Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mitt Romney: the Last Republican President?

There's a very provocative piece in the American Thinker about Romney (here) that suggests Mitt Romney may be the last Republican president, ever. Here's a takaway:

This is the last hurrah of the Republican establishment. The conservatives and libertarians will vote for Romney in November, but only because he is not Barack Obama. There will be no enthusiasm, which will hurt the down ballot contests for the U.S. Senate, the House and state governorships. Despite the factors weighing against Obama in this upcoming election, it will be a much closer contest that it should be; perhaps a razor thin victory for Romney.

If Romney were to lose the election, there will be a grass-roots revolt against the Republican Party which will spell its demise. If he wins and the nation, through the mis-directed policies of Romney and the Republicans in the Congress, continues on its current path of compromising and nibbling around the edges of the nation's problems, then Romney will be the last Republican president and the specter of the Democrats re-assuming power will be a reality.

So, here's a straight-up fact: there are more conservatives than there are Republicans. 40% of America is conservative, a number that holds quite steady over time. 30%, more or less, is Republican. This means many will hold their noses and hope for the best with Romney.

Conservatives have a very uneasy alliance with the Republican Party. Often, when Republicans make the mistake of nominating a moderate (Ford, Bush the Elder, Dole, McCain...), conservatives stay home and Republicans lose (giving lie to the conventional wisdom that Republicans need to win the middle to get elected). But this election may be different. Antipathy towards Obama's imperial liberalism runs so deep that conservatives will likely rally around anyone, even Romney.

The Tea Party is the manifestation of conservative displeasure with the Republican establishment. For now, they realize that splintering into a new political party would be self-defeating. But if Romney loses the general, you will either see a wholesale attack for control of the Republican party or, perhaps more likely, a wholesale defection. "Never again," they will cry. Never again will they trust the establishment.

If Romney wins, conservatives will be united in the hope that Romney is the conservative he claims to be. The problem is, all the evidence is that he's more of a George H.W. Bush, who, if you recall, pretended to be Reagan's conservative heir to get elected in 1988, and then was thrown out on his ass when he turned out to be the squishy moderate conservatives always thought him to be. 

Temperamentally, Romney reminds one of HW, too. One of HW's great flaws was that he wanted everyone to like him, a very bad trait if one wants to be a great leader. Ronald Reagan went to sleep every night knowing a third of the country hated him, and he slept like a baby. Churchill was much the same. 
Romney, on the other hand, wants to be liked, and here's the issue: the great problems that need fixing will require great wars to fix. The left will fight with everything they have to protect the status quo, and anyone who reaches for the big, game-changing fixes will be crucified in their circles as well as by their hand puppets, the media. Does anyone think Romney has the stomach for that?

Which leaves us with the second scenario: Romney wins and turns out to be HW, leaving conservatives feeling had. It is unlikely they give the the establishment any more chances. Look for a new party - the Constitution Party? - to be the result. This will consign the Republican Party to the ash heap and open the door for Democrats to run the table for years.

Not pretty either way.


  1. Any elected Republican in a leadership position is fully invested in the established order. Most other elected Republicans have gained power and prestige by working the current system. While there are some elected Republicans in politics who champion Conservative principles, they are few in number, and many get co-opted after a short time in power.

    The financial crisis of 2008, the ensuing recession, and the short-sighted policy prescriptions layered on since have exposed fatal flaws in our current system of government. While times were good, many (most?) thoughtful Conservatives didn't recognize the extent to which government had increased its power and curtailed our freedom. Now that we can see it, it is also clear that most elected Republicans have no true interest in eliminating crony capitalism, the complex tax code, abuse of the Commerce Clause, etc.

    After the 2012 election, win or lose, Conservatives need to bring together Libertarians, Tea Partiers, Reagan Democrats, and all who prefer freedom to forced equality and political correctness. The US Constitution is the proper blueprint for the movement, and is the one simple concept that former adversaries can rally around. It will be a radical movement, yet acceptable to true Patriots.

    The Party of Lincoln and Reagan has run its course. It has calcified and become part of the problem. It is now time for a new Constitution Party to champion individual freedom, small government, and states' rights.

  2. I particularly agree with the perspective that anyone succeeding in the current system is sufficiently proficient and invested in that system to insure they don't significantly change it. They're called politicians for a reason, and they're not going to destroy the system that feeds them.

