What Are Republicans Thinking?
By John D. Turner
21 Feb 2012

Democrats must be laughing their butts off behind closed doors. The Republicans have been taken totally off message and they don’t even seem to realize it. At the rate they are going we will have four more years of Obama and a disunited United States that bears little resemblance to the Republic where I grew up.

I doubt Jefferson would be shocked. He would probably be surprised we lasted as long as we did.

The economy plodded along last year at a totally unimpressive 1.3% increase in GDP. Unemployment is still above 8%, and still higher than when President Obama took office. Gas prices are on the rise again. They fell for awhile, but still never went below where they were when Bush was in office.

President Obama’s “solution” to the problem? Block construction of the Keystone Pipeline project, continue to prohibit drilling in the ANWAR, and make it darned difficult to do it anywhere else. We don’t need no stinkin’ oil. Meanwhile the alternative energy companies he champions and into which he has pumped billions of taxpayer dollars continue to drop like flies.

So what are the Republicans doing in what should be a target-rich environment with which to score big gains in the upcoming election?

Rick Santorum, the current front runner according to polling data, is talking about Birth Control and Satan taking over America. Newt Gingrich is flashing his “conservative credentials,” touting himself to be the “most conservative" conservative in the race, and claiming the “Reagan mantle,” on the basis of having worked with him, and an out-of-context remark made by Nancy Reagan. Romney is wondering where all his support has vanished to, and Paul is beating his usual “audit the Fed” and isolationist Libertarian drum.

None of them are seriously addressing the economy, Obamacare, our crumbling foreign policy, the drawdown of our military, the abandonment of the war on terror (still don’t like that name), are throwing Israel under the bus, or the evisceration of our nuclear deterrent. Nope! Instead they are all squabbling amongst each other over issues that in a normal election cycle might matter, but which are far afield of what the American public is currently worried about.

With the issuance of a single regulation, the Obama Administration has managed to turn the debate from one over the economy to one over birth control and the right to life. While these are important questions, they are not questions that are going to lead to victory in the fall for the Republican presidential candidate. Instead of focusing on the economy, Obama has now put the Republicans into the position of being a fringe party. “See,” he can now tell women, a group that the Republicans have to make inroads with if they are to win in November, “what the Republicans really want to do is take away your right not only to abortion, but to contraception as well.”

The Republicans are left arguing a position where the Democrats are strong and they are weak instead of the reverse; a position that is not going to unseat Obama in the fall. And of course, by making this the issue instead of the economy, the Republicans are well on their way to nominating a candidate who is not going to win in the general election.

I have nothing against Rick Santorum; Rick is a fine guy. I enjoyed listening to him on Friday mornings on “Morning in America” on the way in to work. He has a lot of good ideas, and makes a lot of sense on a lot of issues. The only problem is, he is not going to win in the general election.

Santorum’s main appeal, like those before him, is that he is not Mitt Romney. It’s funny because last election cycle, Mitt was being touted as the “not McCain” conservative alternative by many Republican’s. This time around he is being excoriated as “McCain lite.” Newt has gone as far as calling him a liberal!

Anyone who looks at what Mitt has been saying and doing over the past 10 years with an unbiased viewpoint would have to conclude that Mitt is a conservative. But no, people want to dredge things up from 20-30 years ago, make unresearched comments concerning his time as governor of Massachusetts, and insist that Romney care and Obama care are part and parcel the same when patently they are not.

“How can we trust a person who has been governor of a liberal state like Massachusetts to govern conservatively,” they wail?

Well, how could you trust a person who had been governor of a liberal state like California to govern conservatively?

“How can we trust a man who was pro-choice when he now says he is pro-life? How do we know he won’t flip-flop on us? I bet he is just saying that to get elected!” They bawl.

Who is the most iconic conservative Republican in the United States today? Whose name is revered by many conservatives as the best president in their lifetimes? Who is the benchmark that all conservative Republican candidates are measured against, and against whom they are always found wanting?

Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan. Former Democrat, former governor of the great liberal state of California, former union leader, formerly pro-choice, the list goes on.

