Selecting a Nominee: Why Not Laura?

Lauraby Jon N. Hall    8/3/15
Democrats are obsessed with firsts, as in first African-American president, first female president, first gay president, first transgendered president, etc. How about first non-American president? How about a foreigner like the U.K.’s Daniel Hannan or Nigel Farage for president? If I could appoint anyone on the planet to be president, I’d appoint America’s Undocumented Anchorman, Mark Steyn. But, alas, I don’t have the power to appoint the president. Besides, the Constitution requires presidents to be native-born. Which means Democrats will have to amend the Constitution so they can run the first extraterrestrial president.

For the highest political offices in the land, America hasn’t been getting her best and brightest. We’ve not just been settling for a cast of mediocrities, we’ve instead been installing crooks and clowns and those who seem to have some totalitarian gene in their DNA. We’ve elected extremists who call anyone who disagrees with them an “extremist.” We elect people who will say anything and do anything to get elected; so great is their need to be the “most powerful person in the world.” Assuming that the vote counts in our elections reflect our actual choices, this does not speak very well for us, the electorate.

Back in the 1960s and ‘70s one would often hear some scruffy leftist twerp proclaim that what’s wrong with America is “the system.” When it comes to how we choose our presidential nominees, that’s right: “the system” does not serve us well. The primary election system used by our political parties to select presidential nominees needs to be scrapped — or at least ignored.

Nominees should instead be selected at conventions. But, you object, we already have nominating conventions. Right, but those conventions have outcomes that are predetermined by the primaries. The conventions are merely rubber stamp affairs that ratify the will of the primary voters, whoever the heck they are. This all needs to change.

The selection of convention delegates is the key. Other than the selection of the president him- or herself, the selections of delegates should be the most important choices made in a presidential election cycle. Delegates shouldn’t be selected because of any commitment to a particular candidate, but because of their commitment to the principles of their party.

Convention delegates aren’t required to follow the primary voters off the cliff. If the primary voters have selected a loser, then the delegates should reject him or her and select someone else. If a party is nearing its convention and the polls say that the winner of their primaries simply will not win the general election, it should be the duty of the convention delegates to reject the choice of the primary voters and nominate someone else.

Furthermore, the delegates should not confine themselves to the other candidates who ran in the primaries; the delegates should have the freedom to draft anyone.

Some are saying that the Republican field in 2015 is so large that they need to winnow down the number of candidates. I say nonsense. Indeed, I would hope that there is no clear winner in the primaries so that the delegates will be forced to select the nominee. And they ought to consider drafting someone who didn’t run in the primaries, someone like Gen. “Jack” Keane or John Bolton.

I’m reminded of a line from Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, when Crassus (Laurence Olivier) says that he “fought fire with oil.” If the Democrats are going to run their very flawed “first,” and the polls say she’s going to win, then that’s what the Republican delegates must do — fight fire with oil.

And that means nominating a woman. Luckily, the GOP already has a woman running, Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett-Packard. I find this lady very impressive and I’d jump at the chance to vote for her.

But since I advocate “open conventions,” GOP delegates wouldn’t confine themselves to those who’ve been running; they’d consider drafting a woman who’s been on the sidelines. They’d consider drafting former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice. Republicans should relish putting Sec. Rice’s record at State up against Hillary’s. And because she studied the Russian language in Moscow, I’m confident Miss Condoleezza would not screw up the translation on a “reset” button.

And I ask: Why not Laura? I don’t mean the wife of a certain former president, although that would be another tantalizing symmetry, I mean Laura Ingraham. Laura is a solid conservative and would make a terrific president. I’d love to see her tear into Hillary in the debates.

Truth be told, there are many Republican women who would be far better for America than the Democrats’ “dragon lady.” And these conservative gals are younger, nimbler, more accomplished, and smarter than Mrs. Clinton. America needs her own Margaret Thatcher.

I’m not suggesting that folks not vote in the primaries. And I’m not saying that the Republican field is weak, quite the contrary. What I’m trying to say is that the primary system is a lousy way to find the best candidates.

