Every Bill Eventually Comes Due

I’m occasionally accused of being too gloomy when it comes to America’s future.  That certainly isn’t my intention.  There is some melodrama to my personality, but those who know me well recognize that I’m an optimist at heart.  It was my optimism that blinded me to the strength of the Obama campaign and its victory over Mitt Romney.

Perhaps you’ve been out to a nice dinner lately.  Is it a doomsday prophecy to know that at the end of the meal a bill will be presented?  If you spend on your credit card, is it pessimism or gloom to realize that you must have a plan for paying that charge when the statement comes in the mail?  Of course not.  These are simple economic realities.

I spent years in Catholic seminaries.  From 1983-1986 I studied in Rome, Italy, and resided at the preparatory residence established there by the American bishops of the Catholic Church. It is known as the North American College.  At the time there was a terrible economic situation in Ethiopia.  Because of historic colonial ties, many Ethiopians were immigrating to Italy in search of a better way of life.  Some of my seminary brothers were engaged in ministries to assist them.

A few of those brothers who were particularly justice-minded proposed that some empty rooms in our residence be turned over to a few of the refugees.  They developed a plan for the accommodation of our proposed guests, including their dining and personal-care needs, how they would travel to and from work, and how they would interact with the seminary community.

Then the seminary rector called a mandatory meeting of the entire student body.  I’ll never forget his speech to us.  As we sat there with wide eyes and laudable goals, he began by thanking the community for its commitment to justice.  He recognized the planning committee for its work and he expressed support for their goals of helping the immigrants in need.

Then he asked a simple but demanding question, one that we must also ask.  For affect, he used the native language of the Italian people.  Firmly, but with a gentle tone, he looked at us from his rector’s podium and he asked:  Chi paga?

Whether you put it in Italian or English, it’s just two words:  Chi paga?  Who pays?

The wise among the student body got it.  In our zeal to reach out to those in need, we idealistic seminarians were putting all the burden on the institution.  We expected it to provide free rooms to the needy, and free board as well.  We were talking about spending money belonging to someone else rather than taking on responsibility ourselves.

Another example comes to mind from my childhood.  My brother had friends who liked to work on motors:  cars, lawnmowers, or whatever.  He was always lending my father’s tools to his friends.  That wasn’t a problem except for one thing.  He usually never secured the return of the items that had been lent!  On many a day off, Dad went to the tool box to find that a needed item for a household chore was missing.  “Where is my crescent wrench?” he would ask.  My brother would sheepishly admit that he had lent it to a friend some time back and that it had never been returned.

How easy it is to be careless with the things that we don’t pay for.  How quick we are to demand that the money and efforts of others be spent as we see fit, or worse, that they be spent on us.

This is exactly where we Americans find ourselves at this moment in our national history. Slightly more than half the voters on Tuesday chose to ignore the fiscal insanity of our federal leadership–including more than $16 Trillion of growing debt and the failure to even pass a budget.  Our credit rating has suffered and been cut repeatedly (even as recently as September), yet the debt continues to sore and most of the media give President Obama a pass on the matter.  It is widely expected that in Obama’s second term the debt will reach at least $20 Trillion, and White House data appears to support that expectation.

Half the country has set the course for the other half.  It won’t be a pleasant journey.

Two things seem self-evident.

1.  The trillions of tax dollars spent by Obama and his fellow Democrats were an investment in his re-election.  Millions of Americans voted on Tuesday to keep the benefits coming.  Though I find their thinking to be short-sighted and economically dangerous, I understand why they did it.  49% of us pay no federal income tax.  47% of us live in a household where someone is receiving a government benefit.  The presidential election should have been about long-term economic recovery and the salvaging of American prestige on the international scene.  Instead, it was a vote to keep the presents coming from the Democrats.  The major problem with this particular holiday story is that instead of elves who make toys, Obama Claus pays for his gifts on the backs of the people and businesses that could rescue our economy if given a chance.  They won’t get that chance for four more years.  I see no reason that Obama won’t continue to retard economic expansion with his political extortion.  He will do this by securing the cooperation of the Democrats of the Senate and by making the Republican-controlled House of Representatives look selfish.

