Mitt? Rick? Herman? How much does it matter?

I am thinking more and more that the GOP presidential candidate is a distraction.

Whoever it is will be better much than Mr. Obama, so don’t worry about it. Mr. Obama makes Mitt Romney look like George Washington.

So, what does matter?

Making sure we have a Tea Party Congress in 2012 is the most important thing.

Then the 2013-15 political era will be a conflict between a corporatist Republican in the White House and a populist Congress down the street.

Some good could come of that.

(The Ds will be on the sidelines for a while if that happens. But they will soon be back.)

So what, concretely, starting now, can we do to make sure that we get a good, solid Congress in 2012?

Suggestions in the comments, please.

UPDATE: It occurs to me, this is another way of saying that the Tea Party / Insurgency is probably not yet politically mature enough to capture the presidency with one of its own. So, get as much as you can this go-around, but don’t worry too much about what is still beyond your grasp. Mass political movements in American history don’t usually capture the presidency less than three years after they start.

50 thoughts on “Mitt? Rick? Herman? How much does it matter?”

  1. I’ve been saying for a while that the most important race (if one can call it that) right now is the race for the vice presidency. Seems counter-intuitive, since the main responsiblity of the vice president is inquiring after the health of the president. However, we are far more likely to have a true conservative as vp this time around as a sop to all of those demanding tea partiers. And this person (probably far to the right of the presidential candidate) will be positioned likely run and win in 2020. That is when the country can really spread its constitutionally conservative wings.

  2. I think that the vote is likely to be more anti-Obama than for somebody else, but I still think that a solid choice matters as most Conservatives/Ind/Tea/Rep want a substantive candidate. Regarding the tea party, there are probably a lot of people out there, like myself, who may not be members of the tea party, but are supportive of the tea party. I’m mostly concerned with what I see as a fundamental choice in the direction of our country. The next Presidential vote will be a critical referendum on that direction, regardless of whether I chose to vote for a Rep, Tea, or Ind candidate.

  3. Miriam-I think you are implying that neither Romney nor Perry are truly conservative. I hope the second isn’t truw.

  4. Sorry, but this is seriously flawed thinking. It matters. A lot.

    Being good relative to Obama isn’t enough. The question is whether a president can keep us from going off the financial cliff.

    That’s going to be hard. The media will be just as unified against any effort to reduce government size, debt, and intrusiveness as they were in favor of Obama’s expansions of government. To succeed, a president will have to face them down, which will take conviction and willingness to endure abuse that will make what they did to GW Bush look like a love tap. Anyone who endures that will need to feel the conviction of the need to reduce government all the way down in their bones. Mitt Romney, to choose just one example, obviously does not have that conviction.

    There’s also the time factor. We don’t know how long before we enter an irreversible catastrophic phase, but it probably isn’t that long. We need someone completely convinced that dramatic action is necessary right away.

    And consider this: Even if the Tea Party manages to get a pretty large contingent in Congress, we’ve still got a battle royale coming up. Not with the Democrats – it will be the Tea Party vs. the Establishment GOP. We may get a pretty good number of Congressional seats, but that will still leave a DC GOP political class that is just as insulated from the reality of our woes as Democrats, and just as convinced that all that needs be done is manage government better.

    Having a president on their side means the establishment GOP will be in a much better position to gut and sabotage every serious effort to turn back big government. Their own livelihood is at stake.

    Electing someone whose primary appeal is that they won’t make things worse the way Obama did is no longer enough. Not nearly enough.

  5. More specifically, it is winning the Senate that is important. Control of both houses is required. The falsely labeled “progressives” have had unfettered access to the purse for too many decades with only infrequent breaks in their spending.

    It will also be necessary to get away from the false language used in discussing federal spending. Baseline budgeting is a big problem. When the language has been so perverted that an increase is discussed as if it were an actual cut we have moved into the surreal. If we spend more tomorrow than we spent today, it is not a “cut”. It is an increase.

  6. I’ve been saying that all along. If the choice was between Obama and Bozo the Clown we would know that both are not qualified, but we would also know only 1 is incompetent. Hence, the smart money would be on Bozo the Clown. (Guess I’m dating myself!)

