Posts Tagged ‘republican’

No Light at Tunnel’s End?

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

GOP: Is the Light Fading?

I think it dawned on me two or three days ago, after the New Hampshire primary, that most of the people with whom I discuss politics are more frustrated, but it’s not evidenced in the words they’re choosing so much as in the way they’re saying them.  They’re disgusted by Obama and his power-grabs, but more than this, they are tired of watching the GOP try to lead them to slaughter again in 2012.  It’s bad enough to watch Obama  walk all over the newly-minted Republican majority in the House of Representatives, but to see that the party has done nothing to substantially improve our position in the coming elections is frustrating in the extreme.  Worse, Tea Party members are seething over many of the same things, noting that with Boehner and the boys on Capitol Hill, there’s been no willingness to stand up for our conservative values.  Watching this primary process play out has been like feeding the party’s base feet-first through a meat-grinder. Various surveys reveal that as much as 60% of the party would like more choices, which is to say more conservative choices, and it’s been apparent for some time that most are not happy with the “inevitable nominee,” Mitt Romney.

When the people with whom I discuss politics come to the subject of Speaker John Boehner, virtually every one of them regards him as weak, and most will offer some form of mimicry of tears and whining.  These are conservative people, and not a crowd of leftists to whom John Boehner should be natural fodder for mockery.  To see people who turn out in election after election for the Republican party now openly mocking the highest-ranking Republican now serving in our government is an astonishing development for which I cannot remember a precedent in all my life.  What seems to lead to this growing contempt is the sense that in all of these  elections, we go forth to the polls to support a party that walks away from us and our values in the end, and to add insult to injury, cries about it.  None of the Republicans with whom I speak are happy about the direction of the party, and worse, since this is Texas, some are noting the antics of our governor in his campaign and have begun to whisper that he’s an embarrassment too.  Most seem to think that since he’s fallen well below the 10% mark in polling, he ought to “just come on back home before he makes a fool of us all.”

So it is that the GOP is now largely being defined by dueling caricatures of a Massachusetts big-government  liberal, an outcast libertarian, a former Speaker(who at least didn’t cry), a former Senator who whiffed last time at bat, an Obama Ambassador, and a Texas gunslinger, while the rest of us are left standing in astonished dismay at the spectacle: How are we to win anything with these as our standard-bearers? This is the problem most conservatives I know now face in horror, as they try to see any reason that they should see some light at the end of the tunnel, with any of these as the vehicle.   To be sure, after more than a year of “Mitt is most electable,” emanating from the establishment media like bad gas, there is a certain group that will settle for the Massachusetts liberal because they see him as less embarrassing than the remainder.  So goes the predictable lamentations about our situation, and yet I must wonder if there isn’t some hope, somehow, that we will resurrect the Republican party, but failing that, replace it with something better.

I was having a conversation with a neighbor on Thursday, and he owns a ranch, complete with several hundred head of cattle, but he is also an entrepreneur, owning several businesses.  He’s twenty years my senior, and he doesn’t waste too many words, so when we wandered into the subject of politics, he turned his head and spat, turned back and said: “The problem with our party is that they keep trying to win with professional losers. They ought to try that Palin gal from Alaska.  At least she seems to know what the hell is going on.”  I really had no answer for that, except to nod approval, and say “Yeah, but she’s not running.”  He murmured “I know it, so you’d better get used to Obama,” as he turned his head and spat again, as if for punctuation, and finished his thought: “We’re in for pure hell…but we’ll make it through.”

It’s fair to say my neighbor isn’t probably representative of the average American.  He’s a veteran who served in Vietnam, and he bears the scars of a life of hard labor, and his skin is leathery from years under the punishing wind and Texas sun, but he is representative of a fair bit of political thought in middle America, inasmuch as he’s spent his time building and growing businesses, and running his cattle operation, and made good use of the talents with which he was gifted.  He lives a simple life, and doesn’t have a large number of frills, not because he can’t afford them, but because he doesn’t need them. When the Republican Party walks away from this man, they’re walking away from the base that shows up to elect Republicans to city councils, county precincts, and legislatures.  They walk away from a man who you will never find at a protest rally or Tea Party event, but who has never failed to show up at the polls.  The fact that this man is now resigning himself to four more years(or an eternity) of Obama should tell you something about how he views the state of the GOP, as much as it tells you about his view of the political future we face.

Part of the problem really lies with us.  For too many years, we have ceded governance to a permanent political class that rules with elections serving only as a formality that gives legitimacy to their rule over us.  Many speak in vague terms of “change,” and “throwing the bums out,” but seldom do we actually pursue that goal.  Everybody hates Congress, except for their own Congressman and Senators, so that foolish polls asking about the “approval rating of Congress” has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that in election after election, more than 90% who seek re-election return without fail.  We often lament the fact that this seems to be the best the party has to offer, but is it?  Is our mostly silent assent to be led by a party that only theoretically represents our interests a signal that we are satisfied?  The Tea Party hints that  this may not be true, but like my neighbor who never fails to vote, it’s clear we need to become a good deal more active and stop waiting for a solution from the top.  It may be the last remaining spark of light at the other end of the tunnel we have, but we should follow it nevertheless.

Did You Ever Wonder: What if Palin Had Run?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Some People Just Have "It"

As most of you will remember, I have been an ardent supporter of Sarah Palin’s notion of “sudden and relentless reform.”  Like many who believe that’s what our republic needs, I was disappointed when she announced that she would not seek the GOP nomination for President.  She said that she doesn’t need a title to help drive the sort of reforms and restoration the country needs.  Nevertheless, one of the things that has come along is a new HotAir Poll that shows that at least some Republicans think otherwise, because Governor Palin is still very influential.  Perhaps most stunning of all, when respondents were given a choice between the current front-runners and Sarah Palin, in a three-way race, Sarah Palin won.  I am not surprised.

While I admit that HotAir’s poll is not all that scientific, I think it’s noteworthy because it shows a couple of things.  Before considering them, let’s take a look at the results in both two-way and three-way races they presented in their poll:

Courtesy HotAir

That’s simply stunning. What this implies about the electorate is pretty clear: Left with the current front-runner as their choices, at present, Palin supporters seem to shift nearly six to one in favor of Gingrich when the field is reduced to just two.  It also suggests quite plainly that given an option to vote for Sarah Palin as opposed to either of these two, more GOP voters would jump at the chance.  It’s for this reason that when media tells us “the field is settled” that I wonder about the credibility of that claim.  After all, it seems to me that among the electorate, it’s not such a settled question as some have thought.  It also offers us a little insight into the supporters of Palin, and where they may head with their votes if Gingrich and Romney become the only choices.

