Can Obama Win Re-Election?

I was part of a panel a few days ago on politics, culture and the media.  And the first question put to us was right to the point:  “Can Barack Obama win re-election?”

Political guru Dick Morris, Tea Party unofficial leader Dick Armey, a scholar from the Heritage Foundation all said no.  It’s tough to argue with that.  President Obama’s approval ratings are not good and most Americans think we’re on the wrong track.  He’s lost support from his key constituents, including Jewish voters and African-Americans.  Worst of all for the president, independents who supported him in 2008 have jumped ship in big numbers.

Like the others, Dick Armey offered a smart analysis of why Obama is in big trouble.  But unlike the others, he ended his analysis saying, quietly and almost as an afterthought, Obama won’t  win, “Unless the Republicans nominate the wrong candidate.”

That’s like saying, “Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you enjoy the play?”

“Unless the Republicans pick the wrong candidate” is hardly a throwaway line, despite the fact that that’s how it was delivered.  It just may be the single most important consideration in this whole discussion.

I was the odd man out on the panel.  I said, Yes, Barack Obama can be re-elected – but it won’t be because the economy is in great shape on Election Day.  And it won’t be because the unemployment rate has dropped from nine percent to six percent, or seven percent or even eight percent. It won’t be because a majority of Americans do an about face and suddenly believe the nation is on the right track, I said.  And it won’t be because al qaeda has raised the white flag and said Barack Obama was the reason they were putting an end to their evil ways.

If Barack Obama wins, I said, it would be because Republicans have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  It will be because the Republicans picked the wrong candidate.

How would this come about?  Let’s start with the fact that there’s a split in the Republican Party.  There are two separate and distinct factions.  One that demands conservative purity in its candidate for president and one that is far more practical and will gladly accept any candidate who can beat President Obama, no matter how moderate.

The purists want the most conservative Republican candidate to be nominated.   They detest moderates.  Compromise to them is tantamount to a crime against humanity.  Rush Limbaugh and some members of the Tea Party are the loudest voices on the purity side.

The other side consists of followers of the late William F. Buckley, who famously said that he would support the most viable conservative candidate in any race – meaning the most conservative candidate who can actually win.

But wait, the purists say, the most conservative candidate can win.  I’m not so sure. Look at it this way:  Rush Limbaugh is the most famous conservative in America.  He’s smart, articulate and expresses conservative ideas better than just about anyone.  But Rush couldn’t win a national election.  He’s way too polarizing a figure.  So if Rush couldn’t win, why do the purists think that someone like him could?

As for the Tea Party:  Its members have done a lot of good.  Without them we might not be having a national debate about the spending and deficits and debt that are crippling our economy. They deserve our thanks and a lot of credit. But the Tea Party also brought us Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell – two horrible candidates who lost in states that Republicans would almost certainly have won if the Tea Party had thrown its support behind more moderate – more electable — candidates.

The Buckley faction would rather have a moderate Republican in the Senate, who will vote with his or her party only half the time, rather than a liberal Democrat who will never vote with the Republicans.  And that’s what Nevada and Delaware wound up with:  two liberal Democrats who back President Obama on just about everything.  That’s the price Republicans pay for ideological purity.

I’m with the Buckley faction.  I want to win.  I will accept any Republican who can beat Mr. Obama.  I’d vote for Charlie Sheen if he ran on the GOP line. But if the purists have their way, if the most conservative candidate in the pack manages to win the nomination, I fear there will be a second term for President Obama.

The good news for Republicans is that even if the purists don’t get their way, they’ll hold their nose and vote for a moderate, someone like Mitt Romney.  They have no place else to go.  And they won’t stay home on Election Day, either.  They dislike the president too much to sit home and pout.

The bad news for Republicans is that independents – who have no roots in either party – might not be as generous.  They may not support President Obama today as the polls tell us, but the election isn’t being held today.  If the Republicans pick the wrong candidate – someone who is too doctrinaire, too uncompromising, yes, too conservative, there’s a good chance the independents will vote for Obama just as they did in 2008 – even with a bad economy.

And if Republicans lose they won’t be able to blame anybody but themselves; not Democratic scare tactics aimed at the elderly, not the president’s penchant for class warfare, not even the so-called mainstream media that once again will jump on the Obama bandwagon.  If Obama wins, it will be because Republicans opted for purity and handed Barack Obama the victory.

That great American political philosopher Yogi Berra knew what he was talking about when he said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”

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  • Richard

    I have no more use for Goldberg since he went on O’Reilly and launched into a tirade about how racist conservatives are. He can go salute his obama poster.

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  • uriah

    President Obama will win because Americans will remember it was the Republicans that destroyed the economy the worse since they did it at the time of the Great Depression and then became a partisan party who wanted to defeat Obama at the expense of American welfare and refused to work with him. This has been nothing short of treason and betrayal of the American people.

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  • Pingback: A Response to the Angry Purists -

  • Frank

    I’m with you Bernie! The Republican party needs to be sensible about this upcoming election and take the first step and defeat Obama. Nothing else matters if he gets back in!



    • Ana

      You and Brandon are SO cute! Congrats on cilometepng your first 10K!!! You did an AWESOME job.My worst one was this past weekend bc I almost died.Janelle recently posted..

