When the smoke finally cleared from the 2008 Republican primaries, many stared in utter disbelief at the last man standing – the one that would go up against a new, vibrant Democrat at the peak of the financial crisis of 2008…. John McCain. The collective, yet unspoken thought was, “… How the HELL did that happen??!!”
It’s simple really. In the attempt to force the Republican candidates into the Reagan mold invariably ended up causing irreparable damage to their campaigns and, as they fell, one by one, mortally wounded, John McCain emerged from behind his moderate rock and walked to the finish line.
Please do not misunderstand; John McCain is a fine man and a true American Hero. He would have definitely made a better President that the current one (although that really isn’t saying much – that’s like says I would be a better baseball player than Jabba the Hut). Yet the fact remains that we ended up picking off all of our candidates because they were not genetically identical to Reagan – and when I mean “we”, I mean we CONSERVATIVES! It wasn’t the left wing media. They died from friendly fire.
So now we enter another election cycle. Things are different, yet the same. The economy is in the tank, both parties are pointing fingers at the opposition and the Democrats are running a charismatic speaker who will most assuredly woo the ignorant and rubber stamp liberals who will never realize that he is indeed an economic socialist. However, with 3 years of his own political baggage around his neck, Obama will be a significant number of people who drank his Kool-Aid in 1008 that will be immune to its effects this time around.
For many it’s not Republican candidate vs. Obama; it’s Republican candidate vs. staying home. So what could possibly keep these folks from exercising their God given right to vote? Simple. The Republicans nominating a wonder bread, monotone, less-interesting-than-watching-paint-dry-candidate would cause the masses (independents in particular) to stay home in droves.
Watching the last string of debates, I am getting terrifying flashbacks from 2007-2008, when I stood by helplessly and watched as every early front runner was paraded up to stand next to the golden statue of Reagan, judged to be wanting and then flushed down the political crapper. Every time, it was conservatives, not liberals, that were pulling the trigger. As a result, by the time primaries has started in earnest, candidates that may have had a real shot at stopping the coming Obama-nation were too weak to stand. Result: a “moderate” candidate and a thorough whipping at the polls. Oh and an extra 4 trillion (and rising) of debt, class warfare, racial tension and the unprecedented shafting of our closest allies.
We are seeing it once again. Perry gets in the race, the peasants rejoice! Three weeks later, he’s a speed bump. Now Cain has made a leap with the stunning win of the Florida straw poll as well as a Zogby poll released today (9/27) that has him up 11 points on Perry. Is he next? And there is yet more clamoring for Chris Christie to throw his hat in the ring? Really? Nothing against Christie, but how long would it take for us to cannibalize him?
Michael Reagan said it best, “even Ronald Reagan wasn’t Ronald Reagan when he was first elected.” The President’s adopted, yet only true son has it right. He points out that if Ronaldus Maximus was running today, we’d probably bash him for raising taxes and approving no-fault divorce in California.
This is why Reagan’s 11th commandment may be the best gift he ever gave the Republican party (and THAT is saying a lot!) – “Thou shalt not criticize other Republicans!”
To the candidates: if you can’t raise yourself up unless you tear someone else down, you don’t deserve to sit in the Oval Office. To the Pundits: as any little league dad would say to an umpire wannabe, “Let them play!”. To the rest of us: do you OWN homework, stay vigilant and keep your eyes on the prize. We don’t necessarily need the best candidate; we need the RIGHT candidate (play on words intended).