Alexander's Column

Memo to GOP Contenders: Cut the Crap!

By Mark Alexander · Oct. 20, 2011
“If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads…we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.” –Thomas Jefferson, 1811

With the most recent GOP presidential primary “debate” just concluded, it’s clear that the frontrunner is none other than … you guessed it, Barack Hussein Obama. The incessant bickering bullpucky and petty assaults among most of the GOP wannabes is undoubtedly a source of great glee for the Obama campaign. That infighting, and the fact that Obama’s adoring Leftmedia sycophants are promoting the GOP candidates they believe Obama can most readily defeat, largely account for the GOP candidate poll standings – and are keeping Obama in the lead.

The intraparty rancor among the GOP candidates, both on and off the debate stage, is the direct result of archaic advice from the old-school network of Beltway political and media consultants relying upon their worn-out primary playbooks. Apparently they all missed the “Tea Party” message of the midterm elections beyond the Beltway Bubble, which heralded a new breed of conservatives and a new House majority.

Of course, it will take more than one election cycle to purge all the establishment Republicans from the House and Senate – those who still exercise considerable control over Congress. I’m concerned, however, that the Republic may not have enough election cycles remaining to restore Liberty, especially if the Republican presidential hopefuls don’t clean up their act. On their current self-destructive course, they’ll readily hand re-election to Obama.

In 1966, Ronald Reagan adopted for primary candidates what his California Republican chairman labeled “The Eleventh Commandment”: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Two years earlier, an outstanding conservative, Barry Goldwater, had lost his presidential bid to liberal Democrat Lyndon Johnson only after Goldwater was attacked by East Coast establishment Republicrats like Nelson Rockefeller, who labeled him an “extremist” and declared him unfit for the presidency.

Recall that Reagan delivered the defining speech of the modern conservative movement in support of Barry Goldwater in ‘64, on ground laid by conservatives Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley. Had Goldwater won that campaign, the American political landscape would look very different today. Absent would be Johnson’s “Great Society” government programs, which were the model for Obama’s advanced breed of Democrat Socialists.

In subsequent campaigns, including his two presidential elections, Ronald Reagan abided by that 11th Commandment, unless defending himself, and he set an outstanding course for American renewal. But most of the current crop of GOP contenders is too busy hacking at each other to take a lesson from history. Of course, it took an individual of Reagan’s character and stature to rise above the pettiness and egomaniacal ambition that now besieges the GOP field.

Prior to these recent debates, I sent (via emissaries) this simple message to each Republican contender: “As publisher of the most widely read conservative grassroots publication on the Internet, here is some advice from outside the Beltway. If you want to win the 2012 presidential primary, STOP attacking your Republican opponents and START talking about what you will do as president to restore constitutional integrity, free enterprise, national defense, family values and America’s standing around the world. This is a different election cycle from those in past decades, and the old formulas for debates should be discarded. I beg you to abide by Reagan’s 11th commandment and stop attacking your opponent’s record and focus on your own … on what you can and will do as president. American Patriots want to learn about you, not about how effectively your campaign handlers can prepare you to attack other Republicans. The political paradigm has changed, and if your media and PR consultants do not comprehend that change, the result might well be the re-election of Barack Hussein Obama.”

One of the candidates responded accordingly. Though already written off as unelectable by the media, in my opinion he would eviscerate Obama in “mano y mano” debate.

I won’t mention him by name, because there isn’t a GOP contestant whom I consider the “ideal candidate,” and I don’t want it to be inferred that I believe any of the current candidates fit that bill. (I believe Ronald Reagan was the most outstanding conservative president of the past century, but I certainly don’t think he was flawless – and neither did he.)

Those of us who have observed presidential campaigns for decades know that there is no “perfect candidate” in the current lineup, one who will be capable of, in the words of my colleague Cal Thomas, “delivering us from our collective economic, social and foreign policy 'sins’ and bring redemption to a nation from the consequences of too many wrong-headed choices.” Thomas adds, “Perhaps a Republican president with a 60-vote, veto-proof Senate majority and an expanded House majority might be able to revolutionize government, but only if squishy Republicans in both bodies went along, which seems problematic, especially on big issues.”

However, if GOP contenders don’t stop attacking each other, none of them will even have the chance to correct the course of our nation.

Fortunately, two of the GOP candidates have clearly upheld Reagan’s 11th commandment in each of the debates, and every other contender should heed their example.

During the Reagan Presidential Foundation debate, one of the two chastised moderator John Harris for his bald-faced attempt to stir intraparty arguments: “Well, I’m frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other. … I for one, and I hope all of my friends up here, am going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama who deserves to be defeated. And all of us are committed as a team, whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama.”

In the most recent debate, he chastised CNN pretty boy Anderson Cooper: “Maximizing bickering is probably not the road to the White House. And the technique you’ve used maximizes going back and forth over and over again.”

Unfortunately, the rest of the candidates seem unwilling to rise above the pettiness.

Beyond the bickering, none of the candidates has given more than peripheral attention to the most pressing issue of the current era – the restoration of constitutional integrity – though I know a couple of them certainly place that task above all others. Perhaps their handlers have convinced them that the American people are just too dullard to participate in a more substantive national debate about constitutional authority and the First Principles of Liberty. However, in reality most of today’s Beltway politicos couldn’t begin to articulate the distinction between Rule of Law and rule of men, and the implications for Liberty, and thus are not prepared to integrate that into their campaign template.

That notwithstanding, there is a growing legion of conservatives who are, first and foremost, concerned about the abject violation of the limits that our Constitution places upon the central government. These constitutional conservatives, who were largely responsible for seating a House majority in 2010, are poised to increase that majority, and seat a Senate majority, in 2012.

