Is the GOP too clingy?

Tonight, Dr. Ben Carson is in town for an all-out GOP welcoming by the Fulton County Republican Party. For a mere $150, you get a warm dinner with warm remarks. You can upgrade to the $500 mark if you’d like the photo and VIP reception, too. This is one of the more publicized events of the GOP in a good while and people are beyond excited for this evening because Dr. Carson has soared to the top of ‘the list’. We’ve got some Georgians who already want to see a White House run for this neurosurgeon.

But this seems to happen time and time again. Just in 2013, we’ve had Rubio and his water bottles that encourage everyone to drink when needed and swallow as loud as possible. Then it was Rand Paul and his filibuster… “How long can he last?!” Social media was slammed with ‘Stand with Rand’ stickers and slogans. Now it’s Ben Carson because of his truly wonderful prayer breakfast presentation. Unfortunately, unless you’ve seen the Lifetime movie about his upbringing, all we really know about him is that he’s a conservative, go-get-’em neurosurgeon.

We make predictions about their 2016 chances and convince party members “This is the guy!”. But it always dwindles because we don’t know much about them. Then we take the time to research and strike them from the list. Conservatives are now angry with Rubio over his immigration proposals. Rand took heat for his vague drone comments after the Boston bombings, which he later clarified. (Not to mention there’s that whole thing about who his dad is). We can only sit back and wait to see what the reasoning will be for Dr. Carson.

Why do we continue to hype up these candidates only to become angry at them later?  There are many people within the party who make a hardline statement against government wrongdoings. That doesn’t mean they should shift to become the poster child of the party. We make every one of them feel like they are the bee’s knees. It’s time to settle down and evaluate before we throw someone into the fire because there’s no perfect candidate and something is always going to irritate us- and that’s okay. But also can’t expect party cohesiveness when every quarter, we’re pushing a new candidate only to tell people, “Wait, hold on, there’s another one.”


  1. Zach Louis says:

    Which GOP are you referring to? The “establishment” or the Bill Evelyn/Bert Loftman GOP that 95% of our current Republican State Legislature are RINOs and threats to Liberty.

  2. Nathan says:

    I remember a couple of years ago when Scott Brown won the US Senate seat once held by the late Ted Kennedy. Folks were, justifiably, excited to see a Republican hold that seat, but then I remember hearing Republicans in my area proclaiming “he needs to run in 2012!” and believing that he was newly crowned leader of the Republican Party.

    Of course, those proclamations soon ceased once he got into the Senate and folks began to see that a Massachusetts Republican isn’t exactly the same as a Georgia Republican. We agree on much, but not everything. Just because you agree with someone totally on one issue doesn’t necessarily give him the keys to the kingdom. We gotta understand what else these “latest and greatest political folks” believe before we select them to be our standard bearers.

  3. xdog says:

    Sarah Palin. Mike Huckabee. Rick Perry. Jeb Bush. That’s the kind of thing that happens when people are easily distracted.

    • sockpuppet says:

      Oh please. Bill Clinton was as corrupt (professionally and personally) as the day is long. He succeeded only because he took a major correction mid-course after the 1994 wipeout and brought in an entirely new team, one that was actually experienced and qualified. Barack Obama was elected after having spent 4 years in the U.S. Senate and before then after a similarly brief and thoroughly unremarkable career in the Illinois state senate in addition to being merely a law school professor. Stop pretending as if the Democrat yahoos are any worse than the GOP ones. This mess that we are in right now is entirely of bipartisan creation.

  4. Good article. I think it has a lot to do with Presidential politics which is very much personality driven. The GOP is desperate to find another “Reagan” meaning a single person who will lead us back to victory . I think the Country is too divided to expect that one single person to unite us, it’s going to take more than that.

    Another thing is that we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Reagan had his flaws as do Rubio, Rand, etc… Reagan used to say a 80% friend is not a 20% enemy. So Rubio doesn’t tow the line on immigration reform? So Paul changed his mind a bit on the use of drones (he says he didn’t)? Who cares?