The message here is that Sarah Palin is still very powerful as a force within Republican ranks, and her endorsement may be more valuable than the former Alaska Governor might be inclined to believe.  It also indicates that Sarah Palin’s general positions are likely more favorable to a wider segment of Republicans than either of the current “front-runners.”  It was my thesis early on in this campaign season that Sarah Palin is the real front-runner.  On the basis of this poll, I stand by that determination even if she’s not running, in fact.   The favor upon with which she is generally looked by Republican voters is much more thorough than some may have noticed, but it also says something about where the conservative base of the GOP really is, with respect to their opinions on various issues.  The reason Sarah Palin has always been out front is primarily because voters identify with her positions, and her general outlook on the country and the necessities of reform.

Since she’s not running, this may lead some to wish for her to reconsider, as such “draft” movements have been persistent since she made her announcement on October 5th.  What I think this really tells us is just how unifying the right candidate could be for the GOP under the right circumstances.  We have learned recently that polling showed most of Herman Cain’s support would likely turn to Gingrich if Cain withdrew, and now that he has, I expect that will probably occur, but this also should transmit a thorough warning to Newt Gingrich:  “You’re still only a second (or third)choice.”  That should highlight something very important that the Gingrich camp simply cannot afford to ignore about the volatility of conservative voters who have begun to feel for months that they might be forced into a choice among the lesser of evils.  Gingrich should take no comfort in finding that Republican primary voters may see him as a slightly lesser evil than Willard “Mitt” Romney.

The message to the GOP candidates couldn’t be clearer:  Think about what Sarah Palin has represented and why she appealed to the Tea Party and conservatives,  and then figure out how you can earnestly and sincerely implement the reforms she has advocated.  Show Republican voters how you will beat Obama and reverse Obamacare as two first stops along the way to restoring the country, and you might find yourself the winner, not only in the primaries, but at the polls that really count, next November.

She may not be running, but don’t let the media fool you:  Sarah Palin is a vital player of this race, candidate, or not.

Romney Isn’t One of Us Either

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Out Amongst the People

It’s not often that you get a chance to see how a politician behaves among ordinary people.  They’re usually surrounded by security, and mobbed by media, so on that rare occasion in which you find yourself relatively alone with one for even a moment, most people will try to exploit the moment and express their own opinions.   In these situations, some politicians bear up better than others, and some are able to disguise the actual contempt or at least ambivalence they feel for we “little people.”  The Romney campaign thought it would be a good idea to have Mitt fly coach just to be among the people.  Unfortunately, once there, he promptly ignored a fellow passenger who wanted to discuss health-care reform with him, reports a New York Times blogger, Emmarie Heutteman.  According to the article, Carolyn McClanahan of Jacksonville, Florida was seated next to Romney.

From the blog posting:

According to Ms. McClanahan, about an hour into the flight — which Mr. Romney mostly spent reading USA Today and using an iPad while wearing headphones — she told him her idea for improving the American health care system: slashing overhead costs by switching to an electronic billing system.

“He looked at me blankly and said, ‘I understand,’ then put his iPad headphones in and kept reading,” she said.

While Ms. McClanahan said Mr. Romney was probably exhausted, she was disappointed he showed so little interest. Even another passenger’s request for a restaurant recommendation in Boston elicited little from Mr. Romney, she said. “I can’t give you any,” he said, according to Ms. McClanahan. “You’ll have to ask someone else.”

This is demonstrative of the arrogance that pervades the permanent political class.  I recognize that Romney just wanted to catch his flight, but if you sit in coach in an attempt to appear to be “just one of us,” then you should expect that people will attempt to make some conversation, particularly if you’re a presidential candidate.  Mitt is just another of those politicians who want your vote, but not your opinions.  I have no idea whether Ms. McClanahan had any good ideas or not, but after all, you never know.  I’m not surprised by this, although this sort of confirmation is troubling.

Undoubtedly, this may be Mitt’s last appearance in coach, because now his campaign is catching grief.  The Times article concludes:

Ms. McClanahan said that if Mr. Romney wants to improve his image with voters, he’s going to have to do more than just fly coach.

“I think that one of the problems right now is that politicians aren’t in touch,” she said. “They’re trying to act like they’re in touch. You need to be a little more sincere about it.”

Indeed. That’s one of the problems with Mitt.  In fact, it always has been: He’s roughly as genuine as a stuffed ape holding a plastic banana.  He’s got no credibility with average Americans because he simply isn’t one of us.  He never has been, and he clearly seems out of his element when among us.  It’s only a matter of time before they put him in flannel at a skeet-shooting range, or at a NASCAR race to show us how he’s one of us.  McClanahan’s instincts are right about Romney.  He’s out of touch. He’s out of style, and if  conservatives and Tea Party folk have anything to say about it, he’ll be out of the running.  Sadly, that’s going to be more difficult than some now think.

FoxToolsSunday “All-Stars” Reveals Establishment Hacks

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

All-Star or All Wet?

Foxnews has become the channel I am least interested in watching.  Fox News Sunday’s only panelist with any credibility was Juan Williams.  Paul Gigot, Evan Bayh, Bill Kristol, and of course, the moderator, Chris Wallace rounded out the show.   In summation: two GOP flacks, and three DNC tools.   Bill Kristol said flatly that Herman Cain “He’s not going to be the nominee, he was never going to be the nominee.”  Paul Gigot, hedging,  said Cain “probably won’t get the nomination.”  I am so tired of these establishment weanies who are seldom right about anything taking their shots at authentic conservatives.  Let’s be honest about it: How did Bill Kristol’s panting, arrogant support of the “Arab Spring” turn out?  After spending weeks bashing Glenn Beck who said at the time that we should worry about the direction of events in Egypt, you would think Kristol might learn some humility.

