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Rally for Romney: Conservatives need to act now, before it is too late.
National Review Online ^ | January 31, 2008 | Mark R. Levin

Posted on 01/31/2008 10:37:41 AM PST by Delacon

I have spent nearly four decades in the conservative movement — from precinct worker to the Reagan White House. I campaigned for Reagan in 1976 and 1980. I served in several top positions during the Reagan administration, including chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. I have been an active conservative when conservatism was not in high favor.

I remember in 1976, as a 19-year-old in Pennsylvania working the polls for Reagan against the sitting Republican president, Gerald Ford, I was demeaned for supporting a candidate who was said to be an extremist B-actor who couldn’t win a general election, and opposing a sitting president. And at the time Reagan wasn’t even on the ballot in Pennsylvania because he decided to focus his limited resources on other states. I tried to convince voter after voter to write-in Reagan’s name on the ballot. In the end, Reagan received about five percent of the Republican vote as a write-in candidate.

Of course, Reagan lost the nomination to Ford by the narrowest of margins. Ford went on to lose to a little-known ex-governor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter. But the Reagan Revolution became stronger, not weaker, as a result. And the rest is history.

I don’t pretend to speak for President Reagan or all conservatives. I speak for myself. But I watched the Republican debate last night, which was held at the Reagan library, and I have to say that I fear a McCain candidacy. He would be an exceedingly poor choice as the Republican nominee for president.

Let’s get the largely unspoken part of this out the way first. McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton. These are not good qualities to have in a president. As I watched him last night, I could see his personal contempt for Mitt Romney roiling under the surface. And why? Because Romney ran campaign ads that challenged McCain’s record? Is this the first campaign in which an opponent has run ads questioning another candidate’s record? That’s par for the course. To the best of my knowledge, Romney’s ads have not been personal. He has not even mentioned the Keating-Five to counter McCain's cheap shots. But the same cannot be said of McCain’s comments about Romney.

Last night McCain, who is the putative frontrunner, resorted to a barrage of personal assaults on Romney that reflect more on the man making them than the target of the attacks. McCain now has a habit of describing Romney as a “manager for profit” and someone who has “laid-off” people, implying that Romney is both unpatriotic and uncaring. Moreover, he complains that Romney is using his “millions” or “fortune” to underwrite his campaign. This is a crass appeal to class warfare. McCain is extremely wealthy through marriage. Romney has never denigrated McCain for his wealth or the manner in which he acquired it. Evidently Romney’s character doesn’t let him to cross certain boundaries of decorum and decency, but McCain’s does. And what of managing for profit? When did free enterprise become evil? This is liberal pablum which, once again, could have been uttered by Hillary Clinton.

And there is the open secret of McCain losing control of his temper and behaving in a highly inappropriate fashion with prominent Republicans, including Thad Cochran, John Cornyn, Strom Thurmond, Donald Rumsfeld, Bradley Smith, and a list of others. Does anyone honestly believe that the Clintons or the Democrat party would give McCain a pass on this kind of behavior?

 

As for McCain “the straight-talker,” how can anyone explain his abrupt about-face on two of his signature issues: immigration and tax cuts? As everyone knows, McCain led the battle not once but twice against the border-security-first approach to illegal immigration as co-author of the McCain-Kennedy bill. He disparaged the motives of the millions of people who objected to his legislation. He fought all amendments that would limit the general amnesty provisions of the bill. This controversy raged for weeks. Only now he says he’s gotten the message. Yet, when asked last night if he would sign the McCain-Kennedy bill as president, he dissembles, arguing that it’s a hypothetical question. Last Sunday on Meet the Press, he said he would sign the bill. There’s nothing straight about this talk. Now, I understand that politicians tap dance during the course of a campaign, but this was a defining moment for McCain. And another defining moment was his very public opposition to the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. He was the media’s favorite Republican in opposition to Bush. At the time his primary reason for opposing the cuts was because they favored the rich (and, by the way, they did not). Now he says he opposed them because they weren’t accompanied by spending cuts. That’s simply not correct.