    • Jessica S. says:

      I agree, Buzz. I meant to bring up Reagan in my article and forgot. 🙂
      There will never be another Reagan, but he wasn’t as perfect as people like to remember him. It’s the selective memory compared to what we have now. I get it. We don’t have to lower our standards, we just need to broaden the tunnel vision.

    • sockpuppet says:


      See my comment below on a major difference between Reagan and the current GOP on politics and substance and respond. The fact is that had Reagan been in office from 2000-2008, the financial meltdown would have never happened (because Reagan actually believed in making the financial sector follow the law just like everybody else) and we would have never occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. It wasn’t just personality, it was policy.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Mr. Konop, you may have a point, but keep in mind that guys like Reagan are natural-born winners and will likely rise to the occasion and find a way to win no matter the political challenges.

        Reagan would likely win in any era because he had brains and skill.

      • Ken says:

        Hi John,

        I think he could have because he was focused on positives. He was the ultimate “happy warrior” who fought bad ideas not individuals and he was confident that he was right.

        • John Konop says:

          You and ld may be right…..but his policies fly in the face of social conservatives, NRA, Neocons…….

          I think he would win in a general election……the real question, is could he even get the nomination…….? Ron Paul pointed out his foreign policy position and got attacked by the party……could you imagine what the social conservatives would say about him? You saw what NRA just did………Fox ran a segments attacking Morning Joe on him not being a REAL conservative for supporting back ground checks…….and he was one of the few warning about fiscal issues years ago………

          The truth we do not have any major party that represents fiscal conservatives and people who believe in the privacy principles in the law. We have 2 parties that support social engerneering…. They just have a different spin…… a general most do not care about the bs…..bizarre time that does not feed the system well……..

  5. sockpuppet says:

    Meh. The GOP was even crankier during the Clinton era. I still remember listening to the G. Gordon Liddy talk radio show during those days, plus that was back when the Council of Conservative Citizens and similar groups actually had a degree of influence (remember Bob Barr got into trouble for hanging out with that group).

    The main thing is that the GOP will never be relevant again until they show the same willingness to go after the big banks – and Wall Street in general – that the Reagan administration did. Reagan made preventing and prosecuting corruption in the financial sector – going after book cookers, insider trading, junk bond magnates – a major priority, and that insulated the Reagan/Bush administrations – and the GOP generally – from stuff like the savings and loans debacle. By contrast, today’s GOP totally ignores that issue. But the GOP doesn’t know how to address it politically, neither do they have a good way of admitting that the Afghanistan occupation became a fiasco and that we never should have gone into Iraq to begin with.

    That’s the root cause of the tension, because no matter how much the GOP blames the lingering bad economy on Obama and the Democrats for their tax and spending increases, folks are going to still regard the near-collapse of our financial system (which set off a global banking crisis and recession) and the Iraq-Afghanistan quagmires as worse. But until some GOPer is bold enough to address the root cause, the real problem instead of betraying the base that they badly need to win elections on social issues, the tension will remain and the GOP will keep devouring its own because of it.

    The worst part is that everyone WANTS the GOP to address these issues, but virtually no one from the grassroots is demanding it. Take the TEA Party. The movement started in reaction to TARP (or so they say) but none of them are demanding that we do something about the corrupt financial sector that led to TARP being necessary in the first place.

    • gcp says:

      Over 700 savings and loans failed during the Reagan/Bush era costing the taxpayers billions, a failed occupation in Beirut cost us 242 military folks, persistent budget deficits and 3 million illegals made legal; also part of the Reagan legacy.

      • Ken says:

        I believe you overlooked the ménage à trois bromance between banks, investment firms and junk bonds as a factor.

        As for persistent budget deficits, revenues increased under Reagan but Keynesian-loving Congressmen spent money like drunken sect members at an End of the World party.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Both parties do this, but that does not justify it.

    Obama was elected on a convention speech. Howard Dean had a brief run because of how angry he made conservatives. Hillary is also loved by the left although she pretty much failed at everything she’s ever done, mostly because the right hates her.

    For too many they take the metaphor of political football and begin to treat it like it is football. About cheering for your team no matter what, and oh yeah, when things go wrong it is a bad call by the refs or the other side is cheating.