These wizards, with all of their laughing at Herman Cain simply don’t get it:  Conservatives have no patience for the establishment this cycle. They can climb aboard, or they can become more irrelevant, but their days of pretending to conservatives that they really know best are over.  It’s a sad day when even Juan Williams will defend Cain, but the rest of these tools are content to throw him under the bus.  Watch the video of Kristol, that genius “all-star:”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbb9CezclXE]

It’s not so much that I love Herman Cain as it is that I have come to detest the establishment GOP nearly as much as the hard left of the Democrat party.  News cycle after news cycle, event after event, for as long as I can remember, these Republican insiders, these geniuses who tell us which candidates can win, seem to get it wrong until the answer is obvious, and then they backtrack in a cacophony of harrumphing.  The basic problem with these elite Republican tools is that none of them share much in common with the bulk of us out here in fly-over country.  When they venture out of their narrow corridor of insider politics and Washington DC intrigue, they don’t spend much time getting to know us.

It’s a bit like the falsely accused man who retains an attorney who advises his client to “take the deal.”  They pretend to know what is in our best interests, and when we revolt against it, effectively saying “no deal,” they pout and become petulant at the impertinence of our claim of innocence on the charges.  “Just take the deal,” they implore.  “Take Mitt.”  For precisely the same reasons that I would never cop a plea on a charge of which I knew I had been innocent, neither will I accept this deal.  After all, it’s not all about avoiding jail, as they would argue, but as you and I know, about avoiding the damage to our reputation, seeking justice, and being vindicated by evidence, logic and reason.  While we explain in impassioned terms why it is that we cannot support a moderate of any description, they nod, they seem to be listening, but in the end they look at us and explain why “the deal” is better.  NO!

In my world, only criminals accept “the deal.”  In the world out here where prosecutors frequently sell out the interests of justice and tax-payers, what these Republican insiders do on behalf of our country is nearly the same.  “Come on, make the deal.”  Their argument is persuasive to some, and in some years to many, but in this election cycle, the conservative base of the party has begun to understand that you cannot make a deal with the devil and come off clean, or even victorious.  We’ve been through this too many times to mention. Imagine the ongoing conversation between conservatives and establishment Republicans:

“Gerald Ford?”

“He is the sitting President…”

“But he’s not one of us!”

“Just take the deal.” 

We did. How did that work out? In 1980, it was no better, but it turned out well.

“Just accept Gerald Ford and George HW Bush.  That’s the deal.”

“We like Reagan.”

“He’s too old, and too conservative, and the liberals are right: He’s a B-movie actor.”

“He was an effective governor in our most populated state, and we like him.”

“Come on, take the deal.”

“No.”

Odd, this time it turned out pretty well, don’t you think? In 1988, they told us to take the deal again:

“You can trust George Bush. He’s just like Ronald Reagan, bless his heart.”

“Are you sure?  He seems a little, er uh, moderate.”

“No, he’ll be fine. He’ll convince you.  See, look at that pledge he made: Read my lips: No new taxes. He’s Reagan part II.”

We grumbled, but we elected him on this basis. When he made deals with Democrats and raised taxes, we again rebelled, some of us leaving the party in 1992, in search of other options.

“Stick with us. Take the deal. It’s better than Clinton.  That Perot guy is a kook.”

“I don’t know… Maybe Perot is a kook, but maybe he’s not.”

This turned out well too, didn’t it? In 1996, the establishment was undeterred and unreformed.

“You have to support Bob Dole.  I’m Bob Dole, and Bob Dole says…”

Epic Fail

Then, in 2000, they offered us another Bush.

“No, this Bush is different. Really.  He’s not like his father, much more conservative. Just like Reagan.”

“Are you sure?  What’s all this business about compassionate conservative and new tone?”

“Trust us, it will work out. That’s just code so the Democrats think he’s more moderate.”

Then we got four years of socialism obscured by the tragedy of 9/11.  In 2004, however, they were back:

“Look, it’s really simple. He’s the incumbent. You have to dance with the one you brought, right, and besides, John Kerry? He’s WAY worse.”

We fell for this line too.  By the end, we wanted Bush gone so badly that had he been eligible for another term, some of us might have voted Obama just to be rid of Bush.

“Look, we know John McCain isn’t conservative, but this Obama fellow is really dangerous.”

“We know Obama is dangerous, but so is John McCain.”

“Okay, how about we sweeten the pot and give you a good VP pick, say, oh, this Governor from Alaska?  After all, McCain is getting on in years…”

“Okay fine, but we don’t think we can trust him.”

“It will be fine, you’ll see.”

John McCain:

“Due to the crisis, I’m suspending my campaign….”

“AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH”

Now we come to our current predicament.

“Mitt Romney is running again.  You liked him in the 2008 primaries.”

“Actually, we liked him better than McCain, which is roughly like saying we liked the prospect of having our wisdom teeth pulled slightly more than having our hands amputated.  How about: No Romney.”

“We could put up Tim Pawlenty!”

“No. We’re looking at Michele Bachmann.”

“What about Mitch Daniels? He’s a nice guy.”

“He may be a nice guy, when we can see him over the podium. He’s appointed some really idiotic judges.  Wasn’t he the Bush OMB director?”

“Turns out, Mitch doesn’t want to run. Well, his wife doesn’t. How about Rick Perry?”

“To tell you the truth, it’s hard to stay excited about Perry. He’s too much like one of yours. How about Palin?”

“Nah, Palin won’t run.  Even if she did, she’d lose.  Palin has been marginalized. She’s a quitter.”

“By and among whom?  We like her.  McCain quit. Remember that whole suspended campaign business?”

“Well, anyway, how about Chris Christie? Any takers?”

“No. What about Herman Cain?”

“Cain can’t win. Cain won’t win.”

“Why not?”

“Because we will sabotage him any chance we get.”

“Just like you did Palin?”

“Yep, it’s Mitt or bust.”

“Say, why do you establishment types keep screwing us?”

There is no establishment. It’s all in your head.”

“Yeah, right, and there’s no evil either… We’ve heard this ploy before.”

This conversation is only partially fictional.  While these precise words weren’t spoken by a particular agent of the GOP establishment, it’s nevertheless the meaning of what we and they said to one another.  Each and every time conservatives have compromised their values and went along with the moderates, the establishment, and the Bush clan(all mostly one and the same,) we have been hammered.  Each time.  The surrenders, the failures, the endless excuse-making, all so that this crowd of wizards can tell us how to live rather than having Democrats telling us how to live…  Why?

I submit to my fellow conservatives that we cannot afford another deal.  Whomever we select, it cannot be another one of their choosing.  Honest to goodness, listening to the chatter on Fox News Sunday, it is getting increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the Republicans and Democrats.  One gets the sense that they’ve all spent too much time at the same cocktail parties swilling the same statist kool-aid.

