Posts Tagged ‘Iowa Caucus’

The Candidate We Want But Can’t Have

Friday, December 30th, 2011

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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