The debate over Rudy and the Right goes on pretty much like the Hundred Years War at The Corner, and while entertaining, I hesitate to wade into it because K-Lo and J-Pod are such worthy combatants and because of the obvious huge developments that will inevitably color the campaign in the next six months. Talk to me after the money totals come out in early April.
But I did note Terry Jeffrey’s broadside at Rudy in yesterday’s NRO, and asked him on to the program last night as I think he overstates conservate opposition to Rudy by a few orders of magnitude. Further, given that Terry is one of the stalwarts of conservative journalism, I wanted to discuss more than just his opposition to Rudy. Who, I wondered, was he for? The response was more than a mild suprise:
HH: Okay, so my last question for you is, if you had to cast a vote today in a Republican primary near you, who would you vote for?
TJ: If it were in Virginia?
HH: And declared candidates only.
TJ: I would probably vote for Tom Tancredo, to tell you the truth.
HH: Are you out of your mind?!?!?!?
TJ: Not that I think that Tom Tancredo is electable, and not that I think that Tom Tancredo is…
HH: Terry, okay, I’m going to change my question. Between Romney, McCain and Giuliani, who would you vote for?
TJ: I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.
TJ: I would not vote for Giuliani. I can absolutely tell you I would not vote for Giuliani. Between McCain and Romney? I don’t know.
This answer is an ominous one for the GOP. Tancredo is not a serious candidate, but Jeffrey is a serious opinion-leader on the right. Jeffrey’s willingness to publicly bless a protest candidate signals that many on the right would rather fight doomed battles than get to the business of electing a nominee who can be elected president. The irony is that in our conversation Jeffrey points to the importance of the Supreme Court’s likely vacancies in his critique of Rudy, but then in effect endorses the sort of fecklessness in politics that almost guarantees that Hillary gets the SCOTUS appointments from January, 2009 to October, 2012.
It is one thing to be undecided among the Big Three, and even acceptable to still indulge wishful thinking about the entry into the race of candidates for whom time has already run out.
But encouraging the sort of destructive crusade that Congressman Tancredo wants to lead should be labelled exactly what it is: The triumph of posture over purpose.