I couldn’t decide on an opening for this piece. I was tempted to start by condemning McCain, Guiliani, Romney and Thompson for not appearing at the PBS debate in Baltimore, hosted by Tavis Smiley. They helped perpetuate the mythical stereotype that Republicans don’t care about blacks and issues that most specifically affect them. Then I thought, no, that only helps to pump life into that stereotype, and I think pandering is overrated. So I will focus my irritation on those who have created the now, four headed front-running machine, presuming that they are going to be the choice of an entire Party, when many others wait in the wings for a chance to show the nation who they are, and what they stand for. And thankfully, Tavis Smiley and PBS gave them a chance inspite of the no shows.
The very ones who are exorcised over the four candidates, who they and their supportive organs have identified as the only ones who can possibly win the election, are upset when they don’t fulfill their expectations of being all that an obedient, moderate, status quo candidate should be. Suddenly not only are they the enemy of all things good and wonderful, they become a negative reflection for an entire party. It is sort of like the reparations advocates blaming all whites for slavery when hundreds of thousands gave their lives and limbs to free the slaves.
What should have been reported was that six very competent, articulate, passionate candidates DID show up and engaged in a conversation that helped destroy myths, explain foundational beliefs, and bring a nation closer to a much needed healing that has been stymied for over a century by the very party that now claims to be the civil rights party.
As a result of whining and wringing hands, those complaining about the noticeable absence of the anointed four have basically said that they aren’t interested in any other candidates. They don’t think they have a chance, and they aren’t going to give them a chance. Then why invite them to speak? Why not just preemptively decide which four you could live with, if any one of them should win, and then ignore the others? You don’t invite 10 people to a dinner party, and then disrespect the ones who come just because four rejected your invitation. Who is being rude here?
The problem that the media, the RNC, the DNC, the political pundits and spin meisters have created is that they think that just because they have settled on four of ten or eleven or twelve candidates (it is still an evolving process), then the rest of us need to embrace those four and shut up.
Hasn’t any one of these rocket scientists noticed that none of these top four . . . McCain, Guiliani, Romney or Thompson . . . has ever gotten more than about 25% rating in a poll? And McCain has been in single digits in almost every poll, totally outflanked by Duncan Hunter and Mike Huckabee. Why haven’t they moved up to the top tier? Who decides when that happens, and why is there a top tier anyway? Could it be that in the nationally televised debates that the questioners only focus on the top four and throw an occasional bone to the others? They have created the top four and refuse to allow another, especially a true conservative, to break into that realm. The reason is, they have all determined, even the RNC, that they can live with, and expect mediocrity, therefore ignore the possibility that a true conservative could be a viable, possible candidate.
But with that attitude, they will never see any of their handpicked candidates getting more than 25%. Oh sure, Guiliani beats Hillary in a face off, but that is not hard when she can never get above 42% approval rating in any poll. So, instead of seeing that as an opportunity to put in a candidate that could rally the conservative base, they play it safe, ride the middle, and force a moderate down the throats of their conservative base in favor of pretending to be Democrat-lite.
Then of course there is the issue of money. The pundits and advisors have a vested interest in keeping these four as visible as possible because they are being paid the big bucks. That is why fundraising dollars are so important and that drumbeat has become annoyingly predictable. Of course they need to raise the millions and millions that somehow is deemed the only answer to a political race. Somehow millions and millions of dollars is supposed to translate into millions and millions of votes. No, it just translates into millions and millions of dollars for political advisors who have created a Chabul for themselves with the hope of keeping interlopers out.
The Republican Party still hasn’t quite figured out that the reason they lost in 2006 was because the conservatives rejected their left leaning tendencies. As a result . . . actually, as a habit, the party rejects these “right wing extremists radical nut jobs”, wishing they would just leave the party forgetting that, oh my gosh, they are the party. It is hard to imagine that they would want the “left wing extremists radical nut jobs” to take over the party or to even win elections.
Let’s do a side by side . . . right-wingers, want school vouchers for inner city kids to get an opportunity at the kind of education that say, Chelsea Clinton had, while left-wingers are more concerned about the teachers unions than the kids’ education. Right-wingers think that people should be able to keep more of their hard earned money, have less government interference in their lives and basically be left alone. Left-wingers believe that you work for the government, and everything you have belongs to everyone . . . sort of a collectivist idea as opposed to a libertarian, individualist thought process. Right-wingers believe that God is not the enemy and should be allowed in daily discourse and cultural expression. Left-wingers hate God unless he is the god of oppressive dictating bullies like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
Right-wingers think that free speech should apply to all individuals, including conservatives like Ann Coulter and Jim Gilchrist, while left-wingers believe that only people who believe the way they do, or are oppressive dictating bullies, should have the right to speak. And moderates sit as though they are watching the volley at a tennis match, waiting to see which side scores the most points before joining a team.
Moderates do play a very important role in politics though. They are so incredibly predictable that the manipulation levels are elevated to such a high degree during an election, that with just the right placed hint of scandal, suggestion of racism, whisper of infidelity, can bring even the most seasoned and secure candidate tumbling down. Oh, that is of course, if that candidate is a Republican. Those techniques not only do not work on Democrats, but the hint of any of the above brings their party roaring in a unified voice that their person has been vilified by the mean-spirited right-wing, thus no accountability for actions, thus success in the polls and at the polls. Interesting that nothing has been said about ALL the black candidates refusing to appear at a Congressional Black Caucus debate because Fox News was going to air it.
As blacks used to hunger for equal justice, so too Republicans hunger to be treated with the same kid gloves, righteous defiance, and incredulous anger as their Democrat counterparts. But the difference is, blacks didn’t cave into the stereotypes that were created of them and the plantations that were created for them. They fought back and rose above the abject racism and disparate treatment by petty little people. The Republican Party is so desperate to be loved, to be accepted, to be treated the same as the Democrats that they have abandoned their principles, rejected their own history, ignored their conservative candidates and squandered an amazing civil rights legacy that the Democrats would kill for.
So as the party wrings its hands and bemoans the fact that four of ten candidates did not show up at one of many, many debates that are being hosted on almost a weekly basis, they should show their anger, their disappointment by demoting their top four to the bottom tier and giving the others a chance to let America see who they are and what they stand for. The party could choose the candidates like they used to, if they had the members of the party behind them. But there is such a feeling of disgust and annoyance with the powers that be in the party, that when they look back to see who is following, they see the dust of those who left to follow their own vision for a conservative party, with principles, integrity, character and most of all . . . cajones.*
*That was thrown in to pander to the Hispanic voter. The RNC would be proud.