Cowboy Wisdom for the Republican Presidential Candidates

After a year of seemingly endless debates and incessant polling and punditry, Republican primary voters finally are getting their chance to weigh in and make their choice for the person they believe can lead the nation and more importantly send President Obama on a permanent vacation.

The Iowa caucuses scrambled the field but probably raised more questions than answered them as to who will be the eventual nominee. And only one candidate, Michele Bachmann, decided it was best to withdraw and live to fight another day.

Now it’s on to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada and all the other contests on the primary schedule that will end in June in California.

Any cable panel pundit who thinks they can predict the eventual outcome is a fool. And as Lincoln said better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

So rather than offering yet another prediction on what will or will not happen only to be proved wrong later, let me instead offer each candidate a little cowboy wisdom as they head down the long road to that leads to the convention in Tampa.

First for Mitt Romney.

The purest metal comes out of the greatest heat.

I know you probably find it irritating that you actually have to fight for the nomination and it is not given to you as a consolation prize for your second place finish in 2008. But if you are the eventual nominee, a hard fought primary campaign will make you a much better general election candidate against Obama. The heat will be intense but the “mettle” that comes out of that heat will be invaluable come the fall.

For Rick Santorum.

There is no time to rest when there’s work to be done. Eat on the run, forget about sleep and change horses often.

No time to rest on the photo finish in Iowa where like Lazarus you rose from the dead to come in second place and lost to Mitt by a whisker. You will need a lot of money fast. Raising $1 million dollars in a day makes a nice press release but Romney could get $1 million out of petty cash or his grandchildren’s inheritance. You also need to staff up and fast. You are now a legitimate conservative alternative to the establishment candidate so ride like hell. You just might surprise everyone.

For Newt Gingrich.

Don’t get even. Get over it.

Newt, there is an old saying that revenge is a dish best served cold but you seem determined to serve it five alarm chili hot if your rhetoric is any indication. The Romney people baited you so that you would lose your temper and look wild-eyed. As G.W. Bush said “mission accomplished”. If you want to stay viable, take a deep breath and get back to talking about what shot you to the top--your vision for America and laying out the case against Obama. Remember what Michael Corleone said to his brother Sonny in “The Godfather”. “It’s not personal. It’s business.”

For Rick Perry.

Watch about sayin’ it can’t be done. Somebody’s liable to interrupt you by doin’ it.

Well Governor Perry, everyone but your lovely wife Anita has counted you out. South Carolina is your last hurrah unless you can finish at or near the top and have your own Lazarus-like experience like Rick Santorum. But in this crazy election cycle it could happen. I don’t know if it will but if it does you will make the mainstream media very happy as they would like Republicans to keep on arguing amongst themselves as it helps their candidate, President Obama.

For Ron Paul.

The loser in a fight ain’t necessarily wrong.

I know you haven’t yet lost Ron but marijuana will be legal before the Republican establishment lets you anywhere near the nomination. But that doesn’t mean that you have not introduced some new and interesting ideas to the Republican debate. And the Republicans could use some new ideas. You have also brought young people to the party and that could pay dividends in the future. Like another maverick that the establishment didn’t cotton to, Barry Goldwater, your legacy will be more important than any election. (NOTE: Yes there is a Republican Establishment. And the only folks who vehemently deny this fact are the Republican Establishment).

For Jon Huntsman

Believe in miracles but don’t bet on them.

You have a nice family that will comfort you when the inevitable happens, because miracles in politics are very rare. And voters don’t bet on miracles. I have never been able to figure out the rationale for your candidacy nor have many voters. Sometimes I think you believe that being president is being a good manager. Michael Dukakis thought the same thing. Americans are hungry for a leader not a manager. Now, I have no doubt you would be infinitely better than your old boss President Obama, but in a Republican primary having served in his administration is not a plus.

And here is a final thought for all the Republican candidates.

Only buzzards feed on their friends.

In 1967 shortly after he was sworn in as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan addressed a group of conservative activists and said…

“Our 11th Commandment is perhaps more profound than we realize. “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican.” To do so means we are inhibited in the support we can give that Republican if he should become the nominee of our party. Certainly our task is harder if we must challenge and refute charges made by our opponents if those charges were first uttered by us.”

Stop being buzzards and attacking each other personally. As The Gipper said, it will only help the opposition.

The game is on the line. Go out and “win one for the Gipper”!

Patrick Dorinson blogs at "The Cowboy Libertarian" and he can be heard on a radio program with the same name on Sundays, from 11-12 noon PT on KFBK radio. Listen online