Seeing the candidate we want in the candidate we choose

On Jeff Ward’s radio show yesterday in Austin (KLBJ), a caller commented on the differences between Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Herman Cain and also why the former has a shot at the nomination and Presidency, but the latter two do not.

In essence, he said that Paul and Cain both spoke directly and clearly on where they stood and how they believed, whereas Perry spoke in generalities, thus allowing voters to fill in the blanks the way they wanted and then believe that Perry was just like them.

Whether his comments on Perry, Paul and Cain were accurate, I don’t know or care.  However, his other observation struck a chord and we (as Conservatives) need to pay attention.

In 2000 we helped elect GWB and 2004 gave him a second term.  We thought he was one of us: a Fiscal, Social and National security adherent.

We got 1.5 out of 3.  He was a strong military leader, a strong Christian believer who was pro-life and pro-marriage.

He was also a big-government spending Republican who believed that tax payer money needed to be spent and government programs needed to be created/expanded in the name of doing good vs. restraining and shrinking the role of government in our lives.

Coupled with a compliant GOP-led Congress, who was happy to spend the money as long as they could fund their pet projects, He and they (with the tacit permission of ‘We’ the voters) lost the opportunity to reverse the direction of this nation and helped lead us to where we are today.

It took us 6 years to really wake to what he was and was not and by then it was too late to really make a difference in spite of the warnings of those who knew him best.

Enter Obama.  He spoke in soaring, exciting rhetoric and drew masses to his campaign and won against a weaker candidate.  However, he really won by being everyone’s dream candidate.  None who I spoke to could define exactly what he would do, but they all felt he would do what was important to them personally.  They all ignored his past and his record of doing very little that could be described as making decisions.

The good news?  It has only taken 2.5 years for voters and even the Left to realize he’s not who they thought he was.  Thankfully, Obama has accomplished very little – instead focusing on doing whatever it takes to keep him in office and avoiding real decisions.

In both cases, Bush and Obama, the voters transferred onto the candidate the traits they wanted to see, making him the person they thought would actually do what they wanted done, vs. knowing who he actually was and what his record indicated he would do.

Why bring this up?

We are in the selection process of choosing the next GOP candidate.  Whoever we elect has a strong chance of winning (as measured in current sentiment and polling) so it is imperative we select the candidate best suited to leading this country back to its roots.

We need to guard against making the various candidates into our own image.

Perry, Romney, Bachmann and the rest – we need to examine what they have done, how they have done it and compare that to what they have said in the past and what they say in the present.

We cannot afford to elect another President and believe them to be doing Conservative work and let them go on auto-pilot as we did with Bush.  Nor can we afford to elect a President who will spend his/her time fighting the base that elected them (as we would have with McCain).  Nor can we afford to elect a President who will not work and instead triangulates to preserve his/her legacy and avoids responsibility.

I don’t know who the right candidate is.  All I know is we cannot afford the wrong one.  We are hanging on the edge and it may be too late for us as a nation.  Regardless, we cannot start this next race with the wrong horse.