The GOP in 2012: Save the best for another year.

Posted on February 25, 2010 at 9.08 pm

Q.  My question is two-fold (er- sort of two-and-a-half fold): I understand that it’s a little early, but 1. Who do you think the GOP will nominate in 2012, and 2. who do you think the GOP *should* nominate in 2012 (and 2b. what do you think of Republican Governor Gary Johnson)?  — Wes from Nashville, TN.

A.  Don’t sell yourself short — that’s definitely three questions.  And three questions which it’s going to be difficult to fit into my goal of 500 words for these Q&A posts.  But here goes:

Based on the options presented in the straw poll at CPAC 2010 (with the exception of Ron Paul, of course), it doesn’t look like we can expect any surprises — pleasant or otherwise — from the GOP in 2012.  Romney, Palin, Pawlenty, Pence…this is nothing new.  All these candidates but Dr. Paul are identical:  They claim to be small government conservatives who will cut taxes and keep us safe, but they’re really spendthrift warhawks whose foreign adventurism endangers us while their domestic agenda steals our liberty.  Their idea of reigning in government is slowing its growth, not making that growth negative, and they’re unaware that war is just another big government program.

So who will the GOP nominate in 2012?  It’s hard to say.  Despite Ron Paul’s recent win at CPAC and my optimism about that win, it’s almost certain he will not be the nominee (Not that I’d ever object to it if somehow, wonderfully, he were).  But if it’s anyone else on the CPAC list (or anyone comparable), I’m not sure it matters.  Their destructive policies are nearly interchangeable, so it will probably come down to nice smiles, marital history, and logo design more than anything else.  In short, I think it’s still too early to tell, but the choice is unimportant regardless.  These candidates offer nothing new and are unlikely to beat Obama with his incumbent advantage.

It’s because of that advantage, however, that I’m not (at this point, at least) too interested in 2012.  Yes, there have been some one-term presidents.  But incumbent advantage is a real factor, and despite dropping poll numbers Obama is not without support.  Do I want to see him reelected?  No, absolutely not.  His statist policies will only lead to further destruction of our economy, liberty, and reputation abroad.  But GOP victory in 2012 seems unlikely, and I wouldn’t want to waste a strong liberty candidate on a no-win race.

At this point — and time may prove this a foolish opinion — I’d rather the Republicans squander 2012 on another fraudulent “conservative” who will further demonstrate to the public the need for real change.

A Ron Paul run could be valuable, of course, for its incredible, inspiring ability to spread the liberty message.  But for a shot at the nomination, I’d rather see candidates the GOP should nominate wait until 2016.

As for who those candidates should be, Johnson is definitely in the running in my book, as is Rand Paul (maybe/hopefully).  I honestly don’t know as much about Johnson as I would need to if I were, for instance, to donate to a presidential campaign, but so far I mostly like what I see.  Based on articles like this one in Politico, he’s very good on fiscal, social, and foreign policy issue.  My only hesitancy to date would come where monetary policy is concerned:  The Politico piece notes that he shares Ron Paul’s views “but without the penchant for gold standard wonkiness.”

On the other hand, he’s told the American Conservative that he’s “antiwar, anti-Fed, pro-personal liberties, slash-government-spending candidate—in other words, a Ron Paul libertarian.”  [emphasis mine]

Sounds good to me.

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