I am the Problem with the Republican Party

Image Credit: runluaurun

Ever since the GOP primary season started, I’ve been very displeased with Mitt Romney as the Republican Establishment’s anointed choice. He is not a conservative, but perhaps more importantly his health care record with Romneycare will absolutely prohibit him from being able to defeat Barack Obama in November. Conservatives don’t like him. Moderates don’t trust him. The only people who seem to like him are liberals because they see what the Republican Establishment is unwilling to see, that Mitt Romney is a fraud that will be exposed by the tremendous campaigning machine the Obama’s team will unleash on him if he is indeed the nominee.

The reason that he hasn’t been knocked off his pedestal thus far is me. That’s not a statement exemplifying delusions of grandeur.  It’s what I represent as that loud but unconsolidated group of conservatives who are so strongly opposed to Romney that we are looking to Santorum or Gingrich (or even Paul) to step up. I have “pulled a Romney” several times in the last few months casting my support to the Conservative du jour who seems to have a chance.

That’s the problem.

Any of the candidates other than Herman Cain had a chance if only we would have united around one of them. It was Bachmann. Then it was Perry. Then it was Cain. Then it was Gingrich. Then it was Santorum. Then it was Gingrich again. Then it was Santorum again.

My indecision and the indecision of people like me have propelled Romney to the likely victory he is now clawing his way towards. In the end, he may be better for the country than Obama and that’s another part of the indecision that is haunting the party. Many who have voted or plan to vote for Romney are doing so reluctantly because we want the fighting to end and for the party to concentrate on the true foe. We want to prize. We want the presidency.

Right here, right now, I’m drawing the unpopular line. I will not vote for Romney. Many will say that it’s a statement and position that further damages the party. They are right. Unfortunately, they are also wrong. Voting for Mitt Romney will hurt the Republican party and the country more than another 4 years of Obama. His chances are mathematically lighter than either Santorum or Gingrich to be able to beat Obama simply because he cannot win the important states.

If he is able to win somehow in November (anything is possible in politics, particularly when Obama is involved), he will do damage to the party in ways that will take at least 8 years to fix much in the same way that Bush Sr. did in 1988-1992. He will hurt what has been built up recently in congress by pulling us away from the possibility of a majority in both the House and the Senate. He will put a Democrat back in the White House in 2016 and likely again in 2020 because of the debacle that his presidency would be.

Ron Paul, for all of his good ideas and intentions, is also in the same boat. His foreign policy ideas are impossible to support.

This leaves Santorum and Gingrich. The line in the sand has been drawn. Who will step up and earn my support from now until the end?

Santorum Pulls Ahead of Romney in Latest National Poll

Rick Santorum Pulls Ahead

The latest CBS News/NY Times Poll among Republican Primary Voters shows Rick Santorum taking his first nationwide lead against Mitt Romney, 30%-27%. New Gingrich, who led this poll just 5 weeks ago, fell to 4th with 10% behind Ron Paul’s 12%.

This, the most volatile primary season in recent history, has shown that there really is no true front runner. The sides are starting to take shape, however, with 4 major groups:

  • Conservatives split between Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich
  • Libertarians for Paul
  • Moderates for Romney
  • Conservatives who believe the Republican Establishment that Romney is the best hope to defeat Obama

This race will likely go on for a couple more months unless something changes the game (such as Gingrich stepping aside and sending his support to Santorum). None of the 4 are out of contention with Paul making headway on getting delegates despite no states won and Gingrich hoping for a strong performance in debates at the end of February.

Should Gingrich Step Aside to Spite Romney with Santorum?

Gingrich Should Step Aside

In 1996, many conservatives were asking Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to step aside in light of his admission of violating ethics rules. He obliged back then. Today, many of the same conservatives (and a lot of newer ones) are wondering if the same thing should happen. This time, it’s not about what he did wrong but about what Rick Santorum is doing right.

Despite the Republican Establishment’s insistence to back Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum is emerging as the best conservative contender to beat Romney and face President Obama in November. The biggest challenge he is facing isn’t coming from Romney, the Republican Establishment, or Ron Paul’s passionate followers. It is Gingrich who may be in the way.

