Sunday, November 01, 2009

Palin/Perry 2012: The Conservative Party should bring a national challenge in 2012

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/02/09

Whatever happens tomorrow in the NY 23 race will be anti-climatic. Now that Dierdre Scozzafava, the Republican candidate, has dropped out there has already been a clear and historic victory for the Conservative party. The Republican party is now a third party in NY 23. This is a new beginning and it cannot be denied that Sarah Palin was the first major, national politician to cross the river to NY 23. It is a new and original political format formed out of the Tea Party and Town Hall movements. We can see now the fledgling beginning of a third major party in America, the Conservative party.

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford was the first major figure to speak out when he wrote last November 15 in the Wall Street Journal, “I find myself in a lonely position. While many states and local governments are lining up for a bailout from Congress, I went to Washington recently to oppose such bailouts. I may be the only governor to do so.” Texas governor Rick Perry joined him shortly after. But it cannot be denied that Palin is the dynamic force awakening the heartland to this new perspective. The victory of the Conservative party over the Republican party in NY 23 is the first step out of the abstract and into the concrete.

Maybe Perry should change his brand to Conservative party in his race in Texas and leave Kay Bailey Hutchison to the Republican nostalgicos. Dick Cheney is campaigning for Hutchison and they seem a fairly good match. Palin is stumping for Perry.

In our times there has not been such a critical division in substance and outlook. The critical turning in NY 23 came when Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota who expects to run for president in 2012, followed Palin’s initiative and threw his support to the Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman. By the time Scozzafava dropped out, Palin, Pawlenty, Perry, former New York governor George Pataki, Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, former Senator Fred Thompson and other prominent Republicans had lined up with them. Newt Gingrich led the traditionalists in support of Scozzafava. Cheney might be considered in the Gingrich column as well. Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi and head of the Republican Governors Association supports Perry in Texas and might be considered among the Conservatives.

With 43% of the voters in a poll not long ago claiming to be independent, it is fully possible today to see a third party challenge in 2012. Palin would be the perfect candidate. Two issues need a fundamental new approach: The war and the bailouts. In my opinion the Republicans are dead wrong on the war and the Democrats are dead wrong on the bailouts. And there are two people on these fronts today who present better ideas: Ron Paul and Marine Capt. Matthew Hoh.

In a recent poll 93% of Texans said they think Ron Paul should run for president in 2012. Paul independents and conservatives could well find a place of convergence in the rising Conservative party. As Daniel McCarthy, senior editor at The American Conservative wrote recently, Republicans have yet to comprehend the magnitude of their loss in recent years among young people. “If Republicans are to have any hope of turning back that tide, they must heed the man who excited more students and young people than any other candidate for the GOP nomination—Ron Paul.”

Political parties are exclusively about packaging. New ideas and ideals need new packages or they will be beaten back by senior generations demanding the old hat, the old calcified forms and the old orthodoxies. This is still fantasy football, but a Palin/Perry ticket on the Conservative Party in 2012 would really wake things up.