Fact is, almost twice as many Americans self-identify as “conservative” than as “liberal,” but apparently that stat hasn’t made it across the Potomac, where establishment Republicans still exercise the greatest influence.

Some 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wisely advised, “If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.” Some 2000 years ago, the wisest of all men advised: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

Democrats are masters of “divide-and-conquer” strategies. The GOP candidates best rise above the impetuous rancor and use the next debate to unite the plurality of conservatives for the single purpose of defeating Obama. In the words of that old sage, Ben Franklin, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

In the meantime, conservatives must reject the Leftmedia pollaganda promoting the media choice for the GOP ticket. For more on the GOP field, visit The Patriot Post’s campaign resource page, where we’ve compiled all the 2012 presidential candidate links as well as debate transcripts and videos.

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316 Comments

wjm in Colorado said:

Gingrich was the one to chastise the moderation of the debates. Perry was childish and petulant in his attack on Romney for hiring an illegal alien, and hypocritical when he gives illegals in state tuition. Herman Cain spent his time defending the only plan that has been out in public for all to see. The rest have only claimed to have a plan that is available on a web site. If you can't explain your plan in a debate, and it can only be viewed on a web site,then it is probably too complicated for the sheeple to grasp as well. Cain has a plan that can be a starting point for a great effort in reforming our tax code and getting government out of the way. If the others want to attack they bettter bring something to the table or get out of the fight. Cain and Gingrich might be the best of the candidates, and one of the two should be the nomination, and maybe the other as VP. Get rid of the establishment (Romney), the conservative wannabe (Perry), the who is that guy attacking the others (Santorum), and my plan on the website is going to create jobs, but I can't explain that right now, but I'm your next president (Bachman), and the fiscal genious but crazy foreign policy idiot (Paul). All have some good ideas, lets get them together in a coherent simple plank that America can get behind, and get the Marxist treasonous regime out of Washington.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Crawford said:

The media has set up the debates and the format which are designed to pit candidates against each other. Why do we need another 12 debates? This is an unprecedented format and allows liberal news commentators to bait candidates to attack each other by the choice of questions. Why do we allow the left leaning news media to control the process of selecting a republican presidential candidate?

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Terri M said:

I certainly hope these candidates will listen to you, Mark. How embarrassing! We can, and need to be bigger than this. How can anyone take use seriously if we aren't?

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Txconfederate said:

RON PAUL...2012

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Brad said:

When the "message" went "deliverable", the "next in line" "I've paid my dues" Romney becomes the front runner. Unless we do a gut check and coalesce around a true Constitutional conservative, it is his to lose. Then how do those who helped gain the house vote in 2012? Notice that he (Romney) doesn't get above 25% or so, fascinating.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Fred said:

EVERYI moderator has led the debaters in the direction of personal fighting. I think (as you labeled him) pretty boy Cooper did his job to a "T" and that was to promote disharmary amongst the contenders. Yes the MUST head President Reagans "eleventh commandment" or Obama will "WALK" in 2012.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Gareth Ellzey said:

The debates are rigged by the leftmedia to favor the incumbent (LIBERAL). If our guys don't get their act together and start talking real issues, real solutions instead of schoolyard squabbling, we ain't gonna win.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM

merryblueeyes said:

I concur completely with the sentiments in the article. Romney and Perry were both doing Obama's work in the last debate. While he's been written off from the beginning as having too much personal baggage, Newt Gingritch has the best experience and intellect. He would make mincemeat of Obama in a debate. It is time for many conservatives to remember that in electing a president, they are hiring an employee for an very important job. They are not choosing a spouse. Gingritch should not be discounted. He was a supremely successful Speaker of the House and is an unwavering conservative. I like Cain, but he has no political experience. He might make a good VP to get some, but we'd have someone who knew the ropes in Newt.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Hugh said:

TV wants news. News usually consists of conflict. It should be no surprise that this is the goal of every debate moderator. These candidates MUST rise above the baiting and *clearly* tell the public how they will fix the current problems and work toward a better future.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Jeffersonian said:

Why is everyone so carefully ignoring Gary Johnson? He's the only candidate in the whole pack who doesn't make me queasy. The only one who BELIEVES in LIMITING government.Well, him and Ron Paul, but while Ron is a nice guy with lots of good ideas, he does have a little tinfoil in his hat.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Erick Frenke said:

Is "Patriot Post just another part of the "Ministry of Propaganda"?Why so little... if any mention of the most viable candidate of all?"The Man" with all the answers to Americas problems... I speak of none other than RON PAUL.See www.RonPaul.com

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Craig Lindner said:

I am very disappointed with the rancor between the various Republican candidates during the past three debates. The only bright spot has been Newt. He is the only one that sees what the debate moderators are attempting to do - and he won't play their game. The target should be Obama and his harmful policies - not each other. Keep doing what you're doing Newt!

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Lisa in MD said:

I would say that Newtd, not sure of the spelling of his last name, but I think he could beat BHO.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Jason Davis said:

It seems to me that the only two GOP candidates who are focused on the issues rather than on slamming the other candidates are both from the great state of Georgia. Newt and Herman have done their best to talk about solutions and to follow Reagan's eleventh commandment. And I believe both are fully aware of the limits our Constitution places on the federal government.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Living With Honor said:

Mr. Alexander you nailed it! The Republican establishment is NOT conservative and doesn't want to be. So we need to throw them out. To win 2012, America needs to get behind a radical platform of Congressional term limits (12 years in Congress), a flat tax with minimal deductions (Mortage interest, alimony), elimination of welfare (replaced with workfare set at the minimum wage), a balanced budget amendment, lockdown of our southern border, and a national right to work law. Those planks would make up a landslide platform to start us on our path back to solvency, sanity and unity.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM