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Opening Arguments

Keep fighting

Not sure I agree with this:

As we all await tonight's debate in New Hampshire, it becomes clear that those of us who understand the necessity to unseat Barack Obama have a lot to worry about. Mitt Romney is still leading the pack, and is ahead even in the South Carolina polls. But the momentum of Rick Santorum's challenge and the no-holds-barred attacks on Romney coming from Newt Gingrich (Gingrich regularly refers to Romney as the “Massachusetts moderate”) are taking their tolls.

Even the liberal columnist Joe Klein writes respectfully of Santorum, a candidate whose brand of social conservatism he strongly disagrees with. The man “lives his faith,” Klein writes, and he thinks that Santorum “will pose a significant working-class challenge to Romney's corporate conservatism.”

Santorum will not win the nomination, and neither will Newt Gingrich. But the problem is that with many Republicans and especially self-proclaimed conservatives not being enthusiastic about Romney, as Klein writes, he “may not inspire sufficient numbers of Republicans to come out and vote.” The result, then, will be a second term for Barack Obama.

The party out of power has to pick a nominee and that means fighting with each other before fighting with the incumbent; that's just the way it works. The process today is helping Republicans decide how far out they want to go toward purist conservatism or how far back to a more moderate position. This will determine not just how they run for the White House and how a Republican might govern but where the party will go in future years.

Remember, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went through such a bruising primary battle that lasted so long that Indiana's May primary actually still mattered. That didn't seem to hurt Obama much; in fact it probably made him a stronger opponent against John McCain.

What would critics such as this prefer, that everybody just stand back so Romney can sail to the nomination? That's certainly not helpful for voters, and I don't think it would do the Republicans much good, either.


Tim Zank
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 10:53am

Let them fight it out, this is no different than any other primary on either side since the beginning our electoral process, sheesh.

In the end whoever the nominee is will win on the ABO platform (Anybody But Obama).

Remeber, ham sandwich folks!!

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 12:53pm

Couldn't agree more, Tim. Whichever of them wins will be a ham sandwich.
And if you don't think Gingrich's "pious baloney" remark will be used by Democrats against Romney, you're naive (assuming Romney is nominate).
I do agree that it is way too soon to declare Romney the winner. He's way ahead of his competition, but he's not going to get a majority even in New Hampshire. There isn't a single candidate that a majority of Republicans can support, which is a recipe for a general election defeat.
It also may be a recipe for a third-party effort. If Romney, whose Mormonism and former liberalism make him unacceptable in the GOP Dixieland base, is nominated, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Huckabee-style theocrat run on a separate ticket. Likewise, if a theocratic bigot like Santorum, who opposes all abortions except for the one his wife got, gets nominated, someone like Bloomberg might run. Either way, it splits the Republican vote.
Meanwhile, Obama scores one foreign policy victory after another as the unemployment rate gradually decreases.
People may not like Obama, but they hate the Republican contenders. The GOP is split among people who just want to cut rich people's taxes on the one hand, and people who only care about their hatred of gays and women on the other. The two sides won't support each others' candidate.

Harl Delos
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 1:23pm

This is NOT the same as "any other primary on either side," Tim. In most elections, we've had multiple candidates that, even if they didn't make our hearts flutter, at least were tolerable.

At this point, however, capable Republicans refuse to be the standard-bearer for a Welchite party that's abandoned a balanced budget in favor of low taxes, abandoned American small business in favor of international corporations, abandoned integrity in favor of lobbyists, and abandoned prudence in favor of extremism.

People don't like to have the President and both houses of Congress in one party, and judging Congress to be the more powerful of the two, they're hoping Barack wins re-election while they try to restore the GOP to its former role as the saner of the two major parties. Let him deal with the mess that Dubya made of things, while they deal with rebuilding the party.

At the War College in Carlyse, they teach that retreat is not shameful, but rather an effective strategy of winning generals.

Harl Delos
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 1:28pm

Carlysle should be Carlisle. You know, as in Pop Warner and Jim Thorpe.

Tim Zank
Tue, 01/10/2012 - 7:54pm

Harl, with all due respect, you suffer from "it's never been like this before-itis" which is completely false. You only have a short term memory.

The only difference between poilitics now and politics 200 years ago is the immediacy of our ability to know everything going on instantly.

The players are all the same, the candidates are boneheads, scalleywags, thieves and liars and the press is still just as crooked as they ever were.

It hasn't changed a damn bit, we just have the ability to hear, see and smell it instantly 24-7.

Harl Delos
Wed, 01/11/2012 - 1:39am

Tim, you said "no different than any other primary". To refute that, I don't have to show it's different than EVERY other primary, only that it's different from AT LEAST ONE.

And in the 1812 election, you didn't have a flock of clowns vying for the nomination while the strongest potential candidates tried to avoid the nomination. James Madison, Dewitt Clinton and Rufus King were all highly popular within their parties.

Most Republicans can't find a candidate they can get excited about, according to Pew