What if it’s Romney vs. Obama in 2012?

Mitt Romney has two significant flaws as as Republican candidate:  Romney Care in Massachusetts and the fact that he is a Mormon, which is anathema to many committed Protestants and Catholics.  During the 2008 primaries, some people were saying that he was so flawed they couldn’t possibly vote for him, even if it meant abstaining and handing the election to the Democrat.

It’s possible that there will be a Romney vs. Obama match-up in 2012.  Do you think conservative voters will find themselves as constrained as they were in 2008, or has Obama proven himself to be so awful that any Republican who can make it through the primaries will get the vote?  How far will doctrinal purity go when the alternative is another 4 years of Obama?  (I framed this post around Romney, but ultimately the question goes to any Republican, no matter how flawed, versus Obama in 2012.)

Presidential Education

We have enjoyed spirited discussions on these pages with Book’s question about universities and the values thereof.

A recurring theme that I hear among Liberals is one of educational snobbery. I heard this with regard to G.W. Bush (despite his Harvard MBA) and now we hear it about Sarah Palin and other conservative candidates that may one day run for President.  Educational credentials will be an issue. Should they?

To lay my own opinions right out on the table, I admire Sarah Palin and do hope she runs – to me, she embodies many of the qualities that I always admired about American women when looking at my country from an overseas (expat) perspective. Those qualities include strength, “can do” practicality and a self-assuredness that looks adversity straight in the face. Plus, she can shoot straight. She was one of Alaska’s all-time most effective governors in just 2-1/2 years. Her autobiography on those years describes someone with exceptional tenacity and people management skills.

Her qualities, however, are the product of her life experiences. The fact that she was expected by her parents to go to university and pay 100% of her expenses and did so at various institutions is a major plus, not a negative. For me, her real life practical accomplishments say far more than her limited educational experience. And, for the sake of Book’s daughter, her (not Alaskan but North Central states) accent is no more a barrier to me than Gov. Christie’s New Jersey accent, JFK’s Boston accent or Bush’s Texan accent…I love accents!). To me, it is practical real-world experience that counts, not formal education. If anything, formal education is a barrier.

So, just how important is education for U.S. presidents? I note that some of our greatest presidents had little or no advanced education. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Harry S. Truman never went to university. Ronald Reagan got an undergraduate degree in economics from tiny Eureka College in the middle of the corn and soybean fields of Illinois. By contrast, our worst presidents were some of our best educated: Woodrow Wilson (Ph.D. professor), Jimmy Carter (nuclear engineer), Bill Clinton (Rhodes Scholar) and, now, Barack Obama (Ivy League elitist lawyer).

So, how important is formal education to being a good President? What are the Presidential qualities that a university can or cannot impart? How do we best counter these arguments from the Liberal /Left…not for the sake of the Lefties (whose egos remain immune to reason) but for the sake of all others trying to make up their minds on this issue?

Who would you vote for as the next President?

An email friend of mine advanced the notion of General Petraeus running in 2012.  The man has shown himself to be incredibly competent, but I don’t know much more about him.  He certainly has executive experience.  My friend, who knows (or knows of him) quite well says that he has many of the virtues that would make both a good candidate and a good president.  I have no knowledge of whether he wants to run, but it’s an interesting concept.

Since 2012 is coming upon us quickly (thank goodness), I was interested in your preferences and created a poll. Since I’m new to poll creating, the “none of the above” option is unanchored, and drifts, but I trust you’ll figure it out. Also, if you don’t see a potential candidate you like in my poll, leave a comment with the person’s name.

http://wp.vizu.com/vizu_poll.swf

November 4

I’m going to be working, not blogging, tomorrow morning, November 4, 2008, so feel free to consider this an open thread.  I can’t let this occasion go by without a few words, though.

On the candidates:

If you believe government can solve most of our problems; if you believe Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are better at spending your money than you are; if you believe that the government exists to redistribute wealth from those it defines as rich to those victim groups it classes as deserving; if you believe that we ought to continue to be dependent on energy sources in the hands of our enemies; if you believe that the best defense is to disarm yourself; if you believe that the government should control the press to ensure “freedom”; if you believe that there should be no limits on immigrants coming into the country or on the benefits extended to those immigrants; and if you believe that judges shouldn’t just decide law, but should make it, according to their personal preferences, then you should definitely vote for Obama.

