Landslides and Freedom Fries

Two big stories that got mostly cut out of the coverage last night: The victory of Rep. Walter Jones in North Carolina and the narrow victory of Rep. Dan Burton in Indiana, both Republicans. Jones, who joins John Duncan and Ron Paul as one of the only anti-war, anti-surge Republicans in Congress, dispatched pro-war former Army officher Joe McLaughlin by 19 points, carrying 14 of 17 counties. Harbor no illusions that he did it because voters turned against the war. Jones simply finessed the issue, talking about health care and benefits for soldiers the way that Ron Paul does when he's hit on this.

"I think more and more Republicans are starting to understand after five years that the Iraqis need to step up and take responsibility," Jones said.

Jones retained some strong military support in his district, particularly among retired Marines and other veterans.

"We are close to the veterans and they knew it," Jones said.

Burton, meanwhile won by only 7 points (52 percent of the vote in a multiple-candidate race) over an emergency room doctor who hammered him on corruption.

Dr. John McGoff, who hammered Burton on ethics, thought he had a good shot to dethrone Burton, who has been in office since 1982 and routinely wins elections with about 70 percent of the vote.

McGoff's campaign had criticized Burton for missing votes in order to play golf and for spending $200,000 in taxpayer funds to send mailers to constituents during the heat of the campaign.

Burton -- who has been unbeatable and, apparently, unfazed about negative media coverage in the past -- may have received an assist from Republicans choosing to vote Democrat today.

I think it was a combination of that and Burton belatedly engaging in the race. If Burton had fallen asleep at the wheel and the GOP had a competitive presidential race yesterday, McGoff would be heading to Congress.

The third underreported story: John McCain's dramatic underperformance in his uncontested, beauty contest primaries. Even as activist, talk radio-listening Republicans (who don't like McCain) bolted into the Democratic race, McCain won only 78 percent of the vote in Indiana and 74 percent in North Carolina. That's compared to George W. Bush's 81 percent and 79 percent in 2000, at the same time in the primaries, when he also had it locked up. McCain plunged as low as 67 percent in Indiana's Whitley county and 57 percent in North Carolina's western Madison County. (The famous Madison County is actually in Iowa.)

Ron Paul came in third in both states, but his campaign crowed about hitting a "milestone."

"The big picture is that now onemillion Republicans have voted or caucused for Ron in this primary," said Paul's spokesman Jesse Benton. "Once people come and get behind Ron, they're not soft supporters. They're committed. I think it sends the message that people want limited government."

I've chattered about "Operation Chaos" (the Limbaugh voters-for-Clinton plan) plenty, but after last night I realized exactly how bad it is for the GOP. The party's hardest hard-cores can't stand their nominee. They're driving to the polls to vote for Hillary Clinton in part because it's more fun than casting a McCain ballot. It's more fun to vote for Hillary Clinton. How the hell do you motivate them to turn out, phone bank, donate to their ticket in the fall?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Edward||

    "Once people come and get behind Ron, they're not soft supporters. They're committed."

    Or maybe they're lunatics with weak math skills.

  • ||

    Now that the Democratic nomination has been decided without a convention fight, its Obama's to lose. Hes got more than enough money and time to turn McCain into Bob Dole II if he plays his cards right.

  • ||

    Obama has no history of playing his cards right. If he'd been playing his cards right, he would've knocked Hillary out by now; she's been weak for quite some time.

    As it stands, I can almost see her mustering up some "momentum" from her next few wins and hassling everyone at the convention.

    Obama has zero killer instinct.

  • Episiarch||

    Edward, your bitterness called. It wants its rancor back.

  • ||

    You know, Edward doesn't get enough credit. That guy is the first post on anything that even passingly mentions Ron Paul every single time. He's like the Cal Ripkin of trolling.

  • ||

    "What do you folks here in fly-over country do for fun?" "Well, when things get slow, we all pile in a car and go vote for Hillary. It's a hoot!"

  • Episiarch||

    I really think McCain is going to win no matter whom he faces. I have no data for this, no polls, and no dog in the fight, because I lose whomever wins. But I have been correct about who will win for many years now (maybe because I don't have any emotional investment), and my gut says McCain.

    I also don't care if I am wrong, so that definitely means I'm "Wright"*.

    * thank you Neil!

  • ||

    Hillary Clinton is never "weak" in a Democratic primary. She is a huge figure in the party, with a large and rock-solid base that would crawl over glass to vote for her. Imagine if Eleanor Roosevelt sought the 1948 nomination (with the sexual revolution having happened 30 years earlier).