  7. The presidential nominee matters — but the big thing is retaking the Senate with solid conservatives and building a more conservative House.
    That’s where the Tea Party and its sympathizers can do the most good for the future of our country.
    A strongly conservative Congress can force a RINO president to the correct and right path. Considering that we haven’t had a conservative-leaning Congress in my lifetime (with the exception of the first two years of the Speaker Gingrich era), we’re overdue for the opportunity to demonstrate once and for all that conservatism is, indeed, the way to go.

  8. Pretty important actually. As important as a tea party congress is a tea party supreme court, and that really rides on the presidents shoulders, especially if ginsberg lasts a few more years. We desperately need more like Clarence Thomas on the court. Someone like mittens would give us more Anthony Kennedy

  9. Yes, I agree that Mit would be better than a syphilitic camel but why not fix the whole deal. By the end of next year Obama will have dug and even deeper hole to climb out of. And, I am pretty sure that anybody that Karl Rove supports is going to be a friend of K Street, which is half the problem

  10. Nobody is talking about Chris Christie. I think he would blow up Romney – Palin could as well.

    More to the point of the post, I also agree that if the R’s capture the Senate and House, with a strong showing by the Tea Party, that will go miles toward diffusing the Once’s plans. I think this is where the big energy needs to be spent, not on the Prez.

  11. I think that this’ll be a tight election: Going against an incumbent i always hard. So, while I’d prefer someone more economically conservative, I’m voting for Romney.

    Any republican president will do if there’s a republican congress and we start to follow the constitution: Congress writes the laws and the President signs or vetoes. Romney won’t veto the spending cuts we need.

  12. Bottom line: An ideal presidential candidate is a pipe dream.

    I’d prefer Cain or Christie to Mitt, but it won’t be the Apocalypse if Mitt wins and he has a strong Congress.

    I believe the chance of massive gains in Congress is real and worth pursuing hard.

    I have some further ideas on a Tea Party Congress. Stand by.

  13. Amen! I’ve been trying in my own feeble way to beat this drum. (I really need to start a blog of my own…) *ANY* of these folks will sign bills sent to them by a Tea Party Congress, so that’s what’s important. Equally important, to my mind, is expanding at the state & local levels, to build the ‘farm team’ for the future. For example, there should be a goal of 50 right-to-work states, and roll back over-regulation at the state & local levels.

    In the long run, as dangerous as Lenin was in the early 1900s, Wilson (whom one can argue is the Father of Progressivism) has turned out to be just as dangerous. We’re not looking at just rolling back 0bama/Reid/Pelosi, but a century of Progressivism! There needs to be an effort to take back education at all levels, journalism at all levels, etc. We need to re-engineer the language the way Progressives have. To use Saul Alinsky’s rules against them. This is the great project of our lifetime.

    – Eric.

  14. Agreed. If real conservatives solidify their majority in the House and take majority in the Senate, ANY republican President will be find it politic to follow the flag, especially if the Congressional majority is veto proof. Further, any non conservative nominees to the Supreme Court can be blocked. Even if the media select another McCain or Dole for us to support and Obama is elected by default, a solid Congressional Majority will castrate the great won and his creators. Chicago machine politics will survive as any such cancer on the body politic will.

    The frenzied and radical (not to mention classless) tactics and strategy of the Obama camp – as such might place Congressional elections in a back burner – might further solidify this coming Conservative victory there.

    Having a head officer such as Debbie Washerwoman-Schultz may help conservatives along: it seems, so far, to have done just that.

  15. You are absolutely correct Lexington, any of the Republican candidates would be preferable to Mr. Obama. That being said, some of the Republican candidates are more preferable than other Republican candidates.

    As to what we can do to elect a good conservative congress in 2012, I think there are only two things. Vote and pray, but not necessarily in that order.

  16. The downline elections are vitally important

    We don’t just need a solid Senate and House (although we do need it), we also need the State legislatures and Governors, thousands of mayors and aldermen, school board trustees and so on.

    Then we need to go even farther downline; purchase enough shares to become majority shareholders in companies and influence directors and management (especially in media companies). Get elected or influence the selection of University boards and senates. Work to pry out “progressives” from any position of power and authority, or neutralize their influence wherever you can.

