The Candidate We Want But Can’t Have

What You Want?

I’ve spent a good deal of  time looking at all of the Republican candidates, and I’m going to brutally frank and suggest that if this is the best the Republican party can do, it deserves to lose in 2012.  It’s not that each of these candidates are without good ideas, but it is to say that none of them are the complete picture of what a Republican nominee ought to be.  I have resigned myself to the notion that the establishment is going to foist Mitt Romney on us after all.  “He’s inevitable.” Fine.  So is defeat in 2012, if he is to be the party’s nominee.  The simple fact is that it will be “risen-from-poverty Obama who loves the working man and hates the rich,” against “born-to-privilege deal-maker who favors the wealthy and the privileged.”  It will be liberal versus the less-liberal.

Yes, we’re going to get our asses kicked with that.  Just four days from the Iowa caucuses, it seems nothing can save us now.  I don’t take loyalty oaths to political parties, because this isn’t the Soviet Union(yet,) and I see no reason in the world I should pretend to be happy with this slate of candidates.  Perhaps we should look ahead to 2016, with the country in ruins, and wonder what sort of Republican we’d nominate then, if we had the choice, and assuming the party hasn’t introduced nation-wide loyalty oaths by then.

My “perfect candidate” isn’t a perfect human being, but would have a perfectly honorable desire to reform our government and clean up the insider trading, the crony capitalism, and the backroom deals that characterize Washington DC.  I have found over my lifetime that while there are no infallible humans, people can possess an infallible devotion to choosing the right over the wrong given the best available information.  Such a candidate would not be indebted to the party establishment, or the media, and would simply govern according to the ideal that one ought to do what is right, even if it isn’t what is easy.  Right by what standard?  By the uniquely American standard described by those principles enshrined in our Constitution. That candidate would hold the Congress to its appointed constitutional role, and would nominate judges who actually revere our founding documents more than foreign precedents, or the meandering sentiments defined by their personal policy preferences. Most of all, that candidate would have the intellectual and moral soundness to simply say: “No.”

My  favored candidate would turn the government in defense of individual rights again, and would begin the process of restoring government to its original, limited purpose as the guarantor of those rights, and not the primary oppressor of them.  That candidate would sign a repeal of Obamacare, and strip it from the law, and reverse the trend of ever-larger governmental intrusions into our lives. That candidate would happily repeal the coming ban, starting Sunday, on incandescent light bulbs.  That candidate would tell the regulatory agencies involved that they have no business telling Americans how much water per flush their toilets must use.

My kind of candidate would have a solid record of governmental reform, but also a firm grasp on foreign affairs.    That candidate would use the military might of the United States sparingly, only when justified, and only to the degree it had been in America’s national interests, but not because some imbeciles at NATO or the UN had thought it politically expedient.  Such a candidate would understand that to permit an attack upon Israel would be to open the door to a global conflict in which many Americans would lose their lives.

My preferred candidate would place a high value on creating and maintaining the conditions necessary for all Americans to achieve prosperity, but would also understand the reality that not all Americans will attain it.  That candidate would insist on a sound monetary policy, and would institute fiscal restraint, with liberal use of the veto pen when necessary, to reduce and reverse the accumulation of public debt.  Such a candidate would know that each dollar printed reduces the value of all the others in existence, and thereby steal their value from all the men and women who have worked so hard to acquire them.

My ideal candidate would know that there is no way to have a country without controlled borders, and that the path to citizenship begins at the back of the line, just as it has for generations.  Such a candidate would know that America can grow and prosper by immigration, but it can only be diminished by the illegal variety, and that to reward the latter is to punish every person who has played by the rules.

My chosen candidate knows that America runs on energy, and that we cannot grow our economy and forge real prosperity while restricting the supply of the power that runs it.  That candidate would understand that every additional penny poured into our fuel tanks is a penny not spent on improving our lots in life, and would also know that to restore our nation would require an America that had been fueled to success by developing its own natural resources.

