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The GOP Race In California

Tuesday, January 15, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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With absentees being cast in the tens of thousands in the Golden State already, the Los Angeles Times/CNN/Politico poll shows:

The Republican race is far more uncertain. Among likely voters, Arizona Sen. McCain was ahead with 20%. Mitt Romney was at 16%, Rudolph W. Giuliani at 14% and Mike Huckabee at 13%. All four were within the poll’s margin of sampling error. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had 8%, and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson was at 6%. Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine did not register on the poll.

The barest of bumps for Senator McCain. Why? Because he hasn’t won among Republicans yet,a nd in fact got blown out in Iowa and Wyoming among GOP voters.

A win among Republicans in Michigan today will give Romney a boost, and a loss for McCain overall would be a big blow to the Arizona maverick who is widely disliked among GOP rank-and-file. If McCain can’t win in Michigan with Democrats and Independents voting, he should pack up the campaign tent.

Why don’t Republicans vote for Senator McCain? From yesterday’s review lesson:

Senator McCain has

–voted against the Bush tax cuts, one of only two Republican senators to do so;

–twice authored the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill with its Z Visas and path to citizenship;

–has done nothing to accelerate the construction of the border fence;

–stands behind McCain-Feingold even after the Supreme Court has struck down portions of it as unconstitutional;

–defends the Gang of 14 even though a long line of vacancies on the courts of appeal existed at the end of 2006 (and has only gotten longer in 2007);

–worked with Lindsey Graham to destroy the GOP’s agenda in September of 2006 by grandstanding over the interrogation and treatment of terrorists bill;

–opposed drilling in ANWR;

–opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, twice;

–advocates a massive energy tax;

–performed poorly in three straight debates, displaying his off-putting temper on Saturday night last, and then wandering through the Sunday and Thursday debates, often losing the thread of his response and failing to answer the question, raising issues of his energy and age;

–has earned the enmity of grassroots conservative leaders across the country.”I think that the problem that nearly destroyed his candidacy last summer is still there,” Horserace blogger Jay Cost writes this morning, “and it could yet do him in. The problem? Conservative leaders do not care for his candidacy.” Cost has the key bit of evidence:

Examining congressional endorsements for McCain and Romney, excluding in-state supporters (as they often act more out of home state pride than ideological proximity), we find some interesting results. 34 Republicans have endorsed Mitt Romney, while just 24 have endorsed McCain. Furthermore, Romney’s supporters are more in line with conservative opinion. Their average 2006 ACU rating was 84.1, and 26 of them come from states Bush won in 2004. Meanwhile, the average 2006 ACU rating for McCain’s supporters is 70.7, and just 12 of them come from Bush states. In light of McCain’s rsum, this is consequential. He should have locked up most members of the Republican caucus, but he has not.

To know John McCain in Congress is not to like him.

McCain won in New Hampshire because of independents, and is neck-and-neck with Romney in Michigan because of independents and Democrats. He lost Republicans by a landslide in Iowa, and he lost Republicans in New Hampshire to Romney, as he will in Michigan tomorrow.Only the MSM’s studied indifference to these facts keeps McCain’s hope and alleged momentum alive.

But GOP voters have already spoken and will continue to do so between now and Texas and Ohio. Their rejection of McCain will surprise the pundits, but not the GOP. As Senator Santorum said:

John McCain will not get the base of the Republican Party. I mean, there was a reason John McCain collapsed last year, and it’s because he was the frontrunner, and everybody in the Republican Party got a chance to look at him. And when they looked at him, they wait well, wait a minute, he’s not with us on almost all of the core issues of…on the economic side, he was against the President’s tax cuts, he was bad on immigration. On the environment, he’s absolutely terrible. He buys into the complete left wing environmentalist movement in this country. He is for bigger government on a whole laundry list of issues. He was…I mean, on medical care, I mean, he was for re-importation of drugs. I mean, you can go on down the list. I mean, this is a guy who on a lot of the core economic issues, is not even close to being a moderate, in my opinion. And then on the issue of, on social conservative issues, you point to me one time John McCain every took the floor of the United States Senate to talk about a social conservative issue. It never happened. I mean, this is a guy who says he believes in these things, but I can tell you, inside the room, when we were in these meetings, there was nobody who fought harder not to have these votes before the United States Senate on some of the most important social conservative issues, whether it’s marriage or abortion or the like. He always fought against us to even bring them up, because he was uncomfortable voting for them. So I mean, this is just not a guy I think in the end that washes with the mainstream of the Republican Party.

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