Will the GOP Establishment Blow It by Picking Romney?

Thomas Sowell has written a piece with the above title which appears today at Real Clear Politics.  In his piece, Sowell demolishes the “we need a moderate candidate” to beat Obama” nonsense being promulgated by the GOP Establishment:

The smart money inside the Beltway says that the Republicans need to pick a moderate candidate who can appeal to independent voters, not just to the conservative voters who turn out to vote in Republican primaries. Those who think this way say that you have to “reach out” to Hispanics, the elderly and other constituencies.

What is remarkable is how seldom the smart money folks look at what has actually been happening in presidential elections.

Ronald Reagan won two landslide elections when he ran as Ronald Reagan. Vice President George H.W. Bush then won when he ran as if he were another Ronald Reagan, with his famous statement, “Read my lips, no new taxes.”

But after Bush 41 was elected and turned “kinder and gentler” — to everyone except the taxpayers — he lost to an unknown governor from a small state.

Other Republican presidential candidates who went the “moderate” route — Bob Dole and John McCain — also came across as neither fish nor fowl, and also went down to defeat.

Now the smart money inside the Beltway is saying that Mitt Romney, who is nothing if not versatile in his positions, is the Republicans’ best hope for replacing Obama.

I’ve always enjoyed reading anything Thomas Sowell writes, and his characterization of Romney’s incessant flip-flops as “position versatility” is sublime.  Beyond that, Sowell’s point that Republicans need to run a candidate against Obama who authentically and consistently opposes the President’s unpopular positions is unassailable, and that simply isn’t Mitt.  As the Wall Street Journal noted last summer, Romney’s positions on a host of issues make him more suitable to be Obama’s running mate rather than his opposition.  The establishment wants Romney to be the nominee because he’s perfect for them.  He has a ton of cash which he will gladly provide them in return for being told what to say, how to say it, and to whom to say it. Position versatility is inevitable when you have no core values.   A candidate who already knows his or her positions is not nearly as profitable for these campaign operatives whose livelihoods depend on those who don’t.

Some would say “that’s politics”, and for the past 25 years or so it has been.  Republican candidates have been listening to these imbeciles since Reagan left office and the Party has not fielded a conservative candidate since 1984 (when they won 49 states).  In the interim, all presidential elections have been a choice between big government Republicans and even bigger government Democrats.  And where has that landed us?  Support for our political institutions is at an all-time low and we’re, at best, a few years away from becoming Greece.  There’s no earthly reason for Republicans to even consider a candidate who thinks it’s the government’s role to mandate citizens purchase health insurance policies…or anything at all.  And yet such a candidate, we’re told, is exactly who we need to beat a President who holds the same unpopular position.  Why?  If 2012 isn’t the appropriate time to nominate a conservative, when is?

Despite all Romney’s money and establishment fealty, he has been unable to move the needle above about 25% in the five plus years he’s been running for president.  Sowell is undoubtedly aware of this and the possibility that anemic support could still be enough to secure Romney the nomination…and Obama another four years in the White House.  To prevent that unhappy result, Sowell has some advice for the non-Mitt candidates in the race:

If conservative Republicans split their votes among a number of conservative candidates in the primaries, that can mean ending up with a presidential candidate in the Bob Dole-John McCain mold — and risking a Bob Dole-John McCain result in the next election.

The question now is whether the conservative Republican candidates who have enjoyed their successive and short-lived boomlets — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain — are prepared to stay in the primary race to the bitter end, or whether their conservative principles will move them to withdraw and throw their support to another conservative candidate.

There has probably never been a time in the history of this country when we more urgently needed to get a president out of the White House, before he ruined the country. But will the conservative Republican candidates let that guide them?

I’d like to think that enough of the non-Mitt candidates who have no chance of winning (some are mentioned above) will put country above self-aggrandizement, bow out gracefully, and allow conservatives to coalesce around one candidate.  If they do, Mitt and his 25% will be finished, and the Massachusetts liberal can go back home and plot his 2016 strategy (maybe 26% will be possible then).  However, given the inflated egos of the individuals involved, I’m not optimistic.  Read Sowell’s entire article here.

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