Skip to comments.Opinion: History Says Mitt's the Man for 2012
Posted on 11/30/2010 3:23:19 AM PST by Rome2000
Opinion: History Says Mitt's the Man for 2012
Michael Medved Contributor AOL News (Nov. 29) -- Conventional wisdom says the battle for the GOP nomination in 2012 is wide open and unpredictable, but Republican history suggests that there is an obvious front runner who is nearly certain to represent his party in the presidential race.
For nearly 70 years -- long before most of the current contenders were even born -- GOP leaders and primary voters have displayed a shockingly consistent tendency to pick a candidate whose previous national campaign, whether successful or not, suggested it was "his turn."
This means that with very rare exceptions, Republicans choose a sitting president or vice president or else the runner-up in the previous nomination fight. Consider:
Thomas E. Dewey: Dewey had been runner-up (to Wendell Willkie) at the 1940 convention, and four years later the 42-year-old candidate won an almost unanimous vote for the nomination. He lost to FDR in a surprisingly close race in the midst of World War II. Because of his youth and his previous national campaign, Dewey became the heir apparent four years later, but lost to Harry Truman in one of the epic upsets of American political history.
Richard Nixon: President Dwight Eisenhower's loyal two-term vice president, Nixon got the nomination by acclamation in 1960 and lost a squeaker race to John F. Kennedy. This meant that he ran three times as part of a competitive national ticket before he claimed the nomination again in 1968 and went on to win the presidency.
Ronald Reagan: In 1976, Reagan put up a strong challenge to President Gerald Ford's nomination and so could make the case that the party owed him a shot in 1980 -- when he captured both the nomination and the White House easily.
George H.W. Bush: As runner-up to Reagan in the fight for the presidential nomination in 1980, Bush got the consolation prize of the vice presidency and became the obvious choice for Republicans in 1988.
Bob Dole: The Senate majority leader ran for vice president with Ford in 1976, then was runner-up to Bush in the 1988 primaries; inevitably, he drew the presidential nod in 1996.
George W. Bush: In 2000, after two embattled terms of Bill Clinton, the closest thing to an heir apparent for Republicans was Gov. Bush of Texas, the son of a prior president.
John McCain: Considering the clear GOP pattern, it should have surprised no one that the candidate George W. Bush beat for the 2000 nomination -- Sen. McCain of Arizona -- seized the prize in 2008, despite a good deal of intraparty grumbling about his "maverick" reputation.
Only Two Exceptions
Since the early 1940s, there have only been two exceptions to the Republican instinct to crown the heir apparent. Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, widely acclaimed as "Mr. Republican," sought the nomination against Dewey in 1948 and could easily make the case that it was "his turn" in 1952 -- but he lost the presidential nomination to the peerless war hero, Gen. Eisenhower.
And in 1964, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona ran a successful insurgent conservative campaign against "the Eastern Establishment" of "country club" Republicans, and went on to lose 44 states to incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. In fact, this one uncharacteristic Republican experiment with a "surprise" nominee worked out so badly that in the last 45 years the GOP has never tried again.
Unlike Republicans, Democrats have nominated several dark-horse candidates in recent years, but with decidedly mixed results. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, though little known when they began their campaigns, won resounding victories, but not so George McGovern. The senator from the sparsely populated state of South Dakota became the Democratic nominee in 1972 but went on to lose 49 of 50 states (including South Dakota). The one-term governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, emerged as the unexpected nominee in '76 and won a close race for the White House, but became a deeply unpopular one-term president.
Yes, the GOP could select from an array of appealing and promising fresh faces in 2012 -- Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; and Sen. John Thune of, yes, South Dakota.
But the most likely outcome by far would see the GOP reverting to form and selecting this year's well-known heir apparent: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Romney came close to wresting the nomination from McCain two years ago and ran a credible, well-financed national campaign.
Sponsored Links His most serious opposition might come from two other figures who ran national campaigns last time: Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. But Huckabee's 2008 run, powered by his formidable communications skills, suffered consistently from limited financial resources, and he's made little progress in building his fundraising base.
Palin also inspired millions of Republicans after her selection as the vice presidential nominee, but with a series of rookie gaffes and a polarizing persona, her one experience as a national candidate can hardly qualify as an unmitigated success.
Newt Gingrich is another potential candidate for 2012, but as former House speaker he hardly qualifies as a fresh face, nor has he been around the track as a candidate for national office, so that he lacks the kind of credibility that seems particularly important to Republicans.
Romney remains the safe choice -- last time's runner-up for the nomination, and a mainstream conservative generally acceptable to many tea party insurgents as well as veteran office-holders.
Most of all, the suave and savvy candidate has history on his side. The last two generations prove that Republicans award their nomination to the obvious guy who's next in line.
For 2012, that means Mitt's the man.
He’s the only one I wouldn’t vote for.
They’re trying to pick our 2012 candidate again!
Mitt will lose and Obama will Rule and finish The US off!!
Medved is a loser.
Get a load of this crap...
He calls himself a "conservative" but appears to be just another scam artist like his buddy MYTH ROMNEY.
Hopefully, in 2012, Romney will finally be “HISTORY”
I wont vote for him or the huckster. Plenty of conservatives out there to pick.
Romney is going to have his Ceausescu moment any day now, sans the firing squad.
He will be jeered derisively though, and will run and hide behind his bodyguards.
If it is Mitt we are voting 3rd party. No point in voting for whitey 0bama.
Oh yeah Medved?
IMHO, the ONLY acceptable tea party insurgent has a TV show on Sunday's at 9PM on the Discovery Channel! She gets her hands dirty!
Myth wears funny underwear and wants to be god...
Gingrich in 2012
“To Save America”
Flush Mitt, it’s a stinking turd!
The author seem to forget Reagan’s run
Also Palin can easily be considered the runner up, “her turn” candidate from the last election, not romney or huckabee
Let’s make this real clear for the Republican insiders who continue to push RINO’s like mittens...........
Mitt Romney is a POS!!! If supporting Obamacare lite in Massachusetts doesn’t disqualify him, his constant pandering just to gain political power should make him DOA.
Pushing Romney is like beating a dead horse; of course, the dead horse has a more pleasing personality than Romney. A more lively one also.
You don’t need to make fun of someone’s religion when calling him a RINO commie will do.
Here is another history lesson. RINOs LOSE to charismatic Democrats.