    This is the work of a generation

  17. Some quick thoughts…

    A Tea-Party friendly VP running mate should be advocated, if the POTUS nominee is not Tea-Party friendly.

    High profile BigBiz/BigGov Republican senators/representatives must face tea Party friendly primary challenges.

    Any marginal or open or contestable house seat should have a tea party friendly candidate(s) running for it.

    Someone (may a few bloggers) should create a Tea-Party friendly running Congressional scorecard for the current session of congress and publish the rankings and rating. This creates a publishable source that can be cited.

    Tea Party friendly candidates are needed for local/state elections (municipalities, counties, school boards, state legislatures) to build up a pool of future tea-party friendly national and state-wide candidates.

    Tea-Party friendly citizens need to push back at family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, local media, etc every time they claim the Tea Parties are racist or crazy christianist. Tea Party friendly Strategic Citizens need to be able to do this in a friendly, calm and non-combative manner. Have you talking points ready [1].

    Tea Party friendly citizens should use existing media like newspapers (letters to editor, community columnists), radio (call-in programs), to spread constructive TeaParty memes such as suggestions to save GOV money by reducing costs an inefficiencies, reducing programs, promoting growth and entrepreneurship, and coming out against cronyism and elitism.


  18. >Work to pry out “progressives” from any position of power and authority…

    Reducing the influence of the left embedded into America’s institutions is imperative and a long-term project.

    Somebody should write a book about that.

  19. The most important thing to remember is the CONGRESS actually WRITES the laws. The President just signs them – and a GOP President can be counted to sign virtually everything that comes from a GOP Congress, even if the President is moderate and the Congress is conservative. We have limited resources. It is better to focus them on a handful of close Senate races and primary challenges for an even small handful of RINO incumbents than to focus on the White House. An awesome President who can still have his agenda hijacked and trainwrecked by the likes of McCain, Graham and Snowe is far less a success than a moderate GOP President who is consistently handed bills written by Paul Ryan that never had to be watered down to break a Senate filibuster.

  20. Infiltrate Tea Party into the Democratic Party. By focusing on core principle (limited, responsible government), bring Democrats over. By being open-minded and seeking best solutions: Divide and conquer.

  21. yes (within boundaries)…I agree. On some conservative sites there seems to be many comments filled with angst about the terrible things that would happen if X or Y was the nominee. We must avoid falling into a cult of personality.

    We need a phalanx of good people at all levels. They must be battle hardened. Heads will be exploding at every clawback of Obama’s “works”…all the EOs,, parts of Dodd-Frank, et al. The shrieking will be continuous.

  22. Rk, of course, you are speaking metaphorically when you say ” Heads will be exploding”

    Yes: ” a phalanx of good people at all levels.”

  23. The progressives are sustained by several resources, money, information flow, and spin: Attack them. The money comes from the labor unions, especially teachers, plus trial lawyers. Information control is maintained by the big television networks and newspaper syndicates. We have been successfully attacking and weakening these, although a lot of it has been a natural process, a side effect of trying to get budgets under control at the State’s level. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and several others have successfully attacked collective bargaining on the part of public employee unions, but are not right-to-work. There should be an effort to expand the number of states in the right-to-work category, and to further at least public employee unions. The two successful areas of attack have been collective bargaining rights and use of union dues for political action without member consent. Find the low hanging fruit. Which states are most vulnerable to these reforms in the context of budget control initiatives? Wisconsin, which has successfully gotten its budget under control, is a harbinger and an example.

    Similar initiatives in the area of tort reform will attack another major source of corruption through the Trial Lawyer’s Association.

    The broadcast networks are already self-destructing. Think of ways to hasten the process. The same with print newspapers, whose editorial policies are largely Democratic. As news viewership moves to iTablets, make sure that Fox and other less biased sources are readily available to deliver hard news and opinion through these sources. The tablets, unlike the phones, have enough real estate to comfortably read the news. Another untapped channel is the readers…Kindle, Nook, and Chromium have the potential to supplant newspaper delivery completely. Everybody’s going to own one, bandwidth for graphical delivery is increasing, and they are portable in a way that laptops are not. Another possible innovation to watch is an iPhone sized package with a projector or a bluetooth link to heads up spectacles. Such a device would further condense the package, making it more convenient, and voice command rather than keyboard may be close as well.