 

Even worse than denying his own record, McCain is flatly lying about Romney’s position on Iraq. As has been discussed for nearly a week now, Romney did not support a specific date to withdraw our forces from Iraq. The evidence is irrefutable. And it’s also irrefutable that McCain is abusing the English language (Romney’s statements) the way Bill Clinton did in front of a grand jury. The problem is that once called on it by everyone from the New York Times to me, he obstinately refuses to admit the truth. So, last night, he lied about it again. This isn’t open to interpretation. But it does give us a window into who he is.

 

Of course, it’s one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a conservative might depart from conservative orthodoxy. But in McCain’s case, adherence is the exception to the rule — McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers’ bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. This is a record any liberal Democrat would proudly run on. Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?

 

But what about his national security record? It’s a mixed bag. McCain is rightly credited with being an early voice for changing tactics in Iraq. He was a vocal supporter of the surge, even when many were not. But he does not have a record of being a vocal advocate for defense spending when Bill Clinton was slashing it. And he has been on the wrong side of the debate on homeland security. He supports closing Guantanamo Bay, which would result in granting an array of constitutional protections to al-Qaeda detainees, and limiting legitimate interrogation techniques that have, in fact, saved American lives. Combined with his (past) de-emphasis on border-security, I think it’s fair to say that McCain’s positions are more in line with the ACLU than most conservatives.

 

Why recite this record? Well, if conservatives don’t act now to stop McCain, he will become the Republican nominee and he will lose the general election. He is simply flawed on too many levels. He is a Republican Hillary Clinton in many ways. Many McCain supporters insist he is the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama. And they point to certain polls. The polls are meaningless this far from November. Six months ago, the polls had Rudy winning the Republican nomination. In October 1980, the polls had Jimmy Carter defeating Ronald Reagan. This is no more than spin.

But wouldn’t the prospect of a Clinton or Obama presidency drive enough of the grassroots to the polls for McCain? It wasn’t enough to motivate the base to vote in November 2006 to stop Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker or the Democrats from taking Congress. My sense is it won’t be enough to carry McCain to victory, either. And McCain has done more to build animus among the people whose votes he will need than Denny Hastert or Bill Frist. And there won’t be enough Democrats voting for McCain to offset the electorate McCain has alienated (and is likely to continue to alienate, as best as I can tell).

McCain has not won overwhelming pluralities, let alone majorities, in any of the primaries. A thirty-six-percent win in Florida doesn’t make a juggernaut. But the liberal media are promoting him now as the presumptive nominee. More and more establishment Republican officials are jumping on McCain’s bandwagon — the latest being Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has all but destroyed California’s Republican party.

Let’s face it, none of the candidates are perfect. They never are. But McCain is the least perfect of the viable candidates. The only one left standing who can honestly be said to share most of our conservative principles is Mitt Romney. I say this as someone who has not been an active Romney supporter. If conservatives don’t unite behind Romney at this stage, and become vocal in their support for him, then they will get McCain as their Republican nominee and probably a Democrat president. And in either case, we will have a deeply flawed president.

Mark Levin, a former senior Reagan Justice Department official, is a nationally syndicated radio-talk-show host.



TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: 2008; elections; hillarylite; marklevin; mccain; primaries; romney
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1 posted on 01/31/2008 10:37:44 AM PST by Delacon
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To: Delacon

Levin, Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter

What more will it take?


2 posted on 01/31/2008 10:39:43 AM PST by icwhatudo (Romney/ Thompson ‘08 — its the closest we’ll get to a true conservative in the White House)
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To: americanophile

Ping


3 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:17 AM PST by jan in Colorado ("It's easier to believe a lie one hears 1,000 times than to believe a fact that one has never heard)
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To: Delacon

There won’t be much rallying for Romney because many of see him as little, if any, better than McCain.


4 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:19 AM PST by JRochelle
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To: Delacon

BUMP for Mitt


5 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:20 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (If McCain wins, we lose)
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To: Delacon; Fudd Fan

PING! to your list.


6 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:31 AM PST by CedarDave (Rudy had his faults, but wasn't crazy -- until he endorsed McCain)
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To: Delacon

I cannot believe how many people are willing to sacrifice their political credibility to throw their support behind men who have such sordid records.

Mark... geez fella.


