Skip to comments.Romney win, now almost certain, won't decide future of GOP
Posted on 04/07/2012 3:10:04 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
SILVER SPRING, Md. Five different political contests are being conducted right now. Only two are evident to the naked eye.
The first of the visible contests pits Mitt Romney against Rick Santorum for the Republican presidential nomination. The results here in Maryland and in Wisconsin this week tell us who has a commanding lead there.
The second visible contest pits Romney against President Barack Obama. That one began this month with their twin addresses to the convention of editors in Washington. Obama has a 4-point lead, according to a Gallup poll conducted last week for USA Today.
Now to the three contests below the surface.
One is being mounted by Romney to wrest control of GOP convention delegates most people assumed were the property of Santorum and Newt Gingrich. This is a subterranean game Romney likely will eventually win, quietly, slowly but decisively.
The second contest barely beneath the surface is over the character of the GOP. It is part of the eternal struggle between populists and plutocrats.
Don't think of this as a proxy for Romney vs. Santorum no matter how many times the former senator goes bowling. This class struggle began before they arrived on the scene and will continue after their departure. It is the mirror of the struggle among Democrats between the circle around Franklin Roosevelt, rooted in the faculty offices of Harvard, and the Southern Democrats, rooted in county courthouses and in the kennels of the yellow dogs.
The final contest is over the nature of conservatism. It may look like the struggle for control of the GOP, but it's larger than that. Conservatism is a movement; the Republicans are a party. For many years they lived separate lives and may do so again. The struggle over the character of the party is fundamentally being conducted in the heart, the struggle over the nature of conservatism in the head.
The week that the founding father of modern conservatism, Barry Goldwater, won the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, political scientist Andrew Hacker assessed the new movement planted in the same soil that created John Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society this way: "The new conservatism is the result of the democratic process itself: the widening of new opportunities for millions of Americans who have risen to a better location in life and who at all costs want to ensure that they remain there."
That description now looks antiquarian. Modern Conservatism 2.0 created in a world where Goldwater is a memory for all but a few; where his protege Ronald Reagan is a symbol, but not an intimate presence; and where vast swaths of working Americans have a conservative impulse has an economic component and a social component. It is chary of government involvement in the economy but open to government restrictions in social and cultural life.
How wealthy a country this must be to afford, or to tolerate, five vital contests at once! But this is a time of economic privation and of political riches; not since the 1930s, when the economy was ailing and the Democrats were remaking themselves, did America have so many parallel contests. And during that period indeed for much of the era between 1916 and 1960 the Republicans snoozed, putting up worthy candidates with formidable records (Charles Evans Hughes, Herbert Hoover, Thomas Dewey) but who did not stir the drink, nor roil the waters.
Today, passions among Republicans run high itself a great departure from the norm for almost a majority of Americans, who recall the GOP as a sleepy outpost of politicians who defined themselves by what they were against (the New Deal, mostly but not always fervently) and what they wanted to promote (prudence and thrift, mostly). When the Republicans of yore held a shootout, it was over the identity of their nominee, not over the ideology of their party. This was true even in the principal ideological struggle of the era, in 1952 between Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower, without any discernible ideology, prevailed.
Now the party is packed with passion, but not necessarily primed for resolution. Indeed, the emergence of Romney probably postpones the resolution of much of the Republican dispute.
He personifies the managerial wing of the Republican Party, the strain that included Hoover, 1940 nominee Wendell Willkie, to some extent Dewey and certainly both Presidents Bush. But he is at best a convert to movement conservatism and, to some in that movement, a sheep in sheep's clothing.
Indeed, to conservatives he is reminiscent of Averell Harriman's 1967 assessment of Maxwell Taylor: "He is a very handsome man, and a very impressive one," Harriman said, "and he is always wrong." Probably unfair to both men, but there are no points for fairness in war or politics.
While the 2012 primaries and caucuses likely postponed the resolution of the battle over the character of the GOP, they intensified the conflict over the nature of conservatism, one that Reagan kept under the lid of the boiling pot but which began to spill over in 1988, scalding conservatives to this day. Santorum is one of the first Republican politicians to electrify both economic and social conservatives, but his hopes in the visible part of this campaign are dwindling.
Santorum may in fact be conducting his last stand in his home state, which ordinarily would be an advantage but in this peculiar year may be peculiarly unfortunate for the onetime Pennsylvania senator, who was soundly defeated in his reelection battle six years ago.
Santorum forces continually point to May for their breakout the terrain there favors him and the issues will be in his wheelhouse but his campaign may not endure that long, in part because of Romney's diligence in one of the invisible contests, the process of peeling away delegates that look as if they are in the Santorum and Gingrich columns, but in reality are not settled anywhere.
There is a tropism to politics, and it favors the front-runner. Watch how Romney, who lost the Iowa caucuses in January by a handful of votes, will look like the triumphant conqueror of Iowa in August.
The subterranean contests count. Some of them last decades. Some of them choose nominees.
Romney, McCain, no difference - same result. Obama wins. GOP will never learn.
If his candidacy can't put a stake through the heart of the rino insanity that rules the party and through the loyalty of those who follow it, nothing can.
Personally, I just don't understand his appeal.
His record, his flip and his flops, and now his very negative campaign are not what I vote for.
“If Romney is the nominee there will be no national GOP in 2016. There may not even be a national GOP after August 2012.”
There will be one, just not one lead by Mitt unless mitt wants to sing our tunes.
As I have reiterated many times. In the end our battle cannot be won in Washington only in our State houses can the battle for conservatism be won. It thus does not matter who becomes president. We must drive issues from our States, not Washington if we are to have any hope of reversing the flow of power in our directions.