    Anyway, deliver news content and opinion through these channels before the enemy.

    If we get control of all three branches, have a plan for the making of permanent changes in the law with will return us to constitutional government. Consider repealing the Wagner Act. Do it in some semi-stealth way to avoid the obvious attacks. If you can’t get rid of EPA, then defang it in some way. It is essential to block the regulatory state in some fundamental ways.

    Hope that helps.

  24. I agree. No president will be able to go against Congress. We should also not forget to consider foreign policy competence in our candidate. This is the area where the Congress has less to say.

  25. “The falsely labeled “progressives” have had unfettered access to the purse for too many decades with only infrequent breaks in their spending.”

    The falsely labeled “conservatives” in Congress during Bush’s early administration had even more unfettered access to the purse and Bush did nothing to stop it. They are the reason we wound up with an all-democrat Congress and Marxist president. We cannot allow that to happen again. It is imperative the tea party win every contested seat.

  26. Why in the world would reformers settle? Best chance to elect a *reformer* president that cares more about principle than money/power/party is now! The politicians in DC have never been more despised.

    The dems and Carl Rove cannot ignore the polls nor the subjective evidence that reform is THE issue that will motivate the most voters. They cannot process the success of the Tea Party movement but they sure fear it. The best thing about the movement is that Rove and/or the GOP establishment cannot count on its support- and if the fix is in for Romney, reformers better declare with certainty, early, that he is not acceptable.

    That means making it clear that a third party candidate will be backed in the event of a Romney candidacy (regardless of his VP pick). Does the GOP dare to call what they think is a Tea Party bluff? Let us not make it a bluff nor a threat- let’s make it a certainty. Put the fight to the GOP- allow vote for a reform candidate or Romney loses and Obama wins.

    So concretely, we get a reform candidate at the top of the ticket and the voter turnout will assure a good, solid congressional landslide. The rest will follow. Don’t worry, the “moderates” in both parties will vote for reform in giant numbers- they just won’t be sporting bumper stickers or yard signs for fear of being called racist or worse. Do worry, I and many like me will not hold our noses and vote for McCain II- regardless of the consequences. Let the RINOs settle this time or it is on them.

  27. ” a third party candidate will be backed in the event of a Romney candidacy”

    Ha. No way. Romney would be a million times better than Obama.

    Odds are, we are not going to get a “reform” presidential candidate. Neither Mitt nor Rick are Tea Party guys. This Herman boomlet is cool, but it won’t last.

    Turning the Tea Party into a one-time kamikaze mission instead of a movement that plays the long game is the worst possible strategy.

    Reagan was right. If you can only get half a loaf, take half. And keep coming back for the rest.

  28. And, btw, this is wrong: “Let the RINOs settle this time or it is on them.” 4 more years of Obama will be on YOU, both politically and practically, if he wins because of a third party challenge.

  29. Lexington-

    Of course nearly anyone would be better than Obama, but now is the ideal time to accomplish real reform, not fake Romney short term boot Obama satisfaction. It would be a huge missed opportunity to agree to settle and elect a corrupt sellout when Cain, Bachman, Cristie, Ryan or ? would be a million times better than Romney. You presume that the RINOs won’t settle- they will if given a narrow choice- say between Cain and Obama. You guess Cain will fade- why? If I had to bet today, I’d say he will be on the ticket one way or the other- Rinos can decide which way they want to see it.

    Also, you presume the GOP will get Tea Party support no matter what- I think you misjudge the true independence of the movement. “Ha. No way.. one-time kamikaze mission” etc- your tone makes me think you think the GOP is *entitled* to reformer support- that type of attitude is what turned many of us off from the mainstream GOP for the last time- just like Newt did with his Dede stance.

