The Republican Old Boy Network

As Barack Obama’s popularity continues to drop, and as more and more people start to wake up from the fairytale slumber they entered as Obama sang the “Hope and Change” lullaby, it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that Obama will be a one-term President.

If the Republican Party can remove its head from deep within its own posterior.

I’m not a Republican, but since Conservatism and Federalism aren’t welcome in the Democrat party, and a third-party candidacy is a ticket to defeat, the Republicans remain my best hope. You have no idea how much this fact depresses me.

When I look at the current state of the Republican party, I see a party that is starting to ascend once again. It’s a slow process, and deservedly so. The Republicans have no one but themselves to blame for their minority status. They fell in love with the idea of a Big Government under the leadership of that “Compassionate Conservative” George W. Bush (no great thinker, he). They started to spend and spend some more. They started to believe their own hype and the scandals started coming. This allowed the Democrats, who had been a minority for 12 years, to convince people that it was they who were the party of fiscal discipline. The Democrats pointed to the balanced budget of the late ’90s and reminded everyone that it was a Democrat in the Presidency. They left off the fact that it was actually the Republicans who balanced the budget; it was Bill Clinton who signed the bill. As the aftermath of 9/11 led into first one, and then a second, war, and Compassionate Conservatism became the Gospel of the Republicans, the balanced budget became a thing of the past.

Then the Democrats took over in 2006, and it’s been Spendapalooza ever since. G.W. Bush was loath to veto any spending bills because he was so wrapped up in his gauzy haze of Compassion. Now Barack Obama is in the White House and the projected deficit over the next ten years is $9 trillion dollars. And he wants to add even more money to this unsustainable debt.

The citizenry of this country is starting to get upset, at both the President and Congress. This is a golden opportunity for Republicans. But will they take it?

For 2010, the Congressional outlook for the Republicans is pretty good at this admittedly early point. Some predictions have the Democrats losing as many as 25 House seats. I think if they continue doing what they’re doing, they will lose more. The Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid, is down by double digits in polling against his Republican opponents. Call out the instigators, because there’s something in the air; the revolution’s here.

What concerns me is the Republican Old Boy Network when it comes to the Presidency. The Democrat party is all about new faces. A Senator from Massachusetts, a governor from Georgia, a governor from Arkansas, a community organizer from Illinois. Leaving aside the obvious choices of a VP following his President, most of the Democrat nominees for President over the past 50 years have been people who came out of the blue. They may have had some press prior to their running, but they were still largely unknowns before the campaigns. Kennedy, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Dukakis, Clinton, Kerry, Obama. These were all people who rose in the ranks and then exploded on the national scene.

The Republicans, on the other hand, have a tendency to view the Presidency as the last rung on the ladder for hard working guys who have put their time in and who deserve a promotion. Eisenhower, a great general and war hero who was known by every American, Nixon who was Eisenhower’s VP, Goldwater (the exception that proves the rule), Nixon again, Reagan (ran and came in second in the primaries in 1976), Bush (VP under Reagan), Dole (a man who’d spent 28 years in the Senate, run as VP with Ford, ran for President in 1980 and 1988, and who was advanced to the Republican candidacy in 1996 despite the fact that he was older than Methuselah, stiffer than a good martini, and less articulate than Bobo the Chimp), George W. Bush (family name, heritage), and John McCain (see Dole, Robert). I excluded the accidental president, Gerald Ford.

The point is that the Republicans have a tendency to view their Presidential candidates as the guy whose turn it is to run. I can see them now advocating for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin in 2012. None of these three are a good choice. Romney is a dubious conservative whose stiffness and unbreakable hair (and lame jokes about same) will look even worse next to the smooth huckster Obama, Huckabee is an even more dubious conservative whose down home folksiness somehow rings false, and Palin will not be able to overcome the stereotypes (at least not by 2012…let’s see her in 2020 after she’s written a few scholarly books and articles and has made a name for herself from out there in the wilderness like Reagan did in the 1970s).

But if history is a guide, the Republican party will nominate one of these three to run in 2012. Why? Because it’s their turn.

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