Will Social Conservatives Have Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

Bookmark and Share Although it is far too early to define the still emerging Republican field of potential 2012 presidential candidates, it is safe to say that at this point in time, it is a much more broadly conservative field than we saw in 2008. Right now, while names like Daniels, Romney Gingrich and Barbour are top tier candidates who have records that, whether social conservatives realize it or not, have great merit and should have great appeal to them, an endless slate of names which come directly out of the social conservative movement is producing an extremely crowded field of political battle. Currently such perspective names in this area include Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jim DeMint. A second tier in this category includes Buddy Roemer, Bob Riley, Herman Cain, and most recently, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, the judge who was thrown off the bench because he refused to uphold an appellate ruling that ordered him to remove a statue of the ten commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

Now while it is almost certain that not all of these names will make it to the starting line and even fewer will make it much further past the starting blocks, it is more than obvious that this field of potential Republican presidential candidates is much further to the right than we saw in 2008. That is a good thing, or at least it should be. Especially if the catalyst that moves it to the right is based on fiscal conservatism. But even on social issues, a lurch to the right is a good thing. Part of social conservatism should be support for the values of individualism as opposed to federalism, independence as opposed to bureaucratic tyranny, responsibility rather than dependence, defense of religion instead of offense against religion. All of these beliefs are a part of social conservatism, or at least they should be. So for that reason, I believe that both economic and movement conservatism is a great thing.

But with the endless amount of religious fundamentalists entering into exploratory presidential committees and thinking about entering into such ventures, I cant help but recall that even Noah did not stock his ark with only one breed of any animal. Noah knew that the future of the animal kingdom and of life as we knew it, relied on including all breeds, all types and strains of animal life. Yet right now, in the ark of Republican presidential candidates, we are finding our stalls filled with predominantly religious right, social conservatives. And to compound that point, a specific genus of social conservatives has begun to stock the stalls.. Southern conservatives. The latest count is at eight.

Now before anyone starts writing in and accusing me of being a liberal with prejudices against Southerners, think again. One of my top tier choices happens to be Haley Barbour and correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think you can get much more Southern than Haley and you will be hard pressed to find a more conservative Republican than him. In addition to that, as someone who goes by the online pseudo name of Kempite, I am a self-described, bleeding-heart, Jack Kemp conservative. Have been all of my life, or at least since my political passions were sparked by the campaign and presidency of Ronald Reagan at the age of 12.

So I am not knocking conservatives and I am not belittling the potential candidacy of any conservative aspiring to run for President. But what I am questioning is the potential that exists for splintering the social conservative base and diluting the movements influence over who the Republican presidential nominee is.

From a strategic point, social conservatives are not helping themselves with a field of fourteen zealots who can divide support among the base and along regional and state lines. I mean right now, with the emergence of Roy Moore, even Alabama has the chance to see its primary divided between two favorite sons.. Moore and Bob Riley. And dont think for a moment that Haley Barbour and or Mike Huckabee cant get a few votes from both of them.

The proliferation of social conservative and Southern social conservative presidential candidates in 2012 is something which the religious right and movement conservatives across the nation need to think about before the primaries and caucuses begin. If this segment of the G.O.P. hopes to have any significant influence in choosing the 2012 Republican nominee, they are going to need to rally around a specific name or two rather than divide themselves among a dozen or two names. If they fail to do so, they will be providing a perfect opportunity for a candidate like Jon Huntsman, Jr. or even a Rudy Giuliani, to walk up the middle and become the G.O.P.s next John McCain.

I personally dont mind this split. Again, not because I am anything but conservative fundamentalist, but because I believe the religious right in our Party is marginalizing themselves by shunning people like Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels, and even Newt Gingrich. It is my belief that social conservatives have great friends in all these men. Yet because of what are somewhat superficial reasons, they object to these names. Romney is a Mormon, Mitch Daniels wants to concentrate on the fiscal crisis, Newt Gingrich is divorced. But for me, the more Huckabees, Bachmanns, Cains, Roemers, Moores, Santorums, and Rileys, they divide their support among the social conservatives, the better chance that their less favored Daniels, Romneys, Gingrichs and even Haley Barbours have at winning the nomination. So I dont mind. But they might.