No thanks.  I’ve had enough, and while I won’t speak for the rest of you, I suspect many of you are with me this time:

No deal.

Herman Cain On Abortion: Say What?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

In Search of an Answer?

John Stossel asked Herman Cain about his position on abortion.  Cain seems to take the position that government should stay out of the issue entirely.  This would imply that he’s for continuing legality of the procedure.  The problem is, he also says he doesn’t think it should be legal.  That seems to contradict his first line.  I am having as much trouble trying to figure out what Cain’s stance really is on the issue.  He gives one more attempt to clarify it at the end, but again, it seems to contradict what he has already said.  Am I being difficult, or is Stossel?  I get the sense that Herman Cain is trying to have both sides of the issue.  He wants the state to stay out of it, but he doesn’t want abortions performed, but he’s not going to tell a woman not to have an abortion, and before you know it, I am confused about his position.

It simply appears that there exists some huge ideological or philosophical disconnect on his part, and his answer simply isn’t very satisfactory, if only because I walk away from the discussion not really understanding what his policy as President would be on the matter.  Take a look and see if you understand his position any better than I do:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD-sBPBzpmE#!]

The problem with all of this is that I like Herman Cain.  I like him because he seems willing to go after certain issues that others seem to avoid like the plague.  He’s a genuinely stand-up fellow, and he certainly seems to mean well.  I simply don’t think he’s spent enough time preparing on the specifics of some of these issues.  For instance, if you asked me about abortion, my answer would be a good deal more concise, and it wouldn’t leave any doubt in your mind as to my position.  It also wouldn’t please everybody.  I might say: “I believe human life begins at conception.  Since our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness owe to “Nature’s Law and Nature’s God,” it means these rights are unalienable, and not subject to the whims of others, and government exists to guarantee these rights.  The only instance in which abortion should be permissible is as an act of self-defense on the part of the mother.”

Are you confused about my position? What about Mr. Cain’s?  I wish he’d spend some time clearing up his positions.  It frequently seems as though he has canned, glib responses that lose all their effectiveness the moment a follow-up question is added into the mix.  It’s as though his understanding of the range of issues is a mile-wide in breadth, but cellophane-thin in depth.  I certainly hope Mr. Cain is able to pick it up on this score.  I really like him, and while I don’t agree with him on all of his positions, where I can figure out where he stands, I certainly like his perspective in general terms.

Let’s hope he can clear some of this up!

Mitt Romney Won’t Get My Vote

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

This Guy? Please...

I can’t believe Mitt Romney is dredging up Michael Chertoff as a foreign policy adviser.  Chertoff is the former Homeland Security Secretary who lobbied for the so-called “naked-scanning” machines now in airports across the nation and profited from it.  He’s also the pro-amnesty shill who has repeatedly pushed the country in the direction of some sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants.  For Governor Romney to bring in this guy is akin to inviting the fox into the henhouse, which unless you’re a fellow fox, would seem a remarkably bad idea.  There are at least three things wrong with Chertoff, and probably a good deal more, but if Romney thinks this is the man to whom he should turn for foreign policy advice, I can’t imagine that Romney is a man I can support for dog-catcher, much less for president.  Irrespective of what others may say, or endorse, there’s simply no way I can support this un-conservative pretender.

Add to this the latest news that Romney’s son and one of his fund-raisers may have been using campaign ties of his father’s 2008 in finding investors for his project, and what you begin to wonder is if he’s not the sort of crony-capitalist we fear him to be.  Whether there was any sort of illegality isn’t really the question, as we all know how people leap through the holes in laws, but a question of the propriety of all of this, and whether it represents the sort of judgment we ought to expect from a president.  On the other hand, given the crony capitalism running wild in Washington DC, particularly at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it may be that he’d fit right in.

Worse yet, it turns out that Romney has appointed a full-blown environmental nut-job while he was governor, and actually pandered to leftists over coal-fired power plants.  From the Wall Street Journal article linked above:

With Mr. Foy by his side, Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people,” he said.

Can you imagine anything more ludicrous?  Perhaps taken together with the headlines of the day, we can put this into context: The Obama administration’s EPA has decided to regulate more coal-burning plants out of existence, to the tune of 28 giga-watts of power generating capacity.  This is a prescription not merely for the destruction of thousands upon thousands of jobs in American coal mines, but a complete catastrophe for the economy in general.  This is a program of intentional impoverishment aimed squarely at the American people, and as recently as during his term as governor, Romney was aboard with this sort of ridiculous program.  He’s a dangerous panderer as well as being the liberal in this race.  Please don’t offer that Huntsman is worse, since I believe he’s in this race only to make Romney appear less liberal by comparison.

I’ve written two other articles on Mr. Romney, and the more I learn about his record, the less I like him, and that’s to say I don’t think he’s worthy of the job, and certainly not the sort of president a beleaguered America needs.  I can tell you with certainty that I cannot now or at any future point support a Romney candidacy, because all of these things combined with the Massachusetts health-care initiative signed into law by his hand resembles Obamacare in almost every important detail.  In short, Romney is the next best thing to Obama from the standpoint of an honest conservative.  Only in the deepest blue of blue states could a person such as this pass for a “conservative.”  I will have no part of supporting him.  There is no running mate with whom you could couple him that could present any improvement.  None.  Mitt Romney is the definition of RINO.  Nominate this guy, and it will guarantee four more years of Obama.

You can read my other articles on Romney here:

The Establishment’s Fake Chris Christie “Ground-swell”

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Too Close For Comfort?

If you watch Fox News, or indeed, almost any media, suddenly, all the buzz is about New Jersey Governor Christie and his possible entry into the GOP nomination fight.  I think this is a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Christie currently has national name recognition on par with so-called second-tier candidates, and with the primary season moving up, it’s hard to imagine him building sufficient name recognition outside the Northeast corridor.  Of course, Ailes over at Fox News has been doing his best to give him more media coverage and drive up the number of people who recognize him, but this is just another example of the manufactured hype being created around Christie.  The GOP establishment is either looking for somebody new to play javelin-catcher now that Romney is back in front,  or they hope to supplant Romney with somebody they think can cause more excitement.   Either way, Chris Christie may well be just the man for the job.  As part of their bid to make Christie more palatable to the base, they placed him in the presence of Nancy Reagan last week, but this an awkward attempt at disguising Christie as a Reaganite that gains little from any but the most superficially-inclined voters.

