Send a Message

I’ve veered from my planned offering this afternoon to accommodate a little analysis of the breaking news that Romney is suspending his campaign for the republican nomination.


With McCain over halfway to the total delegates needed to lock up the nomination, it’s hard to blame Mitt for pulling the plug on his self-financed campaign. His ‘true conservative’ mantra has failed to rally the troops, and he wants to preserve his chances to make a run in 2012 after the Democrats have had a whack at complete control of the legislative & executive branches of Government. The idea of dumping another $40 million down a hole might have been a concern as well.

McCain’s support in the GOP is extremely shallow among primary voters, and I suspect that he’ll only pick up a small portion of the Romney supporters. In spite of his daunting lead, I remain convinced that McCain could be knocked out by the right dove-tailing of events.

Johnny Rotten

In spite of the gracious welcome he got at the C-PAC speech this afternoon, Conservatives will not sign on to support McCain en masse. Some will support third party candidates, some will vote Democratic, and most will stay home. That is, unless something (or someone) comes along to offer conservatives an alternative to not voting or pulling the Hillary lever.

If you buckle and vote for McCain while holding your nose, there is clear message sent – that the party elite can call anything breathing ‘conservative’ and the great unwashed will fall in line to support the person.

You might be running the calculus in your mind at this very moment. A vote for McCain, you reason, would be a betrayal of your deep held conservative principles. But if you don’t vote for him, we might get Hillary or Obama. What’s a conservative to do?

I’d like to suggest a protest vote. How about a protest vote for the most anti-establishment Republican candidate in any of our lifetimes?

Take that, establishment

At this point, there is little chance that Ron Paul will overtake the front-runner in the GOP race to win the nomination. If your fear is that a protest vote might actually elect someone with whom you disagree (if you do disagree with Paul’s positions) on many issues, is that likely? I’m among the most optimistic historically for Paul’s chances, and I’m resigned that we’ll be making a third party run once the primaries are over. I don’t think there is a thing to worry about.

If you plan to vote for McCain in the fall, the best way to send a message to the power brokers in the GOP is to send a shot across their bow by voting for Paul in the Primary. There is no candidate more hated among those folks, and it may be the only opportunity you have to send a clear message of your disapproval of the anointed candidate. If all you do is hold your nose and vote for McCain in November, you’ve only confirmed for them that you’re willing to do their bidding without any reservations about your own principles.


And what if Paul starts to actually pull more delegates than he already has? Well, Huckabee is still in there too, and will see a bump from Romney’s exit. With the delegates split three ways, we could actually push this thing into the convention without a winner. We could see a nominee not on the slate now, and with the message sent, we might get an authentic conservative through the back door.

For that to happen, conservatives have to send a message. The establishment thinks they’ve won this war, and I’d love to see them repudiated. A vote for McCain in the primary by a conservative is a complete repudiation of our principles. Do the right thing and stand for your principles in the primary, and if we’re lucky, you’ll be rewarded for your principled stand. If McCain still runs away with the nomination, you can always decide to take a principled stand again in November.

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