In a turn of events after Tuesday’s three state sweep, many conservatives (myself included) have switched gears from asking Santorum to step aside. Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina gave him momentum going into Florida, but it faded quickly and Santorum split the conservative vote with him. As a result, Romney won.

We were calling for Santorum to do the right thing for his country and his party by blocking Romney, consolidating the conservative vote under Gingrich. He did not, and now we’re ready to ask the same of Gingrich. With Santorum more poised to pull the upset, the Speaker should consider his country, his party, and himself.

A Santorum victory fueled by Gingrich bowing out before it’s too late could solidify Gingrich’s chances of either a Vice Presidency (unlikely) or a high-level cabinet position (more likely). Santorum and Gingrich clash on domestic and economic policies but they seem to be of like mind when it comes to foreign affairs, making Gingrich a strong choice for Secretary of State.

Together, they have a chance of beating Romney, which would give the Republicans a chance of beating Obama. Apart, they are only hurting each other. Romney is unable to defeat Obama because he cannot present the stark contrast to the last 4 years that Santorum would. The Republicans have failed with McCain, Dole, and were only successful with Bush because of weak contenders on the Democratic side. The Republican Establishment has failed the party and is failing the country as a result.

Rick Santorum could be the difference-maker, but he may need help from Gingrich if he’s going to pull it off.

Why @RickSantorum Should do the “Right” Thing for His Country Before the Florida Primary

Rick Santorum Should Back Down

It isn’t often that I agree with my liberal cohort in Washington DC Annapolis, Lorie Wimble, but we’re (almost) thinking along the same lines on the issue of Rick Santorum helping Barack Obama. It should be noted that I absolutely support Rick Santorum and would love nothing more than to see him in the White House. However, sometimes the right thing to do is to ensure that a conservative has the best chance to win. In this case, that conservative is Newt Gingrich.

Love him or hate him, he’s the only conservative with a chance of taking on Barack Obama. If Santorum does not back down before the Florida primary, he will be doing his party and his country a disservice by giving the nomination to Mitt Romney.

Depending on the poll, Santorum is either 3rd or 4th right now in Florida. This election year has proven that fortunes change quickly but there’s simply not enough time to make up the difference. He’s pulling votes from Gingrich, the candidate closest to Romney in Florida, and is therefore making it a near-certainty that Romney will get the nomination as he prepares to sweep the February primaries. A loss for Gingrich in Florida will eliminate the only hope left to take on Obama in November.

Romney cannot beat Obama and Santorum cannot beat Romney. Gingrich has a chance to beat both of them. Santorum needs to remove his ego from the equation before Tuesday or he’ll be dooming his own country to the fate of four more Obama years. As much as I would love to see Santorum make the conservative changes that are necessary to save the country, Gingrich is the next best thing. They are splitting the conservative vote and despite a win in Iowa, Santorum has zero chance of getting the nomination.

Rick, do the “right” thing. Drop out, support Gingrich, and get ready to become Secretary of State.

Santorum is Strengthening Obama’s Chances for Re-Election

Rick Santorum Thumb

Read the conservative response (which sort of agrees with me!) in this open letter to Rick Santorum.

The only candidate who truly scares me is looking more and more likely to lose the Florida primary and therefore the GOP candidacy thanks in part to Rick Santorum. Despite Mitt Romney’s strong poll numbers against Obama, it’s easy to see that he will be steamrolled by the Obama train once attentions turn to the national race.

Santorum was the only wildcard that could have changed the face of the election had he backed down before the Florida primary. While Gingrich would still be a longshot to take on Obama, he’s much-better qualified than Romney to take on the President head-to-head in debates and his trademark big ideas that often confuse and “inspire” Americans desperate for proposed changes (even those without substance such as putting a colony on the moon in 9 years) could have swayed some moderate voters.

As Charlie Rose points out in a report about Romney’s rise Florida, “It is said in Chicago where they are running the Obama campaign that they’re so giddy that they want to run naked in Millennium Park.”

