The David Frums, Joe Scarboroughs and David Brookses of the Republican Party would love to see Jon Huntsman overtake Romney, but they will take Romney if they have to. They would've preferred a Mitch Daniels or someone like him, smart and centrist, but who also presents an appearance of good old conservative values, like the values put forth by great conservatives such as William F. Buckley. The Centrist, Big Government, status quo, statist Republican establishment is horrified at the prospects of Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Paul or Gingrich getting the nomination for the 2012 election. They could live with Gingrich if not for his "baggage".
What do these Republican establishment types hope to gain by nominating a Centrist? I understand that Cain and Perry have shown serious weaknesses, but the GOP establishment was against this type of Republican from the start, and they had their eyes set on a Mitch Daniels type from the start. It speaks to the split in the Republican Party between the old guard that has played ball with Democrats forever and New Republicans who seek fundamental, systemic change regarding limits to government power. The GOP establishment will hardly even acknowledge Ron Paul. So, why are they pushing this no-labels Centrism?
The pragmatic reasons they give are electability, experience, intelligence, moderation, and the ability to compromise and get things done to break the gridlock caused by the Tea Party ideologues. The Center says that independents want a centrist, someone intelligent and experienced who can debate with Obama in a sensible manner. They want someone who can work with both parties to create policies that will keep us on track, not dismantle government at a time when government is needed most -- smart, sensible government, though, sort of like Obama promised, but didn't deliver. The GOP establishment believes a Centrist Republican can make the common sense changes Obama failed to make because his base on the Left and the far Right wackos prevented him from achieving the changes -- they are disappointed that Obama is not the leader they thought he was.
The GOP Centrists were okay with Obama in the beginning, because, although he's a Democrat, they thought he'd be a bipartisan president and would welcome the smart Centrists in the GOP to help share in power and rebuild the smart government that was almost created in the 90s, before Bush came along. The Centrists, although Bush turned out to be a Big Government Republican, couldn't wait to get Bush out, because Bush had created the wrong image according to the GOP establishment. The Centrist simply want to be a part of the smart government structure, even under a Democrat president, and Obama was seen as their huckleberry. Brooks was ecstatic over the creases in Obama's pants.
When the Tea Party formed, Centrists were confused at first, then livid that the GOP was being hijacked by yokels. Some political opportunists in the Center tried to co-opt the Tea Party for useful purposes, but when they realized the Tea Party had power and was not going to be co-opted by the GOP establishment, they all turned on the Tea Party. Now, any Republican candidate who is favored by the Tea Party is opposed by the establishment. What an embarrassment! So, since Obama failed, the only way for the Centrists to reclaim their niche in the power structure is to find the right Centrist candidate who is like the original Obama, only a stronger leader -- sort of like a mix between Obama and Reagan. The Center thinks Huntsman can be that candidate. And the libertarian strain was simply too much for the Center to bear.
You will notice that nowhere in this analysis is anyone thinking about what's best for America, our economy and our relationship with world. That's because I believe the Center is empty of substance and principles and merely concerned about their place in the power structure, helping to manage their idea of a smart government. To what ends will they manage, and what should the role of government be in the American people's lives? Well, the Center is not so much concerned with economics and individual rights and the pursuit of happiness -- they're concerned with political strategy, compromise and a powerful State in which they have a seat at the table, or at least a lucrative gig that's important enough to get attention. The Centrists are looking for positions in Statism, Inc, the political enterpise in which they survive and hopefully thrive. The political class is monstrous now as the State has expanded power, and reaches into every area of our lives. These people in DC live in a totally different world and have no idea what's best for America and the American people.
Of course, I'm generalizing, but this is the general problem with status quo centrism. Even someone who really believes in moderation and compromise often places the process over the results. I make my living negotiating and compromisng, but I won't stay in business if I don't get results which are beneficial to the parties involved. In the political realm process is too often placed above results, and the fact of getting a deal is more important that the results of the compromise. Washington has operated now for decades with a two party system which has compromised time and again with subpar results for the people they represent. Our debt problem and economic problems reveal the failure of representatives to achieve beneficial results. There's no virtue in a bunch of Centrists in government getting things done, if what they get done destroys the country -- long term it's not even good for them. What we've seen over and over is compromise which strengthens the statist system and weakens the private sector. The economic realm in America has been damaged by the political realm, which is more interested in protecting State power than they are with results which allow the private sector to prosper with equality of opportunity and equal protection under the law. In DC, power-mongers make deals to protect their power, and the economy be damned.
There's nothing wrong with pragmatic actions which generate good results for all, but the results from government are good for a few and damaging to many. Deification of the process of compromise and centrist deal-making over good results for the American people is leading us to collapse, yet Centrists continue to excoriate those who wish to make systemic changes. We've come to expect the Democrat Party to view government solutions as the means to a better tomorrow, but Republicans have claimed opposition to statism, yet the GOP establishment is as dedicated to statism as the Democrats. State central management of the economy has failed -- there's no other way to put it -- it has failed. If Centrists were concerned about the health of American, they'd insist that we change direction to market principles at home which have proved in the past to create growth and new wealth, and they would insist on a doctrine of non-intervention in foreign affairs, so that America is not used and abused by countries which don't like us.
Republicans are useless as a political party if they don't represent opposition to statism. If all the Republican Party has become is a periodic statist replacement when Democrats over-reach, we'll go to our collapse a little slower, but we'll go to our collapse nonetheless. Sometimes, the middle way is no way at all, except as a way to maintain a rotting status quo, and always you should take the path which creates the best results -- and, always, you should stand on principles, when whatever short-term gain you get is not worth the long term price. The long term price of our political centrism is way too high.