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A Choice, Not a Referendum: Support Senator DeWine

Monday, May 22, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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I have moved the quick links to the contribution pages for the GOP Senate candidates most in need of your support to the left column, just below the Painting the Map Red link. As I argued on Saturday morning, it is time to start defending the Senate majority so that the next Supreme Court nominee can get through the Judiciary Committee and past a filibuster, and so that we are not saddled with a radically obstructionist Congress just as the confrontation with Iran enters its crucial phase and Iraq its first years of democratic government.

I am still refusing to donate to the National Republican Senatorial Committee because of its support for Lincoln Chafee, who never gets the big votes right and whose seniority is a matter of concern.

But I did receive many e-mails denouncing the idea of contributing to Mike DeWine’s camapign, primarily because of his membership in the Gang of 14 and his vote on retroactive social security benefits for illegal aliens.

Mike DeWine has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 80, though his rating was only 56 in 2005.

His opponent, Congressman Sherrod Brown’s lifetime ACU rating is 8, and in 2005 it was 4.

Senator DeWine voted for Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito in the Judiciary Committee and on the floor. He has also voted for every other Bush judicial nominee who faced Leahy-led opposition.

DeWine’s opponent Sherrod Brown would join the Leahy-Schumer forces and is in fact the new Howard Metzenbaum, waiting to join the radical obstructionists in the Senate.

Brown would also almost certainly vote against serious border protection, just as 16 Democratic senators did. Senator DeWine voted for the border fencing.

Few people have been as critical of the Gang of 14 as I have been, but I am unwilling to run the risk of losing the opportunity for the president to appoint another superb jurist or two because DeWine got the Gang of 14 wrong or isn’t as tough as Jon Kyl on immigration issues.

Majorities need members who are mostly right, and especially those in the Senate who are right on judges.

For those for whom a constitutional issue is either most improtant or close to most important –the protection of the unborn, the right to bear arms, rebuilding the wall against the abuse of condemnation by governments eager to fill their coffers to name just three– it is simply not possible to be cosidered serious in those attachments and yet hope for or vote for the defeat of center-right senators like DeWine.

Post long rebuttals or send angry e-mails, but don’t kid yourself.

You cannot be pro-life or pro-Second Amendment or pro-propert rights and urge the loss of the Senate majority.

That’s like being anti-arson while voting to defund the Fire Department and making matches and gasoline available on a first come, first serve, free with a car-wash basis.

Comparing Senator DeWine with Congressman Brown is exactly the sort of process that GOP Chair Ken Mehlman discussed with the Washington Post:

Perhaps the most important element of the emerging strategy will be to “move from a referendum to a choice,” as Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman put it. Instead of a verdict on Bush, Republicans want to frame the election as a contest with Democrats, confident that voters unhappy with the president will find the opposition even more distasteful.

“We’re moving from a period where the public looks at things and says thumbs-up or thumbs-down, to a time when they have a choice between one side or the other,” Mehlman said.

I am also pleased to note that my book’s major point, which argues for elevating the GWOT and the Iraq battle to center stage in the fall, is also part of Karl Rove’s suggested approach to the fall:

A top adviser said Rove and White House political director Sara M. Taylor are advising candidates not to duck the issue of Iraq but rather to make it a centerpiece of their campaigns.

The Rove-Taylor view is that one-third of Americans agree with liberal Democrats calling for immediate withdrawal and another third support staying the course. The middle third wants a new strategy, but would be leery of pulling out and leaving behind a volatile Iraq, a position strategists believe leaves those voters open to persuasion.

“Look, we’re in a sour time — I readily admit it,” Rove said in a speech last week. “I mean, being in the middle of a war where people turn on their television sets and see brave men and women dying is not something that makes people happy and optimistic and upbeat.” But, he added, “ultimately, the American people are a center-right country who, presented with a center-right party with center-right candidates, will vote center-right.”

Back to the fifteen words:

Win the war.
Confirm the judges.
Cut the taxes.
Control the spending.
Secure the borders.

Do your part by visiting the ten campaigns in the “Big Ten” box and digging deep.

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