But even if the records of Romney, Daniels, Barbour or Gingrich, fail to inspire social conservatives and they continue to divide their support among a dozen other religious, or defense of marriage or Right-to-Life agents, we still run the risk of losing both the opportunity to nominate a social conservative for President and to elect such a President. The inordinate amount of movement conservatives running, is going to cause many candidates to portray themselves as more conservative than the next. Each one will try to go further to the right of the other. And at some point it will be hard for the winner to not be believably portrayed as an extremist and to avoid being painted as too radical in the general election.

This is not to say that our ultimate nominee shouldnt be a true conservative of both social and fiscal values. But it does suggest that with such a large number of social conservatives competing, the rhetoric used in the campaign must be carefully parsed. Conservatism is one thing, but extremism is another. President Obama has delivered extremism and it has not exactly increased his popularity. So while Barry Goldwaters words about extremism in the defense of liberty not being a vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice not being a virtue, are true, radicalism in the name of elections is certain defeat.

So there are two things for us as Republicans to think about here. How many candidates are we willing to divide the delicate marriage between social and fiscal conservatives by? Then we must ask ourselves how far we are willing to go before we become the type of radical extremists that we claim President Obama and the Democrat Party leadership and apparatus to be? To answer that question, the candidates in the race must allow ideological fervor to be tempered by constitutional legitimacy. They must allow the United States Constitution to interpret their ideological positions into a practical application of government that allows for constitutionally limited government. We can go as far to the right as we want, so long as the Constitution prevents us from turning religion into legislation and so long as it protects the rights of all, without discriminating against the rights of some. Moving to the right will not be a problem at all, so long as we remember that while our ideology is important, the Constitution is what must shape how it is applied to federal governance and how far it can be taken into the lives of every American. That is a message that the TEA Party movement sent in 2010 and you can expect them to echo that same sentiment in 2012.

Bookmark and Share

Mike Pence’s Email Announcement to Supporters

Bookmark and Share

Below is the email in which Congressman Mike Pence announced to his supporters that he will not be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012Friends and Supporters,

Over the past few months, my family and I have been grateful for the encouragement we have received to consider other opportunities to serve our state and our nation in the years ahead.

We have been especially humbled by the confidence and support of those who believe we should pursue the presidency, but after much deliberation and prayer, we believe our calling is closer to home.

The highest office I will ever hold is husband and father. As a family, we feel led to devote this time in our lives to continuing to serve the people of Indiana in some way.

In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana. We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

In every major decision in my life, I have learned to follow my heart, and my heart is in Indiana. Karen and I love this state: the highways and byways, the small towns and courthouse squares, the big cities and corn fields. We love the strong and good people of this state and feel a debt of gratitude to those who have sustained our work with their steadfast support and prayers.

After years of falling behind, Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other time in my life. Those of us who serve Indiana in Congress and in the Statehouse have a unique opportunity to advance the interests of Hoosiers. As Governor Daniels has rightly observed, there is important work to be done in Indianapolis and Washington, and it’s time to focus on the task at hand.

In the months ahead, as we attend to our duties in Congress, we will also be traveling across the state to listen and learn about how Hoosiers think we might best contribute in the years ahead. After taking time to listen to Hoosiers, we will make a decision later this year about what role we will seek to play.

Public service requires humility, patience and discipline to pursue what matters most. To save this nation, men and women of integrity and insistent conservative vision must step forward and serve where they can make the most difference. While we may have been able to seek the presidency, we believe our best opportunity to continue to serve the conservative values that brought us to public life is right here in Indiana.

For now, permit us to simply say “thank you.” In the wake of such encouragement, we have often thought to ask, “who am I, Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”

Thanks to all those who took time to offer earnest counsel and advice.

Thanks to all who took time to express encouragement from across the state and across the country. And thank you for the prayers of so many faithful friends.Indiana can lead the nation back to fiscal responsibility, reform and strong families.

As we achieve an even better Indiana for our children and grandchildren, we will continue to be a model for a better and stronger America.

Sincerely,

Mike Pence

Columbus, Indiana
Bookmark and Share

Mike Pence Not Running for President

Bookmark and Share Indiana Congressman Mike Pence is said to be making his announcement regarding a run for President or maybe for Governor of Indiana instead, on Thursday. But today Roll Call reports that the influential conservative Representative is not likely to run for President.

Jerry Alexander, Pences former Political Director told Roll Call

Theres a 100 percent chance that hes not going to announce a run for president,.

The Indianapolis Star is said to be posting Pences decision after 7 p.m. Eastern time.

