Romney, Reagan and FDR ghosts loom as GOP and Dem bases rise up

It’s hard to trust The Washington Post when it comes to coverage of the GOP, so an article resurrecting the ghost of Mitt Romney should probably be taken with a grain of salt. The article titled “Time for GOP panic? Establishment worried Carson or Trump might win” is a perfect example.

The writer of the article suggested some GOP power brokers may try to urge Romney to enter the 2016 race.

There are, in my estimation, four candidates I hear regular American voters talk about. It’s amazing what you learn when you take time to listen to regular people outside the political royalty class. These voters include a number of Democrats I count among my inner circle. Those candidates are Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), and Dr. Ben Carson. Those are all outsider candidates, by the way.

As the politics season progresses, Romney’s ghost isn’t the only one around. President Ronald Reagan’s is there as well. FDR’s too. Why?

Start with the fact the GOP isn’t the only party dealing with a base uprising. I have met very few Democrats, other than hardcore party loyalists who are single issue voters, who like Hillary Clinton for president. I have yet to meet a single Clinton supporter, in person or on social media, who can point to a single accomplishment she can claim in all her years of government service. That is why she has to play the race and sex card—there is nothing else. Dems are forced to offer more giveaways despite the fact they must know our debt represents a serious national security threat and the middle class cannot take another tax hit.

Mrs. Clinton has enough baggage to sink one of those fake islands China built in the South China Sea. Where are the anti-carbon climate extremists on that matter, by the way?

Many of these Dems tell me they will support Sanders even though they are not crazy about him either. And we all know Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) cannot run this country. As Hillary once said, “No way, no how.”

Dems and the GOP have an equally dissatisfied base. Those extremists wreaking havoc on college campuses are Dems. Do they look satisfied to you?  Power brokers in both parties seem unable to look beyond their own biases comprising self-interested political and corporate goals.

As the 2008 and 2012 elections progressed, I knew the Republican party would lose. In both cycles the top tier donors heavy-handed the nominations process, and our nominee in each of those years simply refused to deal with the unofficial opponent any Republican faces in any national seat race anywhere in the land—national legacy media.

That failure wasn’t because of funding.

In 2011 as I became increasingly alarmed at the lack of enthusiasm permeating the base for Romney, I wrote an article. I’m reprinting part of it here because I think it applies. Romney is not the answer in 2016 unless we want to lose again.

That said, it is up to each candidate to make his case to the American people. In national polling, each of the top tier GOPers fare well against Mrs. Clinton, and that is pretty amazing considering the fact she is already anointed as Dem nominee and the Republican ticket is split more than a dozen ways if you include the lower tier candidates.

To get a true take on a Clinton vs. GOP candidate matchup, there should be the same number of Dem contenders in the question pool.

Of course we should take polls with a grain of salt. They’re used to mobilize bias only if you permit them to do so.

Here’s a truncated version of what I said in 2011:

Many Republicans feel we’re witnessing the usual—the appointment of a candidate by fiat, courtesy of the Country Club set.  The process evokes the bitter taste of 2008 when, as the primary results were announced, I realized we would lose the election. I knew then Obama would be the next US president.

Of course some of those brokers would’ve gladly tried to shoo former Florida Governor Charlie Crist into the US Senate seat Sen. Marco Rubio won. That race was a classic moment in political history. Crist showed his true colors by ending his Republican Party affiliation. So much for integrity—you see you’re going to lose, so you jump ship in hopes of a shot at swimming to shore. Crist, the ‘moderate’, lost anyway—Main Street saw to that. We fought for a candidate we believed would be good for our country. We fought the media and we fought the GOP power brokers.

Republicans as a whole pretty much idolize the late Ronald Reagan who not only incurred battle scars from dueling with Democrats in power but also got a few bruises from the Republican power base.

In 1976 Reagan took on fellow Republican Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination. Reagan was portrayed as the scary conservative; Ford was the moderate.

On Jan. 11, 1976, a poll was taken among major newspaper editors and Republican state officials. Results indicated the editors and state officials said Ford would beat Reagan, and ultimately that’s what happened. Of course when you have major newspapers aligned with top party officials, you have yourself a power base. What those GOP officials missed was the traditional bias of media for Democrats.

Those editors wanted Ford to win—in my opinion Ford represented far less of a threat to the Democrat in the race. Republicans are lousy at understanding media bias, largely because the party has a very weak structure when it comes to creatives.

Ford’s victory was hollow, of course, because Jimmy Carter beat him.

It took another run before Republicans and a nation would choose a man most agree was an exceptional president.  By 1980, newspapers were still having trouble giving Reagan any ink love—The Pittsburgh Press, in an editorial in March, noted Carter’s three years of “on-the-job training in dealing with the dangerous world beyond our borders…” The paper said the question was whether “the American people are prepared to start all over again with another amateur.”

Other papers made much of Reagan’s gaffes. One was Reagan’s 1976 statement, “Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.” Truth always did upset the press and many academics wouldn’t recognize truth if it thumped their impressionable noggins.

The Milwaukee Journal, in September, 1980, pointed to Reagan’s baggage: “For connoisseurs of skeletons in the closet, Reagan has left literally thousands of closets to search through.” 

Of course, Reagan won his party nomination and went on to defeat Carter in a landslide. Those of us who were struggling young couples remember the Reagan years as a time that actually delivered on hope and even restored some of our trust in government.

Had it not been for what we now call Main Street Republicans, Reagan might never have been president. He had baggage, he wasn’t the power brokers’ pick and the media pounced on many of his pronouncements. We should remember that as we go into the primary season, and we should defy the anointment of any candidate because, simply put, we are not Democrats.

Will we roll over and play dead this go ‘round?

The answer to my final question in 2011 is no, we won’t. We have eminently qualified candidates. We don’t need anymore, especially a candidate who lost the nomination the first go ‘round and the presidential election the next.

What we do need are media savvy creative types working on the nominee’s campaign, and a candidate who will speak to us as a unified people. We need a candidate who knows how to fight a political war.

Above all, we need a candidate who can unify us as a people, as just plain Americans instead of hyphenated Democrats.

We need a candidate who can deal with rogue regimes bent on continually looting the US Treasury. There isn’t a candidate like that among the extreme leftists who are contending.

At present the GOP is experiencing a true democratic republic process—allowing the primary season to continue and allowing many voices to be heard. That is a good thing for those who have sense enough to recognize it and who love the country more than their own purse.

And by the way, Reagan was right about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and fascism. We’re still paying for that Democrat’s irresponsible spending and big government decrees.

Featured photo: President Ronald Reagan with a staff member at the White House in 1986. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/LOC digital collection)

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Nov. 13, 2015)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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