  • Neal Angel

    A strong conservative running mate can round out a less-than-perfect nominee in the general election. These picks used to be made based on geography/electoral votes (think Kennedy/Johnson), but they can also be made based on ideology. Thinking ahead, Rubio would be a clear value-add for either Romney or Perry. I’m not so sure about Cain/Rubio, however, because of the experience question surrounding Cain. Of the three front-runners, I’m inclined toward Cain, but his experience & ability to win are the two biggest obstacles in the G.E.

  • Pingback: Would the Tea Party Run a 3rd-Party Candidate if Romney Wins? - Page 2 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum()

  • KansasGirl

    Bernie, I didn’t even bother to read the comments on this thread, so I’m sure I am repeating other peoples’ thoughts.

    We were forced to support McCain in 2008, and where did that get us? If not for Sarah Palin, this RINO’s loss would have been embarrassing.

    I’m not trying to disrespect you, but we think it’s time for another direction.

  • Shirl

    Hey Bernie; are you saying Independents have no common sense? Even they know an elephant is better than a jackass. They know the country is heading down the tubes if we don’t change our present occupant of the wh. And as far as Christine and Sharon; the Republican party sat back and let the lame stream media take control of the narrative. The hard-core Republicans were to blame; not the tea party!

  • RecknHavic

    The dislike of the Tea Party by otherwise intelligent people on the Right is reminiscent of Bush Derangement Syndrome (by the Left). I know plenty of reasonable, well meaning people (who lean Right) who become angry and irrational at the mention of the Tea Party. We’re accused of polarization, bigotry and a whole host of DNC talking points; yet never does a real example follow (and Im not talking about the odd wacko, which all groups have).

  • PapaDoux

    Your “moderate slip” is showing, Bernie. The reason why Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell primarily were not successful is because MODERATE press people, like you, and the liberal press corps (85% of the media) could unite against them. Both of them would have been fine. The media (including you, Bernie) should butt out of choosing candidates for the country. After all, your unlikely-yet-factual alliance with liberal and moderates in the media, gave us Barak Hussein Obama.

    • Bernard Goldberg

      Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angel were fine??? And you think people like me united against them. How’d that happen? Did we hypnotize the voters of Nevada and Delaware. With all due respect, you’re delusional!

      • Bob Hadley

        You think the liberal media united to elect Obama? Did they hypnotize the voters of this country to vote for him? Did the liberal media and liberal politicians unite to hynotize the majority of Americans to favor a tax hike for the wealthiest (as O’Reilly has suggested)?

        Actually, I think the media, perhaps unwittingly and definitely non-conspiratorally, helped elect Obama above and beyond merely giving him the COVERAGE he warranted.

        Angel and O’Donnell were not only poor candiadates but were probably not at all competent for the job. The media largely gave them the SPOTLIGHT they warranted. Perhaps O’Donnell’s coverage was somewhat hyped. If there were a senatorial candidate on the left who was like O’Donnell, however, FNC would have FEASTED on that candidate.

        My over-all point is that you can use differing word-choices to influence others to look differently at analogous fact patterns.

  • Randy Spangler

    If Republicans were smart… really smart, they would declare a moratorium on social issues on the platform for 8 years. Focus on getting our country back on track economically and focus on getting our foreign affairs in order. THAT is the winning formula. HPV shots for ‘little girls’ and LGBT rights are losing issues. Few care deeply about them.

    If we got our house in order, we would have plenty of time to continue the eternal and unsolvable debate over social issues in the comfort of our own homes, and not from a tent city of the unemployed.

    • HereAndNow

      Interesting. So we should abandon social issues to stand firm on money issues. I say, lets compromise on the money issues, take away their only mantra; and stand firm on the social issues. I know, don’t tax the job producers: but why don’t they use the money not being taxed to create jobs now? What are they waiting for? I’m not sure the Republican party you seek is one I want to be part of.

      • Randy Spangler

        My point is that this country has HUGE structural problems. Most of the social issues that people get wrapped up in to the point of either not voting, or voting for an unviable third party candidate, can wait.

        Honestly, I don’t hold out much hope. The only saving grace is that people like us who read these articles, watch Fox News and MSNBC and get worked up over politics are still a minority in this country. We are educated as much as we are highly opinionated.

        The bad news is that the ones that don’t keep up with this stuff can be swayed by clever advertising in the waning days of a campaign, then we are stuck with the results for four more years…

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        • Brad Longmire

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    • kent

      Hear, hear. I’ve been syaing the same thing for 20 years. The republicans lost a lot of people to the left or to indepenfents ever since they decided to put the abortion issue on the platform. I know because i was a GOP precicnt captain (and still volunteer every year at the polls) and saw my neighbors move away from the party. This is such a contentious issue that it does not belong to the gop or any political party. It used to that the GOP was “stay out of bedroom” party. Then this happened. Thank goodness for the tea party, the John Galt party, the Milton Friedman party, striving to create wealth by rewarding success and creating parties.

  • Steve

    It will depend not only on who wins the ticket, but as we saw in 2008, who that person chooses as their running-mate. I like Sarah Palin, but for some reason she really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and provided much fodder for the Democrats.

  • Bob Garrett

    You are choosing power over principal. That is a winning strategy that has worked for a long time, but our Post-WWII excellence has been slowly watered down by an exponentially growing government. Big Government is Liberalism, the antidote is Conservatism. Statistically speaking, a LOT of people in this country do not vote and they are the Big Unknown. The 2012 election will be won based on who got the most Unknowns to come out and vote for their side. Right now, Reagan grade-schoolers are around 40 (think “Marco Rubio”); they are the demographic most likely to show up and VOTE. This year, Conservatism IS electability.