In “The Presidential Primary System and What to Do About It” I floated this idea six years ago at GOPUSA; it’s now up at StubbornThings. The article is short and makes additional pithy points for you to ponder. (Try not to be put off by my use of “the editorial our”; I avoid that kind of thing nowadays.)

Since I wrote that article six years ago, primary voters have been responsible for losing a lot of general elections for the GOP. Republicans might have taken back the U.S. Senate in 2012 were it not for primary voters. Here in Missouri we had the case of Todd Akins who said some dumb things like: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” I urged the “write-in candidacy” of Sarah Steelman. But that failed and Missouri, a state that never backed Obama, got a senator who was one of his early supporters. Thank the primary system.

Parties exist to save voters from themselves. Convention delegates need to be able to do an “intervention” and override the selections of primary voters. A year from now, delegates to the Republican convention may be facing a hard choice: go down with the primary voters or do something bold.


Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (1264 views)

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20 Responses to Selecting a Nominee: Why Not Laura?

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Actually, Steelman was on the primary ballot in 2012 (and endorsed by Sarah Palin). Akin had an advantage in that McCaskill intervened in the GOP primary (as Harry Reid had in 2010 in Nevada) to encourage the weakest choice.

    Most primaries require the delegates to vote for the winner on the first ballot, which is a consequence of the fact that the delegates aren’t chosen in the primary itself. If one could somehow get past the first ballot, things could get interesting. It used to be that candidates selected delegates who would be elected in the primary as part of their slate (though funny things could happen, which is why New Hampshire narrowly voted for LBJ over McCarthy in 1968, but the latter get most of the delegates). This would permit the delegates to vote as they pleased, since it would be up to the candidates to make sure their delegates were really their supporters. An interesting fictional example of what can result from that is Fletcher Knebel’s Convention.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Some are saying that the Republican field in 2015 is so large that they need to winnow down the number of candidates. I say nonsense. Indeed, I would hope that there is no clear winner in the primaries so that the delegates will be forced to select the nominee.

    Rush was saying the other day how the debates were rigged to favor the Establishment candidates. I’m with you on the wide-open field. The Establishment GOPtards know how to demagogue as well as anyone. They will tell us that having a lot of candidates is bad for the U-word. And that word is “unity.” We must have “unity.” They will tell you we need “unity.”

    Around what ideas they never get around to saying. Let’s just say I’m thoroughly, righteously, reasonably, and justifiably fed up with Establishment Republicans. I hope this party is dissolved soon and replaced by a conservative one…sort of like what happened to the Whigs around the issue of slavery. The issue split it and thus was born the Republican Party out of the ashes.

    And ashes is exactly where the GOP needs to go, right on the top of the great big ashcan of history. And it’s earned every old banana peal thrown on top of it. I’m disgusted with these guys.

    Yes, give me Laura. The dream ticket is Ted Cruz/Allan West. West on top of the ticket would be fine by me. But I will not vote for Bush. I will not vote for Perry (that eventuality is pretty slim that he’ll even make it that far). I will hold my nose and vote for Rubio, but just barely. I will hold one nostril shut and vote for Walker.

    But the fastest way to finally put an end to the GOP is if they nominate Bush. I’ve run into people who like this candidate or another. But in unison they all say they will not vote for Jeb Bush.

    I’m sure National Review Online will run a dozen or so articles telling us all how conservative Jeb really is while taking endless swipes at Cruz, The Donald, and anyone else who threatens the Establishment. And that’s another rag whose time has come…and gone.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      What worries me is the possibility that the Demagogues (most likely the Fire Witch or the Yellow Jester) will get to make several SCOTIS appointments in the next term while we build a suitable conservative party (and America, be it noted, is not a majority conservative nation, unfortunately). Republican appointees are often squishy or worse; Demagogue appointees are pretty reliably leftist. Such a court might make the country unrecoverable.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Sucks to be a conservative in the current climate. I think if Jeb Bush is nominated you can start ordering the monogrammed White House China for Hillary.

        Odd thing is, the Republican Party is itself “fundamentally transforming” the country. After all, it was the nitwit, Justice Roberts, who betrayed his oath of office and politicized some very major rulings of late. And he was appointed by George W. Bush.

