The GOP can’t win in 2016 by thinking inside the box.
The usual criteria for political success — plenty of New York and Washington IOUs, youthful vigor, good looks, glibness, access to lots of money — aren’t sufficient any longer to galvanize the Republican party or get out the conservative vote. Instead, the next Republican nominee should meet four criteria that are rarely mentioned.
Being liked by the media is no plus. In the 2008 primaries the media preferred John McCain as a reasonable moderate, at least compared with the primary alternatives, and in 2012 they preferred Mitt Romney. Once the primaries were over, both candidates reverted to their prior demonic status among journalists.
So why not nominate a Republican who never addresses a celebrity journalist as “Candy,” or “Katie,” or “Brian,” or “George,” but instead politely says Mr. this or Ms. that, avoiding any suggestion of either intimacy or paranoid dislike. Distanced formality is the key with the media.
The candidates’ own desire to appear accommodating to the press has led mostly to media contempt. For a while in 2008 we were treated to wild charges that John McCain had had an affair; debate moderator Candy Crowley interrupted the give-and-take to join sides with Barack Obama. Romney’s sins were supposedly impolite behavior as a high-schooler and putting a pet in a cage on his car roof. He also did not say hello often enough to his trash collector. The next nominee should not just expect to be disliked by the New York/Washington-nexus press, but must learn to welcome that disdain as honorific rather than cower before it. Here the key would be to question the premise and motive of typical gotcha questions rather than to give the sort of logical answers that will be selectively edited to appear pejorative. By and large, journalists are more bullies than geniuses. They tend to be toadyish, not principled and courageous. Playing by their rules and seeking their approval are suicidal for any conservative candidate.
Being combative — and liking it — is critical. One can be combative without being obnoxious. Any Republican who seriously wishes to balance the budget, close the border and end illegal immigration, reform the tax code, address government unions, revisit entitlements, and restore muscularity abroad must be prepared to be hated. Millions of Americans are invested in the present tax-and-spend government, in big deficits and huge debt, in open borders, and in paying no federal income taxes. They will not quietly concede such advantages, but will smear and slander any who seek to reform the system and, by extension, the unsustainable policies that nonetheless are popular with millions. The preferred candidate will have to put up with shouting union protesters, be amused by op-eds alleging callous cruelty, and expect violent disruptions when he speaks — as proof of his steady success. Wanting to be liked is a prescription for disaster. Every time an accommodating Republican candidate tries to reach out, his generosity is seen as weakness to be taken advantage of, not magnanimity to be reciprocated.
EXPERIENCE RUNNING THINGS
It is an old canard that governors make better presidents than senators. Instances of former governors who were successful as presidents and others who were utter failures are both easy to adduce. Still, there is something to be said for having managed something — something other than a government staff or bureau — and for not being either a lawyer or a senator. Neither of those latter jobs offers much experience in balancing a budget, hiring good people and firing bad, making a profit, and building things, as opposed to critiquing or nuancing them. So, this time around, we might look for three additional diverse criteria in a candidate: no Ivy League degree, no tenure as a U.S. senator, and no law degree. Ivy League lawyers and Washington insiders like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry know little about foreign policy, less about the economy — and nothing about the law.
A MAN OR WOMAN OF THE PEOPLE
In 2008 the elitist Barack Obama turned John McCain into an old fuddy-duddy who could not remember how many houses his billionaire wife had purchased — unfair but effective. In 2012 we heard ad nauseam not about Obama’s elite tastes, his pompous golfing, or his obsession with entertainers, professional jocks, and other celebrities, but only about Mitt Romney’s cars, his elevators, and his wife’s purebred mounts. Of course, that was demagoguery, given that the backbone of the present Left is blue 1-percenter counties and billionaire megadonors. Nonetheless, nominating someone who did not marry into a fortune or make hundreds of millions on Wall Street might offer a pleasant change. Let Hillary suffer the wages of political dynasty, cashing in, and a multimillion-dollar Clinton stock portfolio. Even scenes of George W. Bush in 2004 cutting brush on his ranch trumped John Kerry windsurfing in spandex. Cannot the Republicans — who now represent the middle classes much more than the 1 percent — find a candidate from modest circumstances who cannot be smeared as a product of privilege when he demands collective sacrifice, balanced budgets, and entitlement reform? To beat Hillary, one must be the un-Hillary.
