Believe me, I am as desirous as the next guy to have a rallying-point in the 2012 Presidential election field. Obviously, we conservatives yearn for solid, thoroughgoing leadership. We want, we pray, for a Reagan, a Goldwater, a Taft. Glumly, we find it lacking. We noodle around, finding glimmers of hope in the most middling of circumstances, saying that, in essence, if we squint, and the light is just so, this candidate or that candidate will suit our purposes well enough.
I’m not ready to do that, especially knowing the first debate/beauty-contest doesn’t even happen until June.
I remember John Connolly revving up his presidential snow-blower in the dark and cold days of the winter of 1979, running ads as the only guy that, as a former Democrat and paleo-neo-Republican, was the only person craftily situated to beat Jimmy Carter. I’m not sure the Connolly candidacy lasted until the first debate.
Elections, especially primary elections, are about the winnowing process itself: Who is the most articulate conservative spokesman? Who is the least able to be ruffled in a tight squeeze? Who can dispatch leftist/media complex attacks with the greatest of ease? Who generates excitement, and gets everyone to the polls? Absolutely none of this is known today, and likely won’t be known, until roughly the first of February, 2012.
Oh, I understand the realpolitik argumentation of getting behind a candidate early: Such a person can raise more money, garner more headlines, and so on. But, just remember Walter Mondale: He was the front-runner against Reagan starting in about 1982. Jesse Jackson and Gary Hart, though, held the excitement throughout the primary season, and there was a palpable sense that Mondale never, ever, really stood a chance. But, the union money was always flowing toward Mondale, and the others never really got traction. If they had, it is possible that Reagan may have been denied his 49-state landslide. He still would have won, but it may not have been such a bloodbath.
And also, at this point, I will not reconcile myself to anyone that I discern is soft on Liberty, soft on defense of our Constitution, soft on small, quiet in-the-background government. I will not reconcile myself to a candidate that runs a vanity campaign that seeks self to please.
My antennae right now are very keen to pick up the slightest vibrations of powerful leadership, those candidates for ANY federal office that deign to call a spade a spade. By this, I mean anyone who will call the Obama Administration truly, empirically lawless, or who doesn’t shrink from engaging the conservative, constitutional agenda with full-throated strength. Candidates that go all mealy-mouthed, and insist that we only need to trim the edges of Obamacare, or that Green Energy really is something to be considered, or that radicalized political Islam really isn’t that big a shake– well, I won’t get very excited to campaign and work on behalf of such a candidate.
Especially not in March of 2011. Maybe, as a last, desperate attempt to keep Barack Obama out of the White House for four more years, say, long about October 30th, 2012. But absolutely NOT now.