CHICAGO, January 14, 2012―Romney But is not an uncomfortable condition caused by skin friction, like Monkey Butt. Romney But is a milder form of Anyone But. It is an uncomfortable political irritation afflicting the so-called social, religious, cultural, and principled conservatives.
The candidate people immediately speak of here when talk turns to the GOP primary is a man named Romney But. “I like Romney, but I could change my mind.” “I like Romney, but I like Santorum too.” (Peggy Noonan/WSJ on South Carolina primary)
The cure for Romney But is reality. The realization that if Republicans want to win the White House, they need an electable candidate - one who has the best chance of winning.
Voting one’s social, cultural, or religious conscience may make people feel all warm and fuzzy. But, there is no one named Conscience running for President.
The far right of the Republican Party is, hopefully, realizing the object of the game is to win. People and parties who finish second are losers. This election is not going to be won over narrow wedge or litmus test issues.
It is going to be won by the candidate who can appeal to the broadest spectrum of the population on a national level.
This election is not just about South Carolina, Florida, or any other state. It is about one thing and one thing only - replacing or retaining the incumbent president. It is a national election. The party’s candidate has to appeal to the nation, not the margins.
Reality is setting in that preaching and politics are two different things. Preaching belongs in church.
The bomb-throwing crybaby Newt Gingrich can’t win. He never stood a chance.
The squeaky voiced Ron Paul can’t win. America is not ready for a quirky eccentric.
Larry the Cable Guy has a better chance of getting elected president than Rick Perry.
Jon Huntsman is smarter than, but not, George Clooney.
Rick Santorum should trade his vest sweaters in for a black suit and clerical collar.
None of these people are electable on a national level. They only appeal to segments of the population. Romney, for better or worse, has the best chance to beat President Obama. He can appeal to the broadest spectrum of the population.
Here is another reality. Some people are disappointed or disaffected with the president. They, across the board of interests and segments, do not dislike him. But Obama is not Jimmy Carter, who had the singular ability to anger a whole nation. The president still has appeal.
He also has time to make the GOP look worse than he is. Remember, his new, unofficial campaign slogan is “things could be worse”.
The opposing candidate has to be more appealing and confidently convince voters things can be better, no matter what President Obama does or proposes.
The Republican Party did not bring out any major stars to offer a great alternative to the sitting president. They did the voters no favors. The GOP had three years to develop a campaign strategy to win back the White House. And they squandered that opportunity.
The difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is unity. Republicans keep fighting over who is a Republican, a real Republican, a true conservative or Reagan conservative. It is all about some notion of purity.
The Democrats are all about unity. The Democrats know who and what they are. Even the most independent, rogue, or conservative Democrats are still, well, Democrats.
If hard-core conservatives are so rigid they should start their own party. They can bloviate about their narrow issues all they want. They will discover they cannot win national elections. They will find out very quickly that the nation is politically, socially, and culturally, center, to center right, otherwise known as moderate.
To remove the incumbent you have to fight the incumbent, not each other. You need to offer something better than the incumbent.
The Obama campaign has never stopped. It is a huge steamroller with plenty of financial fuel and the ability to get their messaging out. Since his election in 2008, they have continued his quest for the presidency. They are the best at what they do.
To stand a chance going against them you need the best you can find. You need the best candidate and the best messaging. You need a candidate with broad appeal who can get people across the political spectrum to vote for him, including crossover Democrats.
During the 2008 primary, Barack Obama was not running to become the Democratic presidential nominee. He was running to become the President of the United States. His primary campaign was designed to appeal to the nation. By the time he won the primary Obama had he presidency wrapped up.
This is the kind of candidate and strategy the Republicans need to win. This is what the individual candidates need to do to win. The candidates need to appeal to the nation while trying to get the party nod state by state. Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are doing that.
For better or worse, only Mitt Romney appeals to the broadest electoral base. The rest are just standing targets on Obama’s rifle range.
This election is going to be one by the person who can alleviate the discontent in the country. The candidate who fuels discontent will lose it.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer and photographer, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
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