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Robert Novak speaks in Austin TX

Austin Texas is blogger central this weekend as it plays host to Yearly Kos and Americans for Prosperity (that’s the left and right, respectively).

Keynote speaker Robert Novak is not optimistic about Republican chances in Congress and says Obama is currently 12 electoral votes ahead of McCain.

“Why in the world is this race so close?” Novak asked.His answer to his own question is that the middle doesn’t trust Obama. He said the key issue is whether Obama “a very liberal young man” is ready to lead the country.

Novak said Hillary said privately that she lost the primary because she voted to go to Iraq and Obama voted against it. And now Obama is saying he wants to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely.

Novak said Hillary is not one of the worst appointments to the Supreme Court Obama would make.

Said big lobbying effort going to make John Edwards the Attorney General under Obama.

Novak said the bright spot for coming losses by Republicans in the Congress would be the opportunity for new leadership in both chambers.

Novak said there is no chance that a new conservative party would rise up to replace the Republican party.

“The Republican party is frustrating and does stupid things sometimes, but it is the party of Goldwater and Reagan and it is the only hope we have.”

Novak spoke glowingly of the FairTax proposal to wild applause from the audience (no exaggeration.) He said that Rep. Paul Ryan’s flat tax proposal would be easier to pass. Said that he mentioned Ryan as a possible veep on television as a trial balloon and that it crashed. He said Ryan should run for the Senate from Wisconsin and ultimately for President.

He said Eric Cantor will probably be the next minority leader in the House. He said Senator Jim Demint would make a great Republican leader, but that it probably won’t happen.

Novak said he would like to see Rob Portman on the Republican ticket as Vice President, but doesn’t think McCain will take him because he’s too close to Bush. Thinks Romney will be the pick for the GOP and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is the most likely pick for the Democrats. Said Sen. Joe Biden is the second most likely pick.

Said that Norm Coleman is the second most likely veep choice for the GOP. Also said Coleman would be a sure loser in his Senate race in Minnesota except that he is running against Al Franken.

Cross-posted on http://bluegrasspolicy-blog.blogspot.com/2008/07/robert-novak-speaks.html

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