Churchill Belonged There: Can the GOP Save the Alliance?

As the GOP field thins out during primary season, British conservatives with an interest in American politics have been forced to re-examine their preferred candidate.  The rapid rise and fall of many “flavours of the month” has made it increasingly difficult to follow from across the Atlantic.  Mainstream media tends to present the nominees as caricatures of themselves, while the liberal media delights in picking out quotes to make candidates seem more extreme.

British Conservative MP Nadine Dorries

Britain’s secular nature attempts to extract religion from elections.  Tony Blair has been involved in a number of faith-based initiatives since leaving office, but he rarely mentioned his religion while serving as Prime Minister.  Current Prime Minister David Cameron skirts around the issue, worried about offending anyone by talking about his faith.  The secular nature of our society leads to a very different type of politics.  Social issues such as abortion and gay marriage are rarely, if ever, debated in parliament.  Nadine Doories (pictured right), a Conservative Member of Parliament, recently suggested that pregnant women should be able to receive advice from faith-based groups before having an abortion. She was immediately denigrated by the liberal media and even her own party.  Most elections in the UK are therefore fought over fiscal issues such as tax and government spending rather than social issues.

Bearing this in mind, what do the British make of the GOP candidates so far?

Fmr. Presidential Candidate Herman Cain

Initially the bombastic, no-nonsense approach of Herman Cain resonated on this side of the Atlantic. Think tanks such as the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Centre for Policy Studies have campaigned for a flat tax in recent years, and the possibility of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan piqued their interest.  As the salacious rumours about his personal life came up, Brits were baffled at how rapidly his ratings declined.  After Bill Clinton, it seemed surprising that a candidate could be destroyed so quickly by rumours such as this. We are used to our fair share of scandal in British politics, so little shocks us.

Rick Perry had appeared to be George W. Bush, mark two, an unpopular idea considering his reputation when he left office.  Bush was painted as a prize idiot in England for his entire presidency, so Perry’s complete inability to stay awake or remember his policies (see below) during debates simply served to reinforce these suspicions.



Presidential Candidate Rep. Ron Paul

There is a growing libertarian movement in Britain. Ron Paul has a lot of young fans over here, but the same thing that stops him from getting the nomination in America stops him from attracting widespread support here.  On domestic issues, conservatives admire the low tax, low regulation, small, states’ rights approach to government which Paul espouses, but his foreign policy is considered crazy.  Radical cuts in defense spending and an isolationist approach to humanitarian issues such as Libya are viewed as short sighted and dangerous.

As a nation we are proud of the special relationship between America and Britain, best shown during the era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher . There are many differences between our nations, but for Atlanticists like myself, our relationship with America has always been the most important for us globally.

On a visit to Congress last year, I got the chance to ask Ron Paul what he thought of the special relationship. He replied that all countries should be treated the same, as potential allies and trading partners.  I asked him if meant treating Iran the same as Britain; he confirmed.  After Barack Obama sent the bust of Winston Churchill back to Britain in a much-derided show of contempt, I could never support a presidential candidate who does not appreciate the connection between our countries.

Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich has received relatively little coverage on this side of the Atlantic, his time in the spotlight ending before it had really started. His recent adverts attacking Romney’s capitalist history have only served to give Obama ammunition for the fight ahead.


Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum

The recent surge of Rick Santorum has placed him on the forefront of British media for the first time. His stance on gay marriage, abortion, contraception and other faith-based issues make him a soft target for a media that has a poor understanding of American politics. Even so, it is hard to imagine him attracting the floating voters that any GOP candidate will need to beat Obama later this year.


Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney

Finally, there’s Mitt Romney. The GOP spent the last year desperately trying to find anyone else, but it looks like he’s going to be the last one standing. Ironically, his political priorities are probably the most attractive to British conservatives. His focus on the economy, jobs, and growth has mass appeal. The liberal media will still try and cast him as a typical Republican, but recent polls indicate that he could potentially be the only candidate who can really take on Obama.

Left-Wing politicians in England tried to use Obama’s stimulus plan as an excuse for higher public spending and tax increases, but those policies have been burdensome and ineffective.  An American president supporting the free markets and scaling back the size of the government could show the way to other Western economies in dire need of urgent fiscal reform.

The GOP should choose their candidate as soon as possible, before infighting damages reputations any further.  In my opinion, a smart pick for Vice President regardless of the nominee would be Marco Rubio; he could make all the difference when it comes to November.  Whoever is on the ticket, the most important task is to get Barack Obama as far away from the White House as possible before he completely destroys American exceptionalism and further damages relations with the UK, an important strategic ally in Europe.

