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?

General Election Scenarios Favor @RickSantorum

GOP Election Scenario Map

With 22 states very likely to vote for the Republican candidate and 19 states plus Washington DC very likely to vote for President Obama, there are 9 states that will be at the center of each campaign once the Republican nominee is selected.

For a Republican victory, it’s easy to see that Santorum would have an easier road to the White House than Romney.

In Colorado, Iowa, and Ohio, Santorum fairs better.  In Virginia and Florida, Romney is the stronger candidate. However, Florida may be a moot point as it will likely stick with Obama as it did in 2008 unless Marco Rubio is the GOP Vice Presidential nominee. In that scenario, Republicans would have a great shot at picking up the state.

This leaves Pennsylvania, which voted for Obama behind strong campaigning by Scranton-born Joe Biden. Santorum can deliver Pennsylvania. Romney cannot.

The “established” delegate count puts the Republicans at 180 and Obama at 232. Add Santorum’s Pennsylvania delegates and Marco Rubio’s Florida delegates and it brings his total to 229. If he can deliver Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Colorado, places where his chances are stronger than Romney’s, he would squeak out a victory even if Obama retains New Mexico, Virginia, and North Carolina.

With Romney losing in Pennsylvania, he would have to win South Carolina (where he didn’t even win the primary) plus either Virginia or New Mexico to win. This is assuming he is also able to deliver Ohio, Colorado, and Iowa, places where Santorum is more popular.

If the Republican party’s goal is to defeat Barack Obama, there is very little room for doubt that mathematically speaking, Santorum is the much better bet.

The Broken System: Santorum Leads Nationally But Everything Hinges On Michigan

Santorum Over Romney

It’s an antiquated system designed before the internet and with the intention of allowing voters and delegates to see their nominees in person. It harkens to a day when trains crossed from sea to sea with candidates waving at people who were lining up just for a glimpse. Those days are behind us. The system should be as well.

The grind of the nomination process (and the state-based election system altogether) no longer make sense. Currently, Rick Santorum leads all GOP nominees in national polls, but most of those voters will not have a voice. If Michigan goes to Romney, this race has 10 days left. For people living in states who have primaries after Super Tuesday on March 6th, your votes won’t make a difference.

A win for Romney will give him the momentum he needs to wrap up the nomination. The fight will continue for a long time, possibly up to the convention, but everyone other than the hardcore supporters of each remaining candidate will lose interest.

How can someone better-represent a party’s choice but not have a chance of reaching the majority of the voters? Why is a vote in Michigan more powerful than a vote in Utah, a state that has more delegates but who has very little chance to make an impact with their primary in late June?

According to the most recent USA Today poll, Santorum is ahead of President Obama head-to-head by 3% while Romney is tied with the President. As you can see in the graphic above, Santorum also beats Romney in a nationwide poll. The fact that we still have this ludicrous system is asinine.

We have television. We have the internet. We have ways to see each candidate and have them speak to the people in each state. The primary system should be consolidated to one that makes more sense in the digital age. Standard conservative thinking is to allow the states to do what they feel like doing to select delegates, but for once we’re deviating from the norm. Regardless of who wins today, the fact that voters in Michigan are more empowered than voters in other states is absolute proof of a broken system.

Romney is Declawed in Time for Santorum to Remain the Front Runner

Santorum Front Runner

It has been a whirlwind of a primary season as five candidates have held the top spot in national polling amongst likely Republican voters over the last several months. The only constant has been that Mitt Romney has never fallen below #2 and has fought of Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich through their surges.

He was recently eclipsed by Rick Santorum. This time, Romney will not be able to bash his way out of second place thanks to a perfectly-timed defection of a certain Ohio Attorney General.

Mike DeWine has been a Romney supporter for a while now, but today’s announcement did more than just represent a defection away from Romney and into Santorum’s camp. It highlighted the tactic that Romney has used throughout the campaign when threatened: attacks on the front-runner of the day.

It worked with Rick Perry (aided by poor debate performances) and would have worked on Herman Cain had his past not come back to haunt him (which many speculate Romney’s team had a hand in anyway). It destroyed Gingrich after his stunning victory in South Carolina with Romney’s team outspending the field 6-to-1 in Florida, most of which was spent taking down Gingrich.

Thanks to DeWine, Romney’s despicable methods will be called into question when he tries to do the same to Santorum.

“To be elected president, you have to do more than tear down your opponents,” DeWine said. “You have to give the American people a reason to vote for you, a reason to hope, a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better. Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not.”

Every time Romney or his SuperPAC attempt to destroy their opponents, they’re adding fuel to the fire that Obama and his team are already counting on for victory. Whether it’s Santorum, Romney, Paul, or Gingrich, the eventual GOP candidate will be limping into a fight against an extremely formidable opponent. The Romney attack machine needs to be called out every time it fires up. DeWine’s comments and defection will further highlight this need.

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.

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.

3 Reasons Why Democrats Are Drooling Over the Santorum Rise in Iowa

Santorum

While it’s still likely that Romney or Paul will win Iowa, Rick Santorum has made a statement by surging at the right moment in the polls. He has put nearly all of his efforts into winning Iowa, spending 101 days there. Michele Bachmann is a distant second with 79 days in the Buckeye state.

Democrats are loving it. There are three things about Santorum’s rise that bode well for them in the general election.

  1. Continued Uncertainty – If the Republican race comes down to two people as it did early in for the Democrats in 2008, the likely candidate will emerge more quickly. A 3- or 4-person race keeps the attacks coming from multiple directions, allowing Democrats to build up funds and hold their own campaigning at bay for as long as possible. The longer it drags out for the Republicans, the better it will be for the Democrats. Any hope, even a glimmer, that someone can challenge Romney and Paul would prolong the Democrats advantage.
  2. The Insurance Agent Image – Newt Gingrich appears to be a bold strategist on stage. Mitt Romney appears to be a shrewd economics guru. Ron Paul appears to be the voice of logic through radical thought. Rick Santorum appears to be the guy who sold you your life insurance. His image as perceived by the American people will have a hard time against the Obama charisma.
  3. He Doesn’t Debate Well – There’s a difference between someone who is well-spoken and articulate versus someone who compels passion. Rick Santorum’s words are strongly rooted in the conservative thinking that many Republicans want, but his stage-presence is mediocre at best. Only Rick Perry does worse going head-to-head with his competitors.

CBS discusses the rise of Santorum as the man of the hour. Will it take him to a strong showing in Iowa?