    Half a loaf v no loaf- Romney would be crumbs and he’d certainly harm down ticket turnout- defeating your stated goal of getting a good, solid congress. Why not look at it the other way- Rinos, you can get the independent vote if you nominate an honest person- if you don’t you will get Obama again- so do you want a half loaf or a whole one? And don’t think getting an honest president like Cain would solve all- it will take many, many years of real reform to make a real difference and those we seek to defeat will not go without a very dirty, brutal fight. You look at it as overreach to demand an honest president now. I look at is as the first necessary step and now is the best time I’ve ever seen for that to succeed. Things are all lined up – we have to go for it. If we miss in 2012 it is hardly a one time kamikaze deal- we will have to keep up the good fight til we succeed or the country fades into self induced failure.

    Am not sure if Palin will stay patient and strong, waiting for the right time to use her influence, perhaps as a kingmaker. It would seemingly blow your mind if she endorsed Cain… best prepare for something like that.

    cheers, d

  30. DM — you have a big problem. There is no candidate who meets your wishes. And Romney is pretty likely to get the nomination.

    If Cain manages to get the nomination, cool. I think he’ll probably lose to Obama. But I will happily support Cain.

    You seem to fail to grasp the distinction I am making between what I wish for and what I see as the existing reality.

    I try to hold firmly to the latter, since the former is irrelevant.

    (My wish was for Mitch Daniels, then for Paul Ryan, and now for Chris Christie — but Santa stopped bringing me stuff a long time ago.)

    The Anti-War movement did not get its candidate in 1968. Humphrey beat McCarthy. They got their candidate in 1972. The first Conservative Movement got Goldwater in 1964 and he got clobbered. They did not get their own guy again until 1980. We will likely not get a true Tea Party presidential candidate until 2016 if Obama wins or 2020 if Obama loses. That’s reality. It is not so bad. Work with it.

    If you really prefer Obama to Romney, if it comes to that, we have reached an impasse. I see no rational basis for that. Others’ results may differ.

  31. ” It would seemingly blow your mind if she endorsed Cain…”

    I have no idea what this means.

    If she endorses Cain, that would be good. Probably a lot better than her actually running.

    I have no idea what Gov. Palin is doing. Maybe she is going to run. Who knows?

    If she endorses Cain, that could make a big difference.

    But it would not blow my mind, whatever that means.

    As to Romney being nominated hurting down-ticket races, that just shows why we should be pushing for good candidates and make sure that does not happen.

  32. You are right so far as you point out that the real battle for the future of the USA is the one between Tea Partiers and old line Republicans.

    Obama was elected because (1) it was a vote AGAINST the Republican establishment – more ‘throw Bush and his Republican cronies out’ than a vote in favor of Obama – after all, Obama the candidate didn’t really stand for anything so how could people have actually been voting FOR him, and (2) one would have to be in their mid-50’s to remember Jimmy Carter – the last uberliberal. We are good for another 30 years until a majority of voters will have no experience with what a train wreck liberalism is.

    We have always been, and still are, a conservative nation. The important fight is over just how conservative we really want to be.

  33. Christie says economy, gridlock menace US future

    By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, AP Political Writer

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t changed his mind: He reaffirmed in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday that he’s not running for president.

    Christie urged a capacity audience of about 900 to look at the website Politico, which had pieced together a long string of video clips of him saying he’s not a candidate for the White House.

    “Those are the answers,” he told the crowd.

    Christie later said he was flattered by suggestions he should run in 2012, but added, “that reason has to reside inside me.”

    * * *

    With a reputation as a blunt-talking budget-cutter, the Reagan stage gave Christie the opportunity to extend his influence in a party that views him as a rising star. His remarks could stoke a fresh round of speculation about his White House ambitions, but his brother was the latest confidante to tamp down talk of a presidential bid.

    “I’m sure that he’s not going to run,” Todd Christie told The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. The newspaper also reported that the governor told wealthy donors earlier Tuesday in Santa Ana that he was not entering the race, echoing his previous statements.

    * * *

    After the speech, Christie was asked repeatedly during a question-and-answer session if he would reconsider a presidential run. He declined, as he has many times before.

    Lantie Jorandby, a 38-year-old physician from Florida who watched the speech, said she was unhappy with the GOP field and was eager to see Christie in the race. The registered Republican lamented the GOP presidential debates, calling them “a playground.”

    Mitt “Romney seems like a used car salesman. (Rick) Perry is out of his depth,” she said. Christie “kind of has that Reagan-esque vibe.”

