In the wake of the Iowa Caucus results yesterday, it would be fair to say that I am disappointed with the direction in which the Republican nomination process is headed. There was essentially a three-way tie between a managerial Republican of the Eisenhower mold from Massachusetts, a pro-life statist Republican of the William Jennings Bryan mold who lost his last statewide election by 18%, and an anti-government libertarian who has never been elected to office outside his Congressional District in Texas. If this race continues along this course, I am afraid that the budding Reaganite movement to resurrect and implement the principles of the 10th Amendment will die on the vine. In a year when we Conservatives have the greatest chance since 1980 of not only winning the Presidency, but changing the direction of the country, this development is depressing.
Then, I read here http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71077.html#ixzz1iVlIKbeb that a number of self-anointed leaders were being invited to convene at a Texas ranch to try to short-circuit the nomination process and pick a “conservative” candidate for us to support. Given the track record of the leaders of this group, I have no confidence that the candidate they choose to support will be Conservative, or will give a hoot about the 10th Amendment. As depressed as I am at the current state of the race, this attempt to hijack the process is wrong. I, for one, am not inclined to support anyone anointed through such a process.
As hard as it is to watch this nomination process unfold, it should be allowed to unfold. It should be allowed to go through all of the primaries, and then to the convention. Let’s still give our 10th Amendment candidates, like Perry and Gingrich, the chance to continue to make their case through the primaries, and let’s really see if any of these candidates has what it takes to win this nomination. Then, if no candidate receives a majority of the delegates before the convention starts, let the convention pick the nominee. Those are the rules of our party, and the rules under which we started this race, so let’s follow them.
In fact, the way that this race is unfolding, I believe that a brokered convention could lead to the nomination of a strong Conservative candidate—one who understands the real promise of the Reagan Revolution and the 10th Amendment, and one who is fighting in the trenches to make conservatism work. One who believes the following:
… Americans, in a vast majority, are still a people born for self-governance. They are ready to summon the discipline to pay down our collective debts as they are now paying down their own; to put the future before the present, their children’s interest before their own. …
We should distinguish carefully skepticism about Big Government from contempt for all government. After all, it is a new government we hope to form, a government we will ask our fellow citizens to trust to make huge changes. …
… If freedom’s best friends cannot unify around a realistic, actionable program of fundamental change, one that attracts and persuades a broad majority of our fellow citizens, big change will not come. Or rather, big change will come, of the kind that the skeptics of all centuries have predicted for those naïve societies that believed that government of and by the people could long endure. …
The second worst outcome I can imagine for next year would be to lose to the current president and subject the nation to what might be a fatal last dose of statism. The worst would be to win the election and then prove ourselves incapable of turning the ship of state before it went on the rocks, with us at the helm.
The man who spoke these words was Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, in his address at last year’s CPAC convention (full text here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2011/feb/12/video-mitch-daniels-cpac-speech/). Daniels is one potential candidate, other than Perry or Gingrich, who the convention delegates could turn to, but there are others—like Governors Walker of Wisconsin, Snyder of Michigan, Kasich of Ohio and Christie of New Jersey, who are fighting to rebuild their state governments consistent with principles of Reagan’s New Republican Party, and like Paul Ryan, who has championed a new vision for government through his bold proposals. One or more of these men could still jump into this race before the April “winner-take-all” primaries begin if Perry or Gingrich don’t catch fire, or they could still answer the call of a brokered convention.
So, let this process unfold, and, while doing so, let’s fight for our future through the rules provided. Let’s not let any self-anointed group choose our nominee—let’s control this process to the very end. If we do, I still believe we will choose someone, either through the primaries or at the convention, who not only will beat Obama, but will lead us through the changes we need to implement to preserve the promise of the country for our children and grandchildren.