This has been an exceptionally-weak pool for the GOP. We laughed when Trump looked like a potential candidate. We laughed harder when Bachmann, then Perry, then Cain took leads in the polls. Gingrich is laughable as well, but Romney is the biggest joke of them all because his position as the pure representation of “the 1%” makes his candidacy irrelevant once he wins Florida, sweeps the February primaries, and walks right into the Obama campaign trap. This isn’t a call for complacency, but it does allow us a temporary sigh of relief.

With Santorum sticking with it, Gingrich appears to be fading out of contention. The Democratic party should thank him. I know I do.

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Lorie WimbleLorie is a mother of 2 and is the voice of liberals for Conservative Haven. She lives in Annapolis, MD, and volunteers for the President Barack Obama Re-Election Committee.

The Drudge Report is Doing Whatever it can to Give Obama a Second Term

Drudge Report

For a “conservative” news aggregator, the Drudge Report is doing its best impersonation of a liberal mainstream media opinion-sculptor as the clear lean towards the “Republican Establishment Candidacy” of Mitt Romney. This goes against the what the largest chunk of Republican voters want and it’s only one piece of the anti-Newt puzzle.

What is it about Romney that makes so many conservative publications, influencers, and analysts support him? Is the Republican Establishment really that scared of their own ideas that they are willing to support someone who hasn’t pushed for them in the past? Are they serious about attacking Obamacare, something that Romney has zero credibility to accomplish? Is the vote of moderates so important to them that they’ll turn their back on the conservative base?

Drudge WivesTo the right, you’ll see a carefully-crafted and impeccably-placed set of two articles that declare “news” of the wives in play. Even the images are well-chosen to give the impression that one candidate is moving up and one candidate is on his way out. It’s a despicable display of lack of journalistic standards from a publication that makes its money influencing the very base that it has turned its back on.

Florida is the last hope for the country. With little chance of Santorum or Paul breaking through to the top, Gingrich is the last conservative who has a chance to win the GOP nomination. Despite 32% of Republican voters supporting him nationwide versus 24% supporting Romney, the Republican Establishment led by Drudge, Fox News, and Romney’s cronies in Washington are trying to shift the balance of power over to the Massachusetts moderate. They aren’t interested in running with someone who displays the type of leadership that Republican voters want. They are only interested in trying once again to put a John McCain or a Bob Dole up as their horse of the year.

It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Newt Gingrich is the only GOP candidate who has what it takes to beat Obama as well as a chance to win the nomination. Romney has neither the skills nor the track record to win in November, assuring a 2nd term for Obama.

The Republican Establishment Should Stop Being “Pragmatic” and Start Listening to its Base

Gallup Republican Poll

There are two elements at work in the nation and through Florida in particular right now that are counteracting each other. On one hand, you have Fox News, Republican strategists, and the left-leaning mainstream media doing whatever it can to make Mitt Romney the GOP choice to go against Barack Obama in November. On the other hand, you have the largest chunk of Republican voters nationwide supporting Newt Gingrich.

If the Republican establishment could get out of its own way and listen to the voice of its base, we have an opportunity to have someone we can passionately stand behind and rally around against Obama instead of another Bob Dole or John McCain moderate who simply cannot win once the full force of Obama’s campaign team takes aim.

It’s happened in the past. Those who think they know what’s best for the party work behind the scenes to get the endorsements for the candidate they feel can win the moderates on both sides of center. This year’s weak contender is Romney. He has a nice smile, decent debate skills, and proved that he could win in one of the most liberal states in the union. There’s nothing wrong with him. There’s simply not enough right with him.

Gingrich is far from perfect. His reputation as someone who “thinks big” is, for some reason, being positioned as a negative. He has been in the center of turmoil for the last two decades and has character flaws that terrify moderates who want a safer path towards removing Obama from the White House. Their thinking is backwards. What the Republican party and the country in general needs is someone who is fearless, intellectually-driven, and willing to do whatever it takes to pull the country from the precipice.

