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Three states will go to the polls on Tuesday to voice their presidential preference – Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

But do any of these contests matter? No.

Not a single one of the three states voting on Tuesday will award delegates. In fact Missouri is only holding its primary because the state legislature failed to amend a law that requires it (the state will hold its binding caucus on March 17).

The next meaningful votes will be cast on February 28, when GOP voters in Michigan and Arizona go to the polls. A week later, Republicans in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia will participate in “Super Tuesday.”

Do any of those contests matter?

That depends … if you believe that there is a nickel’s worth of ideological difference between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, then yes … we suppose that these contests do matter.

However if you’ve bothered to study these three candidates’ records (and their policy proposals) in any detail, you know that they are virtually indistinguishable from one another. None of them have demonstrated anything resembling the political will necessary to break big government’s stranglehold over our economy (and over future generations of taxpayers), which is probably why none have proposed tax and spending plans which would accomplish that objective.

Among these three “Republicans in Name Only,” Romney has emerged as the presumptive nominee. Why? Because a narrow plurality of GOP voters believe him to be the most electable GOP candidate – which we believe to be a myth.

“It’s a real possibility because the tea party folks and the Republican conservatives and social conservatives and others are very apprehensive of Mitt Romney and they don’t feel he is really one of us,” former GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told Newsmax earlier this week.

Um, duh.

According to a Pew Center poll released last month, if libertarian-leaning Republican Ron Paul were to run as an independent he would start off with 18 percent of the vote, drawing equally from Romney and Barack Obama (further evidence that independent voters aren’t necessarily “moderates”).

And while the chance of a credible third party alternative to Romney emerging might sound like a long shot, remember what happened to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Republicans have consistently poor-mouthed the Ron Paul movement, arguing that its supporters need to rally behind a Republican candidate who can beat Obama. This view not only discounts Paul’s “Romney-esque” viability in a general election, it also presumes that the GOP needs to tack further to the left ideologically – which is the last thing this country needs.

“It is not Ron Paul supporters who need to ‘get on board‘ with the GOP establishment, it is establishment Republicans who need to get on board with a candidate who is actually supporting the principles their party claims to stand for,” we wrote recently.

The GOP continues to ignore that counsel at its peril.