  34. I really do not understand the animus against Romney. He is human, he has flaws. He is a politician, he has flip-flopped — It is part of the game. Learn to live with it. Many people want Ronald Reagan to be re-incarnated. It will not happen.

    President Romney will disappoint you. But, then again any of the possible candidates will disappoint you. Reagan disappointed me by not scrubbing the Department of Education, and he had promised.

    But, if President Romney (or President Perry, for that matter) can stop the country from going over the financial waterfall it is fast approaching, I will say Dayeinu!

    One thing is clear to me. The USA cannot stand another four years of Hussein and the Insane Clown Posse. We must support any GOP nominee who is not a leper. It is a matter of Fierce Moral Urgency.

  35. One huge innovation of the Tea Party movement was to turn the word “primary” into a verb. There are many uncompetitive House and rural Senate seats where a relatively small number of voters can inexpensively “primary” a squishy moderate BA Political Science JD Law career politician type Republican and replace them with a solidly conservative small business owner type Republican. Even when the Tea Party doesn’t win, primary competition can scare the hell out of career politicians. I’d play “moneyball” and go after rural representatives in cheap media markets.

    Regarding the Presidential candidates, I like Perry’s willingness to veto bills because he thought the law was unnecessary or just because he didn’t like the person who sponsored the legislation. Search for “Father’s Day Massacre”. I could vote for Mitt Romney for President, but worry that he might reach out to the other side to “do something” at times when no new law would be better than bad new law. Similar concerns with Newt. I see many competent managers for the cabinet, but no obvious leader.

  36. You need to get the Presidency and the Senate in conservative hands to make sure the SCOTUS stays conservative – God forbid something happens to Scalia or Thomas while BHO can still nominate another version of a “wise latina” or a Kagan. That’s how you kill off Obamacare and roll back lots of Great Society and New Deal crap that Congress is too incompetent to make happen.

  37. I agree that Romney will be OK provided he is held to the fire by a Tea Party congress. We already have a Tea Party orientated House, and just have to hold onto it. The real key in 2012 is taking the Senate. And we have a good chance, since the dems are defending 20 seats, and the repubs only 10. All we have to do is hold all the repub senate seats, and evenly split the dem seats, and get a 10 seat gain, and control of the Senate. Getting a filibuster proof majority is a much taller order, but even a narrow Senate majority will be enough to dramatically change direction. Romney is a competant go along type, who would be bad with a dem congress, but will go along with a Tea Party congress, and run the executive branch competantly.

    Obama must go, since he has already made it clear he will never compromise on cutting spending. As long as we have a Tea Party orientated House and Senate, who replaces him is not critical, but it is vital that he goes, since otherwise he would constantly obstruct reform, and strangle us with unilateral executive branch regulations not authorized by congress.

  38. “This Herman boomlet is cool, but it won’t last.”

    Why not?

    I have not seen Mr. Cain speak in person, but those who have (cf. Florida straw poll) seem to be converted in large numbers.

    Do you think it won’t last because it simply doesn’t matter what the rank and file thinks? Because the primaries are fixed?

    “If Cain manages to get the nomination, cool. I think he’ll probably lose to Obama.”


    How much of the black vote do you think Mr. Cain could muster? 20%? 30%? That is huge in states like North Carolina. It might even have an impact in places like Pennsylvania.

    Cain vs. Obama would also take the race card right out of the Democrats’ hands. That, too, is huge. It would be awfully hard to make those charges of “Tea Party racism” stick.

    From what I have seen of Mr. Cain, he possesses a Reaganesque likability that no other candidate has. He’d pass the beer test (“who would you rather have a beer with?”) with flying colors. He is focused on solutions (and solutions that are easy to communicate) instead of pissing matches over what is and is not a Ponzi scheme.

    It’s still relatively early. I’m not ready to write off Mr. Cain just yet. But I am ready to write him a check!

  39. “Why not?”

    It’s an educated guess.

    It looks like the big money will gravitate to Romney and he’ll win.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    Maybe Mr. Cain really can go all the way.

    I’ll happily vote for him if he gets the nomination.

    Again, its not what I wish for, but what I think will happen.

    As to the book: Stand by. It’s coming.

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