  • E Cameron Hitchcock

    Always enjoy your analysis. You have to govern from the center. Let’s beat Obama.

  • Dusty Rhodes

    Top notch impartial analysis. Thanks, Bernie, for continuing to tell it like it is.

  • teeleeph

    Completely agree with you Mr.G. Im an independent from california. Huntsman is the best choice for reps. He could take cal if things get worse.

  • Gerry

    Spot. On. Bernie.

  • Rick

    Bernie, you are 100% correct. The real intrigue is what someone like Cain would do. But generally speaking the more conservative the candidate, the more charming he (or she) must be to win.

  • Dave

    I agree completely. We have shot ourselves in the foot too many times with the wrong candidate. We cant afford 4 more years. Think about it another Supreme court justice. That will change the dynamic completely and we will never be able to get our country back. He has spent 4 trillion imagine what he will do when he doesn’t have to worry about reelection??

  • Stephen

    I agree with most of Mr. Cains ideas. but I do wish he was more moderate on gay rights.

  • Eddie Stewart

    I concur. We have been down this road before with Bob Dole and John McCain. Great men but
    not the best candidates.

    • John J

      And neither one could ever have been called a conservative. Not even a little bit.

  • Steve_Robbins

    My sense it that the uncertainty in the race right now is because Republicans are very cautiously selecting a candidate this time. They are not running the usual, “It’s his turn” playbook, or Romney would already have it wrapped up by this time.

    Several flash in the pan candidates have gotten in the race this time, received an immediate boost in popularity, in a few instances sending them immediately to the front of the pack. That was, in each case, then followed by a “discovery” of some electability flaw or other that he or she was perceived as harboring, and then they were in turn, each essentially set aside. For example, Donald, Michelle, Rick . . . and Herman is now getting that close scrutiny. If Christie jumps (I don’t believe he will) he’ll get the once-over as well. I don’t think Sarah Palin will jump in either, even though she has favorably surprised many people over the past several months.

    The candidate will be he or she who remains steadiest throughout.

  • Ste

    He can but he won’t

  • Faye

    If the Republicans don’t stop fighting among themselves, yeah, they could lose this. I got really tired of Romney and Perry in the last debate. The sniping gets really old really fast and I think the rest of the country is tired of it too.

    • John J

      It’s called an election. When they pick the winner beforehand, it’s a Democrat primary.

  • Peter

    Run, Chris, Run!

  • Sharon

    Hi, Bernie.
    (I hope this gets you one comment closer to your 100 goal!)
    Great article. Only an act of mass hypnosis causing Americans to forget their pocketbooks and pink slips could possibly tip the scales in favor of Obama’s re-election.

  • Gustav vonChristiaan


    Talk about Fair (to Reps) % Balanced & Unafraid
    (of the Purists): A great article indeed. Purists might say that “You are sleeping with the enemy), but if Pogo’s adage turns true that “we have met the enemy and he is us.” Indeed, the weight for defeating BHO lies w/us & not on counting on The BHO camp to implode, despite the claim that we might see the nastiest, most contentious national election, including Primaries.It is wise to be purist on eternal matters; but for the living of the day being pragmatic & realistic is wiser.
    What company in what state makes clothes pins?
    We may pre-order tons for our noses 4 this coming pivotal election.

  • P

    I remember the Goldwater campaign and the “he’d rather be right than President.” I cringe at the thought of Obama somehow pulling out a victory over a divided or confused Republican electorate. Or more accurately a confused independent electorate. They elected him in 2008, but he was a slogan and no record then. He is a failure as President and has ruined this country in just three years. “Tro de bum OUT!”

  • Madelyn

    We need Marco Rubio.

  • Raindog

    “But wait, the purists say, the most conservative candidate can win. I’m not so sure. Look at it this way: Rush Limbaugh is the most famous conservative in America. He’s smart, articulate and expresses conservative ideas better than just about anyone. But Rush couldn’t win a national election. He’s way too polarizing a figure. So if Rush couldn’t win, why do the purists think that someone like him could?”

    As an independent who’s more likely to vote Republican in a Presidential election, I agree with the above paragraph from your column.

    I support the Tea Party’s fiscal reform agenda, but disagree with the those trying to use the TP momentum to push an evangelical social platform. Should I view the Republican nominee in the same light as I view Rush Limbaugh, I won’t come out to vote, which will also affect the elections for Congressional and state elections.

    Conservative “purists” are fighting a losing battle, as the record of Presidential actions throughout history would indicate. Once in office, most Presidents tend to become Rinos or Dinos to the “purist” elements of their party.

    Good article, Mr. Goldberg.

    • RecknHavic

      Please elaborate on this mythical “evangelical social platform” you speak of. Im actively involved in the Tea Party, attend events and (despite the occasional Thomas Jefferson costumed eccentric) have yet to experience this phenomenon.

  • paxport

    You are the voice of reason Bernie.

  • Kim Morgan

    never underestimate the difficulty of unseating a sitting president. if the economy picks up just a little he could win. Obamas education reform initiative has provided some hope and change. Brills book on class warfare is a riveting read. And if syria falls and allies with turkey vs iran that would be a foreign policy windfall. And if Obama stops beating himself he could win. I do believe, in the end, repubs will select a good candidate.

  • john wyant

    Most Republicans are too young to remember Barry
    Goldwater. Sometimes being right on the issues is mot enough to get elected.

