Earlier today Larry O’Connor and Stephen K. Bannon spoke with Keith Appell, a key Republican political strategist, who suggested that “the establishment of the Republican Party” might “try to get somebody else in the race…”.
It’s true: The establishments in New York and Washington, D.C. ought to be nervous. After all, Romney has never won more than 50% of the vote in any race, anywhere he has ever run. He has never won a primary in the South. He has never won a majority of the white working-class or the evangelicals that make up the party faithful.
Appell is correct that the establishment wanted other candidates: Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan (unmentioned by Appell).
Each of these candidates, though admirable, was flawed in his own way (just as every candidate, just as every man is). Mitch Daniels said he wanted a “truce” on social issues; Chris Christie had very little experience in elective office; and Paul Ryan, who has very little elective experience, would have had to defend his proposals to reform entitlements.
Over the summer I attended many Republican events in New York City and nearly everyone spoke highly of those three candidates. “Can’t we get someone other than these clowns?” a Republican elitist told me, referring to the candidates already running.
It was a common sentiment, indicative more of the cynicism and jadedness of its articulator than of any real understanding of the issues. In its presentation, it indicated contempt for the primary voters who couldn’t understand that Romney was a sure thing against Barack Obama. At one point, the establishment even flirted with Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who has since gone on to pardon 62 criminals, including murderers and rapists.
To such elites, the conservative grass-roots voters are “hobbits,” the little people, who show up and pull the lever like we’re supposed to.
Well, the joke is on the elites. The hobbits have struck back.
There are a whole host of reasons why no establishment candidate can enter the race:
- The money has already lined up along the existing candidates and, though it has lavishly been spent on one candidate, that candidate hasn’t been able to walk away with it yet.
- We’ve already had a number of primaries and though the delegate count is low, the voters have responded by participating. Sure, they say they are dissatisfied with the candidates in the field, but they ought to be dissatisfied. No one should ever be satisfied with a politician.
- The other candidates already represent every major issue facing the country today. There’s the liberal northeastern candidate, the old Washington hand, the social conservative, and the libertarian one.
- Ballot access. Newt Gingrich won’t be on the ballot in Virginia, much to his dismay. But any other candidate who enters the race will have an insurmountable task getting on the ballot.
- There’s no reason for Sarah Palin to run… yet. Sarah Palin could very easily throw a monkey wrench into the race by deciding to run. There would be quite enough grass support for her, but the queen of the right has since decided to play king maker.
The reason these elites act disdainful of the candidates we have is that they want to cover themselves for if we lose to Obama. They then can write their columns and say that they “told us so.” After all, they doubt we can win.
But in truth these elites have proven that they are ineffective. After all, if they couldn’t convince Christie, Daniels, et. al. to run after promising them all the riches of Wall Street and all the influence of K-Street, what does that say about their power? It’s waning and on its way out.