    The only tweak I'd make entails not speaking of the Constitution "Party", as that concedes the current flawed framework. Rather than fighting or replacing the current two-party system, I'd sneak up on it with an end run. I'd call it the Constitution "movement", where anyone from any party was free to sign up to fairly simple principles. If they were ever shown to violate the principles, they'd be excommunicated with a lot of fanfare. The principles would stay true to fundamental Constitution principles and avoid social or religious issues, allowing the test to be digital - you're either in or out with no shades of gray. They wouldn't pretend to solve all the Country's problems, and they'd defer a lot to the states.

    The idea would be to appeal to the majority who now detest Washington, giving them a simple acid test to measure politicians. Idiot voters who currently vote without any knowledge of the issues but based on what they hear from the media could pretend to be informed by voting on something that's American to the core. It's hard to argue with principles of freedom, liberty, limited taxes, etc. The movement would be sold as reuniting the country and healing the divisiveness that now earns Congress its record disapproval ratings. Even David Letterman, Jay Leno, and MSNBC would have a hard time arguing or mocking it.

    I'm not expert with the technicalities of the current two-party political system or where this would leave it, but the idea would be to trump, neuter, or trivialize current parties rather than replacing them. The consequences might be surprising, as I think a fair amount of the currently dramatized (and inflamed by the media) ideological differences among Americans are more hype than substance. Many "liberals" are only that because it's fashionable, and singular determinants like abortion, guns, or war are extrapolated to so much more without knowledge or commitment. It may be too late if Obama continues to separate the country into takers vs makers, but I think there's still enough of old America alive that even a lot of the poor would jump on board.

  3. Anonymous, I like the way you think. I'm not sure I like the idea of leaving the current Repbulicans in place, because even if they swear fealty to the idea of liberty, they will still have the levers of power, and may tell you what you want to hear. But creative thinking is what it will require to dislodge the powerful while upsetting the two party tradition.

  4. Republicans will cry their tears when Obama lays another 4 years on them. After all the whining, they'll unite again for the third consecutive most important election ever when they have to try to defeat Hillary or face the end of the world.

    Obama fatigue will probably give Marco Rubio a Republican House and Senate. If Romney wins get ready for a miserable 4 years and to choke on Hillary in 2016.

  5. JPR:

    Well said...well said indeed, my friend!

    I feel as though Gandalf himself has just laid his hand upon my shoulder and told me to breathe the Free Air once again!

    Where do I sign-up???



    I like the idea of side-stepping the whole "party" nomenclature, thereby taking the wind out the establishment's sail by refusing to play their game. I agree with JPR though, re: the incumbent GOPers would have to go - they're simply too dangerous.


    Wells Fargo Must Die:

    First of all, I agree with you - to hell with Wells Fargo, although I'd rather see The Fed and Government Sachs arrive there first! (LOL)

    Secondly, have you taken a good look at Hillary lately??

    Irrespective of all that modern medicine and science has to offer, the ugly at heart can cheat time for only so long before they outwardly radiate that which is truly found within.

    By 2016 she'll look like the f_cking Crypt Keeper ( ) himself, which'll probably (and thankfully) render her completely unelectable.

  6. She's not looking that bad. Going to take the next 4 years to freshen up. She will be almost as popular as Obama and gets 49% of the vote automatically.

    We like our politicians old. Plus, we are getting pretty old as a country.

    Better get ready. Be careful what you wish for.

  7. @JPR & Anon: Actually we did have somebody who knows how to play their game and isn't sufficiently invested in it to want to protect the status quo. Unfortunately, all the Establishment had to do to defeat this person was point to their own ethics kangaroo court and some unpopular decisions that said person had to make to play the game. Meanwhile, someone who makes the decision to simply be one of them (Mitt Romney) gets off scotch free, even though he made many of the same so called bad decisions and fought none of the battles. The problem, my friends, is that the people of America have reached such a shocking and depraved level of superficiality that no one can help them. They will suffer, and they will deserve it.

  8. But I don't think Mitt Romney will win this election. Yes, he does currently poll well, but here's the thing: he polls well because people aren't looking at him. He does such a great job of making the election about the other candidates in the primary with his negative ads, but in the general, you only have one opponent. Eventually, people are going to look at him, and in particular they will realize that many of the very same things they hate about Gingrich are far more true about him but with none of Newts redeeming characteristics.

  9. Jeremy, if you don't think Newt is invested in the system I'm afraid you don't get my point.

    The candidate who was closest to the ideal in his beliefs is Ron Paul. A lot of people who believe in his domestic views are scared off by his foreign policy prescriptions, however.

    Even if Newt was as radical and transformative as you think he is, electing him in the current framework would not clean out the Augean Stables of Republican Party organizations around the country. The nature of politicians won't change if we create a new party; but ripping the Republican Party organizations, staffers, and state and county chairmen, etc., up by the roots will give real change a chance to thrive for years to come.