odd years, does a new President have the inherent authority to unilaterally decide that the provisions of that treaty no longer apply?"

But the US has NOT followed the Geneva Conventions for at least 50 years. It has had a history of what many would interpret as torture as well as at least attempted assassinations (probably some successful assassinations). I don't know who is supposed to be responsible for determining what we are willing to allow. I do recall that the Carter administration recinded the practice of assassinations so I think there is some precedence for presidents to make or at least take the lead on these kinds of decisions. I would also say that it seems that the things that are allowed change constantly over the years depending on the administration in power and the current world environment (and not just during the last 7 years). I'm not saying that all of this is a good thing. I think there should be some consistency in what we do and what we don't. But I also don't think that that list should be public information. What constitutes torture is different for different cultures, religions, political leanings, etc. That makes it hard to state that we don't torture or that we do torture.

Posted by: dave | October 19, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

An FYI for Chris and other regular posters: Ron Paul has cuurently raised more money in two and a half weeks than Huckabee has raised in three months.

I'm sure he does has his set of supporters in Iowa and Brownback's leaving the race will boost his numbers a little bit.

But Ron Paul just made a $430,000 radio ad buy in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Mike Huckabee cannot do this. Ron Paul will be on the Tonight Show on Oct. 30. If Paul's problem right now is name recognition, it won't be a problem by the end of the month.

And if New Hampshire does hold its primary on Dec. 11, Iowa is going to slip into the background as the candidates will descend upon the state like the Golden Horde, and New Hampshire right now is Ron Paul's best early state.

Posted by: sean4 | October 19, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Are American Catholics still affiliated with the rest of the Catholic Church?"

An interesting question, to be certain. My suspicion is that - perhaps subconsciously - the Catholic church has seen the growth of influence of the religious right and wondered how to get a piece of that action. All it takes is giving up on longstanding traditions of support for social programs and concern for the poor & needy in favor of becoming single-issue voters on the abortion issue. Voila! The true irony, of course, is that for many Catholics, the church's position on birth control and abortion is one they quietly ignore in their personal lives. I think this new move to the right is going to accelerate that religion's slow slide to irrelevancy.

Posted by: bsimon | October 19, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The idea that there's no one candidate out there around whom evangelicals and conservative Catholics like is interesting. Are American Catholics still affiliated with the rest of the Catholic Church? Pope Paul was against the Iraq war yet so many American Catholics support war it makes one wonder about Catholics in this country. Jesus was a man of peace. He repected life. Maybe Catholics should ask Pope Benedict who he supports in the presidential race I am sure it wouldn't be Brownback. Respecting life means more than being against abortion, it means respecting those living too. If evangelicals and conservative Catholics want a true conservative who speaks to all their values than they should be supporting Ron Paul. Never divorced always against abortion with a record to support his words. A lot of Christians need to reread their bible and ask themselves would Jesus support occupying another country? I don't think so.

Posted by: info4 | October 19, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

dave writes
"Khalid Sheik Muhammmad was reportedly a success story regarding information obtained via "torture" [waterboarding]. The goal of the CIA is to get accurate info out of the person quickly."

I have seen reports that imply the 'intelligence' gained from 'interrogating' KSM produced all the orange alerts in the summer of 2004. The implication was that he was making stuff up that had no basis in reality, but the CIA (or whoever) dutifully reported to the WH which put the DHS on the job, and off on alerts we went.

On the legal questions though, putting the alleged effectiveness of torture aside for the moment. We have prosecuted our own, in the past, for war crimes because of waterboarding. Does the President have the inherent authority to change the rules now and decide that waterboarding is no longer torture & thus no longer a war crime? Or are there rules and laws that the President does not have the authority to unilaterally override and/or ignore?

If the US has followed the Geneva Conventions for 60-odd years, does a new President have the inherent authority to unilaterally decide that the provisions of that treaty no longer apply?

I suspect not, on all of the above. We have a president, not a king. As such, he is subject to the rule of law.

Posted by: bsimon | October 19, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

indicates that the Christian Ayatollahs may not accept a Southern Baptist preacher as one of their own. Much as I suspected, that group of "leaders" are not evangelicals so much as they are tinpot frauds.

Gov. Rick's endorsement of RG is probably good for RG among TX Rs, but only ever so mildly so. There are some money folks who might respond. Rick's political career has been one of networking among the rich, to put it as neutrally as possible.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 19, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Ummmm...Duncan Hunter, anyone? Brownback's exit leaves few truly conservative Republicans in the race. Tancredo is one, but Hunter is the real deal. Strong on the military, strong on border security (and actually DOING something about it), strong on returning American jobs back to America, and strong on respect for life in all its phases.

Posted by: xljamz | October 19, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Kay Bailey Hutchison's biggest drawback isn't her moderate stance on abortion, it's that she's a bit of an airhead. She'd be pretty underwhelming in any debate, and she's not much of a speechgiver either. She's never been tested much in elections (because she's superficially perfect for Texas).

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 19, 2007 6:25 AM | Report abuse

response to: (kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 12:44 PM)

What exactly is your point? Clinton had some rough spots in his presidency. I didn't agree with him on all issues all the time. Yeah, he probably should have used more self-restraint in the White House. And he probably cost Gore the White House (aside from Curious George's cheating). Many Dems and media sources rebuked Clinton. I see no problem with that. But the problem with the Republican attack machine was that Repub politicians were doing the same things - even worse, it turns out. So it seems that Repubs were more opposed to Clinton's politics, than his personal life. Clinton won't be remembered as America's greatest president, but he made some progress. He held successful Middle East peace talks. He balanced the budget. He cut the national debt much much much more than Bush Jr. has. He created jobs. He streamlined the government. He actually spent more on defense than Bush Sr. Bottom line: Clinton didn't have a perfect presidency but he made the tough decisions that Bush Jr. isn't willing to make, and is downright too lazy to make. Clinton also had to work with a Republican Congres most of his 2 terms, while Curious W. George had a Repub majority most of his terms - and still couldn't get it done. But don't take my word - Clinton maintained a solid approval rating during his presidency - even through the little Repub witch hunt. Today, Clinton is still treated like a rock star around the world, while Bush Jr. is one of the most detested men on Earth. Understand the situation now?

