Please Don't Feed the Democrats

Mark Baisley
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Posted: Apr 17, 2012 12:01 AM
This week, when I sat down to compose my weekly TownHall missive, my chair was an aisle seat on a flight to California.  Somewhere over Utah I got to thinking how appropriate it is that the California state flag features a grizzly bear as its icon.  A bear cub is a cute little rascal that grows up and eats you.

The people of California are burdened with an insatiable state government that devours enormous troughs of tax money and excretes it as commerce regulations, leaving a trail of defeated aspirations and more dependents than any other state in the union.  Such is the fearsome California government that gnaws on the hand that fed it too much.

President Thomas Jefferson told us that "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."  To the other side of the wisdom scale, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is known for the meaningless catchphrase, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  It seems that every president has one phrase for which they are known.  FDR’s is the height of jejune.

How about, “There is nothing to worry but worry itself.”  Or, “There is nothing to risk but risk itself.”  “There is nothing to blame but blame itself.”  “There is nothing to fish but fish itself.”  I could do this all day.

Having just participated in my own state’s caucus and assembly process, I was reminded of FDR’s trite pronouncement when seeing the fear that many delegates held regarding the prospects of certain Republican presidential candidates in the competition.  I found it an interesting exercise to ask, “What do they fear in the other GOP candidates?”  Here is what I came up with, in alphabetical order:

Newt Gingrich‘s adversaries seem to be afraid of his plans to upset established processes in Washington, DC; an undisciplined soldier with a sharp saber.  Newt’s rapid-fire conservative philosophy creates a level of discomfort in folks who seek a Republican president who will be more mannerly than disruptive.  I believe it a reasonable concern whether Gingrich would be an effective manager over such an enormous executive branch.  Others understandably fear that he might fall off the marital fidelity wagon again one day.  The most common argument against Newt being chosen as the party’s nominee is that he may not be likable enough to be elected in the general election.

Ron Paul’s would-be Republican enthusiasts appreciate his role as America’s constitutional conscience; a front line medic out to cure the disease.  The fear sets in when Paul talks national defense.  His laissez-faire approach to foreign policy strikes many as being dangerously naive with regard to Islamofascism and perilously irresponsible with regard to Israel.  Congressman Paul’s critics are perhaps most disturbed by Ron Paul’s devotees.  There is not a more ardent group of issue evangelicals in the party, with an even greater sense of exclusivism than Romney’s followers hold to.

Romney’s Republican opponents are greatly concerned that he will fit in too comfortably into the Washington, DC culture of centrist government growth; a disciplined soldier with an oyster knife.  They also argue that he would find it difficult to defeat President Obama in the election this November for two reasons; (1) Romney’s liberal past will be a hurdle for turning out the conservative Republican base and (2) Romney’s personal attributes seem to match up conveniently with Obama’s class warfare campaign strategy.

Santorum’s Republican opponents are, first of all, relieved that he has withdrawn from the race for the White House.  He was running clean and strong and playing an effective David to Romney’s Goliath.  Santorum’s critics were worried that he would be less electable in the general election because he may offend social moderates with resolute principles.

Fans of Mitt Romney are understandably anxious to close the books on the primary process now that their candidate holds such a commanding lead.  Not me.  The lineup just changed and I think we should see where Santorum devotees gravitate.  The Ron Paul camp is not likely to lose or gain a percentage point.  But I would like to see the national delegates decide who we are as a party by making a serious one-to-one comparison between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich; then pick our champion.

For there is nothing to compromise but compromise itself.