    • Norm Boardman

      Conscience of a Conservative is a great book. Even though ghost written for Goldwater, it clearly defines the difference between us and them.

  • steve l

    Mr. Goldberg-

    Great column as usual. Your observations are spot on, and I pray the Repubs who tend to be a bit further right than I see the validity of your commentary. Thank you for your continuing battle to expose the hypocracy of the left.

  • gcourtney

    If Americans take a good hard look at their lives, before and after Obama, they are likely to come to the conclusion that I have come to…I can’t afford another four years.

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  • Teresa Moffett

    We tried that last time, I voted for the lesser of two evils, John McCain. I wanted Giuliani, but he dropped out the day after our primary in Florida. Anyway, the rest is history…McCain did not win. Now, I hope I get the chance to vote for Herman Cain for these reasons: He’s not a career politician, I agree with his answers on everything from Israel to the 999 plan to health care. If people listen to what he says and vote for WHO can best help this country instead of who pundits like you THINK can get Moderate votes, then Herman Cain can win the election. I am a Moderate Republican who hopes to cast her vote for Cain.

  • May Day

    Mr. G –

    Again, you hit the proverbial nail on the head: “…Republicans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory” “…because they picked the wrong candidate.” Voters have become quite savvy in their understanding of the political process and cynicism is rampant. The candidate who can inspire faith in the process and their candidacy as well, shall be the winner. We know this is Mr. Obama’s strong suit and maybe, just maybe that won’t be enough in 2012.

  • UsneakydevilU

    Just a thought. Take the pre-planned racial attacks out of 2012, nominate Herman Cain, liberals attack strategy will be dealt a severe blow. Are they going to call Cain a racist? Or will they call him an Uncle Tom? Either one will turn many voters off.

    Obama can win, he knows sneaky scare tactics to get the zombies out. Some brainwashed voters can be converted by GOP with some consistent cognitive therapy. Almost 100.

  • Marko

    Sums it up pretty well. Remember Reagan was not the most conservative president, either.

  • ElleJo

    You forgot about Rubio. The Tea Party backed winners,too.

    • RecknHavic

      Those who disparage the Tea Party tend to omit references to the Mark Rubio’s or Rand Paul’s and focus solely on the Angle’s and the witch chicks.

      You have to understand that even someone as astute as Bernie Goldberg, carry certain biases. And as mentioned in his superb book “Bias”, he, like those he wrote about, is probably unaware that he holds one.
      It’s quite ironic really.

      • John J

        Yes. Although Bernie no doubt was the most conservative person at CBS, that just means he would’ve voted for Stalin, but not Mao. This media bias stuff is not new. I used to rail at Cronkite in the 60s. Bernie just noticed it when it became totally obvious to one and all.
        I am tired of having fifth columnists in the Republican Party. If you aren’t one of us, get out.

  • Sad

    It doesn’t matter who I vote for because Maryland is a deep blue state. You make a good argument. I also agree with the commenter about McCain. He was a really bad choice but I am not sure who could have beat Obama in 2008 because he did such a good job of making people think he was saying what they wanted to hear. I could not believe how many times he contradicted himself without being called on it.

  • William

    The choice for the Republican nominee will be between the ‘Not-Obama’ favored by moderates and the GOP establishment, and the ‘Anti-Obama’ favored by the Conservative and Tea Party, with both sides claiming the other can’t beat Obama.

  • dara2K

    It is the Republican’s election to lose. The only way Obama can win now is if Republicans take for granted their stance. Personally I’d love to see a Christie-Palin ticket with Cain as Commerce Advisor!

  • Norm Boardman

    Mr Goldberg,

    Big fan, first time commenter. I struggle to rationalize how an independent voter could possibly opt for a 2nd Obama term. I’m as tired of the Donkey/Elephant nonsense as anyone yet I feel the nation is far to vulnerable to vote Democrat until the Progressives have been purged from the party. Anyone with rudimentary problem solving skills has to see the ramifications of keeping DC in it’s current state.

    A Herman Cain/Marco Rubio ticket corrals far more of the independent, Hispanic and African American votes than any of the supposed front runners while keeping a solid conservative platform viable.

  • Dr Gazebo

    Pres Obama will get no less than 90% of the Black vote so it will be essential for the GOP to grab the Indie vote by 60 /40 and have registered Republicans come out and support whoever the nominee is.Hold your nose and pull the lever or check the box, the alternative is much worse.

  • Bryan Peach

    Are we facing a W. vs. Kerry situation, here? The ballgame has a different score, and the teams have traded away most of yesterday’s heroes (or lost them to retirement), but the fans hate each other just as much as they did in 2004.

    John Kerry didn’t win the “Anybody But Bush” election because of just that reason. “Anybody But Bush” didn’t work. Folks were fed up with Bush’s foreign policy, but they could also see right through an entitled, brash, rude and ideologically bare candidate, a political puppet controlled by the Democratic machine who didn’t have an ounce of compromise in the fabric of his being because he and the liberal left simply wouldn’t have it.

    The GOP choice matters substantially. And if it has to come down to a percentages game, at least his batting average is a guaranteed improvement over the guy in the batter’s box now.

  • Vince

    Interesting erudite take as always Bernard. Do NOT agree with your take on Angle and O’Donnell, however (did you SEE the cretins they were running against?); but the fact that Obama is spending the last half of his Presidency running for office and money and to curry favor shows us that the man is an empty suit. I wouldn’t be half surprised if the Dem’s dumped him for 2012 and got themselves a lighter albatross to hang around their necks – like Billary.


