Don't Trash Reagan to Save Romney

Don't Trash Reagan to Save Romney

Ann Coulter, a long-time cheerleader for Mitt Romney, recently trashed the legacy of Ronald Reagan – and Americans who honor the legacy of Ronald Reagan – in a desperate attempt to deflect blame for Romney’s loss away from the candidate, and away from those who backed him.

Movement conservatives, Reagan conservatives, and tea partiers did not back Gov. Romney in the Republican primaries. Despite misgivings, when the GOP establishment chose Romney, these patriotic conservatives did not sulk or stay home. They walked through fire for Romney and formed the backbone of his base and ground game. They gave their all to their country, they volunteered their time, they donated what they could to a candidate they did not choose, and they voted for him. Why? Because they put the future of the country ahead of their own personal interests.

Which is something Ann Coulter may want to try.

What did these millions of Reagan conservatives and tea party conservatives get in return for their time, dedication, and votes? They got shut out and ignored at the GOP convention (the words “tea party” were never mentioned), and now they’re getting blamed for Romney’s loss by his #1 cheerleader, Ann, whose latest screed “ROMNEY WAS NOT THE PROBLEM” also slammed the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

This is ironic, because Ann’s candidate rarely missed an opportunity to wrap himself in Ronald Reagan’s legacy for his own benefit.

At AIPAC in March 2012, Mitt Romney said: “I believe the right course is what Ronald Reagan called peace through strength. There’s a reason why the Iranians released the hostages on the same day and at the same hour that Reagan was sworn in. As president, I’ll offer that kind of clarity, strength and resolve.”

A few months later, after an American Ambassador and three other US citizens were brutally murdered in Benghazi, Mitt Romney did not “offer that kind of clarity, strength and resolve” like Reagan did. Romney did not even offer a single word – “Benghazi” – during the all-important third presidential debate. He sat on his hands, silent and passive.

Would Reagan have sat silent and passive, like Romney did, over the murder of an American Ambassador?  We all know the answer is: “no.” Because we all know the difference between Reagan and Romney, no amount of Ann’s trashing of Reagan will change what we all know is true.

Reagan was a philosophical warrior who understood that he was in a battle for the heart and soul and idea of America against a president who was philosophically hostile to American Exceptionalism: Jimmy Carter. Reagan fought that battle, on ideological grounds, and demolished Jimmy Carter, 489 electoral votes to 49. 

Romney was a self-described “fix-it man / manager,” not a philosophical warrior. He failed to understand – and most certainly failed to articulate – that he was in a philosophical battle for the heart and soul and idea of America against the Carter of our time; Barack Obama. Romney lost his battle, 332 electoral votes to 206. 

To beat Obama, we needed a strong conservative candidate who would stand on principle and provide a clear contrast to the President. Instead, we got a weak, moderate candidate who stood on both sides of many issues and failed to provide a clear contrast to Obama on something as fundamental and easy to stand up against as Obamacare – which 61% of Americans, a winning majority – desperately wanted to vote against. Romney sewed the philosophical seeds for Obamacare with Romneycare, which left him compromised and neutered on the biggest potential slam-dunk issue of the 2012 campaign. While conservatives are naturally opposed to government run healthcare of any kind, Ann denied her principles to make the case for her compromised candidate, in her February 1, 2012 column: “THREE CHEERS FOR ROMNEYCARE!” 

Now that candidate Romney and his fan club lost – giving Obama a second term; something Jimmy Carter never had – it is time for team Romney to take responsibility for what they have done, and for what their loss could mean for America. 

Yet, rather than take responsibility for their loss, the GOP establishment and pundits like Ann blamed their voters, blamed their volunteers, and blamed their fellow Americans.

Ask yourself: would Ronald Reagan have ever done that? We all know the answer to that question, too.

It is time to stop blaming conservatives. It is time to stop trashing Ronald Reagan. It is time for Mitt Romney and his cheerleaders in the GOP establishment to look in the mirror and take responsibility for their loss. And, if they can spare a moment from their blame-shifting and self-serving screeds, perhaps they could join us while we pray for the future of America, which they put at risk with their loss.

It makes sense that Romney’s followers would trash Reagan as George Romney’s followers, the old guard Republican establishment, also trashed the Gipper. But the solution to what ails the GOP is not in living in denial nor reinventing history.

Mitt Romney was a poor candidate leading a poor campaign and a poor display of conservatism. The GOP will continue to lose if they continue to pick candidates who run away from the legacy and example of Ronald Reagan, and his principles which are alive and well today in the modern-day tea party.

Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest tea party organization.

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