    • Lea Thrace says:

      All of this! Particularly the last paragraph.

      (Well, most of the comment anyway. Your second sentence is a bit of a stretch in my opinion)

    • Ken says:


      I have a minor quibble (so he can’t drink):

      Hillary is also loved by the left although she pretty much failed at everything she’s ever done, mostly because the right hates her.

      Can we change that to:

      Hillary is also loved by the left although she pretty much failed at everything she’s ever doneexcept invest in cattle futures where she was freakishly spectacular though for for some reason she never tried it again, mostly because the right hates her.

      Maybe too wordy?

  7. Trapperpk says:

    Good points. Those who oppose a labeled conservative such as Dr. Carson, provide a continuous stream of complaints. So far the Republican or conservative push to 2016 is in the Beauty Pageant phase, a long way from crowning a Republican candidate for president. Every time another quality person steps up, those in opposition shout out “ugly”, “unappealing”, “Hey Republicans, is that the best you’ve got”, without even looking further than end of their upturned noses. A few more potential candidates will make a feign towards the standard bearer position for 2016. What will happen next is another predictable complaint from liberal types and another brief and sporadic rally by conservatives sentiments. In all, what is in play, can someone capture the national vision and heart regardless of being relegated as just another Republican stereotype.

  8. D_in_ATL says:

    Is the GOP too clingy? In the way that a person who is drowning is clingy…they will latch on to anything to save themselves.

  9. Joshua Morris says:

    The view from my corner of the room is that conservatives are starving for a candidate that will openly espouse conservative ideals. We hear references to Reagan over and over again, because he was the last national figure who could define our principles, explain convincingly why they work, and remain likeable while doing it. I think some conservatives can’t help but get overly excited when they think the next person to win the People with our message has arrived on the national stage, but each time it seems the specter of that candidate not having a 100% resume for the conservative gauntlet spoils the parade.

    Dr. Carson does seem to be an impressive speaker with a good command of basic free market conservative principles, and as always, time will tell where he stands on every nuance of political principle. Same for Rand. Rubio has already had some public mishaps that can be easily overcome. I would have been stoked beyond belief for the opportunity to elect any one of these guys into the White House in 2012. Here’s hoping for 2016.

    • Conservatives these days under-appreciate the environment that Reagan emerged in. They really could have used a Reagan in 2010, but alas. And even so, I believe they fail to appreciate the difference between a management critique (what 2010 should have been) and a policy critique (more like Reagan’s emergence).

      On the major issues of the day, take health care reform, Obama is generally where the American people want to be, they just thought he wasn’t handling it as well as he could have, especially during an economic downturn. What is the conservative response to this – as even Cantor is finding out this week – tough cookies for you if you’ve got a pre-existing condition. You should have pulled up your cancer fighting bootstraps instead of whining. Not a winning position.

      When your problem is that you built your coalition over the past 30 years on a number of untenable and now unpopular positions, it’s possibly but unlikely that you just need a great communicator to explain your way out of it. But it’s more likely that the Republicans need a Clinton style reboot (he’s also a great communicator to boot). Even though I personally think Rubio is a boob, at least with a guy like that you’ve got a chance to fix some major issues holding the party back, and he can credibly wipe his hands of the past since he’s new enough.

      • Joshua Morris says:

        No matter the environment for Reagan or Obama, “where the American people want to be” is not a successful way to govern. People naturally want to feel secure regarding their personal safety, finances, quality of life, etc., without any effort on their own part, and Obama is happy to oblige those who ignorantly echo that sentiment without any understanding of how to finance it.

        Leaders don’t succeed by just following the will of the mob–they show the People the right path to take. Reagan knew how to bring the People to where he knew the Nation needed to be. He knew how to counter populist fallacies with a smile or a joke to keep the conversation from becoming contentious. He was firm and likeable at the same time.

        Our positions are not untenable. Our spokesmen have just been uneducated and weak. We have allowed our opponents to incorrectly define us and have even accepted those malevolent characterizations when too busy trying to counter than to challenge a premise. Our principles have created success and wealth throughout the history of the world, and we can’t seem to fight for them or defend them. I, for one, am looking for that leader who can merely show the People that history proves the success of individual rights & responsibilities, free markets, and smaller government.

