Joseph Koenig: GOP’s Problems Much Deeper Than Newt Vs. Mitt

A very insightful piece by Joseph Koenig appears in the American Thinker.  In his piece Koenig echoes many of the points Governor Palin has been making recently about the state of the Republican field and the utter frustration the conservative base feels toward the party’s inept Establishment who for years have foisted upon us such stellar candidates as George Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and their latest cookie cutter candidate, Mitt Romney who I note parenthetically has been endorsed by all three of the aforementioned losing candidates. I guess the Establishment wants to continue that streak since it’s worked out so well in the past, heh.

Koenig argues, correctly in my opinion, that Newt’s recent surge has far less to do with a newfound love for all things Gingrich than it does with rank and file disgust with their GOP “betters” in Washington who control the party machinery:

GOP  voters are sending a clarion call to the party establishment, but it seems GOP  leaders are not getting the message. The statement being sent to the GOP elite  isn’t about Newt, and it goes beyond even Romney.  It is about a deep  dissatisfaction that has been building for years within the Republican rank and  file.

With  the proclamations of Bob Dole and others against Newt Gingrich recently, it is  clear the GOP establishment fears a Gingrich nomination.  In truth,  however, it is the GOP establishment’s own ineffectual leadership that led to  the recent surge of the former Speaker of the House.

The  prevailing wisdom in Washington and the media is that Newt’s re-birth in South  Carolina is due to his fiery debate performances, which is true, but what  happened in the polls goes far beyond clear articulation of conservative  principles and debate prowess.  Yes, the Republican voters want a fighter,  someone who will take on President Obama, but Newt’s boldness and passion  resonated so well with the disaffected party base, they were willing to overlook  his huge political and personal shortcomings.

Great point.  The base is hungry for someone, anyone, willing to not only forcefully take on Obama’s ruinous socialism, but the Republican Establishment continues to follow the same failed model: Nominate a moderate with no core values in order to appeal to that elusive “moderate” voter who himself has no core values and with whom the deep thinkers in Washington are so obsessed. Never mind that this has consistently been a recipe for electoral failure.  The successive surges in the polls by Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and Gingrich was not so much about them as it was about rank and file dissatisfaction with the Establishment and their anointed candidate who is no more a conservative than, er,  Paul Tsongas.

Koenig continues with a cogent synopsis of just what caused the emergence of the Tea Party movement…

The  Republican rank and file have been sending messages to their party leaders for  years, but without avail.  The GOP has touted itself as the party of fiscal  responsibility and smaller government, but for too many years, their supporters  have seen government and spending continue to spiral out of control, even when  they put Republicans in charge.

In 2006, Republicans were sent a resounding rebuke, losing  both the Senate and the House after 12 years of controlling majorities.   After defeating an uninspiring establishment GOP candidate in the 2008  election, President Obama promptly showed the disaffected Republican voters what  real spending was like, making the ousted Republicans look downright  miserly.

Realizing  just how much worse things could be under liberal Democrat control, the American  people rose up.  The Tea Party was born.  In 2010, frustrated Tea  Partiers sent Republicans back to congress in an attempt to stop the profligate  spending.  The mandate could hardly have been clearer.  Even Obama  admitted to taking a shellacking.

…before issuing a warning to the Republican Establishment who, after the Tea Party fueled Republican sweep in 2010, seems to be rapidly reverting to their old, go along to get along ways:

While  it is true Republicans control only one chamber of one branch of the federal  government, the change the American people sent them to Washington to effect has  not happened.  The frustration that led Tea Partiers to demonstrate in  public squares and dominate town halls around the country has not been  alleviated.  The debt limit battle was lost, the economy continues to  stagnate, and the GOP establishment is once again pushing a candidate that fails  to inspire hope that he can actually make real change happen in Washington.

Unlike  many of the Occupy Wall Street movement protestors, the Tea Party conservatives  had businesses to run, and jobs to return  to, but the frustration and anger they felt is still very real.  They are  tired of sending people to Washington, Republicans claiming to be the party of  fiscal responsibility, only to see things continue to get  worse.

This is precisely the point Governor Palin made Friday in her Facebook Note:

But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 that didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.

Truer words have never been spoken.  Or written as the case may be.  Many in the GOP Establishment enjoying a post 2010 political revival have been far too quick to forget the people to whom they owe their sudden good fortune: The Tea Party without whose money and enthusiasm they’d still be in the minority.  To make matters worse, some of the so-called Tea Party candidates in 2010, once elected, are distancing themselves from the very grass roots supporters who put them over the top.  Koenig further notes that grass roots animosity to a Romney nomination is not personal, just an acknowledgement that we’ve repeatedly gone down this road before and it invariably doesn’t end well:

Romney  lost big in South Carolina against split opposition support.  However, Mitt  shouldn’t take it personally.  The “Anybody but Romney” vote, could well be  renamed the “Anybody but What We’ve Already Tried” vote.  The Republican  voters have already tried the next-in-line, safe, establishment candidate, and  lost–to Obama no less.  As heroic as they have been in wars past, there are no more perfect examples of this  kind of unexciting candidate as John McCain and Bob Dole, both of whom have now  publicly endorsed Romney.

Koenig closes with the following:

The  voters want someone who understands their frustration, anger, and concern for  the future of the country.  They are tired of candidates too timid to say  it like it is, candidates so afraid to offend the smallest of minorities with  uncomfortable truths they instead exasperate the majority through monotonous  political-speak, media-safe answers, and unfulfilled  promises.

Exactly. We need a candidate who inspires with big ideas and who’s not afraid or ashamed of promoting and implementing solid conservative solutions to difficult problems. America is in trouble, and the last thing we can afford is a technocrat who will only, at most, tinker around the edges of Leviathan. Ronald Reagan, who won two successive electoral landslides (a fact the Republican Establishment conveniently ignores), said it best: Bold colors, not pale pastels.

I don’t live in Florida.  But if I did, I’d follow Governor Palin’s advice Tuesday and vote against the purveyor of those pale pastels to which Reagan referred.



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