Toby Harnden writes in The Daily Telegraph:
Pericles?! Better read?! Come on now Finemann, you sound like you have been hitting the bottle rather hard. Karl Rove is moderate? Who says so? Progressives? Really? Who knew?
In the past few days, Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s long-time consigliere and an erstwhile hate figure on the Left, has been welcomed back into polite society. Democrats who previously thought the only place Rove should be was in jail have been murmuring approvingly about his wisdom and moderation.
At the same time, Left-wingers whose only debate about Bush over the past decade has been whether he was stupid, evil or a lethal combination of both, are suddenly recalling the former president’s “compassionate conservatism”. The Huffington Post’s Howard Finemann noted that he was better read and more thoughtful than previously given credit for and now seemed “like Pericles”.The change of heart has been prompted by the appearance on the national scene of Governor Rick Perry.
I find it amazing to see how utterly shameless these liberal media types are in contradicting themselves for the sake of whatever short term tactical advantage they think they can gain. It really is off-putting and has utterly destroyed whatever credibility they may have had left.
The moral of this story is: "Take how conservative a given candidate is (i.e. far-right, extreme, blah, blah, blah) and discount it by about 150% to get some idea of how conservative a Bachmann or a Perry actually is."
Goldwater was demonized. Reagan was demonized. Bush was demonized. None of them were especially "far-right" or "extreme." All had mainstream, if not majority support within the American political spectrum. It is fine to say that you hate moderately right-wing conservatism and prefer Jacobism or Communism or Social Democracy or Progressivism or Maoism or whatever your poison is. But it is laughable to breathlessly claim that people like Reagan are outside the boundaries of what is acceptable in American political discourse. (It is also laughable - no, pathetic - to see Barack Obama trying to insinuate that he is Reaganesque. Just imagine Reagan dealing with the Iranian fanatics over nuking Israel!)
My advice to Independents and Moderates is to look at whoever the Progressives seem to hate the most and assume that person is the one they fear the most in a general election. They don't fear Bachmann because they think they can "Palinize" her and they don't fear Romney because they think they can discredit him with the Republican base. They are talking right now about how badly Perry would fare well in a general election and it is not because they are trying to be helpful to the Republican Party.
This is the year that the extremism of the Democratic Party and the attempted lurch to the left under Obama, Reid and Pelosi opens the door for the Republican Party to nominate a winning candidate who is a much more consistent and principled conservative than at any time since Reagan. The Republican Party can win 2012 with a more conservative candidate than is usually the case. They could nominate somebody who might actually cut federal spending, not just the rate of spending growth. This is their chance. The Democrats' over-reach has opened to door to Republicans possibly beginning the historic task of beginning to roll back the welfare state.
They should not fall for this old trick this time. The conservative base is big enough and the progressive base is dispirited enough for the Republicans to elect a real conservative this time around. If they miss this opportunity, they will live to regret it.
What is needed is not a cautious, flip-flopping Mitt Romney. What is needed is a principled conservative, a brilliant intellect, a sharp debater and the true leader of movement conservatism in America today: Paul Ryan.
Failing that, Rick Perry would do. But here is hoping that Paul Ryan runs.