2.  Despite the talk of pending disaster when we go over a “fiscal cliff” on January 1st (if the “Bush tax cuts” expire), the fact is that we went over the cliff three days ago.  Ron Paul agrees.  Remember the old saying:  it’s not the fall that kills you–it’s the sudden stop.  We have been racing toward the cliff’s edge for years.  It began under George W. Bush and it has accelerated to frightening proportions in Obama’s first term.  Voting to continue  that dangerous momentum this week, a slim majority of Americans tipped the balance as we sat on the precipice.  We went over the edge and we’re now engaged in a rapid descent.  When we hit rock bottom you won’t have to ask if this is the time or not.  You’ll know.

One way or the other, the bill must always be paid.  Just because government is large, convoluted, and serpentine doesn’t mean that it’s exempt from the laws of economics.  Money today is nothing more than an idea propped upon a hope.  It is created daily by the Federal Reserve and the banks of the nation.  It has more to do with electronic data than with anything of concrete value.

America is broke.  Like people who are broke, that doesn’t mean we can’t get our hands on money.  We can always fool someone into giving us credit.  At this point Americans are just fooling themselves.  Even the wisest spendthrift eventually gets caught.  His credit is cut off and his debt must be addressed.

We don’t have to slam the poor.  We don’t have to abandon a strong military.  We simply have to get serious about fiscal responsibility.  In Washington, they don’t want to do that because it will anger somebody and cost them votes.  This move has been in the political play book a long time.  A slim majority of us fell for it again on Tuesday.

When the bill comes due and the credit card is cut in half, Americans will be forced into fiscal maturity.  It will hurt a great deal more at that time then it would have hurt now.

Even the strongest of pack animals cannot bear all the weight of the world.  Our economy cannot sustain the increased strain being placed upon it by redistribution schemes and taxes.  The pony’s back will eventually break.  It’s no wonder that so many have suggested such a goal from the beginning of the Obama administration.  This idea has a name.  It’s called the Cloward-Piven Strategy and it was first proposed in the 1960s by two ultra-liberal academics.  The idea is to overwhelm the welfare system until it collapses.  Afterward, a system of guaranteed income will be set in its place.  In other words, the socialism that failed in the USSR and Eastern Europe.

While addressing his campaign staff on Wednesday, Obama wept.  They may be tears of joy as well as disbelief.  Who could have imagined that any single president could do so much damage and still be re-elected to a second term?

Obama’s dream of the “fundamental transformation of America” is only half finished.  Even he is probably shocked that he gets four more years to bring it to completion.

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GOP Steam Builds for Romney

Opening my email in box this morning, I was greeted with several alerts from Fox News:  Romney takes Connecticut; Romney takes Delware; Romney takes Rhode Island; Romney takes Pennsylvania; Romney takes New York.  In the first week of this blog (November 2011) I predicted that Romney would be the GOP nominee.  Seems I was right when I went out on that particular limb.  But all is not sweetness and light for the Republican party.

Newt Gingrich continues his verbal assault.  Ron Paul still attracts hordes of supporters.  Rick Santorum has not endorsed Romney, and in a recent mailout recently admitted that he’s truly frightened “to think what’ll happen if Mitt Romney is the nominee.”  This is in spite of the fact that the press is calling the Romney victory in Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania a landslide.  News has leaked that Romney and Santorum will be meeting in the first week of May, but even if the former senator from Pennsylvania does endorse Romney, I predict that it won’t come with much enthusiasm.

The liberal, pro-Obama, dyed-in-the-Democrat-wool press will paint this as a problem for the Republican party, and in a sense they will be correct.  But it’s a bigger problem for America.  We need a real choice in this presidential race and, sadly, we’re not going to get it.  I do believe, barring some unforeseen national disaster (real or imaginary), that Mitt Romney will take this election.  On the day that Obama was elected I told a liberal colleague of mine at the college where I teach that Obama would not be re-elected because he had set the bar of idealism so high that it would only end in disillusionment.  I suspect this is the case among many who previously voted for him.  Romney will be their “not Obama” vote, but I don’t believe a Romney victory will be as big as Limbaugh has predicted.

For constitutional conservatives, like me, we have to make a choice.  Will we fall in line to save the country and cast our vote for Romney (using the same fingers to hold our nose that we used when we voted for McCain), or will we make a statement and give our vote to a political outsider?  It’s a strategic question, really.  In a state where the election between Obama and Romney looks close, a person might choose to go with Romney just to say no to the Obama regime.  But in a state where Romney has the clear advantage one might mark the ballot defiantly for a third-party candidate or choose to write in the name of Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or someone else just for the sake of making a political statement to the GOP establishment.

If I’m wrong, and Obama is re-elected, get ready for a Red Tide like you’ve not imagined so far.  If Romney becomes president, as I also previously predicted, that must serve as only the first volley in our political revolution to return the nation to the limited government outlined in our Constitution.  It will be an uphill battle because the press has successfully misrepresented groups like the Tea Party as racist, out-of-touch hatemongers who selfishly use religious values to oppress the poor.  The reality is that these groups are just the opposite.

According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, the number of Americans receiving SNAP (the food assistance once known as “food stamps”) is up 70%, with a projection that this number will continue to rise through 2014.  Despite the ignorance and falsehoods expressed by the “mainstream” press, our economic woes aren’t over.  This is the disastrous hole into which the Democrats have dropped us and it won’t change magically when Romney takes the White House.  In fact, the residual economic suffering after he is elected will quickly be painted by Democrats as another failure of free markets, resulting in a renewal of their socialist battle cry.

Beware:  a second term for Romney may well be more difficult to secure than the first.  We’ll face that together, and in the meantime, we’ll see how many of my predictions are accurate.

Dick Durbin Does the Democrat Two-Step for Barack Obama

I happened to catch a bit of an interview this morning with Dick Durbin on CBS This Morning.  “Trickie Dickie” is the senior senator from Illinois, the bastion of political purity and honesty.  (OK, now I’ll take my tongue out of my cheek.)  Dick is also the Senate Majority Whip, responsible for keeping Democrats in line with the marching orders issued by Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

Let’s face it:  Democrats have long been better at the political game than Republicans.  I’ve been a Democrat and I know that from the inside.  As a master politician and an avoider of truth, Dick did such a good job of peddling dishonesty this morning that I quickly lost my appetite and I failed to eat breakfast.  Here are a couple of gems from his commentary.

He lashed out at Paul Ryan (R-WI) for his budget-cutting plan entitled A Roadmap for America’s Future.  In my estimation, it should be entitled A Different Roadmap for America’s Future because the Obama regime already has a map and it includes a sharp decline as the nation goes over a financial cliff.  That being said, there is much in the Ryan plan that is admirable.  But Durbin criticized it for its lack of balance.  You know the complaint:  Republicans don’t want to increase taxes. 

What Durbin failed to say is that the solution must be proportionate to the problem.  The nation does not have an income problem … what we have is a spending problem.  This is precisely why the Democrat-controlled Senate, under Harry Reid’s frightening and irresponsible leadership, refuses to pass a budget (it’s been more than 1,060 days).  Any realistic budget will have to make cuts, and cuts always anger somebody.  So the Senate dodges the problem in order to give the Democrats an edge in the next election (Obama included).

Honestly, when it comes to taxes, I understand that they’re necessary.  Any community of persons that spends as a corporate body must have a system for the financing of community interests.  What we have now, however, isn’t healthy.  Spending choices have more to do with keeping large blocks of voters happy so that politicians can be re-elected.  It’s dangerous.  It will be the end of the nation as we know it.  As we move rapidly toward socialism it will mean less wealth for most of us, but more for the powerful elites in office and more for their cronies in industry and in Hollywood.