Posted by: con_crusher | October 19, 2007 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Khalid Sheik Muhammmad was reportedly a success story regarding information obtained via "torture" [waterboarding]. The goal of the CIA is to get accurate info out of the person quickly. One can either assume that everyone in the CIA is just sadistic or that over the last 50 years, they have determined, based on extensive experience, that certain techniques are effective. Being nice might work but it might not be quick enough.

Posted by: dave | October 19, 2007 1:00 AM | Report abuse

I was simply responding to claudialong who seemed to think that "torture" by the US was a Bush creation. The CIA was started in the early 50's and started looking into and practicing torture techniques shortly thereafter, well before Viet Nam. Your question on whether I think torture is OK is hard to answer, simply because none of us could agree on a definition of torture or the interpretation of that definition. Am I OK with physical torture (crushing body parts, breaking bones, etc)? In general no. Psychological stuff like sensory deprivation, degrading treatment and wall standing i'm more ok with, if necessary. As to effectiveness of torture, from what I have read you mostly get the info plus a lot of false positives. In thinking about it, torture has been around for thousands of years, if there was not some element of effectiveness to it, it would have died out.

Posted by: dave | October 19, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

so Dave, are you really suggesting that because Bush wasn't the first U.S. president or Administration to use torture, that makes it OK? Because it was used in Vietnam? (an analogous situation to Iraq, and - possibly relevant to note - a war we did NOT win.) Every expert I have read/heard discounts the accuracy of information obtained through torture, while Japanese POWS who were treated decently in WWII became in some cases sources of reliable information.

Posted by: bokonon13 | October 18, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Here is a teachable moment. With Sam Brownback admitting the obvious, that he hasn't a prayer, (us disinterested liberals knew he never had one), we might ask why he was ever in the race. Narcissism is of course the reason lots of less than one percenters run, as long as they have the cash to stroke their egos.

In Sam's case, he seems to be struck with the George Will delusion: that fifteen percent of the nation is a vast majority.

Barry Goldwater took a serious trouncing in the 1964 election because he talked only to his friends, and not to his opponents. Most politically driven people of whatever side tend to hang with their own. Barry, and George, and Cal Thomas, and all the rest of the far right draw a particularly poor conclusion from this.

Since everyone they talk to agrees with them, they assume that everyone agrees with them. George Bush and his group go a step further and bar any one who disagreees with them from their presence, and then assume that since everyone agrees with them they must be divinely inspired.

Yet the real conservative base is parhaps twenty percent of the voting population, and perhaps a bit less of the population over all. They won't see or accept this fact, and thus you get all these speculative posts on who will be the nominee, and who will get the second place on the ticket, as if it mattered.

Meanwhile, Rudi keeps leading the pack because every time he tries to woo the radical right, his own proclivities, or his political record, rises up to separate him from them, and the moderate Republican left (that is the righter half of the political center) supports him in the hopes that the moderates will finally get their man. When the Party lurches far right next August and nominates Attila's ugly brother, those moderates have every inclination to say "See Ya!" and go home, or vote for Hillary.

Sam's own stated reason for running is that he couldn't find a candidate who looked Republican enough for him, that is exactly like him, and assumed that there would be a strong groundswell for such a Republican, just like him. Obviously, Sam needs a wider circle of REPUBLICAN friends.

On the other hand, the whole Republican Party needs a wider circle of Republican friends, or it is going to be rep-laced by a renascent (but still unelectable) Ross Perot and his whatever party. This time, however, the Party may stick, and elbow the far right out to the far right and leave it there to fester and fail.

My jaundiced liberal perspective suggests that Dodson and pals will panic the religious right, and force Mike Huckabee on the party, with maybe even Sam Brownback as VP, and when the fifty state fiasco is finished the many know it all splinters left of the party will ride off into the sunset alternately yelling at each other, "I'm the Republican Wing..." "No I'm the Republican Wing..." and You blew the election..." No You blew the election..."

I hate to demean Laural and Hardy, but the fat guy will end it with, "Another fine mess you got me in!"

Posted by: ceflynline | October 18, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"Are you suggesting that other presidents tortured suspects, dave? Because that's news to me. My understanding is that bush changed the rules--that previously we had abided by the Geneva Convention."

OK, there was no "torture" going on during previous administrations. That's their story and they are sticking to it. If one considers waterboarding as torture (debatable but for this discussion we can grant that it is), in 1968, during the Vietnam War, the Washington Post published a controversial photograph of American soldiers waterboarding a North Vietnamese POW near Da Nang. But that couldn't be because there was no torturing going on before Bush. The CIA's "KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation" manual, which would become the basis for a new method of torture disseminated globally over three decades, was first provided to agents in 1963. CIA op Dan Mitrione was a torture expert back in 1969 whose motto was "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect". Yeah, Bush started it.

Posted by: dave | October 18, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Support would mainly go to Huckabee. As you mentioned, Brownback's popularity was never really boosted, so the effect of his cutting and running is negligible.

Posted by: con_crusher | October 18, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 18, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

'Now we can discuss the merits or effectiveness or political ramifications of torture/hard interrogations, but don't think that these things just started to happen in 2000.'

Are you suggesting that other presidents tortured suspects, dave? Because that's news to me. My understanding is that bush changed the rules--that previously we had abided by the Geneva Convention.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"I think hiding behind secret legal opinions justifying torture is the cowards way out, and possibly illegal to the extent of high crimes and misdemeanors."

We could get into a discussion of what constitutes torture. Everybody has their definition and interpretation of the definition. This only became an issue when the Dems decided that the war was a good campaign issue for them. They suddenly turn Claude Raines [I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find out there is torture going on in this establishment]. Now we can discuss the merits or effectiveness or political ramifications of torture/hard interrogations, but don't think that these things just started to happen in 2000.

