This is not to say there aren't problems with this approach. Most candidates today happen to be veteran politicians who have been constantly bombarded with conventional political wisdom, which just so happens to be conventional liberal wisdom. That conventional wisdom dictates that the American people abhor fighting between the parties, prefer bipartisanship and glorify compromise and diluted centrism.
Further, Republican politicians have been so conditioned by form-over-substance political strategists to believe they must present themselves as compromising moderates that it's hard for them to believe otherwise.
To the contrary, Republican candidates dare not take their conservative base for granted. Energizing the base toward voter intensity and turnout is what is most important. They don't need to be wild-eyed radicals to do this; then again, mainstream conservatism is not radical or extreme -- another myth born of the liberal conventional wisdom.
I believe that people care more about what is good for the nation than whether politicians get along well enough to share cocktails at night after beating one another up all day. They care more about the sausage than they do the chaos and stench of the sausage factory.
This brings me to Mitt Romney. Among the many reasons I supported Rick Santorum is that I am confident he is more conservative and that he could be counted on to remain true to his conservative convictions despite pressure to moderate his positions. Obama has gotten us into such a mess that we can't afford much moderation if we are to turn this country around sufficiently to avert national bankruptcy, let alone a unilateral relinquishment of our status as the world's lone superpower.
I pray that Romney is as conservative as his strong supporters insist he is. And if so, I further pray that he will not be afraid to market himself as a conservative in the general election campaign.
Certain preliminary signs are troubling in that regard. Like candidate George W. Bush in the 2000 election, Romney already appears to be striving to prove that he's not a detached, uncompassionate rich elitist by further whittling away the tax deductions of the wealthy. He also seems to be gravitating toward adopting the liberal template of balkanizing, identity politics -- appealing to people as disparate, competing groups rather than as individuals who should be united as Americans.
To enhance his chances of winning, Romney must vigorously avoid "pale pastels," enthusiastically and conspicuously embrace mainstream conservatism and draw, in "bold colors," as sharp a contrast as he's capable of drawing between his blueprint for America and President Obama's disastrous record. Anything less would be a gift to Obama.
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