Durbin really showed his dancing abilities when the CBS interviewer asked about gas prices.  In line with the Obama mantra, he talked about alternative fuels and efficiency.  That’s all fine and good, but it’s tough to pay almost $4.00 a gallon for gasoline while you’re driving on top of enough underground resources to provide fuel for the next 100 years.  Oh, Durbin also got a chance to get to mention the re-election line that is destined to go down in history:  Obama can fix all our problems if we just give him another term.

God help us if this becomes the case.  I suspect that the 2012 election is our last chance to slow the economic blood-letting.  Make no mistake, dear reader, the election of Mitt Romney (which I predict will take place) will not change our course dramatically.  But it will slow the economic death march on which we’ve embarked.  What I fear, however, is that it’s too late to avoid some of the most difficult consequences of our past mistakes.  If the economic chickens come home to re-roost after we put a Republican in the White House, the popular tide may change again and we may quickly return to Democrat control of Congress and the Presidency.

An honest plan of real cuts to spending is our only hope.  It’s not enough to talk about cuts to future growth in spending–we need cuts now.  Many Republicans are afraid to say it, and this includes my own congressman, Steven Palazzo (R-MS).  He calls himself a conservative and certainly appears on track to be re-elected now that he has taken the Republican primary victory.  Compared to Obama he is a conservative.  In the court of common sense and national salvation … not so much.

I suppose such realities are the reason that I voted for Ron Paul in the Mississippi presidential primary.  I still harbor concerns about his foreign policy.  He’s not a perfect candidate; none of them are perfect.  But I suspect that Paul’s sense of urgency is so overwhelming that he would make immediate changes upon assuming office.  Those changes would be much like a U-turn on the interstate.  One way or the other our Ship of State has to come about.  At some point the plug in the tub will pop and the ship will sink if we remain on our present course.

Friends warned me that a vote for Paul was a wasted vote.  Perhaps.  But it sends a signal.  Nearly 13,000 of us in Mississippi cast our vote for Ron Paul.  I think we’re trying to send a message:  “it’s time to change course.”  With every passing day I am more confident that my prediction of a Romney nomination will come to pass, but signs of disappointment abound.  Illinois Republicans turned out in very low numbers.  They are not excited about Romney.  Interestly, though, Ron Paul received twice as large a percentage of the vote in Illinois as he did in Mississippi.

Our nation is at a “hinge moment” in its history.  Let’s follow the course over the next few months and let’s remember to pray for our country.  Feel free to offer your own comments on this blog, even if you disagree.  I don’t have all the answers.  Please invite your friends to join us here as well.  I suspect we’re going to be surprised by some of the things that take place between now and November.  We need a place for reasoned debate on the significance of those events.

“Anybody But Obama” — Is That Enough to Save Us?

This blog has been quiet since the Florida primary–it’s been a time to think.  I’m sure my gentle readers prefer that these posts be a product of sound reflection rather than an exercise of writing just to be writing.  There is enough of that in the world already.  Ours is an age of “information overload.”  We don’t need more information.  We need better information, honest information, and sound, reflective judgment.  That’s not what we usually get from most of our political leaders, and Americans know it.  What Will Rogers said decades ago holds true today:  “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”

My political insights arise as a product of intuition, and I’ve learned the hard way that I should listen attentively to my intution.  What’s it telling me these days?  That’s why I’ve been quiet.  Though I’ve predicted a Romney victory in the GOP nomination process, I’m ready to go the next step.  My intution is screaming at me and here’s what it has been saying:  Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States.  I suppose Romney feels it, too.  Now that Herman Cain has dropped out, he’s the only GOP candidate remaining who has requested Secret Service protection.

This prediction isn’t based upon my own political hopes, nor is it based upon a sense that this choice is inevitable.  There is very little in life that can’t be changed.  I think Romney will be the successful candidate for the presidency mostly because of the powerful reality of “group think”–the same phenomenon that gave us Barack Obama.  The GOP establishment is increasingly voicing its approval of Romney, the money continues to flow in for him (though not as quickly as for Obama), and most Republicans and independents will fall in line.  That’s not to say that they have to fall in line, but they will.

