Skip to comments.Primary Postmortem [Vanity]
Posted on 04/25/2012 8:31:57 AM PDT by kevkrom
And so another GOP primary season wraps up, all but officially, and once again, conservatives get the shaft. As usual, it is largely of our own making, as we fail to unify behind a single standard-bearer and allow the "establishment" candidates to pick us off one by one, as none can gain enough momentum to topple the McCains or Romneys of the world.
So, how do we avoid this problem next time? What criteria can we use to find a "unity" candidate when we all have our own ideas as to who the "best" candidate is? I think the first step is to agree on a common definition of "best".
I think the biggest mistake we as a group make is that we all too often look at a primary contest as finding a proxy to tout our own particular interpretations of what it means to be a conservative. A large number of us look to find the "true conservative" candidate -- one who is as close as possible to 100% "pure", by whatever standard the viewer is applying "pure" to. Almost to a rule, this winds up with significant support going to a relatively unknown House member from a safe district who has never faced a serious campaign test (at least, not since he/she was first elected to Congress) or competed at a state-wide level. These candidates, if they ever get any major support at all, become shooting starts who fizzle out quickly once placed in the spotlight.
The simple truth is that being a good conservative isn't, in and of itself, a good qualification for being President of the United States. The President is a leader and executive, and needs to have those traits as well. You don't make a random employee CEO of the corporation, even if they've been employee of the month. Similarly, you don't make a Congressman the President without some other experience that shows he or she can do the job.
Bill Buckley's famous "vote for the most conservative candidate who can win" winds up not being correct, and not just because of the debate over what "who can win" means. (Every fringe candidate supporter maintains their candidate can win, if only those who claim he/she can't would vote for him/her.) It's wrong because it ignores leadership and executive qualities as part of the equation. Some of that is subsumed in what he meant by "who can win", but it needs to be more explicit.
As an improved version, I would suggest "vote for the candidate who is most likely to be able to get conservative changes enacted". This has to take into account not only the candidate's conservatism based on record and positions, but also the candidate's ability to get a conservative agenda advanced and enacted. As a leader, has this person shown that he or she can push a reluctant legislature to act in a conservative (or at least, more conservative) manner? Can the candidate not only explain conservatism, but convince others that it is correct? And yes, even whether or not the candidate has the proven ability to win elections -- you can't enact anything if you lose.
In other words, I'd be far more willing to accept a less-than-perfect conservative, in terms of record, if that candidate would be effective enough in getting an overall conservative agenda passed, than a so-called "true conservative" who, even if he or she could actually win, would be unable to get Congress to go along.
There will always be disagreement, no matter what criteria we choose to evaluate eventual candidates upon. But hopefully, if we can all approach the decision-making process from a single, pratical point of view, we can narrow the potential field down more quickly. At that point, we should hold an open, vigorous debate and agree that we should all back the eventual winner of that debate. We are talking about the health and well being of our country, and personal pride and preferences should take a back seat to that.
And, to make sure none are confused on this point, this is most decidedly not a "get out there and support Romney" post. Romney is well beyond "less-than-perfect" and there is little to no chance that he will enact a conservative or TEA Party style set of changes should he win. He does not deserve support from any conservative.
My big postmortem on this one is that somehow the GOP managed to cobble together a worse field than they did in 08. I’m hoping their intention was to actually throw the election, because if it wasn’t we are long term screwed.
Well most of the front runners where HORRIBLE!! Newt?? really?? I live here in Ga and dont know anyone that likes him!
Cain or Santorum probably would have been better...
We have the weakest sitting president in history.. and the lousiest candidates?? how is that possible??
The conservatives were, in the end, midgets where giants are needed.
The conservatives were, in the end, midgets where giants are needed.
Everyone here needs to be ACTIVE members of the republican party. They need to put themselves up or draft conservatives to run for ALL government and party governing positions. Keep those like Lugar, Hatch, and Snowe in the crosshairs. We may not win all those, but we can make it RINO's work very hard in the primaries.
This is not a 100 meter dash, it is an ultra-marathon to which we need to pledge our lives fortunes and sacred honor.
Okay - Romney is the nominee, and I'm going to vote for him because I can in no way help Obama. But the chess game is not over. With enough support in congress, conservatives can still win by tying Romney's hands. RINO's must fear us more than they like Romney. Ditching Lugar and Hatch will help us.
It sounds like you're making a good case of LCol West. I could get excited about that choice!
I guess that depends how "pure" you are in defining the "conservative changes" you want to see.
If Romney can get the EPA (and other agencies) off of business's throat, simplify the tax code, kill Obamacare (if it isn't already dead) and free up our reserves of energy, I'll take it.
I don't know what you want, but we need to change hearts and minds, not laws, if we want to see changes in moral areas.
And lots and lots of education and mind-changing would have to happen before we could even think about things like getting rid of the Federal Reserve or getting rid of the 17th Amendment.
I don't trust him to do any of that.
No particular reason other than I am a poor writer. I get your point though. I consider myself a conservative, but I’m not going down with the ship trying to hold on to my perfect conservative candidate. The arguments from fellow Freepers on here are to such an extreme that most won’t get behind another conservative because of some little transgression over the last number of decades. To most on here, there is only one candidate. That was where I separate myself from the others. Since we haven’t had a Republican even remotely conservative since Reagan, I would settle for most any conservative, and that does not include Romney.
But, you got me, a poor choice of words on my part.
Exactly how does a 30% front runner win without splitting the other 70% of the vote?
From the beginning I said none of the nine running would ever be president. I hope I was wrong, but not for the reasons you might think.
It Romney can not win, it tells us a great deal about the demographic of our population, probably something from which there is no recovery.
Romney at best would offer an illusion of change, but there would be little to no change and conservatism would for all practical purposes be dead.
I felt all along there must be someone rise up and head a true popular revolt against the GOPe or we are pretty much done as a Republic. That did not happen so I see it as Biblical Prophecy fulfilled.
1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
It might be that the conservatives who whine and mone about being beat by a moderate need to get their friggen act together beforehand and not split the vote. I always wonder why this is not done and wish it was. I suspect egos. Anyhow, the only way to get a conservative president is to get a conservative nominee in the primary. That is where the fight is and the strategy. All this, I am voting for the the sure to lose “not voting” is water under the bridge and somewhat childish in my mind.
Only if it is planned, and it is.
Too bad the conservatives did not plan as well and place one guy in instead of two. You add up the two and Romney is beaten. I was for Newt. I was for Thompson. Same story, different year.