However, if you believe that you, not Barack/Pelosi/Reid, are the master of your own destiny; if you believe that a country must have secure borders and controlled immigration to remain strong; if you believe that government doesn’t make money, people make money; if you believe that the best defense is to appear ready, willing and able to fight to defend yourself; if you believe that your country should be energy independent for both security and economic purposes; if you believe in a free press unhindered by government mandated “fairness”; and if you believe that judges’ job is to apply the law and the legislature’s job is to make it (although make as little of it as possible), then you should definitely vote for McCain.

On the election tomorrow:

The most important thing you should do is ignore the media entirely and VOTE.  The media will err about reporting closing times for voting.  The media will enthusiastically report that Obama is winning in a landslide according to exit polls, but its talking heads will neglect to explain that, traditionally, conservatives don’t respond to exit polls, making the results completely one-sided and meaningless.  The media will declare certain Eastern states for Obama long before actual results are in — with the result that people west of the Mississippi might think it’s pointless to vote.

It’s never pointless to vote.  If you think you might be too late to vote, don’t rely on the media to check poll closing times.  Go check the polling place out yourself.  Take the time to drive up to your polling place and see if you can get in.

Every vote, from every person, in every state counts.  If you are the last person voting on the furthest island of Hawaii tomorrow, YOUR VOTE COUNTS.  Please remember the infinitesimally small margin by which Bush won Florida in 2000.  EVERY VOTE COUNTS.  I cannot guarantee that we will win if all of us vote tomorrow, but I can guarantee that we will lose if we allow the media to bamboozle us into walking away from the polls before the last polling place is locked and the lights turned out.

And one more thing:  if Obama wins tomorrow — and it’s entirely possible that he will — do not throw temper tantrums and announce that you’re moving someplace where conservatives are respected (and good luck finding that place, anyway).  Instead, immediately begin to work, not for 2012, but for 2010.  Because I can almost promise you that, after a mere two years of non-stop, all encompassing Democratic rule, voters will be desperate to throw the Democrats out of the House and Senate.  Then, having accomplished that goal, start working for 2012, when Palin and Cantor and Jindal and Steele, and a whole host of other exciting young conservatives will be chomping at the bit to take over the reins of government.

It’s true that an all-Democratic government led by Obama can do a lot of damage in a short time, but it will do even more damage if we turn away in disgust and cede government entirely to the Democratic agenda.  We still have a voice in this country and we will continue to have a voice even if the first thing the Democrats do is pass a new Fairness Doctrine.  When the old Fairness Doctrine was wiped out, everyone was surprised by the pent-up hunger for conservative thought.  This time, though, we know that hunger exists, and we will find an outlet by which to feed it.

But let’s not worry about that future.  Instead….

VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE

Do not fear the polls

DJ Drummond, who blogs at Wizbang, has two spectacular articles explaining in simple terms why we shouldn’t blindly trust the polls this year.  You should read them, here and here.  Bottom line:  no matter what the polls seem to be saying, make sure to vote.

Useful statistics

Before you let the polls spook you, Ann Coulter has some useful history:

Reviewing the polls printed in the New York Times and the Washington Post in the last month of every presidential election since 1976, I found the polls were never wrong in a friendly way to Republicans. When the polls were wrong, which was often, they overestimated support for the Democrat, usually by about 6 to 10 points.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter narrowly beat Gerald Ford 50.1 percent to 48 percent. And yet, on Sept. 1, Carter led Ford by 15 points. Just weeks before the election, on Oct. 16, 1976, Carter led Ford in the Gallup Poll by 6 percentage points – down from his 33-point Gallup Poll lead in August.

Reading newspaper coverage of presidential elections in 1980 and 1984, I found myself paralyzed by the fear that Reagan was going to lose.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan beat Carter by nearly 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent. In a Gallup Poll released days before the election on Oct. 27, it was Carter who led Reagan 45 percent to 42 percent.