When I talk politics with friends and acquaintances, the strongest sentiments fall mostly into two camps.  One side argues that Obama has to be re-elected in order to finish the job of “fixing” the economy.  God help us.  The other tendency argues that the primary concern is to get Obama out of office.  In other words, this election appears to me to be Obama vs. Anybody But Obama with the latter being the victor.  God help us on that score, too.

Voter turnout among Republican primary voters in Florida was lighter last week than in 2008, suggesting a lack of enthusiasm.  In addition, exit polls tell us that nearly 40% of the voters who turned out want to see someone else in the GOP race.  Does Romney have his fervent supporters?  Of course.  But most of us aren’t any more excited about him now than we were four years ago.  We still don’t really know who Mitt Romney is, other than what we’ve seen from his work as the governor of Massachusetts.  That doesn’t sit well with us.  Of course he’s a great businessman, but like most owners of large companies he favors a top-down model of problem-solving.  When translated into political life, that means more control in DC, more decisions and rules being disseminated from a centralized source, and less of the liberty that made our economy strong.

When Romney is elected to an anybody-but-Obama presidency, I believe America will be surprised at how far to the Left his policies are.  Commentator Charles Krauthammer put it perfectly a few days ago when he pointed out that Romney is new to conservative values.  He’s a latecomer, and when it comes to his conservative ideology, “he still can’t speak it very well.”  Over at the National Review, Jonah Goldberg puts it this way:  “This, in a nutshell, is Mitt Romney’s biggest problem. A late immigrant to conservatism, Romney doesn’t speak the language naturally.”

Well, duh. 

By the way, I no longer fear a Ron Paul third-party candidacy in the general election.  You may adore him or despise him, but the Congressman is honest in his country-first attitude.  He knows a third rail in November will guarantee an Obama victory.  I believe he’s building a strong constitutional base on which is son, Rand, can carry the small-government banner.  Rand Paul for president in 2020, anyone?

Back to Romney.  His presidency might not be a disaster, but it also won’t be the change we need to return us to the constitional values that made us a strong nation.  Romney has tipped his hat to the Constitition and he has made some conservative promises (regarding Obamacare and genuine cuts to federal spending).  He may very well be true to his word.  But since he speaks conservatism as “a second language,” it’s doubtful that he’ll actually govern as the constitutional conservative that the nation so badly needs now … before it’s too late. 

The economic chickens have their claws in the door but haven’t quite made it home to roost yet.  They won’t wait forever.  A Romney victory in the 2012 general election will send an immediate jolt of vitality to the markets.  There would be an upswing in the money invested by businesses, but the long-term prognosis will remain vague until Romney’s conservative credentials are tested. 

As a business partner, President Romney will be trusted by businesses, but that will be part of the conundrum.  Constitutional conservatives like me don’t want to see government as a business partner at all.  Economic winners and losers must emerge from the free market, not the Oval Office.  If the so-called “conservative” Romney plays the same game as Obama, then it will be quite clear that Romney’s conservatism is not just a new language to him, it’s one that he simply doesn’t understand.

Have you ever owned a parrot?  You can teach the darned thing to say almost anything.

The Next President

Politics is all about the negotiating of power.  It answers the question of “who has authority, and over whom?”  Its outcomes are the deciding factor for how much authority is given and to which person or groups of persons.  Too often the decisions about who wields power are made on a whim, or they’re based upon the person who looks best in public, has the most attractive personality, or the one who makes us feel as if we matter through the use of media messages and portrayal in art.  Not a small amount of influence is exercised by the so-called “mainstream” media as it picks our winners and losers (such as it did for us in 2008). 

