If we believe the rallying cry of Republicans, this is the most important election in history. If we don’t beat Barack Obama and win the Senate, the country won’t survive.
The United States will survive even if Barack Obama is re-elected. Sure, more spending and bigger government will push the country further down the wrong path, but the GOP would do well to tone down the sky-is-falling rhetoric and concentrate on the actual issues.
America is strong enough to survive a liberal president for a term or two. If one man really can destroy the nation, the game was over long ago.
The electorate has shown itself to be extremely volatile. Those power shifts were not mandates, but a message for Washington to solve the nation’s economic problems.
That trend will continue in 2012, and seems to favor the GOP. In such a wave, some will win solely because they are Republican. That type of “right place, right time” luck should never be a strategy, but in several key races, that appears to be the GOP plan.
So what does it say about the Republican Party that it has only two top-tier presidential candidates (and as of two weeks ago, just one)? And in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania, there remains no front-runner to take on vulnerable freshman Sen. Bob Casey. In fact, only months before the primary, there is only one announced candidate. (Marc Scaringi, a former Rick Santorum staffer).
The clock is running.
The Iowa caucuses take place in five months, barely time to organize a grass-roots ground game and raise the money necessary to compete. Short of a nationally-known figure jumping in (think New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie), the GOP field is set.
Two candidates? That’s it? In the “most important” election to Republicans, it’s come down to a mere two? (Rick Perry and Mitt Romney).
Before the partisans cry foul, let’s be honest. Congressman Ron Paul has the most loyal supporters and greatly shapes the debate, but his numbers will stay the same, not nearly enough to win.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was dealt a severe blow by Perry’s entry, as many looking for the “conservative with the best chance of winning” have defected. And only one congressman has ever been elected president (Garfield).
It begs the question: How is it possible to have so few viable candidates?
On the state level, it’s even worse.
Scaringi has a firm grasp of the nation’s problems, and would be a good U.S. senator. And if he wins the nomination by default, he may just be that senator if anti-incumbency fever runs high. But with no name recognition and little money, it’s a tough road.
So where is everyone else?
Oh, the party hierarchy is working overtime to recruit a wealthy businessman, codespeak for not wanting to do their job. Their biggest qualification? “How big of a check can you write?”
To them, policy positions don’t matter. Irrelevant is one’s knowledge of the issues, and how well one can articulate them.
How closely aligned to the GOP platform are you? Can you relate to the voters? Will you visit every county in the dead of winter? And are you a candidate of good character?
To the establishment, those things take a backseat to the size of one’s wallet. Which is why Casey, despite plummeting approval numbers, still maintains the advantage.
Several months ago, this author wrote that the GOP had no front-runner to challenge Casey, and was criticized by the same folks who are now scrambling to find a viable candidate.
Too often, the GOP chooses not who can best defeat the opponent, but instead, on whose “turn” it is or who can fund the race. In the mold of Dole and McCain, Pennsylvania’s nominees look great to party insiders, but often fare dismally when put before the voters.
There has been little effort to “build a bench,” and no push to stop the hemorrhaging from cities where statewide candidates face one-half million vote deficits. You reap what you sow, and the critical harvest is upon the GOP.
The biggest irony is that a strong senate candidate could help put Pennsylvania back in the “red” column electorally. Republicans can lose Pennsylvania and win the White House, but not so for the Democrats.
Take the state away from Obama, and you send him packing. But with scant Republican leadership, that’s not a good bet. Incumbents don’t usually lose unless they’re challenged by viable, first-tier candidates.
With Rick Perry now in the race, Obama is sweating. But Bob Casey is playing it cool, thankful the GOP is acting like his biggest campaign supporter.
An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
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