by Robert Arvay
When Ross Perot ran for the presidency in 1992, he came closer to winning than any third party candidate in memory, but in the end, his campaign drew votes more heavily from Republicans than from Democrats. Perot was credited with causing Bill Clinton to win, and George H.W. Bush to lose his reelection bid. (Personally, I blame H.W. If he had continued the Reagan economic policies, he would have been reelected in a landslide.)
Now as the year 2012 approaches, with its presidential election, we see a Republican field that has yet to produce a front runner around which Republicans can enthusiastically unite. Will a third party fiasco be repeated?
There is one important dynamic that could cause a repeat of the Ross Perot effect, and that is the existence in the Republican party of two die-hard factions.
The “establishment” wing of the Republican Party, which might be known as the Rockefeller, patrician or blue-blood faction, is represented by Karl Rove, and by elected Republicans who have held office long enough to have become fixtures in the government. We call them RINOs.
The TEA Party faction, otherwise known as the conservatives, only recently appeared on the scene — around 2008. This faction is the one that was already rebelling against the GW Bush presidency for its big spending and borrowing habits. It was very dissatisfied by the nomination of RINO McCain, but became energized and hopeful when Sarah Palin took the stage as VP nominee.
When the McCain campaign lost, Sarah Palin continued the good fight as the TEA Party became a front line force of conservatism. With the memory of the Ross Perot losses in 1992 and 96, the TEA Party decided not to form a third party, but rather to “take over” the Republican Party.
But the RINOs are not to be underestimated. They adhere to the saying that “old age and treachery will always trump youth and enthusiasm.”
The RINOs have an enormous investment in keeping things the way they are. While they would prefer to win elections rather than to lose them, they perceive that they would be better off as a minority party under the rule of Democrats, than to yield their party to upstart conservatives.
RINOs are quite comfortable in the present system, even if they lose elections. Karl Rove will never find a cushy job in the TEA Party.
Democrats, Progressives and Liberals on the other hand, have a ferocity that RINOs utterly lack. The Left will fight tooth and nail, lie, cheat and worse, not only to get elected, but also to promote their socialist agenda. They are utterly indifferent to the fact that socialism always fails. They only care that it wins elections.
But the TEA Party ALSO has that fire in the belly. In 2010, they demonstrated their increasing power and skill by getting a significant number of their candidates elected, ousting many Liberals and RINOs. Consequently, the TEA Party made enemies in both camps.
This explains why RINOs sat by silently while the Left lied about and libeled Sarah Palin. The RINOs would rather lose to Obama than to win with Sarah Palin.
The new dynamic is that rank and file Republicans are increasingly aware that the Democrats are ruining the nation, perhaps on a very long-term basis. As we move closer to selecting a Republican nominee for president, that disaffection will begin to eclipse the RINO influence in the Republican Party.
If there is another Ross Perot fiasco, the irony may be that the spoilers who hand victory to the Democrats will not be the TEA Party, but the RINOs.
Unless the TEA Party can attract very large numbers of Independents and Reagan Democrats, the Democrats will retain power – and that will be the ruin of America.
Our work is cut out for us. Let’s win one for the Gipper … and for our children.
Robert Arvay is a Contributing Writer to The Patriot’s Notepad.