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Primary Postmortem [Vanity]
Special to Free Republic | 2012-04-25 | Self

Posted on 04/25/2012 8:31:57 AM PDT by kevkrom

Primary Postmortem

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".

It's not a "Conservative Beauty Contest"

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.

Buckley was wrong

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.

Conclusion

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.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012gopprimary; primary; vanity
I've been mulling these points over for a while, but have held back on posting them because I didn't want it to seem like I was trying to use this as an indirect means to support my own chosen candidate.

Now with the race pretty much over, I can post this without that concern. These are ideas, and only a high level at that. I invite everyone to comment, correct, add to, etc.

1 posted on 04/25/2012 8:32:01 AM PDT by kevkrom
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To: kevkrom

All we can do now is support SarahPAC to keep the pressure on the GOP-e.


2 posted on 04/25/2012 8:34:56 AM PDT by cll (I am the warrant and the sanction)
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To: kevkrom

The ‘right’ GOP had the same problem this year as they had in 2008: too many messengers, too little message.

In both races, several conservatives entered and basically divided their portion of the political pie. At the same time, the elites had one candidate who benefitted from the chaos on the conservative side.

Divide and conquer.

The elites let the conservatives divide themselves, and the elites managed to conquer both years.

==

Unless and until the conservatives wake up, present one unifying candidate to carry the message, they are going to continue to splinter and lose the primary race.


3 posted on 04/25/2012 8:45:03 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: kevkrom

You are right. Conservatives cannot agree on anything because they have their “principles”. They are all right and they will tell you so. Just watch the rest of this thread abd see.


4 posted on 04/25/2012 8:46:45 AM PDT by caver (Obama: Home of the Whopper)
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To: kevkrom

I know many of my fellow Tea Partiers bristle at the idea of organization or leadership, but that’s what we need. We need a Tea Party caucus within the party functioning by ‘16 complete with a ‘party within the party’ platform and delegation system. WE need to hold our caucus a full month before the first state primary/caucus and choose our candidate.

In this way, no leader wannabe gets to “speak for the Tea Party”. We would speak, as a group, for ourselves.

If the Tea Party formally organizes about the business of choosing our candidate before the first state contest, we can short circuit the long fingered wave from the national GOP-e.


5 posted on 04/25/2012 8:47:10 AM PDT by ziravan (Are you better off now than you were $9.4 Trillion dollars ago?)
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To: kevkrom

Nope. Romney pulled ahead because he was better organized ....years ago, greased the skids(Niki Haley) and played a negative campaign largely relying on Attrition .

He never got specific with his positions and won’t in the general. it will be flowery terms against... Wait for it.... The same strategy he just waged.

Barracks is even better organized and will have a 10-1 advantage in bank with tons of loot and don’t think he won’t pull that cap of allowing $300 million in tiny donations from foreign sources again. He will absolutely do it.

Barracks is going to say Romney was the templates for ObamaCare® “So, what is the problem? Why Can’t Mitt admit it? We did, after all, rely on the advice ot two of his advisors who helped him craft MittCare®!!!”,

LOLOLOL

“He seemed pretty proud of his legislation and laughed as he signed the bill!” (rubs face with middle finger)

It will start there and get worse.

2nd amendment
Gay Rights
Abortion
Etc.

“LOL, Wait, so this guy was for it but now he’s against it?” “Who iz this guy?”

Mitt wanted to be President long before any of the guys in this primary and gathered a coalition to work on strategy, tactics, counters.

But! it ain’t over til its over and so long as Newt’s in, I’m in, with him


6 posted on 04/25/2012 8:51:03 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: ziravan

A Tea Party within the party formal caucus works for down-ballot races, as well.


7 posted on 04/25/2012 8:51:24 AM PDT by ziravan (Are you better off now than you were $9.4 Trillion dollars ago?)
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To: ziravan
I know many of my fellow Tea Partiers bristle at the idea of organization or leadership, but that’s what we need. We need a Tea Party caucus within the party functioning by ‘16 complete with a ‘party within the party’ platform and delegation system. WE need to hold our caucus a full month before the first state primary/caucus and choose our candidate.

