e had our own three legged stool in Washington DC this week. Foreign policy at the RJC, economics at Club for Growth and values at the FRC. How’d everyone do? Well Huckabee and McCain are not on the favorite friends list at CFG and didn’t show there. Huckabee was also absent at the RJC. His grand slam home run at FRC is going give him a shot at Iowa but his appeal perches on that single stool leg. Thompson was virtually invisible this week. He had a few moments at the FRC and a question or two at CFG where he seemed to perk up but it was all very vague, with lots of coughs and pauses and altogether puzzling for a professional performer. He wasn’t bad at any of the stops( well perhaps at the RJC) but neither did him impress or charm any of the three audiences. Romney is curiously unable to knock out great appearances when he needs them. The NRO Summit in January and the Mackinac Conference in September garnered mediocre to poor reviews. This week he was fine at RJC and Club for Growth( But did he show a little too much infatuation with government and slip up on minimum wage? Small stuff but these folks have eagle eyes.) but didn’t win the crowd at either of those. At the FRC he had his moment. He could have moved the audience, built on the momentum from evangelical endorsements and sealed the deal as the imperfect but consensus social conservative candidate. It didn’t happen because he did not connect and sell that room on himself. He read a laundry list and touted his lovely family but he did not bear his soul and address the concerns of those assembled. With the help of his online voting organization he saved some face but the lopsided onsite results will likely prevent establishment religious conservatives from lining up behind him. Released to vote their consciences, many activists will choose others. McCain was respected if not embraced by the RJC and despite a moving speech and solid pro-life record could not best even Rudy with the FRC crowd. In a perfect world he would be doing much better but.. you know the rest. Rudy did what he had to this week. He won the RJC crowd (if Bill Clinton was the first Black president Rudy may be the first Jewish one-he gets them and visa versa) and satisfied the remaining concerns of the CFG leaders on social security and McCain Feingold. If not home runs, he was close on these two. As for FRC, it was just a remarkable day–one where Soren Dayton
, David Brody
and the NY Times
all sensed that he had achieved something many thought was not possible. But this is one week and debates, polls, unforced errors and unforeseen events have a way of tossing everything up in the air.