Republican Gestalt

The Republican primaries in Michigan and Arizona will soon be a thing of the past…though will go no further in helping conclusively decide the party’s nominee.  Mitt Romney seems sure to win in Arizona, but his trouble convincing voters in his “home state” of Michigan and Rick Santorum’s rise there means that this little dance will probably go on for a little while longer.

I’d be afraid to bet who’ll win in Michigan tonight, but suffice it to say that it won’t be by very much.  If Santorum pulls out the victory, chaos continues to reign.  If Romney manages to win, things will be a little more stable…but only a little.

The problem with this year’s Republican presidential primaries is that the four remaining candidates are each attractive and flawed at the same time.  I’ve highlighted their individual drawbacks elsewhere, but consider: each of them has a particular strength that is attractive to the conservative electorate:

  • Ron Paul appeals to the libertarian elements that desire, above all else, freedom.
  • Rick Santorum fires the passions of social conservatives who feel lost in a changing world.
  • Newt Gingrich carries the mantle of the fighter–and no small amount of governmental experience.
  • Mitt Romney has the presidential “look,” the organization, and the financial acumen to address their economic woes.

    He would, however, be very afraid of fire.

A conservative friend of mine likes to say “Anybody But Obama.”  For many Republicans this is a truism.  The problem is that, this year, the GOP cannot turn this generic “anybody” into a specific “somebody” they can all agree on.

If it were possible to meld these four men together into some sort of Frankenstein-candidate, I think the Republicans would have their nominee.  He would be a truly formidable opponent for Barack Obama and likely win the November election.

Barring this unlikely eventuality, they are going to have their work cut out for themselves over the next 8 months.


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