I will vote for Mitt because he is better than Obama, I won’t worry about Santorm or Newt because they can’t win at this point and winning in their desired contest(the presidency) is not important anyway.
In the end there are 50 State & local republican party’s that we must focus on. We must obtain control of the majority of our State & local governments. We must drive them towards resistance to Washington.
Retaining the house, or taking the senate might be helpful politically crippling Washington’s ability to stop or resist our efforts. But Washington cannot and will not lead us to where we need to go. They will not willingly give up power.
We must uses our States to wrestle that power from them, Washington will fall inline only when it becomes practically & politically done.
[ Who’s the candidate who could win? ]
Interesting question.. A conservative might do it..
Seems the republican party generally does NOT want a conservative..
-OR- if they do obviously the voting mechanism is corrupted.. (DEEPLY).. could be both..
Which makes(and is making) some wonder if they are actually republicans..
Wondering WHO ARE THEY politically..
Selecting a liberal Mormon from Massachusetts as republican poster boy.. is cartoonish..
Many including me are not amused..
Mormons follow an Angel called Imoron or MoronI or something like that..
It looks increasingly like republicans are indeed MORON’s..
-OR- theres a rogue program in the voting machines.. call it a Virus.. or Trojan.. or Worm..
I have one hope. It’s that while Romney isn’t conservative, if elected President, he’ll be forced by circumstances (both economic and political) to make conservative choices. Remember, when Bill Clinton ran for President, he didn’t plan on getting people off of welfare rolls, but was forced by circumstances to do so. Also, Romney values his popularity and doesn’t want the U.S. to go off a cliff under his watch.
Conservatives shouldn’t give him unqualified support, but we can threaten to withbhold support if he doesn’t meet certain conditions (judges, entitlement reform). Perhaps keeping him under the threat of losing support would be more effective than refusing to support him under any circumstances.
The truth is that the United States may not be able to survive a second Obama term. Doesn’t it suck that this is what we’ve been reduced to?
I will vote for the Republican nominee, period. Thanks CF.
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I don't support Mitt Romney, you asshole. I voted for Newt Gingrich in the Georgia primary, Blogpimp.
1. Are you going to support Romney if he is the Republican nominee?
2. Did I just respond to you trolling my post or not?
So why are you pinging Jim? Do you think he has a problem with posting a link to the homepage of a Reaganite political party whose platform agrees with every jot and tittle of FR’s mission statement?
Or maybe you don’t understand how the internet works? We post content and links to pertinent information. That’s what makes it the “inter” “net.”
Ridiculous. Romney will be the nominee. There will be a strong GOP in 2016. Rush, Hannity, Coulter, Levin, Rubio, Walker, Ryan, DeMint, Gingrich, Santorum, and Palin will all be supporting Romney, and he has a good shot at winning.
In 2008 Romney was a favorite over McCain for some Freepers. Not you, I know, but many others were saying the same stuff you are saying now. Any body but McCain, and FUJM. I won't vote for a RINO. Not another dime to the RNC.
Conservatives showed there strength in primaries and McCain won the nomination. Many of these conservatives posted later in Aug that they were not going to vote for McCain but would for Palin. You were here. You know this.
McCain held the base and was leading at the polls after picking Palin as a running-mate. He might have won if not for the Housing market meltdown, 8 years of Bush, and excitement about a historic first black Prez.
Fast forward to 2012. Conservatives showed there strength again. SSDD. Sure some conservatives won't vote for Romney. The same ones who didn't vote for McCain or Bush. The GOP will never get their vote. We may not like Romney but a lot of the naysayers will come back when the nomination is certain instead of inevitable.
Romney could pick a VP who inspires the base like Palin. Jan Brewer wagging her finger in Obama's face comes to mind. Maybe Scott Walker if he loses his recall in June. But even if Romney doesn't pick a firebrand for VP he has Obama to excite the base.
Who can tell what unconstitutional or scandalous mistake Obama will make before Nov. Something will give cover to the Anybody But Mitt Romney crowd to justify the recognition of Obama as much more dangerous than Romney.
The GOP won back the house and a majority of governorships and state legislatures in 2010. We have had more control of redistricting and that will have lasting impact for the next 10 years.
This happened because of Obama backlash, not a new awaking of conservatism. We saw the strength of conservatism in the 2008 and 2012 primaries. Let us stop pretending that FR reflects a majority opinion. I am less certain that FR will be here in 2016 than the GOP.
The Freepathons last longer and are more frequent than PBS fundraisers. I don't have access to the statistics, but I know I stopped contributing to FR when FR stopped seeing rats as the enemy. And I post here a lot less because my opinion isn't appreciated. I have your "in forum" page bookmarked because I respect your opinion above most other Freepers, but your post today is not logical.
Have you have become one of the 5% conservatives?
I've been calling them out all Fall and Winter, saying, "Show me the votes come primary season". Now we know
No, he can't.
A pro-abortion socialist who has a track record of appointing liberal judges -- plus who believes he is a "god in embryo" and whose religion labels Christians "apostates" who belong to "the church of the devil" and labels 100% of our creeds doesn't inspire anyone -- and can't.
You are on some illusion trip...is that just 'cause ya want it so?
Enlighten us, oh enlightened one...for we didn't know that votes came in halves...
Here, the Dems in some areas multiply their votes (when the dead vote)...
Here, you pretend that the GoP divides their single votes in some sort of "qualified" vote-scheme nonsense.
Pathetic. (What will Romneybots compute next?)
Hilarious, you may want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills.
Pathetic. (What will Romneybots compute next?)
Romneybot? Clintonfatigued? Clearly you are not familar with Clintonfatigued.
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