"But we don't know, because everything this administration does is 'vital to national security' and thus they don't tell anyone - certainly not the Congress that is supposed to hold the executive branch in check."

According to the Supreme Court, "once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive's Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive's claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances." It seems there is a process, albeit difficult, to work out the balance - take it to the SCOTUS and let them decide.

And finally, according to Chief Justice Burger, "Whatever the nature of the privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications in the exercise of Art. II powers, the privilege can be said to derive from the supremacy of each branch within its own assigned area of constitutional duties. Certain powers and privileges flow from the nature of enumerated powers; the protection of the confidentiality of Presidential communications has similar constitutional underpinnings".

Posted by: dave | October 18, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

It sure does seem like registration has improved the debate level and reduced the spam on here, from what my sporadic comment readings show.

The only reason I can think of for Brownback to endorse Giuliani is if he simply wants a winner--and if it's clearer than it is now that Giuliani will be the GOP nominee. Neither of those is the case, and Brownback's whole point is to be the "principled conservative" who fights political expediency. Reaching even further into speculation and the future, a candidate like Brownback might be motivated to support a Giuliani if he might get a cabinet post or other desired position out of it. But it's not even clear that Giuliani could beat a Democrat, and in fact the fundamentals of the WH race advantage Democrats right now.

Speaking of Kansans, the Missouri-Kansas SEIU is endorsing Obama, who I strongly and proudly support. I could not in good conscience cast a caucus vote for anyone who voted for the war. Obama is a true progressive unlike any other candidate in the race (Kucinich is pathetic).

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | October 18, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I find myself agreeing with most everyone today, except the " know it all crowd". I've been going over polls all week and if they stay on the same trend of the past couple weeks, it looks like Mitt is the one to beat in the repub ranks. Huckabee should be helped a little by the latest dropout.

Posted by: lylepink | October 18, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"I want to hear you say this when Hillary is president."

Typical Lib response - everybody does it - like adultury, interns, lying, stealing papers in your pants, hiding money in the fridge, leaking secrets, visiting dictators, crooked land deals, funneling money, fraud, etc.

too bad "everybody" doesn't pass approps bills, eliminate earmarks or any other campaign promise.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"Do you really think that oil company executives were writing the policy or do you think they and Bush were on the same page?"

I think the energy companies (not strictly oil companies) wrote the policy. I think, if they were 'on the same page' the energy company executives would not have had to join the task force - don't you?

I think hiding behind secret legal opinions justifying torture is the cowards way out, and possibly illegal to the extent of high crimes and misdemeanors.

I think unilateral executive decisions to ignore precedent, law and congressional action likewise have the potential to meet the bar for high crimes and misdemeanors. But we don't know, because everything this administration does is 'vital to national security' and thus they don't tell anyone - certainly not the Congress that is supposed to hold the executive branch in check.

Many of their legal theories stem from the claim that in wartime, the commander in chief is granted extra powers under the constitution. According to team Bush, these powers range far and wide - certainly beyond the battlefield, or any explicit 'commander in chief' duties. Yet are we in wartime? Our troops are certainly deployed and engaged in multiple conflicts, but does this rise to the level of 'wartime' without a formal Congressional declaration? The Constitution says only Congress can declare war, which they've refrained from doing. So is the claim of wartime powers valid? I don't know, and I bet there are a variety of legal opinions on the subject. But we aren't even having the discussion, because the White House won't even tell us what powers they've assumed under this theory of theirs.

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Remarks by Rep. Pete Stark (D) suggesting that U.S. troops in Iraq are getting their heads "blown off for the president's amusement" will forever live in posterity after Republicans tried and failed to censure the California Democrat during floor debate Thursday.

those classy Libs. no wonder they're at 11%. Heckuva job Nancy.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

'What was the incredible need to know? EP, in theory anyways, produces more candid and honest discussions between people in the executive branch.'

I want to hear you say this when Hillary is president.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Colin, you are correct about Kay. But I think she REALLY wants to come back to Austin, anyway.

Are you responsible for my having email from Obama fund raisers the last two days? Previously, I only received dailies from McCain and Biden, to whom I had donated. You are as close as I have come to BHO.

An unknown [to me] woman wrote yesterday that because she had given to BHO for the first time, I should, and suggested that could help close the funding gap with HRC.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 18, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Are you saying that using executive privilege makes Bush less pricipled? It seems to me that EP has been around for a while, used by numerous presidents, to varying degrees. GWB has used it more than most, but it is hard to find a time in recent history where people have been willing to use information for partisan purposes, regardless of how detrimental it might be, to either the public interest or in setting precedents for future presidents. Take his energy policy. Bush is a Republican and a former oil man. Do you really think that oil company executives were writing the policy or do you think they and Bush were on the same page? The reason Democrats wanted to get this information was to use it as fodder during an election. What was the incredible need to know? EP, in theory anyways, produces more candid and honest discussions between people in the executive branch.

Posted by: dave | October 18, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

In zouk's world, reality doesn't exist. bush is a good man fighting a just war and the size of the government has not balooned...

Since 2001, even with record low inflation, U.S. federal spending has increased by a massive 28.8% (19.7% in real dollars)--with non-defense discretionary growth of 35.7% (25.3% in real dollars)--the highest rate of federal government growth since the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. This increase has resulted in the largest budget deficits in U.S. history, an estimated $520 billion in fiscal year 2004 alone. Furthermore, the projected spending for 2005 is a conservative estimate, since it doesn't include at least $50 billion for the 2005 cost of the Iraq occupation.'

Btw, that was 2 years ago, it's much, much worse now.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

'That does not make everyone a fundamentalist or lead them to suicide bombing.'

