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22.1.08

Romney-leaning, not Roemer, LA ticket best for GOP

Within the hour Republicans will gather at statewide caucuses to select delegates to attend in about a month a state convention to pick delegates to the party’s national convention. Not only will this affect the outcome of a GOP nomination for president still very much in flux, but may also shed light into competition and the eventual nominee for the House Sixth District for Congress for the party.

Courtesy of a web site that shills for former Gov. Buddy Roemer, e-mail was sent to drum up support for Sen. John McCain. In the note, Roemer argued that McCain was the only candidate that could defeat front-runner for the Democratic nomination Sen. Hillary Clinton – a highly mistaken notion, given Clinton’s negatives are so high that any GOP nominee would enter the contest at worst even odds against Clinton. In fact, because McCain would discourage the conservative base of the GOP who would be likely to take the attitude that the inevitable failure of a Clinton presidency would strengthen the conservative cause more than the as-inevitable failure of a Clinton-lite (McCain) presidency, McCain would be the least likely of the major Republican candidates to beat her.

Despite his mistaken analysis, Roemer’s endorsement and placement on a ticket to support McCain firmly places him ideologically within the state GOP, reducing his chances of wining nomination for the 6th District seat. With the advent of closed primaries for federal elections, conservatives will have the greatest say in determining Republican nominees (as will liberals for Democrats). Roemer has more recently dismissed rumors that he will run for the seat of resigning Rep. Richard Baker and instead his son Chas (who appears on the McCain ticket as well) has expressed interest in the seat.

The younger Roemer in essence has made the same signal by being on the McCain ticket, reducing his chances of nomination despite his unopposed win for the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education which was determined by a blanket primary. Therefore, today’s caucus results will be interesting in demonstrating just how realistic moderates’ chances in the GOP are of winning nominations. If this ticket doesn’t win in the Sixth District, it may signal trouble for any Roemer’s ambition

Conservative activists have not let the challenge go unmet. Consultant Charlie Davis (publisher of the PoliticsLA website) has compiled a delegate ticket of staunch conservatives who pledge if no candidate wins the Feb. 9 primary outright to vote for a candidate at the state convention a week later who has solid conservative credential. With the departure of former Sen. Fred Thompson from the contest today, that seems to be a shorthand for support for former Gov. Mitt Romney.

If Republicans want the best shot at winning the White House in November, the most conservative candidate in the field should get their votes. This means the Davis ticket would be the one to cast in favor of this evening.

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