In this way, no leader wannabe gets to “speak for the Tea Party”. We would speak, as a group, for ourselves.


This is an excellent idea!
8 posted on 04/25/2012 8:56:40 AM PDT by SoConPubbie
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To: Vendome
Romney pulled ahead because he was better organized

It's part and parcel of the same thing -- a fragmented group of conservative candidates cannot be organized, because they're competing for resources instead of coalescing them.

9 posted on 04/25/2012 8:58:59 AM PDT by kevkrom (Those in a rush to trample the Constitution seem to forget that it is the source of their authority.)
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To: cll

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. -—

What I don’t understand is how this can be anybody’s idea of fair. I understand there are still 14 states that haven’t even held their primaries yet—that means people in those states haven’t had a chance to vote yet-—???How can the primary season be OVER???? How can this be fair-—and since when did we start running an election this way? Doesn’t anybody see a problem here??? I would think there would be enough intelligence in this country to see a HUGE problem here...we can’t go on this way.


10 posted on 04/25/2012 9:14:47 AM PDT by RS170
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To: caver

“...they... they... they...”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Any particular reason you are writing in an “us vs. them” style against us conservatives?

If you were a conservative; would you not say...”Conservatives cannot agree on anything because WE have OUR “principles”. WE are all right and WE will tell you so.”


11 posted on 04/25/2012 9:16:08 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: cll
Do you really think that Sarah Palin is NOT going to endorse Romney? Of course she will, as will Gingrich and Santorum. Count on it.
12 posted on 04/25/2012 9:21:19 AM PDT by bella1 (As it was in the days of Lot.....)
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To: ziravan

You know, I think you’re right. I was looking at this at more of a micro level, but real impact would be made if it could be done at an organizational level. Potential candidates could compete for the endorsement of the TP caucus, which would come with funding and organization behind it.

With enough money and organizational infrastructure, it would certainly be a prize worth having, and a rule that would require anyone submitting themselves to the caucus to support and endorse the winner of the “pre-primary” would keep fragmentation to a minimum.

The potential pitfalls would be the need to keep the caucus on-mission, as the GOP-E would certainly seek to infiltrate and “turn” it, or at least marginalize it enough to dry up the money and influence. Also, there would have to be a vigorous and thorough vetting of contenders so that there would be no ugly surprises down the road.


13 posted on 04/25/2012 9:22:29 AM PDT by kevkrom (Those in a rush to trample the Constitution seem to forget that it is the source of their authority.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

I think that was written from the point of “them” being the “I’m a ‘pure’ conservative and everyone else is a RINO” type. At least, that’s they way I read it.


14 posted on 04/25/2012 9:24:05 AM PDT by kevkrom (Those in a rush to trample the Constitution seem to forget that it is the source of their authority.)
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To: kevkrom
So Romney now has enough uncontested delegates to lock it up? I don't think so.

It may go to Romney, but it's not the time to call it until he has all the uncontested delagates required. And I strongly suspect Florida will be contested.

/johnny

15 posted on 04/25/2012 9:27:00 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: bella1

I’m sure she’ll do that as a unification gesture, but her PAC will hold everyone’s feet to the fire, including Romney.


16 posted on 04/25/2012 9:31:09 AM PDT by cll (I am the warrant and the sanction)
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To: cll

Inevitably, sooner or later, we are going to have to take on the GOP RINO establishment in a Presidential race and defeat them. It must be done.

Are the stakes too high to do it in this cycle? Perhaps.
Four more years of Barry might find us all in re-education camps while the yutes march around the periphery singing The Internationale.

Is a blistering 2016 primary challenge to Romney in the cards?

Not sure how it will play out but nothing will change until after we take out the Beltway RINOS, once and for all.


17 posted on 04/25/2012 9:41:37 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: JRandomFreeper

Florida and I believe another state as well.

The changed the rules to winner-take-all in the middle of the contest.

It is suppose to be proportional.


