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08-09-09, 09:45 PM #1
Who’s in charge here? According to a Newsmax-Zogby poll, the answer is “no one.” And most Republicans agree: That is not a good thing.
A new poll of likely voters shows that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, along with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, are the preferred choices to lead the Republican Party.
Identifying the GOP’s leader has proved much more difficult than most pundits expected when President Obama took office. So Newsmax went digging and hired respected pollster Zogby International to survey more than 4,300 voters nationwide.
The poll’s voluminous data paints a fascinating portrait of the electoral landscape that includes the views of all key demographics — Democrats, independents, and Republicans.
When likely voters from all parties are asked whom they view as the leader of the GOP, talk-host Rush Limbaugh leads the field with 13.2 percent, followed by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele with 9.4 percent, and Gingrich with 8.8 percent.
Following those three are former Vice President Dick Cheney with 4.6 percent and Sarah Palin with 3.5 percent.
However, the results vary sharply based on party affiliation.
Democrats and independents are much more likely to identify Limbaugh as the GOP’s leader, at 16.6 percent. Among those voters, Gingrich and Steele tie for the No. 2 spot with 6.3 percent each.
Republicans, by contrast, are far less likely to name Rush as their political standard-bearer.
The first name that comes to mind as party leader among Republicans is Steele with 15.8 percent. Gingrich (14.1 percent) and Palin (6.9 percent) also make strong showings.
Only 6.1 percent of Republicans name Limbaugh.
Romney garners only 3.2 percent. But when the question is modified slightly to ask Republicans who should be their leader, Romney zips to right near the top.
Among likely GOP voters, 16.4 percent say Gingrich should be the party leader, 15.2 percent opt for Romney, and 12.9 percent prefer Palin.
The poll also reveals how important Republicans believe it is to have an acknowledged leader.
Nearly 80.7 percent of Republican voters agree that having a clear top dog is important. And nearly half of them — an amazing 47.9 percent — say it is “very important.” That compares with only 68.7 percent of Democrats who say that it is important that Republicans have a recognized leader to speak for them.
Looking beyond who leads the horse race, it is interesting to note that the most common answer when asked who leads the GOP was: “There is no clear GOP leader.”
That was the answer from 47.2 percent of all likely voters. (See accompanying charts for detailed results.) The fact that “no one” outpolled the leading choice by nearly a 4-to-1 margin is a clear indication of the much-ballyhooed leadership crisis that is afflicting the Grand Old Party.
After months of drubbing the party as “regional” and “too narrow,” the mainstream media now carps that no single voice represents the entire Republican tent.
“Who speaks for the GOP?” trumpeted USA Today. “The question flummoxes most Americans . . . which is among the reasons for the party’s sagging state and uncertain direction.”
Many GOP leaders feel reports of their party’s malaise have been greatly exaggerated. USA Today’s editors, for example, presumably are unaware of polls showing Republicans tied or ahead of Democrats on generic ballots, and earning higher scores from voters on their ability to handle the economy, national security, immigration, and government ethics.
Larry J. Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, says the GOP leadership vacuum simply reflects long-established political trends.
“I can’t re-member a time when a defeated party had an obvious and universally recognized leader in the first couple of years in the wilderness,” Sabato tells Newsmax. “The Democrats had this problem after they lost in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004, and the GOP displayed the same difficulty after defeats in 1960, 1964, 1976, 1992, and 1996.”
Along the same vein, political scientists say that it would be odd if an ousted Republican Party, shown the exit at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. after eight years in power, already had an agreed-upon champion to take on the Democrats.
As for the political hand-wringing of the chattering class, Sabato has seen it all before.
“The more things change, the more we see the same old political patterns recycled,” Sabato explains. “It isn’t at all unusual that Republicans appear rudderless, and that instead of one obvious leader, the public hears a cacophony.”
In fact, interludes when the GOP faithful marched to a single chieftain are fondly remembered as heydays. That’s why mere mention of the Reagan years and the 1994 Gingrich Revolution trigger paroxysms of nostalgia at GOP gatherings.
Then there’s the question of whether a party in transition really needs a Mosaic figure. Many pundits believe the GOP’s Babel will generate ideas that will fuel the next era of conservative political dominance. And why not sit back and let the other folks shoulder the incumbents’ burden of infallibility for a while?
“Republicans are counting on the Obama administration to disintegrate, to disappoint, very rapidly and very spectacularly, and a big popular movement of unhappiness with the administration to coalesce,” former Bush speechwriter David Frum told USA Today.
If that happens, the leadership issue probably will take care of itself. But most Republican insiders tell Newsmax it’s important for the party to find its supreme leader sooner rather than later.
“Nature abhors a vacuum, and there is no vacuum in nature as empty as the leadership of the Republican Party today,” quips conservative direct-marketing guru Richard Viguerie.
A tireless critic of those who would sacrifice long-term political principles for short-term political gains, Viguerie says that commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage “are seen as the de facto leaders of the Republican Party for a simple reason today: Republican elected officials and party officers are seen as weak, directionless, passionless, visionless, and principle-less.”
While installing a GOP top dog is not “a necessity,” Viguerie tells Newsmax that having one “can guide and help focus the party’s message.”
And members of the GOP rank and file are not comfortable with the leadership limbo, the Newsmax-Zogby poll indicates. An overwhelming 80.7 percent of Republican voters say having a leader is “very or somewhat important.” That compares with just 17.6 percent who say it’s not that big a deal.
All of which suggests Republicans are facing two important questions: Which way will the party go, and who gets to sit in the driver’s seat?
The fusillade Cheney fired at former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama for president, helped illuminate the battlefield.
“I didn’t know he was still a Republican,” Cheney gibed, after Powell urged Republicans to distance themselves from Limbaugh.
Cheney told Face the Nation: “Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh.”
The GOP’s War of the Roses may shroud a larger issue looming for Republicans: growing numbers of Hispanics and young people crowding into voting booths. Polls show those key demographics have turned sharply away from the GOP in recent years, to the point that Sabato warns the trends could leave America with “a party-and-a-half system, instead of a full two-party system.”
To avoid that fate, someone in the GOP pantheon must step up and grab the steering wheel, most pundits and the GOP faithful agree.
“Today the GOP stands at a crossroads, lost and wandering without a definitive leader who can rally the troops,” says Lt. Col. Allen West, a stalwart conservative and GOP congressional candidate from Florida’s District 22. “What is needed is a principled individual who commands respect even without opening their mouth, an impeccable stature: a person whose record of leadership in trying situations is above reproach and possesses a strategic vision not just for the GOP but for America.”
The GOP’s next big test will be the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia in November, soon followed by the political wrestlemania that ultimately will decide which GOP standard-bearer is chosen to take on President Obama in the next election.
“As we approach the 2012 presidential election, and someone moves toward the nomination, this problem will resolve itself,” Sabato says confidently.
Veteran political strategist and commentator Roger Stone concurs.
“The Republican Party’s public image cannot be changed or remolded without a leader or leaders the public identifies with,” he says. “That is not Cheney, Limbaugh, or Gingrich — all of whom are voices of the past and none of whom is a viable or plausible candidate for president.
“The party will be remade in the image of its 2012 candidate,” Stone adds, “or not at all.”
08-09-09, 10:27 PM #2
I'll never trust Romney.Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.
That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.
If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.
I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones
Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman
08-09-09, 10:45 PM #3
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway
The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Five-0" on Officerresource.com
08-09-09, 10:45 PM #4
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