Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Personal Asides: Doug Whitley and Ralph Martire on “Political Shootout” Sunday…Who Won the 2nd Republican Debate?...Bloomberg May be the Perot of the Left.

Whitley and Martire.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Douglas Whitley will face Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability on “Political Shootout” and “Sun-Times” columnist next Sunday. Rarely has there been two more diametrically opposed exponents of divergent views on the economy as they on a radio program. That’s at 8 p.m. next Sunday on WLS-AM (890). Whitley has been Illinois director of revenue and president of Illinois Bell. Martire has been probably the most prominent supporter of the so-called “tax swap”—but both are opposed to the Gross Receipts Tax. They will discuss alternative means to be pursued by the state to meet its revenue obligations.

Who Won?

Bob Novak says Rudy Giuliani won. Wrongo. While the New York mayor adroitly rephrased Rep. Ron Paul’s statement that there should be a close look made of why terrorists attacked the U. S. in the first place…implying that perhaps extensive interventionist actions such as the bombing of Iraq night-and-day may have been responsible…Giuliani shrewdly but duplicitously re-phrased the Paul argument to imply that Americans brought the attack on themselves. I am not a Paul guy but com’on, Rudy, that’s not what Paul said. Giuliani showboated it by calling on Paul to withdraw his comments. It was a shrewd move on a par with something Rahm Emanuel would have done, but scoring that punch didn’t mean Giuliani won.

My friend Jeff Berkowitz said John McCain won. Wrongo. McCain was a more candid presenter than he had been earlier, but he is fated to be stuck with views anathema to conservative Republicans…i.e. McCain-Feingold…going easy on eliciting information from captured terrorists at Gitmo…and was a tad too cute in defending his anti-Bush tax cut votes by saying the cuts weren’t accompanied by spending cuts. He obviated his old class-war rhetoric that condemned the fact that “36% of it [is] going to the richest 1% in America” which he reiterated on CNN by complaining that “too much of the cut goes to the wealthiest of Americans.”

The best performer and winner was Mitt Romney. Made no mistakes, handled the issue of flip-flops very well even when he himself was cute when he supported his endorsement of “No Child Left Behind” as a case where the federal government stood up to the teachers’ unions.

Among the lesser lights, Mike Huckabee again scored and was an entertaining presenter; Tom Tancredo was too ineloquent; Duncan Hunter was pretty impressive; Tommy Thompson was flat-out awful only slightly better than he was last time when he excused his performance because he had diarrhea; and Ron Paul may well have seen his name go up in lights as inheritor of the paleo tradition. Winner: Huckabee.


As clearly as the nose on Tom Tancredo’s face…or the pockmarked skin of Tommy Thompson’s visage…is the evidence that Rudy Giuliani cannot possibly win the Republican nomination because of his adamant pro-abort position. For comparison one would have to imagine that Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr., a pro-lifer would be the Democratic nominee. Impossible to imagine. Giuliani had one golden chance to finesse abortion if he had done another switch, stuck with his determination to name strict-constructionists to the Court (with strict construction meaning pro-life). Not having done that, he’s a sure loser in the end.

The likely entry of Mike Bloomberg, the New York mayor worth $14 billion as an independent may well duplicate Ross Perot with this exception. Perot’s conservative protectionism stance took votes away from George H. W. Bush. Bloomberg’s urban liberalism may well take votes away from either Hillary Clinton (in New York city Bloomberg is sky-high in the polls for whatever improbable reason) or Barack Obama. If the nominee is, let us say, Romney against Clinton with Bloomberg as the independent, the odds are the winner by an eyelash would be Romney.


  1. As I recall, it was Anthony Kennedy who reasoned that Roe must stand because of Stare Decisis. In the logic articulated by Giuliani, this would presumably qualify him as the sort of "strict constructionist, like Alito and Roberts" that the mayor said he would appoint to the high court. After all, when he said "like Alito and Roberts," he didn't say exactly HOW MUCH like Alito and Roberts, did he?

    The more Rudy talks about his position on abortion, the worse it sounds.