In the latest Gallup poll, Gingrich is leading 32% to 24% over Romney amongst likely Republican voters. These are the numbers that the Republican Establishment should be looking at rather than listening to their experts who say Romney is the better choice to get the votes from the middle. In the last three decades, we’ve proven time and time again that big-idea Republicans can win while moderate-appeasing token candidates do not.

Let’s take a look at the past 3 decades:

  • 1980: Ronald Reagan was a true conservative who was able to bridge the gap to the left through big ideas.
  • 1984: Reagan’s success fueled the simple question, “Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?”
  • 1988: George H.W. Bush won against a weak candidate and from the momentum of a country that witnessed what conservative principals could do for the US.
  • 1992: Bush lost when moderate choices on taxes rallied the country against him. We read his lips and didn’t like what they were really saying.
  • 1996: A true Gingrich-style conservative should have been able to easily win against the lukewarm success that Bill Clinton had in his first term. Instead, we had Bob Dole as our champion. It was a major opportunity squandered by the Republican Establishment.
  • 2000: George W. Bush ran and won through the support of a conservative base that rallied behind his ideas.
  • 2004: The war on terror and a weak Democratic candidate helped keep Bush in office as the “lesser of two evils” despite a brand of moderate economic policies that would have tanked him had the circumstances been different.
  • 2008: Again, the Republican Establishment felt their weaknesses and put up a moderate in McCain against a far-left candidate. The results have been disastrous for the country.

Any time the GOP has stopped trying to win through moderation, they have succeeded. The only moderate victory was 2004 (in 2000, we still saw Bush as a conservative) and it was based on circumstance rather than substance.

To Fox News, GOP experts, and the meddlers in the mainstream media who fear a Gingrich presidency, please get out of the way. The country is ready to be bold again. The country needs to be strong again. Obama has weakened us. Romney will not do much better.

Gingrich is our best chance for turning the country around. The Republican voters around the country know it. Why won’t the Republican Establishment listen to its own base?

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JD RuckerJD is the voice of technology and social media for Conservative Haven and is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Blog. He is a husband and father of 3 living in Southern California.

Bill Clinton is the Best Thing that Happened to the Gingrich Campaign

Bill Clinton

Two decades ago, Newt Gingrich would be unelectable. He has already been involved in scandals while in Washington and he’s demonstrated multiple challenges with his personal life that would have precluded him from being a viable candidate, let alone someone who is well-positioned to be the Republican nominee for President in 2012.

His ability to run, to stay at the top and to be considered the best hope against Obama in November is a direct result of one man: Bill Clinton.

Leadership vs Morals

President Clinton is arguably the only man since Ronald Reagan to have a successful time in the oval office. Republicans would argue that Bush was successful while Democrats would point to his many flaws. Democrats would argue that Obama has been successful while Republicans would say, “look around.”

Few on either side would say that Clinton’s presidency was a failure. The country prospered under his watch. Many of his actions are still being felt today, and while Republicans might point to major differences in policy choices, they have to acknowledge that he did many good things for the country.

Few on either side would say that Clinton was a moral beacon. He was caught cheating on his wife while in the White House and he was caught lying about it while staring directly into the eyes of a watching nation. The words “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” will follow him throughout the history books for all time, followed very closely by the quote, “I didn’t inhale.”

High morals? No. Strong leadership? Absolutely.

Bill Clinton’s record indirectly helps Newt Gingrich. For a President to be effective while not being a pillar of morality is the best hope for Republicans. Lust is a powerful thing and in today’s world it’s can be forgiven more easily than shady dealings surrounding greed. While Mitt Romney may be able to take the moral high-road regarding his marriage, the questions surrounding his activities with Bain, his alleged use of the Cayman Islands as a tax haven, and his unwillingness to release his tax returns before being selected as the GOP nominee are more damaging.

We know Gingrich is a cheater, but it’s better than being a Plutocrat in the eyes of American voters, particularly in today’s economic atmosphere.