    I pray everyday that Obama loses his re-election bid. Barrack Obama is such a liar. He smokes umpteen cigarettes a day and even has his own brand, yet he signed the PACT Act of 2009 which put ME and 65,000 other people who were in the online tobacco business in the USA out of business! Obama didn’t even read the bill; he just signed it at the behest of outed congressman Anthony Weiner so he could look good for the cameras once again! Now BO wants half a trillion more dollars to replace those good paying tobacco jobs with temporary summer jobs! People of the USA, wake up, do not re-elect Barrack Obama again, please?

  • Dan

    Obviously the GOP needs to put up someone capable and trustworthy, and able to resist the mainstream media onslaught that will surely come before the election.
    No one will remember the absolute non-vetting of Obama by the In-The-Tank media, and I am dubious the current scandals including Solyndra, Fast & Furious, & Lightsquared will have media “legs” .
    The Democratic message machine is already in full bore casting the GOP as the party of the rich. That narrative must be effectively fought. I don’t know by who.

  • Mike Morton

    There’s not a wrong canidate other than Ron Paul running. Obamas negatives are just too high and there’s little he can do or that can happen to change them. The electorate’s experiment with a radical foreign born half white Muslim for President has failed greatly.


    With a the lowest approval rating of any president, I don’t see how. However, if he raises a $billion, he can buy the election if he promises to pay back all that support him…ie…big labor, etc. I hope, for the sake of our republic, that he is beaten by a landslide and we can reverse the damage he has done. Then, we need to somehow correct the entitlement society that elected him. Keep up the good work Bernie.

  • David

    Truth is, I’m voting for anyone who stands a chance of getting us back on the right track. My biggest fear is some Third Party nominee pulls enough votes from the Repub to get Obama reelected. More a nightmare than a phobia, I suppose.


    excellent points, Mr. G. The bottom line, as you indicate, we cannot afford to shoot ourselves in the feet! Barry must go!!!

  • Mel

    O can win – 13 months is an eternity in politics. Don’t underestimate!

    • David

      Sadly, you’re correct.

  • Aaron

    Hope not!

  • Terry Walbert


    Why the photo of Yogi Berra?

    • Bernard Goldberg

      terry … re read the last line in the column …

  • CalvinJam

    Ever wonder what the real purpose of the Tea Party is?

  • JB

    No,not with only 31% approval from independents. The election is there for the taking as long as the Republicans don’t screw it up.

  • Wil Burns

    Bernie, If the the country is stupid enough to think the Republicans are better on employment. – Yeah if you want no rights, no benefits and little or no pay and get to work in a toxic environment, they are the party for you.

    • Norm Boardman

      Sign me up

  • David

    There are currently no conservative candidates even approaching Reagan. The most interesting conservative, IMO, is Herman Cain. Second, Rick Santorum. The problem, however, is that while they are interesting, they are not as talented and accomplished as Newt (who will not carry the Independents). Bachmann has a bad case of talkitus and, as a result, has play too much defense. Perry appears to be incapable.

    My guess is that in the end, most people who want someone elected other than our current President will choose the C-word COMPETENT rather than CONSERVATIVE.

    • RecknHavic

      You may be right. Altho, I believe we’re (conservatives) simply looking for someone who can articulate our sides points.

      Perry apparently can’t speak w/out someone writing it down for him beforehand (remind you of anyone?); Romney’s not believable; Bachmann’s got “crazy eyes”; Newt’s so yesterday; Cain all delivery and no takeout; Santorum (is he even still in?)…well, who cares if he is anyhow; Huntsman is a democrat and Paul..he’s just plain spooky.

      Why didnt you run Mitch Daniels? ~sigh~

  • Sean

    Bernie, you’re dead wrong! I don’t understand why those like you, on the “practical” side, think a true conservative can’t win. Ronald Reagan was ultra-conservative and won not one, but TWO landslides. If there was ever a time to get a Constitutional conservative in the White House, this is the time. The only mistake would be in letting a liberal or “moderate” take it back.

    • Nardo


      You’re right about Reagan. Now name another conservative elected president in the last 80 years

      • Bruce A.

        I remember the crying from the left after the Reagan win in 1980. One of the commentators said people always vote their wallet. Pres. Obama makes me miss Jimmy Carter & the days of malaise.

  • Greg

    I think Obama is in far worse trouble than we are being led to believe because the “lame” stream media is so much in his back pocket. He is the closest we have had to a dictator since FDR. The people aren’t stupid and his declining approval ratings reflect their displeasure. the race is the GOP’s to lose. I am not saying it won’t be a battle, $1bill. can buy a lot of lies, but once the infighting ends and the Republicans have a candidate they can rally behind, Obama is toast.

  • RecknHavic

    It is no surprise to me that the smear campaign by the MSM has hooked even someone as sharp as Bernie Goldberg into distaste for a conservative grassroots movement like the Tea Party. The constant Leftist mantra of unfounded accusations of “ideological purity” thrown at the TP (which in reality is simply the conservative leaning Silent Majority) apparently works.

  • Debbie

    I was reading with interest until I got to the line where you said your would “vote for Charlie Sheen if he ran on the GOP line.” And with that comment so went your credibility. You want to beat the current President with the best candidate, not just any candidate. To suggest even in humor (for this is no laughing matter) that you would vote for any idiot on the GOP line, for that is essentially what you are saying, just confirms to me why the GOP is in so much damned trouble.

  • Timothy

    Romney and Huntsman will not beat Obama, because the are Mormons, and as much as you establishment types like Berrnie do not want to touch on the subject, you must. Now Romney also has a Latino problem. This added with his conservative problem, then you get the point. I asked 20 people at my church if they would vote for Romney, each one of them said no, because he is Mormon. This does not even touch on his flip flopps and all that. bernie, you would sell out as a conservative rather than go for a principled candidate. You should be ashamed sir.

    • Bernard Goldberg

      I should be ashamed???

      You belong to a church loaded with bigots … and I’m the one who should be ashamed?!

    • Paul Courtney

      Timothy: Are these the same 20 you polled in 2008, who thought election of a black pres. was not gonna happen? If Romney is nominee, we’ll just have to get him elected without those 20 votes.

      • David Schadler

        People thought JFK, a Roman Catholic, would never win either. C’mon, man. Bad form.

    • EddieD_Boston

      Hey Tim, when you see your friends in church this Sunday tell ’em I said they’re idiots.

  • Nancye

    From Bernie’s article:

    The good news for Republicans is that even if the purists don’t get their way, they’ll hold their nose and vote for a moderate, someone like Mitt Romney.


    A little story:

    During the 2008 election, on Super Tuesday, I voted for Mitt Romney. On Thursday he dropped out. So much for Romney. You don’t get a second chance Mitt !!!

    If Herman Cain is still in the race – and I sincerely hope he is – I’ll vote for him on Super Tuesday, and if he gets the nomination, I’ll vote for him for president.

    I’m tired of being told who I should vote for because Mr. what’s-his-name has a better chance to beat Obama than the other guy.

    Romney’s been running like a bird dog for years for president and he hasn’t won yet. Give us a break Romney!

  • Ken

    We tend to forget that it is Congress that passes laws and spend money. The Republican Party needs to win control of the Senate and keep control of the House to reverse the direction that this country is headed. Congress’s power comes from the Consitution. If the Republican can capture 60% of the Senate they can override a Presidental veto. We must stop the Democratic Party from taking this country to Socialism. Long live the Republic.

  • Judy

    good points but Bernie is not counting the HUGE #’s of disenfranchised Repubs turned Independents who left BECAUSE of RINO’s.

  • chuck.tatum

    Cain verses unable

    -Dennis Miller

  • M. Free

    Bernie is ABSOLUTELY correct. We need to defeat Pres Obama, and there won’t be enough votes to do that if a “Purist” republican is nominated!

  • Phillip

    Why is it that the liberals can be political purists and win but not conservatives? As to your Rush Limbaugh comment, he is not pushing hyperconservative candidates but moreso conservative principles and ideals.

    • stmichrick

      I agree Phillip, and for once I take issue with Bernie. A liberal purist like Obama wins because, during the campaign, he stays away from the red meat social issues, presents an attractive family image and lots of smiles. For the lightly informed that goes a long way, particularly if you have white guilt or black pride.

      There is no reason that a committed conservative cannot do the same. This is achieved by avoiding the use of flame thrower comments yet always bringing undeniable facts and solid ideas to the debates that the Left would prefer those lightly informed not know about. Wrap that in a package of personal achievement and stable character and you have a winner, like Reagan.

      Go Herman Cain.

      • phlymgrym

        Social conservative will not make this easy…they’ll demand an oath sworn in blood.

  • Michael

    I have never been called a purist, nor probably ever even been thought of as one in anything. I am idealistic enough, however to believe that Rush Limbaugh would be better for our country than Charlie Sheen, who yes, would be better than the current potus.


  • Steve

    I agree . . . sort of. Purity, as you call it, is thrust upon us as just about the only way to defeat the wrongheaded ideas of the left. They demand ideological purity on their side . . . and get it for the most part. That makes true compromise an exercise in futility for us because to them, compromise is always doing it their way. Moderation on our side gives them WAY too much continual victory. We have to remember that we who stand on the Constitution as our foundation are NOT the extremists because the Constitution is actually the dividing line between left and right. IT is the middle ground! When we stand in the middle with the Constitution, we only appear to be extremists to those who are on the left because they are so far away from the foundation. True purists who stand on the Constitution as the foundation and are not extremists! I’m proud to be among them!

  • IndependentLasVegas

    Your aritcle is right on!! I think this 2012 election is a toss up for president.

    When Bachman and Cain are ranked number 3 the Repubs are in trouble. Perry can’t beat Obama he’s # 2 and I think Obama can out debate Romney.

    As soon as Obama leaves his house to vote in Nov 2012 he automatically gets 99% of the black and hispanic vote. He gets 99% of the gay and white liberal vote, and 99% of the UAW, TEAMSTERS, AFL CIO ETC vote

    Obama will pull out all stops to win, he will increase racial tensions, he will promise full amnesty for all hispanics and demand that they be allowed to vote the 2012 politically EVIL president we ever had who is dedicated to destroy the economic structure of this country..This President makes Nixon look like Abe Lincoln.

    • Timothy

      Romney will not get the evangelicals, no way. He is damaged. he worked for Bain capital and crushed jobs, more than he ever built. He will hand the election to Obama, because Christians will never vote for a Mormon flip flopper. They believe he is working with satan. Does anybody even understand these things. Watch, pick Romney, we will lose like John Kerry lost. The country cannot trust somebody like Romney, who would buy an election.

