While 2010 was a marked victory for limited government fiscal conservatism national representation has left conservatives and libertarians miffed. Conservatives pulled the weight for the Republican party in 2010 leading to historic gains but despite their influence little of that manifested in the Republican presidential primaries.
Mitt Romney has been the consummate politician taking a page from the John Kerry playbook, flipping and flopping on any side of an issue regardless of personal precedent in a desperate attempt to appease voters.
Rick Santorum gave us a healthy dose of social conservatism with little practical experience regarding limited government or fiscal conservatism.
Ron Paul offers a strong ideological stance, a toxic foreign policy and tone deaf solutions to complex problems while supporting real limited government and fiscal conservatism.
This election seems to be following a common theme dating back to President H.W. Bush. Republicans don’t have a good candidate to vote for, only a less bad candidate.
Thus conservatives and libertarian minded voters are stuck one again with the choice of picking the lesser of two evils or casting a protest vote.
The past two decades have shown a progressive shift to the left among national Republican candidates. Starting with H.W. Bush we moved to Dole, then W. Bush, then McCain and now Romney.
Every election threatens supposed dire consequences. What could be worse than Clinton or Gore? How many Supreme Court justices will be nominated? Can flip flopping Kerry lead a nation at war? What about dove single term Senator Barack Obama versus liberal maverick McCain and now Mitt “windsock” Romney, grandfather of Obamacare and a recently reborn serious conservative?
The all too common wisdom is that picking the moderate candidate allows you to grab the middle and win the election on the backs of independents who decide elections.
As a practical matter if you keep grabbing for the middle then eventually you end up on the left. Democrats pull their party left and expect the middle to come to them and the center adjusts to a position further left than when the process began.
Furthermore, when you actively endorse candidates in the middle it weakens the argument for the policies of the base by giving the appearance that Republicans don’t even believe in what they say they believe in. In effect, you undermine your own policies which won’t win votes in the middle and dampens enthusiasm from your base.
We’ve seen this all too clearly the past two election cycles. Republican rhetoric sounds hollow and lacking vigor.
The GOP base is treated as an afterthought as Republicans put the desires of the fickle middle above that of anyone else. The end game has become about winning for the sake of winning rather than about making good decisions for the country.
While a vote for Romney may halt a disastrous Obama regime and slow our miserable decline into liberalism, two decades of failure require us to ask if it is worth it. The GOP nominated a Romney before and we received eight years of pseudo liberalism under W. Bush that were catastrophic for the party and ushered in Obama. There is the potential we will lose Supreme Court nominees but such things are worthless if we are forced to forever shift to the left for votes.
This begs the question, “Does a vote for Romney provide a path to fiscal conservatism and limited government?” No.
A vote for Romney further undermines conservative principles giving more ground to the left. A vote for Romney sends the message for would be conservative candidates that this isn’t the party for them. Why go through the media drubbing when the establishment moderate always wins?
I fear this is an unfortunate situation where we need to step backwards to move ahead. Unless the vicious cycle is broken and the Rino wing of the party are immasculated the party is destined for endless mediocrity.
If we want to get American back on the right track we can’t keep moving left.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank has been shadowing Ted Cruz’s campaign. Unable to come up with anything substantive, what he’s produced is one of the most juvenile screeds ever to appear in any major newspaper.
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