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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anyone But Obama

A year ago today few of us probably thought that the primaries would come down to debating whether Romney or Gingrich are more conservative. It's a rather thankless and pointless debate currently being settled by cherry picking statements on single issues. The bottom line is that neither man is particularly conservative, certainly neither man is a small government conservative. But the odds of anyone like that getting to the finish line were never very good.

The only two consistently conservative candidates in the race, Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann were ridiculed off the stage by a "conservative" media which never gave Santorum a chance and rushed to drown Bachmann the moment that Perry took the stage. Now that media is racking up pageviews on Romney vs Gingrich, tearing down both candidates for fun and profit.

Over the last several weeks we have gotten a thorough grounding in each man's negatives. But we have also gotten a reminder of how each man got here. And we have gotten heavy doses of hysteria.

Gingrich and Romney are both widely hated. Gingrich is hated by the insiders, Romney is hated by the outsiders. As Speaker, Gingrich was a convenient way to make Clinton look better. Now he's being used for the same purpose again, to make Romney look better. And Republican voters are being asked to choose which of the men they hate less. This is not a particularly good process for choosing a nominee. But it's also how we have consistently ended up with poor nominees.

The game isn't over yet. People still have a chance to unite around an alternative candidate. Perry is still hanging around looking for support. He's marginally more conservative than Romney and Gingrich, but with a much lower profile on the national stage, it's hard to say how much. Bachmann and Santorum are also still in the race and they may surprise everyone.

This is still an open process, which is why threatening third party runs or demanding that a candidate drop out of the race is unconscionable. If your candidate can't win Republican primaries, then how is he going to win the general election? Particularly a three-way election.

Sure a sizable chunk of Ron Paul's support comes from the left, but not enough to do anything but turn him into the Republican version of Ralph Nader. And Nader gave the election to George W. Bush. Encouraging a third party candidacy by a fringe candidate before a single primary is nothing short of blackmail. It's thuggish behavior to try and intimidate voters with a third party candidacy. The message is "Vote my way or I'll see to it that Obama wins."

Yes we are rapidly closing in on the "Anyone but Obama Nominee". Whoever it will be will have major minuses. That's life. If we can elect a right of center congress, then even a marginal Republican will do. If we can't, then anyone is still better than Obama.

Back in 2008 the argument was that rather than voting for McCain, we should let Obama run the country into the ground for four years and radicalize the base. Mission accomplished. Obama has done more damage to America in four years than Fat Man did to Nagasaki in an hour. The base has been radicalized. And we're still back at the table with the old McCain dilemma.

The people who told us to wait four years may now tell us to wait another four years. And then maybe another four, until a proper candidate stands for office and makes it to the nomination. Doing it that way is like trying to win a war by losing battle after battle until the right general comes along. The Union won the Civil War that way, but it doesn't seem like the best strategy for the rebels.

Despite all his flaws, I think four years of McCain would have been much better for this country. I think four years of Gingrich or Romney or Perry will be better for the country than another four years of Obama. Anyone who wants to test that thesis can look back at the last four years and then imagine what they would have been like if Obama was a lame duck fowl.

Anyone who is unhappy with that choice, there's no one stopping a Bachmann or Santorum surge. No one but the same conservative media that got us where we are now. And if that doesn't happen, then we've still got the same calculations to make.

Romney is probably more electable. Gingrich is better on the issues. Gingrich currently seems better under fire but everyone keeps saying that he's bound to implode. We'll see. Romney hasn't melted down either, though he has made some mistakes during the debates and in interviews.

On foreign policy Gingrich wins by a landslide. On domestic policy, Gingrich will go with his own ideas, which will have shades of Teddy Roosevelt to them. Romney will have his experts in the room to develop a centrist policy. The difference here is that Gingrich will go his own way, Romney will follow a practical variation of the liberal consensus.

Neither candidate is very conservative by Tea Party standards, both men are fairly conservative by the standards of the alternative. Anyone claiming that there is no difference between Gingrich and Romney and Obama except race is engaging in hyperbole. There's no doubt that either man will do his own brand of damage and that the country will shift X degrees in the wrong direction, but it's better than shifting Y degrees in the wrong direction.

