Douglas MacKinnon

Leaving aside the televised, overly scripted, predictable and marginally useful "debates" now taking place between the Republican candidates for president, there are much more important discussions going on between conservatives and independents who are unified in their belief that for the good of the nation, Barack Obama must be defeated.

Those discussions — taking place across kitchen tables, in lunchrooms, or in neighborhood bars after a week of hard work — are trying to determine which path to follow in the approaching political fork in the road.

One of those paths will most likely lead to the defeat of Mr. Obama. The other could very well ensure his re-election.

It is critical for Republicans, conservatives, and independents to remember that from the 2008 GOP field, John McCain had the stamp of approval from the mainstream media.

In fact, the liberal media worked overtime to resurrect his then all but comatose campaign. Why?

That same liberal media told us that independents and a good number of Democrats just loved McCain.

Maybe some did, but exponentially more conservatives and Americans who cherish our vanishing traditional values could not stand him. So much so, they simply declined to vote.

That fact is one of the most purposefully underreported or flat-out ignored reasons why Mr. Obama won the White House in 2008.

Well over 2 million fewer people voted for the GOP ticket in 2008 compared to 2004. Did some of those votes go to Mr. Obama? For sure. Did many just stay home? Absolutely.

Again, a critically important fact when you stop to realize that Mr. Obama won North Carolina by only 14,000 votes. That he won Indiana by only 28,000 votes. Or that he won Florida by only 236,000 out of well over 8 million cast.

In creating the myth of the "Obama miracle" of 2008, the mainstream media went out of their way not to mention that hundreds of thousands of conservative and Republican voters were plain disgusted with McCain because he was anything but a conservative and could not bring themselves to vote for him.

To be sure, thanks in large part to the unprofessional and unethical cheerleading by most in the media, Mr. Obama did grow the Democrat vote total substantially from 2004.

But how many principled conservatives stayed home and why? That has to be part of an honest analysis of the Obama victory.

Flashback to 2011 and Republicans are being asked to choose between the liberal-media- approved Mitt Romney — who they insist will appeal to those independent and moderate Democrats in November of 2012 — or the more conservative, less-polished Rick Perry of Texas.

Anyone who has met Mitt Romney knows he is an incredibly decent person who loves his country.

That has never been in question. What is in question — is Romney the McCain of 2012? Shouldn't Republican primary voters really drill down deeper to understand why so many in the liberal media believe Mr. Romney — as they said about McCain in 2008 — will appeal to independents and Democrats?

While Governor Perry may not quite be ready for prime time — lack of real debate time and over-cramming surely contributing — there is no doubt that he is the more conservative between himself and Mr. Romney.

In the future, he might do well to ignore hypothetical questions, ignore Mr. Romney, and simply speak to his vision for the nation.

No matter. For the moment, as the front-runners, Perry and Romney do represent that political fork in the road for GOP primary voters.

As such, if come election day, principled conservatives don't believe the GOP nominee speaks to their hopes and fears, there is no doubt a percentage will choose not to vote.

As we witnessed in 2008, nominees, numbers, and results matter.


Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is former White House and Pentagon official who spent three years working in a Joint Command.

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