These are some of the things that constitute my own notion of an ideal candidate.  I don’t expect perfection, but if a candidate wants my vote for the highest office in the land, that person is required to be substantially better than Romney, Gingrich, Paul, Bachmann, Santorum, Perry and Huntsman.  Please don’t bother me about Donald Trump.  I mention him here only inasmuch as I don’t want anybody to offer him up as an alternate.  Each of these have their virtues, but none of them round out the picture of what a president ought to be.  At this moment, I find I am unable to support any of them, and I don’t believe there remains anything that I could learn about any one of these that would make me think substantially more of them.  I can see lethal flaws in all of them, and when I consider who the nominee will be called upon to oppose in the general election, I know that as imperfect a candidate as Barack Obama may be, he will be difficult if not impossible for any of these candidates to defeat.

A Republican nominee that would have any serious hope of winning would need to be clearly different in every measurable way from Barack Obama, but sadly, I can go through the list of the seven now running and find too many ways in which he’ll be able to deflect criticism by virtue of similarities:

How can Romney escape Romneycare?  How can he avoid that subject while campaigning to repeal Obamacare?  He cannot.  How can Ron Paul argue that his foreign policy is substantially different, or will make America more safe than Obama’s?  It’s not possible.  How can Newt Gingrich claim that Obama is too much like a Harvard professor and too much unlike a common sense American?  He cannot.  How will Rick Santorum argue that he’s substantially better than Obama on earmarks when his own career was spent gathering them for his own state?  He will not.  How will Michele Bachmann point out Obama’s lack of executive experience?  She dare not.  How will Rick Perry pretend that his own crony capitalism had been fine, but Barack Obama’s Solyndra mess had not?  He’ll be laughed out of the room.  How will Jon Huntsman criticize the foreign policy of a President who chose Huntsman to be an ambassador to China?  The contradiction alone would destroy him.

This is the state of your field, and if you’re satisfied with it, let me tell you flatly that I am not.  I am mindful of the sort of candidate I would prefer, and cannot find evidence that such a candidate exists in this field.  If only it were possible by some cosmic magic to create a composite candidate from the best traits of all these, one might begin to construct the sort of candidate I envision, but sadly, this is not a world in which such wishes come true.  As it stands, there is a movement of people who seem to believe much the same thing, and many of them are now engaged in what they’ve termed the Sarah Palin Iowa Earthquake, and their hope is to caucus for the former Alaska governor based on the notion that they can make a show substantial enough to convince her to reconsider her decision, as announced on the 5th of October, 2011.

This group consists of a number of very passionate people who strongly believe that Governor Palin represents the sort of leader I’ve described, but like me, they heard her announcement on October 5th, but it seems they’re not taking “no” for an answer.  Myself, I have great sympathies with the members of this group inasmuch as I have thought for more than three years that Palin represents the right kind of leader to restore our nation, but I also have some ethical problems demanding that somebody else seek a job I know I would never be willing to seek, and that I acknowledge I would never wish to hold.  In short, who am I to ask of Sarah Palin what I would not voluntarily undertake, and what I know would be a grueling and difficult task under the best of times, never mind the dire circumstances in which we now find our nation?

Others have noticed the insufficiency of the current field as well, including William Kristol and a number of other pundits, but what I find astonishing is that while they all know the answer, few of them dare say it:  Sarah Palin has the ability to unite the party and go to victory in November, because she knows how to motivate the best in the people who would follow her lead.  Her record exemplifies the characteristics most conservative Americans seek in their standard-bearer.   I realize this will not sit well with some of the establishment mindset who think her time has passed, and that she ought to remain quietly in Alaska, and come out only to rally folks for Tea Party events, but that’s not what the rank-and-file are thinking.  Even now, the Iowa Earthquake Group is running ads in that state to convince people to caucus for Palin.  The fact that this effort has gained so much traction should offer at least a glimpse of how committed they are to this cause, and how thoroughly disappointed they’ve been with a slate of candidates they see as a less than worthy.

I will take Palin’s answer of October 5th as gospel unless and until she says otherwise.  As I’ve mentioned, I have resigned myself to a shocking defeat at the hands of a man who shouldn’t have earned one term as President, never mind two.  I have resigned myself to the fact that John Boehner and the House Republicans will make it increasingly difficult to send them additional support in November, and I wonder if the Senate is now attainable at all, not because we haven’t the people, but because with the GOP’s nominee to come from this list of choices, I cannot see how that candidate will have positive coat-tails. More importantly, if that candidate cannot get the base out to the polls, I don’t see any way to win in the down-ballot races. If that turns out to be the case, I do not see how we will restore the country, or even stem the tide.