No of course not. But if fundamentalists beleive that their salvation depends on a violent act, they are more likely to commit it than a less literal person would be. And just because Christianity isn't violent now, [at least in this country] doesn't mean it won't be in the future. Religions change, evolve, over time, depending on the circumstances that surround them. Humanity has had several dark ages.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

in drindls world, the inquisition is ongoing. Christians are equally as deadly as muslims. Repubs spend more than Dems. Dems aren't corrupt. congress is doing a heckova job. She is from the 11% moonbat wing of the party. I think the rest of the 11% ers reside on this blog too. Isn't it interesting that they group together in a herd like that? and they are willing to follow Hillemming over the cliff.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, your defense of President Bush as some kind of principled man making difficult decisions would carry more weight if he would allow a little sunshine on some of the dubious legal opinions under which his unitary presidency is operating. An ongoing right wing criticism of HRC is her refusal to open the public record on her service. It is a valid criticism, and should also be applied to the Bush administration, which hides behind the skirts of executive privilege and the claim that the people don't deserve to know how decisions are made in the government alleged to be of, by and for the people.

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Fundamentalists are constitutionally more capable of violence because they beleive that the 'afterlife is more important tha this life." I think that most people that believe in one of the three religions believe in an afterlife and that it will be better and more important than this one. That does not make everyone a fundamentalist or lead them to suicide bombing. And can we at least stay in the 20th or 21st century. Christians have come a long way since the Inquisition.

Posted by: dave | October 18, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

fyi: bush's rating is now 24%.

'Bush's are based on policy differences with the moonbats and yellow journalists. guess what -'

batty statements, indeed.

How about Huckabee as VP for RG [I cringe even as I type that]

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk, in all his blithering glory, forgets that people don't vote for "Congress." They vote for individual candidates. And if he has some evidence that the Democrats are going to lose control of either house of Congress, I'd love to see it. Perhaps he should also show it to the next dozen or so GOP incumbents who are thinking about following the first dozen to quit so far this term.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 18, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- Do you really think Rudy could take KBH as VP? Unless I'm mistaken, she's moderately pro-choice. I suspect t here will be enormous presure on Rudy to pick a solidly pro-life VP if he wins the nomination. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that. Perhaps I'm wrong on KBH's views on abortion...

Posted by: _Colin | October 18, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

President Bush gets most of the ratings ink, with relentless noting that he boasts the lowest public approval of any president in the history of polling. It's true: One poll has him at 31 percent favorable, another at 32. But approval ratings for Congress are worse -- and plunging: One poll has Congress at 22 percent favorable, another at 18, and still another (please sit down for this) at 11.

Let us recall that this is a Democratic Congress, whose distinguished leaders a year ago pledged to take Congress not to new depths of public support, but to new heights. Could it be that Congress has gone in the opposite direction because it, for instance: (1) borks Ted Olson's prospective nomination for attorney general; (2) attaches a homosexual hate-crimes measure to a bill funding U.S. troop operations in Iraq; (3) plays games with continued aid to Latin America's toughest (and most successful) regime on indigenous drugs (Colombia's); and (4) even now refuses to approve just one of a dozen appropriations bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 -- including the defense authorization bill for the troops the Democrats insist they support?

Are you a member of the 11%ers? the moonbats who think dirty Harry and Pelosi galore are swell?

do you make batty statements like:

"There's hardly anything th current admin does that isn't crazy."

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

drindl - it is easy to be popular when you don't stand for anything and fall for everything. clinton never made a difficult decision during his time in office. His wife is playing the same game of non-decision and non-answer. his low ratings were based on his lowly character. Bush's are based on policy differences with the moonbats and yellow journalists. guess what - war is unpopular but necessary sometimes. that is a quality of a leader which the clintons don't possess. doing the "Right" thing even if it is unpopular. the clintons rule by poll results. and have no sense of right and wrong, only expediency and power.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

'JasonL, more Islamic "fundies"...'

exactly, Mark. The fundies of ALL religions have more in common with each other than with the more modernist beleivers in their faith. And as far as violence -- this is a moment in time. Do remember that at one time the Catholic Church perpetrated the Inquisition, and the Christians murdered adolescent girls whom they found to be sexually tempting.

Fundamentalists are constitutionally more capable of violence because they beleive that the 'afterlife is more important tha this life. And you should note that there is a gigantic megachurch program touring the country, headed by a preacher who says he wants to put the same kind of 'passion for christ' in kids today that young Islamic suicide bombers have. So we might see christian suicide bombers in the future too.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

'Summary: Rush Limbaugh downplayed President Bush's low approval ratings by falsely claiming that former President Bill Clinton "was down in the 20s at one point" and suggesting that Clinton had "parallel poll results" to Bush during the equivalent point in his second term. In fact, Clinton's approval rating never dropped below 36 percent, and remained above 58 percent in the Gallup poll throughout 1998, the equivalent year in his presidency to 2006 for Bush.'


Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget:

So, what does it say that Hillary Clinton chose Mr. Berger as one of her advisers, and that she will rely on the advice of a convicted criminal who is barred from access to the sort of national security information a party's candidate for President is routinely briefed on during a campaign?

Hillary's inclusion of Sandy Berger in her circle of advisers demonstrates that, notwithstanding her law license, she really doesn't care about the law. She doesn't care whether someone violates the law if they're on her team, if the violation in some way helps the Clintons. Hillary's indifference to criminal wrong-doing suggests that she sees herself as above the law, breezily ignoring law when it's an impediment to something she wants.

During Bill Clinton's administration, there was no shortage of indications that perhaps the Clintons, husband and wife, were a bit casual about legal niceties. Although the accusations fixated many and resulted in convictions for more than a few Clinton associates, in the end, though he was disbarred for five years, Bill Clinton got something of a break because he was personally charming and his accusers seemed less so. Public reaction was that you might not want him around your daughter, but you'd be happy to go have a drink with Bill.

Hillary, whose stiff demeanor won't garner the same slack, doesn't just remind us of prior scandals. Sandy Berger didn't lie about sex or do something ordinary that isn't strictly in keeping with law - like speeding on a road where citizens regard the posted limits as advisory rather than mandatory. Sandy Berger committed a serious crime, intentionally, and lied about it, intentionally, and put his nation at risk. Hillary isn't bothered by any of that. Whatever she says about the rule of law - which limits official power to safeguard all of us - she evidently doesn't believe it was intended to place limits on her.

