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Even after three years of thugocratic government, there are still many conservatives and libertarians who cannot bring themselves to believe that Barack Obama is anything more than a “big-spending liberal” who is simply misguided. True, some have finally thrown in the towel and sparingly use words like socialist and socialism to describe Obama and his policies, but terms like communism and dictatorship are uttered only by those whom the establishment considers to be extremists.

Much to my fascination, most conservative media pundits continue to scratch their heads and insist that “Barack Obama is just in over his head” when talking about his “failed policies.” The idea that he is actually trying to destroy the last vestiges of the free market and freedom in America is such a radical thought that their mainstream minds will not allow them to even consider it.

But, in the end, Obama’s motives don’t really matter. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that he really is just a lazy, unqualified dunce who is totally devoid of leadership skills. Even if that were the case, the bottom line is the same, i.e., that he has spent the first three years of his presidency primarily focused on three tasks:

  1. pushing Obamacare through Congress against the will of the American people;

  2. piling on as many economy-killing regulations as possible; and
  3. getting re-elected, primarily by conjuring up hatred toward the rich.

Now, with elections less than a year away, BHO has shifted most of his efforts to task number three – getting re-elected. He’s laid out his strategy for all to see, and it’s clear that he intends to wage a vile campaign straight from the sewers of Chicago. Not the business-as-usual dirty tricks and lies that are par for the course in most political campaigns, but really slimy stuff that has its roots in the criminal world of community organizing.

What’s so disconcerting about this is that Republicans 1) have fielded the worst group of candidates of my lifetime, and 2) they have a large number of very strong, highly principled, appealing candidates who are not running. Ten that come quickly to mind are Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Jim DeMint, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Sarah Palin, John Thune, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio (who instead will be anointed as the vice presidential candidate).

I believe that any of these candidates (yes, including Sarah Palin) could have beaten Barack Obama, and, once in office, all of them would have done a good, even great, job of cutting the size of government, rolling back job-killing regulations, lowering taxes and getting the country back to its constitutional foundation.

In South Carolina last week, Newt Gingrich admitted that he “isn’t the perfect candidate” but is “a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anybody else.” In their zeal to topple the Obama regime, Republicans have become obsessed with the idea of electability.

But their emphasis is misplaced. What they should be focused on is finding a candidate who not only has conservative principles, but can be trusted to stick to those principles throughout the campaign and beyond, because the most principled candidate would be the most electable candidate.

Unfortunately, Republicans never seem to believe that. After all, it’s only through the grace of Jimmy Carter that Ronald Reagan managed to win the presidency in spite of the Republican establishment’s unhappiness with his being the party’s nominee. Republicans feel much more comfortable with names like Dole, Bush (1 & 2) and McCain.

As a result, it appears that it may now be down to Romney and Gingrich. Gingrich would be a great president if he governed according to (most of) what he’s been saying on the campaign trail. But that’s a huge if.

Remember, Obama still has the entire mainstream media not only supporting him, but blatantly lying to the public in an effort to continue the ruse that he is a thoughtful, self-critical, mainstream, patriotic American who is being thwarted by a mean-spirited Republican Congress. Never mind that Democrats controlled the House and Senate through the first two years of his socialist policies, and that the Senate is still controlled by Democrats.

Obama may increasingly try to sound as though he’s a moderate, but no one – either on the right or the left – seriously believes that. The reason nearly half of the voting public still gives him a favorable rating is not because they believe he’s a centrist. On the contrary, it’s because they want more redistribution of wealth and they realize that he’s determined to make that happen.

Which is why Republicans cannot win if they try to Romneyize or McCainize their positions. The conventional wisdom is wrong regarding this issue. Independents, who, as usual, will decide the 2012 election, will be much more inclined to vote for a highly principled candidate with whom they may disagree on a number of issues than for another phony conservative.

If there were any doubts about what the dirty Dems have in store for a RINO Republican nominee, they should have vanished after their early shot across Mitt Romney’s bow – the “Mitt versus Mitt” ad that posits Romney’s candidacy as “the story of two men trapped in one body.”

Early on, I didn’t believe that BHO and the Dems would actually try to win the 2012 election by pounding away at the income-inequality theme, because any fool knows that it has nothing to do with the economic problems the United States faces. If anything, focusing on this canard is the cause of the economy’s death spiral, because it motivates politicians to increase taxes, increase regulations and increase government control over both people and the economy.

Interestingly, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, every Republican’s two favorite Democrats, have been urging the Obamessiah to bow out of the 2012 race. Recently, they wrote, “He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but, more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

Yikes! The thought of Hillary, back from the dead, is enough to give conservatives chest pains. With Obama, there is no doubt about who the enemy is. But it would take several years for those smitten with the new and improved happy-face version of Hilla the Hun to come out of their stupor. And by that time she would have enacted every policy BHO wanted to foist on the American public – and then some. (Remember, Hillarycare preceded Obamacare by more than 15 years.)

Much as I hate to say it, given the alternatives, maybe we’re better off with an unprincipled, flip-flopping Republican in the White House. I mean, it’s not like we’re not used to it. Still, it sure would be nice if someone with strong and consistent conservative convictions broke through the pack and won the Republican nomination – or ran as a third-party candidate.

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