It’s quite clear to me that Barack Obama, being inspired as he is by Marxist ideology, has obtained the most powerful job on the planet as a means for bringing massive economic and social change to the United States of America.  The Constitution that sets up the government over which he presides is no deterrent to him.  It’s simply a tool for his manipulation and an occasional obstacle to be reinterpreted.  For constitutionalists like myself, the Constitution is a contract to be interpreted conservatively and plainly.  For Obama it’s a “living document” that changes shape and purpose depending upon the whim of powerful politicians and their agendas for control.

As the GOP meanders toward the day that it will choose its nominee to replace Obama, there is much that is worthy of remark.  Will Mitt Romney succeed in his role as the “presumptive nominee,” or has the Newt Gingrich star risen permanently?  Will Rick Santorum gain momentum, or did mistakes in Iowa vote-counting cost him his dream?  Has Ron Paul topped out already?  Polls in Florida suggest that results there could be much like South Carolina, but this could change in an instant.

I’m going out on another limb here, and perhaps sooner or later all of this political branch-scooting will cause me to have to eat my words, but I’m going to do it anyway.

My prediction is that the next candidate to leave the race will be Rick Santorum and here’s why.  I don’t think he excites voters to any considerable degree.  With him in the White House we’d all feel like George W. Bush had come back.  When he says he’s the “real conservative” in this race, he means he’s the real social conservative because that’s his base.  I think he has overplayed that hand, though it may be useful when the eventual GOP nominee goes a-courting for a VP running mate. 

Recognizing the tight race that is theirs, Romney and Gingrich will continue to snark at one another and reveal every possible weakness worthy of discussion–and some that aren’t.  Each of them will claim to be the “real conservative,” though each simply means by that terminology that he’ll increase the size and power of government in ways that differ from the other. 

I suspect that the Ron Paul base will continue to grow as Santorum fades and as Gingrich and Romney blast one another over the next few weeks.  My expectation is, however, that Gingrich will eventually melt down in one of those candid moments when he allows something in his brain to leak out–something that is better left unsaid, something that will alienate potential supporters.  We’ve seen this before, and it’s one of the reasons he was pushed out of the office of Speaker of the House.  I still predict a Romney nomination.

The next President is ours to choose.  We can have anyone we want.  Getting Barack Obama out of the White House, however, is only the start to a brighter tomorrow.  I may fully expect Mitt Romney to take the GOP nomination, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  It simply means I can see the direction of the tide.

Truly, the power is ours.  But until we decide as a people that we really want a different kind of president, one who sees the nation’s answers elsewhere than Washington, very little in going to change in the halls of federal power.

And Then There Were Five (Soon to be Four)

In my book, really great food is marked by bold flavors and interesting textures.  That’s just one of the reasons I adore being married to a chef.  Perhaps some of this attitude has drifted into my politics, because the one word that comes to mind whenever I think of Jon Huntsman is bland.  Thank goodness, he has announced that he’s leaving the campaign.  I’m glad to see him go.

I don’t mean to take away from his service as governor of Utah or as ambassador to China, but was there anything that was ever exciting about Huntsman as a presidential candidate?  He seems to have held the most appeal for northeast moderates who like to compromise with the Left, and that’s why he never gained much traction anywhere else.  There is also the question of integrity to be addressed.  How could he credibly stand on stage offering critique of the Obama administration when he was part of that administration as its representative to the Chinese? 

It still makes me scratch my head in wonder, but now he’s out.  Rick Perry won’t be far behind him.  His bold language was originally attractive to voters but his gaffes have made him appear weak–not just unpresidential.  Of course, the same can be said of Barack Obama.  The difference is that Obama has most of the press on his side.  When he looks ridiculous we get sermons from the media about the need to overlook it.  Conservatives, on the other hand, are always given the label of “idiot.” 

What about the rest of the pack?  Well, Gingrich seems to have just enough anger to keep him viable for a while.  That anger, however, is coming off increasingly as weakness and not strength.  Given that Romney will be the nominee, Santorum is looking more and more like a VP nominee.  As an evangelical who is not afraid to talk about Jesus, he would be a logical choice for the Romney campaign as we get nearer to the GOP convention.  Time will tell.

