By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
It is becoming increasingly clear that the 2012 GOP primary is going to be a showdown at high noon between ruling class Republicans - the big wallet GOP elites that are used to pulling the levers of power - and citizen class Republicans - the ordinary, grassroots conservatives who make up the Tea Party.
Right now the tussle is on among the GOP grand poobahs to decide between Mitt Romney and Indiana governor Mitch Daniels for the establishment imprimatur. An article on Politico today says that GOP insiders “are virtually begging” Daniels to get in the race, because they are “unnerved” by Mitt Romney and his fatal weakness, RomneyCare, which is an anvil about his neck.
This “desperate” appeal to Daniels - to use Politico’s word - is a sure sign of panic on the part of ruling class Republicans, who are more afraid even than the Democrats are that a Tea Party favorite will take the prize. Even Politico admits that Daniels is “bland” and “wonkish.” Good grief. GOP elites are actually angling for a guy they know can’t light a fire under anybody even if he had a can of gas and a Bic lighter?
Gingrich has kneecapped himself, likely beyond repair. Citizen class Republicans are not going to go for either Romney or Daniels. Tea Partiers know that Mitt is fatally compromised on health care. They want ObamaCare abolished, not reformed. They don’t want the RomneyCare disaster in one state, let alone all 50.
Mitt raised over $10 million in one day on Monday, but it’s not money that will win the GOP primary, it’s votes. The Tea Party has ‘em, and Mitt doesn’t.
Citizen class Republicans aren’t going to go for Daniels, because they are not interested in “bland” and “wonkish.” They want somebody who will bring them to their feet, not sit on their hands. And they’re not interested in a truce on social issues. They are interested in victory. Daniels has made it abundantly clear that he is not going to be their champion on issues such as life and the homosexual agenda. Daniels did sign the Indiana bill defunding Planned Parenthood, but only after taking his sweet time and showing no enthusiasm for the task. He had no choice but to sign it, truce or no, if he wanted even a prayer of grabbing the brass ring in 2012, and he knew it.
GOP bigs are pushing hard for Daniels, with even the ultimate GOP insider, former President George W. Bush, asking his wife Laura to call Daniels’ wife Cheri to urge her to rethink her considerable hesitation to enter the race.
I don’t blame Cheri for her reluctance one bit. She left her husband in 1994, abandoning him and their four children, only to reconsider, divorce her second husband, and remarry Mitch in 1997. Water under, and the whole affair reflects favorably on Mitch and his values, but who’d want the press poking into that sordid and sorry chapter of one’s life? Not Cheri, I can tell you that.
That’s perhaps the worst part of this whole campaign by party elites to recruit Daniels. They are essentially asking his wife to throw herself under the bus and face a buzzsaw of awkward and painful questions, for one reason and one reason only: they have as much contempt for citizen class Republicans as Democrats do.
Tim Pawlenty, bless his heart, is doing his best to capture Tea Party support, and might even have some success at attracting elite GOP support should Romney and Daniels fizzle. Meanwhile, Romney has confirmed Tea Partiers worst fears by staying as far away from the great unwashed as he possibly can. Too declasse for his sophisticated taste in political companions. Mitt, to my knowledge, has yet to appear at a single Tea Party event or even manage to be in the same zip code when one was taking place.
Citizen class Republicans could find a way to support Pawlenty, and have a wild enthusiasm for Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, and could get fired up again about Sarah Palin. Romney or Daniels? Fuhgedaboudit.
So the 2012 GOP presidential nomination shootout is already turning into a classic battle between ruling class Republicans who want Romney or Daniels and citizen class Republicans who want a Herman Cain or a Michele Bachmann (anybody besides me fascinated by the thought of a Cain-Bachmann ticket?) and could settle for a Pawlenty. I’m betting on the citizen class on this one.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)