Picking Sandy Berger tells us something important about Hillary's character. We should listen now - while it can do some good.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Since Huckabee has been moving up more in several polls (i.e., see Rasmussen Reports), I think Brownback's departure helps MH's momentum grow, especially as the FRC's Value Voter Summit commences this weekend (Huckabee is one of the final speakers, I believe).

The thing that might hurt Huckabee would be if Brownback actually endorses someone other than Huckabee, but as you've said, his endorsement really might not carry that much weight anyway.

Posted by: shedd98 | October 18, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"I think McCain is a humble enough man to take the VP slot and maybe still young enough to run for President down the road."

Perhaps on the former; on the latter he is now older than Reagan when first elected - which is still the record for eldest. (Ron Paul is older still!)

"In militia country up in the mountains of NY ... there are signs all over for Ron Paul and Support the Troops"

On a drive to Madison from TwinCities (and back) I saw two political signs. Ron Paul and Bush for President. Back in the day, rural Wisconsin was chock full 'o Perot signs; it will be curious to see what the landscape holds next year.

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

claudia, Actually Carter did dip below 30% approval...The low points for recent commanders in chief are as follows:

Bill Clinton: 37 percent

George H. W. Bush: 29 percent

Ronald Reagan: 35 percent

Jimmy Carter: 28 percent

Gerald Ford: 37 percent

Richard Nixon: 24 percent

Lyndon Johnson: 35 percent

Unfortunately the left is hell-bent on everyone forgetting that, in his second term, 63% of Americans thought that Bill Clinton was an unsuccessful president.

And with Congress' approval rating at an all-time low of 18%, I wouldn't rest on my laurels if I were you.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 18, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

JasonL, more Islamic "fundies"...

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 18, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

drindl, it might be fair to say that all fundamentalist "children of Abraham" share similar beliefs with each other. It might be fair to say that modernists share beliefs with each other.

Modernists and fundies share very little.

But modernist Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all far removed from Leviticus [I hope!], except for a few sensible passages like "love your neighbor as you love yourself" and "proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof."

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 18, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

All the 3 Abrahaminic relgions [christianity, judaism and islam] are pretty close in their core beleifs." -ClaudiaLong

True enough. But in the 21st century Islam has a much higher number of violent extremists than the other religion.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 18, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey F&B-- you've just pointed out something most people don't know -- the Koran is based on the Bible too. All the 3 Abrahaminic relgions [christianity, judaism and islam] are pretty close in their core beleifs.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I was being snarky bsimon. I have no idea about Iran, it would be insane but certainly they'r capable of insanity. There's hardly anything th current admin does that isn't crazy.

As far as Iraq, yeah, I think at least 2/3, maybe 3/4 of the country are done wiht it. Bush is down to 24%, lower than any prez has ever hit in polls before [Nixon was at 25 when he resigned, Carter I don't beleive broke the 30s]. In militia country up in the mountains of NY [adirondacks and catskills, berkshires too] there are signs all over for Ron Paul and Support the Troops, Bring them Home. {Overheard at a redneck bar last weekend]' I'm tired of them Iraqi r*gheads taking my damn money.'

And of course, there is the story, which I mentioned earlier, that Iraq is using possibly US taxpayer money to pay China and Iran to build power plants, because they feel US companies aren't up to it. How's that going to go over here?

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

OK Warner has definitely a bad thought, I'd forgotten how old he is. I stand by KBH (as she is apparently known) as an excellent choice outside of the convention. Who knows how it will play, though. I think McCain is a humble enough man to take the VP slot and maybe still young enough to run for President down the road.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 18, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Who benefits?

America. Clearly.

People who don't believe in evolution should be ignored (much less be in public office).

The Republicans' supposed literal take on the Bible is nothing less than laughable. According to many sources in the Bible, including and especially Leviticus, SHAVING is forbidden:

Leviticus 19:27

"Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard"

Leviticus 21:5

"They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh."

Everyone of you Christians who shaves are SINNERS. YOU'RE ALL GOING TO HELL. Haha what a joke.

btw, this is F&B. Hey to all the regulars here, hope you've been well. Except the sinners of course. :)

Posted by: e | October 18, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"We'll be at war with Iran within a year, and doubtless suffering lots of terrorist attacks, so I doubt anyone will think too much about Iraq."

I'm not convinced, of the former. Regarding the latter, both you and zouk are incorrect. 2008-09 deployment announcements are being prepared now, for National Guard troops. Every time volunteer, part-time military are pulled away from their families & their livlihoods for 12 to 15 month stints on the other side of the world people will be reminded of the ongoing debacle we're engaged in over there. All signs point to post-surge troop levels being comparable to pre-surge troop levels, which were then unsatisfactory for most Americans. I don't see that opinion lessening in the intervening 2 years.

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

As you know, Mark, I was born into an evangelical family, so I understand the territory, and it is broader than many think -- there are some rational folks who beleieve in 'saving the creation' the youngers one, mostly, as somene suggested, and who are less interested in government intervention in the bedroom [as younger people today mostly are].

However, there are many--my own mother was among them -- to whom the Constitution is a meaningless, even dangerous and heretical, piece of paper, and who beleive that the country should be run by christians only, according to strict Biblical principles.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"Those of you who equate the "evangelical" vote with Dobson are missing out on the depth and breadth of fundamentalism in America."

In my case, 'Dobson' was merely a name to reference; it was not my intention to imply that he represents the entire movement. As one of the more vociferous critics - from the right - of a potential Giuliani candidacy, he serves well enough as an example. I suspect we are generally in agreement, and generally for the same reasons, that "Brownback out helps MH."

The KBH thoughts are interesting, particularly if the opposing ticket is topped by HRC.

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

We'll be at war with Iran within a year, and doubtless suffering lots of terrorist attacks, so I doubt anyone will think too much about Iraq. In any case, they are now using billions of [probably US taxpayrs] dollars to pay China and Iran to build new energy plants for them, so that's certainly going to complicate matters politically, isn't it?

i can't imagine why you wouldn't suggest CC, that Brownback would endorse Mitt? At least one of the Big 5 american taliban evangelical leaders is endorsing -- although not his relgion, he says, which is a cult.