The decision to not run for President would more than likely mean that Mike Pence will in fact seek to replace outgoing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who is term limited. This would follow the logic behind a schedule for the Congressman that has him attending 9 different Lincoln Day dinners for Indiana Republican county organizations.

A decision by Pence to not run for President will mark one of the first moves by a major potential player in the Republican field and have a likely impact on the decisions of several others who are considering a bid for the Republican Presidential nomination. The now unlikely presidential candidacy of Mike Pence also leaves a segment of social conservatives now having to look elsewhere for a champion of values. One of the most interesting questions will be what the supporters of Mike Pence will do.

A recent draft Pence movement by the Americas President Committee, could now shift their support elsewhere. Who that would be is still unclear.

UPDATE:

The Star posted the news early with a letter Pence and his wife Karen sent to supporters.

In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana, Pence wrote. We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

Pence said he would decide his next step later this year.

Bookmark and Share

Conservatives “Amp It Up” in Draft Mike Pence for President Movement

Bookmark and Share In an email to supporters of Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, Ralph Benko, the coordinator of the Americas President Committee, tells Pences fans to amp it up and demand that Mike Pence run for President.

The email goes on to point out how momentum for the draft Pence effort is building and gaining prominent supporters. It reads;

Conservative leaders and icons like former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and conservative icons such as Richard Viguerie, Brent Bozell and Morton Blackwell are not just joining with Rep. Ryun and me. They are using their influence to rally others to the Mike Pence cause.

Benko also reminds people to sign up with the draft effort at http://theconservativechampion.org and to join the efforts Facebook page.

Pence faces a tough decision that will force him to give up his safe seat in the House of Representatives at the end of 2012. He can either decalre himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana, to replace outgoing Governor Mitch Daniels, or he can throw himself in to the presidential sweepstakes.

Bookmark and Share

Mike Pence Comes Closer to a Decision on a run for President

Bookmark and Share Indiana Rep. Mike Pence spent time addressing the Indiana state legislature and in his remarks he offered some hints about a run for Governor of Indiana. But he also gave those who would like to see him run for President, some hope.

The Congressman stated Were certainly hearing encouragement from our friends here at the Statehouse in various ways,” He added “I’ve heard as many people encourage us to consider coming home to Indiana as I have people who pulled me alongside and said, ‘Keep the national campaign in mind.

Reporting for the Indy Star, Mary Beth Schneider writes:

Those who expect Pence, R-Columbus, to run for governor may have been heartened by his statement to lawmakers that “the states hold the promise of the future.”

Those who are pushing him instead to run for the White House in 2012 may focus in on his call for a “new federalism” — which sounded like a budding presidential slogan.

As for which race Pence is actually running in he stated “I certainly know where I’m leaning, but I haven’t made any decision.”

That decision is suppose to come by the end of this month. It would certainly provide him with the time he needs to catch up to others who have already privately made their decision. If Pence decides to run for President, he will be the first to do so officially.. A strategy that could work to his benefit.

Bookmark and Share

America’s President Committee Launches A Draft Mike Pence Campaign

Bookmark and Share Back in September, White House 2012 posted a piece on Mike Pence which mentioned that Mike Pence has a Jack Kemp-like following. Well today, that following declared that Mike Pence extraordinarily exemplifies the optimistic, pro-growth, pro-job creation Reagan-Kemp wing of the GOP and subsequently launched the America’s President Committee, an entity designed to mount a draft effort to encourage Pence to run for President.

Ralph Benko

Leading the charge is self described populist conservative, Ralph Benko, a former deputy counsel to President Ronald Reagan. Benko is also a columnist for Townhall.com and a senior advisor to the American Principles Project and a principal of the public affairs firm, Capital City Partners, LLC. He is also a member of the TEA Party Patriots

In a Monday morning statement, Benko declares;

Grass-roots conservatives, Republicans, the tea party and populists are looking for a man or woman of principle who can champion and unite the newly energized and engaged citizenry,

He adds;

Mike Pence is the best choice to lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity.”

One of the first most notable names to join the draft Pence effort is former Kansas Congressman Jim Ryan. He plans on helping the campaign to collect signatures.

Pence is planning a run for something other than reelection to the House of Representatives in 2012. After the GOP took control of the House in the 2010 midterms, he gave up his leadership role in the important House Republican policy committee. Pence stated that other endeavors would preclude him from being able to devote the amount of time that such a leadership position demands. Many suspect that those other endeavors are either a run for Governor of Indiana or for President.