      • EddieD_Boston

        Romney is working for the devil? Wow! If you and your evangelical friends actually believe this you’re all missing a screw or two.

  • R. Kingery

    Bernie, the Buckley rule is a good guide for Republicans, and has held mostly true historically. However, I am the middle/independent. And from my perspective, Obama has moved this country so far to the Left, the Right is now in the middle. This time around, we are going to see the “ground swell” with middle to right people that will make the Buckley rule obsolete and no longer valid. We are going to vote for a pro-American, pro-business, pro-life, charismatic leader who holds the founding principles high. The old formula of the media picking the Republican candidate while at the same time smoothing the pathway for the Dem/Left candidate no longer works. Personally, I hope we pick Herman Cain. Herman Cain has the qualities to be the next president, and (sad to say) because of his skin color, he will not have to enter the fight with Obama with one arm tied behind his back.

    • Nancye

      R. Kingery:

      This time around, we are going to see the “ground swell” with middle to right people that will make the Buckley rule obsolete and no longer valid.

      (((We are going to vote for a pro-American, pro-business, pro-life, charismatic leader who holds the founding principles high.)))

      Amen!!! I couldn’t agree with you more. And I’ll vote for Cain too.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Mitt Romney. He’s a fiscal conservative (needed) and moderate on the social issues (mandatory) and is non-threatening to independents.

    Romney has been around and is familiar and he’s also had a record of success. And please don’t compare Romneycare with
    Obamacare. States rights baby! Plus, I do believe that reasonable people think everyone should be required to have health insurance. I don’t want to pay for your emergency room visit. Romneycare helps people find affordable insurance and doesn’t take over the healthcare system.

    • JohnInMA

      I’ve not heard or read of a single “true” conservative, as they like to call themselves, describe Romney as a good candidate. Many make statements of tolerance (Buckley rule??). None highlight his achievements that I can see. Everything about him screams RINO, or Democrat to most.

      Of course, to them a Republican from the Northeast in any capacity is really a Democrat looking to move away from the extreme left. Giuliani, Scott Brown, Pataki, etc. In many cases, they are right. Not all, though.

      • EddieD_Boston

        Couldn’t agree more. The reason why I’m unenrolled is b/c the Christian Right scares me. And I’m no closest liberal either!!

        With Romney we’d get Obama out and ALL republicans should grasp that simple fact. Sitting home election day b/c Romney isn’t an evangelical Christian is something stupid a liberal…er…progressive would do.

    • Paul Courtney

      Eddie, I’ll vote Romney and hope he wins, but please don’t try to sell RomneyCare to conservatives. State govt’s are not given unlimited power, and should not subject its citizens to orders that we buy a product from gov’t approved list even if it has authority to do so. The MA experiment is merely proving that, no matter how much a gov’t thinks this system will cost, it actually costs LOTS more, and MA is soon forced to stop doing some other gov’t function to pay for this. Fundamental question Mitt doesn’t get- why does health care cost so much that working-class uninsured person is bankrupted by single visit to Emergency room? Another fundamental problem- just because state passes law doesn’t mean all obey. How many street people got in line to apply for state-subsidized health ins., disclosing income from drug dealing or prostitution? I mean before they showed up @ ER shot or stabbed? In the end, Eddie, you’ll still be paying under RomneyCare, ObamaCare, or present system, and because gov’t is doing the spending for you, you’re paying way too much.

      • EddieD_Boston

        I agree with most of your points but Romneycare doesn’t take over healthcare. A significant difference and much less big-government than the federal plan is as written.

        Plus, the way things worked b/f is when someone didn’t pay their hospital bill the state (taxpayers) reimbursed the hospital.

        With the mandatory insurance requirement most hospital visits are covered by insurance and not tax dollars. Not all but the vast majority.

        • Paul Courtney

          My info is, MA experiment shows shifting cost of additional insured folks to insurer is covered by MA paying (higher and higher) subsidy to-wait for it-insurer. MA gets federal $ to run this reform. State and fed $ pays for it, however you slice it. Good news is, you’re only paying for part of state contribution, fed $ comes from China.





  • DOOM161

    A POTUS can always get reelected. People thought George W. Bush couldn’t get reelected. He probably wouldn’t have without Dan Rather’s help. And even then, it required Kerry to jump on the story assuming the papers hadn’t been forged.

  • robin in fl

    bernie, you are so correct in this..if only some of the “purists” got what you are saying.

    i know i will not vote for certain republicans.i do not want to see obama get a second term,BUT…there are still certain republicans i would just not vote for no matter what.

    like nancye, i would vote for cain with no problem..and can only wish he would have marco rubio as a running mate.

    some of these purist republicans are the ones doing themself and the republican party more harm then good,as you said “They detest moderates”..well in that case good luck.if they detest them that much it will still be anyones game i believe,and unfortunatley obama is still in “the game”!

  • HolyChristAlmighty

    They have ears, but do not hear
    They have eyes, but do not see

    The “true” Republicans are still squakin’ about John McCain the same way Democrats still squak about Bush. McCain lost because the economy tanked a few weeks before the election. Not because he was a lefty Republican. But the ones who refuse to use their eyes and ears will go down with the Laura Ingraham’s and El Rushbo’s before they hold their nose and vote for a rational, electable Republican. I know, to them it’s called “principles.” Enjoy those principles while Pres. Obama enjoys Air Force One thru 2016.

  • rush5150

    Bernie, don’t sell your soul to the devil. Another Gerald Ford isn’t going to help the situation. Just because someone claims to be a Republican, does not imply they hold CONSERVATIVE values.

