Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Neither Newt nor Sarah

...should even be seriously considered for 2012. They both represent failed policies of the past.

Newt, as Pete pointed out in the thread, has character and temperament "issues." And under his watch Republicans in Congress managed to turn the impeachment of the president into a farce that actually ended up helping the Democrats. But most of all, he’s yesterday’s news. He has no appeal to the young voters that, as Julie has often said, the Republicans really need now. Old soldiers may never die, but old voters do. Of course Newt’s smart, and both Bush and McCain should have listened to him more.

Lilla’s article mainly shows that Lilla is a shameless intellectual herd animal. But it does remind us that the caricature of Palin pushed by the MSM and fashionable intellectuals and such has resonated with too much of the public for her to be back in 2012. She would be well served by getting herself in the Senate, where she’ll acquire the needed gravitas and public policy expertise to run in 2016. 2012 is probably for suckers anyway.

If we had to pick the 2012 candidate right now, it’d be, for me, between Jindal and Romney. Romney is especially plausible if our econmic woes become chronic and seemingly unfixable. Needless to say, I hope lots of new possibilities emerge.

The big, immediate problem facing Republicans is recruiting decent candidates for 2010--to do what they often failed to do in 2006 and 2008. It ain’t going to be easy, given the popularity of the new president and how discredited the Republican "brand" has become.

Discussions - 39 Comments

Romney remains about as credible as a cardboard cut-out. What is your obsession with making this wobbly Ken-doll a contender? He might pass mustard as Sec. of Treasury.

Romney will have zero traction in 2012. He had his fling this year, spent a lot of money, and got very few votes. Romney is beyond Newt. No appeal to young voters, minority voters, conservative voters, liberal voters. Heck, the only voters who like Romney are generally apolitical business men, or those who delude themselves into thinking that politics is more form than substance. Hence Romney's appeal with established conservative organizations, who are the only ones who buy his phoney constitutional arguments for why he supports and opposes Roe and why he just wants to make everyone happy. Romney really just attempts to hide behind form b/c he has no real passion for any issue, except perhaps the white collar economy.


hey peter, what about my vp candidate for this year, jeb bush. yes, i know about the bush connection. but still, after two days of bad media, many might have said why not. he was fairly popular among the evangelicals, and the hispanics, and might have brought us florida. plus he was experienced. so while no left turn is picking the next gop candidate, i'd like to throw jeb into the ring

I'm not certain how Palin represents "failed policies of the past" other than her being yoked to the unsteady, unfocused, and ultimately unwilling to win John McCain. I think most conservatives recognize that McCain's game is not Palin's, and I suspect many more "undecideds" do as well.

Palin's two biggest hurdles in 2012 will be learning the ropes over the next 4 years, and then communicating as much once the campaign begins. The establishment media will try to paint her as an idiot again, but if she isn't, she'll win over many in the middle. The knock on Palin that stuck this time, I think, was not her "stupidity" (except on the left) but her lack of experience. Yes, Obama was inexperienced too, but he didn't act like it.

What I'm most concerned about is that the top 3 contenders for 2012 look like Palin, Romney, and Jindal. Palin and Jindal are the wave of the future for this party, which is why they'll appeal to so much of the base. In fact, their appeal will be so well split that Romney might just sneak in from the RINO vote a la another recent Republican nominee (albeit in Mac's case from there being NO good conservative candidates).

What "failed policy" does Governor Palin now represent?

She was added to the ticket, she didn't top it. Hence she was constrained by the fact that she was tethered to McCain's domestic policies. Not her own. Don't confuse her attempts to articulate what couldn't be articulated, {McCain's tortured domstic policies}, for a personal "failure" related to her own policies.

Governor Palin's policy proposals weren't on display in the recent campaign. McCain's were. And it wasn't Governor Palin that was rejected, it was McCain.