Personally I like Gingrich well enough. I have no idea if he can get elected, he's not the ideal man for the job, but he also bounced back from a trouncing by his own party, and won the debates without playing the ankle biter. He can speak intelligently about an issue and appears to think about them, instead of shoveling out a safe position. He isn't afraid to take controversial stands or confront the invisible hand of the media.

Romney is probably a surer bet for winning the election, but, and this is not an endorsement, I would be more comfortable with Gingrich in the Oval Office, because when the 3 AM call comes in, I don't think he'll work out a consensus and then bring the least controversial response to the table.

Gingrich is a survivor who keeps bouncing back. He's the dog with a ball who won't let it go. There's something admirable about that. It's the attitude of a man who might be able to make it through the firestorm. Romney has polished himself into a shiny instrument for leveraging open the door to the White House. The biggest question though is what is really inside that shiny interior.

We have seen Gingrich turned out for all the world to see and we know some of what drives him. Romney's guts are still a mystery. When McCain tried to transform himself into a non-threatening smiling mannequin to win the election, he fumbled the ball badly. And yet I think the angry McCain, the direct to the point man would have done better. Romney doesn't have those negatives, but he lacks positives. His only real appeal is a projected sincerity and a prospective electability. Is that enough? Who knows.

This is not going to be an ordinary election, but it has been a depressingly ordinary enough primary. We aren't going to walk away from it with a man or woman that everyone believes in, but maybe we'll walk away with a winner. It's not much of a consolation prize, but there's a joke about rather being right than being president. I would rather that the right man was president, but I will settle for any man other than the one already filling the office.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. A caveat at the end should be added: Anyone but Ron Paul! Otherwise, I agree with this assessment wholeheartedly.

2. Any conservative or independent who tries to paint Gingrich or Romney as no better than Obama should schedule at CT scan of their head, stat. On national security, alone, the difference will be enough (especially if Gingrich is in office) to begin to set things on a far better course than the dangerous, dangerous path Obama has us on now.

3. While Bachmann and Santorum are more classically conseravtive, they don't have a prayer of beating Obama. To win, we will need conseratives AND independents and many independents will not go for such conseratives candidates. That, I believe, is part of the pickle we find ourselves in: how to make sure both groups vote, for without both groups, I'm not confident we can win.

5. This election is about triage in the Emergency Room. Everything else will be icing on the cake. Obama is taking the United States and the West over the falls, emboldening the enemy, and wreaking havoc at every twist and turn. We are truly approaching (if not already in) the 11th hour of the 11th hour. We can't afford to get to picky. Let's just survive and if we can do that, move on to the next agenda item.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Yes I agree

S. Richard said...

All the righties who said "Cain and Gingrich are the best candidates if you go by the debates" are now going queasy about the best debater getting the nod? Obama is so tough as a debater, we need a hardforged man/woman with an asbestos suit to go through the fire of President Jughead's blazing intellect, correct? Hypocrite is too kind a word for those dolts. Gingrich isn't perfect. Get over it, or help your conservative savior, Bachtorum or Perrypaul or Reaganzombie or whomever, win. Until then, stop bitching.

Romney has lost elections, and focus groups what he thinks the electorate will respond positively to... because he has lost elections. He is unprincipled as they come, which is why he's so mistrusted, which is why he's really quite unelectable. Unless you're swayed by lacquered hair and highly whitened teeth, plus positions carefully crafted by a polling committee. Romney is a Clinton without the charm or likability (or the fondness for rape, thankfully). Is that what you want, conservatives?

Paul said...

"Anybody but Obama" is precisely why we have Obama in the White House. He is there to be a cattle prod to generate enthusiasm for candidates who don't really offer anything different. The fake debate between the "conservatives" and the "liberals" continues. If McCain were in instead of Obama things would not be that different. It is better that we snap out of the hypnosis generated by the general facade and look to ourselves and every other resource, political or otherwise that we have to confront what these people represent.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Oh I disagree, they would be dramatically different. They wouldn't be good, but they wouldn't be nearly this bad either.