    Look at John Huntsman. Think he is in the wrong party.

    A moderate that holds to Obama’s values hurts conservatives. It provides liberals another chance to pull a RINOs strings and will not provide ample leadership to repeal Obama’s Marxist policies and move the country to fiscally conservative values.

  • Paul Courtney

    Bernie, the problem is not a candidate who’s too conservative, it’s the conservative candidates who aren’t intelligent enough to explain their positions, sometimes to a hostile press. My guess is that Armey’s “wrong candidate” is Romney, while your column seems to suggest the “wrong candidate” is too far right, not too far to the middle (“too far to the middle”? Is that even a thing?). Applying the Buckley Rule, Perry and Bachman aren’t too conservative to get independent voters, but both struggle to explain their positions. Bachman appears to be done, and Perry is a few gaffes away from joining her on the long VP list. For most of us hoping someone will rescue us from Romney, Cain and Paul have not lit enough fires, certainly not mine. We may settle for Romney, and Armey may prove to be prescient.

  • Vince Ricardo

    Mitt Romney couldn’t even beat John McCain for the Republican nomination LAST time, and what has Romney done since to prove he’s the best candidate the Republicans can field THIS time? Nada. Nothing. Oh, well Obama isn’t as popular this time, and it won’t take as much to beat him. Is THAT what we’re counting on? Jeez.

    The fact that Romney is still seen as one of the top two or three “best” Republican candidates is frightening.


    You assign ‘independents’ too much ambivalence vis-à-vis The Great FAIL. While many of the people who will form the electorate on November 6th, 2012 would much rather discuss sports news than the jobs outlook, they do not like Obama at all. Their whole motivation to actually bother themselves to go to their polling place IS because of their own personal situation and their political outlook. And that doesn’t favor Obama. Obama is done. The Republicans could run a dead cat against him and win! Gimme a break.

    • Glen Stambaugh

      You dream.

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  • Nancye

    I would vote for Herman Cain tomorrow if I could. My opinion! Enough said!

    • Glen Stambaugh

      My favorite too. Concerned about him holding up in a foreign policy debate though. NOT about his judgement to act as commander in chief, just his background to discuss it in a convincing manner with a clueless campaigner in chief.

    • Bruce A.

      He has had my vote for a long time. Out of all the candidates, Herman Cain actually worked & created something while the politicians were bankrupting the country.

  • Glen Stambaugh

    I see the physcal conservative issues as more universal in appeal right now than the social. Those are the divisions we can not afford in this election so critical to our collective survival as a viable republic. We need those independents on our side no matter their position on marriage….

    • John Daly


    • Glen Stambaugh

      Meant “fiscal” conservative. Don’t care how physical they may be.

  • John Daly

    I have these same concerns as well… although I don’t think Mitt Romney is the only electable candidate of the bunch. Fortunately, I think most of the candidates I’m worried about aren’t doing well enough to win the nomination anyway. Still a long time to go though.

  • the DA

    By process of elimination it appears that the only viable Republican candidate at the moment is…gulp…Romney. This is the same guy who couldn’t buy a vote when competing with the likes of John McCain during the last campaign. The GOP bench doesn’t look very promising either unless Paul Ryan reconsiders. I am not optimistic.

  • RecknHavic

    The “blame the Tea Party” shtick is getting tiresome. It’s the TP movement that was the key factor in, not only he national GOP landslide, but state victories as well.

    Please provide some examples, Bernie, of this TP rigidity.

    • John Daly

      He DID provide examples: Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle. They won the primaries because their message was the most appealing to the tea party. The only problem is that they were very poor candidates. Simply being well-meaning isn’t enough. Personal baggage is a problem. Lack of experience is a problem. Making zany statements is a problem.

      • CCNV

        You’re right, John. There were none more shocked than those of us in Nevada when we were offered Sharron Angle for the Republican nomination. (Gag. Choke. Cough.) And now the woman just won’t shut up and go away…

      • Begbie

        Correct! Inexperienced candidates are bad. There’s one in the white house now. I don’t care for Romney either, but he’s probably the most experienced of the bunch in all aspects. He can beat Obama.

        • RecknHavic

          So what you’re saying then is that if EVERY Tea Party candidate doesn’t win, the TP has failed the GOP?

          Thats a pretty high bar.

          I had said, “Please provide some examples.. of this TP rigidity.”
          Naming two (out of many) candidates,is not listing an example. Also (unless you’re assuming that the entirety of the Nevada GOP is Tea Party) its was a plurality of Republicans that nominated Angle; same goes for the witch chick.

  • PJ Moore

    Oh, great, Bernie! Now I’m scared silly because many Republicans don’t seem to have the “street smarts” needed to nominate the right person. Those of us with a brain in our head knew John McCain was the wrong choice 4 yrs. ago. Please share with your readers who your choice would be. A lot of us trust your insight and at this point, I for one am a very confused Republican.

    • MerchantofVenom

      Ditto that. Perry comes to mind. Just what we need another RINO like McCain. In the last election we were told McCain was the lesser of two evils. So that is our choice? The lesser of two evils? In clear conscience I sat that one out.

      On the other hand Bernie may have a point. Romney once said during a GOP debate. “Anyone on this stage would make a better president then the one currently occupying the White House.”

      With that even a hard core conservative couldn’t argue.

      That said, keep your eye on Marco Rubio. I see a bright future.