7 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:31 AM PST by DoughtyOne (PARTY WANTED: Full Time, Cons exp a must. Refs 20 yrs. No Amnesty sptrs. 1 vote per 4 yrs negotiable)
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To: Delacon

BTTT


8 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:44 AM PST by Constitution Day (Ray Smuckles for President)
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To: Delacon

bttt


9 posted on 01/31/2008 10:40:53 AM PST by Matchett-PI (Hispanics for amnesty , old folks, Libs, were key to McCain's victory in Florida)
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To: JRochelle
Exactly, and these talk radio host are being very disingenuous about that.
10 posted on 01/31/2008 10:42:02 AM PST by hope (Isaiah 53 nothing redacted)
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To: icwhatudo
If we're down to Flip Romney, it's already WAY too late.

Thank you, media conservatives, for being too quick to endorse liberal Republicans, too slow to endorse conservative Republicans, and too arrogant to assume we can be stampeded to vote for an opportunistic liberal tool like Mitt Romney.
11 posted on 01/31/2008 10:42:20 AM PST by Antoninus ("Make all the promises you have to." --Flip Romney)
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To: Delacon
Likewise, Romney has not mentioned McCain's cancer, his wife's arrest for stealing drugs when she was a nurse or his "Vietnam tape".

We have all those things (and more) to look forward to if Happy McCain gets the nomination.

12 posted on 01/31/2008 10:42:36 AM PST by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: hope

Sent my donation to Romney last night. Go Mitt.


13 posted on 01/31/2008 10:42:56 AM PST by Parley Baer
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To: Delacon

The problem with this article—and I have great respect for the author—is that a similar litany of awfulness could easily be assembled to describe Slick Willard.


14 posted on 01/31/2008 10:43:04 AM PST by Petronski (People get the kind of government they deserve.)
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To: icwhatudo

It takes a man that doesn’t have Romney’s history. That’s all.


15 posted on 01/31/2008 10:43:36 AM PST by DoughtyOne (PARTY WANTED: Full Time, Cons exp a must. Refs 20 yrs. No Amnesty sptrs. 1 vote per 4 yrs negotiable)
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To: Delacon

Sending $$$ to Romney now.

Having said that, after reading of Obamas interest in legalizing marijuana, and the Clintons new Middle East ties, I would hold my nose and vote for McCain.


16 posted on 01/31/2008 10:43:43 AM PST by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: DoughtyOne
My theory...

Why media conservatives hate John McCain
17 posted on 01/31/2008 10:43:53 AM PST by Antoninus ("Make all the promises you have to." --Flip Romney)
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To: Delacon

Excellent piece. Hopefully not too late, with all the MSM giddily reporting McCain’s likely nomination.


18 posted on 01/31/2008 10:43:54 AM PST by dashing doofus (Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber)
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To: holdonnow; Abbeville Conservative; ajay_kumar; americanophile; Austin1; bethtopaz; BlueAngel; ...

Voice of Reason Rally for Mitt PING!

Thank you, Mark!


19 posted on 01/31/2008 10:44:01 AM PST by redgirlinabluestate (Unite 4 Mitt --- Stop McCain)
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To: Parley Baer

Good, looks like he’ll need it to do all those infomercials.


20 posted on 01/31/2008 10:44:33 AM PST by hope (Isaiah 53 nothing redacted)
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To: Delacon

bump!


21 posted on 01/31/2008 10:44:33 AM PST by apocalypto
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To: DoughtyOne
I cannot believe how many people are willing to sacrifice their political credibility to throw their support behind men who have such sordid records

I dont get it either - especially since we are talking about a man who claimed to be to the left of Ted Kennedy on abortion, gun control and gay rights. Then there is this thing in which he forced health care on citizens (call it hillary care light).

I think the bottom line is that these guys hate McCain with a passion - not that its hard to do - but they are blindly following someone who is the GOP's John Kerry.

22 posted on 01/31/2008 10:44:49 AM PST by BoBToMatoE
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To: Petronski
The problem with this article—and I have great respect for the author—is that a similar litany of awfulness could easily be assembled to describe Slick Willard.

That's why I think that our media elite conservatives are more worried that McCain will try to inflict payback on them, whereas Romney would not.

