So far in this presidential election cycle, the Republicans are off to a less than rousing start. Primarily, their weakness results from an inability to coalesce around a single believable conservative candidate. An enormous and highly visible momentum is needed to rally the nation in a coordinated push against the Obama agenda. And while several credible and sincere conservatives are in the race, none among them has yet been able to convince any major segment of the population of a unique ability to do so.
Concurrently, the “moderate” segment of the Republican Party, despite being consistently rejected by voters, (and last November’s “Republican” landslide was every bit the refutation of “business as usual” among Republicans as it was among Democrats), has attempted to reassert itself against the burgeoning tide of the Tea Party. For a time, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels appeared to be the centrist standard bearer, but he announced last weekend that he will not be seeking the White House. Likewise for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in a flailing attempt to distinguish himself from the field of candidates, gave several major interviews and made some key public statements in the past few weeks. Unfortunately for Gingrich, the net effect of these was to remind America, and conservatives in particular, that while Gingrich possesses the knowledge to be a visionary, once in the fray he reverts to a course of deal making and bridge-building with the opposition.
In just this manner he derailed his own “Contract with America” after ascending to the position of House Speaker in January of 1995. And by his recent statements (along with some outlandish actions of the past few years) he proves that the likely result of a Gingrich presidency would be much the same. Not surprisingly, the more Gingrich gets into the public spotlight, the more America is able to remember why it became so thoroughly disillusioned with him the last time he held a position of power.
Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney is now the presumed early (very early…) front runner, and is promising to amass a billion dollar campaign war chest. But while such a pronouncement may intimidate some of his competition, in and of itself it does not inspire or motivate the public. America is in dire straits at present, and any legitimate Republican nominee must be able to address and confront the situation, offering real alternatives to the socialist onslaught of the past few years. Options are few, and a weak or ineffectual response will at best only delay the train wreck that the nation rightly fears.
It is in this arena that Romney’s greatest vulnerabilities are found. In a time when the nation has fully grasped its precarious position, the mere possibility of a “moderate” Republican version of the statism that brought us to this point is sufficient to alienate enough of the electorate to ensure defeat. And given this truth, it is all but assured that, during the latter days before next year’s general election, the media and the Obama campaign would be working overtime to recall all of the forays into liberalism undertaken by Romney as Governor of Massachusetts. And the examples are many.
Against such a backdrop, the credibility and political weight of a presidential candidacy by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a bold and unapologetic conservative, represents a glimmer of hope in an otherwise discouraging Republican field. Word that Perry is contemplating a run for the White House has electrified those in the grassroots who are watching the situation closely.
With the notable exception of his support for mandatory STD vaccinations for school age girls, Perry has no fences to mend with conservatives. And this track record puts him in stark contrast to the other “big names.” Unlike those “mainstream Republicans” that were caught up in the contrived liberal/statist wave that, we were told, had swept America in 2006 and 2008, Perry has remained a stalwart conservative and constitutionalist, and never accepted the ruse that the nation had shifted decidedly left. So, unlike many others, he is not now scrambling to reestablish conservative credibility.
From the earliest days of the Tea Party, Perry embraced the movement. But rather than treating it as a useful bandwagon on which to climb, he recognized it as kindred with his own political and governing philosophy. His association with it was not a matter of astute pragmatism, but rather the natural reaction to political allies and like-minded citizens with legitimate concerns. Given his stalwart commitment to the time-tested principles of a healthy society and the free market, it is no surprise that, on his watch, Texas not only stands out as a bastion of traditional, flag-waving Americanism, it is also unquestionably the best place in the nation for new businesses to start and flourish.
In one triumphal move after another, Perry has pursued a course that reminds America of its real roots, and the direction it must pursue if it is to be restored to its former greatness. From calls for fiscal discipline in government, to international relations, to a sincere respect for traditional property rights, to the recognition of the humanity of the unborn, Perry’s approach to governing is one that could and should be implemented on a national scale. And if he remains true to it, the nation will only reap positive outcomes.
Conversely, any Republican aspirant to the White House who intends to make nice with the opposition will most certainly deliver a continuance of the country’s present downward trajectory, while ensuring the total disillusionment of all who hoped for definitive improvements in the situation. This is the core of the fatally flawed political strategy of Republicans who attempt to ingratiate themselves with the nation’s liberals by offering a watered-down version of the leftist agenda that has so devastated this country.
The next president must have clarity of understanding, as well as the necessary spine to pursue a drastic course correction if he is to address the critical issues facing the nation. Current conditions, if not altered portend dire consequences for the nation. Thus they can neither be ignored nor treated lightly or subordinated to liberal calls for “civility” and “bipartisanship.”
Time and again, Governor Perry has exhibited the willingness to tackle the hard issues. And overwhelmingly, his forthrightness and determination has prevailed. Texas has fared better as a result of his leadership and integrity. America could do likewise.
Copyright ©2011 Christopher G. Adamo