Commentary

Gingrich’s first surge prior to Iowa came at the worst possible time. He became a target too early and Santorum was able to capitalize. South Carolina is a different story. Following two strong performances during the two debates that preceded the SC primary, Gingrich is positioned to win a race that was completely owned by Romney a week ago.

Republicans might be starting to see Gingrich as their best hope against Obama, but Democrats are seeing Gingrich as an easier foe than Romney.

The prospects of putting Obama and his record over the last 4 years up against Gingrich’s “wild card” mentality has them salivating. It’s Bob Dole all over again in their eyes. Bill Clinton was extremely well-liked by the people as a person while Dole was perceived negatively. Dole’s political record was strong. His personality was not.

It’s a little different in an Obama/Gingrich race. Obama exudes much of the same charisma and likability that Clinton had, but Gingrich is disliked for different reasons than Dole.

Romney has strong head-to-head numbers against Obama, but his baggage will be attacked and he has shown that he cannot handle it very well. Gingrich has demonstrated the ability to turn negatives into positives. It doesn’t matter. Democrats would still rather face him than Romney.

If that wish is granted, it could prove to be a mistake.

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Sal McCloskeySal brings a moderate voice to Conservative Haven. He is a tech blogger in the heart of Silicon Valley but doesn’t get to go to too many parties anymore.

Newt Gingrich is the Only Candidate that can Beat Obama

South Carolina Primary

South Carolina Republicans, take note before the upcoming primary. Newt Gingrich is the only candidate that can beat Barack Obama. This isn’t a statement that has been building up based upon continuous, unwavering approval from a passionate supporter. This comes from someone who has been studying every debate, as many speaking engagements as possible, previous history, Obama’s campaign strategies, and the path that the nominee must travel before facing Barack Obama.

Romney cannot win. He showed during the debate on January 16th a few things that make him a weaker candidate than many originally thought. First, he received more boos than anyone from the crowd, one that was most likely made up of conservatives. Without the adamant support of conservatives (particularly financial support in the coming months), Romney will not be able to fight against the barrage of attacks that will come towards him from both sides.

Second, Romney may lead in the polls but it is apparent that his support is based upon Republicans “settling” for who they believe can win rather who they really want. The lack of passionate support following him cannot turn into a victory in November. Even Ron Paul, whose floor is the strongest but whose ceiling is the lowest, would have a better chance than Romney because of the very passion of his supporters that Romney’s lack.

Third, he’s too rich. Estimates put him at a quarter of billion dollars networth. Others say he may be worth closer to a billion. In a world of Occupy Wall Street, that level of wealth will not play well during the campaign.

Finally, the man cannot debate. He doesn’t do well when put on the spot and there is zero doubt that he will be put on the spot by Obama and the media. How he handles situations is poor at best.

Newt Gingrich has the ability to take on Obama in the war of words. More so than Santorum or Paul, Gingrich has answers to questions that resonate with the population. He is the true “Reagan Conservative” that many have hoped for since 1988 and has a track record of being able to work with the other side to make things happen. His personal issues are minor compared to his ability to solve the country’s problems. People will see this.

They’ll vote for Gingrich. They won’t vote for Romney.

Here’s what they think of Gingrich, on the other hand.

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JD RuckerJD is the voice of technology and social media for Conservative Haven and is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Blog. He is a husband and father of 3 living in Southern California.

Gingrich: “I like where we are now”

Gingrich Think

One of the most asinine attacks currently being levied upon Newt Gingrich is that he is not a true conservative. It’s a desperate move by his GOP competitors, Mitt Romney in particular, as way to try to derail the momentum he has been building up the last couple of weeks ahead of the Iowa caucus.

As he points out while answering questions in Iowa, he has had a 90% American Conservative Union voting record for two decades. It’s a record that few in his party can claim and one that clearly tips his conservative hand when it come to policy. Trying to deny this is, as Gingrich puts it, a lie.

When asked about the polls that are showing him behind President Obama in a head-to-head race, Gingrich reminds us that Ronald Reagan was in a similar position against Jimmy Carter in 1979 and that “I like where we are now.”

Here’s the video from CBS News: