GOP could miss mark again

Published 11:23 am Friday, March 27, 2015

When Ted Cruz officially stepped into the 2016 presidential ring this week the boo-birds attacked immediately.

But it wasn’t just the liberals of the mainstream media who threw bottles and chairs at the conservative Texan.

It was Cruz’s fellow Republicans.

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Is he qualified after only three years in the Senate? Where was he born again? Isn’t he too aggressively Christian?

Isn’t he too conservative to win the general election? Shouldn’t we nominate someone more moderate, someone who isn’t hated by the MSM and wouldn’t scare independents?

Unfortunately, we’re already heard lots of negative chatter — from Republicans — about the political weaknesses and ideological imperfections of candidates like Cruz, Bush and Christie. There will be more.

It’s a shame. Thanks to Obama and his failures at home and abroad, Republicans are in a great position to retake the presidency next year.

Almost anyone who’s thinking of running in 2016 — Walker, Bush, Paul, Rubio, Christie, Huckabee, Jindal, Santorum, Kasich, Carson, Fiorina, Pataki, Bolton, even Donald Trump — has a decent chance of winning the keys to the White House.

But America’s most consistently conservative institution, talk radio, has already started stirring up trouble among Republicans the way it did in 2008 and 2012.

Talk radio is already taking sides and trying to tell conservatives which potential nominee is most worthy to wear the mantle of Ronald Reagan.

When my father ran in the 1980 primaries he was lucky. He was a lone conservative in a sea of moderate and liberal Republicans. The moderates split the moderate vote and he won the nomination.

Today the situation is reversed. Conservatives are splitting the conservative vote in the primaries and moderates like McCain and Romney are winning the GOP nomination.

Conservatives better watch out. If what happened in ‘08 and ‘12 happens in ‘16, we are going to blow our chance to regain the White House once again.

We need to decide early who we want to lead the GOP ticket in 2016. Unfortunately, we probably won’t do that because we all have our favorite contenders.

When I tweeted that Cruz said something I agreed with in his speech, I got a flurry of tweets from Rand Paul people.

“Why do you hate Rand Paul?”

When I tweeted something nice about Rand Paul, I got a flurry of tweets from Cruz’s people. “Why do you hate Ted Cruz?”

This is one of the worst problems with conservatives. Liberals are led by ideology and they’ll always support their nominee in the general election because of that.

Conservatives are always looking for their next leader — their next Ronald Reagan. But conservative nominees are all over the ideological map and each one has too many spiteful followers.

If Rand Paul gets the GOP nomination, the Cruz people will stay home in November. If Cruz gets it, the Paul people will stay home. Ditto for the followers of Huckabee and others.

Barack Obama is president of the USA today because too many conservative Republicans didn’t show up to vote for Romney in 2012, not because too many Democrats voted to reelect Obama.

The GOP should nominate a strong conservative for 2016. I prefer ex-governors, but Cruz, Paul, Walker, Perry, Rubio and Kasich all come to mind as good candidates.

It’ll take a miracle for Republicans to get their act together this time.

They should follow “The Buckley Rule” and choose the best conservative who has the best chance of winning the general election. In other words, not a Goldwater of 1964 but a Reagan of 1980.

But no matter who Republicans nominate, to win back the White House they’ll all have to follow my father’s 11th Commandment and fully support their party’s presidential nominee –— no matter who it is.


Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). Send comments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.