Ron Paul will continue to build steam.  I think this is the greatest opportunity he has yet had to change the way politics is done in this country.  A crisis is brewing for the GOP, but the beltway powers in the party don’t see it–at least not yet.  I’m not sure that “political business as usual” will work anymore.  The extreme agenda of Mr. Obama and his socialist-democratic allies has sent a chill through the electorate.  They believe that time is running out to change direction.

I sense that something new is on the horizon.  An old adage says that it’s darkest just before the dawn.  It’s also very dark at midnight.

A Word of Caution for Rush Limbaugh–and the GOP

On Monday, January 9th, Rush Limbaugh boldly proclaimed the demise of the Obama reign.  “Of this I am as confident as anything,” he said.  “I know it’s not reflected anywhere else in the media and it’s not reflected too many other places in conservative media, but I’m telling you he’s toast. Just as Jimmy Carter was toast, and nobody knew it until election night.”  His idea of a victory?  A 5-7 point spread in favor of the Republican.

Now, dear reader, I am obviously no Rush Limbaugh.  I’ve been listening to his program regularly since about six months after it went national (more than twenty years ago).  When it comes to conservative politics, Limbaugh almost always has his finger on the pulse of the American heartland.  His oversized ego grates on me, but when it comes to politics he knows his business.  Still, I think he’s overlooking something important, and making the same mistake as most of the GOP establishment players.

To understand his error, we need to review his show a few days later.  On Friday, he revisted the same theme in a conversation with a caller from New Jersey.  Any of the “potential” Republican nominees can handily beat Obama, he insisted.  The caller, a man named Peter, was quick on his feet.  “Oh, yeah … Ron Paul beats President Obama in a landslide?”  Limbaugh’s response echoes the Republican establishment attitude:  “You want to stick to the list of potential nominees?” 

That’s his error.  This is not 1980.  Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan.

Limbaugh goes on to talk in depth about the level of dissatisfaction that pervades the electorate when it comes to President Obama.  He is correct.  He is also correct in stating that Congressman Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee.  Ideologically, Limbaugh is now standing with the majority of GOP leadership who still don’t recognize the volatile fault line that runs right through the Republican party.

Whether it’s Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, or even Palin, Limbaugh predicts a “landslide victory” for the Republican.  To my mind, Romney will undoubtedly take the nomination.  He’ll choose a vice-presidential nominee based upon his need to solidify party support.  We’ll have to watch the primaries over the next few weeks to see who that choice is likely to be.  If it’s not Ron Paul (and the establishment won’t allow it to be so), I believe we’re going to see a third-party candidate in the general election in November.  The Ron Paul tide is growing beyond its numbers from 2008.

Why am I so confident?  Well, maybe I’m not as confident as Limbaugh is about his prediction, but his comments this week show a lack of understanding for the dilemma faced by genuine conservatives–constitutional conservatives.  For many of us this feels like 2008 all over again, and Mitt Romney feels like John McCain.  Hey, GOP, we did this already.  Did we learn anything?

God knows we desire an end to the disaster known as the Obama presidency, but a Romney presidency will not sufficiently put the brakes on excessive government and irresponsible monetary policy.  To use a metaphor, the United States is racing toward an economic cliff.  Romney will slow the pace but he won’t change direction.  Heartland voters understand this.  Ron Paul promises a drastic change, yet his foreign policy worries the heartland.  What to do?

Will conservatives vote for Romney and pray that he gets it when it comes to economics and overreaching government?  Or will they vote for Paul on a third-party ticket and pray that he gets it when it comes to Iran? 

If Limbaugh is right and the victory is to be had by 5-7 points in a two-way race, such a choice will guarantee a victory for Barack Obama.  Unable to seek a third term, and not needing to present himself as a moderate, Obama would then become a socialist-democratic nightmare, held back only by what is expected to be a Republican victory in both houses of Congress.

If the Ron Paul tsunami continues to grow in the primaries, there may be a great deal of old-style politics to be washed away in the tide.