Don't Be Afraid of the Seven Dwarfs

Who says the Republican candidates are unelectable midgets?

Over the past couple of months, it has become received wisdom that the Republican primary candidates for President are all gruesomely flawed.  While the media is, grudgingly and belatedly, admitting that Mr. Obama's visage doesn't necessarily belong on Mt. Rushmore, the talking heads mock-sadly tell us that all the Republicans are unserious loonies who barely come up to Mr. Obama's knees if that far.

Needless to say, this is entirely the fault of conservatives and Republicans themselves, as the vaguely-conservative London Telegraph pontificates:

For a serious, winnable Right-wing candidate to emerge by the January 3 Iowa caucus, we need to see two things happen. First, any candidate who is spreading gossip about anyone else has got to stop. Second, all the Republicans need to pull rank against the mainstream media and call it out for distracting the public from the real issues. Otherwise the 2012 presidential election is going to become Romney v Obama: the gadfly v the incompetent. And that's a choice no one wants to have to make.

It's true that this year's bunch are serial breakers of St. Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican."  It's also true that the Gipper himself broke this rule on occasion.  Even more important, there is something to be said for airing out the dirty laundry in the primary rather than keeping it locked in the closet until Mr. Obama can drag it out during the general election.

The fact remains that even when it's liberals saying conservatives aren't totally happy with their choices, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a lie.  The words may come from Slate but they could just as well come from any Tea Partier:

The Republican presidential race is now dominated by giants: the giant flaws of the front-runners. With 36 days to go before the first votes are cast in Iowa, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich stand atop the field—familiar, formidable, and flawed. Romney has a history of shifting positions and supported the individual health care mandate. Gingrich has some of those same flaws plus a complicated personal history. The question for voters choosing between the two: Which candidate’s troubles are too big?

Truth be told, we here at Scragged are none too optimistic ourselves.  Mitt Romney is a decent man who is admirable in his personal life.  Unfortunately, he is also a card-carrying member of the technocratic elites who are inadvertently destroying this country.  He's also the creator of an early state-based version of Obamacare which he has never disavowed.  That's not even listing his multifarious flip-flops; maybe there's something in the Massachusetts water?

Newt, in contrast, comes off as a far more reliably doctrinaire conservative - until you remember his infamous sofa-sharing ad with Nancy Pelosi in which he swore fealty to both the High Church of Global Warmism and the fundamentally leftist belief that government can fix a problem like that.  That's not to mention his soap-opera personal life; isn't it Mormons who're supposed to collect wives like postage stamps?

Core Beliefs, and Getting Down To Them

As so often, we are forgetting history when we despair.  In 1979, none other than Ronald Reagan bore a striking resemblance to Mitt Romney - and not just in his movie-star looks.

While governor of California, he'd signed a bill permitting abortion for "health reasons" which, as we now know, means pretty much for any reason.  He came to regret this decision both publicly and privately; doesn't that count as a cringe-worthy flip-flop?

What's more, the young Reagan not only supported unionization, but he was actually the head of a labor union!  Certainly not the best conservative credentials, you'd think, but as President he fought for freedom from enforced unionization and union blackmail like no other - he broke a strike by unionized government employees by firing and replacing them all.

What made Reagan a good President and a true conservative?  When it comes right down to it, Mr. Reagan had something that no Democrat and precious few modern American leaders have: confidence in the American people and an unshakable certainty that they'd do just fine if only government got out of their way.

In contrast, liberals and all too many establishment Republicans believe that most people are morons who need to sit down, shut up, do as they're told, and take what they're given by their betters.  This is unAmerican in the most fundamental way.

No matter who the Republican nominee might be, we are bound to have policy differences with him.  All presidents make decisions which make us scream and holler.  If we hold out for the perfect candidate, we'll just end up with the second Obama term that the media so desperately wants.

What's important, above all, is to divine the core philosophy of the man we wish to put forward as President.  Does he love and believe in the American people?  For sure, the Obamas don't, as they've made abundantly clear from complaints about folks who bitterly cling to guns and religion, to calling America a downright mean nation, to most recently saying our economic problems are all our own fault because we're fat and lazy and don't want to pay enough taxes.

Mr. Gingrich has a worrying big-government streak; not for him the great Reagan statement that "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."  Mr. Romney is the ultimate technocrat, a management fixer who no doubt would effectively "make government work" but not reduce its remit.  The best he could do would be to buy a few more years before America's ultimate collapse - but either of these would be a massive improvement on what we face now.

