Conservatives are fired up. Thanks to the Tea Party and Obama’s general left-wing bungling, we’re mad and ready to go for the throat on government spending. So who does Intrade show as having a 70% chance of winning the Republican nomination for president? Mitt “Social Security is just fine” Romney.
The left is always shrieking that the Republicans are going to nominate some right-wing nut for the presidency; if only that were true. The Republican base’s perfect candidate would be someone who emerged from his bomb shelter toting a shotgun with the sole purpose of dismantling government. We want someone who can barely restrain himself from violence when talking to the normal useless, arrogant, tax-and-spend politician. Someone who, when given a bill to raise taxes, wouldn’t only veto it but would also publicly burn it and then hunt down the perpetrators who wrote it.
So who have the we nominated for president in the past? John McCain. George W. Bush with his “compassionate” conservatism — not that mean old conservatism that holds people responsible for their actions. Bob Dole. Exciting, right?
Obviously there is some sort of disconnect between what the conservative base of the Republican party wants and who the party ends up nominating for president. The states that go first in the primary and thus hold the most influence — New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Florida — seem random, but from the results in past elections one has to conclude they were chosen by some sort of RINO genius to ensure that only a milquetoast right-of-center candidate will win the nomination. Right now the country is a car speeding towards a cliff due to out-of- control spending, and conservatives want a president who will seize the wheel of that car and turn it around. But the Republican we nominate is always someone who only promises to ease up on the gas a little.
The left don’t have this problem. They nominate impractical left-wing nuts for president all the time. In fact, their more centrist candidates like Bill Clinton are the exceptions, not the rule. So why is that? Are the left just more devoted to their cause than we are?
The problem is that at the end of the day, conservatives are just practical people. Why do we have the bomb shelters? We like to survive. And you don’t survive by getting caught up in wild-eyed fantasies. While we want to nominate some crazed anti-politician, at the end of the day we can’t pull the trigger when we know it just means we’re guaranteeing four more years of having a far left Democrat in charge. Sure, we’d love to send an extreme right-winger to the White House screaming about how Gardasil makes you retarded — if for no other reason than to make the left apoplectic — but we know that’s not going to happen. That’s why we always end up with someone like Mitt Romney, the creator of Obamacare’s predecessor. Yes, conservatives loathe him, and he loathes us, but he seems like the best chance to win.
And maybe it’s best that there is some loathing between conservatives and our presidential nominee. The last thing we want to do is fall in love with a politician. Because what type of people become skilled politicians? People who hate government? No, those people never learn to work in the system. The people who succeed in politics are those who kinda like government and see it as a great tool for change — i.e., they’re the enemy. No one gets to the level of being able to run a skilled campaign for president and remains a true conservative. So that’s why conservatives holding onto Reagan as the ideal politician hurts us in the end. We have this fantasy that the move to reduce government will one day be led from the top, but it’s just not going to happen. Anyone who makes it to that level is no longer one of us.
Conservatives just need to come to grips with the fact that it’s always going to be a Mitt Romney-type who leads the ticket, which is why we can’t make the president the standard bearer for conservatism. The true conservatives are always going to be those of us who never have the taint of politics on us, and if we want real change that reduces the size of government in this country, that means we’ll have to put even more pressure on a Republican president than we do on a Democrat. When the car is speeding towards the cliff, we have to be on the hood of that car, screaming at the driver, “TURN THIS THING AROUND!” So the ideal candidate for conservatives isn’t some extreme right-winger. It’s a skilled politician we know we can bully.