        So although you certainly aren’t trying to make a scare argument (better vote for the Establishment candidate or the boogie man will get you), that’s the argument that Establishment hacks will make. But with friends like Justice Roberts, who needs enemies?

        It’s even possible that the country could move (relatively speaking) rightward if Hillary is elected rather than Jeb Bush. Heck, some of the stuff Bernie Sanders has been saying sounds conservative (although it’s hard to take him at face value).

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Poor as Roberts is, he still sides with the conservatives on the court most of the time. He’s far better than Anthony Kennedy — a Reagan appointee, though admittedly also the 3rd choice after Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg went down in flames. Of the 3 key cases at the end (Obamacare, disparate impact in housing, and homosexual “marriage”), Roberts voted with the 3 conservatives on 2 out of 3, and Kennedy sided with the 4 libs on all 3.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Oh, you bet. The Gipper surely fumbled that one. Should have stayed with Bork. When they backed down on him, they ceded enormous power to the Left. Rush did the same when he backed off his “slut” comment. He did it purely for commercial reasons. But still. I read something recently (today, I think) that said Americans are just looking for someone who won’t apologize. And they have found that (so far) in Trump.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Bork was actually voted down, so they had to come up with another choice. Ginsburg then admitted to having used marijuana when he was young, which 30 years ago was still generally unacceptable, and stepped down.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Oh…I forget. I figured Bork was just pulled.

                Well, now being a stoner (at least on the Left) is a resume-enhancer. Remember when some Democrat nominee (for what, I forget) had to back out because she (I think it was a she) had an illegal alien as a housekeeper? Can you imagine these Vandals now objecting to that?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                That was Zoe Baird, Clinton’s first nominee for Attorney General. Linda Chavez (Bush 43’s first choice for Labor Secretary) had a similar problem.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I recall this very well. I happened to be in the States during most of the hearings and Bork was an intellectual giant amongst the Senate pygmies. Edward Kennedy, damn his eyes, was the head scoundrel behind the lies and attacks on Bork.

                And you are, in a sense, correct that the Gipper did not “stay” with Bork. The administration did not do any real spade work before nominating Bork and didn’t really fight to get his nomination pushed through.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                To be fair, at that time they still expected a normal hearing (as Bork himself had gotten for the Court of Appeals a few years earlier). Note that when Bush nominated Clarence Thomas, they were ready for the smears. We all make mistakes; what counts is learning from them. (And they probably should have been ready for smears after Teddy Bear’s infamous smear speech against Bork on the Senate floor about “Judge Bork’s America”.)

            • Pst4usa says:

              Reagan fumbled in his choice of Kennedy, but it really never is the presidents job to find a choice anyway. He must have advisers that are working that vetting for him at all times, it does come down to his choice though.
              Timothy is correct about both Bork and Ginsburg, but the Cecile of the Senate.. err I mean Lion of the Senate, the other murderer, Teddy the lady killer Kennedy should get all the credit for the crappy rulings coming from the romper room court we have today. Had Kennedy not killed the appointment of Robert Bork, America would be completely different today.
              But to the point of the post, I’m not that impressed with Laura, I thought very highly of her until, (years ago now, in the 90’s), she went off the rails, trying to use government to force someone not cut down a tree or trees in her neighborhood that she liked or some such thing, (I do not remember the details), but she was completely violating a core principle of conservatism, using government for your own desires. That is to my way of thinking, is an unforgivable sin against conservatism; or at least it would require a lot of repentance.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                But she’s sooooo good looking.

                Cecile of the Senate. You should have been a Marx brother (the Hollywood ones, not the Commie ones).

  3. Pst4usa says:

    I saw her in person back in AZ, she had dark hair and I thought she was even better looking, that way.

  4. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    I couldn’t disagree more strongly with Jon on this one. “Parties exist to save voters from themselves. Convention delegates need to be able to do an “intervention” and override the selections of primary voters.” Talk about arrogant elitism!

