Thursday, May 19, 2011

Middle of the Road is for Roadkill.

It seems that the silly season of presidential politics has arrived right on time. Just like Spring bringing on the green grass and banishing the gloomy grey from the sky, the race to Pennsylvania Avenue has brightened my world like a shot of vitamin D. I must admit, I love this stuff. Straw polls and exploratory committees are my fix. This election cycle and season are no different....right? Let's run the numbers. The current president has done little to correct a down economy, spending is out of control, and the GOP spanked the donkeys last November in a major way. So why am I still feeling the winter doldrums? Why is the current field of hopefuls less than stellar? Am I the only one that sees Obama as vulnerable? Am I asking too many questions?

As a leader in the conservative movement once said, "Get right or get left. The middle of the road is for roadkill." Conventional wisdom will tell us that a candidate will have to move to the middle to get elected. In the past this may have been true. But I don't believe this holds true in America today. I see this as a liability to potential candidates. America is a center-right nation. Now more than ever, voters want someone to follow through on what they promise. They want someone that will preserve the greatness of America, that will return our dollar to a strong currency, and that will preserve the freedoms and liberty given to us by our Maker and Constitution. All candidates on the right have issues. Not one will be everything to all voters. With that said, let's take a look.

The front runner for now seems to be Mitt Romney. Mitt is currently walking back his health care reform in Massachusetts which served as a precursor to Obamacare. Health care costs in that state have risen 5% more than the national average since Romneycare was implemented. This is his major obstacle and one that I believe he cannot overcome. He has the look, the charisma, the fund raising, and the speaking ability to be elected. What he does not have is a conservative history.

Ron Paul is the darling of the Libertarian party. Now I will admit to having a small streak of Libertarianism, I cannot and will not endorse the legalization of heroin or the closing of military bases in strategic countries. Paul may be able to raise money, but he cannot raise his poll numbers over 12%. He is great for ideas and to further the debate, but not for the oval office.

Newt Gingrich is another ideas man. His "Contract with America" was pivotal in returning a majority of republicans to the house. However, Newt has issues, many issues. Let's start with his personal life. He was overseeing the impeachment of a president for an affair while having his own. He is on his third marriage. He has temperament issues and a history of joining progressives on environment issues.

Now to those who may be in, haven't decided yet, and those that some wish would get in. Michelle Bachmann has been contemplating a run for some time. With Trump and Huckabee out, her fate seems all but certain. She is the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the house and a true conservative. Her record proves it. Her main problem is the press. They portray her as a know nothing light weight and are usually more concerned about her wardrobe or camera angle than her ideas or voting record. Mitch Daniels is seen by many as the saviour of the party and would likely become the instant front runner if he chooses to get in. The main concerns are on social issues, which he took a stand on during this legislative session, and the fire and fund raising ability to get the job done. Some even say he is dull. I have heard Rick Perry's name thrown out this past week as well. His aspirations are no secret. He is slick, well spoken, and looks the part. But conservatives aren't interested in outward appearances.

For the sake of brevity, I will wrap up my thoughts. The bad news is that not one conservative has stepped up to the plate to take a strong stand and move this process forward. The good news is that there is still plenty of time. Please don't take my words as slamming fellow republicans. I am simply stating what my fellow conservatives are thinking. We took a major step in the mid-term elections to install some true conservatives. These statesmen know that if they go back on their word, they will be fired. Politics as usual is a thing of the past. I am not willing to endorse anyone at this time, only offer words of wisdom.... Do not try to run from the middle. You will be called out. You will be exposed. RINOs are not welcome in this tent. We want a true constitutional conservative with the backbone to stand up for us. The other features are icing on the cake. Be careful, we don't want to see someone hit on the road.


John Manzo said...

First off, I agree with you that President Obama is vulnerable. I think Romney would have an excellent chance of defeating him, but I also think Romney will have a bigger problem getting the nomination for the reasons you state. Your commentary on Paul and Gingrich is right on as well.

Two areas I disagree with you.

