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


TexasFred said...

Or not...

Alan Caruba said...

Hhhhmmmm...a cryptic comment! :-)

TJP said...

Alan, on Saturday I watched Herman Cain announce that he is going to run for President on a CSPAN broadcast. Of all the announced candidates so far, he seems the most conservative and doesn't bore me when he speaks.

When Newt sat down on the couch with Pelosi a few years ago, I wrote him off forever as a future candidate.

The great thing about Cain's 30 minute announcement--no teleprompter and no notes. He spoke from his head and his heart. Would love to see him debate Obama. How about a Cain/Bachmann ticket? Here's a link to his announcement.

Conway said...

The lack of real difference between the two parties, coupled with the arrogance, lying and hypocrisy of nearly all involved from top to bottom, is the reason I haven't bothered voting for anyone for nearly 20 years.

If there actually was someone running that could save America and the principles she was founded on, I would vote. At this point, however, I will not vote for my own executioner.

Gustav said...

The reason why the candidate matters is that the activist old media will be training Howitzers on the Republican nominee. Sure, to the extent our nominee is milquetoast, the AOM will be more restrained. But that is a loosing strategy for Republicans, as we've learned with Dole, McCain and, to an extent, with Bush 41 & 43.

The man for the job is Sarah Palin. She is principled and can take the heat. Over the years, I submit, you will come to respect her.

Anonymous said...

Very, very intelligent summation. Herman Cain has made a good start of it. Now we just have to get more people involved in the process, and eventually, to the voting booth.

Anonymous said...

Herman Cain,indeed!!!

Rachel Pohli said...

I agree wholeheartedly with everything said here, Alan. Most of the Republican candidates that have emerged do NOT impress me; indeed, they make me worried. With the exception of one: Herman Cain. I'm VERY impressed by his candor, his intelligence, his NON-political background, his business sense, his fervor, and on and on. I think he is the most promising candidate out there. I really hope that people start sitting up and noticing him more, as I think he is the perfect man for the job of taking down Obama and turning this country around. I sincerely hope you're right in your optimism, Alan, that Obama will likely NOT get reelected. Frankly, the thought scares me to death.