Lemon said...

Conservatism is something from the past it seems.
It is sad we have come to any port in a storm.

lgstarr said...

Both you and "Anonymous" mentioned Gingrich's foreign policy edge over the other candidates. Now that I think about it, Gingrich should be our candidate based on that fact alone given the terrible situation emerging because of Iran. And RP would be disastrous for that very same reason.

Anonymous said...

Obama will walk it. It's a cinch for him. That the republicans stand a chance against him is pure fantasy.

And that means we have years more of destructive, doctrinaire Marxism to 'enjoy', with all its attendant benefits.

Mr ED said...

A rather dour assessment, but probably a very accurate one as far as it goes.

"Romney is probably more electable. Gingrich is better on the issues."

Very inside the beltway conventional wisdom here. Romney is the candidate desired by the RINO class who wish for conservative principals to only be whispered in hushed tones in any public forum. They have absolutely no desire to oppose the Lib/Leftist lies and myths and instead just want their turn at the trough of government power. Gingrich, who I am no big fan of, has had almost as many excursions into the mythological musings of Libville (ala glo-bull warming, calling Tea Party types "right-wing hobbite, ad nauseum) as McLame did. It seems that the RINO class and their media mavens (Fox mostly, but others too) who conspire to destroy Cain, Bachman and any other real conservative now wish for Gingrich to be dispensed with too. No, Gingrich isn't a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, but he has done something that most of the other Republican candidates have NOT done since Reagan - Give voice to conservative principals. Whether he is truly conservative or not in actions (probably not) he is rising in the polls specifically because of his decision to stray off the safe, non-confrontational RINO script and actually oppose the Lib lies and myths and do so publically in the debates.

Interesting times indeed.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

The problem is that leftist agendas are interlocked with big government, which means that big government republicans inevitably end up promoting the leftist agenda

Leah said...

Gingrich at least has a clear idea of who the enemy is and is willing to call a spade a spade.("The Palestinians are a made up people.")
Romney is a candidate whom I am unsure of and I need to be confident of how a candidate stands on the issues for me to vote in his or her favor.
Yes, once again I am not thrilled by any means and I did like Cain,but it ended a couple of weeks ago for him. Obama has got to go. If this man remains in office I think that someone will try to take him out. Yes, it's that bad.
The first four years will have been the set up and the next four will be the complete destruction. Will he then declare that he must stay in for more terms due to "an emergency crisis that allows him to execute his executive powers to "save" the country?"
Anyone here who thinks I am exaggerating needs to look more closely at what he has done to know how much more damage he can do if allowed.

dwight said...

A vote is a final decision. Insomuch as we are trying to decide upon a final candidate, we are trying to vote---even now. The polls are open now. The pols and the pollsters are defrauding and being defrauded even now. And what is genuine and what is fraudulent about our form of governance is progressively more difficult to discern. Suffice it to say (that whatever it is or is not) it retains little if any of the substance (nor even the form) of our original constituting agreement.

We vote for a person, and a president, and an administration. And we get the bureaucracy, and its administration, and its president, and its person. Who is Obama, the administration? Who is Obama, the president? And who is Barry, the narcissist? It's been said that in order to understand Barack Obama one must LOOK at what these three Obamas are doing WHILE he is saying whatever he is saying. In other words, how do you know when Obama is up to something? His lips are moving.

This nation cast its vote for "The One" before it had ever heard of him. But when Barry said, "We won," what that actually meant was "Game over" i.e. "No more game." They took the ball home, and they don't intend to bring it back out.

The "We" in "We won," doesn't need Barry, per se; he's just a stand in for "The One." The administration will go on with or without him.

Formal Game Theory requires rational decision-makers in order to function properly. Are there too many crazies and hooligans up in the stands to play for keeps one more time? Is it even possible to get the ball back in play without breaking-and-entering? Who's "got game" on the Republican side? If the Republican's were to draft Mitch Daniels (with Bachmann riding shotgun) the crazy-like-a-fox mixed-metaphors might turn everything inside-out for a New York minute---like a quarterback sneak (except he doesn't have the ball---because there is no ball in play).

