Here lately pundits and other political commentators from Peggy Noonan to Karl Rove to Jonah Goldberg have been weighing in on the “form” of GOP candidates for President (and potential ones) - in particular those who have accents and plainspeaking ways about them, like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry. These pundits worry that these types of high profile politicians, though patriotic, well-meaning, good-hearted, and popular amongst certain segments of the GOP base, come across all wrong to the general public and thus present problems when it comes to the ability for Republicans to win elections, in particular the Presidency. To that, Dr. Melissa Clouthier responds:
But you know what? I’ll take cringe-inducing speaking over smooth talking all day long. I’m beyond the leftists and their pointing and laughing. I can go another couple years, or decades, of good governance if I don’t have to endure bad ideas and smooth talk. Would I like good ideas and smooth talk? That would be nice, but the smooth talk is a helpful bonus.
The fact is, conservatism is coming in all sorts of forms these days. We don’t have an identity-politics problem. Look at our governors, Jonah. Rick Scott, John Kasich, Nikki Haley, Mitch Daniels, Sam Brownback, Rick Snyder, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez. Every single one of them, no matter how they speak, would be painted as a stupid rube by the left and media were he or she running for President. Need proof? Just look at the press coverage of them now, in their states.
We have a leftist and press problem. And we have big name Republicans like Noonan and Rove who end up aiding and abetting these folks with their focus on things that don’t matter.
The time for being swayed by the superficial is gone. I would vote for a bald, motorcycle riding Indiana governor. I would vote for an overweight, brash talking Jersey boy. I would vote for just about anyone willing to cut the government and take our economic woes and jobs despair seriously.
Get over the form. The next President better have substance. We’ve had three years of Barack Obama. That should inoculate anyone from the worries of being picked on for eight years by moronic Keynsians who sent America deeper into the morass.
It is the dawn of a new political day and I’m not sure many have caught up, yet.
Results matter. Go look to the states and look at the results of the policies of the states where the Governors supposedly lacking “gravitas” preside. Now look at what we have in the White House. Who has gravitas again?
This all relates to the “electability” argument that some conservatives hate. I personally see nothing wrong with worrying about a candidate’s electability based on where they stand on the issues and their character, but I DO see something wrong with worrying about someone’s electability solely due to superficial issues like accents, mannerisms, looks, etc, which is what the Roves and the Noonans of the world, on the other hand, see as problematic. Frankly, I’m sick of this line of argument as it implies that symbolism combined with style over substance are all that matters when electing someone to public office, no matter how small or large the office is. And as Melissa noted above, we’ve had nearly 3 years of exactly that in the White House, and where has it gotten us?
As a side note, it’s especially interesting for Rove to take this view, considering he was key to getting George W. Bush aka “the stupid cowboy” elected President. But I digress.
Let’s take a look at Rep. Ron Paul, for example: The guy is simply not electable as President of the United States. His Congressional district may elect him every two years to serve in the US House but that doesn’t mean he’s automatically qualified to be electable Presidential material. The guy has views that are so far out of the mainstream – especially as it relates to isolationism and Israel - that there’s no way he’d win even close to enough states to become POTUS. If he, by some bizarre chance, were to become the GOP nominee, you’d see a landslide by Barack Obama a la Reagan vs. Mondale., except Paul probably wouldn’t even win his own state (his Congressional district, yes).
Sarah Palin, as much as I like her, is not someone I view as “electable” – because the mainstream media, in concert with staunch left wing Democrats and phony “feminists” – have crucified her to the point where I’m not sure if she could overcome the damage done not only by their obsession with the superficial, but also with their constant mischaracterization of her stance on the issues, and their calculated painting of her as an empty suit in attractive packaging. Not only that, but she herself has made critical mistakes along the way, chief among them leaving the Governor’s office in Alaska midway through her first term, which leaves people with the impression that she’ is a “cut and runner” – when she is anything but, in my view. I buy the argument that she left the Governor’s chair because she had to deal with so many bogus “investigations” and attacks by liberal haters and establishment Republicans with axes to grind that she probably felt she was of no use as Governor and was more or less a distraction to the office.
But the same time, a compelling argument can be made by the political opposition – including some on our side – that “when the going got tough, Sarah bailed, which is not what we need in a President.” This speaks to the character argument, which I believe is a valid factor in determining who the eventual nominee is. That being said, should she jump in the race and eventually become our nominee, I would work day and night to do whatever I could to help her get elected, to help her overcome the false MSM/liberal image of her as a ditzy, opportunistic quitter. My view is that she is right on most of the issues, and there’s no question she loves her country and would be stridently unapologetic for it should she get elected President. As to the electability, though I believe that she is “unelectable” now that doesn’t mean that would be the case in a general election season. Somone who looks “unelectable” now could look very electable depending on the political climate of the election year. A guy by the name of Ronald Reagan comes to mind.
