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Musings on GOP Follies
October 19, 2011
Editorial By Nelson Hultberg
The Empty Suit
In the wake of the recent New Hampshire debate televised on Bloomberg October 11th, one has to conclude that Rick Perry's star is not just fading; it has crashed into that horrible fate known as FIP (flash in pan). He desperately needed to throw several ideology-policy bombs to the country intertwined with a charismatic assertiveness that demonstrates gravitas and political leadership. Instead, what came forth was mild-mannered folksy boilerplate that one finds in talks to Rotary groups and Kiwanis meetings. His vibrant Texas charm that carried him to the governor's mansion in Austin during the past decade is simply not enough to impress the national media and the dominant power brokers of Washington, so crucial in achieving credibility as a serious presidential candidate. Perry is too light on substance with an embarrassingly weak grasp of the fundamental issues at stake in the national-global arenas, or at least an inability to express his grasp of such issues in clear, forceful orations off the top of his head.
In addition, as governor he callously enacted statist policies of the most fulsome kind such as sidestepping the legislature and issuing an edict to force inoculate 11 and 12 year old school girls with Merck's Gardasil HPV drug. Big dollars in profits were the motive for Merck, big campaign donations were the lure for Perry, and Big Brother gratification was the drive for the statist cheerleaders in the media that tolerated such an outrage.
As governor, Perry also offered shameful bribes to win Hispanic votes by granting discounted college tuition breaks for illegal immigrants in Texas, which exacerbates this tragic problem all the more. Illegals come to America in droves because of a slew of magnets that we allow to exist (jobs, welfare services, dual official languages, state assistance for college, etc.). With this handout, Perry has placed himself in the "hypocritical conservative" camp, and consequently the voters are in the process of consigning him to second-tier status.
The Pizza King
The political right's latest fancy, Godfather's Herman Cain, would quite frankly be a disaster as president with his combination of an income tax and a national sales tax. European VAT, here we come, with Herman at the helm. Have any of these GOP aspirants ever studied the world to see what is stultifying other societies? Have any of them (other than Ron Paul) studied history to gain a perspective on what works and what fails in political systems? Have any of them contemplated what is ethically correct in a political context for a free society? Apparently not.
In addition, Mr. Cain exuberantly praises the Federal Reserve and says that Alan Greenspan did a terrific job, and that if he were elected president he would seek a Fed chairman that emulated Greenspan. My god, one might just as well say Bernie Madoff did a superb job in running his Wall Street investment fund! Thankfully, in rebuttal Ron Paul tore Cain apart on his Greenspan beliefs. If you were watching the Bloomberg debate, you saw the astonished but wise smile on Paul's face as Cain pronounced his childish views regarding the Federal Reserve and who he would like to promote as a replacement for Ben Bernanke.
Cain surely lost ground among the right-wing intelligentsia with that spate of idiocy, and in my opinion will soon join the fading Perry in the FIP camp. Cain presently is being gushed over by a vacuous press, he has sent Tea Party troops into ecstasy as a "top-tier candidate" and, according to the latest Rasmussen poll, he has risen to leader status with 29% to match Romney's 29%. Third place goes to Gingrich at 10% with the rest of the field drawing single digits. But in my opinion, Cain has now shown his true colors with his dangerous tax and monetary proposals. He is basically a naive, big government, Keynesian statist that is far more neo-conservative than real-conservative. He does not have the bona fides to be President, and GOP voters will eventually abandon him.
Newt Gingrich is certainly the smartest pol in this motley crew. He possesses a razor sharp ability to poke the pompous press right where it's the weakest – in its obsession with "gotcha journalism" and its reliance on pitifully superficial analyses of the issues. Unfortunately Gingrich is also a charlatan advocate of freedom and Americanism. He is the ultimate power junkie that populates political capitals the world around. He stands for freedom like Orwell's O'Brien and the Thought Police do – it's something for the State to dole out when needed to manipulate the masses, but always a "temporary expedient" to crush and lessen over the long haul in modernity's march to global collectivism. Gingrich is neoconservative all the way on both domestic and foreign policy issues, relentlessly poisoning the electorate with paranoia over Islamo-fascist armies allegedly threatening to take over the world.
The Islamic theocracies of the Mideast with their antediluvian cultures will never be a force in the modern world. They have no answers, no rational vision, and no capability to provide legitimate inspiration to humanity. They are wracked with internal problems that will keep them mired in primitivism for centuries into the future. Yet neocons like Gingrich are shouting from the rooftops, amidst hosannas to the Patriot Act and the TSA, that we must militarize our society and initiate aggressive war against radical Muslim countries in order to protect America. Alarmism is far too mild a term to describe such distorted advocacy. Gingrich's time has come and gone in the political arena; he is a male version of Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond in Hollywood's 1950 film, Sunset Boulevard.
Thus surprise, surprise, Mitt Romney will be the eventual choice as GOP nominee. After all, the Republican Party almost always picks statist establishmentarians such as George Bush or plodding loyalists such as Robert Dole. Mitt, who is the son of the 1960s Michigan governor George Romney, has been cultivated by the establishment for two decades now as Reaganesque presidential material. Possessed of rugged good looks with an engaging personality and a mellifluous ability to articulate ideas, Romney is a political operative's dream candidate (at least appearance-wise) in the television age.
The problem that keeps holding him back, of course, is the conservatives' distrust of him because of his Eastern seaboard liberalism and compulsive flip-flopping on core issues important to the traditional right. It's his egregious expediency that discourages most support from conservative observers. He seems to have no center, no inner core of convictions on which there is no compromise. He has the backbone of an eel, and any intelligent libertarian-conservative senses that his administration would be that of a glib, handsome Jimmy Carter – awash in mealymouth mediocrity that encourages the globalist usurpations of the CFR and pushes America ever further toward Brave New World. The chances are very good that Romney will pick the RINO New Jersey governor Christie as his VP, which will give us still another tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee campaign with the Democrats. Ugh! Gloom and monstrous depression sink into one's brain at the thought of such tedium.
We do surely need Ron Paul to challenge this frightful sellout of America as an Independent. I for one would like to see Paul declare immediately as such; but my guess is that, if he does entertain ambitions to run as an Independent, he will still remain in the GOP nomination race until after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. No doubt he feels obligated to his followers and campaign staffs that he has established in those two states to make a strong attempt in their primaries. But after a third or fourth place showing, he can legitimately say to his followers that only a small number of Republicans will ever accept him, that his real constituency is broad based throughout the general population and includes Independents and disenchanted Democrats, thus justifying an Independent run. On this point, he is quite correct. His appeal cuts a wide swath across America with Republicans, Democrats and Independents liking him. A recent Harris poll on September 28th actually has Paul besting Obama by 51% to 49% in a head to head match.
Why such strength in national polls when Paul garners at best 12% in GOP primaries? Because he is the lone voice of principle in the political arena today, he has the backbone of a steel girder and millions of Americans sense it even if many Republicans don't. In addition, the latest Rasmussen polls in September show that only 33.9% of Americans declare themselves to be Republicans while 33.7% declare as Democrats. These figures are near the all time lows for the major parties reached earlier this year, which leaves a whopping 32.4% that identifies as Independent. Paul is quite popular among this group because of his integrity and refreshing adherence to principle.
Such a strategy of staying in the GOP fracas until New Hampshire and then launching as an Independent gives him time to still get on the ballot in all 50 states and make it into the big show, which is the National TV Presidential Debates. I am certainly not privy to his present intentions, but he actually formulated this scenario as his strategy for a possible Independent run back in 1992. However, Pat Buchanan jumped in to take on George Bush that year, and Paul graciously agreed to stay out because both he and Buchanan would have been going after the same voters.
Some big money will have to pour into Paul's campaign for this to come about (it costs about $20 million to get on the ballot in all the states as an Independent), but his supporters throughout America have shown remarkable willingness to pony up the bucks when needed. So there is precedent and hope here. The big government mealymouths and foreign policy alarmists of the GOP might not be the only flag flown to challenge Obama in the 2012 presidential race. There just might be an insertion of patriotism and principle via an Independent run by the Texas doctor, Ron Paul.