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Where do these quirky requirements leave us? Right now, with someone more like Scott Walker than Jeb Bush. And I’ll leave it at that until we see more action in the arena in the months ahead.
29 thoughts on “Finding the Great Republican Hope”
A candidate who cannot be smeared?
How about Mike Huckabee of modest background, with a modicum of folksy manners like Reagan, with principled ethics like George W Bush and civil courage like Nixon?
Yes, it still is a la mode to neglect the 37th President, but before his fall in 1974 – deftly hiding Democrat scheming from Kennedy through Johnson – he was a paragon of all claims to modesty..
“Cannot be smeared”…as an elite 1%er. There is no candidate that cannot be smeared.
Huckabee is also an evangelical. Nothing else about him matters. He’s radioactive from just that one thing.
Smears are why VDH has “combative” on his list. Someone who accepts being hated as an inevitable cost of doing business. You can’t reform if you get heart palpitations every time your poll numbers dip.
Scott Walker would be my choice. Competent, combative and already hated with a blistering hate. I’d like to see him a bit more seasoned, but alternatives are very slim.
I’ve rather come to despise the Primary system. It foments the craziest of the crazies who are fundamentally un-electable.
For the GOP it is hopeless.They have none of the qualities you suggest, in their “preferred ” choice of candidates. Bank on it. They will lose in 2016, just on their current congressional record in the first 2 months of 2015. The establishment doesn’t really care, they are in on the feast from government anyway. Many many in the “base” will stay home on election day. Me among them. Call me a poor citizen? ,but I am not a zombie “fool”. I will look out for myself. I don’t care what you think.
Future generations? They deserve what they voted for in 2008 and 2012.
I didn’t deserve what THEY voted for. But you do deserve it. If you can’t stop this childish and petulant view of imperfect politics, you had damn well be happy with whatever the other people give you.
unless he lives in a state ( like mine and Vic’s, kalifornia ) where republican votes don’t matter. this is the state of cyanide laced kool aid, current favorite flavor is hawaiian punch. in my district, my delusional neighbors voted for dear leader 3 to 1, TWICE.
I expect the 2016 Presidential Campaign to contain a few issues none of the prior campaigns have ever addressed to my knowledge, except perhaps item (e). These new issues will take on a life of their own and eventually harmonize with the voters. The topics will likely include topics that will be called “outrageous,” yet causing some segments of society to experience cognitive dissonance, and set new hopes among other segments.
EXAMPLES: (a) ET’S: Disclosure, (b) ENERGY: Zero Point Energy (free energy) devices are real but suppressed by mainstream science, secret government agencies and paid government trolls used to debunk, ridicule and destroy reputations; cold fusion will come back for a second round. (c) MARS COLONIES: A split-off civilization of advanced technologies have had colonies on planet Mars for over 40 years, (d) TIME TRAVEL: Time travel and Jump Rooms are real, (e) DUMP THE FED: Nationalize the Federal Reserve and issue Treasury Direct US Dollars, (f) CHEMTRAIL SCIENCE IS JUST GUESSING because it pays well: Chemtrail-geoengineering-“just look up at the sky – science” has no idea what they are doing as their computer variables are too complex for accurate predictions using our best super computers (f) the entire solar system is heating up as evidence by observed energy changes on other planets as the Schumann resonance of Earth is increasing. (g) FALSE FLAGS are everywhere, people finally understand the game, NSA and DHS must be dumped, CIA must be realigned, a new era of prosperity and peace will be urged among the super-powers by one or more candidates that do not view Russia nor China as a threat but as partners, good guys in the military will account for the missing 2.3-trillion dollars announced the day before 9-11.
While the candidates that support these issues may not directly win, they will have a significant influence on the political narrative IMHO.
