Take what we’re given, or institute a draft?
The majority of posts here at RedState and general “chatter” in conservative/Republican circles betrays a keen grasp of the obvious – we’re not jazzed about our crop of ’12 presidential contenders. As a sweeping generalization, we’ll say that there are several candidates that most of us “could live with,” a couple that are highly polarizing, and another couple that are highly unacceptable to the majority of conservatives.
(And let me say the purpose of this post is not to start a flame war, there the names have been left out on purpose. You know which candidates fall where . . .)
So, very early in the nomination process we are left with two choices – take what we got and make the best of it, or “draft” somebody. Neither one of these sounds particularly appealing. One of the qualities that most presidential historians point to as a necessary component of a successful presidency is that the individual actually WANTS the job. Ronald Reagan wanted, and enjoyed being president. So did Theodore Roosevelt. There is some belief that George Washington was a reluctant first Commander-in-Chief, drafted to the position by the populace and reluctantly accepted. I frankly believe this is hogwash. Washington did view public life as his duty, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t want to do it. A quick study of Washington’s life reveals a man who was determined to improve his lot in life – move up through social circles, establish a good name for his family, etc. When Washington “reluctantly” accepted the command of the Continental Army, it should be noted that he was the only delegate to the Continental Congress that showed up dressed in a military uniform.
So the factor of “wanting” the job to be effective at it is a detriment to drafting a candidate. Recent efforts to draft presidential candidates have almost without exception been colossal failures. General Wesley Clark was supposed to be the great white hope that ended the evil Bush/Cheney empire. The problem with Clark was that he wasn’t even really a Democrat, had all the charisma of a box of rice cakes, and no platform. On our side, it can be said the Fred Thompson was drafted in 2008. I’m a big Thompson fan (donated to his campaign, dropped out 3 days later . . . then donated to Romney, dropped out a week later . . . considered donating to Obama after that to put the hex on him) but it quickly became evident that running for president was somewhere between fixing the squeaky stair and getting the oil changed on his to-do list.
You have to go all the way back to Ike to find a draft movement that actually worked. It is common consensus that the great general underperformed in the job because, again, he didn’t really want it. Ike was a military man that accepted the job as part of his duty, not out of a higher calling.
This post is getting kind of depressing
That doesn’t leave us with a whole lot of hope for 2012, even if we do win. I supposed one of the “live with” candidates could pleasantly surprise us, but when has a president actually over-delivered on conservative positions? If a draft movement has a miserable chance of succeeding, and an smaller chance of being an in-office success if it does, what are we to do?
Well the obvious thing would be to take the McCain strategy, consider that anything would be better than what we have, and set our sites on Congress, local races, and 2016. We do have a great crop of potential up-and-comers that aren’t quite ready for 2012, but will be well-seasoned by our next cycle.
OK, now let’s name some names
Here’s where I would like to start a discussion on REAL, SERIOUS candidates that have the potential for draft movements. First I’d like set some guidelines –
1. Give reasons to support a draft candidate, and why they would perform well once in the job.
2. Please keep it to YOUR candidate(s). I don’t really want to use this thread to get into a debate on why someone somebody else names wouldn’t be a good candidate.
3. Let’s keep it those that probably wouldn’t run otherwise (i.e. No Trump, Ron Paul, Huckabee here)
Looking forward to it . . .