Sal Bommarito had an excellent piece arguing why he believes Republicans have locked President Barack Obama’s re-election this November simply by spending too much time beating themselves up instead of focusing on the general election. Indeed, it’s February now and the four remaining candidates are still fighting each other tooth and nail over “who’s the most conservative,” while Romney struggles to secure the nomination and the anti-Romney wing of the party still rotates a different flavor of the month.
I try to stop myself from getting too worried. We all remember that the 2008 Democratic nomination between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama went well into June before one of them finally conceded, and by the end the map was split down the middle. Perhaps I’m just reading too much news. In today’s 24/7 news cycle, the election coverage never stops. Ever. It’s enough to make you want to throw up. I would have no problem giving this up for Lent.
But before I do take a long-needed vacation from this torturous election season, there’s one thing I have to address – the myth that it’s the lack of quality candidates that the far right is dissatisfied with.
I roll my eyes when I still hear talk of a late entry in the 2012 race, or of a “brokered convention.” The deadlines are long passed to file petitions to be on state ballots. It’s way too late to scrounge up enough money and organization to even put up any type of a fight. And if the GOP don’t have a clear candidate going into the convention in August, then their chances of getting the White House in November are tombstoned. Bottom line is it’s not happening.
But for argument’s sake, I’ll indulge the claims that the far-right are looking for a Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, or even (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Jeb Bush, just so I can expose the fallacies in these views.
Chris Christie – Don’t get me wrong, I love this guy. He’s a rockstar in my eyes and I certainly hope he has higher aspirations down the road. I’ll be campaigning for him front and center. But if the pundits think the far right would rally around him, they’re in for a rude awakening. Sure, they may love his tough-talking, no-nonsense attitude when it comes to media sound bites, but I’m already hearing far right zealots grumbling about Christie’s record. Rush Limbaugh, for instance, was whining about how he “hears a lot of John McCain in (Christie) to send up a red flag or two.” Mitt Romney's struggles have shown the far right just doesn’t trust any Republican from a blue state, regardless of who he is or what he’s done.
Mitch Daniels – I've got nothing against Daniels either, I think he’s a smart guy who knows how to foster a productive economy and strong job market. But the far right wouldn’t get behind him either. Daniels is smart enough to know that the GOP should be calling a truce on social issues in 2012 and focusing on the economy as part of a big tent strategy to get as many votes possible. As he put it, “We’re going to need to unify all kinds of people and freedom’s going to need every friend it can get.” Bye-bye social conservatives. Even the Reverend Rick Santorum criticized Daniels for that, claiming, “You can’t call a truce on moral issues.”
Jeb Bush – Really? Why does his name keep coming up? Does the far right really think another Bush could win in America? I’m not even going to bother debunking this one, if they believe the GOP has a snowball’s chance in hell behind Jeb Bush, they’re out of their minds.
The truth is I don’t think the far right even knows what they want or who they’re looking for. If they look deep enough, they can find a reason to pout about any candidate’s record or personality. As I previously stated, the answer I hear most often from hardcore conservatives as to what they want is “the next Ronald Reagan.” But what they don’t realize is that they’ve created this monolithic myth around Reagan that is not only inaccurate, but also impossible to live up to.
The conservative base needs to get its act together, accept the candidates we have, and rally around whoever wins the nomination. I believe they ultimately will do so in the end. And honestly, I don’t believe the far right even speaks for the majority of Republicans in America. Center right candidate Mitt Romney still has the most delegates to date, but the far right are just the loudest talkers.
But I believe there’s still a silent majority in America.
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