If Pence were to give up his safe House seat for one or the other, giving it up for the Governors mansion would be a much

Mike Pence

safer bet than a run for President. Pence lacks some of the name ID of other potential candidates and would have a tough time gaining traction. At least at first. He would also have a tough time if Indianas outgoing Governor, Mitch Daniels, decided to run.

But with the Republican field currently wide open, Pence cant be written off if he did decide to run for the Republican presidential nomination. He does have an active support system within the GOPs conservative base and an ability to articulate a positive conservative message that will resonate. At the moment, Pence is benefiting from what is a late start of the campaign for the Republican nomination. Many big names are putting off an official decision until April. Potential candidates like Mitt Romney feel that his January 3rd, campaign kickoff in 2007, was too early for the 2008 elections and caused him to peak too early. Others like Mitch Daniels are waiting for the end of their state legislative sessions before they make a decision. And still others are waiting to hear what other names like Sarah Palin are doing.

For my part, I have been waiting for the draft movements to begin. There has already been a large number of such groups for candidates like Herman Cain, Sarah Palin and many others. But to date, the America’s President Committee effort for Mike Pence is one of the highest profile draft efforts to date.

But believe me, there will be more to come for many other names.

Bookmark and Share

Speculation Over Pence’s Potential Presidetial Campaign Picks Up

Bookmark and Share With Republicans emboldened by some of their largest gains ever in state legislative races and the House of Representatives, the field of those considering and planning a run for the Republican presidential nomination is growing everyday. Even greater than the growing field of actual Republican contenders is the field of pundits predicting and speculating about some who are not really giving the 2012 presidential election serious consideration. Somewhere in between these two categories lies Indiana Congressman Mike Pence.

With popular Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels entering his final year in office, Mike Pence is largely seen as his most likely Republican successors. After Republicans took back control of the House, Pence did indeed forego a leadership role in the new Congress because of other tasks which he stated would preclude him from devoting the amount of time that such leadership roles deserve. This has been taken to mean that he will be campaigning. But for what?

Among movement conservatives, Pence proves to be popular. In September of 2010, he won a straw poll of those in attendance at the annual Values Voters Summit, defeating even Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. And at home, Indiana polls show Pence to be just as popular. But the question becomes which area of popularity can the Congressman parlay into an election victory?

In a field of hard hitting presidential contenders with the likes of Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour and Sarah Palin, people who can draw crowds and big bucks, Pence is likely to have quite a difficult time being assured of the Republican presidential nomination and then the presidency. But at home in Indiana, he has an inside track for his Partys gubernatorial nomination and a great chance of defeating any of the weak Democrat challengers he is likely to face.

If Pence runs for either President or Governor, he will have to give up his seat in the House at the end of this term and so the question then becomes, which bet is worth giving up his safe congressional seat for?

Pence recently scheduled a slew of events for himself to headline at in Indiana. This sent pundits on to the gubernatorial storyline. But now Pence is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at an invitation-only conservative Awakening Conference in the ever important early primary state of South Carolina, turning the storyline back to a possible presidential bid.

In the end, expect Mike Pence to allow the speculation about a run for President to increase. Pence will accept each and every invitation that will help build him up as a potential Commander-In-Chief. Why not?

The more stature he gains a possible president, the more palatable it will be for Indiana voters to find him fit to govern their state. Add to that the fact that incumbent Presidents are reelected much more often then not and what you have is a smart politician who is looking to the future by preparing to become the Governor of Indiana and waiting for the speculation about 2016 to begin after the next presidential election, when pundits start reminiscing about all the talk their was regarding incumbent Governor Pences aborted presidential race in 2012.

In the meantime, while most the talk about Pences intentions will be guesswork, there will be no need for guesswork when it comes to what he will be doing during the course of his next year and half in the House of Representatives. There Pence will be a strong and vocal deficit hawk who will willingly stand up to the House Republican leadership and oppose them whenever he can move to the right of them and prove his strong independent streak to the voters of Indiana.

Unless the declared field of Republican candidates proves to be devoid of any of the big name suspects and unless Mike Pence is under the misconception that he can out-fund and out-campaign them, it is unlikely for Pence to run for President. He may play the speculation out for all that its worth and go as far as announcing an exploratory committee and utilizing a 501-4C, but not so far as making a presidential candidacy official. As far as this writer for White House 2012 is concerned, the only question to come out of Indiana in regards to the 2012 presidential cycle, is if outgoing Governor Mitch Daniels is running for President, not Mike Pence.

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: