With the field of electable Republican presidents shrinking by the minute and the first primary elections only weeks away, conservatives may be wondering what the Republican Party establishment really wants to accomplish in 2012.
I won't keep you waiting. The Republican leadership would like nothing better than to have another four years of Dictator BHO.
Of course, they will never admit it. And I don't doubt that they'd like as many party loyals elected to 2012 state and federal offices, good suits who will do Boehner's bidding, and stay bought. It's just that, well, there's nothing like the Obaminator to rally the party troopers and inspire order.
The Tea Parties have greatly annoyed the Republican establishment with their small government advocacy, their insistence on bringing up the Constitution at inconvenient times, and their pervasive lack of faith in federal solutions, federal justice and federal monetary policy. They are, at the heart of it, just not good Republicans. What's worse, they revel in their independence.
Here in Virginia, at least in local elections, we are seeing lots of dissenting conservatives running in Republican primaries (as I am for the 6th Congressional District) and many hard-core conservatives running as Independents in the general election. They are winning primaries against party-anointed candidates and general elections as Independents over the party's anointed.
Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and several other elected Republicans, were recently excommunicated by the Republican Party of Virginia for endorsing a an Independent over the GOP-preferred Republican. That's a serious crime around here, bucking the party.
That so many people — candidates and voters are today willing to buck the GOP is a sign of the times, and a sign of GOP decay. The facts have not been kind to the Republican Party over the adult lifetimes of most Americans. We saw an explosion of government growth, illegal wars, and monetary compromise under Nixon. We suffered the Ford administration's elevation of Cheney and Rumsfeld, both of whom would haunt Washington, D.C. and threaten the Constitution for decades. We had the inspiring years of Reagan but were told that conservatism meant deficits didn't matter. We were embarrassed and betrayed by the young Gingrichians and the false promises of their Contract with America. More recently we had a dozen years of Bush mediocrity bringing a flood of spending and borrowing, and the tenacious growth of the neo-conservative warfare-welfare state. Any honest conservative still clinging to the Republican Party in my lifetime must be both philosophically challenged and deeply morose.
Political conditions in the United States are ripe for new alignments, and the fundamental common sense constitutionalist is now found in lots of places they were never found before. Former Democrats, especially those that are antiwar, are increasingly coming to understand that the Federal Reserve and crony capitalism is responsible for both the warfare state and the welfare state. This awareness leads many Democrats to increasingly welcome a smaller, less grasping state.
Independents are increasingly interested in survival, of all kinds, and they too are frustrated with the uniparty spending machine in Washington, and they increasingly see themselves as federal livestock. They are wondering if the grass might be greener with a smaller, more law-biding government.
Libertarians have long recognized the problem with the unbounded state. Most Americans under the age of thirty speak, text and tweet fluent libertarian.
Naturally, the constitutionalists in the Tea Party relish their new and exciting power across the country to be kingmakers in local elections.
These four segments may in fact comprise an emergent voting bloc, and possibly even a nascent party. Beyond a movement, it is these people who most accurately understand what is wrong with this country — "it's the state, stupid!" Consequently, will be able to agree on first principles, and first steps.
The GOP wants and needs four more years of Obamanation in order to continue its plan of corralling and branding intransigent and increasingly sophisticated state's rights-asserting, small government freethinkers. But the GOP cowboys are long in the tooth, and their horses keep coming up lame.
The GOP establishment wants, and needs, more time to work the Republican herd. They'll do this much as they did in 2008. Destroy electable candidates and run losing liberal nominees. Thus, we see the GOP leadership express great satisfaction with Romney and Perry, both big spending statists, while doing everything they can to destroy the reputations of the Republicans with more grass roots appeal, like Cain and Ron Paul. Cain's crossover appeal to the neocon, progressive, and small government wings of the GOP was frightening — he might have actually won, and then try to change the status quo — and thus he had to be taken out. I doubt Cain would ever have attempted real change, but I'm not as paranoid as the GOP establishment.
One — and only one presidential candidate running as a Republican would bring the White House back to the GOP. He has grass roots, independent, libertarian and conservative support, appeals to all generations of voters, and were the GOP establishment to back him, he would crush Obama in November 2012. Americans are demanding less war, more respect for the Constitution and liberty, less corporate cronyism and Federal Reserve shell games, and more prosperity for the so-called 99%. Why not let us have what we want for a change?
But the GOP is constrained by a paradigm that says animosity and disgust for the Obama Administration, if it could be sustained long enough, will drive those dissenting constitutionalist dogies back into the fold of the Grand Old Party, obedient and branded.
Your guess is as good as mine as to whether the GOP establishment will make use of the secret ballot to pull the lever for four more years of Obama. They'll never tell. But it is clear that in 2012, the GOP is running to lose the presidency, by design. With willful blindness and two teaspoons of wishful thinking, the Republican Party expects that four more years of spending and corruption, of borrowing and Keynesian insanity will all be worth it if the Tea Party can be driven home.
Call it karma, or history repeating, but I'm calling it now. By the time the GOP controllers realize that the Tea Party Constitution Liberty and Peace Train has left the station, the Grand Old Party will have gone the way of the Whigs in 1852.
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She is currently running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district.