Here’s why the GOP presidential race and whom we settle on as the ultimate nominee matters: Politico reports that the White House has been telling progressives that they’re going to “love” Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. If we don’t defeat Obama in November, America will be gone. And once she’s gone, that’s it. Game over. For us and the rest of the world.
The latest GOP debate put the two-man, four-man race into bold relief. Rick Santorum had some great moments and looks like a mature, responsible adult with real, conservative solutions to our grave problems. Ron Paul had his fine moments too, particularly when he schooled the others and the audience about an out-of-control federal government, spending, the debt, inflation and the Fed. But right now, they are in the second tier—a close second tier, but second tier nonetheless. Paul is staying in until the bitter end, although even he admits he’s not going to win the nomination. He’s aiming to have an impact on the convention and the party platform. Santorum is moving forward on the glow of his Iowa win and still has some traction, but he’s going to have to really outperform in Florida’s primary next week to continue.
That leaves the top tier, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Newt is coming off his smashing victory in South Carolina, and Mitt is coming out swinging. Both of them got locked into a rather petty death match over tax returns, resigning in disgrace, and Fannie and Freddie consulting. On the one hand, I suppose it’s good to have them get it all out of their systems now, get all the hits on the table, and start to innoculate the voting public to the negative stuff. On the other hand, they looked like two flies stuck in a bottle, hitting the sides and each other as they fail to realize the top of the bottle is open and they could fly out at any time.
Here’s my advice to both of them: Quit the attacks on each other. Redirect them toward Barack Obama and his disastrous policies. Launch a charm offensive—toward each other and toward the voters. Be gracious. Be aggressive but positive. Keep your eyes on the Big Prize: defeating Obama.
I know, I know—going negative works. But both Mitt and Newt must remember that voters aren’t just judging policies, ideology and intellect. They’re judging temperament. Show a steadiness and a warm graciousness. Be passionate about America and how to fix her deep problems. Direct your fire toward the incumbent who is ruining her. We don’t want an embittered, pissed-off candidate. We want an exuberant standard bearer—particularly since we can’t rely on solid conservatism from either Mitt or Newt.
So, guys: fly out of the bottle and elevate the debate, the race and your own candidacies. Only one can win the nomination, but nobody in this race will regret taking that path.
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