This isn’t to say there aren’t any people genuinely interested in a Christie candidacy.  Ann Coulter has become positively unhinged over the prospect, but the truth is that there’s no real ground-swell of support for the New Jersey governor.  He simply isn’t all that well-known or liked outside the Northeast corridor.  An overbearing, loud-mouthed bullying attitude may play well in New York City, but it simply doesn’t play in Peoria.  If Christie runs, he will not capture the Tea Party segment, and he will not cut into Romney’s core of support.  This leaves one to wonder what Christie’s purpose in running might be.  The answer is simple: He’s there to try to suck up the oxygen in a bid by the establishment of the GOP to stop or at least mute a Palin entry into the field.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

The simple fact of the matter is that apart from some high-dollar contributors of the crony-capitalist variety, Christie really doesn’t offer much to the Republican party at large.  The Northeast, liberal Republicans already have a candidate, and while they wish he would get more support, they’re satisfied enough that Ann Coulter has now come out to support Romney.  Christie’s only chance to win will depend  upon co-opting the Tea Party segment, and given his record on a number of issues, it is likely that he won’t get their support.  He’s simply too liberal, and too uninterested in issues important to the Tea Party.  He may pay lip service to some of those issues, but as Stephen Bannon pointed out in his interview of Todd Palin Sunday evening, it’s really not much of an accomplishment to cut state budgets when you have no choice, but it is a big deal to cut budgets in time of surplus.  Tea Party folk are discerning enough to recognize this vital distinction.

Chris Christie could best be understood as an exemplar of the problem with the Republican establishment: He doesn’t really believe in the things important to the conservative base of the party, never mind the Tea Party. It’s another sorry charade offered to us in the form of yet one more “savior” for the GOP, just as the line of them we’ve been presented over the last nine months.  What I found particularly telling was the Karl Rove interview by Hannity as they waited for Christie to speak at the Reagan Library last week, and Rove said:

“Well, and look, it’s not just wealthy donors. There have been fellow Republican governors, party activists, grassroots Republican movers and shakers. I mean, this has been a pretty interesting thing to watch. In a very short period of time, since his swearing-in in January of 2010, he’s become quite a figure on the national stage, because of what he’s done as governor. He took on the teachers unions. He’s blunt, he’s straightforward. He’s the every man of American politics. And he’s got a — he’s got quite a following.”

As usual, Karl Rove is trying to paint a picture that bears little resemblance to reality.  To call Christie the “every man of American politics” is a laughable attempt at positioning.  More, when he  says “…it’s not just wealthy donors,” he’s essentially lying.  That’s the vast bulk of Christie’s support, and Rove knows it.  Christie has little in common with the base of the GOP, or the Tea Party, and that’s the point insofar as the establishment is concerned.

I think you can see as well as I what is really going on here.  This is another put-up job by the establishment, and whether they expect Christie to win the primaries, stealing Romney’s base of support, or if he’s being put up as a body-block for Romney, it essentially doesn’t matter.  It’s a hoax  to call this a “ground-swell” or the result of “grassroots Republicans.”  What this really means is Rove and the rest of the GOP establishment are trying to maintain their power.  By now, nobody should be surprised about that.

Leading By Default?

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Can I Win Without Speaking?

After the FoxNews/Google debate, it had begun to crystallize in the view of many Republicans is that Rick Perry isn’t the candidate many had hoped.  Capturing the straw poll in Florida on Saturday, Herman Cain reached new heights as Perry’s slide down hill has accelerated.  Bachmann has peaked and begun to taper off, while Gingrich, Paul, Santorum and Huntsman continue to struggle in the middle-to-low single digits.  This leaves Mitt Romney out front, not because he’s such a great candidate, but because to date, his chief opponents have grossly underperformed.  This begs the question most conservatives want most to ask: Is Mitt Romney capable of carrying the conservative banner into battle a year from now?  Most conservatives seem to believe the answer is a firm “no,” but it nevertheless leaves Romney in the position of the last candidate standing.  He’s done nothing revolutionary or proactive to seize the lead or stay at or near the front of the pack, but instead seems to have landed in the lead by default.  If we’re to defeat Barack Obama in November 2012, it’s going to take a stronger candidate than Mr. Romney has been to date.

When you examine his debate performance, the best you can say about Romney is that he hasn’t gotten into serious trouble, but he has flipped and flopped to the extent that most conservatives are looking elsewhere.  Mr. Cain’s straw poll victory on Saturday demonstrates the point:  While Romney doesn’t spend much energy on straw polls, knowing he will not win them in front of a conservative audience that constitutes the base of the party, and the overwhelming majority at straw poll events, he believes it’s better to avoid energetic participation and score poorly than to engage fully and still score a a small proportion of support.  He realizes the infinitely larger black eye that embarrassment would confer on his campaign.

What this demonstrates, perhaps more than anything, is Mr. Romney’s complete lack of courage for a fight.  He’s not even willing to make his pitch to conservatives, and that means he knows he cannot win their support except by virtue of being the only candidate remaining.  His unspectacular campaign mirrors his less-than-thrilling debate performances inasmuch as while he says nothing particularly offensive, he also fails to inspire even a tepid response.  In short, Romney’s strategy is to cruise carefully while avoiding clear debacles, and hope to survive to lead at the end, knowing that the anti-Obama sentiment prevailing among Republicans will be enough to carry him through the nomination.  That may be a suitable strategy for winning the nomination, but it’s unlikely to win the Presidency in 2012.

In Thursday night’s debate, Romney got into a battle with Perry who was busy criticizing the former Massachusetts governor’s health-care plan, and challenged him on changing between what he had said in his book and what he has been saying on the campaign trail about the plan’s possible application for the entire nation.  Romney said:

“I said no such thing”

and that “Romneycare” was merely:

“a state plan for a state.”

The problem with this statement by Romney is that he knew it to be untrue.  While in paperback, the idea that his health-care reform plan might have national application was omitted, the fact is that in his original hard-bound book, No Apology, it was clearly stated:

“We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.”

Either Romney was lying, or he hadn’t read any but the paperback version of his book.  That puts his jab at Perry into better context:

“I actually – I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing.”