Posted by: drindl | October 18, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I have just read everybody's posts here over a burger. Spilled hot sauce on my sleeve, but its all ok. Brownback out helps MH.

Those of you who equate the "evangelical" vote with Dobson are missing out on the depth and breadth of fundamentalism in America. I think the fundie ayatollahs were not anxious to endorse either SB or MH because neither of those candidates think this is intended to be a theocratic nation.

I see MH picking McCain if he can get him.
If Giuliani or Romney could get KBH, as I said to Loudoun yesterday, I think they would. But that is why I think its important to know why Kay wants to come back to Austin in 2009. I think it's personal and she would be very loathe to take VP. She would help either RG or MR, I think, especially if HRC is the D nominee.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 18, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree that, by itself, Brownback's endorsement doesn't carry much weight (I think most endorsements are useless, just ask Howard Dean and the guy who ran against Lieberman in CT). The one difference I can see is it leaves Huckabee alone as the social conservative with unblemished credentials. Huckabee's slow and steady rise might draw in more evangelicals or they may suddenly realize they only have one horse in the race.

In my view, Bronwnback's exit is a small pebble that might--emphasize might--result in an avalanche of support for Huckabee. He seems well positioned to capture the younger evangelical vote (those who worry more about the environment and poor than, say, gay marriage) but he passes the ideology test to get the support of the guard.

Posted by: seannewengland | October 18, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

My lovely and charming Ashley, I do not concur that the war in Iraq will be much of an issue in the next election. Clinton has indicated not much of a change in policy on every tuesday and thursday while claiming to retreat immediately on Wednesdays. Not only will the voters be confused, I think, with the drop in violence, that this issue will fade from view. already the daily pounding of the LSM is gone. could it be that we are winning? the WaPo, that bastion of rightist conspiracy, thinks so. Funny, if you kill the enemy and don't retreat, they eventually all dry up. america will not want a risky scheme, to coin a phrase, when victory seems within reach.

the big issues will be expanding government and nanny-statism complete with high taxes, regulation and stagnant economies together with a retreat to the foreign policies of apppeasement. the same policies that got us 9/11 in the first place, a nuclear Korea, a weapons seeking Libya, a surging Iran and syria.

Let's ignore the far right and far left voters as beyond appeal. the fat center will be confronted with high tax, corrupt and fickle democrats with weak foreign policies, as clearly evidenced by the current Congress. they will contrast this to a flounderiong R party looking to re-establish its brand. but the Dem brand is well-established.

It is moveon, media matters, Daily Kos, cindy sheehan, al gore, Weak-kneed reid, Wandering Pelosi, promise anything clinton, spend it all Wrangle and of course the NYTImes, NBC, CNN, Krazy Keith and the rest of the serial propogandists. If the ratings, book sales and other objective measures mean anything, I think the Libs are going to have a tough sell. Just like their books and TV shows.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

No one's really helped all that much--it isn't as if Brownback commanded millions of votes out there. His 70 or 80 voters will probably disperse to several other candidates. I guess the media will be helped by having one less name they're forced to list when including all of the candidates.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 18, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza is missing a very important piece of this puzzle. He suggests, or at least alludes to, Senator Brownback endorsing Governor Huckabee, Senator McCain, Senator Thompson, and even Mayor Giuliani. He talks about the chances each would stand with or without an endorsement from Senator Brownback.

Why hasn't he even touched on the possibility that he might endorse Governor Romney? Does he actually think it's more likely that he would endorse Mayor Giuliani? Does he just not want to say anything that might make it look like he supports Governor Romney? Or is he just trying very hard not to think about it?

Posted by: paperback_wizard | October 18, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"It is, in essence, the reason why I work for her principal opposition in the primary race, Senator Barack Obama."

LOL. Don't be too surprised if Hilary's "principal opposition" turns out to be her vice presidential candidate next year. So far, Obama's presidential run has only served to help secure Hilary's frontrunner status. Surely, Obama is smart enough to figure out that his path to the White House might best begin with being Hilary's VP. Is it so farfetched to believe that he's smart enough to hedge both bets? I have trouble buying into Hilary and Barack really being all that opposed to each other. Personally, I'm fine with either one being our next president, though I think it looks likes it's going to be Hilary at the top of that ticket. Obama supporters should consider if the fix is already in regarding that outcome.

Posted by: errinfamilia | October 18, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I was just going to be quitely (emphasis on quiet) amused by the intense interest shown in the intense contest among the Republican candidates to captian the good ship Titanic next year. But my good friend K of Z has weighed in, quite like his counterpart Che, seriousl off topic. However--
K of Z Marc who? Whitewater? Forster what?!! There is a War on, being run badly for no good purpose except to make Fearless Leader feel good. This is and will be the main issue in '08 just like '06 (how did you like them apples?). Old news and old editorials do not a new campaign make. My prediction the Times endorses Senator Clinton in the general election.
Ashley Hardwick

Posted by: ehardwick | October 18, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Nobody's helped. A guy that could have never won the presidency has ended a campaign that went nowhere. The rest of these Republican candidates are on a road to nowhere too... Bush has poisoned any chance of them being elected. The middle, swing votes crucial to winning the White House are out of grasp of all the Republican candidates. Anybody who wins the Republican presidential nomination also wins the endorsement of George Bush, which is the kiss of death. The writing is on the wall for 2008.

Posted by: errinfamilia | October 18, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I think if Brownback endorses anyone it will be Obama (ha! Just kidding, I agree with most others, its Huckabee).