First about Michele Bachmann. Her main problem is the press only the point that the woman is a liar. She is probably the least honest politician on the circuit right now and that is saying a lot. The problem she has with the press is they keep pointing this out. She makes things up and stands by what she says even when it’s been proven wrong. Even commentators on Fox News which would normally be friendly territory for folks with conservative credentials have challenged her on bogus comments. I am not sure how people who call themselves cultural conservatives can stomach a person who has dropped the 9th Commandment from her Bible, but it would seem to indicate that for many, ideology trumps truth. It strikes me that a man from the same state as her, Tim Pawlenty, who has many of the same viewpoints as her, but is also noted as being a person who actually has integrity and is honest, is overlooked. He may not be exciting, but I always prefer integrity over flash. But, frankly, stating her problem is the press is a bit disingenuous. I’ve known you long enough as a blogger that I know that you, personally, are a person of integrity and honesty and would suspect that it would be difficult for you to embrace a blatantly dishonest person.

Secondly about moderation. I consider myself a moderate. People often confuse me as being more to the left than I really am. I’m often considered ‘left’ because I love a diversity of views and thoughts, but personally, I’m actually very moderate. I really get offended when people who are not moderates attempt to define what moderates are or how they see the world.

Ideology is, from my understanding, based on the premise of ideas. Generally an ideology is a string or pattern of ideas that get defined as either liberal or conservative.

Moderation is generally based on pragmatism. Moderation tends to view each idea on the merit of its argument and the facts and situation behind it. In Medieval philosophy, Thomas Aquinas determined that in searching for the truth one does not begin with a premise and build upon it, but look at EVERYTHING and determine the virtues and vices of each thing. Considering that Aquinas is to theological and philosophical thought what Einstein would be to mathematics, that’s a pretty good premise.

But more to the point. Someone said, "Get right or get left. The middle of the road is for roadkill." I don’t feel like roadkill. Aquinas certainly wasn’t roadkill.

From 350 BC there is a document called Nicomachean Ethics, the notes of one of Aristotle’s students. Aristotle was a student of Socrates student, Plato, and was the private instructor of Alexander the Great. Aristotle was one of the giants of western thought and Nicomachean Ethics is, along with the Bible, one of the foundational documents that has built the corpus of Christian Ethics. In Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle stresses one concept over and over and over. The concept is one of moderation. Aristotle found very little truth or goodness on the edges, but virtually always in the middle.

I tend to reason my way to decisions. I have to determine if I will listen to some fool who calls me roadkill, or someone whose wisdom is timeless. For me, the answer is easy.

John Manzo said...

Oh, and I do want to add one thing. I greatly respect and admire your courage to write your thoughts and feelings. In a day and age when so many people hide their opinions, you are honest and upfront---very noble qualities.

Daniel Short said...

John, good to hear from you. My assertion to get left or get right was not pointed to you, or any other voter. I was speaking directly to candidates and to how I feel they need to approach the race. Obama is vulnerable and a true conservative can win. He/she cannot win by taking their half out of the middle.

As for Bachmann, I agree with a few of your points. To me, she is this cycle's Palin. She is a bulldog that will say the things others don't want to and force them to talk about those issues. Do I really think she has a shot to win? No way.

Lastly, thanks for the compliment at the end. I always speak my mind and am true to my beliefs. But, did you backhand it by calling me a fool just before that when comparing me to Aquinos?

John Manzo said...

Daniel, no, I didn't call you a fool. My reference was to the person who originally came up with the line calling moderates roadkill. It wasn't meant for you in the least. I do not believe you are a fool in the least.

Daniel Short said...

Understood John. Good conversation. Thanks for the input.

John Manzo said...

It's interesting. I pretty much think that in a two candidate race a tuna salad sandwich will get 40% of the vote. This generally means that the battle is over 20% of the people. In that grouping there are two factors.

The first factor is that no one wants to give up what they have. People are not interested in giving up Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. It's a hard sell to get people to give these things up.

The second factor is that no one really wants to pay for these items. Raising taxes is not popular and no one really wants to give up more of their income. I have this idea that people want Democratic services at Republican prices.

My thought is that people are going to have to give something up or pay more. Either is a difficult sell and both parties are perfectly willing to allow the other party to walk off the plank.