In 2009 we began a conservative resurgence. We had just witnessed a stunning economic intervention from the Bush administration, and were now facing an expansion of government. President Obama, with a complicit Congress, had charted a course that included giveaways to every left wing pipe dream couched as stimulus. Conservatives and libertarians formed a loose coalition and took to the streets to seek redress.
As the movement gained strength and popularity, the Obama administration decided to flex its muscles and force even greater socialist schemes on the people of this nation. The passage of Obamacare, while an absolute defeat for smaller government, served as a rallying cry that strengthened our resolve.
In 2010 we put down the protest signs and picked up campaign signs. We made errors, but more importantly, we took back the House. Unfortunately, we didn't change our leadership. Betrayals and half measures served to squash the optimism that had been prevalent.
As we began pondering the 2012 GOP candidates, there was a palpable pessimism. The field was unworthy of the conservative resurgence that had returned the House to our control. We were all awaiting a champion.
Pence declined, Palin declined, Daniels, Christie, Jindal, Ryan, none would step forward.
Then, something happened. Governor Perry heard the call and threw his hat into the ring. For a moment, we were optimistic about our primary.
What we didn't know was that our new champion would stumble. Gov. Perry was recovering from a back surgery and half his state was on fire. Gov. Perry was fighting to get assistance from the federal government due to the level of destruction that was occurring, to no avail.
Those who were against the Governor's entrance into the race quickly sprang to action. They berated him for possibly missing debates, then chastised him for debating while his state was on fire. Unable to assail the Texas economic record, they - the candidates and the pundits - shifted the focus and attempted to paint Gov. Perry as soft on illegal immigration, in favor of forced government inoculations, and worst of all, as a crony capitalist.
Admittedly, Gov. Perry failed to nip this in the bud and expose that the majority of these complaints were nothing more that projection from the other candidates. Personally, I believe that the Governor's back issues held him back. Additionally, I think he fell into a trap of trying to take out Mitt Romney.
I don't think it is fair to lay all the blame on the Governor though. I truly believe that a significant portion of the blame can be put at our own feet. A healthy skepticism of those in power had transformed into an unhinged paranoia. Gardasil was one instance, secret Islamist was another.
Despite the Governor improving after the early debates, the narrative was set and he had been crowned the stupid candidate.
Since then the front runners have all been politicians who have supported the individual mandate, including Santorum, or a CEO on a book tour.
This is what our pessimism and borderline paranoia have brought us to. We have rejected the only three candidates in the race that have never supported an individual mandate. Those being, Gov. Huntsman, Gov. Perry, and Rep. Paul. Paul is a racist lunatic who should be purged from the party. Gov. Huntsman decided early on that courting conservatives would be a losing strategy. In hindsight, Gov. Huntsman was right, but for the wrong reasons. Gov. Perry is still the natural choice for movement conservatives and those who joined the Tea Party movement in 2010.
Unfortunately, it appears we have decided that we can forgive bad policy records easier than we can forgive poor debate performances. The bar is high for us to prove we are serious and victory requires calm, consistent, focused, calculated effort.
In the last century, every conservative resurgence has fizzled out in the course of a few years. This has become the expectation, and the saving grace of the ruling class. If they simply hold out long enough, they know that we will lose inertia, eat our own, and fail to devolve the power back to the states where it belongs.
In the end, we will end up with the candidate we deserve. My hope is that we, the voters, will decide to set aside the irrational grudges that will lead to us deserving Mitt Romney, and four more years of Barack Obama.
If we don't, we'll all share in the blame for this late term abortion on our conservative resurgence.
Aaron B. Gardner