Now that Mitt Romney is the obvious Republican candidate for president, the only thing left to decide is who will be his vice-president pick. Speculation has been legion, with anyone and everyone giving their two cents about which contender for VP has the most potential. Conservatives and Tea Party types are vying for someone to their liking, while the jabbering political pundit machine is angling for more of a moderate.
Most recently, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan have urged Romney to not play the usual political game and go bold with a right-leaning choice, rather than the seemingly safe choice of a Tim Pawlenty or a Rob Portman. Have we really not learned anything over the last 4 years? Why is catering to the media-fabricated “moderate voter” even an issue? Even a firebrand conservative like Sarah Palin couldn’t jumpstart John McCain’s flat-lined moderate of moderates campaign in 2008. Moderates don’t excite anyone or win elections. Christie and Ryan are right: Romney couldn’t make a worse choice than to pair himself with Pawlenty or Portman. Why is the Republican Party so dense in this area? Why is it so hard to learn from past strategic errors?
One of the main problems with the Republican Party and its lackluster candidates the last several election cycles is its unwillingness to campaign on principles, relying instead on its subjective ability to chart “public opinion.” Instead of giving Americans what they need, Republicans have been trying to give them what they think they want. Unfortunately for the Republicans, the only party that can get away with doing this have already been doing it for decades. Trying to beat the Democrats at their own game is a losing prospect.
Republicans can only differentiate themselves from the Democrats by actually being different—by actually standing and campaigning on principle, not compromise. Crazy, I know. If Romney rolls over on his VP choice, the end of the political posturing will never end. If Romney wants to invigorate the GOP voter base, he needs to return to the Mitt Romney of the 2008 Republican National Convention—the Romney that actually sounded like a conservative. Rather than simply being the less socialistic choice, Romney needs to show himself as a real alternative to big government and Obamanomics. Whether he can actually do this is a whole other story.
Many of us are less than enthused with Romney as the GOP nominee. So be it. But like it or not, he’s the guy. Chris Christie and Paul Ryan have made their marks by being straight-shooters and not political pushovers. While they certainly have their enemies, they also have their supporters. Playing political games doesn’t do anything for anyone, except the politicians themselves. Games are for children, this country needs an adult. It’s time for the Republicans to grow up and be the adults this country so desperately needs and to make the hard decisions that need to be made. They’ve tried the moderate route already, perhaps they should try having guts for a change. That would really throw American voters for a loop.