Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts on Iowa (For US politics junkies)

Well, Christmas is over, as much as I hate to admit it. Over the past two weeks it has been all family and church around here and not much time for blogging. Surprisingly, the world has managed to keep on going while I was otherwise occupied.

I will get the 2012 New Year's Predictions up soon (and grade myself on my 2011 predictions). Also, I plan to do a series on "The Christian Mind" to be cross-posted at the Bayview Review. And I will continue to comment on the US election right up to November because I believe this coming election is an event of incalculable importance to the future of Western civilization. Overall, however, I'll be blogging less this year because I want to concentrate on writing two books at once between now and summer. It should be a fun half-year!

1. Mitt Romney: I have never thought Mitt Romney would be the nominee right from the beginning. Nothing that has happened so far has convinced me that I'm wrong on that score. If the Republican Party is stupid enough to nominate him it may be the end of the Republican Party. If he repeats McCain's weak and insipid campaign and loses to Obama, there will likely be in response either a total and complete conservative take-over of the Republican Party or the rise of a new, third party, which will quickly replace the Republican Party. At the moment it should worry establishment Republicans immensely that 75% of the Republican voters (even counting the Democrats and liberal Independents who came out to vote for Ron Paul) continue to vote against Romney every chance they get.

2. Ron Paul: The spectacle of an extreme liberal (aka a Libertarian) running for the leadership of a conservative party is bizarre. What next? Sarah Palin challenging Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination? That would not be as weird as Ron Paul trying to pretend to be a Republican. The conservative-libertarian alliance is only tactical and depends entirely on the imminent threat of a common enemy. It is Churchill and Stalin against Hitler. But once Hitler is out of the way, the cold war is on.

3. Rick Perry: It is sad and unfortunate for the United States that Rick Perry entered late, stumbled and never recovered. He only got 10% of the vote for one reason only: people could not envision him holding his own in a debate with Obama. His policies are good, his record is good and his character is good. But he simply was not ready for the heavy debate schedule from September on. It is too bad.

4. Michele Bachmann: In a way, it is sad that she is now out of the race but not because I think she should have won. She was a voice of clarity and she clearly forced Romney to the right on some issues. She stood for continuing the Reagan Revolution and rolling back the new expansion of the welfare state under Obama and that is what the 2012 election will be all about. Her voice will be missed and if her message is sidelined in the interests of "electability" then the US will suffer as a result no matter who wins in 2012.

5. Newt Gingrich: His whining about the unfair negative advertising is in one sense perfectly justified, but in another sense pointless. He would have gotten far worse from Obama, with Obama's billion dollar negative ad machine and his leftist surrogates in the media. Of course it was odious. But it was also inevitable; if it hadn't happened now it would have happened later and it is good for Republican primary voters to see now how Newt reacts while there is still time to choose someone else. The real question is how is the (that is, any) Republican nominee going to stand up against it? Newt has one more chance to show he can fight back effectively against slander and gossip. If he can't deal effectively with Romney, he would be toast against the Chicago machine anyway. Somebody tell Newt that . . . quickly.

6. Rick Santorum: This is a good and decent man who has yet to be attacked by the biased, left-leaning media in the way that Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Gingrich were as each one rose in the polls. The one outcome that the leftist media do not want is for the Republican Party to nominate a true conservative and, especially one who is patriotic and religious, because that would mean too clear and obvious a contrast to Obama. In a contest between a real conservative and Obama, Obama loses decisively and the Republicans take over the Senate as well. And that means the end of Obamacare and the whole leftist agenda. Santorum's rise in the polls came too late for the smear machine to roll into action, so now look for it to fire up and go after him.

7. Jon Huntsman: He was irrelevant in Iowa and is irrelevant in general. He seriously mis-read the mood of the electorate when he tried to run to the left of Romney, who was busy trying to run to the right of real conservatives. Unlike Huntsman, Romney at least is smart enough to understand that in order to win in 2012 one has to at least pretend to be a conservative.

Where does the race go from here? There are many possible scenarios and nobody really knows what will happen. But let me toss out one possible path for a Santorum victory.

Suppose that Santorum manages to come second in New Hampshire, beating Huntsman and Gingrich. He will start to gain money and momentum. Then suppose that Perry and Gingrich both finish behind Santorum in South Carolina. That could leave Santorum as the last conservative standing and facing only the libertarian Paul and the moderate Romney in Florida. In that scenario, Santorum might well pull it out and turn it into a long, drawn-out two man race with Paul as an irrelevant third-place nuisance candidate. Romney might still win that race, but I predict it would be close.


Joshua Layton-Wood said...

I would like to have more of your thoughts on Ron Paul. You take him to be a libertarian and libertarianism to be extreem liberalism. That is a popular characterisation of him, but I wonder if it is really accurate. I think that he would want to potray himself as constitutional as opposed to libertarian. The drafters of Americas constitution were decentralists by todays standards. Admitedly, decentralists and libertarians share a lot of ground, but they are not the same. I wonder if you are accurate in siding with the popular description of Paul as a libertarian. You cannot just cite the fact that he ran as a libertarian, because assuming that he is a decentralist he might have been misplaced in the libertarian party too. Given that there isn't a Decentralist Party, or a Let's-follow-the-constitution-to-the-tee Party it is natural that he might drift between Libertarian and Republican lables.

Craig Carter said...

I now have a post up which is really an extended answer to your question. If you have follow-up questions, I'll be happy to try to answer them there.