    Obama has zero killer instinct. I wonder about this. It's true that his best shots have always been counter-punches, and that he hasn't done much to FINISH HER!, but I don't know how much of that comes from his positive campaign strategy, how much comes from not wanting to divide the party (and thus, goes away in the general election), and how much is really an unwillingness to stick the shiv in.

    He shanked Reverend Wright pretty good last week.

  • ||

    Neil = Reverend Wrong.

  • Episiarch||

    LOL*!

    You'd think Dave's mention of "Op Chaos" would have summoned Neil by now. Where's my sockpuppet GOP shill?


    * it's painful even when done ironically :-(

  • ||

    He shanked Wright after Wright shivved him so that would be that counter punch thing.

    Remember when everyone was sooo mean to Hillary and she cried and got a big boost of sympathy?

    Trying to pull of a Fatality on her would probably backfire.

  • MattXIV||

    It's more fun to vote for Hillary Clinton.



    It's fun to vote for Hillary as long as it's not your primary, kind of like how it's fun put an ice cube tray of pee in the freezer as long as it's not your ice cube tray and freezer.

  • ||

    Episiarch, I think hes crying in his ice cold Coors.

  • ||

    to FINISH HER



    It would be cool if this actually did end in a Mortal Kombat-style fatality. It would also make Joe Lieberman wet his pants.

  • Episiarch||

    Episiarch, I think hes crying in his ice cold Coors.

    No arugula for him.

  • Episiarch||

    It would be cool if this actually did end in a Mortal Kombat-style fatality. It would also make Joe Lieberman wet his pants.

    GET OVER HERE

  • ||

    Good Lord man. I just read that Clinton is not only going onto WV, but STILL attacking Obama.

    When will this woman quit? What will it take?

  • ||

    Cesar,

    Um, the presidency.

  • ||

    Enough money to pay back her campaign debts?

  • ||

    Joe-

    But shes attacking Obama. Her minions during her conference call said he will lose to McCain and said she offers "solutions, not speeches".

    This isn't like Huckabee having a nicey-nice campaign against McCain.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    There's a difference between character assassination and drawing comparisons.

    Did she bring up Wright or Ayers? Call him an elitist?

    There's nothing wrong with presenting herself as the better candidate. It was during Huck's nicey-nice period that he started talking about how McCain's experience only as a legislator not preparing him well for an executive post.

    We'll see how she plays this.

  • ||

    Joe she said the GOP would bring out "October surprises" and that she won "the states that counted" and how Obama will never win the white vote.

  • ||

    None of those are really attacks on him. They're arguments for why she's a better candidate.

  • ||

    Well if Matt Drudge can be believed even her own Supers don't want to meet with her.

    She doesn't own your party, but someone forgot to give her that memo.

  • LLStone||

    Wait a minute, McCain underperformed Bush by 1%? Seriously? By one full percentage point? You're right Dave, the man has no chance whatsoever.
    And do you honestly not understand why Reps are having fun screwing up the Dem party? I was going to say something about peeing in pools but an icetray metaphor has already been used.

  • ||

    LLStone if Obama carpet bombs McCain with negative ads (which he can do given his massive money advantage) re-defining his image into an old kooky war-mongering Bush clone over the spring and summer, then he can wrap it up. But the question is can he go negative without undermining his own message?

  • ||

    She doesn't own your party, but someone forgot to give her that memo.

    Apparently, it's been expropriated. I wonder if Hernando de Soto would approve?

    On going negative: there's a difference between "McCain is wrong" and "McCain is a creepy, lying child molester. Here's a photo of him taken from an unflattering angle Lolz."

  • Neil||

    Folks the Democrat Party has just conceded the election by nominating a far-left liberal radical.

    The only pepole who will vote for B. Hussein Obama will be the blacks , college professors, beta-males, muslims, gays, anti-semites, and leftover red diaper babies.

  • LLStone||

    Cesar, if Obama goes the carpet bomb route I think it does hurt his image. He's the post-party, post-racial, post-worry&want candidate after all. Anything that knocks his halo askew is a problem for him.
    A big enough problem to cost him the election? Don't know about that and my predictive abilities have been absolutely horrible this cycle.
    Joe, the few times that McCain has criticized Obama, the Sainted One had only been able to come back with a playground taunt of 'You were wrong on the war' without being able to defend his own viewpoint. If that's the level he plays to then it's not terribly negative but it also doesn't reassure anyone about his experience.

