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Iowans, social conservatives and that Romney continues to live

Apportioning blame in case Ronald Reagan Jr. is not the 2012 GOP presidential nominee

After the historic tea partier-inspired conservative Republican landslide that was the Election of 2010, we had every reason to believe that Reaganites-a-plenty would be vying for the opportunity to retire the disaster that is President Barack Obama.

Surely there are scores, if not hundreds, of articulate, experienced and reliable conservatives on fiscal, social and national security issues who posses the skill sets to campaign and govern effectively? Maybe they exist, but we haven’t seen them in Des Moines, Dubuque or Davenport of late.

Yet, we are told that if Iowa social conservatives turn to reliable pro-lifer Rick Santorum in larger numbers than for Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry that they will be “shooting us in the foot again” by “ensuring [that] Mitt Romney wins the nomination”.

We largely share what we think is the underlying fear of the esteemed (by us as well) leader of Redstate.com, i.e. that a Mitt Romney nomination would be another McCain-like lost opportunity for bold conservative leadership. Hence our own preference for Rick Perry as the most reliable conservative and several others before we would “settle” for Romney. But while we understand that this is the nomination bout and that there are stark differences between conservatives, those differences pale in comparison to those between any of our non-Paul contenders and the Leftist disaster that has occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the past three years, but I digress.

Iowa not a bellwether

Why the seeming priority of pre-maturely assessing blame for a Romney nomination victory to a small group of unique social conservatives making choices between a crowded field of flawed non-Reagans in a state that rarely has even a minor effect on subsequent contests? As Michael Barone so succinctly stated, “as goes Iowa…so goes…Iowa” and not the nation.

Have those that would cast stones at Iowa social conservatives been rock solid for an obvious best non-Romney-facilitating choice from jump street? Hardly. Moreover, the argument being made about the supposed “danger” of an Iowa caucus vote for the Keystone State loser to Bob Casey, itself, factors in viability. So shouldn’t Iowa social conservatives be afforded the same privilege in finding the more reliable tea partiers wanting based on poor debate performances and other campaigning deficiencies? Obviously.

Who knew social conservatives preferred pro-lifers?

Yes, one can construct a long list of conservative grievances against Rick Santorum. Is his list so much longer than those against the other non-Pauls that a vote for him is akin to assaults on extremities with a deadly weapon? We think not.

Coalescing around one tea partier would be a viable tactic if the main strategic concern is that Mitt Romney not be the nominee, but merely bemoaning the fact that particular Iowa results will not supposedly be a net negative in advancing that concern and blaming “social conservatives” for finally settling for a pro-life candidate in a crowded field, and staking out  a position to blame that group for a possible result down the road is quite unfair to social conservatives in particular, and Iowans generally.

If Perry doesn’t defeat Romney, its Perry’s fault

If Mitt Romney wins the GOP presidential nomination, it will overwhelmingly be the “fault” of his opponents for not running better campaigns.

Moreover, social conservatives in Iowa are not the same as those in Dixie. Iowa caucuses are “closed” in name only, given that one may register Republican at the caucus, rather than having to have been so registered for weeks or months earlier as in truly closed primaries or caucuses. Voters are not so easily defined and pigeonholed and most social conservatives are three-legged stool Reaganiteconservatives more so than any other hyphenated conservative or at least within the margin of error in such comparisons.

How would one not be deemed to have “shot us all in the foot” thus ensuring that Mitt Romney wins the nomination given such a crowded field of poor tea partier campaigners? One would think that not voting for Romney would be the sine qua non for escaping blame? But no, one must engage in the supposed exact science of assessing viability going forward based upon a lack of organization and money outside Iowa?

Would an anti-Romney vote for the three-headed Perry/Newt/Bachmann entry really be for a campaign juggernaut flush with money and volunteers in the non-Iowa Lower 47? Of course not. There is no such non-Romney machine out there.

This social con doesn’t get the seeming need to define the race as anti-Romney in the first place and then to assess blame for a Romney nomination against social conservatives that don’t vote for Romney.

Moreover, if one seeks to assess blame, shouldn’t one specifically define exactly where to aim to miss our feet? I think so.

Mike DeVine

Atlanta Law & Politics columnist –  Examiner.com

Editor - Hillbilly Politics

Co-Founder and Editor - Political Daily

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

More DeVine Gamecock rooster crowings at Modern ConservativeUnified Patriots,  and Conservative Outlooks. All Charlotte Observer and Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-eds archived at Townhall.com.

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