Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Handicapping the GOP Race

In some ways, the first two states in the 2012 contest for the GOP nod for President have created more confusion and indecision than they have clarity.  The problem is that Iowa is not a bellwether indicator of Republican preferences nationally and New Hampshire is even less so.   Iowa is a bit of a conundrum because it is an atypical Midwestern state.  It regularly re-elects far left Senator Tom Harkin and elects an odd assortment of Republicans and Democrats to state and federal office.  While other heart of America states like Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Indiana have a core conservative base, Iowa is schizophrenic at best.  Yes, you probably heard much about the evangelical voters in Iowa who propelled an underfunded Rick Santorum to a tie with Mitt Romney.  But in fact, Iowa has a sizable RINO block of Republican voters.  All this is compounded by the fact that the caucus process is cumbersome and unreliable in predicting who the leading Republican choice for President should be.

The situation is New Hampshire is even worse.  While the Republican Party is a private organization that puts forth candidates for public offices across the nation, New Hampshire allows independents to vote in the Republican  primary.  What a mess.  This sloppy system allows folks who will never vote for your candidate for President in the general election to choose who your nominee will be.  Years ago New Hampshire was far more representative of the Republican Party, but today the voting constituency of New Hampshire looks a lot more like Massachusetts than the New Hampshire of old.  Thankfully it has been a long time since the New England Eastern Establishment of the GOP has had the power to choose the Republican nominee for President. 
But in recent years this minority bloc of the GOP has once again picked RINO losers in the tradition of Tom Dewey—men like the 2008 nominee, John McCain.  Who are these candidates?  They stand to the farthest left in the GOP (admittedly much farther to the center than the far left crazies of the Democratic Party).  They are also the folks who are the most likely to lose.  Why vote for an imitation liberal when you can have the genuine thing?

All of which brings us to Mitt Romney.  Don’t get me wrong.  Mitt Romney is far, far different than the man in the White House.  He is proud to be an American, he loves and reveres his nation, he generally believes in free markets, he believes in traditional moral values, and he honors the legacy of the Founders.  But the problems with a Mitt Romney candidacy are many.  

Would he be better than the current incumbent of the White House?  Of course he would, but that’s a pretty low standard.  A better question is would he be more like Ronald Reagan or more like George Bush ’41?  That’s the real question.  Being a President of Ronald Reagan’s caliber is a very high standard.  No one can really claim that mantle, and just saying you are a Reagan Republican does not make it so.

As someone once said, “Ronald Reagan could have governed from a closet.”  What does that mean?  It means that in spite of the power of the White House, the isolation of the Presidency is so great that if you do not have a firm understanding of foundational free society values you can be swayed by the last articulate advisor that speaks with you.  This was the failing of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush (’41).  Smart men all, these men were less than stellar Presidents and all left office with the tail between their legs.  The one common failing of Dewey, Nixon, Ford, Bush ’41, Bush ‘43, John McCain and Mitt Romney is that they do not have the coherent philosophy of government that was shared by the Founders and by Ronald Reagan.  It is this philosophy that enabled the founders and Ronald Reagan to do great things.

What is this philosophy?  It begins with an understanding of the frailty of the human spirit, an appreciation that if not constrained, man will always devolve into self-interest that will limit the freedom of the citizens of the United States.  Or as Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  In essence all great American leaders have understood the tendency of human nature to personal corruption.  Because they understood this truth, all great American leaders have feared the centralization of power in the federal government which left unchecked always leads to tyranny.  There are no exceptions in history.  And as long as humans exist, there will be no exception.
But so-called "moderate" Republicans did not and do not have this understanding. Republicans like Nixon, Ford, Bush ’41, Bush ’43, John McCain and Mitt Romney can be persuaded to move toward more government power in the lives of American citizens.  They design and support legislation like Romneycare and praise Obamacare.  They raise taxes without understanding that any tax increase is a decrease in individual freedom for American citizens.  They provide support for continuing failing institutions like Social Security and Medicare instead of replacing them with more effective, more just, and more sound free market solutions.  After all, it was Dwight Eisenhower who created the forerunner to the Health and Human Services Department.  It was Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Protection Agency.  It was George Bush ’41 who approved the zero wetlands bill, raised taxes, and signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.  And they did it all with the intent and belief that they were doing good.

