Ignore your better judgment and venture over to Townhall, where Robert Novak is having some fun with a push-poll (that reminds me of the old Highlights Magazine motto, "Fun with a Purpose," which I, as a young lad, always read as "Fun with a Porpoise" - to my perpetual disappointment, since the magazine almost invariably failed to include any dolphin-related material whatsoever).
The polltakers next "pushed" -- alleging information about each candidate that could alienate conservative voters. McCain: opposed tax cuts, favored "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, opposed a ban on same-sex marriages. Romney: "refused to ban" abortion in Massachusetts, committed to "full equality" for gays and lesbians, put health care in the hands of bureaucrats. Giuliani: supported Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo's re-election in New York, is pro-gay rights and pro-choice, supports gun control.The coup de grace came when respondents were plied with information about Gilmore's true-blue conservative record, upon which the unknown governor was boosted into a ten-point lead.
That additional information dropped Giuliani by 9 percentage points to 22.3 percent and Romney by 5 points to 3.8 percent, while McCain rose 2 points to 35.3 percent. The unknown Gilmore was constant at 1.3 percent.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attracting right-wingers nationwide to Washington this weekend, Citizens United will distribute a 23-page attack on McCain. "He's no Ronald Reagan," it begins, and concludes: "John McCain is not a conservative." (McCain is the only announced Republican presidential hopeful not scheduled to speak at CPAC.) Simultaneously, McCain operatives are putting out material that depicts Giuliani riding into City Hall on the shoulders of the New York Liberal Party as a throwback to the old Tammany Hall Democratic machine.But of course, that's a circular firing squad if there ever was one. Is there any candidate who can credibly fill the conservative void? Novak cites Newt Gingrich, but suggests that even Newt's conservative credentials aren't perfect.