For a lot of them, I think it's less about political principles than about who is likely to hamper their ability to make a living less. In that, they're just like any other lobbying group.
23 posted on 01/31/2008 10:46:06 AM PST by Antoninus ("Make all the promises you have to." --Flip Romney)
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To: Delacon

Mark Levin is a wise, wise man. McCain must be stopped now.


24 posted on 01/31/2008 10:47:05 AM PST by VegasBaby (No way to McStain)
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To: Delacon; JRochelle; colorcountry; ejonesie22; Graybeard58
Even Mark Levin can't provide enought lipstick for that....

Photobucket

25 posted on 01/31/2008 10:47:41 AM PST by greyfoxx39 (Salvation is NOT a value-added enterprise by making you pay for it. Christ gives it away free.)
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To: icwhatudo
Levin, Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter

What more will it take?

One of the FR threads today mentioned that James Dobson has given a "stealth" endorsement of Romney. If the evangelicals that are voting for Huckabeee switch to Romney we may be able to stop a disasterous nomination of McCain.

26 posted on 01/31/2008 10:48:17 AM PST by Mogollon (McCain will enact amnesty for >30 million illegals if elected. Kiss Social Security good-bye.)
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To: Antoninus

In the real world in which we live, we rarely get everything we want. Romney, not my first choice, seems to be the leader I can rally behind. I will do so rather than go home crying.


27 posted on 01/31/2008 10:50:06 AM PST by nj patriot (Gore is beyond help.... Snakes in the head.)
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To: Delacon

The difference is that Reagan actually liked Ford...none of the candidates on the GOP slate can stand Romney. They hate his guts. Wonder why that is? Could he actually be the dirtbag that everyone who really gets close to him say he is?


28 posted on 01/31/2008 10:51:49 AM PST by meandog (Please pray for future President McCain--day minus 335 and counting! <b>Vote Mitt=Get Billary!))
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To: Petronski
Mark is right. If you don't vote for Mitt, it is effectively a vote for McCain's nomination. You can spin it and deny it anyway you like. But those are the facts.

This is not some game. This is the future of our country we are talking about. The choosing of those next SCOTUS judges being key. I have no doubt that the holier-than-thou purists can look in the mirror and thank themselves when Hill & Bill are sitting in our Oval Office again selecting the next Ginsburg (or McCain choosing the next O'Connor if he can squeak out a win by some miracle).

Those who cannot see the difference between Mitt and McCain, do so at our country's peril. McCain agrees with them (Hillary & Obama) NOT US (and Mitt) on global warming, immigration, amnesty, marriage amendment, embryonic stem cell research funding, lawyer lobbyists, big government, terrorists' rights, social security for illegals, Gitmo, waterboarding, judges etc.

29 posted on 01/31/2008 10:53:00 AM PST by redgirlinabluestate (Unite 4 Mitt --- Stop McCain)
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To: Parley Baer

“Sent my donation to Romney last night. Go Mitt.”

I just contributed on his web site. I’ve been holding out but last nights debate nailed it for me.


30 posted on 01/31/2008 10:53:21 AM PST by Minn. 4 Bush
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To: DoughtyOne

31 posted on 01/31/2008 10:53:39 AM PST by icwhatudo (Romney/ Thompson ‘08 — its the closest we’ll get to a true conservative in the White House)
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To: icwhatudo

A time machine so Romney could go back in time and change his record and prior positions.....


32 posted on 01/31/2008 10:54:11 AM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: Delacon

Feh... sometimes things have to totally fall apart before you can build them back up again.


33 posted on 01/31/2008 10:54:13 AM PST by gunservative
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To: icwhatudo

If the military can’t figure it out and still vote for this turkey, then there is little hope. Anybody got a 3rd party invitation?


34 posted on 01/31/2008 10:54:47 AM PST by Goreknowshowtocheat
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To: Parley Baer

Sent my few dollars to Mitt this morning.


35 posted on 01/31/2008 10:54:50 AM PST by Hattie
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To: Antoninus

It would be interesting to know McCain’s inner thoughts on the fairness doctrine. We have seen his proclivity to move in directions to limit voice in the arena of elections.


36 posted on 01/31/2008 10:55:02 AM PST by DoughtyOne (PARTY WANTED: Full Time, Cons exp a must. Refs 20 yrs. No Amnesty sptrs. 1 vote per 4 yrs negotiable)
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To: redgirlinabluestate
If you don't vote for Mitt, it is effectively a vote for McCain's nomination.

