Coming into the 1996 election, the GOP was excited, energized, and fready to take complete control of the federal government. In 1996, the voters, disgusted in part by Clinton's policies ( including the first attempt to have the federal government take over health care ) and the many emerging Clinton scandals ( which is what happens when the Dem candidate gets a pass from the MSM) were thought ready to elect a Republican, actually, "any" Republican, to the White House.Indeed, the phrase "broken glass Republicans first came into use in the 1996 campaign.
Two years earlier, in 1994, the GOP won sweeping victories in Congress, including taking the House after decades of Democrtat control, in part because of Democrat scandals and abuses or power, and the clear and concise policies expressed in the Contract With America. 2010's Congressional election closely mirrors voter sentiment in 1994.
And in 1996, there was a rather large GOP field of potential candidates, again similar to the present. Some flirted with the idea, some openly declined to run, some actually announced, but then dropped out before the primary season, other after the primaries started..
Among the list at any one time..in no particular order:
Howard Baker, James Baker, Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan, Colin Powell, Lamar Alexander, Bob "B-52" Dornan, Phil Gramm, William Bennett, Thomas Kean, Carroll Campbell, Pete Wilson, Arlen Spector..and probably a few more I've omitted.
It's also fun to try and match up today's group with their 1996 "equivalents", i.e. Phil Gramm=Tim Pawlenty, Pete Wilson=Chris Christie, Thomas Kean=Haley Barbour, etc...
The GOP establishment wanted a known, reliable, "proven" candidate..one of their own, someone they were comfortable with..and that was Bob Dole, who also happened to be old, tired, and uninspiring, a vapid, weak campaigner, unable to inspire and excite the conservative GOP base, and who indeed probably initially figured that there was no way he could lose. Well, he found a way.
And a big part of that loss was because the "establishment" was enamoured of the idea of the BRGs..the "broken glass Republicans"....they assumed that we couldn't wait to vote for Anybody But Clinton.
And they were W-R-O-N-G. No conservative wanted another four year of a Clinton White House, but there is a HUGE difference between voting against someone, Clinton/Obama) as opposed to voting FOR someone who finally expressed your hopes, your beliefs, and has a vision for the country has closely emulates yours.
And Mitt Romney is NOT that candidate.70% of the GOP base has already shown that thwey don't want him as their nominee. The establishment feels they can give him the $$$$ he needs, and they may be right, but they can't give him the passion, the energy, to excite the conservative base of the party. We don't trust him, based upon multiple past flip-flops, and to boot, he's a lousy, wooden, seemingly-artifical candidate.
So they're going to attempt to ram him through the process, and we're going to have a replay of 1996. The GOP will take the Senate in 2012, and Mitt/Dole will LOSE in 2012.
And we will have wasted a desperately needed four years; four years in which we could have started to successfully turn this country back onto the course of fiscal sanity, personal responsibility, and a reaffirmation of our rights and liberties.