by Joe Dumas / The Chattanoogan
Why must the Republican Party nominate a 72-year-old grandfather from the Gulf Coast of Texas, until the past few months little known outside his district, as its 2008 standard-bearer? Very simple: the alternative is eight years of President Hillary Clinton. That ought to be enough to get the attention of every conservative who happens upon these words, so let me explain.
It should come as no big revelation to anyone inside or outside of the Republican Party that the GOP has lost touch with its conservative roots. Massive deficit spending that would make Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter blush; foreign adventurism beyond the wildest dreams of Woodrow Wilson or Teddy Roosevelt; more big government programs than FDR or LBJ (Google "Medicare expansion" for a massive example) ... the Republican Party of the early 21st century is clearly not your father's or grandfather's GOP.
There are no more Robert Tafts, no more Barry Goldwaters, not even any more Ronald Reagans (as imperfect as he turned out to be after reaching the White House) ... except one: Ron Paul. Dr. Paul (an OB/GYN who has delivered more than 4,000 babies) is the last, best hope for the GOP to reclaim its once-upon-a-time status as the party of limited government.
It isn't his status as the leading advocate of limited, constitutional government that makes Ron Paul a must-nominate for the GOP, though. It is true that in the long run, the Republican Party needs him to help it reclaim its spirit, and this indeed will be his lasting legacy. But, in the short run, the party needs him to win the 2008 election and save the country from another Clinton presidency that would be far worse than the first. (Unlike Bill, who was apparently mainly involved in politics to get the attention of the ladies, Hillary is a true believer in socialism; and, with a Democratic majority in Congress, she will have an excellent opportunity to expedite its widespread implementation in America.)
Fact one: Hillary Clinton will win the 2008 Democratic nomination. She is an experienced, cut-throat politician with deep ties in the party, and can take Barack Obama down pretty much any time she wants to. And John Edwards is not serious about pursuing the nomination. He is just positioning himself to be the VP nominee again, because in the wake of the 2006 Congressional elections he believes that Hillary will win the Presidency by taking a few key states where John Kerry fell short. Long story short: forget the others - Hillary is the woman to beat in 2008.
Fact two: The 2008 election will be won by the candidate who most credibly addresses the growing anti-war sentiment that has been embraced by the majority of the country's voters. (Google "2006 mid-term elections.) 70% or more of Americans want out of Iraq, and for many of them, it is the defining issue of the campaign. You may agree or disagree, but it's a fact and it's going to decide the 2008 Presidential election.
If it comes down to Hillary Clinton vs. any of the "establishment" Republican candidates, she wins by default. She may have voted for the war originally, but she will continue to claim that she was misled by the Republican administration, and that we should trust her to make things right. (Of course she won't really get us out of the Middle East mess, but Joe Six-Pack won't figure that out until after she wins the election.)
If any of the supposed "front runner" Republican candidates (Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Fred Thompson) wins the GOP nomination, Hillary Clinton is essentially a lock. Not only will she win over a sizable portion of the independent vote with her (perceived) status as "the anti-war candidate," but - simply put -the GOP will not turn out its base in sufficient numbers to win.
Nominate Rudy Giuliani? Conservative, red-state voters are not going to turn out to support a gun-grabbing Northern liberal faux Republican who dresses in drag and is a charter member of the Wife-Of-The-Month Club. The social conservatives, along with the fiscal conservatives and the key swing voters (libertarians and constitutionalists) will either stay home on Election Day or vote third party. Rudy won't even carry his home state, and ask Al Gore how that usually works out. Slam dunk, Hillary wins.
Nominate Mitt Romney? You get basically the same result as Giuliani without the (bogus) "America's Mayor" 9/11 cachet. Conservatives in the South and West won't turn out for the former governor of "Taxachusetts" who has flip-flopped on virtually every issue they hold dear. The fact that Romney is a Mormon won't help him with the mainstream Christian base, either. He probably can't win the GOP nomination, but even if he does, Romney is toast in the general election.
Nominate John McCain? Not gonna happen. His campaign has taken a nose dive from which it will be virtually impossible to recover. As of the end of the second quarter, even (supposed) long-shot Ron Paul had more cash on hand - and, when the third quarter numbers come in, McCain will be even further behind in the money game. He probably won't even be in the top five on the GOP side. Stick a fork in him, he's done. And even if he could pull off the apparently impossible and come back to win the Republican nomination, he loses to Hillary on the war and many domestic issues as well.
Fred Thompson? He's the last hope of those Republicans who are looking for a "mainstream" candidate to save them from looming, seemingly inevitable defeat in 2008. On the surface, he appears to have more of a chance than the previously mentioned "big three." After all, he has the "actor factor." It worked for Reagan and, more recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger in California - couldn't it work for Fred, too? Well, no, not this time around.
Like Ronald Reagan, Fred Thompson is reasonably good at reading a script. Unlike the Gipper, though, Fred is just awful at speaking extemporaneously. In case anyone was wondering why Thompson waited so long to declare his candidacy, it's obvious to those who know anything about his abilities and liabilities: he wanted to avoid as many debates as possible.
Like Obama on the Democratic side, Thompson is an empty suit. He looks reasonably presentable, but sooner or later he has to open his mouth, and when he does he doesn't say anything of substance. The less he speaks in public (especially with other candidates around to rebut him), the better for Fred. Unfortunately for Thompson, while he has so far been able to duck any direct confrontation with his GOP rivals, he won't be able to avoid debating Hillary if he wins the Republican nomination. And about five minutes into the first debate, with no "Law and Order" writers to put words in his mouth, it will be over. Game, set, match, Hillary.
When you look at it objectively, there isn't a single one of the "Big Four" GOP candidates who can beat Hillary Clinton head-to-head. And none of the "second tier" candidates (Huckabee, Brownback, Hunter, Tancredo, et al) have stepped up to the challenge. Really, there is only one remaining viable Republican candidate: You guessed it, Ron Paul.
Only Ron Paul can take advantage of the Internet the way Howard Dean did before he imploded four years ago. Indeed, he has already captured the Internet ... the Ron Paul Revolution is already in full swing online. It sure was nice of Al Gore to invent the Net for Ron Paul supporters to take over, wasn't it?
Only Ron Paul can outflank Hillary Clinton both to the left on the war, and to the right on everything else ... which is the only winning strategy the Republicans can plausibly employ in 2008.
Only Ron Paul, who is truly pro-family (married to the same woman for over 50 years, with five children and 18 grandchildren - no "trophy wives" here) can motivate the socially conservative base to actually turn out and vote.
Only Ron Paul, who wants to eliminate the IRS (and a host of other federal agencies) and stop the Federal Reserve from devaluing our money through runaway, printing-press inflation, can motivate the fiscally conservative base to cast a GOP ballot in 2008.
Only Ron Paul can keep the Libertarians and Constitution Party members from splintering off to support their own third-party nominees rather than another neo-con, Bush clone Republican. (In fact, the 2004 nominees of the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party, Michael Peroutka and Michael Badnarik, have both already endorsed Ron Paul's candidacy.) While the LP and CP may command only a small fraction of the overall vote, that may well be enough to turn the tide in a crucial state or two. Ask Al Gore if he could have used a few thousand of Ralph Nader's votes in 2000....
Yes, when you look at things objectively, there are only two candidates who can win the White House in 2008: Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul. The contrast could not be more stark, nor the results for the future of America more divergent. If you are a social or fiscal conservative, a libertarian, a constitutionalist, or just a concerned independent ... now is the time to consider your options and act accordingly while there is still time to affect the outcome.
The Ron Paul Revolution has begun.
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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