Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday roundup and branding -- the Gazette, and beyond...

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Notes on the Montana GOP convention:

Dick Wadhams on the GOP in the West: Some of the more encouraging words to a party pummeled in 2006 were from someone who managed George Allen's losing Senate re-election campaign. He correctly notes that when a party takes a drubbing, a lot of new people are motivated to get involved. This is very true. And those people tend to be more determined, to understand the importance of working smarter, and to take the long view.

He compares 2006 to 1974. Actually, nothing could be lower than 1974 for the GOP, but the comparison is apt.

Republicans are right to be optimistic about the future -- but we'd better be ready for the long haul, and for major retooling. After all, it took 6 years to regain the White House after 1974, and it wasn't until 20 years later that the GOP captured the House for the first time in a generation.

Erik Iverson takes the helm: As expected, we have a new chairman of the Montana GOP. He seems to have struck a good balance. He expressed optimism based on the basic connection between GOP principles and Montana as a whole -- not an inaccurate assessment. One hopes that Iverson will be working behind the scenes to get to the root of some fundamental problems in the Montana GOP -- many of style, some of substance.

Congressman Denny Rehberg, Iverson's boss, seems to understand that a basic issue of importance to Montanans regarding national politics is immigration, speaking in support of strong border control and against amnesty. He received his loudest applause at that point.

But this is not a distinctive of the Montana GOP, since our Democratic Senators have been nearly as opposed to the recent immigration reform bill as have the most strict Republicans. What position Rehberg's opponent, Bill Kennedy, will take is unknown -- he will doubtless be under pressure from the Christine Kaufmann wing of the Montana Democratic Party to move left on this (and on any number of issues.)

Johnson on Romney in Montana and other matters: Johnson reviews the few previous examples of presidential candidates making the trip to Montana state party conventions. He reports that Romney, not surprisingly, won a straw poll at the convention -- 50% Romney, 30% Thompson.

Johnson also has kind words for outgoing GOP chairman, former Lt.Gov Karl Ohs, and reminds readers of the role that Ohs played in bringing the Freemen standoff to a peaceful end in 1996. Johnson rightly calls him "an authentic American hero."

Ohs is under treatment for a brain tumor.

In other matters, Johnson reports that Erik Iverson states that "we need to do is modernize our party both in our method and message. We've got to get a better online presence and get more involved in the blog community."

How exactly this involvement will take place isn't exactly clear, but we'll be interested to see.

Random Fred Thompson notes:

Surprising Thompson lead in Nevada polls over Romney: In Mitt Romney and John McCain's backyard, the latest Mason-Dixon poll shows Thompson leading 25% to 20% over Romney. McCain continues a plummet that is even more breathtaking than his harshest critics had imagined he would experience as a result of his immigration debacle -- at 8% he trails far behind even Rudy Guiliani at 17%.

Powerline's take: This prominent conservative blog addresses the recent

Washington Times editorial board assessment of Thompson and his 86.1 ACU rating: pragmatic terms the answer to the question of how conservative is Fred Thompson may be this: as conservative as anyone the Republicans can elect in 2008, assuming the Republicans can elect him.

We would agree, and furthermore believe that Thompson has the best shot for a Republican winning the general election.

Thompson as blogger-in-chief: The guy actually likes to blog, and to do it himself. So what's not to love?

As we commented way back in our very first Fred Thompson post in April, Thompson has shown a knack for being in all the right places to talk to Americans in general and conservatives in particular, from subbing for Paul Harvey on the radio to writing in National Review Online or the Wall Street Journal.

Blogging and his use of the internet (including his famous YouTube moment) comes naturally to him, and it gives him an sense of accessibility that the other candidates lack.

Thompson's secret weapon -- his ex-girlfriends: Leave it to the British press to publish the really interesting stuff --

Lorrie Morgan, a country singer who dated Thompson and considered marrying him in the mid1990s, told The Sunday Times: “I couldn’t think of a bad word to say about Fred if somebody put a gun to my head.

“Fred is a perfect example of chivalry. He’s the kind of man little girls dream about marrying, who opens doors for you, lights your cigarettes, helps you on with your coat, buys wonderful gifts. It’s every woman’s fantasy.”

Now how exactly does one respond to that other than resolve to start lighting more cigarettes for the lady in one's life?

Georgette Mosbacher, a leading Republican fundraiser who dated Thompson after Morgan and remains a good friend, said he would defeat Clinton because of his appeal to “traditional women who will like the Southern gentleman in him”.

He is just as able to charm professional women, she added: “Another thing that is extremely attractive about Fred is that he is a really good listener. As a woman you can talk to Fred about any subject and know that you’re getting someone who respects your opinion and isn’t just being polite.”

But we thought that Clinton was interested in having all sorts of "conversations" with us -- will the fact that the conversations entirely involve her talking and us listening wear thin after awhile?

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