"Sweetheart," the husband pleads, "don't do it! Don't shoot yourself!"
"Shut up, Johnny!" she cries. "You're next!"
That blonde now runs the Republican Party. Hence, the GOPs dedication to their latest "it's-his-turn" candidate, Mitt Romney.
Let's examine for a moment just why Mitt Romney will likely win the Republican nomination. It isn't because he's conservative -- he's not. It isn't because he's supremely electable -- he's not. It's not because he's charming or charismatic or dazzlingly likeable -- he's not.
The Republican Party is about to nominate Mitt Romney because it is a party in crisis. Instead of focusing on the cheating husband -- Barack Obama -- Republicans are idiotically focusing on their internal differences. Unlike the Democratic Party, which is largely united around certain key issues -- gay marriage, comprehensive sex education, abortion, higher taxes, more spending -- the Republican Party is all over the place. The Republican Party includes high-tax deficit hawks, and it includes low-tax supply-siders. It includes high-spending compassionate conservatives, and it includes low-spending small government types. It includes pro-gay marriage libertarians and pro-traditional marriage religious voters. It includes hard-line, anti-immigration believers and open-borders free marketers. It includes Ron Paul isolationists, George W. Bush Wilsonians and everything in between.
These conflicts have defined the Republican Party since the end of Reagan's tenure. Each and every Republican presidential candidate since Reagan has attempted to paper over these differences. The result is that the Republican Party nominees have been remarkably similar in their political viewpoints: social conservatives who are for lower taxes, higher spending and a generally non-interventionist foreign policy (though that was changed by 9/11). George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain were aligned ideologically. Call them the Paper Republicans.
Mitt Romney is a Paper Republican. We don't know where he stands on anything because the Republican Party no longer knows where it stands on anything. That's why the Republican race for the nomination has been so schizophrenic. Rick Perry was unacceptable because of the DREAM Act, but Mitt Romney was acceptable despite his support for comprehensive immigration reform. Newt Gingrich was unacceptable because of his economic populism, but Mitt Romney was acceptable despite his repeated support for government bailouts. Rick Santorum was unacceptable because of his big-spending ways, but Mitt Romney was acceptable despite his implementation of Romneycare in Massachusetts.
The problem isn't Romney. The problem is the Republican Party.
Now this isn't a call for a third party. Third parties are doomed to failure; the system is geared toward a two-party system. But what the Republican Party does need is a housecleaning. Call it a purge, if you must. But do it.
That's what the Democrats did after their shocking defeat in 2004. John Kerry was a flip-flopper, a wishy-washy liberal who made liberals squeamish. So they responded by moving to the left, bringing in Nancy Pelosi to run the House and the anti-Kerry, Howard Dean, to run the Democratic National Committee. The result was a Democratic victory in 2006 in the House, and the victory of the most far-left candidate in American history, Barack Obama, in 2008.
Most Republicans protest that this isn't the right time for a purge. They hope that opposition to Obama will unite Republicans around a Paper Republican. The problem with this logic is that it always justifies a Paper Republican candidate, because the Democrats will invariably run somebody worse. And Paper Republicans don't help matters. The Republican Party has, for the last half-century, consolidated liberal gains and trimmed around the edges. The result has been an unstoppable juggernaut of government growth and the loss of traditional American freedoms. The Paper Republican experiment has been a dramatic failure for conservatives.
We are now at a crisis point. More Democratic rule is the highway to hell; more Paper Republican rule is the slow road to the same destination. It's time for the Republican Party to present a true conservative alternative. Anything else is suicide by inches.
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