The GOP Seeks its own John Kerry
Eight years ago a candidate who inspired young Democrats and independents was passed over in favor of a more electable choice – John Kerry was chosen over the brash Howard Dean in an “anyone-but-Bush” race.
Today, Republicans line up in an attempt to repeat history. In this "anyone-but-Obama" race, they are overlooking a candidate who inspires inside the party and out in favor of the “electable” option.
Is a win more important for Republicans or is that vague feel of electability more important? The two are exclusive of each other according to the results of the 1976, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections. Choose the moderate – the one who feels tolerable to everyone – and you reject the candidate from your own party who inspires.
The moderate might win if the other team’s guy fails at inspiring his base.
Spending a fortune, having a hard time breaking 50%, inspiring few, tolerable to party insiders – Mitt Romney comes across to independent observers as John Kerry Part Deux.
Good for a Cocktail Party
I have no idea whether either John Kerry or Mitt Romney speaks French, but something about them makes me feel like they both do. In fact, they can probably both tell a good joke in French. You know, the kind of joke that makes you chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.
Men of the world, men who look presidential, men who can be universally tolerated in polite company – the kind of guy you’d invite to your cocktail party if you wanted to make sure that he would offend as few people as a discussion on the weather. They both come across as gentlemen and are both capable of being tolerable politicians.
They would even be great candidates if elections weren’t about winning support, but about offending as few people as possible.
However, we are at a world historic moment where inspiration is needed rather than just tolerable. In this “anyone-but-Obama” race, we are missing the point. “Anyone-but” is not good enough for a President of the United States. We can do better. The four candidates have differences. Some like TARP, some support deficit spending, some have been in the private sector, some have no business calling themselves fiscal conservatives, others have even published tomes on economics. There are such great distinctions in this race that it’s not enough to throw your hands up in the air and say “I’ll take any of them.” There’s nothing responsible about that decision, but of course, I don’t expect the baby boomers to be responsible in their voting – they, after all, led us to the place we are right now through their decades of supporting fiscally irresponsible politicians.
Furthermore, the “anyone-but-Obama” route is a route to failure. Mitt Romney can’t even inspire in his own party, how the heck is he going to inspire outside of the party in the general election? Tolerable isn’t good enough to win, let alone run a meaningful race against the charisma of President Obama. If we choose the one who feels moderate, tolerable, and therefore “electable” then we’ll end up with Lame and Lamer running against each other, and one or the other will win – probably the one who knows how to inspire his base.
Republican voters can do a whole lot better than this practically apathetic “anyone-but-Obama” line that they are getting fed from the media. It makes me wonder if even Fox is rooting for an Obama second term. That, after all, is what pumps up the ratings.
Allan Stevo is a writer from Chicago. He is the author of the newly releasedHow to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012.