I’d like to take the time to address a claim that is regularly made, and repeated as if it were the gospel truth, by seemingly the entire media. The claim is that the current field of Republican presidential candidates is incredibly weak, that they all suck, that this is the worst collection of candidates ever assembled in the history of voting.
I’ve linked to an article by Howard Gold from a website called “The Independent Agenda.” I know absolutely nothing about Mr. Gold or the website. I couldn’t tell you if it was a left-wing hack blog, or a libertarian bastion. This article doesn’t really make it clear, because all sides seem to be on this bandwagon. You hear the same message whether you’re reading the Huffington Post or listening to Glenn Beck. That the current Republican candidates are terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad, idiots.
Now, I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t think too highly of most of the current candidates myself. I’ve seen enough out of all of them to have made up my mind. I will be voting for Ron Paul in the Republican Primary, whether he’s still in it at that point or not, and I will be voting for Ron Paul in the general election whether he’s there as a Republican, a Libertarian, or whether I have to write him in myself.
But I would just like to ask one question, particularly to all the Republicans/Conservatives/Independents out there. Who exactly benefits from this narrative? Who gains the most by creating the perception that all of the Republican candidates are terrible? Not just terrible, but literally the worst field of candidates of all time! The answer, obviously, is Barack Obama. With the Republican race being a virtual dead-heat in the latest polls by the top four candidates (FYI, this would be Romney, Cain, Gingrich and RON PAUL, not Rick Perry), the left would need to waste a lot of time and resources attacking and smearing all four of them when only one will eventually win the nomination. It would seem like good strategy, instead, to write-off the whole group. To create a narrative and public perception that it doesn’t matter who wins, because they’re all terrible anyway. I wouldn’t put it past the mainstream media to be doing this completely on purpose, because they are squarely interested in getting Obama re-elected. But I’m disappointed that independent conservative voices are falling into this same trap.
Look, I feel your pain. I understand that many of these candidates have a lot of flaws. But the worst ever? Really? I’ve really only been old enough and intelligent enough to have properly followed the last two election cycles. I can’t speak with much conviction about the relative strength of the Landon/Borah Republican primary race of 1936 (although I would point out that Mr. Landon lost to FDR by an electoral count of 523 to 8). But if you’re a Glenn Beck type whose main complaint is that these candidates don’t seem conservative enough, I won’t even ask you to look back to 1936. Just look back to 2008. Going into the primaries in 2008, it was also essentially a four-person race between Guliani, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee. Guliani and McCain were fairly obviously big-government progressive RINOs who are quite easily to the left of everyone in the current field (with the possible exception of John Huntsman, for whom ‘in the field’ is kinda stretching it). Huckabee got a lot of credit on social issues, but was a big-government progressive when it came to matters of the economy. Romney was, in many ways, the MOST conservative option in the field (and he lost).
Comparing this list to today’s top four, one can easily understand why committed leftists and socialists would hate the current batch. Romney is back again, only he has repudiated a lot of his big government positions and is even more conservative than he was before. Gingrich is filling the big-government progressive republican spot, and trying to do the same, but I think most of us could probably agree he’s definitely more conservative than say, John McCain. Filling the “social conservative” role this time I suppose would be Herman Cain, whose social positions seem to match up reasonably with Huckabee, only he’s also a lot better on the economy. The fourth spot, rather than wasted on another big government RINO, this time is filled by Ron Paul, whose economic positions make Romney look like a Communist, and who holds social conservative beliefs (although is in favor of letting the states decide these things). The only knock any conservative seems to have against him is that he doesn’t want to continue our wars or start any new ones.
Across the board, this is undeniably a better field than we had in 2008, unless you’re a committed leftist. By echoing the talking points of the left that this field is so weak, that it’s the worst ever, you serve only as a useful idiot in the re-election campaign of Barack Obama. I want an honest critique of all the candidates, but please, try to maintain some historical perspective here: All four of the current front-runners would not only be better presidents than Obama, they’d be better presidents than McCain, and probably better presidents than GWB.