Like it or not veterans of foreign wars should hold the office of the President. They hold the presence of battle and the historical weight necessary for leadership. Of course, the office is not only a capricious one held but the craft of war elevates experience and remembrances of those who wage the battles of politics. Quite apart from what most people remember some of the greatest Presidents in American history still continue to change the way Americans live and think. Who else are the best qualified other than those who have served. Looking for a Republican George Washington is no easy task. Tactics, numbers and the choice for the GOP rests on political aftershocks. But there is still this lingering question that I ask myself on the Republican side: Quite simply who can defend the dominance of Western civilization the best? This question goes directly with the heart of culture, the nature of history. Teddy Roosevelt excelled in the office because of his experience at San Juan Hill. There are, of course the flukes of the office of President that shows poor leadership with Barack Obama in office, perhaps it is unfair and cruelly that Americans like myself that did not vote for him, must continue to see him in office. What military service or experience does Barack Obama have? If Presidents are Commander in Chiefs of the armed forces shouldn’t Presidential Candidates have military experience? Without any experience these candidates fall into the category of comic book character like President Barack Obama. At the very least, Jeb Bush can call his father who served in World War II and instigated a War in the Gulf for help. Various criteria for a President comes to mind; yet it is nearly impossible to sort out the comparative weight of the GOP, on any occasion. We should, of course note the qualifications of the candidates and their service records. Clearly the people alone do not determine the best qualifications for a President or the GOP. A workable resume seems extremely important for the job.
Jared Carter/Caruthers, California
In light of Mr Hanson suggestions. The only candidates currently that fit the bill are Scott Walker and Ben Carson. They are principled individuals who both have a great respect for God and country and the founding principles that follows from them.
Scott Walker rules Wisconsin from a throne built of the skulls of all who’ve opposed him. Ben Carson? Good guy, maybe Cabinet material, but what has he ever won?
Politics is a bruising business and without skulls you have no victories … or be like Ben Carson who you say has never won anything.
One who can one-up the Progtard NLP program of always a) showmanship, b) stage hypnotism, c) misdirection and d) suggestion.
That means right in front of debate audience, calling up the memes and tropes used by the NLP crowd… and saying, yes, the high-voice, low-voice, pause… of Obama et al… is the hypnotist’s watch fob… so, 1-2-3 wake up!
Act like Marlin Brando in Guys and Dolls… as Frank Sinatra tries to con him… simply name the con, and tell everybody why it won’t work on him (Brando) ’cause his dad told him how the con worked!
Believe it or not, this is exactly what Abraham Lincoln did, and did well. Further, he used a higher-level NLP to actually get his ideas across. For example, he forced people to think, one example being he began with forcing folk to engage their brain… four score and seven years ago… in 1863, that’s 76 years… minus… oh, that would be 1776.
There is a higher path consistently doable, but our conservative leaders still haven’t found it. For example, why be against Common Core because it’s a Federal Mandate, and local schools should decide? RATHER, Common Core is 2nd World Controlling, i.e. Prorated brain-enslavement. Rather, the USA is a 1st Tier Liberty country, or should be. Anything Progtard is spiritual and mental enslavement worse than 1860 slavery. This is the true nature of 2nd World (i.e. EU) enslavement. Third world Tribalism is also bad.
Therefore, a brave candidate must name things by their true names, or natures: Mainly, 2nd world Progtardism is a worse slavery than 3rd World Tribal slavery. Dems stand for 2nd World Progtard enslavement. Muslim Extremists stand for 3rd World Tribal enslavement. 1st World leaders despise both, and offer Liberty’s pledge of mutual self restraint.
Natural Law says none has a right to aggress upon another’s spirit, soul or body. 2nd World Progtardism enslaves the brain, then spirit, then finances, eventually the body too… as seen in HUD housing projects. 1st World thinking fixes all that enslavement. It frees people’s spirits, souls, minds and bodies.
Maybe if the Republicans grew a set and started being unapologetic conservatives, they might have a chance!
I’ve been waiting for this: ” Here the key would be to question the premise and motive of typical gotcha questions. rather than to give the sort of logical answers that will be selectively edited to appear pejorative. By and large, journalists are more bullies than geniuses. “
Exactly … If you look at how Jesus dealt with those who opposed him … he posed questions and told parables. Answer a question with a question or tell a story it stymied the best and brightest from the 1st century and it will befuddle the morons from the 21st.
