Since some media outlets have peremptorily declared President Obama re-elected, it's only fair that we reconnoiter the two main political traps the predatory Left will set for President Romney.
The Predatory Left's Target
President Romney is an authentic centrist-conservative – principled, prudent, and purposeful. This asset will avail him well as he forges the center-right coalition needed to win the election and address the mess he’ll inherit. Arrayed against him will remain the Left’s obsessive-compulsive political predators, who have studied their prey and set their traps for Mr. Romney. Their intent is no less than to isolate President Romney from his natural center-right constituency; pounce upon him; and turn his political hide into a decorative rug in Rachel Maddow’s den. How, then, will President Romney succeed despite the snares?
The "Bipartisan" Trap
The predatory Left's brays for "bipartisanship" are but enticements to "surrender." If President Romney doesn’t eschew this siren song, he’ll betray his winning center-right constituency, especially those conservatives who, while staunchly united behind him to defeat President Obama, will be scrupulously studying the new administration for any signs of its abandoning principle.
Avoiding this trap requires President Romney to be ever mindful the predatory Left practices the "permanent campaign." Following elections, the predatory Left does not lay down their political arms and "give peace a chance;" they continue swarming and smearing, charging and counter-charging in their bitter battle for an unobtainable terrestrial Eden. (Or, more simply, while "sometimes you feel like a nut", they are nuts.) Thus, in continuing to lead and nurture a truly bipartisan movement, President Romney is well advised to recall, as well, that there’s a reason the phrase "center-right coalition" doesn’t include the word "left." On critical issues, after securing his base supporters President Romney must then extend his hand across the aisle only to proven Democratic centrists, lest he get his fingers bitten off (and find it that much harder to steer the ship of state).
The "Moderate" Trap
When the Orwellian, predatory Left says "moderate," they mean a “sell out,” not a “centrist.” Such “moderates” are proffered strange, new respect for “growing in office” – i.e., forsaking social conservatives and, thereby, shattering his or her political base. Of the two traps, this is the more dangerous, as it has proponents in both parties.
President Romney must reject the false narratives that the Republican camp is split into warring camps of economic and social conservatives; and that the Democratic camp's dominant Leftist wing has attained a “peaceful coexistence” with their fiscally and socially conservative colleagues. Be they Republicans or Democrats, every member of the center-right coalition should realize that America cannot have a prosperous economy without a virtuous culture; and, conversely, that morality is tried in times of want.
Consequently, a conservative centrist President Romney must proudly affirm that social conservatives are full partners in his center-right coalition and, yes, in the mainstream of American political life. By rejecting the feckless, "fashionable" advice of “cocktail Libertarians” and elitist Leftists who falsely distinguish between fiscal and social conservatives, President Romney will hasten the restoration of a virtuous and a prosperous America; and validate the faith conservatives and centrists have placed in him regardless of party.
The New 3rd Rail: The Vital Center
Let us learn from the painful past four years. President Obama's 2008 campaign and one-term administration reveals that the predatory Left, while momentarily able to mask its true ideological aims to win an election, repulses Americans when it tries to implement them during an administration.
Though the Left denies this, the Left knows this.
Remaining philosophically out in the cold following the Reagan Revolution's reawakening of America's center-right coalition, predatory Leftists necessarily misrepresent this coalition (even as they mendaciously appeal to it), because they must block conservatism’s natural appeal to it. This explains why the predatory Left derides every Republican administration's popular principles and policies – such as fiscal sanity, family virtues and “peace through strength” – as politically suicidal touches of the new third rail of politics: the vital center.
In fairness, though, the predatory Left is strategically (if not morally) correct to do so: for when conservatives seize the new third rail of American politics and lead the vital center, it does result in political death… for the predatory Left.
Therefore, lest President Romney adorn the predatory Left's political animal trophy case, he must continue to lead a center-right coalition from the vital conservative center that will restore America's purpose, prosperity and security; and will entangle the predatory Left in the traps they’ve set along their own road to extinction.
Recovering Congressbum Thaddeus G. McCotter is a guitarist and simple country lawyer from Detroit.