Monday, May 23, 2011
Republican Russian Roulette
By Alan Caruba
I have a friend who thinks the ghost of Bob Dole is stalking the Republican Party and Dole isn’t even dead! What he means, of course, is that, at this point, the present batch of candidates are not that inspiring. The Party needs to articulate a distinct, conservative agenda and have the guts to stick with it.
For the record, Dole ran with President Gerald Ford as his vice presidential choice and together they lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976. Later he ran as the GOP candidate for president in 1996 and lost to Bill Clinton.
The latest example of the GOP’s knack for second string candidates is Newt Gingrich.who is a former Speaker of the House. While he was president Bill Clinton ran circles around Newt.
Newt’s most recognizable characteristic is to seek accommodation with opponents of his political views. Instead of staking out a definitive conservation platform, Newt has always been too eager to "get along" with the opposition—shades of John McCain who also lost a campaign to be president.
A patsy, Newt is the smartest kid in the school who no one wants on their team. In essence, he has abandoned Republican issues in his quest for the presidency and forgotten that he is a Republican who is expected to oppose Obamacare, avoid talking nonsense about the environment, and not adopt the rest of the liberal agenda.
Republican voters are hungry for someone who unabashedly opposes the size of the federal government, the billions it borrows and wastes every day, the funding of Planned Parenthood, and comparable issues. They want to build a great big fence on our Southern border. They want us to drill for our own oil.
The flurry of interest that Donald Trump evoked came simply from his willingness to yell at President Obama loud enough to get him to put out another phony birth certificate. Only the hopelessly naïve thought he would actually run.
Conversely, everyone expected Mitt Romney to run, but instead of shedding the millstone of Romneycare, he defended it! It’s a flip of the coin as to who has flip-flopped more on issues, Romney or Obama. Still, if you were a movie director casting the role of president, wouldn’t you pick Romney?
Masseurs Santorum and Pawlenty suffer the Dole/McCain problem. They give all the right, safe answers, but they are not loudly sounding the alarms about four more years of Obama. Ron Paul is trotting out his mixture of good and bizarre notions. If he’s a “serious” candidate, it is only for the lonely Libertarians longing to legalize marijuana and bring Muslim combatants to justice after reading them their Miranda Rights.
Rumor says Michelle Bachmann will get into the race and, having had Sarah Palin on the ticket in the last election, one might think that Republican enthusiasm for a woman candidate might have waned by now. Bachmann’s smart and articulate. She can’t win the White House.
By contrast, a virtual unknown non-politician, Herman Cain, is making a very good initial showing.
Of course, Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and ambassador to China, would be every Democrat’s choice as a Republican President if for no other reason than he joined that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Western Climate Initiative, chasing the illusive global warming and advocating taxes on carbon dioxide emissions. Fortunately for the other candidates, he’s hired John McCain’s former campaign geniuses to craft his campaign. Can you spell l-o-s-e-r?
What Republicans have not noticed is that President Obama has rather neatly fulfilled nearly the entire agenda bequeathed to him by George W. Bush while, at the same time, blaming him for the Recession and everything else.
This isn’t “triangulation.” It is the wholesale absorbing of the other Party’s platform in an era when it is very difficult to tell the two parties apart. Obama is going to have to kill a whole bunch of al Qaeda big shots to keep his poll numbers from falling any further.
If this keeps up Republican political consultants will be praying the economy will be so bad by November 2012 that only crazed Dem-a-robots will vote for Obama, along with the teacher’s and other unions. To them, add 95% of the black vote and 80% of the Hispanics.
If independents decide to stay home, Obama could win. They won't. The Tea Party folk have not gone away.
My bet is that 2012 is like 2010 when the House changed hands. It could just be a total blowout and all the agonizing over the current crop of GOP candidates will seem silly in retrospect.
© Alan Caruba, 2011