  10. Samuel says:

    Instead of the GOP looking for the flavor of the moment, why not stick with tried and true GOP Patriots, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh!

  11. I honestly think a big part of it is the entertainment gap and how the media world fits into the political world. There just aren’t a lot of celebrities out there that are also conservative heroes. As a Democrat, I can like David Cross’s anti-Bush humor and then continue following him in Arrested Development or whatever else where he’s not actually making any political humor. Or George Clooney or Tom Hanks can weigh in on a liberal cause or Democratic candidate and then stay in the spotlight by starring in hit movies where again they aren’t being political.

    But I think the way the Republican media universe works or fits into the overall, when someone comes along that they like what he’s saying politically, they feel the need to turn that person into something of a celebrity to fill that void. So hey, did you like what Dr. Ben Carson said once at a prayer breakfast, well you’ll love seeing him everynight on Hannity and eventually on his own reality show. Somebody’s got to pick up the slack for Kid Rock and Chuck Norris not putting out as many hit singles and movies as they used to.

  12. jyarber says:

    I think there’s two reasons. One, as a lot of people have already mentioned, is that the GOP is continually trying to grasp the candidate who is going to unite the party. Because there are so many sub-groups within the party, this task is going to be next to impossible. However, there’s always going to be hope that people are going to compromise in one policy area if a candidate’s work in another area is stronger and more timely.

    Second, people are hesitant to commit in an ADD world. We live in a connected and media-flooded world where everyone has a story to tell (true or false) — which means there’s a lot of noise to sort through before you get to the real facts. When you’re not as invested–or interested–it’s much easier to jump ship and take that tour for awhile.

  13. analogkid says:

    “Clingy” is probably the wrong word. “Promiscuous” might be more apt.

    Other than that I agree with your point.

    • saltycracker says:

      Reagan caught the drown Carter wave with an improved Goldwater message. To attract the Rockefeller Republicans he brought along Bush I, who stayed somewhat the course that Bush II didn’t as he restored the Rockefeller crowd. We had a chance against Obama but the party was a train wreck that would have rejected a Reaganite. The dependency/expectations on government is at a whole new level.

      A party is incapable of defining itself, it will take a visionary to lead them. We seem to be too wrapped up in pushing govt until it can no longer support all of us.

  14. seenbetrdayz says:

    I think it’s in the names. The GOP’s division is only natural for a party of people who profess to be ‘republicans.’ For example: Georgia republicans are supposed to come together with Montana republicans and realize that they are united in their desires to be locally governed. It’s only when republicans actively seek out someone or some group to rule over the whole party/country that they run into problems.

    This is different from a democratic form of government. In the democratic party, if 51% of the people in the party decide to invade the north pole and kill all the polar bears, then the other 49% just sort of go along because well it’s democratic majority rule. (poor polar bears, haha).

    Republicans and democrats believe in practice two totally different forms of government. My theory is that it’s only because republicans have lost the understanding of decentralization of power (and are thus acting more like democrats) that they’re struggling.

    You could air reruns of the DNC 2012 and the RNC 2012 side-by-side and just judging by how they were run, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

    • Harry says:

      The RNC is seeking to be less “democratic” and more top-down-driven. They allocate convention delegates to far-flung dependencies of the US in disproportionate numbers, meaning that each delegate represents 1/10 or fewer GOP voters as compared to, for example, Georgia. They do this because the establishment knows these convention votes can be controlled.

  15. Just Nasty and Mean says:

    Dr. Carson is a democRat’s worst nightmare. A black non-racist that grew up from nothing-fatherless-single mother–to a world prominent pediatric brain surgeon without a Socialist ideology.

    God forbid!!!!

  16. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    He’s not my worst nightmare, he’s just a nightmare of a incredible education wasted on homophobia and a very narrow view of how folks actually live.

    Please stop looking for a GOP Black savior, it’s just not a great place for you all just now.

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