We have studied the results of the Florida primary carefully for clues about how the rest of the Republican Party nomination contest will shake out. The role of negative advertising has been assessed, the significance of endorsements has been pondered, and debate performances have been factored in.
So far, only a small fraction of the delegates needed for victory have been parceled out. If Newt Gingrich’s challenge to the winner-take-all rule is successful, he would leave Florida only 15 delegates behind leader Mitt Romney, who would have just 58 of the 1,114 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Only 187 more delegates are at stake in February. Only Arizona will hold a binding winner-take-all contest during the next month. This primary is far from over.
Exit polls suggest much of Mitt Romney’s commanding victory might be attributed to the decade-old political fortune cookie slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid.” There’s another simple rule the candidates would all do well to remember: Anybody but Obama.
As passionate supporters divide into warring camps, and Super PACs fill the airwaves with vicious advertising, it’s easy for uncommitted voters to conclude they’re looking at a weak Republican field, filled with unelectable candidates. On the contrary, compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office, the four remaining GOP candidates offer an embarrassment of riches.
Obama drones on about job creation, even as he very obviously has numerous priorities that rank much higher, such as “transforming America” into a “green energy” economy. Mitt Romney has actually created real jobs through private capital investment and yes, some jobs were lost in the process, but Romney understands the difference between dynamic growth and bleary government-subsidized stasis. Obama made “hope” a campaign catchphrase, but Romney knows that opportunity is far more valuable to Americans in every income bracket. Free men and women were not meant to sit idle while their masters in high office offer them thin slices from an economic rhubarb pie.
Early in his presidency, Obama offered a bloodless belief in American exceptionalism, “just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Newt Gingrich wrote an entire book demonstrating the inadequacy of Obama’s thin gruel. While Obama looks tirelessly for endeavors he can take away from the private sector, because he thinks government can do it better, Gingrich is a fountain of ideas for private adventure and productive enterprise.
Obama’s sole qualification for the presidency, beyond a brief and undistinguished career as a junior senator, was his alleged prowess as a “community organizer.” Rick Santorum knows that communities are built from families – the vital building blocks of civilization that have been under assault by the dependency culture for far too long. Santorum honestly believes in the traditional values Obama feels obliged to offer a weak salute, lest he lose Middle America for good. Santorum has real, growth-oriented proposals to spur capital investment, while Obama merely labels the same old ineffective tax-and-spend liberalism as “investment,” and hopes nobody asks him where all that money went.
When the public grows restless about the skyrocketing debt he has increased more than any other President, Obama makes some soothing, but meaningless, noises about fiscal restraint. Ron Paul wants to cut a trillion dollars in spending right away and has five government departments lined up for the chopping block. Paul embraces the Constitution with passion and reverence, while Obama’s years as a “constitutional scholar” were evidently spent studying our founding documents so he could learn how to defeat them.
The Republican candidates have been highly critical of one another, but even their most devoted supporters should remember than any one of them would be vastly superior to a second Obama term. It is common to speak of this disastrous presidency as a “failure.” Far more alarming is the notion that Obama is actually succeeding at his true goals. The one thing Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul indisputably have in common is that none of them would let Obama finish what he started. It is wise to judge the differences between these four men while remembering what unites them.