Will Social Conservatives Have Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

Bookmark and Share Although it is far too early to define the still emerging Republican field of potential 2012 presidential candidates, it is safe to say that at this point in time, it is a much more broadly conservative field than we saw in 2008. Right now, while names like Daniels, Romney Gingrich and Barbour are top tier candidates who have records that, whether social conservatives realize it or not, have great merit and should have great appeal to them, an endless slate of names which come directly out of the social conservative movement is producing an extremely crowded field of political battle. Currently such perspective names in this area include Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jim DeMint. A second tier in this category includes Buddy Roemer, Bob Riley, Herman Cain, and most recently, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, the judge who was thrown off the bench because he refused to uphold an appellate ruling that ordered him to remove a statue of the ten commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

Now while it is almost certain that not all of these names will make it to the starting line and even fewer will make it much further past the starting blocks, it is more than obvious that this field of potential Republican presidential candidates is much further to the right than we saw in 2008. That is a good thing, or at least it should be. Especially if the catalyst that moves it to the right is based on fiscal conservatism. But even on social issues, a lurch to the right is a good thing. Part of social conservatism should be support for the values of individualism as opposed to federalism, independence as opposed to bureaucratic tyranny, responsibility rather than dependence, defense of religion instead of offense against religion. All of these beliefs are a part of social conservatism, or at least they should be. So for that reason, I believe that both economic and movement conservatism is a great thing.

But with the endless amount of religious fundamentalists entering into exploratory presidential committees and thinking about entering into such ventures, I cant help but recall that even Noah did not stock his ark with only one breed of any animal. Noah knew that the future of the animal kingdom and of life as we knew it, relied on including all breeds, all types and strains of animal life. Yet right now, in the ark of Republican presidential candidates, we are finding our stalls filled with predominantly religious right, social conservatives. And to compound that point, a specific genus of social conservatives has begun to stock the stalls.. Southern conservatives. The latest count is at eight.

Now before anyone starts writing in and accusing me of being a liberal with prejudices against Southerners, think again. One of my top tier choices happens to be Haley Barbour and correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think you can get much more Southern than Haley and you will be hard pressed to find a more conservative Republican than him. In addition to that, as someone who goes by the online pseudo name of Kempite, I am a self-described, bleeding-heart, Jack Kemp conservative. Have been all of my life, or at least since my political passions were sparked by the campaign and presidency of Ronald Reagan at the age of 12.

So I am not knocking conservatives and I am not belittling the potential candidacy of any conservative aspiring to run for President. But what I am questioning is the potential that exists for splintering the social conservative base and diluting the movements influence over who the Republican presidential nominee is.

From a strategic point, social conservatives are not helping themselves with a field of fourteen zealots who can divide support among the base and along regional and state lines. I mean right now, with the emergence of Roy Moore, even Alabama has the chance to see its primary divided between two favorite sons.. Moore and Bob Riley. And dont think for a moment that Haley Barbour and or Mike Huckabee cant get a few votes from both of them.

The proliferation of social conservative and Southern social conservative presidential candidates in 2012 is something which the religious right and movement conservatives across the nation need to think about before the primaries and caucuses begin. If this segment of the G.O.P. hopes to have any significant influence in choosing the 2012 Republican nominee, they are going to need to rally around a specific name or two rather than divide themselves among a dozen or two names. If they fail to do so, they will be providing a perfect opportunity for a candidate like Jon Huntsman, Jr. or even a Rudy Giuliani, to walk up the middle and become the G.O.P.s next John McCain.

I personally dont mind this split. Again, not because I am anything but conservative fundamentalist, but because I believe the religious right in our Party is marginalizing themselves by shunning people like Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels, and even Newt Gingrich. It is my belief that social conservatives have great friends in all these men. Yet because of what are somewhat superficial reasons, they object to these names. Romney is a Mormon, Mitch Daniels wants to concentrate on the fiscal crisis, Newt Gingrich is divorced. But for me, the more Huckabees, Bachmanns, Cains, Roemers, Moores, Santorums, and Rileys, they divide their support among the social conservatives, the better chance that their less favored Daniels, Romneys, Gingrichs and even Haley Barbours have at winning the nomination. So I dont mind. But they might.