But doing good has to do with limiting the power of government over the lives of its citizens.  It has to do with ensuring the freedom of the American people by adhering to a government of laws and by providing for a defense that protects US citizens from foreign enemies.  Freedom is such a priceless treasure that it can never take second place to any other perceived “good.”

On a practical side, liberal Republicans are losers.  Dewey was a loser.  Nixon lost to Kennedy.  Ford lost to Carter.  Bush ’41 lost to Clinton.  McCain lost to Obama.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 14:8 “…if the trumpet doesn't sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”  That’s the problem.  A RINO Republican cannot sound a clear call to battle or even to fight the right battle if he does not understand the battle plan or the enemy of freedom.  And any candidate that does not sound a clear call will be defeated.  On March 1, 1975 Ronald Reagan spoke to the annual CPAC Conference in Washington, DC.  He said, following the defeat of Gerald Ford…

        “I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed
        into print saying, "We must broaden the base of our party” - when what
        they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between
        ourselves and our opponents.

        Our people look for a cause to believe in. [We must raise] a banner of no
        pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we
        stand on all of the issues troubling the people.

        Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest
        provider for the people.

        Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government's
        coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the
        ownership of our industrial machine.

        It is time to reassert our principles and raise them to full view. And if
        there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go
        their way." 

Five years later Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.
That needs to be said again…

Five years later Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.

Have we learned nothing?  Principled conservative candidates with clear views and who hold foundational principles succeed and are victorious.

Those who wander from left to right, sometimes supporting socialist programs like Romneycare and other times espousing freedom in the marketplace lose.  They lose because they do not sound a clear trumpet, and when they do not they confuse and diminish the ardor of the troops that are needed to win the battle.

Yes, Mitt Romney would be far, far better than the current occupant of the White House, but if elected in spite of his confusing and sometimes conflicting positions, he will be a disappointment.  Worse yet, you and I will have squandered a wonderful opportunity to shrink government and expand personal freedom.  We may save our nation from bankruptcy and from the great depression into which President Barack Obama is surely leading us, but we will not have made any advancement toward expanding freedom for this and future generations.  We may dodge a bullet, but we will have missed the opportunity to expose socialism as the fraud it is.

And on the political front, we will miss an opportunity for a Reagan-like sweep and substitute for it a slim political victory.

Fortunately, right now the Republican nomination is still up for grabs.  Romney and Santorum tied in Iowa and not surprisingly Romney handily won Massachusetts II (New Hampshire), but bigger and more reliable tests lie ahead.  In no poll or contest, statewide or nationwide, has Mitt Romney topped 40%.  It is fair to say that 60% of Republicans do not want Mitt Romney as their standard bearer in 2012.  They want a true, consistent conservative with an understanding of foundational limited government principles.
It’s not going to be Ron Paul.  That’s a fact regardless of your passion for Ron Paul.  It’s not going to be Huntsman.  Who will it be?

The Romney nomination hangs by a thread.  If and only if he can convince Republican primary voters that he is the inevitable nominee can he win the nomination.  That’s why there is so much ballyhoo from the news media and from the RINO republicans that he is now the “presumptive nominee.”

It’s simply not true.

Ironically the only chance the 60% Republican majority has of selecting their candidate is for the choices to narrow rather quickly.  Gingrich and Perry need to quit attacking Romney from the left, complaining about Bain Capital and how some folks fail in a free market.  The freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail are critical to maintaining the power and purpose of an economic system that has created the most effective wealth generating system in the history of the world.  It is the free enterprise system that is the envy of the world.  It is a system that puts financial success within the reach of every American and has provided prosperity on a scale and to more citizens than any other system ever tried by man.  It is the fairest, most free, and most just economic system ever devised.  So knock it off Gingrich.  Knock it off, Perry.

Sound a clear trumpet.  Rick Santorum needs to remind people that he never supported any form of Romneycare or Obamacare.  He needs to remind voters that while Mitt Romney supported the TARP bail out, he opposed it.  He needs to sound a clear trumpet of conservative principles.

Perhaps the candidate will come out of the primary process, perhaps not.  Personally, I prefer a candidate selected via state conventions, not primaries in which those outside the Republican Party can participate.  I want the nominee to be the choice of rank and file, committed Republicans, not of the news media or of independent voters.

I want a winner like Ronald Reagan.  A man of principles.  Please, no more loser Republicans like Dewey, Nixon, Ford, Bush ’41, McCain or Romney.  I’ll support Mitt, but sadly, knowing that it will be an opportunity lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment