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South Carolina Needs to Pick a Better Prom Queen

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

As a junior in high school, I once locked eyes with the homecoming queen.  We just stared directly at each other from 50 feet apart while our classmates bustled around us.  She was completely out of my league; completely.  It would have been more appropriate for me to turn my eyes away and find someone more fitting for my caste.

But I was smitten.  And only a bold gaze in that moment would challenge her favor, or finalize my rejection.

There are those moments in life.  We cannot create them.  Planets rarely align themselves.  But sometimes they do align.

Timing being everything, this year, 2012, is a moment for the citizens of the United States of America to act courageously in finding their new President.  

We are not replacing a bumbling peanut farmer from Georgia this time.  We are repudiating a flirtation with socialism that has become quite serious.  The pendulum is crashing in reverse and our next decision will be crucial.

Do not imagine how comfortable life could be two years from now.  Imagine how history will regard us 100 years from now.

In the year 2112, Thomas Kincaid paintings will not be revered in American art museums.  But aficionados will wait in line to view a John Singer Sargent portrait.

American auto museums will not display Chevrolet Impalas.  But they will boast a Duesenberg phaeton.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will recount how Coach John Fox could have played safe with the steady hand of Kyle Orton.  But he made the intrepid decision of handing the ball to Tim Tebow mid-season.

California is locked in an economic death spiral.  Chicago style politics have occupied the nation’s capitol.  And, the entire country has been saddled with a Massachusetts-like socialized health care program.

The liberal disease that has gripped the United States of America will not be cured with aspirin.  This is no time for sensible restraint.  This is the time for lionhearted resolve.

The GOP race for the presidency has settled into three camps; the libertarians represented by Ron Paul, the establishment Republicans represented by Mitt Romney, and the conservatives represented by Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

I appreciate the influence that Congressman Paul’s constitutional steadfastness has had on the public discourse.  But I am afraid that the clear and present threat of Islamofascism would flourish under a President Paul doctrine of peace through isolationism.  The ideology simply does not account for the reality of America being under attack right now.

Mitt Romney is the ideal candidate for the Grand Old Party establishment.  He has been adjusting his brand for years to accomplish the goal of getting elected as President of the United States.  He has the right look, temperament and resume for the job.  If this were 1954, Mitt Romney might be the advisable choice for president.  But the next president will not inherit American Graffiti from Barack Obama.

Together, the delegates now shared among the four conservative candidates, Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry and Santorum, carry the majority vote.  Once three of these contenders withdraw, the conservative activists will strongly control the choice of Republican Nominee.  I assert that this is the time for the feisty, experienced, battle-hardened, intellectual, and edgy Newt Gingrich.

Bachmann, Perry and Santorum would do fine as President.  But Newt Gingrich brings the right measure of eccentricity necessary to run through the temple overturning the tables of the money changers.  And Mitt Romney standing beside Newt Gingrich is like a bowl of corn flakes soaking in 2-percent next to a tureen of bouillabaisse.  The cereal will give you comfort.  The bouillabaisse will nourish your DNA.

We have before us the rare opportunity to accept an offer of presidential service from someone who is already a colorful character in American history.  We do not have to wonder about Newt Gingrich’s hidden imperfections.  Over the past 30 years, he has acted as reserved as a peacock in mating season.  We have heard both the rumors of his bad behavior and his assertiveness during the presidential debates.  In the end, Newt’s ideological pronouncements are the more memorable.

Iowa’s Caucus process is intriguing and we will all be watching on January 3.  But Iowa does not choose the party’s nominee; South Carolina does.

So, to South Carolina: Please, please -- do not make the safe play.  Remember that in 2008 you chose John McCain.  And in 1996, you chose Bob Dole.  And in 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush.  This time, let’s embrace the risk of a candidate who is beholden to American founding principles, whose prospects frighten the political elite, and whose art of speech will inspire America’s industrial and military resolve.

I know this as certainly as I know that the sun will rise tomorrow morning; If my wife had not responded to my rapt stare back in the 11th Grade, I would still be wondering.

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