So those that are making these arguments against Mitt – one would have to assume that they would make the same arguments against Reagan were he the candidate today. Are we saying that the Republican Party in 2012 would not nominate Ronald Reagan were he running today (not previously having had the benefit of his leadership before, but as a new candidate like Romney)? Every argument being made against Romney (with the exception of Obama care, which he has promised repeatedly to abolish) can also be made against Reagan too. The only real difference between the two is their religion. Are we really squandering our chance to unseat Obama over religious preference?

That would be ironic, as it is a religious debate that has sidetracked the entire Republican message.

We have a president who is taking the country down a dangerous path; a path that I and many other believe will lead to its destruction, or at least the destruction of all we hold dear. We have a president who seems to believe that he was elected dictator for four years. He wants another four. We need to get rid of him before he decides, like Hugo Chavez, that a life-time appointment would be nice.

Think I am exaggerating? He has already overstepped his constitutional bounds on multiple occasions. It is his opinion that if Congress doesn’t jump when he says frog and immediately rubberstamp whatever policies he dreams up, that they are “dysfunctional” and it is his job to go around them.

For a “constitutional scholar” he seems woefully misinformed. Or is it willfully misinformed?

We need someone now who can turn the country around. Maybe Rick Santorum can. Maybe. But shouldn’t we be putting our money on someone instead who has a proven track record of turning things around? Someone who has taken failing business and made them household names? Someone who not only turned around a failing Olympics, but turned a profit as well? Do you know how rare that is? Olympics, both winter and summer always lose money; the SLC Olympics were just more in the red than normal and much more than Salt Lake City could afford.

Do people get hurt when companies restructure? Yep, there are some that do. The question to ask isn’t whether or not some lose their jobs; the question to ask is what happens when a business fails? Answer – everyone loses their job!

In order to fix the problems we have here in the US, people are going to get hurt. But guess what? There are already a lot of people who are hurting. Look at the unemployment numbers! So what is the Obama solution? Extend unemployment benefits ad infinitum! The Obama administration thinks that is a better solution than creating jobs by building the Keystone pipeline, for example. They are on record with that opinion. Where does the money come from to keep extending unemployment benefits? We borrow it from China. Let our descendents pay the tab!

We are well on our way to becoming Greece. It’s a lovely place, Greece. Take a look at Greece today. Think people aren’t getting hurt there? Do we want to wait until things are that bad here before we act?

We can take a chance with Rick, or Newt, or Ron Paul, but why? We are worried that Mitt is a “closet liberal?” What could he possibly do to dispel that fear? We are worried about religious differences? Really? Mitt’s religion is “too weird” for him to function effectively as president in order to turn the country around? It didn’t seem to hobble his efforts at Bain to turn around failing companies. It didn’t seem to hobble his efforts to save the Salt Lake City Olympics. We are worried that if we elect a Mormon to the presidency that will somehow “legitimize” the religion? We currently have a president who has declared war on religion here in the United States. Isn’t it slightly more important to unseat him before he does any more damage than it is to worry about whether the Mormon Church might pick up a few more converts if Mitt were in office?

Mormons make up less than 2% of the adult population in the US, about the same percentage as Jews. This is not a huge amount. Catholics on the other hand make up about 24% of the adult population. The administration’s latest regulation, stemming from the Obama care legislation directly affects every Catholic hospital, school, and charity in the country, and there are a lot of them.

The ruling will ultimately mean that these will either shut down, or that Catholics are going to have to violate core religious principles to bring themselves into alignment with the government mandated regulation. Is this what we want? Either way, it is the beginning of the end for all religious freedom in this country unless we get rid of Obama care. It is just one more example of why this legislation was a bad idea.

In order to do this we need to win the Presidency, expand our hold on the House, and ideally, win a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. It won’t be easy. Mitt has a shot at doing this. Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul, in my opinion and the opinion of many other conservatives, do not.

I have heard it said, by Newt Gingrich no less, that there is no difference between Obama and Romney. Really!? How can one be a thinking human being and swallow that whopper! And yet I hear people parrot that every day. Did everyone check their brain at the door? Hello, anyone home?

Come on guys! Don’t fall for the misdirection coming from the White House (and from some Republicans running for the nomination)! Think! Keep focused on the big picture. Don’t get lost in the details. Important things first! First we save our country from going over the falls, then we start rowing it back upstream.

We have to actually have a country, and freedom in order to roll back the changes this administration has made. Falling on your sword is a great gesture. But remember, the effect of doing so is death. And the dead don’t vote – except for Democrats.