While its true Brownback doesn't have much support, I do think the one "legit" social conservative is Huckabee and he might be able to pull substantial evangelical support. For Huckabee to win Iowa (and propel him to first tier) a few things have to happen: A) Once the Iowa caucus nears, Giuliani (and others) may hammer Romney's chameleon like position changes. This allows Huckabee to stay positive (which seems to suit him) and either come in first or second as Romney drops like a rock. B) More money and support comes in for Huckabee who becomes competitive in South Carolina (I can't see him doing well in New Hampshire). It helps Huckabee if Right-Said Fred drops out (or dowses off, either way). Then it becomes a race between Giuliani and Huckabee (and perhaps McCain)

All this being said, I can not see Huckabee winning the Republican nomination. I think its Giuliani's to lose (maybe--maybe--McCain can sneak in) because Republicans seem to be aware of his social positions but are taking the view that he is the most electable. I think Huckabee will suffer due to the larger electorate's "evangelical fatigue" brought about by Bush's religious pandering and disdain for science. Huckabee is going to have to do/propose something dramatic to make religious moderates and others support him. I tend to think he fades out after the election. I can't see Giuliani selecting him as veep. Giuliani seems to be the kind of person who needs "his people" around him. He won't want someone who challenges or overshadows him (and Huckabee might).

Posted by: seannewengland | October 18, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, I can't believe I'm about to say this, but thank you for your last post.

It is, in essence, the reason why I work for her principal opposition in the primary race, Senator Barack Obama.

It is time for America to move past the schoolyard, "gotcha last" political discourse that is plaguing this nation, turning Congress into nothing more than a contest to humiliate your opposition more than they humiliate you.

Hillary is not inevitable, regardless of what the media would like you to think. You don't have to vote for Obama: maybe his approach to policy isn't your cup of tea. But Hillary guarantees at least four more years of the same old politics, the politics of "I hate you".

Think about that when you look down at that ballot.

Posted by: cam8 | October 18, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

If you look at the financial status of the GOP Presidential campaigns, there are only four front-runners: Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Romney, and Ron Paul.

If you deduct all of the money that Romney has "loaned" his campaign from his own personal funds, Romney's campaign is in the red with about $8 million in net debt.
Factoring in that issue, there are only three candidates with solid financial condition based on real supporters, rather than self-loans: Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul.

All of the others are pretty much wiped out in terms of cash on hand and low fundraising numbers.

One question is this: how much more of his own money is Romney going to dump into this campaign?

Details on financial conditions of all GOP campaigns:

Posted by: jeff111 | October 18, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd tend to go with the 'too-aged' consensus on Warner. I'm less certain of the idea that McCain would never VP. I'd buy McCain wouldn't for Giuliani or Romney, but someone like Huckabee is a different scenario. Besides, this is McCain's last shot. If he thought he could have an amiable and influential relationship with the top guy...well, I don't through out the possibility entirely.

The foreign policy credentials are also a good point. Question is, would the Republicans perhaps most esteemed for their international focus -- our last two secretaries of state -- every consider VP'ing for anyone? I'm inclined to think it wouldn't happen, but the idea appeals to me, at the very least.

Posted by: Skip_Lively | October 18, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Very little of this has escaped the notice of journalists and of Democratic leaders. Yet after every scandal, they forget their public denunciations of the Clintons. Here are some flavorous reminders: After the Clintons and their siblings were caught in the 42nd president's last-minute pardon scandal, Jimmy Carter called them "disgraceful." Robert Reich opined that "Clinton is utterly disgraced." Al Hunt called Clinton the "albatross" of his party who should "drop dead." Al Gore's campaign manager, Donna Brazile, wrote in The New York Times, "It's time to let Bill Clinton go -- go on and live the rest of his life and allow a new generation of Democratic leaders to renew their fight on behalf of working families in America." New York Times columnist Bob Herbert affirmed that "Bill Clinton has been a disaster for the Democratic Party. Send him packing. ... It's time for the Democratic Party to wise up. Ostracism would be a good first step. Bill Clinton should be cut completely loose. ... Some of Mr. Clinton's closest associates and supporters are acknowledging what his enemies have argued for years -- the man is so thoroughly corrupt it is frightening."

Editorially in February 2001, The New York Times asserted that "the former president ... seemed to make a redoubled effort in the last moments of his presidency to plunge further and further beneath the already low expectations of his most cynical critics and most of his world-weary friends." And the newspaper lamented that it might "never understand the process by which a departing president and his wife come to put sofas and flatware ahead of the acute sense of propriety that ought to go with high office." The New York Observer assessed Hillary's election to the Senate "a terrible mistake," adding that "Hillary Rodham Clinton is unfit for elective office."

Those are some of the unlovely things said about the Clintons by their friends . Now are the Democrats really going ahead with a Hillary nomination?

do you Libs remember now?

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 18, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

John Warner is too old and his health appears to be starting to fail. I would put the chances of him as a VP choice slightly above a Giuliani endorsement by Brownback.

Posted by: dave | October 18, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Warner will be 81 in February. Considering that age was part of his rationale for leaving the Senate, I doubt he'd take a VP slot.

Posted by: tjmaness | October 18, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"So former Speaker Hassturd is going to step down before his term even ends. Pretty gutless move by that tub o' guts hack."

Agreed. Chris- if you talk to RonBon about Hastert's move, find out if he's a class of 88 Hilltopper; if so, find out if he's a real supporter of his boss or just a guy doing his job. thx in advance!

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"In the first scenario, I'd say maybe McCain. In the second scenario...maybe Kay Bailey Hutchison. John Warner, maybe?"

I don't see McCain taking the VP job for anyone. Huck would probably want to establish some foreign policy creds with a pick, which means Warner would be a good option - if he'd take the job. How old is he now?

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

So former Speaker Hassturd is going to step down before his term even ends. Pretty gutless move by that tub o' guts hack.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 18, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, smb57, that question had not even entered my mind. I've just sort of assumed he'd be running for VP for months.

It would either have to be someone else who's in the race so as to appease someone at the convention or someone totally outside the convention.

In the first scenario, I'd say maybe McCain. In the second scenario...maybe Kay Bailey Hutchison. John Warner, maybe?

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 18, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris appears to make the common mistake of assigning too much value to the endorsement of a politician who doesn't have a machine in Iowa. If Brownback has some close relatives who live in Iowa, they may be swayed by his endorsement. The rest of Iowa caucusgoers will make up their own minds. But without Brownback in the race, Huckabee is more likely to cross the viability threshold in a few more caucus rooms on January 3, so I think he benefits a bit.

