January 23, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Fred Thompson wins in Staunton

Fred Thompson was the winner of a straw poll taken at the Staunton Republican Committee on the evening of January 15. See the Staunton GOP Web site for detailed results.

Sadly, it's a moot point, as Thompson withdrew from the Republican primary race yesterday. (The news didn't even make the front page of today's Washington Post.) Coming on the heels of Duncan Hunter's withdrawal, this is another big disappointment for those of us on the right. Thompson was a solid conservative, but was not rigid or dogmatic. For example, he favored campaign finance reform, about which I am very dubious. (Mitch McConnell!) I always thought Fred was uniquely capable of keeping the Republican mainstream (moderate) and right-wing (The Base) elements united, and it will be very hard for any of the other candiates to do that. But at least Hillary and Barack are still at each others' throats, so there is still plenty of hope for November.

So, I've taken two more names off my ranking of GOP presdential candidates, without changing the order of the rest. Unless Giuliani catches fire soon, it looks like I'll be supporting McCain. Please, someone, talk some sense into him about the need for reforming immigration and entitlements programs!

Brooks vs. Limbaugh

Speaking of disappointed conservatives, Rush Limbaugh was in a grumpy mood yesterday. He blasted David Brooks for a New York Times column that lamented the "great tightening" that has afflicted the Republican Party since the Reagan administration. Ironically, a "conservative correctness" has taken hold, rivaling left-wing "political correctness." (Ever hear the expression "RINO"? Bingo.) In his broadcast retorts, to my surprise, Rush used the term pseudo-conservative, coined by political scientist Richard Hofstadter to describe a pathological tendency in the American right wing in the 1950s. I first mentioned this in October 2006. In essence, pseudo-conservatives are right-wing people with a deranged, paranoid view of reality that condemns them to repreated failure. Rush means the opposite of the academic sense of the term, however. Is Rush losing it? Is he a "pseudo-conservative"?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin reminds us of just how weak McCain has been on the immigration issue, calling him "The Geraldo Rivera Republican" for being such an aggressive panderer: "Like the ethnocentric cable TV host who can't string a sentence about immigration together without drowning in demagoguery, McCain naturally resorts to open-borders platitudes when pressed for enforcement specifics." Ouch!! Hat tip to Stacey Morris.