What Romney sought to imply about Perry’s book is that he hadn’t written it himself, and while that may very well be true, it calls into question if Mitt remembers writing his own.  This illustrates the problem with Romney too, because for all intents and purposes, he’s just another well-polished, glad-handing politician who is at least vaguely conservative, but to the conservative base, this speaks volumes about his lack of credibility across the board because it strongly implies a basic dishonesty in Romney’s approach and his policy positions.

This is the likely cause of Herman Cain’s runaway Florida GOP Straw Poll victory on Saturday.  In addition to the poor or at best fair performances of the two alleged front-runners in the Thursday night debate, combined with his own compelling performance, Cain suddenly looks a good deal more attractive to voters than to these two.  Better, if Cain continues to press forward, there is some chance that Romney will be forced to abandon his strategy of winning by default.

The top five in the Florida GOP Straw Poll:

  1. Cain: 37%
  2. Perry: 15%
  3. Romney: 14%
  4. Santorum: 11%
  5. Paul: 10%

This result is a testament to Cain’s strong performance in Thursday’s debate, but it also speaks volumes about the lack-luster performance of the supposed front-runners.  If Romney pursues his current course of avoiding engagement much longer, he risks falling into single digit territory particularly if there is a later entry into this race.  Perry is self-destructing, and while he does so, Romney plans to capitalize mostly by doing exactly nothing.  We Republicans should ask ourselves if that is the sort of candidate we expect to defeat Barack Obama as well as restore the nation now floundering economically under the weight of programs of the same sort Romney has himself implemented in his own state.  Perhaps this is key: When asked during the debate if he thought Obama was a socialist, he vacillated to avoid a direct answer.

With a general election on the horizon that promises a billion dollars of Obama campaign cash, we simply can’t afford another nominee who will not engage fully in this fight.  Romney may win the nomination by default, but he can’t win the general election that way, and the conservative base of the party knows it.  If he won’t speak the truth now, talking to the base of his party, will he ever?  If not, how does he intend to distinguish himself from Barack Obama?  These are the questions Mitt Romney must answer, but chances are that like most everything else, he’ll take a pass and hope to win by default.

Rick Perry: Is His Real Problem Insincerity?

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Can the Spurs be Far Behind?

It’s been just more than 24 hours since I defended Rick Perry against the smear by Jonathan Martin about his intelligence, but today, a bit of information arrives to more strongly suggest that Mr. Perry has other problems.  In addition to the other instances in which his conservative credentials have come into question, now arises the question of his tacit support for Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan of 1993.  In a letter to Mrs. Clinton, then Agriculture Commissioner expressed support for the ill-fated overhaul plan. Many are inclined to ignore this because in addition to being an eighteen year old letter, everybody knows Rick Perry had been a Democrat before becoming a Republican, so the thinking is that this should present no problem.  Unfortunately, Rick Perry had already changed parties in order to run for the post as Agriculture Commissioner, the post in which he served at the time of the letter.  Rather than questioning Rick Perry’s intelligence as does the leftist media, I believe we conservatives must ask a much more serious question about the sincerity of his most deeply held philosophical underpinnings. Does he mean it?  Is it just an act?  Is he really a conservative?

Changing political parties is not unusual.  Politicians do it frequently, and in several watershed election years, waves of elected officials have done so.  Still, for the electorate, a change of parties generally also signifies a change in underlying philosophy.  I was raised in a household and extended family consisting entirely of liberal Democrats, such that virtually nothing I said about politics prior to 1983 would be in agreement with my positions some three decades later.  My conversion was different from Rick Perry’s, in that before I changed parties, I had changed my outlook.  Philosophy drove my political affiliations, but not the reverse.  This is how most people come to make a change:  Their knowledge, experience, and ultimately, their philosophy changes, and this leads to a change of parties.

This is not necessarily the case among professional politicians.  All too frequently, their change in political party is instantaneous and without apparent philosophical reflection or study.  Instead, they are frequently motivated solely by the desire to win.  The letter from Rick Perry to Hillary Clinton is indicative of this same trend.  Perry had been a Republican for four years before writing this letter, leading one to wonder if his party conversion hadn’t been a matter of political convenience rather than a deeply held philosophical awakening.

Once you realize this, the rest of his record begins to make sense.  Over the period defined by his electoral career, the general political atmosphere in Texas has been steadily creeping from left to right, with only a few aberrations.   Rick Perry’s apparent political position has closely mirrored this shift, from Democrat to Republican moderate to GOP establishment to conservative, and finally to Tea Party.  This is an odd sort of conversion, particularly measured against the sort of conversion most ordinary Americans may at some point undergo.  Instead, it looks like a conversion of political convenience, born not of deeply stirring study and thorough argumentation, but of calculations in the back rooms of Texas political expediency.

This sort of conversion of convenience speaks to the character and leadership of the politician in question.  What it implies is a calculated attempt to position himself in accordance with his election prospects rather than with his philosophy.  This isn’t leadership, and what it illustrates is just another politician scrambling to the head of the parade, pretending to have led it.  At this point, you’d be right to wonder if his espoused beliefs are simply a different skin uploaded on the Rick Perry App. Considering his progression, it actually demands an answer to the question: “When did you become a conservative?”

What was the moment of conversion?  What was that issue that cinched it for Mr. Perry?  The elections of 1994 caused similar spontaneous conversions for elected officials all across Texas, but Mr. Perry’s party conversion five years earlier simply suggests he was out ahead of the curve.  Writing a letter such as this, we know he was not a conservative in 1993.  Did the elections eighteen months later convince him?

With this in mind, the other issues that arise with respect to Perry’s more recent acts that seem in opposition to conservative principles begin to make more sense.  A reflexive action to mandate Gardasil?  His remarks on his belief in an open border?  His chameleon-like sliding in and out of La Raza and ACORN events?  The TransTexas Corridor?  Now, knowing this, and having seen this letter begins to put in context what a few seeming aberrations couldn’t quite nail down.  Perry may be a conservative today, a Tea Party member tomorrow, or a member of the John Birch Society yesterday.  Next week, he’s likely to be a globalist, a corporatist, or frankly, anything under the sun.  He’s shifting, but his reflexes indicate he still suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding of what is conservatism, because he doesn’t really mean it.  His re-election campaign of 2010 along with his election campaign this year seem to bleed the standard stereotypes of a southern, Christian conservative.  In truth, he’s becoming a caricature that hardly resembles most Texas conservatives due in part to its gross overstatement.  One almost expects him to show up at a rally with a six-shooter, wearing spurs and a Stetson.  Actually, he’s already done that.

