2 years, 2 months ago
I hesitate to post something that might drag TCJ directly into the GOP nominating process as I do not believe that TCJ is primarily about politics, but given the importance of the 2012 elections, I cannot resist making a cautionary post about what is happening in the Republican primaries.
Allow me to also state, up front, that I am officially undecided on my support. Yes, I am a registered Republican (although I have flirted with the idea of going Independent given the state of the GOP), no surprise there. Like most Republicans I was hoping that several, other candidates would enter the fray, but the top, three candidates at this point could credibly do the job and certainly better than Obama.
This post by Dafyyd Ab Hugh at Big Lizards is, I think, a good summary of the situation as it stood after Gingrich’s big win in the South Carolina primary:
The best news out of South Carolina — for all Republicans, independents, and even Democrats who dread a second term for Barack H. “Bubble Boy” Obama — is that the rift between those GOP-primary voters who support Mitt Romney and those who support the current flavor of NotRomney both make the same argument: Each side claims its own candidate is the most electable against Obama.
So far, I have not heard the meme from either camp that if the Other is nominated, We shall sit out the election or vote to reelect President B.O. This is important; one of three men will be the Republican nominee: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum. It would be utterly devastating if, say, Romney supporters said they would not support Gingrich in the general, or if Santorum supporters insisted that if Romney is the nominee, they will sit out the election.
Ridding the nation of Barack Hussein Obama is the single, most important goal that any, non-Leftist could have for the 2012 elections. At least that is what I thougtht was the most important consideration.
But in the last few days, as poll numbers indicated that Gingrich was leading Romney in the critical state of Florida, a seeming conspiracy of otherwise reliably conservative media figures have rained down a hurricane of scorn and venom on Gingrich.
Big Lizards continues:
In 2008, I know a lot of conservatives and libertarians who were so enraged that none of their own was nominated that they did in fact refuse to vote for McCain; most just stayed home, but a few actually voted for Obama in a fit of pique. While I don’t believe that was determinative — Obamunism would have won the day anyway — it might not have been such a butt-whupping, and the Democrats might not have ended up with such a stranglehold on the Senate. In fact, I believe angry, anti-liberal “protest-voting” handed us ObamaCare and the Trillion Dollar Spree.
This is the very thing that I fear is now in the process of occurring.
For instance, I am a regular reader of the conservative blog, Powerline. In the last week or so, however, I have been shocked and baffled at the contempt emanating from John Hinderaker over the rise of Gingrich in the polls. Hinderaker created a minor firestorm on the blog by calling Gingrich supporters “delusional.” The National Review Online has taken it upon itself to be a veritable Kwik-E-Mart for Gingrich opposition research, recounting his days as Speaker of the House and criticisms of Ronald Reagan. Ann Coulter, normally the most conservative pundit this side of Planet Earth, has taken to Mitt Romney and launched her own attacks on Gingrich, seemingly on cue. This morning, The Drudge Report carried banner headlines about Gingrich’s past criticisms of Reagan and inconsistencies.
Since I started paying attention to presidential politics in 1980, I cannot recall the knives coming out like this against any GOP candidate by conservatives. Perhaps our more senior readers can compare this with the rain of fire upon Barry Goldwater in 1964.
In any event, I think the attacks on Gingrich are so voluminous and so over the top that they risk the very kind of splintered vote that Big Lizards and others fear. I would be the first to point out Gingrich’s many failings and shortcomings. I am not comfortable with his character as evidenced by his serial infidelities. His ego could go toe-to-toe with Obama’s narcissism any day. He has taken anti-conservative and Big Government positions in the past which he now denounces. The list goes on. But a similarly long, though different, list could be made about Romney’s shortcomings. Can conservatives trust either one to govern in a conservative manner? Probably not. That’s why we need a reliably conservative Congress (House and Senate) in 2013 to keep whomever gets elected in check and on track.
But what conservatives like Hinderaker and Coulter and others are doing is approaching scorched earth. I suppose they are driven by a near-fanatical desire to see Obama go down in defeat in November and, so, they are convinced that Gingrich as nominee is unelectable. Maybe so. But unless these commentators have powers of prophecy or a crystal ball, no one can say for sure who is electable in America, circa 2012. The critics are risking a severe backlash, and by that I mean a deep resentment that conservatives were railroaded into a Romney candidacy. If that happens, we may very well see another 2008 where a sizable chunk of conservative voters refuse to go along with the Mitt Machine and these critics, who acted so desperately out of fear of Obama getting re-elected will have accomplished the very thing they dreaded by their own desperation.
And I will close here with a prediction: if Romney wins the nomination under the kind of duress being applied right now by some commentators and he loses to Obama, there will be a third party in America in 2013. It will mark the beginning of the end for the Republican Party as the conservative rank and file will finally bolt the GOP in droves.