Frank Manning // University of Nottingham // London, UK // @BillyManning

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7 Responses

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  1. John Stedley
    Feb 08, 2012 - 10:11 PM

    A very informative article, however you should do it again for the current climate in the world, analyzing Obama’s failing and insults to the UK and the situation in the Falklands. I agree that Romney is the best option and Paul is the worst. Romney is the first of these guys to mention the ‘special relationship’, in his Citadel speech. When it comes to the Falklands, Santorum or Romney would serve as the best allies of the UK against Argentina in the UN. Both take a hard line against Cuba and Venezuela (key allies of South America’s resident, Argentine maniac, Christina Kirchner)and do not like the maligned, Bolivarian socialism down there. Historically, Democrats have served to undermine the US allies, Republicans have improved relations. They could also help to “De-Left” what should be the UK’s right party. Cameron has actually met with Romney (the likely candidate) and the meeting apparently went well. I think Obama will lose the 2012 election for several reasons including the economic implications of the unavoidable war that is about to unfold between Israel and Iran and also his recent assault on religion in the form of forcing Catholic institutions to provide contraception (a big constitutional no-no). In short, Israel and the UK want Obama gone and hopefully it will happen. As enemies around the world are beginning to become visible, the “free world” is going to have to stick together. Mitt Romney is probably the best choice if UK/US relations is an issue you find important. 🙂

    • Richard Heyn
      Nov 01, 2013 - 06:28 PM

      You need to move in the real world. As a Brit, I can tell you that we prefer Obama over any Republican.

  2. Ventura Capitalist
    Jan 16, 2012 - 04:35 PM

    To Richard Heyn, good job reciting those President 9-Iron talking points.
    1. American Conservatives appreciate our Special Relationship. Barry does not.
    2. It didn’t.
    3. Sabotage was unnecessary. Obama had total control of the government for 2 years and enacted every one of his major policies. That is what has prolonged the recession and keep unemployment at record levels.
    4. Redistribution of wealth is what socialists do. This is America. And by the way, your hero has added more to the debt in just 3 years than all previous administrations COMBINED.
    5. The issue would never arise, unless the Muslims completely take over Britain.

    • Richard Heyn
      Nov 01, 2013 - 06:26 PM

      Keep wallowing in your sick, bigoted, fantasies.
      1) America’s Conservatives see the UK as a useful tool and expect the UK to follow blindly. Pres Obama sees the UK as an equal, a real friend, and one worthy of respect.
      2) Guess you’re an economic midget.
      3) Really? Guess the GOP leadership, Gingrich, Luntz and corporate hacks, didn’t have a meeting on the night of Obama’s first inauguration and didn’t agree to sabotage and obstruct Obama at every turn, just to destroy his presidency and make him a one-term president. And I guess they never did act on that, especially after 2010 election.
      4) Guess you prefer to ignore history and prefer fantasies. From Reagan onward, the wealth of the rich has ballooned and that of the middle class has remained flat. Then you use faulty stats to attack Obama. Really? Reagan TRIPLED debt, BUSH DOUBLED it, increase under Obama so far is only about 35-40%.
      5) Really? It could happen. America’s politicians have their heads firmly up Israel’s arse and the Jewish Lobby pulls the strings. America is a coward when it comes to Israel.

  3. Heidi
    Jan 16, 2012 - 12:09 PM

    FANTASTIC article, spot on! Agree completely, thank you!

  4. Richard Heyn
    Jan 16, 2012 - 02:40 AM

    Errata: Read item 2 as “Higher Govt spending is necessary during a recession, to stimulate demand and create greater economic activity. It will thus create jobs and grow the economy.”

  5. Richard Heyn
    Jan 16, 2012 - 02:36 AM

    The Conservative bias colours this post, which is understandable. However, it doesn’t excuse the inaccuracies.
    1. The Churchill bust was on loan to the Bush White House. It was returned at the end of the Bush term. The American Conservatives turned it into an issue to hurt President Obama .. White Entitlement Syndrome & all that.
    2. Higher Govt spending in a time of demand is necessary to create demand and, thus, create jobs and boost the economy.
    3. America’s Conservatives deliberately sabotaged America’s economic recovery for the sole purpose of defeating President Obama in 2012. They were quite open about that.
    4. America’s tax policy from Reagan on was solely designed to redistribute the nations wealth upward toward the rich. It has created an enormous imbalance in wealth, away from the middle class. The spin off was that Reagan tripled the national debt and George W Bush doubled it.
    5. And one last thing, Americans Conservatives will sacrifice Britain if it means serving Israel’s interests.


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