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January 30, 2012
The Republican Establishment's Strategic Blunder
By Steve McCann
The Republican Party has a tenuous hold on the conservative movement in America. At present the only home for the 40 per cent of the electorate that identify themselves as conservative is the Republican Party, but it appears that those who are nominally identified as the "Republican Establishment" are doing all they can to alienate the vast majority of the current base of the Party.
There is no office on Connecticut Avenue in Washington with a sign reading "The Republican Establishment" or the "The Democratic Establishment"; rather it is an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings.
The Republican Establishment is made up of the following: 1) many current and nearly all retired Republican national office holders whose livelihood and narcissistic demands depends upon fealty to Party and access to government largesse; 2) the majority of the conservative media, including pundits, editors, writers and television news personalities based in Washington and New York whose proximity to power and access is vital to their continued standard of living; 3) numerous think-tanks and members thereof who are waiting to latch on to the next Republican administration for employment and ego-gratification; and 4) the reliable deep pocket political contributors and political consultants whose future is irrevocably tied to the political machinery of the Party.
The overriding interest of this cabal has been and continues to be: the accumulation of power through the control of the income, borrowing and spending by the Federal Government. Thus, with the exception of the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the Republican controlled House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, the Republican members of the Ruling Class have been content since 1952 to merely slow down the big-government policies of the Democrats while publicly decrying their tax and spend policies.
This insider apparatus has been the primary determining factor in whom among those choosing to run for office will receive the financial, media and logistical support so vital for any political campaign, but particularly for national office be it the Presidency or either house of Congress. It is this cabal that has given the nation Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain in the presidential sweepstakes and innumerable go-along to get-along members of Congress.
This scenario was tolerated and generally ignored as long as the nation was experiencing overwhelming and seemingly endless prosperity. The one major accomplishment of Barack Obama has been to bring a sudden and abrupt end the people's ability to tolerate this tacitly understood game between the two major Parties.
The majority of the American people, but in particular those who identify themselves as conservative, are overwhelmingly aware of the true nature of the nation's problems and the crossroad the country is facing in 2012. The grassroots rebellion that is the Tea Party movement was the first manifestation of this awareness. Despite the success of the Tea Party working within the Republican Party in the 2010 mid-term elections, most of the Republican elites downplayed their success and fell-in with the mainstream media and the Democrats in their well-worn and gratuitous aspersions against those in fly-over country.
The rank and file members of the Party and conservatives throughout the country are now keenly aware of the opinion the Establishment has of them, as well as what has been going on behind the curtains in Washington. The current Republican nominating process has further exposed the true nature of the Establishment and their self-centered concerns.
It has been apparent for over a year that Mitt Romney has been chosen to be the next Republican nominee for president. He is next in line and has the track record and inclination to slow down but not reverse the downward spiral in which the nation finds itself; but above all to fall in line with what is expected of a Republican insider. Perhaps coincidentally, he has spent many millions of dollars hiring consultants and beltway pros, and has the fundraising capacity and personal wealth to keep on employing them. Thus he is the ideal candidate of the Establishment.
However a major problem has arisen. The machinations utilized in the past (with the exception of Ronald Reagan who was not the Establishment's choice) to maneuver the primary voters into choosing the previously anointed Mitt Romney has now come out in the open as the awakened silent majority is no longer willing to be fooled or taken for granted.
There are six primary methods of eliminating potential challengers with the tacit cooperation of the mainstream media, and they have been in full display this primary season. They are to portray unacceptable candidates as:
hypocrites in sexual matters (Herman Cain); or
unstable (Michelle Bachmann); or
ignorant and incoherent (Rick Perry); or
a religious fanatic (Rick Santorum); or
just plain weird and from another planet (Ron Paul); or
dangerous and unelectable (Newt Gingrich).
Sarah Palin would have been placed in all of those boxes had she decided to run, as well as anyone else deemed not acceptable to the elites.
However, the collective and coordinated vitriol and false or misleading accusations against Newt Gingrich by virtually all in the Establishment, led by the so-called conservative media, is unprecedented. Twice he has arisen, after being vilified and shunted aside, to challenge Mitt Romney and perhaps win the nomination; but the fact that he has been successful in fighting for conservative ideals but in an unorthodox and often contentious, and at times unreliable, fashion has the Establishment in near hysterics. All the other challengers were easily eliminated or made irrelevant, as they did not have the money or experience of knowing how the game is played, but Newt refused to just slink away. Never has the Republican Establishment trained its guns on any one candidate in such an unbridled and unrestrained way.
Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters. While it maybe the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.
The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder. They will, in all likelihood, succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the damage they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible. The public now sees the length to which the Establishment will go to make certain their hand-picked candidate is chosen regardless of the dire circumstances facing the nation.
Average Republican or conservative voters are the same people that buy the books or magazines or subscribe to the websites, as well as buy tickets to hear speeches by the conservative pundit class. These are the same people asked to open their wallets to support the Party every two years. These are the same people asked to volunteer at the polls and get out the vote. These are the same people who were told every election cycle to trust the Party and its attendant establishment to solve the nations' ills.
A number of them (how many is anyone's guess right now) will no longer be willing to support those factions within the Establishment and the Party or to believe what they are told. These are the people suffering the consequences of the disastrous policies pursued over previous decades, while those in the Establishment live lives of relative ease and comfort, which seems to be their primary concern.