  • LLStone||

    Neil, try something new this time and actually add something to the discussion. It might be rewarding.

  • ||

    LLStone he might leave it to the DNC and utside groups to go negative. The DNC ads about "100 years" and the economy are actually very good, which is saying something since Democratic ads usually suck and are ineffective, while the Republican ads are brilliant. But it doesn't seem so this time.

  • Guy Montag||

    John Duncan

    As in Jimmy Duncan? My Housemember who gets my vote every election Jimmy Duncan? The one who tried to help me get mobilized for Operation Desert Storm/Shield?

    AWSOME! My Congressman has finally been mentioned by DW!!!

  • ||

    Really, LL?

    I seem to remember something rather substantive about McCain wanting to stay in Iraq for a few hundred years. I don't remember if that was before or after McCain forgot the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, or postulated that Iran and al Qaeda were buddies.

  • ||

    Not to mention the gas tax holiday debate.

  • ||

    Joe theres a lot of local buzz here about Webb for VP. Thoughts on that?

  • LLStone||

    Cesar, if he relies on allies to go after McCain then he can't attack McCain for not shutting voices on the right for going after him. Not sure how he squares that circle.

  • LLStone||

    Joe, as has been widely discussed the '100 years' comment has been widely taken out of context. Even otherwise sympathetic voices have called out Obama on that. Unless he really wants to go after McCain on the narrow ground that the US shouldn't have overseas bases, I don't see much traction there.
    I'm not defending the stupid gas tax holiday. The best thing that can be said about it is that it's a small bad idea.

  • Guy Montag||

    LLS,

    Cesar, if he relies on allies to go after McCain then he can't attack McCain for not shutting voices on the right for going after him. Not sure how he squares that circle.

    He just used that "logic" in his speech last night when he mentioned the "shuttered steel mills in South Chicago". It was his side of the environmentalist movement that was greatly responsible for that.

    He could also use that Clinto logic.

    Or he could start by squaring the circle of his calling Indiana the tie-breaker, and losing it but sill running (not that I blame him for running, it is just the wacky things he says that clash with one another), etc.

  • Guy Montag||

    as has been widely discussed the '100 years' comment has been widely taken out of context.

    So widely that it has become plural.

  • ||

    LL,

    Joe, as has been widely discussed the '100 years' comment has been widely taken out of context.

    No, it hasn't. McCain has made it clear that he wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years or more, and expects that, at some point in there, Iraq will cease to look like Iraq, and will begin to look like South Korea or Germany.

    Obama disagrees with this. He doesn't believe in occupying Iraq, he doesn't believe it will be pacified, and he doesn't want such actions to form the basis of his foreign policy.

    This isn't an argument against some straw man position about McCain wanting to fight a shooting war there for a century or more. It's a straightforward criticism of what McCain actually said.

    Nobody thinks McCain said he wants to fight for 100 years. He thinks we're just about to turn the corner, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and all the other happy horseshit. And then we'll have happy-happy time, and being sent to Iraq will be just like being sent to Belgium.

    Obama disagrees that it's going to look like that. He thinks that we're going to get a 100 year war if we stay there for 100 years, and disagrees with McCain's rosy predictionis. McCain should stop whining about being called out on his Rumsfeld-esque blindness to reality.

    Unless he really wants to go after McCain on the narrow ground that the US shouldn't have overseas bases, I don't see much traction there. Um, no, not really. Most Americans have no problem with having overseas bases in countries that welcome us, most Americans are passionately opposed to us remaining in a hostile country like Iraq and trying to pacify it, and most Americans think we'll get war and hatred form invading and occupying Muslim countries, not flowers and candy.

    This is the central contested issue in the election, and McCain should stop whining about the fact that his position on it is a grim punchline.

  • ||

    At this point, McCain has been reduced to complaining about an ad that depicts him making that statement in his own words, without any narration about what he's saying at all.

    Whether we should try to occupy Iraq like the Europeans occupied various countries, and what it will look like if we do try, are legitimate issues for debate.

    The old man's just sore because he's on the losing side of that debate.

  • ||

    If current trends continue, I expect Obama to beat McCain without too much trouble. Now is just not a good time to be a Republican candidate. However, all bets are off if the *real* October surprise comes up - Bush getting a suitably spinnable border incident and launching a war against Iran.

