Category Archives: Rick Perry

Uncomfortably Undecided: The Search for a Presidential Candidate I Can Believe In

This year I find myself in a unique situation. With less than two months until the first votes are cast in the primary season, I am undecided who to support. As long as I can remember there was a candidate early in the process who inspired me, or at least attracted my loyal till political death support. To my surprise, shock and bewilderment, that has not happened this year. First off, those who would have drawn my support decided one by one not to run: Senator John Thume, Former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Bobby Jindal, Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the list goes on. Those that remain, talented as they may be, have each failed to attract my committed vote, let alone passionate enthusiasm.

The 2012 GOP Presidential Contenders: An Uncertian Decision

In some way I think we have the inverse of the 1992 Democratic race where early on many of the presumed favorites like future Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden took a pass thinking George H.W. Bush was unbeatable. In Washington circles a narrative began to form that 2012 was going to be a good year for President Obama. With the Republican takeover of the house in 2010 the stage was set for a repeat of Bill Clinton’s come back and victory in 1996. Yet over the last year we have seen the Obama administration to be politically inept and selling a radical left wing agenda which has not resonated with the American body politic. The Obama attempts at class warfare and leftist populist rhetoric have fallen flat on all but his hard core base. American voters seem to have concluded he is out of his league and not up to the job of president. The net result is the GOP nomination is increasingly valuable as the 2012 election is ours to lose.

So regrets be damned, the slate of candidates we have are the options to be chosen from. I am not going to invite the wrath of my fellow republicans who have already formed passionate allegiances by going down the list of candidates one by one pointing out why each has not captured my imagination and support. Rather I want to look at what I would love to see in an ideal presidential nominee.

  1. First, above all else is character. Often discussed, this is a complicated characteristic in people. My nominee has to have core values and the commitment to them to stick by them even when the political winds blow in the opposite direction. If you think of the presidential elections of the past, the issues that defined their presidency are almost never the ones which drove the election which put them in the White House. We need a president who when they get that 3am phone call, will not need to consult a pollster.
  2. My candidate must have a commitment to conservative values and principles which were not adopted after extensive focus group testing but rater from their long term personal considerations. I have no problems with people who evolve over time, even Ronald Reagan was a democrat once upon a time (he even voted for FDR, more than once!). Yet some candidates who get the words right, just give you the feeling they were written by committee.
  3.  I can’t support stupid any more. Call me whatever, but I want a President who can stand up to the tests of the office and deal with the complexities of the issues we face. Make no doubt we are at a crossroads in the history of our republic, and we cannot afford another president who needs training wheels for the first 4 years, or is simply a puppet for advisors.
  4. I totally agree with Anne Coulter’s recent column in which she said, in essence, electability is not a bad word! To the contrary I believe in all my heart that if President Obama is reelected with a Democratic congress, America will be taken in a left ward direction from which there will be no turning back. We need a nominee who can take Obama on head to head and emerge from the ideological battle that the 2012 election is shaping up to be victorious.
  5. No longer will I support any candidate who simply attacks the other contenders. My belief in Reagan’s 11th Commandment that thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican is absolute and those who break it will drive me to the primary with absolute certainty I will cast my one vote against them. It is essential our eventual nominee emerge from the primaries stronger for the process and not damaged. Republican unity has always been a strength and any division will simply guarantee a second term for Obama.

For years, I like many conservatives have been looking for another Ronald Reagan, always with disappointing results. However I think the Gripper would have said stop looking to the past for direction, look to the future. So I look for that candidate who reflects my values and also has the ability to capture the imagination and spirit of the American people. This election is just too important to settle of less, or allow victory to slip from our figures.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, American Leadership, Barak Obama, Bill Clinton, Jeb Bush, Leadership, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republican Party, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, The Grand Old Party, The White House

On Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican

At times it is easy to remember those days in the 80’s when Ronald Reagan was in the White House as some idealized time when the Republican Party was lead by the now iconic leader who has come to define the modern Republican Party. But the truth is the same divides which exist within the party today were present, and simmering below the surface in The Gipper’s days. What today would be called moderate Republicans, or less politely RINO’s, were then Rochefeller or Country Club Republicans. In fact the 11th Commandment dates back to the 1966 California Governor’s race and was in part a response to the vicious primary attacks in 1964 which left the eventual GOP nominee Barry Goldwater scared and made it easier for the Johnson campaign to pick up upon themes started by Republicans to defeat Goldwater in November 1964.

The 2012 Republican Presidential Contenders

The idea is politically sound. While differences in policy and capability are the foundation of any primary race and indeed our very democracy, our party should avoid the kind of personal attacks which can leave our eventual nominee damaged in the general election. Those of us who remember the 1980 election which first brought Reagan to the White House recall how the Carter Campaign repeatedly attacked Reagan’s platform as “Voodoo” Economics. Carter’s operatives were quick to point out that it was George H.W. Bush, then Reagan’s running mate, who had first applied the label to Reagan’s economic plan. Taken to its extreme, this kind of intraparty attacks can result in a political circular firing squad (a Democratic Party specialty) which makes the Lefts job of defeating Republicans so much easier.

I can almost hear some readers screaming “we have been fooled by these RINO before and we won’t let it happen again under the disguise of political politeness”. On the contrary, conservatives have won their dominant position in the Republican Party on the force of our ideas, not personal attacks. The media loves a good mud bath, its good ratings, and will always focus on the personal rather than thoughtful policy. As conservatives we will secure control of the GOP at the primary ballot box. But we must ensure whoever wins those primaries, they are in the best position to take the fight to the Democrats, and not scared by their own party.

To those who scream they would rather have a Democrat than a Republican that is not 100 percent to their liking; that thinking helped put Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the United States Supreme Court. I am not arguing for policy moderation. We as conservatives have fought for half a century to secure our policies define the Republican Party. When in the first half of the last decade a GOP congress and president forgot those Conservative values, not only did we see fiscal discipline vanish and deficits skyrocket, we saw the GOP returned to the minority and the White House lost. We must win the battle of ideas within the party, but we must do it on the strength of those ideas, not by personal attacks for they just leave all involved diminished.

What brought me to write this was my profound disappointment over comments by the Governor of Texas yesterday calling Mitt Romney a “fat cat” due to his personal financial wealth. It is absurd that any Republican would engage in the exact behavior we condemned when President Obama waged class warfare over the past few months. If a candidate cannot win the primaries on the strength of their ideas, even when contrasted with their opponents, they do not deserve to win. When they stoop to personal attacks against fellow republicans, they do not deserve our votes.

So today I stand on my soap box and ask all Republicans running for nominations at every level, stick to ideas and policy, and leave the trash talking personal attacks to the left. To my fellow conservatives and Republicans I encourage you to take personal responsibility not only in your words, but with your vote by letting those who would forget Reagan’s 11th Commandment know that they can forget your vote. The stakes are too high in 2012 for us to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Conservative, Democracy, Leadership, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republican Party, Rick Perry, Ronald Reagan, The Grand Old Party, The White House