Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Campaign 2012: Learning From the Mistake that was John McCain’s ’08 Nomination

There are a lot of villains to blame in the GOP 2008 Meltdown that was known as the John McCain campaign. Let’s take a look at a few, so that perhaps we can avoid them. It's time to check out the villainous characters that populated the 2008 effort and see if we can avoid them in 2012.

Villain the First: The Republican Party. Yes, we Republicans need look no farther than the mirror for our first candidate. Who in the world says that it’s anyone’s “turn” to be the nominee? Did we forget Bob Dole’s campaign? It was Dole’s “turn,” too. There were other problems, too, with that campaign. Bob Dole: patriot, war veteran, good and decent man; was the nominee only because he had stood in line the longest. No one, and I truly believe this included Bob Dole, thought that he could win back in 1996.

The GOP, which hates non-merit based advancement, practices it on a regular basis with its presidential nominees. John McCain didn't earn the 2008 GOP nomination, it was handed to him on a silver platter of obligation.

Why not nominate the person who is most qualified or who captures the public’s imagination? Or both? John McCain was neither of those things just as he is not a conservative.

Villain the Second: The Media. Yeah, we conservatives have a real hate/hate relationship with the mainstream media. McCain was the absolute darling of the media. They called him “independent” and “a real maverick” in loving, approving voices. Then came the general election and suddenly McCain was “old” and “pandering to the right”. What happened?

In a common phrase, “liberal bias” happened. McCain was the most left-leaning of any GOP candidate who had a chance to win the Republican nomination. When this was the case, McCain was a hero. When he was opposed by the much more liberal Barack Obama, McCain wasn’t just yesterday’s news; he was yesterday’s news used as a fish-wrapper.

McCain was stunned by this turn of events, but not as stunned as Hillary Clinton was when it happened to her. Clinton had been the media’s favorite person for a decade – and she continued to be in the ’08 Presidential campaign - until the media decided that the more liberal Obama had an opportunity to win. When that happened, the media was not only “not friendly” to Mrs. Clinton, they were downright unfriendly.

There isn’t anything we’ll be able to do about the media in ’12, but we can at least recognize it for what it is. If the media is favorable toward a GOP candidate in the primary, do not assume it will continue – and certainly do not favor a candidate because the media does so.

Villain the Third: The States. McCain managed to pick up a lot of momentum – and quite a few delegates – in states that do not require voter registration by party. This allowed a lot of independents and moderate Democrats to vote in the GOP Presidential Preference primaries. Each of their votes counts exactly the same as a dyed-in-the-wool Republican that works hard to promote Republican ideals every year. It’s time to end open primaries.

Villain the Fourth: Back to the mirror, folks. It’s time to nominate a small-government, principled conservative. I’m not to the point where I would even begin throwing out names, but there are a few of them. We know what we believe. Now is the time to nominate a person who can articulate those beliefs because he or she understands them – not because some guy in a suit said, “Here, try this line and see if it works.”

We can do this, but it will take some planning and more than that, it will require us to be honest with ourselves and do what’s right, not what a “political expert” on television says we should do.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Bear at The Absurd Report for the mention:

    Thanks, as always, to my pal Marshall Miller who is the best totally unpaid publicity guy in the country for sending this out.


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