    Seriously, if war breaks out with Iran, what's Obama going to do? We know McCain is all for bomb bomb bomb, bomb bombing the place. I have a hard time picturing Obama immediately turning around and saying "This is another stupid Bush idea, and the first thing I'll do after inauguration day is to end the war with Iran". Especially since at that point, it'll probably be impossible to stop fighting Iran without an immediate Iraq pullout.

    No matter what Obama does at that point, I can see a lot of undecided voters siding with McCain as the better generalissimo, and the pro-war republicans would surely be very energized on election day.

    At least if McCain wins, we'll have divided government again. There's a lot to be said for not having the house, senate, and presidency in the hands of the same party.

  • Guy Montag||

    Oh wow1 joe is busting out his extra funny today!

  • ||

    Guy Montag:

    "He just used that "logic" in his speech last night when he mentioned the "shuttered steel mills in South Chicago". It was his side of the environmentalist movement that was greatly responsible for that."

    If you had been born and raised in Youngstown Ohio like I was, where the steel mills are not just shuttered but have been dynamited and razed, and you actually knew of what you speak, you would know that these old mills are not "shuttered" because of "the environmentalist movement." They have been shuttered, or dynamited, because THEY ARE OLD AND INEFFICIENT. It was cheaper to close them and buy steel from South Korea or China or any number of other places. Or build new ones in the American South, where they could bust that other bogeyman of the conservatives, the unions.

    And don't give me any nonsense about unions being "special interest groups." My mom is a retired 5th grade school teacher who never made more than $20K in her life; she was a union member. Unions care about the average guy (and gal); "special interest groups" are Exxon-Mobil and BP and Phizer and Merck and HMOs and other health companies who have had a much greater say in legislative action over the last 20 years than all unions combined. THAT is special interest.

  • Guy Montag||

    Don,

    Somehow, steel mills could operate and be rebuilt until the 1960s and 1970s.

    Are you completly unaware of the events in that time that shoved the steel mills out of the USA and into other countries, in spite of the skill of the management and workers? Chia made lts of steel back then, that they could not sell to anybody, while they starved their entire population.

    Go ahead and rectally embrace your environmentalist overlords who shut down the steel mills all you like.

    In spite of your touching emotion, there are some real issues at play here.

    Sounds like your mom got screwed. Just a wild guess that her union bosses got paid a lot better than she did.

  • Guy Montag||

    Oh, Don, don't forget, Nucore Steel kept operating and making big money while your union buddies were on unemployment or a picket line.

    The still operate all over the USA. Imagine that? Without a bit of union "assistance"!

    Go tell joe what to mark on his voting card and make sure you see him sign it, I am not interested in your nonsense.

  • Neil||

    "

    Seriously, if war breaks out with Iran, what's Obama going to do? We know McCain is all for bomb bomb bomb, bomb bombing the place. I have a hard time picturing Obama immediately turning around and saying "This is another stupid Bush idea, and the first thing I'll do after inauguration day is to end the war with Iran". Especially since at that point, it'll probably be impossible to stop fighting Iran without an immediate Iraq pullout.

    No matter what Obama does at that point, I can see a lot of undecided voters siding with McCain as the better generalissimo, and the pro-war republicans would surely be very energized on election day."

    Yes!! YES!!! You have restored my hope! I too think war with the Islamfascists in Iran is inevitable and Bush will start it very soon! VERY SOON!

    How is Allahbama going to win then? LOL!!!!

    BTW Guy your so awesome tonight stick it to those watermelon enviro socialists bro!

  • joe||

    Damn, Guy, obsessed a little?

    There there, son. The anal fissures will heal.

  • joe||

    What must it be like to be six months out from an election, and already be casting about for Hail Marys to stave off disaster?

  • ||

    Ugh. I apologize to everyone here for any encouragement I may have given to Neil. I know I can't be the only one annoyed by his apparent belief that the presidential election will be decided by whoever can trot out the most partisan spin in Hit & Run comments.

    I firmly believe that the only reason the Islamic nations are any kind of a "threat" is because of our supremely idiotic, interventionist foreign policy. As always, no foreign government or terrorist group can be as big of a threat to our lives and liberties as our very own government.

    The Iraq war is quite possibly the greatest strategic blunder in the history of the United States - but it'll be relegated to second place if Bush goes to war against Iran. 'Nuff said.

  • ||

    I also get the feeling that McCain is going to win. Not sure why.

    Not sure who I want to win out of the two, as of right now I prefer Obama, but I guess it is going to depend on who they each pick as VP.

    I'll probably end up voting for Barr if he is the guy on the libertarian ticket.

    I liked Obama a lot more before he started to talk about taxes.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement