Presidential Election Doomwatch–Placing The Blame For Mitt Romney’s Ascendency
Posted by KingShamus on February 2, 2012
It’s only February, and it feels like a lot of the wind has gone out of the sails of the conservative base. The culprit? With just four states checked off the 2012 primary season, the results simply aren’t very encouraging. Ron Paul continues to fight the good fight against fiat currency, the last 50 years of American foreign policy and chemtrails. Rick Santorum cannot seem to gain any traction as a viable center-right alternative candidate. Meanwhile, Captain Ahab Gingrich and the Romneytron 2012 Self-Guided Political Action Figure have turned each state into a clash of personalities rather than a fight over ideas.
Why did it come to this? RightHandMan has some harsh–but fair–words.
In 1976, the Republicans watched Reagan lose to Ford and then saw the repercussions of that loss in Carter’s four years. Thing is, Reagan didn’t want to run for President – but did. Know why? Because the people demanded it.
In 1976, the American Conservative Union pushed Reagan to run against the establishment supported and Presidential incumbent Gerald Ford. The establishment supported the wrong guy (the moderate), told us that a conservative like Reagan could never win in the general election, and went on to fail in the race against Carter anyway. The establishment strikes again in 2012 but…No Reagans.
Shame on the conservatives who sat on the sidelines instead of running. Shame on the citizens for not demanding better.
It’s our own damn fault. This whole godforsaken clusterfuck of a Republican
primary dogpile is our fault.
I understand when people talk about how the Establishment ‘wants’ Romney to win. I get how they can feel cheated by a process that seems designed to hand Mittens the nomination. At the end of the day though, it still comes down to people supporting, or withdrawing their support from, certain candidates. The conservatives and Republicans who did not want Mitt Romney to be the party’s nominee simply didn’t do enough to make sure that didn’t happen.
But it isn’t just the vast right-wing conspiracy that dropped the ball. While we’re in the spirit of circular firing squads, let me take aim right back at myself. I jumped on the Herman Cain train with my heart, but I should’ve given it a little more thought than I did. While I had my doubts about the man being completely ready for prime time, I truly believed that he was a star that would shine brighter as time went on. That simply was not the case.
I still think Herman Cain is an impressive guy. He has a deft grasp of economics, he’s a successful businessman who has beaten the odds to rise to the top of profession and he is a forceful public speaker who can connect to audiences. These are all tremendous assets that should not be discounted simply because he didn’t do well during the course of a presidential campaign. There is a future for Herman Cain somewhere in the political world, even if we can’t quite see it yet.
At the same time, Herman Cain and all his wonderful qualities were not able to get the job done. Presidential politics requires an absurdly varied skill-set. Just having visionary ideas isn’t enough. Simply being a good orator won’t cut it. Merely carrying around a huge warchest won’t work either.
Very few people in the world possess the vast talents necessary to play at Commander-in-Chief Level Boss status; even fewer have the desire or stomach for it. Ever wonder why the GOP cannot seem to create another Ronald Reagan? It’s not just that the Republican Party tends to dislike movement conservative candidates, although that’s certainly part of the problem. It’s because Reagan’s combination of temperament, knowledge, endurance and skills are so exceedingly rare that finding another giant world-changing figure like him is damn near impossible.
Conservatives–myself included–should recognize that fact. They should also recognize the limitations of the candidates in the field. Most politicians are not going to be awesome right out of the box. Reagan’s iconic status is in part a product of the passage of time. In the 1980’s, most of the Left and more than a few on the Right thought Ultra Ronaldus Magnus was a bird-brained failed actor who was intent on nuking the world. Even those in the conservative movement who voted for and agreed with the President still criticized him. It’s only been relatively recently that Reagan has become respected–if not loved–across the political spectrum.
As time has passed, I think I saw more in Herman Cain than was actually there. I thought that he had the potential to be a transformational politician. It turns out that Mr. Cain is merely an incredibly impressive man. For what its worth, I’m sorry I didn’t recognize his limitations as a candidate. Had I been a bit more skeptical a little sooner, I probably would’ve moved faster to find a more viable Not-Romney.
2012 has been full of lessons. Sometimes those learning moments have been delivered with a bit of a sting attached. Rather than cry over it, it’s best to learn the lesson quickly, move forward and be wiser in the future.