The GOP nominee in 2012, Romney was a weak front-runner to the very end, losing to Barack Obama but carrying two more states than McCain in 2008. Four million Americans chose not to vote, and gave the White House incumbent four more years. Pragmatism is a crucial necessity in politics, but not by sacrificing of principle. For many conservatives, Romney was neither first nor second choice, yet out of a weak field, the best of a bad bunch.
Background supporters now claim that Romney's third try will clinch GOP victory, just like Governor-turned-President Ronald Reagan. These subtle supporters forget two things: Reagan did not waffle on conservative credentials, nor run from a liberal governing record in a deep blue state. Second, Reagan lost the primary to Establishment pick Richard Nixon in 1968, and then Ford in 1976. He entered the general election contest in 1980, and won. Romney got to the general, and lost. Bold colors stood, and the country wanted free of Jimmy Carter’s unfettered liberalism. Romney remains an unconvincing moderate, both in private comments plus awkward public appearance. He still feels forced into the limelight, rather than a contender who steps into the ring expecting to win.
A former US Attorney and another blue state governor, Christie showed promise two years into his tenure. Pro-life, shying away from all climate change alarmism, he talked tough to unions, cut spending, lowered taxes, and demanded that everyone in Trenton behave like adults, or else. With a fractured 2011-2012 Republican Presidential primary process tearing up the already-enfeebled front runner, conservatives begged Christie to run. He demurred, admitting that he was not ready. His proper self-appraisal warmed him up to the base even more.
Come 2012, and his burly, bruising act started to get old. He reneged on his opposition to in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. He gave President Obama a big hug, and inadvertently there his candidate into the losing maelstrom. As party leader, Christie failed to bring up his Republican colleagues, but selfishly plugged away at his own campaign. No longer taking strong stances on anything, he refuses to answer questions about national foreign or domestic policy. He cozies up to Democrats, pushes special elections out of the way to preserve his own standing. He takes pictures with minority groups, but little else.
He wants to be liked, not to govern.
His name brings up legacy, with two Bushes already in the White House. George Herbert Walker Bush lost because he reneged on "Read my lips: no new taxes." Didn't happen. While small humanitarian groups gave Bush 41 profile-in-courage awards, the shameful fact remains that there is nothing principled or integrated about Bush’s forcing others to pay for more government in their lives. George W. Bush (43) damaged his party’s limited government brand, and pushed out otherwise loyal Republicans in more moderate sections of the country. Two terms of 43, and the spending got worse. Despite two distinguished US Supreme Court nominees, tax cuts made permanent, and defeating terrorist, conservatives find little of the Bush legacy to embrace.
Yet Bush 43’s brother wants to run for President. Like many Big Government Republicans, Jeb supports Common Core, amnesty, and if anyone looks closer they may find traces of sympathy for Agenda 21 initiatives. Thus, Big Business likes Jeb, and they want to see him in the White House. They trust him to deliver on bailouts for the banks, for Wall Street. They hope that he will pave the way for cheap labor, even at the cost of middle class sustainability and standards of living.
Jeb wants to play nice rather than get real with a Washington political class interested in power, not principle; the status quo, not the state of our nation.
Still, Republicans are concerned. Jeb is mulling, Romney is thinking, and Christie is yelling and screaming. What if they run? These Establishment candidates may find the ground shifting right beneath them in 2016. The CRomnibus near-disaster, for example, exposes a House Leadership conference struggling to hold conservatives and progressives in line. Where Democratic lawmakers reached out to cronies in the past, Establishment types will have to settle with long-term thwarting and frustrating of their Agenda all too beholden to K Street, yet contrary to Main Street. If all three run, they divide their supporters, and a conservative, a stalwart on principle and record, can win the nomination. Tea Party affiliates like Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are already working hard, reaching out to key donors, making their case for making America great. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker already has fundraising supporters bringing in campaign cash.
Who cares if any or every Republican establishment candidate runs? Despite lots of money, they have limited credibility. Conservatives can rest assured that bigger names with a better brand can win the GOP nomination in 2016.