But even if the records of Romney, Daniels, Barbour or Gingrich, fail to inspire social conservatives and they continue to divide their support among a dozen other religious, or defense of marriage or Right-to-Life agents, we still run the risk of losing both the opportunity to nominate a social conservative for President and to elect such a President. The inordinate amount of movement conservatives running, is going to cause many candidates to portray themselves as more conservative than the next. Each one will try to go further to the right of the other. And at some point it will be hard for the winner to not be believably portrayed as an extremist and to avoid being painted as too radical in the general election.

This is not to say that our ultimate nominee shouldnt be a true conservative of both social and fiscal values. But it does suggest that with such a large number of social conservatives competing, the rhetoric used in the campaign must be carefully parsed. Conservatism is one thing, but extremism is another. President Obama has delivered extremism and it has not exactly increased his popularity. So while Barry Goldwaters words about extremism in the defense of liberty not being a vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice not being a virtue, are true, radicalism in the name of elections is certain defeat.

So there are two things for us as Republicans to think about here. How many candidates are we willing to divide the delicate marriage between social and fiscal conservatives by? Then we must ask ourselves how far we are willing to go before we become the type of radical extremists that we claim President Obama and the Democrat Party leadership and apparatus to be? To answer that question, the candidates in the race must allow ideological fervor to be tempered by constitutional legitimacy. They must allow the United States Constitution to interpret their ideological positions into a practical application of government that allows for constitutionally limited government. We can go as far to the right as we want, so long as the Constitution prevents us from turning religion into legislation and so long as it protects the rights of all, without discriminating against the rights of some. Moving to the right will not be a problem at all, so long as we remember that while our ideology is important, the Constitution is what must shape how it is applied to federal governance and how far it can be taken into the lives of every American. That is a message that the TEA Party movement sent in 2010 and you can expect them to echo that same sentiment in 2012.

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Buddy Roemer. Free To Lead?

Bookmark and Share Free to lead. Thats the tagline former Democrat turned Republican, Governor of Louisiana Charles Buddy Roemers presidential exploratory effort. On his website, Roemer describes himself as an independent voice with no entanglements to special interests a quality that makes him free to lead. To punctuate the point, Roemer pledges to not take a dime a special interest money. Nothing from PACs and no donation above $100.

Independent wealth does not evade this former businessman, banker and real estate developer and some of the wealth he has accumulated will certainly be invested in his effort, but how much depends on how serious he is about his presidential ambitions. Without a willingness to make his substantial personal financial investment, it will be difficult for Roemer to compete with a wealth of other potential Republican candidates who have much more extensive fundraising operations and capabilities than Roemer.

But money is the least of Roemers problems at the moment. The size and extent of his base and its growth potential are most critical. While it is not unheard of to see a long shot candidate beat the odds, Roemer does not start off with much of a base to grow upon. And he has virtually no base outside of the South and more specifically, outside of his state. These will be obstacles hard to overcome in a year where several solid candidates are growing their bases of support and will seen force Roemer to compete with. This will make everything else harder for Roemer. It will make it harder for message to be heard, for him to be taken seriously and to raise a significant amount of money from those 100 dollar or less donations.

Buddy Roemer starts his campaign off with an attractive message. But he has a long way to go to distinguish himself from a field of other candidates who will be claiming that they too are free to lead.

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Former Louisiana Governor Roemer to Take First Step Toward White House Run

Bookmark and Share As initially reported here in White House 2012, former GovernorCharles Buddy Roemer is thinking about running for the Republican presidential nomination. To be clear, this is Charles “Buddy Roemer” of Louisiana, not RoyRoemer, a Democrat and the former Governor of Colorado. I had hopedBuddy Roemerwouldnt because now it means I have to redo the listing of contenders and make a whole new widget and bio for the guy. But apparently my wish wont come true because on Thursday, Buddy will announce that he is setting up an exploratory committee.

The timing of this announcement does however raise questions about Roemers strategic ability. On this same day Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will also be announcing the creation of his presidential exploratory committee. Now unless the media intends on dedicating a larger chunk of time than I expect to Republicans whom wish to defeat President Obama next year, which candidate do you think will get more time and coverage for their announcement?

