- If the Republican Party leadership truly wants to win in 2016, then it needs to make sure a real conservative leads the GOP
You have to hand it to the Republican Party: Unlike Democrats, when it comes to presidential contests, there is never a shortage of hopefuls. Or ideas. But that doesn’t necessarily make for a better GOP nominating process.
In the coming days two others are expected to announce their candidacy after former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who was an also-ran in 2012, announced his Wednesday: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the latter of whom surged briefly during the previous election cycle, only to recede and die after a series of gaffes.
Let’s look at them individually.
Santorum: Rick Santorum managed some to generate some enthusiasm and mojo early on during his 2012 campaign, winning the Iowa caucus and running with a strong Tea Party-Christian morality message. He was a lot like those conservative candidates who won big in 2010, in both the House and the Senate, where he once served; very conservative, unabashed in his beliefs, and disliked by the leadership of his own party (which is not conservative – more on that in the Lindsey Graham section).
As reported by Meredith Shiner at HuffPo:
As a senator, Santorum didn’t seem to care for Capitol decorum or what his colleagues thought of him, which at the time was rare but now is par for the course. Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey was famously overheard asking a colleague whether “Santorum” was “Latin for” the name of a bodily orifice used to describe a person you might not think so highly of. Sen. Mark Hatfield, R-Ore., reportedly had equally choice and disdainful words, characterizing Santorum as both young and a “little” something that emanates from that aforementioned bodily orifice.
His main problem, however, is his history; while he seeks to launch Santorum 2.0, the original version’s voting 16-year voting record (four in the House and 12 in the Senate) makes his “political outsider” image look contrived, as in, not genuine (and Americans are getting their fill of that in the Republican Party leadership).
He has some social conservative bona fides – two of the six laws in which he was the lead sponsor dealt with abortion limitations – he also voted regularly with the Bush administration, which is what ultimately led to his political demise by Bob Casey in 2006 (who still holds the seat). For instance he, like Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, supported the Iraq war.
Graham: What can you say about this Air Force colonel and longtime member of the Republican Establishment – except that he is a longtime member of the Republican Establishment and all that entails?
However, Graham has as good a chance of winning the party’s nomination as that other RINO, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; both want amnesty for illegal aliens (and more legal aliens), just like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; both embrace Big Government solutions like Obamacare (voting ‘yes’ when you know the bill will fail while simultaneously opposing efforts to defund it isn’t “leadership”); both have no real plan (or desire) to cut government entitlement spending. Graham, who is less well known, actually has the advantage of not being named “Bush,” but that’s about it. Conservatives in the party won’t ever support him; whichever GOP candidate emerges victorious to win the nomination will have to have the support of conservatives.
Perry: Rick Perry is an honorable man who served his country in the Air Force and his state as a three-term governor, during which time Texas became a beacon for the liberty-minded and a friendly place for businesses to relocate and build.
That wasn’t by accident. Perry worked hard to attract commerce, though he was aided by a Red State legislature that shared his pro-business, pro-opportunity vision. He was famous for traveling to Deep Blue enclaves like California and New York to entice businesses there to relocate to the Lone Star State.
Local politicians who are hopelessly partisan – New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito once called Perry’s bid to woo New York companies to Texas a “side show” – have been unable to match his success. But instead of championing his tactics, they have instead resorted to denigration and attempts at humiliation – but then Perry hasn’t really given them any indication such ignorance has had any impact.
At one point Perry looked like he was a viable candidate but on second take, despite his progress in Texas and his ability to turn a phrase, he likely would be unable this time around to garner the support he’d need to win the nomination. The left-wing legacy media would savage him not for his ideas but for his accent, his home state (“Look – another hick from Texas wants to be president”), and, potentially, his ties to the Bush dynasty.
There is also a rumor that former NY Gov. George Pataki is exploring a GOP presidential bid as well. Others who are expected to jump in, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, have yet to announce or even indicate when they might announce (though Walker’s been polling well, and consistently).
The Democrats thus far have put up even less inspiring candidates. Hillary Clinton, as GOP contender Carly Fiorina has correctly pointed out, is an unaccomplished empty pants suit; Sen. Bernie Sanders is an unapologetic, unabashed socialist who still has not realized that the country is too broke to spend the kind of money he wants to spend; and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, whom reports say is liable to get into the race for the Democratic nomination, is just another Blue State progressive whose blue state policies decimated his tax base and destroyed the American dream.
Now, whomever the Democrats eventually nominate, it won’t matter if they are soulless, if they spend too much, if they can’t build an economy, or if they come to office with a long resume of non-accomplishments, Democratic voters will turn out to support him or her. But if the Republicans wind up nominating another vanilla “go along to get along” RINO, then he or she will be even less inspiring than the least-inspiring Democrat.
Anyone who wants to run for president should be permitted to do so, of course, and if that means 40 Republican candidates, so be it. That said, however, if the Republican Party leadership truly wants to win in 2016, then it needs to make sure a real conservative leads the GOP. A real conservative with genuine conservative policy ideas can win. Another Graham/Bush RINO cannot. It’s that simple.
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