The Most Conservative Candidate Who Can Win

At times like this, I like to remember William F. Buckley’s formula for picking candidates; picking the one that matched the title of this post.

Now, “most conservative” clause gets overlooked.  And I’m sorry to say, I’m less and less convinced Newt Gingrich is “conservative” as much as he is “opportunistic”; that he’s as “conservative” as Bill Clinton was “progressive”; in other words, whatever it takes to get elected.  And after Gingrich’s shameless descent into Alinsyite smear-jobbing his past month, I’m not convinced I could support the guy and sleep at night.

But for now, let’s focus on the “who can win” bit.

Romney led Obama by 47 percent to 42 percent in the Florida survey, while Obama topped Gingrich by 9 points, 49 percent to 40 percent. Among independents, Obama led Romney 44 percent to 38 percent and opened up a 56 percent to 29 percent advantage over Gingrich. Gingrich grabbed 12 percent of registered Democrats, while Romney secured 18 percent of registered Democrats.

“Newt Gingrich is weak among Florida independents and likely Democratic voters compared to Romney,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “If Florida is one of six key states that swings the national election, independents in Florida hold that key, and this poll suggests that Newt won’t be able to secure Florida for his party.”

In the popularity contest, Gingrich again did not fare well. He holds a 29 percent favorable and 58 percent unfavorable rating statewide among all likely voters. By contrast, Romney had a 44 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable rating. Romney’s popularity was lower among independents: 37 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable, while Gingrich’s popularity among independents imploded to 19 percent favorable with 70 percent unfavorable.

Even if I took Gingrich’s “conservatism” at face value – and I largely do not, not anymore – that, if true (and borne out by mo betta polling) really calls the question for me.

The question isn’t “who’s better at goading the media”; that’s not the President’s Press Secretary’s job.

The question isn’t “who can game the political mechanics better” – that’s what gave us Barack Obama.

The question is “Who is both conservative enough and who beat Obama?”

I have my serious, serious doubts.

And if Gingrich can’t convince me of both, he can forget it.

I’m going to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.

And I don’ think Gingrich is either.

14 thoughts on “The Most Conservative Candidate Who Can Win

  1. I’m in the same boat, Mitch. I just haven’t gotten comfortable enough with Romney to want to vote for him at the caucuses.

    Heck, I still may just write-in a name on Feb 7th.

  2. Santorum is the strongest general election candidate. The question is will Gingrich drop out soon enough to give him a clear shot at the clearly inadequate and Nixonian Romney.

  3. Thank you for this post, Mitch. Gingrich is unelectable. He’s the most vilified Republican in the nation who isn’t named Palin for what he did thirty years ago, and he’s not trusted by conservatives for what he’s done over the last ten years.

    If he is the nominee he’ll be an electoral disaster and have no coattails in a year where we desperately need conservative candidates elected to Congress.

    “Better than Romney” says little to nothing right now. My dog is better than Mitt Romney.

  4. I think after Obama’s election, we would do well to amend Buckley’s formula to “the most conservative candidate who can win and do the job.”

    I’m not interested in making the same mistake that progressives did in 2008 – electing the guy who knows how to push my buttons with a speech while ignoring their lack of any executive experience or having to be accountable for results rather than just rhetoric.

    IMO if you haven’t run a State or a major enterprise before you decide to run for President, then it’s unlikely you would have the executive skills needed to do the job.

  5. Romney actually was pretty good last night. He destroyed Newt with his response to this petty stock-and-Swiss-Bank-account meme. Killed Newt. He also laced Newt over pandering with money and held his own against Santorum’s assult on RomneyCare.

  6. One of the four left standing will be the Republican nominee. Them’s the choices because we simply can NOT vote for Obama, or by NOT voting, allow Obama to win. That said, I am leaning towards the candidate with the boldest agenda and most articulate at defending it. “Conservative enough” only matters in comparison with Obamunism, and that’s an easy hurdle; they all pass. “Electable” only matters if conservatives fail the test of recognizing there are only TWO choices on the ballot and that Obama is pure poison. And “doing the job” is mostly about setting an agenda and working with Congressional Republicans to enact it or something like it. On that, Gingrich would seem to be without peer.

  7. It’s somewhat of a moot point. Romney will get the GOP nod. Expect a loooong convention. And about 50 ballots.

  8. I’m tempted to agree with Mitch, but I keep coming back to Romney and not having any desire to vote FOR him, rather than against the One.

    It keeps getting panned as a negative, but I like the fact that Newt is a little angry. Because if you aren’t at least a little bit angry, you haven’t been paying attention.

  9. I live in Minnesota, in Ramsey County, in District 66 in St. Paul. As far as I can tell, there has never been a Republican elected from my district.

    My vote will be wasted so I might as well vote my conscience. Romney ain’t it.

  10. Don’t settle for just a little loony. You kooks need somebody who really supports your nutty views!

  11. Pingback: Time To Get Behind Romney | cosmoscon

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.