The Perfect, The Good, and the Good Enough

Cain, Bachmann, and even Perry, in contrast, appear to truly believe that "government is best which governs least."  Their exact implementations of this belief will differ, but whacking back government kudzu is the only path to salvation.  Any of them would be better than Mr. Obama or an establishment Republican semi-statist.

In order to get a candidate with this one essential belief, we need to stop throwing rocks at them and we must stop tolerating the media's gleeful attacks.

Does Mr. Perry's tang get tungled on a regular basis?  Indeed it does, and that's bad, but it's no disqualifier.

Has Mr. Cain been accused by sexual harassment?  Sure he has; and the minute we see some actual proof, we'll consider the issue.  Until then, anyone can make allegations about events that may or may not have taken place decades ago with no witnesses; isn't there a little principle about being "innocent until proven guilty?"  We're holding out for the blue dress.

We won't even dignify the absurd charges that Santorum or Bachmann wish to establish a Christian religious dictatorship; there is no such thing, no such movement, no such desire on the part of conservatives, and not the slightest way this could ever be done.  Anyone who's ever attended a fundamental church knows that it's hard getting a single pew full of fundamentalists to believe in the same way; it's inconceivable that you could get a government-powered Fundamentalist Inquisition functioning on the same page.

Strange though it may seem today, there was a time when the Democratic candidates were looked on much as today's Republicans are.  In 1988, the Dems running for President were known as the Seven Dwarfs, though at least five were serious first-class politicians with every plausible right to run.

Alas for them, the resounding ridicule meant that the final nominee, Michael Dukakis, was in no shape to confront even as limited a candidate as George H.W. Bush.  The media learned their lesson; since then, Democratic candidates have been treated with respect while 1988-style diminutive ridicule has been exclusively directed at conservatives.

So what?  Conservatives so easily forget one vital truth: the media does not vote in Republican primaries.  In most states, neither do Democrats.  The Republican candidate is the choice of the Republican party, and nobody else's opinion matters.

In short: the media chooses the Republican candidate only if we let them.  So don't let them.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

The media, I agree, has way too much influence with the republican primary campaign. Ditto if it were a democrat primary. We on the right have allowed them to dictate the topics in a way that allows them to slam and distort any position that a republican takes. They can even make a person seem like a religious fanatic by saying that they attend church on a regular basis. For them that makes sense as they appear to be secular. What can we as conservatives do about this manipulation that is being done to us? For starters may I suggest that we quit agreeing to their rules for the debates. The one minute snips were designed to highlight the person asking the questions. Anyone should know on the front end that a deep, philosophical question cannot be answered with such a time constraint. Add to that fact that the moderator knows the question on the front end and has several follow up questions in order to skew the answer of the candidate. We should cease agreeing to these rules. The moderator at best should be only asking the question and the candidate be given sufficient time to answer the question. Then the question should passed on by the candidate to another candidate to answer this question. By doing this it would diminish the potentiality of "Gotcha" questions designed to singularly embarrass a candidate. This would force the moderator to focus on more important issues rather than picky he said, she said innuendos as in the case of Cain for the last month. The one minute question's time to expire is now. If these so called unbiased media outlets won't agree to these rules then let's take the debates to another network. This won't diminish the viewership as, in my estimation, only the hard core political types will watch any debate anyway. Even C-SPAN will do. This accomplishes two things, it eliminates the left with a sound bite and it also informs the public on an issue.

On another point that Petrarch made about Reagan's 11th commandment I could not agree more with Reagan. When Perry started his little rant against Romney about hiring illegals and Bachmann getting on her high horse about amnesty against Newt I became sickened at the level these two candidates had allowed themselves to be debased by the moderator. It showed, in my estimation once again, their pettiness, not their leadership. All one has to say is that, "my position is this, I will allow for my fellow candidates to state their own positions and the American people can make up their minds as to who has the best solutions". To direct questions to a particular candidate should be beneath a person aspiring to the presidency. Where is decorum, politeness, manners and class? Forgotten I am afraid. We have to leave the world of reality TV at the door.

December 1, 2011 11:23 AM

Excellent ideas Bassboat! I just watched another Cain clip on fixing the economy. Be he the Man or not, he is on target by ignoring the Liberal press and pushing his solutions before the public. All the other candidates need to do this as well, and some of them are. Each will influence the direction this country takes with their ideas. Get out of defending yourselves and push forward!

December 1, 2011 6:56 PM

"Who says the Republican candidates are unelectable midgets?"

Actually, electing one is ineluctable.

December 1, 2011 8:33 PM



December 1, 2011 8:37 PM
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