Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 17, 2012
Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined a Republican primary for President in which the candidates spent all their time attacking one another over their support of free-market capitalism, or for being the most ‘pro-life’ candidate running or even for who is most loyal to their spouse.
Yet, here we are, and all of the aforementioned attacks have been used this cycle. This primary has become so bitter, Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all currently have net-negative favorability ratings. There has even been talk already of a brokered convention, something that has not occurred in either party since 1948.
As a pragmatist, I worry conservatives have, to some extent, lost their way this election cycle. The only thing we seem to agree upon is Barack Obama has left our country far worse than it was when he took office in January of 2009, and we cannot financially afford another four years of his leadership. But it doesn’t appear to be enough to win back the Oval Office right now.
None of the three presidential candidates who have won a primary have held elected office since at least 2006. One helped enact state-run healthcare, yet he now campaigns actively against President Obama’s healthcare overhaul. Another lost his last bid for re-election by nearly 20 points and has a history of supporting big government, pork-laden projects for his home state. And the third is the last sitting House Speaker to be censured by his colleagues for ethical wrongdoing. None would have made it past the first round in any other cycle. Yet one of these candidates will be the party torchbearer come November.
While Romney, Santorum and Gingrich continue beating one other up in the national media, President Obama is hosting fundraiser after fundraiser and making sweeping policy speeches on national television to ensure victory in November.
According to the Federal Elections Commission, Obama has raised more than $125 million for his re-election bid, which is more than the total raised by all of the Presidential candidates combined. He has managed to resuscitate his image and now has a favorable image among voters nationwide. And, most importantly, the President now leads all three Republican candidates in a head-to-head general election match.
If Mitt Romney’s victory in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll last weekend taught us anything it is conservatives are willing to coalesce around a single candidate at the end of the day, even if the candidate may not be their first choice. It is time that we coalesce around a single candidate – whomever that may be – so we can return to attacking the real rival in the race: President Obama and his liberal, unrealistic agenda.