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Where is the conservative candidate at this conservative moment?

Polls show considerable popular dissatisfaction with the president’s policies, particularly his big-government initiatives like Obamacare.  They also show support for the broad conservative policies which have defined the GOP at least since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.  The best attempts of the media notwithstanding, conservative ideas are ascendant.

At the same time, the incumbent struggles to regain the footing he had four years ago, with his attacks on Republicans more redolent of class warfare demagoguery than reflective of the reality of his partisan adversaries’ policies, his own dismal poll numbers inflated by a compliant media, the administration’s spin reported as if it were news, its scandals treated as if they were the inventions of a right-wing cabal eager to destroy anyone trying to free the country from the control of a corporate elite.

If a conservative candidate, with a record of executive accomplishment, could take the fight to Obama, he could not rally the right, but appeal to independents as well.  The electoral map would not resemble that of the past few national elections, but would look more like the one in 1988.  Every state where Republicans did well in 2010, including such purplish “blue” states as Maine, Michigan Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, would turn “red.”

In the current contest, however, no candidate has emerged to take on Reagan’s mantle.  At the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein lamented, that “one of the miracles of America’s founding was that so many great men emerged at once and complemented each other with unique skills. But now, in a time of great crisis, we’re stuck with painfully bad choices.

Over at Red State, Erick Erickson (with whom I don’t often agree) didn’t mince words when weighing in on last night’s results:

Newt Gingrich’s rise has a lot to do with Newt Gingrich’s debate performance. But it has just as much to do with a party base in revolt against its thought and party leaders in Washington, DC. . . .

People are mad as hell they are about to be stuck with another boring, moderate, uninspiring choice that has at best a 50/50 shot at losing to the worst president since Carter. They are flocking to Newt not because they think he’s a great guy, but because right now, he’s the only one fighting for conservatism and GOP voters are looking for a vessel to channel their anger with Obama and their complete disappointment with the GOP establishment which is now embodied perfectly by Romney. They want a conservative fighter because most conservatives look back at Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, and McCain and see only the ones taking a conservative path against the Democrats actually winning.

I don’t entirely share his view, but get his point. Conservatives are looking for someone who can compelling make a case for conservative policies. In standing up to the Media, Newt Gingrich has done just that — even if, to many conservatives, he remains the least bad of a field without an obvious heir to the Reagan mantle.

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4 Comments

  1. The Bush years did enormous damage to the GOP-Conservative coalition. Finally, there was a Republican president with a Republican majority in Congress. But instead of reforming and contracting, Government expanded at a galloping pace under Bush (then expanded again at warp speed under Obama). Under Bush, the Department of Education was vastly expanded in both budget and power, an entire new entitlement Medicare Part D was added to the already unsustainable burden of entitlements, and John McCain and the Democrats conspired in the senate to choke off free political speech, halt the development of domestic energy supplies, and prevent the appointment of conservative judges to the Federal bench.

    Is it any wonder the conservative base has turned against a party that, when it had all the power it would ever have, decided to advance the statist agenda instead of a conservative agenda?

    Comment by V the K — January 22, 2012 @ 11:27 am - January 22, 2012

  2. Right, VtK, and yet the republican “establishment” is puzzled at why we are resisting their candidate for 2012.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 22, 2012 @ 12:01 pm - January 22, 2012

  3. People across America are mad as hell because after 3 years of Obama they now realize they’ve been stuck with the worst president since Jimmy Carter. Yesterday in South Carolina they flocked to Newt not because they think he’s a great guy, but because right now, they believe he’s the only one fighting for conservatism and as GOP voters they’re looking for a vessel to channel their anger with Mr Obama and their complete disappointment/disgust with his administration’s policies. Furthermore, South Carolinian conservatives made it clear they want a conservative fighter because when they look back at Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, and McCain and see only the ones taking a conservative path against the Democrats actually winning.

    After last night it’s clear a candidate’s total rejection of the Left’s false premise is something conservative America is hungry to see. No one is in love with Newt Gingrich, but we’ll take him warts and all if he’s willing to fight for conservatism and throw the Left’s bogus narratives right back in their faces. Must be because we feel that’s the only thing that will stop it.

    Despite what anybody tells you we don’t know who the Republican nominee will be. Having said that, Newt Gingrich has taken the worst the media ‘elites’ can dish out, and he’s still standing and fighting with passion and eloquence. Sure, he’d probably be an erratic President, but right now Republican voters don’t care about his Presidency. Instead they care more about the fight ahead with Obama.

    This year Republicans are in it to win it!!!!!

    Comment by Spartann — January 22, 2012 @ 1:14 pm - January 22, 2012

  4. Yet the republican “establishment” is puzzled at why we are resisting their candidate for 2012.

    The GOP Establishment loves pointing at Sharron Angle and the woman from Delaware whose names escapes me… O’Connell? O’Donell?… and saying “See! Stupid Rabble-Rousing Tea-Partiers lost us two senate seats.” Yeah, right, after the GOP establishment candidates did such a great job in 2006 and 2008. I mean, the GOP Establishment only lost, what, 14 Senate seats and 70 House seats in those elections? The establishment GOP of Mark Foley? Duke Cunningham? John McLandslide? Lincoln Chaffee? Arlen Specter? Charlie Crist? George Voinovich? Liz Dole? Mike DeWine? They sure did a great job holding the House and Senate and governing responsibly.

    Comment by V the K — January 22, 2012 @ 1:36 pm - January 22, 2012

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