Now that the first quarter of political "flag football" is in the books and winners and losers have been sorted out in Iowa and New Hampshire, it's time to move on to more meaningful contests. The ruckus in the caucus state was more about "face time" and "grip-and-grin" opportunities with the folks but served a useful purpose. All y'all Paul supporters can be proud of Ron's run even though he has no chance of being the GOP candidate.
Paul is a consistent supporter of fiscal responsibility but some of his other views leave us scratching our heads. The next GOP presidential candidate will be under 70, will have broad experience and will appeal to conservatives, as well as moderates and independents. Representative Paul has none of these attributes. In addition to party cohesiveness, the GOP faces other problems.
There is plenty to be concerned about before the November election. Sure, it's early and there's no need to reveal all of their strategy for the presidential race, but the preliminaries seem to be more confusing than clarifying. There was so much fuss made over the Iowa caucus, which supposedly gives an indication of future outcomes, but in fact it has only a 50-50 success record at best. The state has comparatively few electoral votes and it's a wonder many of the candidates invest time there. A wiser use of candidates' time and the party's time would be developing a cohesive message and a strategy to win the White House.
Perhaps the greatest concern should be party unity. It remains to be seen if various factions among Republicans can come together behind the eventual candidate. There is opportunity for a split or even a third-party candidate, which would doom GOP chances of winning the presidency.
Other areas of concern are the influence of bias in the mainstream media on voters, an unforeseen international crisis that helps a sitting president, and the fact that independents and moderates won't support an extreme right candidate.
The GOP has limited ability to affect the mainstream media, but can work to prevent a repeat of the 2008 "lemming-like" response of the MSM to candidate Barack Obama. It is now a proven fact that as president, he is merely human. A more subtle bias in the MSM is expected this time by news anchors and "journalists" who support the Obama administration. A repeat of the media's 2008 love affair with the Democratic candidate would just be downright "tacky." Networks will hopefully use a little caution in how they slant the news and at least a modicum of objectivity. Opinions should be labeled as such and not as news. Republicans must have a plan to overcome media bias and respond to preferential treatment. They must have an aggressive campaign to track media bias and let the American public know of the dangers of same. Most of us would rather make our own choices rather than have the media make it for us.
Statements that any Republican candidate is better than Obama and could defeat him may sound good, and while possibly true, may not be realistic. A victory for Republicans is not a done deal. It's of small comfort that during the current administration the words "ineptocracy" and "thugocracy" have been coined. Far more important is that the GOP put forth solid and sensible plans for the future of this country.
The Republican Party must be able to articulate the shortcomings of the Obama administration without being personal. They must have a message of American values that the whole country can identify with.
They would do well to take a lesson from Newt Gingrich and make the most of limited funds. The right message will do more for the GOP than bucket loads of campaign cash. They must call the Democrats on false statements and distortions of fact.
Most importantly, they must be united behind the best candidate, and not concerned about finding the "perfect" candidate. Of all the hoopla, slogans, speeches, sound bites, and gotcha moments that came out of the Iowa caucus, the most honest and relevant is three little words, "Believe in America," thanks to Mitt Romney. These words cause us to remember our American spirit, an attribute that has helped us overcome any number of calamities, disasters, and conflicts. This reflects the reality that America is a center-right country. If the GOP can work like they know this and work together cohesively they will win in November, and so will the country.
Reynolds lives in Pleasant View. He is a retired businessman and member of the Kiwanis Club of North Ogden.