Thomas Sowell
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Many people are looking to the many primary elections on March 6th -- "Super Tuesday" -- to clarify where this year's Republican nomination campaign is headed.

It may clarify far more than that, including the future of this nation and of Western civilization. If a clear winner with a commanding lead emerges, the question then becomes whether that candidate is someone who is likely to defeat Barack Obama.

If not, then the fate of America -- and of Western nations, including Israel -- will be left in the hands of a man with a lifelong hostility to Western values and Western interests.

President Obama is such a genial man that many people, across the ideological space, cannot see him as a danger.

For every hundred people who can see his geniality, probably only a handful see the grave danger his warped policies and ruthless tactics pose to a whole way of life that has given generation after generation of Americans unprecedented freedom and prosperity.

The election next November will not be just another election, and the stakes add up to far more than the sum of the individual issues. Moreover, if reelected and facing no future election, whatever political constraints may have limited how far Obama would push his radical agenda will be gone.

He would have the closest thing to a blank check. Nothing could stop him but impeachment or a military coup, and both are very unlikely. A genial corrupter is all the more dangerous for being genial.

The four remaining Republican candidates have to be judged, not simply by whether they would make good presidents, but by how well they can cut through Obama's personal popularity and glib rhetoric, to alert the voters as to the stakes in this year's election.

Ron Paul? Even those of us who agree with much of his domestic agenda, including getting rid of the Federal Reserve System, cannot believe that his happy-go-lucky attitude toward Iran's getting a nuclear weapon represents anything other than a grave danger to the whole Western World.

Rick Santorum has possibilities, but can he survive the media's constant attempts to paint him as some kind of religious nut who would use the government to impose his views on others? And, if he can, will he also be able to go toe-to-toe with Obama in debates?

I would not bet the rent money on it. And what is at stake is far bigger than the rent money.

Mitt Romney is the kind of candidate that the Republican establishment has always looked for, a moderate who can appeal to independents. It doesn't matter how many such candidates have turned out to be disasters on election night, going all the way back to Thomas E. Dewey in 1948.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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