Back when we began this process a year or so ago, here’s how I would have preferred to see the political landscape after the 2012 election, in order of best-case scenario to worst-case:
- A strong conservative President (in my case, the initial choice was Herman Cain) is elected and has enough coattails to increase the GOP advantage in the House and win 13 additional seats in the Senate (a 60-seat majority.)
- Same as #1, but with a simple GOP Senate majority.
- The Republicans take the House and Senate, but with a more moderate GOP standardbearer like Mitt Romney.
- A moderate Republican like Romney wins the presidency, but doesn’t pull enough Senate seats to place it in Republican control.
- The status quo from 2010-12 remains: House is Republican, Democrats keep the Senate, and Barack Obama is re-elected.
- Somehow the Democrats regain the House, keep the Senate, and Barack Obama is re-elected – a repeat of the situation from 2008-10.
Well, unless we have a candidate who comes from a brokered convention or someone like Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum pleasantly surprises me – or Ron Paul allows someone sane like John Bolton to enact our foreign policy – it looks like I’m down to my third-choice scenario at best.
But there is an argument posited many times before that working to elect a candidate you may agree with 80 percent of the time is far preferable than staying home in a snit and allowing the guy you only agree with 20 percent of the time do his damage to the city, county, state, or country. I’d rather work with scenario #3 than scenario #6, but that’s what could happen if a certain group of voters decides to stay home or vote for a third-party candidate. In almost every recent case – 1980 and 2000 were rare exceptions, thank you John Anderson and Ralph Nader – a third-party candidate has worked to the detriment of the Republican in the race. Certainly I don’t want to imply that we had conservative Republicans in most of these elections, but when Bill Clinton won twice with a plurality one has to question the effect of a Ross Perot in the race.
Sometimes there is no choice but what can be perceived as the lesser of two evils. Do I like Mitt Romney? Not really, but he continues to lead most of the national opinion polls – at the moment his RCP average is 27.8, a number that puts him 11 points clear of Newt Gingrich. And with the exception of a period from mid-August to late September last year (when Rick Perry led) and a month or so from mid-November to just before Christmas when Newt Gingrich was on top, it’s been Mitt Romney’s race to lose.
One has to remember that the universe of voters is far larger than that of your friends or acquaintances, regardless of how large one’s tree of Facebook friends or Twitter followers is. If I go by the readership of my website and those I touch on social media, that’s a subset of society which isn’t very representative of the whole. This audience is primarily the 10% who are political junkies out of the 10% who are actually paying a little bit of attention. The other 99 percent are just average citizens who are worried more about how they’re going to make it through the week. Unlike a lot of other pundits, I have an inkling that I’m preaching to the choir. (My job is to try and expand the choir.)
And yes, unfortunately, about 2 out of every 5 people believe President Obama is doing a good job, at least according to polls. They’re the same polls that also show Mitt Romney is the most likely Republican nominee and also show he has the best chance of winning. Obviously I’m also aware that we’re likely to see a repeat of the 2008 campaign where the media treated John McCain quite well until the moment he clinched the GOP nomination. But that was nothing compared to the absolute shitstorm they subjected Sarah Palin to. Imagine what happens if Romney picks a vice-president like Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who already drew press fire during her own election last year.
But right now Mitt’s won the first two states that have had an opportunity to say their piece. This is regardless of the fact that in one he eked out a victory by eight votes among a small sampling of the actual electorate of the state and the other was a state primarily made up of those exurban residents who commute daily into Romney’s home state. (Mitt Romney did best in the two New Hampshire counties closest to the Boston metro area.) Nor is there a guarantee Mitt will win either of these states come November; in fact, President Obama is counting on taking them for himself.
It’s all about the best fallback plan possible. In America there are few opportunities for advancement to the political right, so we have to take advantage when they come. We have spent the last century – some would even argue since the War Between the States – watching the statists continue to erode our freedom, with the only question being how quickly the bedrock of liberty weathers away. With President Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress it was sort of like watching a sandbar under the onslaught of a heavy nor’easter, and although the gales have subsided just a little with a Republican House there’s still a lot of damage being done.
I’m not saying Mitt Romney would begin to rebuild a solid foundation for liberty, but I think he’d at least listen.
Many of my friends support the other candidates in the GOP race, as I have. But the key now that votes are being cast in this election is to give up on the circular firing squad and remember who the real enemies are. Stop talking about how bad it is to fire people (what a poor anti-capitalist message, you sound like the OWS crowd) and let’s work on firing Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid like we fired Nancy Pelosi last year.
It’s just our future as a Republic hanging in the balance. No pressure.