Saturday, January 7, 2012

GOP “McCained” (Redux)

John McCain gave the '08
election away to Barack Obama.
Now he wants to tell us who to
nominate to defeat Obama?
In the 2008 primaries Republican voters allowed the liberal, “mainstream media” and establishment, moderate, inside The Beltway “Republicans” to choose our nominee.

The result was a fatally flawed GOP presidential candidate, who generated only the merest modicum of enthusiasm for his candidacy with the grassroots when he selected a little-known, plainspoken Alaska governor by the name of Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

The base of the Republican Party was "McCained".

McCain was the media’s GOP darling during the primaries of the 2008 cycle. They helped to resurrect his struggling campaign several times, which should have been a red flag to Republicans.

After he won the nomination John McCain infuriated conservatives and GOP activists when he didn't challenge then Senator Obama on his associations (Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers anyone?), his voting record (is “present” really a vote?) and his public policy statements (“energy prices will necessarily skyrocket”).

If that wasn’t bad enough, McCain then proceeded to temporarily “suspend” his campaign so he could return to Washington, DC to participate in creating what would become known as TARP along with President Bush and Senator Barack Obama.

Candidate McCain even botched the handling of his vice presidential selection. He failed to unleash Governor Palin and he also failed to defend her with passion from media attacks or to reign in or fire his staff when they spoke ill of Palin.

After the devastating losses of 2008 – led by the inept McCain campaign -- GOP and conservative activists resolved to learn from the experience and never again allow the media and Washington insiders to choose our nominees. The early signs were good that the grassroots were taking back the nomination process.

For instance, when then Republican Governor Charlie Crist (FL) announced that he was running for the US Senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez and temporarily filled by George LeMieux, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) immediately endorsed him. This was extremely problematic since there were other more conservative GOP candidates vying for the nomination who had all entered the race earlier than Crist.

The Republican Party of Florida’s then-Chairman Jim Greer (a Crist appointee and confidante) even tried to invoke RNC “Rule 11” which would have allowed the Party to support Governor Crist in the primary. This move was blocked by State Committeewoman and RNC Treasurer Sharon Day (who is now the RNC Vice-Chair).

In particular, the former-Speaker of the Florida House, Marco Rubio, was very popular with many grassroots Florida Republicans and they wanted to choose their nominee via the primary process.

The result of all these establishment shenanigans was a grassroots revolt. The polls began to turn against Crist. The NRSC was forced to withdraw its support of Charlie Crist, after he broke a pledge and decided to run as an independent, when it became clear that Rubio would win the nomination.

There are other examples of grassroots candidates beating out establishment, “moderates” in primaries. Candidates like Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Rand Paul all defeated “RINOs” with grassroots/Tea Party support, though only Paul was successful in his general election campaign.

Fast forward to today’s GOP presidential primary field and we find Mitt Romney as the “presumed front-runner” with around 25% of GOP support nationally. Romney only enjoys the support of a quarter of the Republican base after running for president for more than 5 years. So why is he the presumed front-runner? And why are “conservatives” defending the record of a man that is in his own words “a progressive-Republican”?

"Romney is a taller, less heroric, younger John McCain,
with better hair and business experience".

Worse still for the conservative base of the Republican Party is the fact that arguably the best candidates to uphold conservative principles and defeat Barack Obama in the general election are now out of the race. Both Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann would arguably have been the best standard bearers as truly conservative-Republican candidates.

Unfortunately both Cain and Bachmann put themselves out of the running. Though they certainly had help from the liberal media, the demise of both of their campaigns was largely due to self-inflicted wounds and unforced errors on the part of both the candidates and their national campaign staff.

So we come back to our “presumed nominee” in the person of Mitt Romney. He is the former governor of one of the bluest states in the union, “Taxachussetts”. He is a northeast “moderate” Republican (who called himself a “progressive-Republican”) who created the template for Obamacare with his healthcare reform in Massachusetts.

He has changed positions on major issues -- like abortion and gay marriage -- that are important to social conservatives. In addition Romney supported TARP and says he believes in man-made climate change.

Romney has been endorsed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (who doesn’t believe Sharia Law is a danger to the US and has scolded conservatives who disagree), he's also got the thumbs up from Meghan McCain (the useful idiot that thinks she represents young Republicans on MSNBC) and of course now by Senator John McCain himself – who tells crowd on the campaign trail what a great candidate Romney would be (as if he’d know a good candidate). To put it simply, Romney is a taller, less heroic, younger John McCain, with better hair and business experience.

Thank you to The Right Scoop for catching this gem.

The GOP may take back the White House with Mitt Romney as its nominee (depending on his VP choice). But a Romney candidacy is unlikely to generate enough enthusiasm from the base to make it a resounding victory.

If Governor Romney were going to generate broad and enthusiastic support within the Republican Party for himself and his candidacy -- he would have done it by now -- after more than 5 years of running for president. But as it stands Romney is stuck at around 25% support. Or to put it in starker terms: 75% of the Republican Party would prefer someone other than Mitt Romney as their nominee.

Apparently all the lessons of the 2008 elections have been forgotten (or ignored). The remaining crop of Republican candidates leaves conservatives with a few unpleasant choices:
  1. “Settle” for the most “electable” candidate – who just happens to be the next in line – the “progressive-Republican”, Mitt Romney.
  2. Select a candidate like Rick Santorum who is a former-senator that lost his reelection bid in 2008, endorsed Arlen Spector and is as willing to legislate his far-right social agenda as Pelosi is to legislate her far-left social agenda.
  3. Opt for Newt Gingrich who sat on a couch, bought and paid for by Al Gore, with Nancy Pelosi to support “Climate Change” legislation and is a Washington insider with ties to Freddie Mac.
  4. Choose Ron Paul who is a libertarian, not a Republican (much less a conservative), is anti-Israel and who is to the left of Obama on foreign policy.
Without a strong candidate and running mate at the top of the ticket -- and a decisive popular vote victory -- there will be no coat tails down-ticket to ensure that the GOP increases its numbers in the House of Representatives and retakes the Senate with the filibuster-proof majority that will be required to repeal Obamacare and reverse all the damage done by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Looking at the surviving Republican candidates does not inspire confidence or enthusiasm that any of them can defeat Barack Obama (at least not resoundingly). The GOP will more than likely go into the general election led by a “moderate” and the conservative base of the Republican Party will have been “McCained” again. In fact, we already have been.