At CPAC last week we noticed Rick Perry saying the Republicans lost in 2012 because their nominee wasn’t conservative, which one must say was quite rich. And why was the nominee not a conservative? Perhaps because Perry failed.
He came into the primaries a governor of a large state, with an excellent record, a “big” personality, a reputation as a ferocious campaigner, and for some reason bombed quickly, leaving Mitt Romney the last sane man standing in a field of conservatives whose credentials were lacking and whose personalities verged on bizarre.
We heard Phyllis Schlafly, all but unchanged since her Goldwater moment, rip the wicked establishment figures who burdened her cause with what she calls losers, such as Romney, Bob Dole and John McCain. Well, they did lose (though not nearly as badly as Goldwater), but she never mentioned all the conservative duds who lost to them, much less all the appealing conservative figures who ought to have won in their place. This is because between Ronald Reagan (and Jack Kemp) and the new generation of Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, there were no appealing conservative figures, or none who could win on the national scene.