If confession is good for the soul, let me pour out my soul for you. As I stood at the beginning of 2008, I find myself in the same position here as we now begin the very real discussions of who should be the candidate for the GOP in 2012.
Let me be clear: I will support the nominee, whoever she or he may be.
But right now I am not excited by or inspired by any of them save Sarah Palin and, as much as I love Sarah Palin, I am adamantly convinced that she cannot win given the ridiculous smears and hate thrown her way by Democrats and, frankly, by a lot of Republicans. She has been made radioactive.
I would, however, still gladly vote for her and support her. I’d rather go down with her than up with some of the others. Let’s be honest here — Lyndon Johnson won in 1964 largely because of Barry Goldwater as the GOP nominee. The alternative would have been Nelson Rockefeller.
I’d have rather gone down swinging with Barry than sell out with Nelson any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I feel the same way with Palin.
We need someone who can bridge the gap between the establishment that usually picks the nominee and the grassroots who pour out their blood, sweat, tears, and money for the nominee.
Right now I see plenty of candidates the establishment really likes, but very few that the grassroots could agree on across the board. Certainly Romney fans like Romney. Pawlenty fans like Pawlenty, Huckabee fans like Huckabee. But largely those fans of the individual candidates then hate the other guy.
This is not like most other elections. It is not like a 1988 or 1996 or 2000 when the “heir apparent” became the nominee. That is typically how a GOP primary goes. These are extraordinary times and in extraordinary times I think you can do something extraordinary.
No member of the House of Representatives has made it to the White House since the late 1800’s. The odds are surely against Congressmen. But I think Mike Pence could do it.
He bridges the gap between the establishment and the grassroots. He is in the comfort zone of both. He has a private sector background that shines in comparison to anything Barack Obama ever did before elected politics.* He has the free market think tank background to reassure fiscal conservatives. He has the social conservative bona fides to reassure the social conservatives who, this year, feel marginalized.
I do not envy Mr. or Mrs. Pence right now. The Indiana Lieutenant Governor is not going to seek the Governor’s Mansion. It has been widely reported that this is to free up the slot for Congressman Pence.
I hope, however, that he does something extraordinary. I hope he runs for President.
I’ll support the nominee, whoever that might be. But Mike Pence gets me excited to support the nominee.
Mike Pence established one of the first free market think tanks within the State Policy Network, building up a lot of conservative ideas to foster the free market in Indiana. He went on to start a radio show in Indiana and did that for a decade.