In 1984, Reagan walloped Walter Mondale 58.8 percent to 40 percent, – the largest electoral landslide in U.S. history. But on Oct. 15, the New York Daily News published a poll showing Mondale with only a 4-point deficit to Reagan, 45 percent to 41 percent. A Harris Poll about the same time showed Reagan with only a 9-point lead. The Oct. 19 New York Times/CBS News Poll had Mr. Reagan ahead of Mondale by 13 points. All these polls underestimated Reagan’s actual margin of victory by 6 to 15 points.

In 1988, George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis by a whopping 53.4 percent to 45.6 percent. A New York Times/CBS News Poll on Oct. 5 had Bush leading the Greek homunculus by a statistically insignificant 2 points – 45 percent to 43 percent. (For the kids out there: Before it became a clearinghouse for anti-Bush conspiracy theories, CBS News was considered a credible journalistic entity.)

A week later – or one tank ride later, depending on who’s telling the story – on Oct. 13, Bush was leading Dukakis in the New York Times Poll by a mere 5 points.

Admittedly, a 3- to 6-point error is not as crazily wrong as the 6- to 15-point error in 1984. But it’s striking that even small “margin of error” mistakes never seem to benefit Republicans.

In 1992, Bill Clinton beat the first President Bush 43 percent to 37.7 percent. (Ross Perot got 18.9 percent of Bush’s voters that year.) On Oct. 18, a Newsweek Poll had Clinton winning 46 percent to 31 percent, and a CBS News Poll showed Clinton winning 47 percent to 35 percent.

So in 1992, the polls had Clinton 12 to 15 points ahead, but he won by only 5.3 points.

In 1996, Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole 49 percent to 40 percent. And yet on Oct. 22, 1996, the New York Times/CBS News Poll showed Clinton leading by a massive 22 points, 55 percent to 33 percent.

In 2000, which I seem to recall as being fairly close, the October polls accurately described the election as a virtual tie, with either Bush or Al Gore 1 or 2 points ahead in various polls. But in one of the latest polls to give either candidate a clear advantage, the New York Times/CBS News Poll on Oct. 3, 2000, showed Gore winning by 45 percent to 39 percent.

Other comforting poll posts:

One obvious reason the polls are biased

The Left’s Big Blunder

Polls : Obama or McCain is Winning

Remember, it ain’t over ’til it’s over:

Fine thoughts from other people

I had a lovely time last night at a reception on the Bonhomme Richard, and plan on writing about it later today.  However, other work calls, so I thought I’d fill this space with recommendations for interesting stuff you may want to read.  In no particular order:

William Katz, a witty, erudite man who has absorbed much from traveling through the past few decades, deconstructs the way the Left is using the concept of “guilt by association” to insulate Obama from much-deserved criticism.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Mr. Katz, spend some time with Jesse Jackson.  We’ve always known he’s an antisemite, but with the prospect of a similar thinking White House administration, he’s oozing out of the closet. As you read the article, keep in mind that Jackson is promising that an Obama administration will turn its back on the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, and will ally itself with some of the worst theocratic totalitarian dictatorships, not just in the region, not just in the world, but in the history of the world.

Jonah Goldberg points out the obvious (but does it does charmingly):  Republicans are so frightened by Obama’s skin-color, and the risk of appearing non-PC, that they are allowing him to get away with political murder.  We all know that, when it comes to Obama, there’s only one color that matters, and that is Red.

Thomas Sowell nails the liberal horror of the long-standing American tradition of “going negative” in political elections: “Why then is ‘negative advertising’ such a big deal these days? The dirty little secret is this: Liberal candidates have needed to escape their past and pretend that they are not liberals, because so many voters have had it with liberals.”

Michael Reagan provides a good run-down of Ayers’ relevance to this election, and it has nothing to do with his having bombed buildings when Barack was 8.

IBD neatly summarizes why ACORN matters so much.  And if that analysis doesn’t sway you, check out the Wall Street Journal on precisely the same point.