The Los Angeles Times had an interesting -- but completely wrong -- article in its June 17 online edition entitled, “What type of vice presidential candidate will Romney go for?”
Writer Paul West of The Times’ Washington Bureau covered a bit of recent presidential history about how various presidential candidates allegedly made their choices for running mate. However, most of the article was spent selling the idea that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would make a “conventional choice.”
In other words, Governor Romney should and would choose another moderate establishment Republican to join him on the ticket this fall.
The idea that the moderate former Governor of Massachusetts needs a conservative on the ticket to unify the Republican vote behind his candidacy was dismissed in one short sentence:
“Romney may not feel a need to balance the ticket with a strict conservative now that polls show strong support for him among Republican voters.”
Given the L.A. Times’ liberal bent it is understandable that the paper’s writers might not understand how Republicans win presidential elections, but you would think the various Republican “strategists” and Romney campaign insiders would get the picture by now.
Apparently not, since all of the named and unnamed sources for the articled argued directly or indirectly against Governor Romney choosing a conservative to join him on the ticket.
For the record, here’s how Republicans have won five of the past seven presidential elections: unify all of the elements of the conservative coalition behind a candidate running on conservative issues.
So-called moderate Republicans are, at best, 20 percent of the Republican vote, and when moderate establishment Republicans dominated the Party, Republicans routinely lost presidential elections and were a powerless minority on Capitol Hill.
Republicans began winning and growing their way to the status of a majority Party only when they embraced the traditional three-legs of the conservative movement: fiscal conservatives, strong defense conservatives and social conservatives.
That is the coalition that twice elected Ronald Reagan and won five of the past seven presidential elections. And when Republicans don’t run as conservatives and govern as conservatives, they lose.
Now the three-legged coalition of Ronald Reagan has been broadened by the addition of the constitutional conservatives of the Tea Party. Working together, the four legs of this new conservative coalition have created a powerful political movement whose energy won what should be a 21st century American political realignment -- the 2010 House elections.
Conservatives look to Governor Romney’s choice of running mate as an indication that he shares their commitment to small government constitutional principles. Choosing a running mate who has unquestioned credibility as a small government constitutional conservative is a vital step toward building conservative enthusiasm for the Romney candidacy.
Given the choice between the disastrous and dangerous Barack Obama and a moderate Republican, of course most conservatives are going to vote for the moderate Republican. However, to generate the enthusiasm Governor Romney needs to win the presidency, he must choose someone who will unite the various elements at the grassroots of the Party.
Although L.A. Times writers may not appreciate the point, the conservative movement makes up the majority of the Republican Party. Judging by the quotes in the paper’s recent article, Governor Romney’s advisors may not understand that to win, they need to energize conservatives, not just get their votes on Election Day. To energize conservatives, the Romney campaign must choose a principled small government constitutional conservative as his vice presidential nominee -- one that conservatives see as a conservative, not someone who the media thinks is “safe,” but who conservatives won’t accept as one of their own.