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Rand Paul in Third Place?

Rand Paul
The latest NBC News/Marist Poll measuring Republican support for potential 2016 candidates has some uncomfortable news for conservatives and shows that we have a lot of work ahead of us between now and 2016.

The poll shows that New Jersey’s embattled Governor Chris Christie has the support of 16 percent of Republicans, followed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan at 12 percent, then Senator Rand Paul at 9 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has 8 percent, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 7, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 6, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 5, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also at 5, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 4, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at 3. The poll found that 25 percent of Republicans surveyed were undecided.

Clearly the NBC News/Marist Poll doesn’t reflect the sentiments of conservatives with establishment Republicans like Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio holding down three of the top spots. Results like this make us wonder exactly what qualified a subject to be considered a “Republican” for the purposes of the poll, but that is really beside the point.

The findings of the NBC News/Marist Poll are an early wake-up call that we conservatives must avoid what our good friend Morton Blackwell, founder and president of the Leadership Institute, and Virginia’s long-serving Republican National Committeeman, calls “The Sir Galahad Theory of Politics.”

“I will win because my heart is pure.” 

Back in the early days of the modern conservative movement all too many conservatives seemed to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, would be sufficient to win; that, if we conservatives could logically demonstrate that our candidate was of higher character and that his policies would be better for our the country, somehow victory would fall into our deserving hands like a ripe fruit from a tree.

Through the school of hard knocks conservatives were eventually disabused of this notion and by learning the tools and techniques of grassroots political organizing and harnessing the power of the new and alternative media, such as direct mail, the fax machine and the Internet, we built the four part coalition that won the 2010 Tea Party wave election.

If we want to elect a conservative President and govern America according to conservative principles we need to concentrate on rebuilding and adding to that 2010 coalition.

Criticizing the sample or attacking the pollsters as Karl Rove, the Romney campaign and establishment Republicans did in 2012 when they argued that the polls were wrong is no substitute for cinching up your belt and knocking on doors, making phone calls and selling conservative ideas and candidates.

With conservative and liberty minded candidates holding down the bottom of the list in this new NBC News/Marist Poll we conservatives must make sure we aren’t being sucked into another election cycle where we have the candidates with the purest hearts, and the worst get out the vote efforts, and by our own failure to sell our ideas and our candidates end up handing the nomination to Chris Christie, Jeb Bush or Paul Ryan.

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