Mr. Perry isn’t a conservative.  He’s playing a role.  He’s doing what he believes it will take to get elected.  His record is thick with instances in which he did not behave as a conservative, or even a Republican, and all well after his conversion to the GOP.  This is the real problem with Rick Perry.  He’s not “dumb,” he’s insincere.   He’s a political opportunist who has great instincts for getting out ahead of his electorate in form, but in function, he remains what he has always been:  A political actor.  If he goes on to win the nomination, he’ll have deserved an Oscar.

The Battle on the Right

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

There Can Be Only One

We’ve witnessed the opening salvos in the battle for the nomination.  The punditry has lined up to take shots at GOP candidates, including those not yet in the race.  Each declared candidate is scrambling to establish a niche with the primary electorate, and as they do, there exists not only a whispering dissatisfaction with the current choices, but also an increasing friction between them as they attempt to consolidate their support.  In the most recent polling, Governor Perry has the clear lead, at the moment, with Governor Romney tailing off.   More significantly, Michele Bachmann has fallen to fourth place behind an undeclared Sarah Palin. As the battle lines are drawn, we’re witnessing a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Rick Perry is the present beneficiary of a largely unknown record outside his home state, Texas, but this too is beginning to change as more and more people are beginning to notice that apart from the swagger and bronc-busting style, Perry hasn’t always been a conservative, and it leads to some doubts about his sincerity.  Some have described him as a RINO with a drawl, but the truth is that he hasn’t been substantially vetted on the national stage, and as his record become more widely known, he’s likely to experience a decline when his record  as a lifelong politician with too many corporate friends becomes known.  This is the truth of what caused him to see a strong primary challenge from upstart Debra Medina in the 2010 Texas gubernatorial race.  While Medina never attained the name recognition, it’s important to remember that the main cause of her defeat was one self-destructive interview that caused her implosion.  This is instructive, and actually serves to demonstrate Perry’s true weakness among Texas conservatives and Tea Party members:  It’s not so much that he won in 2010, as it is the case that his primary opponent, whose entrance into the race already demonstrated Perry’s troubles, essentially disqualified herself.  This weakness of Perry’s is going to become more obvious as his record is examined.

Mitt Romney is the great establishment hope of the left-most edge of the GOP, and the current favorite of the establishment.  He’s been hurt by Perry’s entry precisely because some of his support didn’t see another strong conservative candidate in the race, and Romney isn’t interested in ideological consistency. Instead, the notion of “who can win,”  focusing on Independents and the swing vote has come to dominate his appeal.  For this reason, Romney has adopted the position of mostly ignoring the conservative base, and seems not only uninterested in courting Tea Party folks, but also in avoiding them in order to appeal to his niche.  Romney’s gamble is simple: If he can get the nomination, conservatives will vote for him anyway.  We may be seeing the first signs that Romney is abandoning this strategy, as he traveled to Texas on Monday.   Whether he shifts his approach, or sticks with his moderate positions is yet to be determined, but he ought to remember who he’s slighting in the hunt for the nomination, as it may come back to haunt him in the primary even if he succeeds.  Democrats slavishly vote for whomever their party puts up.  Conservatives are much more apt to stay home.  If this brings to mind images of another McCain or Dole style defeat, you’re probably on target.

Michele Bachmann is a fine candidate, but she’s fading fast for a number of reasons.  One is that her theoretical support from the Tea Party is based on a fallacious notion of substitution many of her supporters (and perhaps the candidate herself) wrongly believed:  She’s not Sarah Palin.  Slowly, grudgingly, some of her supporters are discovering this too.  It’s not to say Representative Bachmann has no appeal, but instead that her appeal has been largely augmented by the imaginings of her early supporters.  Her tendency to make gaffes of one sort or another is taking its toll, whether serious or largely manufactured or inflated by the media.  Some have discovered that she’s not quite so close to the average people as may have been thought, and it that factor is inflicting a cost too.  Lastly, many within her campaign, and frankly, within the media, bought the media-born notion that there’s only room in the campaign for one Republican woman, and while I reject that notion, it’s turning out that may be true in some sense, but sadly for her, Michele Bachmann isn’t that woman.

This leaves us to consider Sarah Palin.  Will she run?  Many observers think so, and to some, it’s clear that she’s already running in the sense that she’s largely conducting herself like a candidate, despite the lack of a campaign.  Others insist that she won’t run, but when you examine who they are, they tend to be supporters of another candidate.  That’s telling, given the assault from media pundits she recently endured over the matter of whether she would announce on September 3rd during her speech to the Tea Party of America in Indianola, Iowa.  Part of Palin’s strategy, if she’s to enter, may be to wait for the field to settle some.  We’re now seeing that begin, as all but Romney and Perry (as well as Palin) have fallen to single-digit support among Republicans.  At the same time, there’s still a wide body of undecided voters, many of whom are effectively waiting for the field to settle out before committing.   Perry’s numbers are likely to stabilize, and begin to trail off.  There’s some evidence that this has already begun.   If it continues, there’s a chance that Palin will be able to announce a campaign and emerge as a nearly instantaneous front-runner for the nomination.  If this happens, it will effectively close off Bachmann and those currently below her current standing at 9%.  This will also begin to shut down some of the less successful campaigns.  The real question becomes whether she holds off a bit longer, toward the end of September, not only to await the likely Perry decline, but also to close off later entries.

It’s clear that the politicos know this, which is why they’ve gone on with a flurry of rumor-mongering, trying to goad her into a Labor Day weekend entry, or dissuade her entry altogether.   Worse are the attempts to undermine her by suggesting that she’s not going to run, and will promptly endorse the preferred candidate of whichever person is speaking.  The thing to watch is how much Bachmann may be able to cut back into the Perry support, where she watched much of her own flee after his announcement.  If Palin enters, Bachmann is likely to begin her fall, as many of her supporters move on to the candidate some of them already quietly acknowledge as the “real deal.”  Still, between the three announced candidates among the leading four, they achieve only half of the party’s support.  This implies that the race is wide open for somebody else, and with 10% of the support already leaning to her despite the lack of an official campaign, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to notice that  Sarah Palin may well be that somebody.

Rick Perry Shows His True Nature

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

How Dare You Ask Me That?

I’ve told you before what I think of Rick Perry.  As a Texan, I really don’t think all that much of him, and as a governor, the only thing that has stopped him from making a complete mess is a legislature that is more conservative than he.  His pandering to La Raza and ACORN along with his tendency to govern as a statist has always caused me heartburn.   Combine that with his crony-capitalist ways, and no, I don’t think he should be allowed anywhere near the White House unless he’s on a tour as a member of the public. In this instance, a student at the University of Iowa, Drew Hjelm, tries to ask him a question about the debt problem in Texas, and Perry cuts the guy off, lies, and says the kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Nonsense!  The young man had it right.  I also wonder about the bullying implied by poking his finger on the young man’s chest.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-RV9OhSkoeU]

I don’t know what they do about such behavior out in Paint Creek, but that’s a sure-fire way to start a fight in many parts of Texas.  One wouldn’t want to try that for fear that you might well pull back a stump.  What’s next? Is he going to pull off his boot and pound it on the lectern? This sort of tactic simply isn’t acceptable in a modern campaign.  Pointing would have been sufficient, but this reaction was more than Perry should have permitted himself, especially since he was trying to evade answering the young man’s question. Under pressure, in front of the cameras, Perry reverted to bullying and obfuscation. Nobody needs a President like that.

Check out this  excellent article for full coverage on this incident during which Rick Perry was trying to dodge the student’s question at Conservatives4Palin.

Fiscal Conservative, Social “Moderate”?

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Which Way, Which Day?

One of the worst lies told by so-called “moderate” Republicans in each election year is that while they are “fiscally conservative,” they are also “socially liberal” or “moderate.” This attempt to ignore reality is perhaps less excusable than the constant delusion of the left, because these people aren’t insane. They’re simply wrong, and they know it. Part of it stems from a desire to avoid seeming “judgmental,” but if truth be told, only the worst possible judgment can originate in the minds of those who accept this shoddy idea. Attempting to walk the fine line between the political left and right, they’re not capable of energizing their base or even capturing a substantial portion of the squishy middle. The reason is simple: Their would-be supporters immediately recognize that the fatal flaws of the latter position negates any virtue to be found in the former.

 

Any Way They Can

Consider President George W. Bush, whose argument was that he’s a compassionate conservative. The base implication of that label is that conservatives have no compassion. It was designed to reassure voters that he’s a social moderate. His first term punctuated the notion, as he assisted in crafting laws on social policy including the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, and an education act that was drafted largely by such great conservatives(?) as Teddy Kennedy. These programs will eventually have cost Americans hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, all in service to a liberal social agenda. How can one then contend that the notion of a fiscal conservative and the idea of a social liberal/moderate could be anything but mutually exclusive?

Because Bush claimed to be a conservative, however, many on the right happily went along with the programs in the name of ‘bi-partisanship.’ We’ve seen recently in the Debt Ceiling debate what that sort of joined-hands surrender to the left this approach offers up in the end: A complete and utter failure that serves no one but government. What really defines a social liberal isn’t merely the so-called “social issues,” but the unflinching willingness to spend tax-payers’ dollars on them. It is this fundamental contradiction with all such “ideological moderates” that labels them dishonest brokers for a failed statist ideal. Many got a moments’ chuckle from my post on the mythical program S-GROPE, but these are the sorts of mindless, destructive federal expenditures born of moderate Republicans.

Consider what would have been the case if moderate John McCain had been elected in 2008. He too would have enacted some sort of health-care reform, but Republicans would have surrendered in sufficient numbers to pass it because of the shoddy notion of party loyalty, rather than loyalty to principle. Since McCain didn’t win, Republicans made a principled stand against it, and the issue is still very much in doubt as Federal courts continue to find parts or the whole of the law to be unconstitutional, nearly ensuring it will have a future date before the United States Supreme court. Had it been enacted by a moderate Republican like John McCain, few would have said even a word in opposition, and they would have been painted as “Hobbits” or “terrorists” or some other smear.

This is why when you see a governor like Rick Perry, willing to use the power of the state to require vaccines against the spread of a behaviorally-transmitted disease like HPV, you can bet you’re looking at another moderate “do-gooder” willing to spend the peoples’ treasure on the advancement of a leftist policy imperative. Not satisfied with defaming all girls twelve years or older in the state of Texas as sexually active, he actually wanted to mandate this and have it administered at school, without charge. Notice how the social moderate winds up always dismissing his fiscal conservatism in the name of some imagined public good on behalf of statist dogma.

Consider Mitt Romney’s ridiculous health-care plan in the state of Massachusetts. It’s not possible to suggest that Mr. Romney doesn’t understand how ridiculously simplistic his arguments in favor of a mandate are under logical scrutiny. First, he offers that it’s a states’ rights issue. That really doesn’t hold water, so instead he offers up a sorry analogy to auto insurance. What sort of auto insurance may any state mandate on drivers? Liability insurance. They don’t mandate collision or comprehensive or road-side assistance or towing or any of the other options you can purchase with your policy. They require only that you cover the losses and damages you inflict upon others. In all logic, there can be no way to contort health insurance to fit such a mold, and yet this is the policy initiative of a man who claims to be a conservative.

These are among the sort of issues in which the social liberalism reveals the true nature of one’s fiscal orientation. When a politician claims to be a “social moderate,” he or she is attempting to govern as a liberal, but generally more slowly, hoping to disguise it all behind the ski-mask labeled “fiscal conservatism,” and further hoping you won’t notice the philosophical slight of hand. Unfortunately for them, voters catch on to this maneuver quickly, and the slick ones will always try to stay a bit ahead of the unmasking, some of them now claiming to be social conservatives on the basis of their professed faith, or their stance on one or more divisive issues preferred by people of faith.

In 2012, we conservatives will be faced with two momentous questions: First, which candidate for the nomination will we support, and second, will we show up to vote in the election? It’s my contention, aimed squarely at the GOP establishment, that if we don’t nominate a real common-sense conservative, this time, that will provide the answer to the second question. Rather than preach to us about the necessity of winning at the expense of our principles, it would be surprising if those glorious advocates of compromise would allow themselves to see it our way, for once in a generation. Rather than being the hidden enemy in our home encampment, let them discard their principle of the center stripe, upon which we’re frequently mowed down, and side with us for a change. A real change.