Monday, March 7, 2011

Republicans on notice: Step forward!

Where are our courageous candidates? Last week, Laura Ingraham sent a direct message to indecisive GOP hopefuls: “It’s now or never!”

“If you agree that the country is sliding into an abyss, and you have the ability to run a strong campaign, and yet you stand on the sidelines, as if you’re pretending you’re on the injured-reserve list, then I say don’t ever run, because this is the go-to election.”

Ingraham voices the same concerns that so many are having: thus far, a strong Republican candidate has not emerged as the frontrunner to challenge Obama. I read an interesting article before the weekend asking a simple, yet similarly provocative question: Who dares take him on?

"Despite their victories at the mid-terms, the Republicans seem oddly slow to start choosing a presidential candidate.

By the absurdly elongated standards of American politics, next year’s presidential election is not that far away. It is less than a year until the first primaries and caucuses. By this time four years ago eight Republicans and ten Democrats had already thrown their hats in the ring; so far this year no serious candidate has done so... No presidential election, in fact, has got off to such a slow start since 1992—when, as now, there was an incumbent president and no obvious front-runner ready to take him on. There is no shortage of Republicans who consider themselves presidential timber, of course. But their slowness to register officially as candidates is an indication of the peculiar dynamics of the race.

The main thing holding Republicans back is doubt about whether Barack Obama is beatable."

What?! After the midterm landslide of historic proportions, too many Republican leaders, and now apparently too many GOP presidential candidates, still have but an inkling of understanding as to what happened in November. It was a resounding rejection of Obama’s policies, thanks in large part to the conservative ascendancy of the tea party movement, and the notion of principle over policy! This man is absolutely beatable with the RIGHT candidate.

So knowing and understanding this, where does that leave our ‘unofficial’ kickoff of the 2012 GOP presidential campaign? Well, despite everything we know, the indicators are a bit of a mixed bag…

Gingrich, Pawlenty and Santorum (and Cain) are speaking today at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, which is one of the first multi-candidate forums of the 2012 presidential campaign: "Things are just starting to heat up on the 2012 caucus side for Republicans here in Iowa," Matt Strawn, president of the Iowa Republican Party, told KCCI-TV in Des Moines. "Monday really represents the flag dropping and the race starting." So this appears to be our first four ‘unofficial’ contenders...a couple of establishment guys, along with a couple of more principled choices, but no standout frontrunner.

FOX News also gives an interesting indicator of who’s running and who’s not: they’ve temporarily suspended the contracts of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, because both have ‘signaled’ they are considering presidential bids; however, thus far, Palin and Huckabee are still on air…does that tell us anything? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Also before the weekend, Gallup asked Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who watch Fox News which potential 2012 GOP candidates run best? Moreover, what do these results say about the enthusiasm of the viewership when the top contenders are mostly unenthusiastic choices? Where’s Jim DeMint? Paul Ryan? Or newcomers like Allen West or Marco Rubio? Or how about Gov. Scott Walker?  Aside from our conservative ladies on the list (one of whom served up a strong and unapologetic dose of conservatism this Sunday to David Gregory, quite civilly I might add), I see a bunch of waffling establishment guys (and a libertarian), some of which couldn’t even make it through the primaries the last time around (including the libertarian)! But despite my opinion of the above mentioned indicators, they do begin shaping the politics of the Republican presidential playing field, for better or for worse.

Now, you could look at some of these top contenders through the eyes of ‘liberals in RINO’s clothing’, like David Brooks, who rightfully point out that Romney and Pawlenty are ‘dull choices’, but un-principally long for Mitch Daniels; or you could similarly take the libertarian approach, like David Boaz, who are right about saying that Obama can sleep easy if it’s down to Romney or Huckabee, yet are spiteful towards ‘social conservatives', filtering out all moral implications in their rationale. While both of these positions make some vital observations that happen to be enough to start a daily dose of Cymbalta and Xanax, they miss the overarching concerns of most conservatives…and that is, where is the fearless conservative presence?!

As Rush stated throughout today’s show, aside from clearly conservative policy, we must have a candidate who is willing to take on Obama directly, address how his policies are destroying this nation, and fearlessly do so! This man is not undefeatable! However, if we do not have such a willing candidate, which the above indications lack in the confidence department, then we risk continuing down the road of an unenergetic GOP campaign, and now is not the time for cowering candidates. Four more years of destructive Obama policy is too high a price to pay!

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