An important factor is being overlooked in the hype to select the purest conservative candidate to oppose Obama in 2012, and that is the fact that the president must work with congress to enact legislation.
So far, the 2012 presidential contest has drawn a number of potential Republican contenders holding a range of viewpoints from across the political spectrum. Contrary to media reports that this is a weak field and a disappointment to conservatives, most of the announced candidates have an excellent chance of defeating President Obama if they run a smart campaign of using his record against him. President Obama holds a very weak hand of overspending, overregulation, and overreach that has both fueled business uncertainty and sent the message that capital will not be allowed to flourish under his policies. The business community is all too aware of this situation and has elected to wait out his administration.
In addition to the economic factors weighing on voters that include a depressed economy, increasing unemployment, and forecasts of economic stagnation stretching into the distant future, there is the added consideration of Obama’s foreign policy which appears to either be nonexistent and clueless, or downright hostile to American interests in the world. Voters have tired of Obama’s endless apology tours and other efforts to weaken America in the eyes of a hostile world and his transparent efforts to throw Israel under the bus as a sop to the Arabs. Each new day brings forth another astonished observation as to how clueless the Obama foreign policy team is handling the crisis du jour.
Obama’s singular preoccupation seems to be the creation of a regulatory environment that strangles the American economy and entrusts big government with ever increasing control over the lives of Americans. His inept handling of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill has virtually shut down oil exploration in the Gulf and provided him the opportunity to punish Louisiana for daring to move further into the Republican camp in the 2008 election. Even though global warming has been exposed as the massive fraud it always was and prevented the administration from completely seizing control of the energy sector, Obama’s minions merely shifted tactics to create a false controversy over the hydraulic fracking process that has unleashed massive new natural gas sources around the country that promise to finally reduce our dependence on OPEC.
Republicans have not had such a weak candidate to run against since Jimmy Carter in 1980. Ronald Reagan’s drubbing of Carter that year portends a similar outcome in 2012. Media hostility to Reagan’s campaign failed to overcome the economic concerns of voters, and similar media efforts to bolster their man Obama will meet with similar results this time around. Voters are more apt to take a chance when times are good, but their overriding concern is that times be good.
Conservatives are rightly fed up with Republican candidates who run conservative and govern liberal. These smooth-talking career politicians have been called out by the Tea Party movement, labeled as RINOs, and challenged by true conservative candidates in an effort to give voters a stark contrast to the liberal progressive candidates fielded by the Democrats. Tea Party members have caught on to the fact that code words such as bipartisan, compromise, and leadership are nothing more than euphemisms for RINO behavior. In the 2010 election cycle, Tea Party members held Republican candidates’ feet to the fire and successfully weeded out a number of these RINO offenders as they sent the loud and clear message that business as usual in the Republican establishment was finished. This fervent desire to avoid buyer’s remorse in the selection of conservative candidates beholden to the voters has continued in the vetting of this year’s crop of Republican presidential candidates. Voters aren’t allowing the media to crown their nominee and dutifully following in lockstep to the polls. They are asking tough questions and thoroughly examining the records of those who seek their support. This new awareness is a good thing and stands in stark contrast to the apathy on display for so long that allowed the dangerously unvetted candidate Barrack Obama waltz into the White House to unleash his absurd progressive idealism on America.
As the Republican candidates vie for the nomination, their records will continue to be dissected by a newly empowered voter class intent on insuring they get a conservative nominee and not another RINO. These candidates will be forced to explain their records to this newly skeptical group and absorb the message that these voters are intent on watching their every move to insure that mean what they say. If all works well, we should have a rigorous process that produces the most viable candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012; a candidate thoroughly and rigorously tested in preparation for the campaign and able to clearly articulate a strategy and vision in contrast to the failed progressive policies of Obama and his ilk.
During this journey, we must stay focused on the goal of defeating Obama so we can turn the country away from the destructive policies of progressive liberalism. One thing to remember when discouraged by a candidate’s weak points is the fact that the president must work with 535 elected members of congress to enact legislation. Obama could not impose his drastic takeover of healthcare without the help of congress. Congress has the power to curb abuses at the EPA that threaten the energy sector, and no immigration policy will be enacted without the involvement of congress. The Tea Party movement has had a profound influence on the behavior of Republican congressmen who now know to take their concerns much more seriously after their effect in the last election cycle.
Mitt Romney has demonstrated to the electorate that he is another RINO with his refusal to admit his signature RomneyCare legislation is a failure and was a mistake, along with his constant flip-flops on social issues important to conservative voters. His stances on gay marriage, abortion, home schooling, and a litany of other social issues changes depending on the group he’s currently addressing. This behavior belies the fact that Romney is interested in getting elected at all costs and couldn’t care less about the issues. This is classic RINO behavior and disqualifies Romney from serious consideration as the Republican nominee.
Rick Perry from Texas is knocked for his support of open borders and sanctuary cities along the border. These are valid concerns and need to be addressed to the satisfaction of Republican voters so as to leave no doubt about Perry’s stance on illegal immigration. But, at the end of the day, a President Perry would have little chance to pass immigration reform containing an amnesty provision, open borders, or any other point not supported by conservatives due to the pressure they would apply to congress and the fact that many congressmen would be more conservative due to Tea Party efforts in previous election cycles.
The Founding Fathers developed a system of government that relies on a series of carefully constructed checks and balances to prevent any one sector from becoming too powerful and abridging the rights of its citizens. The current mess we’re in is the result of our apathy and neglect and not due to any defects or flaws in the construction of the system. The Tea Party movement is correcting this mistake and gradually realigning the system back to its proper checks and balances. Tea Party involvement is working to improve the accountability of the legislative branch to the electorate with much success to point to thus far, and the 2012 presidential election will allow for the extension of Tea Party influence in the executive branch of government. Together, these realigned branches can begin the work of realigning the judicial branch as better justices are nominated and confirmed. This process will take a long time, but it was also ignored for a long time. We must remember the lessons we’ve been shown by our apathy to the political process that has produced our current situation and resolve to never let our interest wane to the point where we find ourselves in a similar place down the road. We won’t always get perfect candidates (we never do), but at least we’ll have a better idea of what we are getting and they’ll have a better idea of what we expect.