It’s for these reasons that I do not look with relish upon the coming campaign.  I look at the efforts of those hard-charging Sarah Palin Earthquake folks in Iowa, and elsewhere, and I think maybe they’ve got the right idea, even if their chosen candidate ultimately refuses.  I don’t see any way to victory with the slate of candidates we now have.  Like Bill Kristol, I now believe for Republicans to win the White House in 2012, something dramatic and different is necessary.  The Republican party needs a candidate for whom the conservative base is willing to wage a veritable war.  Many still believe Sarah Palin is that candidate, but until she changes her mind, we’re going to be left with a list of hopefuls about which we have little or no enthusiasm.  It’s impossible to fake it, and you really can’t build a winning campaign simply as a matter of opposing somebody you allege is worse.  2012 may turn out to be the year of the candidate we wanted, but couldn’t have, and if so, it is likely to be another of those critical times in American history when second-best simply wouldn’t do, and predictably didn’t.

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17 Responses to The Candidate We Want But Can’t Have

  1. Bruce O'H. says:

    Take Heart, Mark. Obama is his own worst enemy. All of the support that he has lost over the last 3 years is not going to magically reappear for him. ABO, (anybody but Obama) will work strongly in favor of whichever Repub candidate gets the nomination.
    As for them, the candidates, I agree with you 100%. I pray that Sarah reconsiders. But if she doesn't, these candidates are what we have.
    We all get into these funks when the weight of the battle overwhelms us. And it's our job to pull each other up at those times.
    Remember that the Tea Party is working hard, as we speak, for House and Senate Conservative candidates. Remember the historic victory that we had in '10.
    2012 is going to be a continuation of the '10 Tsunami.
    All of the people who were part of the great "Awakening" have not gone back to sleep.
    I'll leave you with this: Pray as if only God can save our nation, and work as if only you can.

  2. Jay Paglinawan says:

    I can't agree with you more Mark ! A great insight !

  3. kilt1iron says:

    GeeBus — betwix Bruce-OH (…I-O) and Jay, we have a ground best occupied by …. RESOLVE.

    For cryin' out loud, where do some of you keep your skirts when you're not wearin' them?!

    Win the local and state races, and if Obamatard wins, we could have the Senate and the House to stop his tardiness from proceeding.

    Chin up (but hands up, too), Bruthas!

  4. S. says:

    Hi Mark, thanks for this insight it explains a lot, now I know why I have not been able to feel the knowledge of where my vote should be cast. I keep waiting to "KNOW", but it never happens. Now I understand that is because as you have pointed out the right one is not yet come.
    I do not know your religious stance, but being a Christian myself I know that the Bible says I (Jesus) am the Shepherd and my sheep know my voice doesn't it stand to reason then that the sheep would know the other sheep within the fold (granted there are some exception caused by deception) I have not found the other sheep within the fold that should be leading our great country that was founded by men of God.
    We need someone who is more concerned about the countries welfare than about the prestige of the job and how many friends they can help out along the way.
    I do not understand all that goes on in politics, but I do understand that it is not all constitutional. And that what the forefathers warned about is happening before our eyes and yet most American can not see history repeating itself because they are to busy pouting about how hard they have it and due to the entitlement, that was taught to them by parents and government, they want what they want and someone better well give it to them right now and somebody better foot the bill cause they shouldn’t have to work for it themselves.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      You cite John 10:14, unless I miss my mark. What comes in John 10:16:
      "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

      Bringing the fold together under one good shepherd is an important idea, and I think your analogy is built on wisdom.

      And you're right about something else too: We have strayed far from our founding, and our government is corrupt, but I say to you that we have permitted it to be so. Ask yourself how this could be.

      • SeanStLouis says:

        "Ask yourself how this could be."

        It's because most people in this country don't care (and don't even know) who governs them.

        Those of us who do care often fall into the trap of voting for those who are chosen for us, not for those who would represent us.

  5. David Diaz says:

    Excellent article Mark…and yes Gov. Sarah Palin CAN do what this USA needs to be done…I pray she reconsiders!
    Happy New Year to you Mark!
    I'm praying for our country.

