By Patrick S Adams
Let’s be realistic. No large army of supporters which has spent three years fighting to elect our next great one is going to come running out of the wilderness yelling “Candidate X is our man and he’s going to save our nation.” The anticipated great one, Sarah Palin, has chosen to postpone her greatness for another time. The current field of candidates all bring pieces of the puzzle to the table, but are also flawed in some way. The only way to thoroughly review the candidates is to look at their positions on the issues and determine who is the closest in best articulating the conservative philosophy and then going with the least imperfect one.
Rick Perry brings a strong record on jobs, taxes and energy to the table, but his vision is a bit a sloppy and his record on immigration makes it tough to embrace him as a standard bearer. He is a good man with good credentials, but there are issues with immigration and cronyism. Michele Bachmann is a strong conservative, but she has spent more time doing what she does best – fighting for us as a Tea Party leader in Congress – than building the type of support for the presidency in the same way Palin has.
Mitt Romney is an intelligent business thinker, but he is not a core conservative. Most of all, he is a symbol of the establishment – and no matter how electable he looks on paper, conservatives are looking for someone who is not representative of business as usual. Rick Santorum is a core conservative. But, without an infusion of charisma, money and good poll numbers, it’s going to be hard to get him to the top. Jon Huntsman is a moderate, plain and simple. Ron Paul is dead on when it comes to economic policy, but his isolationism on foreign policy is way too far from where the Republican Party needs to be on issues of national security.
Newt Gingrich is a Reagan conservative and The 21st Century Contract With America makes some strong arguments. However, even if he is not establishment in the sense that some other Republicans are, he too comes with baggage. His past marital infidelity and his lack of discipline raise questions. He will have to move up in the polls and he will have to raise a lot more money if he is to be viable. Herman Cain comes in as a political outsider with some new ideas. But stumbles on the trail and questions about his foreign policy credentials makes it harder for him to close the deal as well. All the candidates seem to be missing something or other when you go through them.
Don’t look for the Palin army to coalesce around one candidate just yet after being staggered by her announcement not to run. Palinistas have always wanted one thing since day one and that is the total package. Swallowing anything less than Sarah Palin as president is going to require a lot of water and good gag reflex control. But at some time, we are all going to have to walk into a voting booth and make a decision even if it looks like there’s a name missing on the ballot. When we do pick our nominee, we are going to have to accept imperfection. This is because there is no candidate in the race that gives us the confidence that Sarah Palin would have about vision, ideas, character and discipline.
Had Palin run, some would have pointed out imperfections in her as well. We would have had to explain her resignation and point out that she, too, is human and made mistakes on the campaign trail in 2008. But, drawing a blank on what newspapers you read or what Supreme Court decisions you take issue with when you are answering other rapid fire questions successfully from a trained journalist who is intentionally working you into a “gotcha” moment is easier to accept as a voter than past marital infidelities, being unsure about one’s position on abortion or releasing a questionable campaign ad, providing tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, supporting a health insurance mandate for one’s state, staying on the bus when the regular people wanted you to come talk to them, calling for the withdrawal of all American troops from around the world or working for a president that you now want to unseat.
No human being is perfect. We can’t look for perfection in candidates. We can only look for and hope to find one who most closely represents what we believe. Will we get everything we want? No. But, with Sarah Palin in the race, we’d have come damn close.Without her, we’re going to have to look more long term.
Ronald Reagan was the rare case of a candidate so closely representing the views of so many that he rose to the level of greatness. But even he, in retrospect, had flaws – granted they were seriously overshadowed by all of the great things he did while president. Greatness is defined by what you do, not by what you don’t do or can’t do. For someone like Sarah Palin, her defining greatness will not come from sitting this one out. Instead it will come from what she does in the future. In the meantime, there is no other Reagan and we must learn to accept that.
All things must be considered when making a decision. While there is nothing jumping out to cause any unity in thought on candidates amongst Palin supporters and undecided Republicans, they agree on what they don’t want. This is the main reason for not being able to settle on an alternative candidate to Palin. Unfortunately, there are enough imperfections in all the candidates to make it hard to choose.
It’s not yet time for an endorsement. Sarah Palin hasn’t endorsed anyone either. We can take a look at the more conservative candidates like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry or Rick Santorum and consider whether or not we can live with one of them as the nominee. But that’s all we have. We can endorse now and have Palin endorse differently. We can wait to see who Palin endorses. Or, we can end up in agreement later on in the nominating process.
We can’t predict the outcome of any of that. What we can do, is be free to choose our own candidates. Without overt direction from Governor Palin (she may want us to be freed up to choose our own candidates), her supporters are beginning to migrate over to other candidates slowly while looking to Palin for “shadow leadership” on issues as they continue to support her as a voice for their beliefs. While Sarah Palin is not running for president, when she speaks at conferences or gives analyses on Fox News, she’s still dead right on the issues – which is primarily the reason her supporters are finding it difficult to accept her not running. If there was a better candidate in the field, they would have already gotten behind him or her.
There should be no mistake about the issues within the Republican Party. Regardless of whom any of us choose to support, if that candidate wins the presidency it will still be necessary to continue moving forward with Sarah Palin’s message and a concentrated effort on renewing and reforming the Republican Party. We will not defeat crony capitalism by allowing the Republican Party to go back to its old establishment ways once it regains power. We cannot accept a return to business as usual once Obama is out.
We are going to have to keep working at sudden and relentless reform long after our flawed – but better than Obama – candidate wins the presidency. Sarah Palin will help us by continuing to lead that fight. Until then, that hole will remain open until she accepts the calling to run at some point in the future or until another who has a similar potential for greatness arrives on the scene. Maybe, whoever we nominate will hear our voices.
The cause lives on.
Patrick’s World USA will not air this week on Blogtalk Radio. The show returns for its regularly scheduled Wednesday night broadcast next Wednesday at 11pm ET 8pm Ct. We invite Palin supporters everywhere to listen in LIVE to the Grizzly Fest online forum on Saturday, Oct. 29th from 2-5 p.m. ET, and to share their own ideas in their dedicated forums.