Originally Posted by Baby Lee
If a fiscally sound candidate is socially conservative as well, then he's a religious wingnut. AND if a fiscally sound candidate is socially liberal or even moderate in one aspect, then they liberal chattering class pound pound POUND how he's not a real conservative.
'Oh no, Giuliani has gay friends.'
'Oh no, Huntsman believes in global warming.'
'Oh no, Rubio is Mexican or something.'
'Oh no, Gingrich has been divorced!!'
Mind, these are not conservative complaints. THey are liberal taunts.
And the tragedy is that conservatives hear this and get cold feet.
Interesting insights, Baby Lee.
I actually don't think social issues matter as much to the conservative base these days -- I think they've been replaced by what we'll call the Obama Litmus Test.
This leads me to my theory about this weak-ass crop of GOPers who ran for POTUS, but I invite you to correct me since you're closer to the party's philosophies than I am.
My theory: the Obama Litmus Test has replaced social conservativism and even economic conservativism in the GOP.
Anything Obama does is bad in the eyes of conservatives, therefore if you're in favor of anything he's done, share positions with him, or have worked with him, you're a bad conservative.
The problem is that Obama has embraced what most people consider a center-left path (I'd consider it center-right, but I understand that no Republican/conservative in this forum will ever agree with me on that). The stimulus package was centrist. Healthcare reform was centrist. Instituting a bevy of new regulations to create barriers in the financial industry to help prevent another crash... centrist. Obama's jobs plan that was shot down, centrist. Cap and trade, centrist. These were all ideas that, for the majority of modern American life, were embraced by at least a good number of Republicans. But once Obama became President, they became bad, and standing up for them is bad.
So since a lot of the center (and in some cases, center-right) policy territory has been claimed by Obama, and that's inherently bad, immediately a bunch of your center-right candidates can't run, included in that is Chris Christie or Jon Huntsman. (And, honestly, Romney, who basically won this primary by default.) And your smarter rightwing candidates don't run because that philosophy historically doesn't fare well in a general election, and they're smart enough to keep their political capital before burning it in an unlikely run for the White House.
So you end up with a bunch of unacceptable fringe candidates like Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cains, a few never-weres like Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich. Because anybody towards the middle is going to share more positions with Obama, which cannot be tolerated anymore in the GOP base.
Anyway, that's my take -- I wanted to see if anybody shared it but mainly I wanted to see why exactly the GOP ended up with the crop that it did this year.