If you desire to suggest that Governor Bobby Jindal is better suited than Governor Palin, feel free, go ahead, knock yourself out. Just don't mislead people about Governor Palin, and don't suggest that she represents some "failure."

It's hard to imagine a worse place for Palin than the Senate, if she wants to run for president someday. There's a reason we much prefer to elect governors to the White House, and eschew electing Senators. The job requirements are largely orthogonal to each other.


I think you mean that Romney might "pass muster", not "pass mustard". Because otherwise, ewww.

Dan - I sure hope the bulk of Republicans are thinking like you in 2012. I think the easiest way for Obama to get re-elected would be to run against Sarah Palin. Her inability to articulate her views (or perhaps form some) and her uber-conservatism (especially social conservatism) are pretty undesirable aspects for the bulk of voters. Sure, most people don't want to let the gays get married . . . but most also believe in some form of evolution, some kind of legal abortion, some legal rights for homosexuals, and - to some extent, at least - a separation of church and state. Only so many people are silly enough to fall in love with her anti-intellectual, blindly patriotic mantras which associate socialism with liberals and terrorism with funny names.

Old soldiers may never die, but old voters do.

For some reason, I find this sentence to be extremely reflective of the collective consciousness of the GOP.

Don't forget Huckabee who, contra my personal preferences, has better odds than the bland, charismatically challenged Romney.

Jindal si, Romney no. I just don't think that romney's particular kind of business experience or personal style works that well for the general public. Romney was also a pretty mediocre governor (granted there wasn't much he could do given Massachusetts's political culture). Jindal has already done alot more as governor with his ethics reforms and tax cuts. Jindal also talks the reform talk better than any GOP candidate I've seen, and has backed it up. Jindal is also liked by both social and economic conservatives, has broad government experience at a young age and is clearly as smart as anybody.

One other edge for Jindal. The Obama campaign has shown how the internet can be used as a fundraising tool. But for internet fundraising to really work, you probably need to be a fresh candidate like Dean was in 2004 or Obama in 2008. Jindal could be that guy in 2012. It also probably helps that Jindal doesn't look like a used up hack (paging John Bohner).

Of course this all depends on how Jindal continues to do as governor.

thanks aj

Geez, what happened to "our Sarah"?

well, maybe jeb bush...he certainly would win if we had a merit system, and he might help get some of the hispanics back. but bush fatigue syndrome is pretty pervasive, and not without reason. i threw romney in there to judge the reaction. palin was both a success and a failure. she helped mccain to forty percent and maybe even helped his campaign from collapsing completely. but she hurt him, we have to tell the truth, in getting to fifty. she's still our sarah, but she should skip 2012...being a senator for even a short time would teach her a lot she probably she needs to know. i could be wrong on that though. lots of pressure on bobby j, at this point.

cantor of va is also promising, especially if the bailout starts to look like a giant screw up.

Paul Cantor of UVA?
Do we know what Palin thinks about basic issues of foreign policy? Will a few years in the Senate serve as education? Will that let her adroitly answer questions such as what she has been reading lately? I dunno....

Matt, your desription of Governor Palin is but a caricature, ----------- not very flattering to her, nor to you for subscribing to it.

But hey, knock yourself out.

Barack Hussein Obama will either implement a radical agenda, in which case Americans will by and large roundly reject him in 4 years time. Or he'll fail to enact a radical agenda, in which case the base of the Democrat party will be crestfallen by him proving himself to be a fraud.

Either way, he'll have major probs in 4 years time.

The only way to describe a caricature of a person is by caricature. I think the republicans should run Dick Cheney in 2012. Too bad the celebrations he predicted in Iraq actually turned out to take place in the US after his party's defeat, as Frank Rich said. Either that or I would run Joe the Plumber. His keen intellect, his grasp of back siphoning and p-traps, would serve this country well.

Well, seems to me that we listened to "pundit-speak" during the primaries. McCain was our only hope, so we had better get in line. What BS. Sarah Palin should run for the Senate, and then for President -- I don't see how she's damaged goods in the least.

I'd also add that we need less "free market right-or-wrong" nonsense in the GOP. There's so little competition in some of our industries (e.g., OIL) that markets don't work well. We need a good ol' slug of nationalism (ala Pat Buchanan) -- government intervention with a conservative twist.

15: I do like Sarah Palin, but I'm not sure yet how she'd do as a candidate. The problem is a lot of people on the left and in the some in the middle believe the caricature the media presented (ie very dumb). She has to dispell that before she can be successful. As to Obama's chances in 2012, I think Dan is exactly right in describing the tight-rope Obama must now walk.

Palin's greatest strength is that millions of Americans recognize that the caricature of Palin as a theocratic, anti gay, anti evolution, idiot is actually a display of contempt for themselves and their own lives. Millions of people know that upper middle class liberals loathe her because they loathe most rural and exurban social conservatives and that this loathing is stupid, ignorant and prejudiced. And it comes from people who love to tell everybody how open minded, tolerant, and well informed they are. That is why, if we were to have a national GOP primary for 2012 today, Palin would win.

But she would lose the general election. Palin's real problem is that she fails to connect with those outside of the conservative base. Part of that was the media of course, and part of it was her lousy interviews. But mostly it is the sense that Palin represents a kind of identity politics for rural and exurban whites. I loved her GOP convention speech, but one part left me cold. She talked about how honest people are raised to be in small towns. She probably didn't mean to insult those of us who grew up in city apartments but it showed a habit of mind that could become a political problem. If they are going to win, Republicans are going to have to do better among people living in cities and the inner suburbs that think of themselves as more city than country. Palin has shown no appeal to those voters. That doesn't prove much. No Republican did in 2008, but the 2012 GOP nominee is going to have to. One of Palin's challanges is to show that when she and other Republicans talk about the "heartland", they aren't implicitly excluding a large fraction (maybe a majority) of the American people

No Pete, the only reason Palin would win a national primary today is name recognition. We've been saturated with her for two months.

I wish we had had Jindal and Romney along with Palin in this last election. Romney is a great businessman and what we need on the conservative ticket. We need so many good conservatives to boot the butts of the liberal, left-wing illuminatis and hopefully the three mentioned above will do just that!

Millions of people know that upper middle class liberals loathe her because they loathe most rural and exurban social conservatives and that this loathing is stupid, ignorant and prejudiced.

Talk about your stupid statements. "Loathe"? Really? Last time I checked, we urban dwellers, we "liberal elites" weren't sitting around calling ourselves the "real America". You can pretend that that theme didn't run through every speech Sarah Palin ever gave, but (as you correctly pointed out, Pete) most Americans aren't going to buy that. Maybe we middle class liberals just don't like the arrogance and self-righteousness of those rural social conservatives whose qualities were so readily revealed at Palin's rallies . . .

Matt, you seem to have lots in common with the "liberal elites," particularly their ability to deceive themselves. I'll give you a short fill-in-the-blank question:

While campaigning in Pennsylvania, _____________ said that white rural voters "cling to guns and religion."

Liberals are dismissive of traditional Americans, and guess what? They KNOW it. So peddle your nonsense elsewhere, Matt.

Oh! The scales have fallen from my eyes!

Funny how right after saying those things, Obama launched right into what he was going to do to help rural Midwesterners. Regardless of his slip, or whatever it was, he was talking about them in an effort to pay them some attention - to sell them some sort of policy.

Guess which party never does that for the country's "liberal elites"? If anyone's deceiving themselves here - thinking that they are victims of an arrogant, dismissive party - I'm afraid it's the people who don't really pay attention and would rather subscribe to what FOX News and the MSM have to peddle (i.e. sound-bites).

Pete in comment #19 said: the caricature of Palin as a theocratic, anti gay, anti evolution, idiot is actually a display of contempt for themselves and their own lives.

Yes. I was full of self-loathing when I learned that Katherine Harris of Florida election vote recount fame, was then active in the same national Spiritual Warfare network which Sarah Palin has been associated with and may still be a member of.

I was self-lacerating when I researched that Palin is deeply involved with a global religious movement bent on imposing theocracies around the world and whose top leader, C. Peter Wagner, has decreed to his followers it is God's will that a forcible, massive transfer of wealth, from the 'godless' to members of his movement, take place.

My self-hatred reached its peak when I concluded that Palin's participation in Holy Laughter anointing was too bizarre to entrust her with anything close to federal government responsibilities. This contempt for my own life must be stopped before it spreads to millions of others and loses the GOP an election.



Haven't we learned our lesson with the liberal Republican wing of this party?


No, Romney is entirely too liberal, too old, too east coast, and too far removed from the real world.

Palin may be our only hope but not if she ends up in the Senate. We absolutely have to have a candidate who understands middle America, and Romney "ain't" it.

Matt, your comment #6 condemns you. Palin never said she didn't believe in any form of evolution or that she was against any kind of rights for homosexuals. You just seem to assume she has those positions. You aren't really attacking the Palin that exists, you are attacking a group of cultural stereotypes that you assume Palin conforms to. She is actually a moderate on gay rights and to my understanding has never endorsed any kind of creationism or argued that it should be taught as a substitute for evolution. The assumption that Palin conforms to these stereotypes based on her background is one of the reasons she gets such reflexive support from some quarters. Millions know that many people hate her not for her policy positions (which neither her most zealous friends nor enemies seem all that interested in), but as an embodiment of an entire group that it is okay to mindlessly hate and despise while being well informed, tolerant and open minded.

But Matt is half right. Rural conservative cultural arrogance is just as stupid and self defeating as upper middle class liberal cultural arrogance. They both convert potential friends (or at least nuetrals) into enemies. There are many potential conservative voters in cities, and inner suburbs that are turned off by many of the cultural cues of the current Republican party. That doesn't mean changing ideology or social policy, but it does mean, at the very least, talking in a more inclusive way.

I haven't read the responses on this post, but Palin in no represents failed past policies.

The ONLY reason I did not sit this election out (not voting) is because of Palin.

McCain's notion of walking across the aisle only means you will get bad legislation (McCain-Feingold) and stabbed in the back after the Dems shake your hand (Ted Kennedy and President Bush).

I don't want anymore Democrat-lite Presidents. None. If you want the Republicans to be Democrat, the shut the damn party down and become Democrats!

I want substantive differences with the Democrats and Palin delivers with flash!!!!

My stupid, self-defeating hatred has blinded me to Palin's eternal truths, I see that now. When Palin called Obama a terrorist, she was connecting with a moderate position that my own mindless hatred prevented me from seeing, even while I was pretending to be well-informed and open-minded. When I was questioning her relations to the Apostolic Reformation, which holds that Christians have supernatural powers and are called to expel territorial demons from American cities, I was only attacking a group of stereotypes Palin comforms to. Thank you, Pete , for showing me my upper middle class liberal arrogance. See you at the next meeting of the Manifest Sons of God where we will destroy the children of Belial together.

Ren, mockery is no substitute for thoughtful discourse. Indeed, I've noticed that mockery/sarcasm is a disease of Leftists. It often amuses me to find how shocked liberals become when they discover that 1) I'm just as well educated as they are, and 2) I think they are the stupid ones. The difference is, I never need to resort to sarcasm or mockery -- logical argumentation always suffices.

I am thankfull that Barrack Obama is more thoughtfull and reasonable than the posts we find in this thread.

I agree with Pete when it comes to resentment. I can see how Ren and Matt come to the conclusions they reach. My best attempt at an analogy would have eight grade math students embroiled in a fight over the value of X, the fact that they have solved different equations be dammned the law of identity holds and X must equal X. (why is Algebra taught prior to geometry?)