Posted by: LACinDC | October 18, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Now THERE'S a question for you, Andy. Who on earth would be selected as Huckabee's VP? (Yes, I realize I've leapt about five steps ahead of the game. Yet speculation is entertaining.)

Brownback being Brownback, I have to believe that he has more integrity in terms of his pretty consistent belief system than would allow him to endorse Giuliani.

Moreover, I think bsimon's point about the coalescing of the evangelical vote is crucial. The evangelical vote may not carry the weight it did in the past two elections, but in a field this divided, it would go a long way.

Posted by: Skip_Lively | October 18, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Brownback is a true believer. Like him or not, you know where he stands. The chance of him endorsing someone like Rudy is approximately zero.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 18, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

TH said, "MH doesn't have much $$ either and seems to have faded after the Iowa Straw Poll"

The thing is that today a second poll was released from the Hawkeye state that has Huckabee in third. That is two polls in a row, in one Guiliani is secodn and in another Thompson. That means that if you average the two Huckabee is now in second place in Iowa. Taken with the 3-5% of Brownback folks who will now most likely go to Huckabee he should be around 20% in the next two weeks. Romney on the other hand has stayed at the high twenties for the past two months.
My prediction is that over the next month Huckabee makes a move and polls start to show him ahead of Romney in Iowa. If that is the case then he can start running Radio ads (low cost and sticks to his grassroots theme). The money will follow if he shows that kind of movement in the polls. I thought Huckabee was done after only raising a million bucks but he just won't go quietly into the night.

And although I agree that Huckabee makes a great VP candidate, I think he will be the one choosing the VP not the other way around.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 18, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

How are all these developments going to be affected by NH Sec of State Bill Gardner's decision about scheduling the NH Primary? If NH goes on December 11 (as this morning's Boston Globe is reporting is an increasingly likely possibility), and Iowa on Jan 3, how are the various candidates going to be helped and hurt by NH before Iowa?

Seems to me that McCain is helped by an early NH, especially if he can finish 2nd, behind Romney and ahead of Giuliani. (Although that would mean McCain would have to put more of an effort into IA, where he doesn't have much of a presence so far.) Huckabee seems to be the one most hurt by NH going before IA - Huckabee has been counting on a surprise 2nd or 3rd place finish to IA to give him traction in NH.

Thompson seems the big loser regardless of the order in which NH and IA vote. If Thompson drops out before SC, who will get the social conservative vote in SC? Perhaps Huckabee, if he's still standing at that point.

Posted by: ericd | October 18, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Brownback endorsing Guiliani? Are you kidding me? I've tried to look at it from every angle and I can't come up with one that works. I would think he would be the LAST R currently running that would get his endorsement.

Posted by: dave | October 18, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"Recent Iowa polls had Brownback at about 2%... I don't see how Brownback leaving the race makes a significant difference. He was too weak to stay in the race, so why should his endorsement matter?"

Logically, your point makes sense, but it doesn't account for the evangelical vote. With Brownback out, perhaps a slight boost to Huckabee's numbers would inspire Dobson et al to coalesce behind one candidate. Thompson is already all but out as well (See The Trail's piece 'Thompson MIA'). He and Gingrich were the wildcards that kept the religious nuts from endorsing the early announced candidates. With Gingrich not running, Brownback out & Thompson fading fast, that leaves a more limited set of options. Given the unlikelihood (my perception) of them going for the Mormon, the gay-friendly adulterer or the guy who called them 'agents of intolerance' it is plausible that they will choose their last great hope - Huckabee.

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

It appears to me as if Huckabee is positioning himself as a one-size-fits-all veep candidate. Whether the presidential nomination goes to McCain, Romney or guiliani (Thompson is a lost cause) Huckabee is a no-brainer as veep for all three. He would draw more social conservatives into the fold than any other choice.

Posted by: moon_light_graphics_2004 | October 18, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

campaigndiaries, Not surprised Browback has withdrawn.... no money and doubt his endorsement will carry much weight. MH doesn't have much $$ either and seems to have faded after the Iowal Straw Poll.

In fact, even McCain is in big $$ trouble. McCain reported $3.5 million in the bank.... but, he has $1.7 in debts and can't spend $1.8 unless he is the nominee. So, he's actually $94,000 in the red. Don't think there are enough "whales" in the sea.

Mark in Austin, Weren't you the one who speculated about the GOP contest going all the way to the convention? Well, yesterday the Des Moines Register reported that former Iowa U. S. Rep. Jim Leach (a great guy, a 15-term Republican who got thrown out with the bathwater in 2006) and is currently the director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, thinks that the GOP race could be a national convention decision.

The last time that happened, in 1976, Reagan almost scuttled Gerald Ford.

Guess everyone has heard that the Iowa GOP caucus is to be held Jan 3, 2008. Dems have yet to decide.

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 18, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Recent Iowa polls had Brownback at about 2%. He had very few supporters even in Iowa, the focus of his campaign. His poor showing at the straw poll shows that his organization in Iowa wasn't all that impressive, and he had almost no money. So I don't see how Brownback leaving the race makes a significant difference. He was too weak to stay in the race, so why should his endorsement matter?

Also, I object to your description of Brownback's "pro-family message". That's a loaded conservative term, not a factual description of his policies. Here's how you can tell: Would any politician describe themself as "anti-family"? Of course not. So "pro-family" is a biased term. Say that Brownback had a socially conservative message; it's more accurate and less inflammatory.

Posted by: Blarg | October 18, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Would Brownback really endorse Giuliani? Isn't Giuliani something of an antithesis to Brownback?" -bsimon

I thought the same thing. It would be very interesting to see the effect of him endorsing Huckabee, assuming he could swallow the shame of backing the guy that cost him his shot at the Oval Office. What would happen if all the little guys running around dropped out and endorsed Huckabee?

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 18, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Would Brownback really endorse Giuliani? Isn't Giuliani something of an antithesis to Brownback?

Posted by: bsimon | October 18, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

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