Some short thoughts on a long and tiring 2012 horse race.

The horserace for GOP Primary ’12 is on… I have thoroughly enjoyed this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this piece, sometimes for the subject of the material written, but mostly for the predicate of the discussion that is for me fleshing out some interesting viewpoints.  Then there was this piece which was absolutely brilliant and brought a lighter side to the zealotry previously discussed.

I believe that Redstate has been clear about what is an isn’t acceptable by site rules or at least some guidelines for etiquette on covering candidates and primary issues here and here.  I hope this diary meets the standards.

Here are some short thoughts on a very long and tiring horse race for the 2012 primary that have been lingering in my mind as I have read commentary from fellow readers.  I hope you enjoy.

The perfect candidate (Rockstars can be devastatingly disappointing):

I might remind everyone that for those who are ‘waiting for the perfect candidate to get into the race’ is an exercise in vain hope.  There are no perfect candidates. Whether you believe the perfect candidate has already declared, or you’re waiting for your candidate, and you believe they’re perfect, well I hate to disappoint you.  However I would suggest that its likely at some point during the primary you will be disappointed in your zealous loyalty for another human being that is bound to make a misstep in one of the following: in strategy, a gaffe, a failure to espouse the perfect policy in your view, or simply shows a moment of weakness in personal integrity or character while on camera, or does something embarrassingly out of character.

Should this unfortunate moment take place, may I suggest that rather than question your loyalty and throw your arms up in the air in dissatisfaction and disbelief, or lash out at other campaigns or candidates that may have been involved in illuminating that moment… we ought to be patient, and allow our candidate to adjust, explain, or re-focus.  It does our candidate absolutely no good to defend them on ground that is uneven, and potentially rigged with snares.  {yes, I did say ‘our’ as potentially your candidate may represent all of us in the general, so they’re all ‘ours’}. Acknowledging insane or ad hominem attacks filled with hyperbole and disingenuous vitriol with equal or in most cases of lesser quality volleys of defense only legitimizes the original attack in most untrained minds.  One thing I’ve learned is that when someone is berating you over something you’re passionate about, find a way move on… as grandad said ‘you can’t win a pissing match with a skunk”.

Great Charisma does not translate into Great Character (The Integrity Principle):

There are an inordinately few politicians that have not been persuaded to change their view on a position or platform.  Flip flop to me has got to be one of the lamest attacks in politics {its like being labeled with cooties}, in conjunction, the equally lame defense of a ‘flip flop’ label is to say one flipped, but never flopped.

For me a politician that understands their duty is to the people, understands their authority to speak from elected office is from the people.  And though there maybe times where a politician may have to go against the grain of those that elected them, when doing so I hope they seek divine guidance and if not providence in helping to change the hearts of the people to do what is right.

That being said… Charisma will not get them through those very rare and difficult times, character does.  It is the integrity of the individual that can effect great change within their sphere of influence.  Generally if a politician or leader speaks out on unpopular subjects they should know that chicanery is not convincing at all.  However if the cause is just, the words and the thoughts will bear them out in the eyes of the people.  This is bravery and courage that stems from humility, not the usual chest thumping and narcissistic smirking that goes on when a politician believes ‘they have fooled all the people all the time’.

The absence of negatives does not equal a positive.

Candidates cannot be defined by what they are not. Too often we hear a candidate dismissed on this site as “unelectable”, “fringe”, or otherwise. Likewise we see comments that suggest “candidate y does not have the x factor of experience, character, or charisma” or some other form of dismantling dismissal of the campaign’s legitimacy. These things are often said among comments that are meant to explain why one should endorse another candidate that doesn’t have the same problem. We’ve got to stop doing this, it is an inane practice.

Passing the mantle of Reagan requires a field of opportunities rather than a harvest of opportunists.

True Americans fight for honesty and search for the truth.  If we can’t find a candidate with leadership that comes from the moral authority of living justly and judging righteously, then we are doomed as a nation.  If a candidate with the leadership quality of moral authority can’t bring most of us along in the primary let alone the general electorate, then our nation is in need of some serious repentance.

I say let the field be wide and deep.  Let the candidates declare their beliefs rather than attempt to convince us of their own ‘charismatic electability rating’  or the ‘fatal flaws’ of their opponents.  Let the candidates understand that if their beliefs are challenged by the people they may have to burn a few bridges to somewhere {even if it means they lose their ‘shot’} to stand firm for what you believe in.  Standing up for what you believe in and losing the primary isn’t something to be ashamed of, it just means it wasn’t your time.  Either the people were not prepared to embrace the truth, or you didn’t do your homework enough to know the truth of the matter, and how to communicate it.  You see it’s not about understanding what the people think they need.  It’s about knowing what is needed and being able to communicate so effectively that you stir the hearts and minds of good people everywhere to stand with you.

This is why Reagan was so effective.  He did his homework, he knew and understood good sound principles of governance because he was tenacious in understanding what was needed and how to communicate it. The right candidate knows the difference between winning an election vs. winning the heart and soul of the nation.

I believe the horse race will be a long and tiring one. I hope for more civility and less ‘flaming’ in the comments section. It is clear to me that this time is most important in presidential politics. I have fears as much as any other, but I believe we must harness those fears by preparatory action for the general election. It is our time to find the leader that will best represent the ideals of three legged stool of conservatism. I for one am not committing to any candidate until all have declared, and one emerges not as a front runner, but in the spirit of the communicator. I would hope to grant the same privilege for all that we may judge for ourselves where the mantle falls without bitterness, bickering, or belittling those with whom we may disagree.  But by persuasion, and possibly some light-hearted (without levity) humor, we may recognize both the serious and not so serious flaws of these fellow humans that dare put themselves out there for so much scrutiny, in order to lead out in front of these very real political battles over the soul of our nation.