In any case going to what Pete says in 27, I would simply question if you ever get past stereotypes or strawmen.

I mean three quarters of clever politics is presenting a strawman that folks can believe in.

Strawmen make for the best flamming effigies, and if you are building one for your tailgate in the Bayou the number one consideration is combustion(you can dress him as a gator or put a bama shirt on him as the game requires) a more realistic hand is needed for a proper voodoo doll, but that is going far enough to get the french special forces after you, just ask the guy that did Sarkozy.

If Americans replaced football with Voodoo, it might be an aid to our politics...Not even Obama would dare propose such a radical change despite being in favor of an 8 team playoff system, which I suppose is the opposite proposal...getting Voodoo and the BCS out of college football.

I suppose that the BCS is made up of some of the best number crunching prognosticators who for a living attempt to establish true merit. For the sake of working on the topic of this thread that is how I view both Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. But no one really likes the number crunchers when they are telling you that 270 is unattainable or that Boise State has no shot at the National Title because it belongs to the respective winners of the Big 12 and SEC. That is the old testament OLD problem that made Samuel unpopular. Samuel was the original speaker of truth to power, but I figure that with the source of truth Samuel had he was closer to speaking truth and power to pretense and stubborn will.

In any case I don't think it is bloody likely(as the Brits are found of cursing) that Matt or Ren will win many converts. The only way I see Matt or Ren wearing elephant garb is at the LSU after game party, albeit that would take more courage and less superstition than the president of France shows.

On mockery, per #31 above: This is the post-modern stance. Recall the "sarc" levels of humor in I Am Charlotte Simmons. That's Obama's response to criticism, too: e.g., I am called a socialist because I shared a sandwich when I was six years old....

I'm surprised Tom is so intolerant of pointless speculation. What else are blogs etc. for? The self-righteous overreaction to Palin here is not admirable but common. Even the "jerk" McCain people are contributing to it. I encourage everyone, actually, to read THE NEW YORKER article on which Lilla relies. You can learn there, for example, that one reason Sarah charmed the pants off (well, not literally) Kristol, Hanson, Barnes, Lowry etc. when their cruise ships stopped at Juneau is that she showed great familiarity with NATIONAL REVIEW and even NRO, as well as policy wonkiness when it came missle defense. The article also shows she cleverly (and successfully) angled to be VP. So why didn't she mention the NAT REVIEW and other conservative periodicals she doubtless knew about in the famous interview. SOMEONE (working for McCain) must have told her to avoid controversy.

Front Runners:

Sarah Palin: Neutral

Mitt Romney: Neutral

Jeb Bush: Neutral

Bobby Jindal: Buy(except that 2012 looks bad for the elephants(Bush is a two term but Obama isn't?) Sell)

I don't know anything but here are some guys I like.

Jim Jordan (OH 4th congressional district, 4x Ohio High School State wrestling champ, foreign policy experience wrestling Iranians?, very solid market and social conservative.)

Thaddeus McCotter (MI 11th District) I was watching CSPAN in the bailout aftermath and his speech was very solid and intelligent.

Tim Palwenty helped himself, appeared competent and bright.

If Republicans hold true to their current pattern of falling in line behind the next guy up, then I predict that Mitt Romney will get the nod in 2012. It will be "his turn." He will probably lose, but then, anything's possible and he may win. If he does, that would be nice or--at least--better. But if he loses, it won't be a tragedy. The other real possibility that I think has to be conceded, I think, is Mike Huckabee. I dread to see a return to the fighting between him and Romney . . . and I think they both do real damage to the Republican brand as they continue with this. If it came down to a fight between them I think that would be the worst of all possible outcomes because it makes us look narrow, small and also (frankly) strange.