Nope. Not effectively, not a fact.

Neither one of those pathetic liberals was ever getting my vote.

37 posted on 01/31/2008 10:55:11 AM PST by Petronski (People get the kind of government they deserve.)
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To: Delacon

I’m afraid if McCain is the nominee, the MSM and Dems will then bring up the temper issue, the “gook” comment, etc., and will probably find some embarrassing footage of McCain blowing his top. And Levin makes a good point about the polls showing McCain, but not Romney, leading Hillary - it is way too early to treat those as the final word.


38 posted on 01/31/2008 10:55:27 AM PST by Steve_Seattle (|)
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To: Delacon
The GOP needs a brokered convention in 2008

Stop McCain now!

39 posted on 01/31/2008 10:56:03 AM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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To: BoBToMatoE

I agree. I still maintain that if any of the remaining candidates had a (D) behind their name, suddenly the right would dispise them and fight with all their might to defeat them. Now they’re willing to vote for them.


40 posted on 01/31/2008 10:56:47 AM PST by DoughtyOne (PARTY WANTED: Full Time, Cons exp a must. Refs 20 yrs. No Amnesty sptrs. 1 vote per 4 yrs negotiable)
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To: redgirlinabluestate
Those who cannot see the difference between Mitt and McCain

Who would that be? I can see the difference, just as I can see the difference between hemlock and cyanide.

...do so at our country's peril.

Either way lies our country's peril.

41 posted on 01/31/2008 10:57:43 AM PST by Petronski (People get the kind of government they deserve.)
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To: Hattie

Me too. He needs the help..


42 posted on 01/31/2008 10:57:50 AM PST by Goreknowshowtocheat
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To: Delacon

It would be a little more believable if they were turning to Romney as the only remaining hope after the real conservatives were driven from the race.

Unfortunately, however, it was National Review and Hugh Hewitt and a few others who sold their heritage for a mess of pottage and bought the Romney “electability” myth to begin with.

Now we’re down to two losers, largely because of their stupidity, and they want us to hop on board the Romney express.

I would agree that Romney is the lesser of two evils. But whose fault is it that we are in this mess? National Review, Hugh Hewitt, and a few others, including some of the Evangelical leaders who got into a snit about Fred, even though he is the closest of all the conservative candidates to their own positions. Huckabee? Don’t make me laugh.


43 posted on 01/31/2008 10:58:01 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Antoninus

People seem to be forgetting that Romney was gov of Massacommunists! Of course he has some liberal stains on his record! Not possible for him to govern that cesspool of socialism without giving ground on some leftwing cr@p! Sheesh.

McCain, on the other hand, is FAR more flawed with NO excuse or reason.

Sheesh again.


44 posted on 01/31/2008 10:58:07 AM PST by piytar
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To: Delacon

Since when is Romney a conservative? Wasn’t he the Governor of Mass? Didn’t he sign an “assault weapons” ban?


45 posted on 01/31/2008 10:58:41 AM PST by 2harddrive (...House a TOTAL Loss.....)
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To: Petronski
Thats OK. I will take Mark Levin’s version of the events over the hogwash from the msm that you have been posting.
46 posted on 01/31/2008 10:58:43 AM PST by Parley Baer
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To: Delacon

Thank u Mark!!!


47 posted on 01/31/2008 10:58:58 AM PST by JFC (I am now a MITTEN)
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To: Parley Baer
I will take Mark Levin’s version of the events...

Just don't pretend you were ever going to do anything else.

48 posted on 01/31/2008 10:59:33 AM PST by Petronski (People get the kind of government they deserve.)
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To: DoughtyOne

Maybe everyone but you isn’t wrong.


49 posted on 01/31/2008 10:59:37 AM PST by americanophile
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To: icwhatudo

That’s funny. I know you don’t think in these terms, but you could mirror that and change the names IMO.

Good one.


50 posted on 01/31/2008 10:59:39 AM PST by DoughtyOne (PARTY WANTED: Full Time, Cons exp a must. Refs 20 yrs. No Amnesty sptrs. 1 vote per 4 yrs negotiable)
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