But aside fromBuddy Roemer announcing the creation of his exploratory committee in a way that will make him an after thought to Newt Gingrich, Roemers entry in to the race is largely seen as wildcard candidacy that is banking on the hope that big name Southern Governors like Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour do not get in to the race. Other former Southern Governors such as Bob Riley of Georgia are also contemplating a run. But the only way for names like Riley and Roemer to last in the Republican contest for any significant amount of time is the hope that they can consolidate the old South behind them. Such can not be done with people like Barbour and/or Huckabee running. As it is, it remains to be seen if people like Riley and Roemer can consolidate the South for themselves even if no other Southerners get in to the race.

In my opinion Governor Roemer knows that his time in the national spotlight has come and gone. However; he probably sees running not as a chance to occupy the White House, but as a means by which to visit the Oval Office, possibly as a member of a new Republican Presidents cabinet.

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Another Southern Governor Looking To Occupy the G.O.P. Presidential Field?

Bookmark and ShareThelatest scuttlebutt is that former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer is looking at a run for the Republican presidential nomination. This comes from reports in the DesMoines Register and Times Picayune which were picked up by Politico.com who linkedto it from an article in the Monroe News Starwhich quotedRoemer as saying he’s “doing my homework,” and “I’m getting ready to make my case with the American people,”. Furthermore; the Monroe News Star also reports that Roemer said he will announce within the next month whether he will be a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2012.

Some from that same paper also conclude that it is adone deal because as they put it,“Roemer talks in an interview as if his mind is already made up. He’s discussed it with his family and board members of his Business First Bank and even has lined up a vice president to run the bank in his absence while campaigning.”

There is no reason to believe that those words are made up by any of the sources but if it is true, I must ask exactly how many Southern Governor’s can fit in to one G.O.P. presidential primary before we reach the point of saturation? There’s Haley Barbour, there was Lousiana’s Bobby Jindal, others hoped for Florida’s Jeb Bush, more seek Texas’ Rick Perry, still more pray for the candidacy of Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee and recently Alabama’s Bob Riley chimed in as a potential candidate. And although he was never a Governor. let us not forget the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who was elected to represent his Georgia district and is said to have picked out office space in Atlanta where he will headquarter his campaign.I may still be missing another one or two in there, but you get my point.When it comes to Buddy Roemerthough, the latest word of a possible run isfurther fueled by the presumption that the former Governor is running because he has been the latest confirmed guest at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Spring Event on March 7th.

Probably more than any other event scheduled yet, this one has sparked the rumor mill about potential candidates most of all. But perhaps its time we get a grip on the reins controlling this here horse. Also attending the event are Ralph Reed Jr., president of the national Faith & Freedom Coalition, Iowa’s 5th District Rep. Steve King, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. Are these people also running for President too? Cause if they are, I missed that headline.

Now I don’t mean to make light of speculation, especially since those of us who can’t wait for the 2012 race to begin, really only have speculation to go on but, come on folks, not everyone speaking at this event is a futurePresident. And while I understand that over600 Iowa activists who will have a hand in the Iowacaucus, are expected to participatein the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s forum and supposedly 60 percent of Iowa Caucus participants in 2010 were self-identified evangelical Christians, while important, this event is not the annual haj to Mecca that its organizers would like to make it sound like. So far, by my count only four of at least 15 potential presidential candidatesare so far confirmed. And one of them is Buddy Roemer. So let’s get a little perspective here.

But in addition to that perspective I must again ask ……….Buddy Roemer? Really? No offense to Mr. Roemerhe did his job to satisfaction and had an abilityto passionately push forward his agenda but he never established a devout, loyal following to build upon and of all the Southernerswho risk dividing the Southern vote, is Roemer really with the arithmatic?

Now I will probably be wearing egg on my face and regretting this if Roemeractually does run and some of my prefferedchoices like Gingrich and Barbour do not. And then Huckabee makes it official that he is not running and Daniels confirms he is sitting it out too. But at the moment I feel secure in the knowledgethat all those chips won’t be falling that way. Buddy Roemer? Really?

In the mean time I am going wait at least a day or two before I rearrangethe widgets on this site and create a new page, bio on Buddy Roemerand links to his websites. That’s a lot of work and I am not sure its worth the effort right now.

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