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Evanson: The GOP's worst enemy

BY KEITH EVANSON | JANUARY 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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“You can’t have Romney. He choked. You can’t have Bush. The last thing we need is another Bush,” Donald Trump announced from the podium at the inaugural Freedom Summit in Des Moines on Jan. 24.

In a convention put together to try to rally conservative leaders from around the country to promote possible Republican presidential candidates for 2016, it seemingly did the opposite.

The two dozen speakers, most of whom are considered to be candidates for the Republican nomination in the Iowa caucuses a year from now, launched quite the verbal assault on members of their own party.

In addition to Trump’s dismissal of both Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, both of whom weren’t there, there were also comments launched against a candidate who was physically present at the Freedom Summit, Chris Christie.

Jim Gilmore, a former governor of Virginia, condemned Christie at the event: “Do we want a nominee who wrapped his arms around Barack Obama?” referring to the picture taken in 2012 when the two politicos were seen together.

Disregarding Christie’s qualifications to run for president based on such arbitrary distinctions of how a governor should behave in regard to the commander-in-chief seems to miss the point entirely.

The enemies Republicans claim to have in the “left-wing media” and Hillary Rodham Clinton do not even come close to the biggest reason Republicans won’t win in 2016. The biggest enemy Republicans face is themselves.

Because unlike the media coverage for similar rallies held by political parties in years prior to social media, the rhetoric from the rallies today are echoed through numerous

Much of the negative comments made there were focused on the more moderate Republicans, such as the aforementioned Bush, Christie, and Romney. Faulting the moderate candidates as not being strong in their conservative convictions, the Republican Party is essentially filtering out all candidates who do not fit the bill of far-right conservative, a political stance that is so far distanced from the majority of U.S. constituents that it’s irrational for them to be doing so.

But these things are not indicative of what will happen in 2016.

It may not be the case that voters in the various House districts and Senate races across the country were generally in favor of the Republican ticket last November as much as they were dissatisfied by the Democratic ticket, which suffered a huge identity crisis.

Time is running out for Republicans as they scramble to find the right candidate for 2016. But in the same regard, time is assisting them with their own self-defeat. Although there is still time to find a candidate to run, campaign, and defeat a Democrat challenger, all of that won’t matter if the party is both delusional and critical of itself from now until late next year.

Wasn’t Ronald Reagan considered to be too moderate a candidate?


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