I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The GOP's '08 front-runners.

By Blue Texan

By Blue Texan --The three front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 appear to be Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. This means that unless Republicans can find another Bush somewhere, they're going to be forced to pick a serial flip-flopper (Romney), an anti-free speech backstabbing RINO (McCain), or a pro-gay rights divorced pro-choicer (Giuliani) as their new Great Leader. Let the equivocating, splitting of hairs, and backtracking begin.

In 2004, when they weren't lying about his combat record, the Bush campaign effectively branded John Kerry a flip-flopper, and the right wing echo chamber and even the corporate media lapped it up. It mattered little that many of Kerry's supposed "flip-flops" were a matter of parliamentary maneuvers (being for one version of a bill but against another). For Bush followers, there was simply no lower form of life than a cheap, sleazy opportunist like Kerry who switched positions on the Very Important Issues of Our Time for the sake of politics, in contrast to the steadfast Bush, who never abandoned his heartfelt beliefs, no matter what the political cost.

George Will, in his 2004 endorsement of George W. Bush, wrote:

Reasonable people can question the feasibility of Bush's nation-building and democracy-spreading ambitions. But, having taken up that burden, America cannot prudently, or decently, put it down. The question is: Which candidate will most tenaciously and single-mindedly pursue victory? The answer is: Not John Kerry, who is multiple-minded about most matters.

So in other words, even though Bush monumentally screwed up by launching and mismanaging an ill-conceived war that's tied our hands, he's still preferable to a flip-flopper.

Jonah Goldberg, in his column titled, "Why the flip-floppers rise to the top," suggested that it wasn't just that Kerry was a flip-flopper, but that all Democrats, by definition, are.

The pressure within the Republican Party has been to promote politicians willing to take strong conservative positions, even if they turn some people off. The pressure in the Democratic Party has been to promote candidates who can be all things to all people.

Now, many of those same Bush followers are throwing their support behind Mitt Romney, who was for domestic partnerships before he was against it, was for "don't ask, don't tell" before he was against it, and was for Roe v. Wade before he was against it. Conservative Andrew Sullivan has extensively documented Romney's flip-flops, and the Corner at the National Review, the blog that enthusiastically promoted the "Kerry flip-flop" meme even has admitted that Romney is a flip-flopper.

It appears that Republicans were against flip-floppers before they were for them.

McCain, who couldn't beat Bush in South Carolina in 2000, still couldn't. Despite his reluctance to vote against his own party and his nauseating attempts to prove that he's really one of them since shilling for Bush in 2004, he's still hated among Bush followers. They've never forgiven him for McCain-Feingold, and they suspect that deep-down, he's a closet liberal.

Powerline recently wondered, "Can the nation afford a President McCain?", Mobius Dick accused him of "bashing Bush" on the war as Red State called him a "backstabber", Ann Coulter called McCain a "demagogue," Hugh Hewitt hilariously blamed the Republicans staggering losses in November on McCain, Free Republic called him a "treasonous bastard" and a "fascist" World Net Daily just asked, "Why does John McCain hate the GOP?" and Jonah Goldberg breathlessly declared that "McCain's moment is over"...six years ago.

But if you really want to see firsthand the level of hate and vitriol that rank-and-file Bush followers have for McCain, just go to Town Hall or Free Republic or Red State and scroll through the comments on any McCain-related article. It's beyond ugly.

Finally, all that really has to be said of Rudy Giuliani is his unequivocal statement to CNN in 1999: "I'm pro-choice, I'm pro-gay rights." For a Republican presidential candidate, this is the equivalent of saying, "I use the flag as toilet paper and I worship Satan." And given that he also publicly appeared in drag, it's pretty safe to say his candidacy is over before it begins.

So who will it be, GOP? The flip-flopper, the traitorous RINO or the pro-gay rights New Yorker?

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