2012 and the Could vs. Should


Throughout Redstate 2011 in Charleston, I heard one elected official after another, from Haley Barbour to Rick Scott, as well as candidate after candidate, state something that is extremely appealing to the activist base:

They told us we couldn’t do it, that we had no chance. But here we are.

The “they” here is everyone from the Establishment GOP to the left, the media, the intellectuals, the election professionals, and everyone else. But the Class of 2010 in Congress and in our Statehouses is mostly a group of principled conservatives who “couldn’t win” but somehow did.

At the same time, I heard one speaker after another say that 2012 is The Most Important Election In Our Lifetime, Perhaps Ever. I’ve heard many of us say that this is the one election we simply must win, or the Republic is finished.

Well, I have a question for Redstate: given the importance of 2012, are you willing to support a candidate who perhaps shouldn’t win, but could?

The obvious example, I think, is Romney. He could win, and if it were Obama vs. Romney, he’s quite likely to win. But I don’t think Romney should win. Pawlenty was a guy who perhaps should win, but obviously could not win, not even the Iowa straw poll.

We all hope that Perry is our standardbearer who both could win and should win. But let’s just assume for the sake of discussion that something emerges in the next few months that makes Romney a far more attractive candidate than Perry in the general.

Is 2012 such an important battle for the country that we perhaps should focus more on electability than on demanding a record of principled conservatism?

For myself, I think I’d rather lose with a principled candidate, flying the conservative banner high, than win with a compromiser who will grow once in office. But then again, I’m one of those radical Tea Party terrorist types, eager to administer purity tests. I just wanted to know what others thought about this election.


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