20 January 2012
Note: This post was written on Friday, the day before the South Carolina primary. By the time it is officially posted the primary will be over, and my predictions will stand to be judged on the merits.
So what is the “state of the (Republican) union” at this point in time? While it may be trite to say so, we are at a critical juncture in our history. We have four remaining candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination for President: an “establishment” candidate, Mitt Romney; a Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul; an “Evangelical” candidate, Rick Santorum; and a fiery Conservative, Newt Gingrich.
Interestingly, among Conservatives, the front-runner until now, Mitt Romney, is the least liked of the four…and yet, as noted, he is in the lead. The other three candidates are each more popular among conservatives than the front-runner, but the three are splitting their vote. If this circumstance were to persist, and true Conservatives were not able to obtain even the party’s nomination, it would/will surely give rise to a third party…and it may almost be time.
If I may speak frankly here (and I can), I will observe that the current obsession with “electability” among those on the supposed Right is nauseating. What makes it doubly so is that those spouting this tired mantra (Ann Coulter chief among them) do so as if this were a new thought. Well, Earth to Ann: This is neither new, nor especially brilliant! Ms. Coulter goes on to stress (did, at least) that this is no time to “experiment” with the notion of electing our first “woman president” (Michelle Bachman), nor a true Conservative!
Let me translate on behalf of our apparently “recovering” Conservative: Like the Democrats (now radical Leftists), we must be carefully covert about our true intentions. What our one-time feminine arsonist (bomb-thrower) fails to acknowledge in her newfound zeal for “practicality” is that unlike the Far Left, those of us who espouse (demand) economic, as well as personal freedom, are, in fact, representative of the heart and soul of America. While Diane Sawyer and Keith Olbermann may wish to paint it otherwise, the values at the core of the Tea Party are those shared by generations of our countrymen…and they have not gone out of style among the rank and file.
The Master Teacher observed that one cannot put “new wine in an old bottle.” That was a fact. As the new wine aged, it would expand, and cause the older (already-stretched) leather “bottle” to break, spilling its contents on the ground. In the case at hand, the “new wine” is, actually, quite old in the literal sense – restoring the Constitution, and the principles upon which our nation was founded – but in the context of government at every level having long since abandoned the principles of low taxation and minimal regulation, the “old wine” is unquestionably “new”…and the “old bottle” of the GOP (and especially that of its entrenched leadership) can hardly hold it, as has been so amply demonstrated over the course of this past year!
I can only say with regard to those clamoring for “electable” candidates, that it is precisely this mentality that has brought us to this place – after 60-100 years of seeking to do just that: not rock the boat, or put forth candidates whom we know would seek to do what is right…and why? Because first and foremost (they say), we must “win”…and win at all costs. And what have we “won” in the end? We have won the right to put forth our own “politically palatable” and Constitutionally-illegitimate social programs, adding to the deficit, and ultimately trampling upon the Rule of Law.
So here is how I see it. Granted, any one of the four remaining candidates would, without doubt, be vastly superior to what we have now. Paul is principled, but not any more popular among the party as a whole (or the Independents) than Mitt Romney. Statistically the two have probably polled somewhere around 50% combined, with Mitt polling closer to 30%, and Ron Paul closer to 20%. (I’m talking in terms of averages here, not that of the South Carolina primary.)
Then we have Santorum and Gingrich taking up the other half. The difference, however, is that while Conservatives have their preferences – including a good portion of those favoring Paul – most of them will not rally to Paul or Romney, while most would support Santorum or Gingrich. Most.
That, in my mind means that the majority Conservative candidate will be one of those two…and given Newt’s continued impact in the debates (and what I believe will be a decisive victory in South Carolina, which will give him the momentum and therefore the edge going into Florida), I believe he will emerge with the most-favored-Conservative status.
I believe Ron Paul will continue to slip in the polls, as Gingrich climbs, and both the Establishment Republicans and Romney’s money and organization will make it a two-man race.
The battle in the end will be between the Tea Party and the Establishment (acknowledging that Newt clearly has his own establishment ties, but believing him to have demonstrated a willingness, at least, to take them on). As it stands, it would seem that many traditional Conservatives (Coulter, Krauthammer, et al.) will throw in with the “electability” (don’t-risk-standing-and-fighting-for-what-we-really-believe) crowd.
The question that remains is how many of the Tea Party and Independents will drink that truly old “Kool-Aid” (“wine”) – and how many will stand and fight…rather than compromise yet again, just to say that “our side” won – when retreating from our core values is no victory at all! I say that it is time to change the direction of our nation, and that will never be done by those whose first instinct is to compromise!
For all of his faults, and they have been amply catalogued, Newt is a Churchill-like figure (sorry, Joseph!), who, like his British counterpart, is both willing and able to fight valiantly…as well as to win!
I, for one, am no longer willing to live under the pretense of freedom, while we continue – at perhaps a reduced pace – on the inexorable march to destruction!
If not us…who?
If not now…when?