But if you want know what's actually most likely to happen, just imagine the winner of the Super Bowl meeting the winner of the World Series in some newfangled kind of contest where there are no balls of any kind allowed (including the ones inside athletic cups).

Lemon said...

How about the fact that Barry is not eligible to even be president because though born in Hawaii, maybe, he is not a natural born citizen due to his father.
HERE is the definition that Obama does not meet.

It is a disgrace that he even was allowed to run in the first place.

Paul said...

The problems we are up against with the Obamanation in the White House are not a game.

Lemon has it right. Obama is not even a legitimate citizen, he shouldn't have even been allowed to run. The fact that he was is a far more serious problem than the lies against Israel. The obsession over Israel is just an old button that has been pushed to whip the people of Europe and the Middle East into hysteris for centuries. This obsession is dying. It's dying hard, but it is dying. We should wonder what kind of tantrum it has in store for us in its final death throes.

But the integrity of US citizenship is the backbone of the United States of America. Obama is president based on a counterfeit citizenship and this country suffers a little more every day when we countenance counterfeit citizens and their source in illegal immigrants in this country. And Gingrich supports amnesty, just like Reagan did. It didn't solve the problem then and its not going to solve the problem now. If Gingrich really had any guts and integrity he would remove himself from the pathetic debates about Israel (the Jews) and focus on our real problem: Illegal immigrants.

And illegal immigrants are not just a problem in the US. They are a global problem and the problem needs to be confronted globally. This would clearly be the job of a president. If Gingrich will not be this man, then he doesn't get the vote of anybody in the US who cares about their citizenship or who cares about the citizenship of anyone else on the planet who loves their country.

Ex-Dissident said...

Anyone but Obama? How about Cynthea McKinney or Sheila Jackson Lee? There really are worse choices.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Obviously I'm talking about the leading candidates for the Republican nomination, not 'anybody', anybody... though I don't think McKinney or Lee could do as much damage because the media wouldn't be able to buy them enough credibility

Keli Ata said...

Interesting article and comments. I don't think Gingrich would win. He's coming across as a bit of a loose cannon at least IMO from what I saw from the last debate.

Bachman scares me. A tax attorney would get the country back on track economically but I fear she's too conservative and would abandon the working class and poor. Some social programs are needed for those truly in need and frankly, she comes across as cold. A total turn off for me.

Ron Paul? I saw enough of him during the debate to be scared of him too. Besides, he looks like that creepy leader of the Heaven's Gate cult.

Your description and assessment of Romney was right on the mark. I agree with you 100-percent.

I would really like to learn more about Rick Santorum (any possibilty that you could write an article exclusively about him? )

He's the only candidate that seemed "normal" IMO during the debate. Not a loose cannon, not crazy, not cold, not slick. I'd like to learn more.

At the end of the day, we really don't have much of a choice but to vote for anyone but Obama:(

(Take my comments on the presidential elections with a grain of salt. I don't know all of the issues or much of the candidates.)

cornholio said...

I'd hope for Gingrich over Romney -- especially considering Romney's viewpoint of Islam as a religion of peace.

Zilla/MJ said...

I like Rick Santorum best, but I also like Newt. Newt's "baggage" in so far as some not so far right stuff in his record will be an enticement rather than a detterent to middle of the road peeps and independants. I know a lot of people on Long Island who like Newt, they also liked Herman Cain, but I have not met a single person who likes Mitt. And Mitt said that islam not violent and that ISLAMIC JIHAD has nothing to do with islam. It's what I call DhiMITTude.
The last thing we need is another useful idiot for islamization in the WH, but although I think he totally sucks, I suspect he'll still be less sucky than Obama, because at least Mitt does not actively HATE America and her people the way Caliph Obama does.

Santorum and Newt are best to deal with the jihad though, because they won't kiss the raised behinds of the mohamnadeens who actively seek our destruction.

Anonymous said...

I think the picture of Obama was doctored.

Monica Key

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