18 posted on 04/25/2012 9:44:50 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: cll
Given that I live in the Peoples Republic of Michigan, I can in good conscious cast my vote for a third party candidate (assuming that the State will go to Obama) without feeling like I aided Obama’s reelection.
19 posted on 04/25/2012 9:48:34 AM PDT by bella1 (As it was in the days of Lot.....)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Additionally I there are several states who Romney has garnered but the Delegates are uncommited.

And the territory delegates he won can’t vote. But, Romney shrewdly spent money to get them so he could atritt the field and support.

Those were definitely beauty contest votes.

So Romney doesn’t really have the number of delegates everyone says he does.


20 posted on 04/25/2012 9:49:17 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: kevkrom

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.


21 posted on 04/25/2012 9:53:44 AM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: kevkrom

Well most of the front runners where HORRIBLE!! Newt?? really?? I live here in Ga and dont know anyone that likes him!

Romney? gag...

Cain or Santorum probably would have been better...

We have the weakest sitting president in history.. and the lousiest candidates?? how is that possible??


22 posted on 04/25/2012 9:56:28 AM PDT by wyowolf
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To: wyowolf
One factor to consider is that a number of potentially stronger candidates, like Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan, decided to sit out the 2012 primaries. There was a general feeling that with the economy in a weak, but notable recovery and the Middle East wars winding down, that Obama would be a difficult target to beat. Romney has the organization and the money. Paul has the organization but not the money. From October of last year until March of this year, the conservative candidates fluctuated as this week's Reagan II. None (Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum) could sustain momentum for more than a few weeks, and in the cases of Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum, injured themselves with gaffes or past extreme-sounding statements. Cain's alleged affairs and Gingrich's actual ones weakened their viability. None of the conservatives had adequate money or organization.

The conservatives were, in the end, midgets where giants are needed.

23 posted on 04/25/2012 10:16:08 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: wyowolf
One factor to consider is that a number of potentially stronger candidates, like Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan, decided to sit out the 2012 primaries. There was a general feeling that with the economy in a weak, but notable recovery and the Middle East wars winding down, that Obama would be a difficult target to beat. Romney has the organization and the money. Paul has the organization but not the money. From October of last year until March of this year, the conservative candidates fluctuated as this week's Reagan II. None (Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum) could sustain momentum for more than a few weeks, and in the cases of Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum, injured themselves with gaffes or past extreme-sounding statements. Cain's alleged affairs and Gingrich's actual ones weakened their viability. None of the conservatives had adequate money or organization.

The conservatives were, in the end, midgets where giants are needed.

24 posted on 04/25/2012 10:16:11 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: kevkrom
So, how do we avoid this problem next time?

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.

25 posted on 04/25/2012 10:30:33 AM PDT by ALPAPilot
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To: kevkrom
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.

It sounds like you're making a good case of LCol West. I could get excited about that choice!

26 posted on 04/25/2012 10:46:14 AM PDT by Retired COB (Still mad about Campaign Finance Reform)
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To: kevkrom
there is little to no chance that he will enact a conservative or TEA Party style set of changes should he win.

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.

27 posted on 04/25/2012 10:55:09 AM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: SoothingDave
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 trust him to do any of that.

28 posted on 04/25/2012 11:02:15 AM PDT by kevkrom (Those in a rush to trample the Constitution seem to forget that it is the source of their authority.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

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.


29 posted on 04/25/2012 11:18:34 AM PDT by caver (Obama: Home of the Whopper)
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To: Vendome
Nope. Romney pulled ahead because he was better organized ....years ago, greased the skids(Niki Haley) and played a negative campaign largely relying on Attrition .

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.

30 posted on 04/25/2012 1:00:31 PM PDT by itsahoot (I will not vote for Romney period, and by election day you won't like him either.)
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To: itsahoot

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.


31 posted on 04/25/2012 1:05:15 PM PDT by rlbedfor
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To: wyowolf
We have the weakest sitting president in history.. and the lousiest candidates?? how is that possible??

Only if it is planned, and it is.

32 posted on 04/25/2012 1:06:51 PM PDT by itsahoot (I will not vote for Romney period, and by election day you won't like him either.)
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To: itsahoot

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.


33 posted on 04/25/2012 1:09:41 PM PDT by rlbedfor
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