The Corner

And the Winner Is . . .

Ron Paul! That, at least, is the conclusion of most of the commenters so far on my New York Post column today. And they’re certainly not happy that I exercised my columnist’s right to choose my subject based on the weekend’s events:

It’s a new race for the 2012 GOP nomination: Tim Pawlenty has pulled out after finishing behind Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul in the Iowa straw poll Saturday — the same day that Rick Perry jumped in.

The Texas governor announced in South Carolina — instantly turning it into a two-man race, neither of them named Michele.

The real GOP contest is down to two candidates, each offering a competing vision for the future of their party and the country: Mitt Romney, the technocratic millionaire businessman and establishment blue blood, and Perry, the Air Force veteran from tiny Paint Creek and the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

My readers, however, disagree:

  • who the heck is rick perry? is this the new flavor of the month? The two-man race is between obama and ron paul. stop reporting on these other unelectable clowns.

  • Ron Paul is America’s leading voice for limited, constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, and a pro-America foreign policy. Help Restore America Now with a common-sense, Constitutional government. Support Ron Paul for President. Principled Leadership with a record to prove it.

  • Is it just me (Rhetorical, from what I read many see it) but how is it that the candidate that basically tied for first place at Ames is not being mentioned, ANYWHERE?

Etc. Well, I hate to break the news to them, but Ron Paul has about as much chance of becoming president as Lyndon LaRouche

But what about Bachmann? I’m a big Michele fan, but honestly I cannot see a path to the White House for her at this point. The struggle for the soul of the Republican party was always going to be between the ol’ ball and chain, Mitt — whose refusal to back away from Romneycare is both admirable and deplorable — and the Other Guy: The heartland conservative who understands the high stakes of the next election.

Unless Perry blows up — and given the nature of the opposition research, that’s not beyond imagining — I think he occupies the anti-Mitt slot until further notice. And he’s certainly giving the lefties fits already:

What’s not to like?

Well, for a lot of people who aren’t going to vote for him anyway, what’s not to like are his Texas twang and confident carriage, which evoke memories of George W. Bush. Already, commentators on the left are getting the vapors at the thought of another “smirking, swaggering” Texan who wears his Christian faith on his sleeve.

“An Obama-Perry race,” wrote Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast, would be “a war between the two Americas, each side represented by its respective cultural standard-bearer, each side’s foot soldiers absolutely smoldering with contempt for everything the other guy stands for and indeed the way he looks. We’ve never quite had that before.”

That might be a little apocalyptic, but Tomasky is right. An Obama-Perry race would, far more clearly than Obama-Romney, offer Americans a stark, elemental choice: Will we continue with “fundamental change,” a process that has bankrupted the country, sent millions to the unemployment lines and seriously sapped the nation’s sense of itself and its purpose? Or will we turn back to the virtues of thrift and self-reliance that first made the nation great?

The process of weaning Americans off their dependency on government and its addictive programs won’t be easy, and it won’t be pretty. As we see in Britain, the death of the welfare state can cause great convulsions. But the sooner we hasten it, the better.

Bring it on. And, in answer to your other question, given the field as currently constituted, I don’t think Sarah gets in the race. 


Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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