Remember back to 2008? President Bush was term limited so we witnessed preliminary campaigning among both Republicans and Democrats. Both parties had multiple candidates competing in the early primary states for votes and for high-profile endorsements. But did we see that much fuss? Were the candidacies of those who lead in one poll criticized so vehemently by party insiders, other party office holders and partisan pundits?
In the Democrat camp as things settled down, we had the established junior senator from New York, Hilary Clinton, with strong support from the establishment — especially women who saw her as the next great hope to have a female in the Presidency — vying against the newcomer, Barack Obama. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, was hardly a seasoned politician, but one with support from the likes of Colin Powell, Harry Reid and even Teddy Kennedy, who picked Obama to champion healthcare reform over Clinton, who had been involved in earlier attempts herself. Even fellow Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey weighed in for Obama.
On the Republican side, the contest advanced more uniformly. John McCain was the heir apparent — he having lost to Bush in the 2000 primaries. McCain was not the darling of the more fundamental conservative thinkers. Nevertheless, who among the establishment really took him on? Openly, McCain was backed by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. That was enough. He was the man!
Going into 2012, we see a virtual carousel of Republican candidates each taking their turn — their 45 days or so of fame in the lead. But now that most have failed to thrive as the non-Romney candidate, as Ron Paul takes his turn in the lead he is criticized far and wide by the establishment. Isn’t this a democracy? Aren’t the voters — not the establishment — supposed to voice their choice at the polling place? Or has money, the most powerful of commodities among today’s political establishment, gotten them scared of the humble Libertarian who has skirted the moneyed 1 percent? Go occupy’em Ron!