Does Brownback Have What It Takes to Win the White House?
In the past week the has been a buzz over Senator Sam Brownback's decision to begin his presidential bid by spending a night in a prison in Louisiana to draw attention to the need for prison reform. Over at Red State there is a front page article on the subject where the author concludes that he must support Brownback because of his strong ideals. He ends with the statement that "politics divorced from ideals is just a really expensive game." (Note: I can't give you the link becuase I'm typing this from my phone in the Atlanta airport.)
With Brownback's entrance into the race for president I've seen a rise in this type of talk; that Brownback should be the Conservative candidate of choice becuase of his ideals. I think it is mostly a bunch of bunk.
I hate to break it to you if you feel the same as the Red State writer, but politics is a game. Yes, an expensive game. Those who suceed are the ones who learn how to play the game well. I know many really bright folks who would make great elected officials but will never be elected because they can't or won't play the game; they are not electable.
Don't get me wrong, I almost always vote for the idealist, and there is a good chance I'll vote for Brownback. After all, I was the lone ranger here pushing for Gallagher in the gubernatorial race becuase of his Conservative platform. But all of this idealist talk is a distraction from the fact that Brownback needs a major spike of charisma before he has a shot at the White House.
Brownback supporters are going to rave over his Conservative ideology. That is all well and good, but don't forget the all important electability factor. If ideology is the sole determining factor Alan Keyes would have been the Republican nominee six times by now.
Facts is facts, and Brownback just isn't the most exciting political figure. He can be right all day long, but if he can't inspire people to join his cause, he loses.
We've talked about Romney's flaws and the concerns with him. This is Brownback's biggest short-coming. Fix this and you have a stellar candidate.
Don't get me wrong, I really like Brownback. In fact, on my old blog I used to dream about having him in the White House. It would be fantastic. The problem is getting him there. I'm just not sure it can happen, especially with the characters running on the other side. But we have a long way to go, maybe we can spice him up over the next year.
We know Brownback is Conservative. We know he takes a stand on issues many others never recognize. Now we need to see if he has what it takes to win a national election over some of the toughest democrat competition we've seen in a long time at a point where many Americans are disenfranchised with Republican leadership. Right now, I'm not sure he does.