By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, US Daily Review.
In 2008 radio personality Rush Limbaugh established “Operation Chaos” as a means to stop Barack Obama by getting Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries. That program didn’t work, but it appears the so-called mainstream media is creating its own chaos when it comes to the GOP primaries.
It is difficult to keep track of the number of front runners the GOP has had since the most recent election cycle began. First and foremost has been Mitt Romney, who has been at the top of the heap (or very close) from the beginning with 25 percent of likely Republican voters favoring him. This number has been a constant from the beginning and it appears there is no amount of money in the Romney camp or anti-Romney ads by his opponents (and those who support those candidates) to change this. The media treatment of Romney has stayed relatively constant also, projecting him as a “strong business leader” and the man “Barack Obama fears the most.”
Besides Romney we have seen the rise and fall of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry,and Herman Cain. So devastating were the attacks on Cain he has withdrawn from the race entirely. Since Cain we have seen the rise of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom have taken a pounding from the media for their past behavior and present positions. Although Gingrich remains consistently in the top 3, he has seen his numbers cut in half thanks to a very hostile media onslaught. Ron Paul, who has run for president three times, most recently in 2008, is being described as a “racist” for statements in the 1990s in a financial newsletter he use to publish. These newsletters existed in 2008, yet they are now suddenly controversial?
It is interesting to note the role the media has played in the rise and fall of each of these candidates. They have not merely cited polling that indicated a candidate’s rise but focused on the “new buzz” surrounding each candidate (much of it perpetuated by the media), essentially “stirring the pot” and heightening voter interest. A great example of this is the “sudden” rise of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was written off entirely by the early part of the summer of 2011, his campaign staff had abandoned him and his finances were in the red. Suddenly Gingrich was the “man to beat,” who had the “strongest posture of any of the GOP candidates” and is “the most capable during the debates.” This led to a meteoric rise overnight. Within a couple of weeks, however, Gingrich starts to get attacked for things ranging from his divorce in the 1980s to his implied support of “Romneycare” (which, according to most of the GOP base is paramount to supporting Obamacare itself). Gingrich was smarter than most of his opponents and actually developed a website to counter all of these charges. In it, he exposed as much as he could think of (or at least imagine) would be held against him. In it, he tackled his “extramarital affair,” “asking his wife for a divorce while she was dying of cancer,” and more. The basic gist of it was, “I’m running for president and not sainthood, I have made mistakes and they are now behind me.” It seemed to work, but it seems new charges are added daily and many argue that he is simply not electable because of his personality. They began to have the predictable results and Gingrich has been fighting desperately to remain credible and electable in the eyes of voters.
The rise of Ron Paul is linked intrinsically to the rise and fall of the other candidates. Ron Paul was not taken seriously in 2008 — except for his ability to raise money and win straw polls. In 2012 that has changed. Some of it is due to the fact that there is no serious “Anti-Romney” left and there are simply huge numbers of rank-and-file conservatives who will not vote for the former Massachusetts governor. They see how the other candidates have been discredited (maybe even destroyed), and the only choice left is Ron Paul.
I believe that at the end of the primary season, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and even the media will be surprised by what happens in this election. I think that, in the end, voters are going to realize that the only GOP candidate that is acceptable according to the media is Romney — the man who was defeated by the man who was beat by Obama in 2008. It is clearly in the best interest of the media and Obama, to have Romney on the top of the ticket (if you believe, like I do, the media is largely liberal in its views). He creates the least amount of contrast with Obama (some have said Romney would be a better running mate than opponent). Obama even helps him by running commercials against Romney’s record. This is designed to convey who the president “fears,” but is intended to help his favorite GOP horse to get the nod. Of all the candidates, I think Romney is the easiest to beat in the eyes of Obama and the media.
In the end, I believe the voters will largely ignore the media and its “due diligence” process and will vote for the candidate they believe is best for the nation. I think that the media will be very surprised to find that Republicans will not choose to vote “none of the above.”