I would rather not waste Jindal or Sarah in 2012. Between the two of them, Sarah has the most to overcome because she has suffered real damage at the hands of the MSM and, I think it has to be acknowledged, McCain. She has not yet mounted her defense of herself. Only after she does this will we be able to judge fairly whether she deserves any of the extreme prejudice against her. But whether she deserves it or not, it's there. It is possible that it is fatal to her future prospects as a national candidate. But, many political obituaries have been written well before they had any right to be written. We will see but I think it is too soon to say.

In any case, I have always considered Jindal to be the smarter one--if only because he did not allow himself to be taken up by the McCain camp. He has a proper sense of self-love and self-preservation. And he is patient. That will be necessary. Both Palin and Jindal ought to not only read a lot of books in the intervening years, but also write some--and not flimsy autobiographical books ghostwritten by third-rate hacks but serious examinations of themselves and their thoughts on America. I think the politician who succeeds in against the Obama phenomenon will be the one who can best refute him--first on paper and then translate that to the people. Having read some pretty serious work of Jindal's in the past, my money is on him. He's got the intellectual firepower to match his fire in the belly.

Ron Paul anyone? The talk about Palin being in with questionable religious organizations is interesting considering what goes on every summer at Bohemian Grove. If strange religious beliefs exclude people then most of Washington's elite would be gone. I agree with 3 quarters of politics is building a strawman in our current system, but the fact that you go right to football is funny. People have become so obsessed with the gladitorial games they let politics pass without asking many question. Somewhere a conservative in Texas is saying he is concerned about Obama and loosing his freedom but devestated by UT's loss to texas tech. While we are drafting up candidates, why not try to define conservatism. Without doing this first then you are going to have problems getting someone who has a message. I doubt empty platitudes of change are going to work for conservatives. After the compassion and the neo I just don't know what Conservatism means right now. I think the perception is that it means corporate raiding, endless wars, limiting freedom. These policies will be continued by Obama, so defining Conservatism now and taking a hard stance against Globalism, Censorship, Gun Grabbing, Nation building/destroying, ect would be a step in the 'right' direction. Mabye its time to draft someone out of right field to run for national office. Get a guy who will talk about stopping New World Order, rather it is real or simply a rhetorical device, and simply talk of of building an American Renaissance through the actual re limiting of government and the re decentralization of power. Other than that I think the next leader needs to talk about the corporate value system that has been knawing at the soul of this country. What I am talking about can be seen by the most basic Sears employee. Everyone is told to produce and be rewarded. In that system they are taught to only think about the bottom line in terms of their bonus or their store/company/division/party doing well. In this system people eat eachother to get ahead and think only about how to make themselves look good. No one cares if their actions are good for the company/nation/party/ect as long as they look good and are promoted, praised, and rewarded. What happended to doing a job the best you could and helping your organization do well because you have integrity.

If we're discussing potential Republican runners in 2012, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels. Indiana is one of the only states in the midwest with a solidly balanced budget and a record of job creation. Plus, if the Indiana vote count is any indication, Daniels has potential to appeal to so-called "swing voters."

All of this chatter is pointless speculation. The players will rise out of the play, and the play's script has not yet been written. So just stop it!

I agree neither Newt nor Sara for 2012! failed policy of the past... definitely! SO whats the future? Is social conservatism the future? Is fiscal responsibility the future? The republican party did not really answer that question in this election with the nomination of John Mccain, who was destroyed because of Bush who was neither real social conservative (though he did follow his "advisor's") or fiscally responsible (again following his "advisor's"). After four years of Democrat oligarchy, the shift in that direction should be quite substantial. They will in this time of crisis take strong and mediated control of economic policy, which at this point might be necessary. Socially I believe they will go the direction that this country should go in, I.E. less government intervention. I know we all love social conservatism and its fundamental truth. However, to claim with real power that government should be fulfilling the ultimate goal of such is frankly unnecessary. its a private idea that should be perpetuated, government should play a quintessentially small role. Economically post Democrat oligarchy the country will need to shift big, who better to facilitate that than Ron Paul?

Feel the revolution rush through you're veins . . . the time is near.

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