On the other hand, Mitt Romney is “electable” - unfortunately a lot of his big government views are not so far out of the mainstream in America. Some people believe that bigger government is better. Just because he is “electable”, however, doesn’t automatically mean “he should be our nominee.” I won’t even go down the list of issues conservatives have with him in terms of policy positions, flip flops, etc, but you get the point, which is:
Just because is someone is “electable” doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the person we should nominate to represent us in the fall elections, because while we want someone who is electable, we also want someone who shares with us an unquestionable belief in the fundamental principles of smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, respect for the unborn and the traditional two parent family, speaking softly but carrying a big stick on the world stage, and a strong belief in American exceptionalism – without apology. We want someone of sound mind and character who, while not perfect, embodies the core ideals we believe have made this country great and that could make it even greater once the Socialist in Chief is booted out of the White House.
Another reason I loathe the political “form” arguments made by established and respected pundits is that it’s insulting to conservatives in general because most of us, when deciding which potential nominee to pick and which not to, look for a candidate with who we can more often than not identify with on some level. Chances are, if a candidate walks like me and talks like me, and shares my values and core ideals about America, that candidate is going to get a second and third look by me – and will probably end up with my vote. If that candidate with the swagger and the accent presents an “image” problem to these pundits, what does that suggest those pundits think about me? It’s elitism at its worst.
The GOP’s “image” problem is not really one of their own making. It’s primarily one of the left’s making. For years, liberal Democrats have been allowed – via their like-minded friends in the mainstream press – to define who conservatives are and what we’re about. While the GOP should work to overcome the misconceptions about conservatives with the facts, the onus is more on the left than anyone else to explain to the public what makes the conservative opinion on affirmative action “racist”, what makes the conservative opinion on smaller government “selfish”, what makes the conservative view on being unapologetic about their love of their country “arrogant.” Most importantly, these liberals should be dragged kicking and screaming into a public debate as to what makes their political opposition “extremist” – as they have frequently called us, especially over the last several years. This is an argument I made a couple of weeks ago:
Not that it was a profound thought or anything, but it hit me during Thursday night’s GOP debates, when I was reading Tweets from the official Democrat party Tweet page about how the debate line-up was the most “extreme” in history – or something to that effect – that it’s high time the GOP demand Democrat party rank and file politicians and “leaders” to define what exactly it is about the conservative agenda today that is “extreme.”
Ask them why they think lowering taxes so businesses will be more likely to create jobs in a sagging economy is “extreme.” Ask them why they think giving more healthcare choices back to the individual by way of repealing ObamaCare is “extreme.” Ask them why Republican Governors are “extreme” when they seek to curtail union excesses yet when Democrat Governors do it, they are just “misguided”? Ask them why, in an era where the term “extremist” is almost always used to describe ideological terrorists, that they are using that same term to describe their political opposition. Ask the President himself whether or not he, who called for a “New Tone” in politics after the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords in January, approves of leaders of his party – including his right-hand man David Axelrod – characterizing his/their political opposition as “extreme.”
As Washington, DC grows more divided on ideological grounds, it’s time we had this debate. For years, we’ve all watched as Democrats have – with the help of the mainstream media – gotten to define the parameters of the debate, and if we allow them to, they’ll get away with it again as they ratchet up the accusations of “right wing extremism.” Make no mistake about it: This is a calculated move by Democrats, espeically in light of the horrific murders in Norway a few weeks ago by a “right wing extremist”, to paint their opposition as “extremist” in their own right – which gets people who don’t follow politics closely to wonder just “how extreme” … when in reality the conservative agenda of low taxes and individual responsibility should not be considered the “extreme” – it should be considered essential for the survival of our Republic.
I’m sick of Democrats getting away with labeling people they disagree with as “racists” and “extremists” and “terrorists” etc when I know darned well I’m not, and the party I support is not. I’m also sick of the Democrats being trotted out as the “party of the compassionate” – sorry, but they lost any claim to “compassionate” the day they made the legalization of the termination of unborn children their top no-compromise issue. They also lost that claim when they started making excuses for murderers and rapists and other violent criminals by pushing the idea that “society” was partly to blame for the despicable acts of the guilty, and therefore as a result we should be softer on criminals than they deserve.
This isn’t just an ideological war. It’s a war of words. Democrats have been redefining words for decades to suit their agenda, almost to the point that those words don’t mean anything universal anymore. For example, you’re a racist if you hate black people – that’s universal, but if you don’t support this President’s radical left-wing agenda, to Democrats that makes you a racist, too. It’s time for the GOP, conservatives, and other like-minded individual to take this war of words right back to them by demanding they define the words they use – sans the stupid spin games. Then let the American public decide whether or not it’s extreme.
That’s the debate that needs to be had in this country. Yet here some people on our side are worrying about accents and swaggers and stumbling over words. I don’t know whether to laugh or scream.