Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Exit polls: Romney, Huckabee
Split Conservative Vote

by Bill Schneider - February 5th, 2008 - CNN.com

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared to be competing closely for votes among Republican voters who describe themselves as "conservative," according to early exit polls of voters in the 15 states across the country with Republican primaries Tuesday.

About 80 percent of Romney voters described themselves as "conservative," while 75 percent of Huckabee voters described themselves as "conservative," the initial exit polls showed.

Less than half -- 49 percent -- of those who said they voted for Arizona Sen. John McCain described themselves as "conservative," the exit polls showed.

What amazes me is anyone who thinks of themselves as conservative believing John McCain would make a conservative President. Certainly it will continue the tradition started by George W. Bush that our Party's representative only gets foreign policy and the war against Islamo-fascism right. McCain is not that conservative on anything else. Bush was wrong on nearly every aspect of domestic policy, and was intolerant and overbearing on the social issues. McCain could be worse.

McCain is wrong on global warming, stem cell research, illegal immigration, protection of marriage, political free speech, pornography, taxes . . . and is personally the most arrogant and self rigtheous candidate we could find except possibly Newt Gingrigh.

Bill Bennett is typical of the problem. He says "I have a center-right audience. A lot [of the criticism of McCain] is very unreasonable. . . . There are more centers of influence now because the party is fractured." Yes, and quasi liberals like Bennett are the ones that fractured the party. Remember that line, "more centers of influence". I don't think this will be true long because there is no clear theme to the Republican Party any longer. When the very definition of a conservative is subject to endless debate and arguments, when no common love of freedom unites us, when an evangelical preacher can advocate socialism with no obvious realization by many in our party of the tyranny it imparts, we have a serious problem.

The Republican Party has some major grass works training that needs to be conducted for the reality of what conservatism means to be broadly understood. As Reagan said, "A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers." Today "conservative" means almost anything and thus means nothing. Rove blurred the term for political expediency. Huckabee defines his socialist program as conservative just because he opposes abortion. Short of defining conservative so it means something again, the Republican Party is about to implode and split.

If John McCain is the leader of our party, it will be a challenge for him to get a lot of people to follow.


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