    No, Jon, parties do not exist “to save voters from themselves”. They are the mechanism, in a free and democratic society, through which the voters select those whom they wish to represent them in government and carry out the voters’ policy choices. They are not a technocratic elite ruling the rubes in flyover country who are too dumb to make their own decisions. Note, by the way, how closely this description fits today’s Democratic Party – and if you want to know why that is, read The Party of the State. The Democratic Party serves a new ruling class, not the people.

    Your examples are singularly ill-chosen: Condoleeza Rice, whom too many Republican males seem to have a crush on, is pro-abortion and pretty much pure Establishment (where do you think G. W. Bush’s bad ideas on foreign policy came from?). She’s the last thing we need right now. As for Todd Aiken, he was chosen by Democratic voters who crossed over and voted in the Republican primary as allowed by Missouri law. He was most emphatically not the choice of Republican voters to represent them.

    If you want to reform the way we nominate candidates, fine. Begin by getting rid of the caucus, a relic from the distant past which in no way expresses the will of the voters. Next, let’s do away with “winner-take-all” primaries, which allow a plurality candidate like John McCain to get the nomination. If that results in a brokered convention, so be it. And let’s stop crossover voting – what kind of sense does it make to allow Democrats to vote in Republican primaries? Finally, perhaps some thought should be given to holding all the primaries within a very short space of time.

    Finally: “If a party is nearing its convention and the polls say that the winner of their primaries simply will not win the general election, it should be the duty of the convention delegates to reject the choice of the primary voters and nominate someone else.”

    This sounds like something Karl Rove would have come up with. By all means, let’s cast aside all principles and nominate someone based on polls, and polls of questionable reliability at that. If the polls tell us to nominate a pro-abortion, Democrat-lite nominee, let’s go for it! We mustn’t talk about those pesky social issues like funding the butchery and ghoulish baby body parts selling over at Planned Parenthood – we need a Republican President who will, ah, do pretty much what a Democratic one would but would manage Leviathan a little better and shave three or four billion off the federal budget. After all, the Republican Party is what counts, isn’t it? It’s not as if people could be reached through rational persuasion or something. And holding fast to our principles or saving the country – that’s for losers!

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Nik, I have to agree with you 100%.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Crossover voting in a few states can be a useful guide, provided that there’s some way of preventing mass intervention by the other party. One thing to note is that many states (such as Virginia) don’t even have partisan registration, so that one can choose each year which party’s primary to vote in. This is a matter of state law, and it may not be possible for the parties to do anything about it.

  5. Rosalys says:

    “Besides, the Constitution requires presidents to be native-born.

    No! The Constitution requires that presidents be natural born citizens. I believe – from what I have read about the original/historical meaning of the phrase “natural born” – that it does not mean you just happened to be born within the borders of the United States while your mama was here on vacation, but that both of your parents were US citizens at the time of your birth. Constitutionally, Obama is NOT a legitimate president! He is a usurper! If this republic actually survives, it may take several generations before we come to our senses about this.

    Which means Democrats will have to amend the Constitution so they can run the first extraterrestrial president.

    If former RI Governor, Lincoln Chaffee, somehow manages to become the democrat nominee, and win the presidency I can assure you we will have elected our first extraterrestrial president! (I don’t expect this to happen. But he is running – only God knows why! And strange things have been happening lately!)

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve read that claim about the meaning of “natural-born”, and it’s an interesting possibility. At the same time, one must remember that the 14th Amendment noted that “any person” born in the United States is a citizen. A good case could be made that this overrode the earlier interpretation. It’s a pity no one ever worked these issues out before 2008, at which point it was really too late to do so (disqualifying the Plunderbund nominee over a technicality would have had devastating effects on social cohesion, not that this really matters to liberals and GOP Beltway Bandits).

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      The Constitution requires that presidents be natural born citizens. I believe – from what I have read about the original/historical meaning of the phrase “natural born” – that it does not mean you just happened to be born within the borders of the United States while your mama was here on vacation, but that both of your parents were US citizens at the time of your birth.

      I would take issue with you on one point, i.e. “both of your parents were US citizens at the time of your birth.”

      My son was born overseas and his mother was not a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth. Yet, the U.S. embassy immediately issued him a U.S. birth certificate. This being the case, I do not think a legal challenge to his being a “natural born” citizen would have much chance.

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