RLC, 1st Session

General observations…

1. Redstate.com’s Erick Erickson REALLY likes Bobby Jindal. Jim Tucker, not so much. Erickson says Tucker wants to bring back Edwin Edwards’ Louisiana. No idea where he got that notion, but he’s originally from Louisiana and somebody gave it to him. Tucker and Jindal’s disagreement as to how to cut the state’s budget isn’t a left-right discussion, it’s a tactical one.

The crowd was lukewarm. They got more interested when Erickson started talking about national stuff and comparing Edwin Edwards’ Louisiana to Barack Obama’s America.

2. Mike Huckabee did his small-town, nice-guy-conservative speech. It’s a good speech about broke moms who buy gas $5 at a time, veterans who shouldn’t have to ask twice for help and how we have a health problem and not a health-care problem. And how there’s no economic conservatism without social conservatism. The crowd liked it. I’m happy he’s not running.

3. Ted Cruz, the former Texas Solicitor General who’s running for Senate there, gives one hell of a speech. He’s a Marco Rubio clone; you’d think with a name like Cruz and being from Texas he’d be of Mexican descent. He’s not. He’s Cuban. His dad showed up in Austin as an 18-year old college student and ended up owning a business in the oil and gas industry; so it’s an even greater American rags-to-riches story than Rubio’s. Cruz’ sales pitch includes the observation that conservatives usually win when they forcefully articulate conservatism and liberals win when they obfuscate their liberalism. Then he conducts a thought experiment, taking the audience through a hypothetical October 2008 press conference at which Barack Obama outlines a plan to screw GM’s bondholders and give the company to the unions, fire its CEO, blow $900 billion on a stimulus that didn’t create any jobs, try to pass cap and trade, ram Obamacare down the country’s throat and go on an apology tour. Would such a man get elected, he asks? It’s effective. There is apparently a pretty good field in that Senate race; the other Republicans will need to be good if they want to beat Cruz.

4. Gary Johnson isn’t a compelling speaker. And that’s too bad, because while the former New Mexico governor is a bit more libertarian than the Republican base, he makes a lot of sense on most issues. Johnson had the crowd bubbling even with a herky-jerky delivery of a proposal to block-grant Medicare and Medicaid to the states and abolishing the federal Department of Education, and he got a surprisingly good reception when he started talking about getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He got silence from most of the crowd when he launched into legalizing weed, though there were a few Ron Paul types who liked it, and he gave a good accounting of that argument. One gets the impression that Johnson, if he had some great handlers, could carve out a niche within the libertarian wing of the party if he could present himself as the natural leader of that faction – but with Paul occupying that space for as long as he has, Johnson has to be significantly better on the stump and he’s not. It’s a tough road, and that’s why he’s having trouble getting seated at debates like the one in New Hampshire.

5. Thad McCotter’s speeches read better than they sound. He’s a very monotone speaker. When he gets going a little he makes good points. But its hard to follow him because he drones on a bit. But he went off on China in a big way, and that was pretty good stuff.

So far, no anarchists, bomb throwers or rioting lefties outside. There were lots of state troopers everywhere, though.

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