Yes, We DO Need to Start Talking About 2016
We cannot afford another splitting of the conservative base.
Divide and conquer. That has been the establishment’s strategy for the last seven election cycles and it has worked. If they can divide the conservatives (or in the case of 2000, fool them into voting for a moderate), it will leave what they see as “acceptable” candidates and we nominate mushy moderate after mushy moderate. Our record in those seven election cycles? 2-5. If the establishment were the coaching staff of a sports team they’d be long gone by now.
In 2012 conservatives and libertarians were split between Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul. And some conservatives supported “compassionate conservative” (aka fiscal moderate) Rick Santorum, whom the establishment deemed acceptable. But it was Romney who consolidated the moderates and the people who don’t pay attention and vote for the “next in line” and won the nomination.
Let’s rewind t0 2008, what were conservatives saying? “Let’s keep our eyes on 2010.” It payed off, we won the midterms by one of the largest margins in a long time. But what was going on in that election? Mitt Romney was collecting chips, making endorsements, testing the waters. Other candidates were as well. Sarah Palin was endorsing winner after winner, leading some to think she may throw her hat into the ring. There was talk of what all this meant for 2012, “Keep your eye on the ball,” activists would say, “We’ll talk about 2012 when 2010 is over.” But as the new Tea Party Congress was being sworn in, it was too late. Romney was well into planning announcing his second run for the presidency. Palin, who would have been a natural rallying point for tea party conservatives (and I believe other conservatives and libertarians once she began campaigning) was beat to the punch by Michele Bachmann, whom Palin would have been too easily compared to. (Unfortunate as it is, with so few women running, that’s the reality.) And this new energized wing of the party found itself with no leader to rally behind.
It sickens me to pick up my iPad and read about how Jeb Bush is trying to “navigate” the waters on a 2016 run for the presidency and how his son George P. Bush has filed to run for statewide office in Texas but “isn’t sure” which one yet. I can’t think of a more perfect picture of entitlement and American aristocracy. We cannot afford another four to eight years of this family determining the course of the Republican Party, or worse, the nation. While Chris Christie wouldn’t be entitled (actually, I think he’d be quite grateful, which would be really refreshing), his moderate stands on issues make him a non-starter for me. We can’t afford moderation, we need a clear, concise conservative message in 2016, and we need a president with some courage to make it happen!
So my fellow conservatives, we need to keep an eye on how Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Rand Paul (three conservative/libertarians who are making movement on 2016) during these midterms, see how they fair on the national stage and rally behind no more than two of them for 2016. It should be abundantly clear to us whom we should support by time the midterms come along. With the nature of presidential campaigns these days, it will be too late by time primary season starts. Let’s keep one eye focused on 2014, and the other firmly on 2016.