  6. Interesting read, but….$arah Palin, seriously? We on the left WISH she was THE candidate!!

    • carbonyes says:

      Tiofsies, you always were all wet, as are most of the liberal left. If Sarah should decide to run, she will profoundly without a shadow of a doubt, become your worst nightmare. Love to see you people come apart at the seams.

  7. David Hays says:

    You have succinctly expressed my sentiments. I loathe the Republican establishment and that is everything that Romney represents. I was a reluctant McCain supporter that had no real enthusiasm for the man until he chose Sarah as his running mate. I cannot comprehend the foolishness of those who are pulling the strings in the election cycle. Is it possible that she could come out of political retirement and ignite a fire in the hearts of those who are desperate for real and meaningful change?

  8. fred johnson says:

    Mark One of your greatest write ups! I agree with you. You could see the handwriting on the wall after listining to Karl Rove several months ago. Romney was the man he was going to run. So it really makes no difference who wins Oboma or Romney There twins in there thoughts and actions. Don't get to excited about 2016. By that time the UN & George Sores will have there OPEN SOCIETY and one world gov. Thats what it's all been about from the start. WE were the only country standing in the way. The America we grew up knowning and loveing but foollishly not doing enough about will be gone. You think that can't happen. You got Oboma care didn't you. If you have never prayed-pray now but don't stop there also ACT now Most people only react. and that is not working out real well is it? Oboma and the gang they know how to act. We look at them and think -that's dumb.thats how we react but we never take the time or effort to act

  9. Awesome Photo! Happy News Year! ¡Feliz Navidad!
    After Todd IronRace in Alaska, she will do her thing and Go Rogue!

  10. SeanStLouis says:

    I understand the disappointment for many of you regarding Sarah Palin's decision to hold out for 2016 (snicker). I like much of what Sarah has to say and, wow, this election would be a horse of a different color if she had decided to run.

    I understand that Paul is not the "perfect" candidate for many of you, but honestly, much of his political career has been spent defending and promoting the same values which Mark points to as "ideal" positions that a "chosen" conservative candidate should have.

    Everyone here, please reconsider Ron Paul. I strongly believe that he is the only one, of the choices given to us, who will do everything within his power to get us back to constitutional government. Someone needs to whip congress into shape, as I like to put it, and I think Paul is the man to do it.

    Many of his plans won't come to fruition overnight, but we have to start somewhere. Our federal government needs to be severely overhauled. We cannot afford this bloated government anymore. Quite frankly, if we don't begin doing something now we might as well kiss the America who we know and love goodbye.

  11. carbonyes says:

    Dear Mark, appreciate your candor, incite and analysis, but am not willing ti accede to nor concede the 2012 election to Obama under any circumstances. Although the field is lacking, there are several who could beat the profuse liar and deceiver and Imposter-in-Chief. The problem is that these several are not much better than Obama and will not do much to turn the country around. Taking a close look at Santorum, and despite his earmark record. Met him and find him to be a man of character and principal and a God fearing man. He is also gaining some momentum, which he will need coming out of Iowa if he does well there. Hopefully Bachmann will drop out soon.
    Sarah could do more than hold her own against Obama in a debate or otherwise and definitely can eat his lunch one on one. The American people are tired of hearing the same old – same old from our current crop of candidates. She brings a freshness, exhilaration , genuineness of character and credibility, and a down hominess that profoundly resonates with traditional America, and I believe she could win some states, like Pennsylvania, that Republicans, or at least RINO's have had difficulty capturing. If she could take PA along with OH and FL, and capture the otherwise red states, including middle America, the south and west, she becomes the next President of the United States. Doable indeed!

  12. RebinTexas says:

    Mark,

    An excellent analysis……I concur and have felt this way for some time, even as I continued to study the candidates – their backgrounds and positions. And, though we may not succeed, I am part of the Earthquake movement – in prayerful hope that we can get those in Iowa to help begin to make the difference……..and that Sarah might reconsider. We all respect her position and will support her no matter what happens.

    Thank you for all you write – and I must copy Bruce's last sentence here once more – Pray as if only God can save our nation, and work as if only you can. And, so, I will work in whatever way I can.

    Reb