Know what you believe and believe what you know, truth is such a rare commodity today, it may take people by surprise.
But expect unprecedented mudslinging to fill the social networks as rumors controversialize the candidate and not his stand on issues. I can see the NY/WA journalists cherry picking the more damaging rumors to play the gotcha game…what should be the focus…the issues and her Clinton’s handling of them …hammer away on the President’s transparency and the transparency of his cabinet…Clinton was there….has she shot her self in the foot with private emails as Sec of State? With “what difference does it make” on Bengahzi? With “the Clinton Foundation” and foreign states?
After being discarded today by the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority leader by enabling the President’s illegal and unconstitutional rewrite of immigration law by passing the DHS funding exactly as demanded by the President and his party, I doubt if the R behind a candidates name is going to make much of difference of whom I support in future elections. They must be a conservative first.
The answer to the question of the article’s next-to-the last sentence is, “No.” For whatever reason, the Republicans are doomed to failure. In office or out.
The facts on the ground have been proven time and again during Obama’s tenure, that the Republicans have become congenitally incapable of making the case for their issues. So as soon as the MSM make “shut down the government” the meme, taking the current tussle over immigration as an example, the Republicans forget all about the president’s unconstitutional exercise of power, and skitter away in disarray with their tails between their legs.
Personally I think the reason is that, in their heart-of-hearts, none of the upper echelon of the party really believe in their alleged agenda.
To find that great Republican hope, you must have a Republican party first. And this Republican Party is negotiating with the Democrats and Obama. What good would a Scott Walker or Ted Cruz be if the Republican Party in Congress is undermining your administration?
You just described Sarah Palin on every point. A walking American flag, never goes wobbly & courage galor defending Constitutional conservative principles despite the “lamestream” media. She is way ahead of the pack in predicting where Obama’s policies would lead (Death Panel’s, Ukraine invasion, quantitative easing, crony capitallism, victory first befor pseudo-red lines in Syria et el…) Not afraid to name the enemy & call out the Jihadists. As an executive, she did more in her three yrs as Governor than most do in a full two terms. Stood up to the oil companies & establishment Republicans Built the infrastructure of a thriving alaskan city as a Mayor. Cut taxes. Is the epitome of “We the people.” Antithesis of Obama & dishonest Hillary. Is hated by the left & feared by the RINOS bc/ she is incorruptable.
I agree that Sarah Palin did a phenomenal job as Governor..
Too bad her part as mother and pillar of Wasilla, AL has hampered her career meaning leaving too little time to impress on the American public—
At some point American voters might wake up to the fact that politicians’ promises of the moon involves them facing away from the voters while bent over with their pants or skirts around their ankles and that provisions of ‘something for nothing’ works until the lazy nothings who get free somethings wind up with nothing after the working somethings have nothing left to steal. Eventually, that is. As for the Ivy League schools providing us with lawyer politicians trained to scam the insanely complex legal codes for fun and profit, let’s have a junior college educated business person politician with a notion of law being a means of treating people fairly just because it’s a moral thing and not an excuse for a money and ego game of ‘me first and everybody else last’.
Carson-Cruz or Cruz-Carson. Boring white-guy loses again…
Boil it down— How did slick willie and liar-in-chief win 4 elections? They straddled the fence on issue’s and hid behind fancy words—“” comprehensive immigration reform””. Charging out, nostril’s flaring as an all-or-nothing, heavy-stance taking Republican —who with those stance’s is hurting a large portion of the popular vote— equals fail. Guarantee’s commander-in chief Hillary battling wits with pick a Dictator. Boiled down further— Security at Home and Abroad. We will cut taxes and stimulate jobs. They cannot allow the media lapdog-whores to trap them into meaningless sidetrack’s. I am questioning the wisdom of ANY debates on CNN,NBC,ABC or CBS? If it is a must, only the one’s that agree to the most agreeable terms. Republican Party, send my consulting check to…..
I concur. Scott Walker is my choice. No law degree. No college degree. Spiritual roots and he has kept his word and got much done. And he has been through the fires. I am disgusted with the House and Senate leadership. Spineless and liars.
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Legendary Reno govt Watchdog and best candidate for almost EVERY office
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