The GOP has a clear shot at retaking the White House in 2012, but winning will require strong support from core groups such as the National Rifle Association, Christian conservatives, and the ever-expanding tea party movement, veteran political consultant and best-selling author Brad O’Leary tells Newsmax.
“How can Obama be beaten? You have to talk to the people about what he really believes.” says O’Leary, publisher of The O’Leary Report and co-author of a book in process titled “How Obama Can Be Defeated in 2012.”
“You’re not going to be able to fight this election and win unless you have the support of the NRA. That’s a truism we can start with,” says O’Leary, who adds that the current administration’s poor record on gun rights has cost the Democrats dearly in recent elections.
Video: O’Leary : NRA, Evangelical Uprising Will Win in 2012
“In his heart, President [Barack] Obama would love to take on the NRA. He believes that restrictions on owning a gun can be put in place by the states. Hardly anyone in America would be able to own a gun,” O’Leary says. “Will the Democratic Party, who suffered such a calamity in the last election, have the guts to take on the NRA? I think they’ll choose to be hypocrites all the way.”
The NRA’s power will be on display next month at its annual members’ meeting in Pittsburgh. Attendance hit a record of 71,000 last year, and this year’s event could draw an all-time high of 75,000.
In a wide-ranging interview with Newsmax.TV, O’Leary also expounded on:
- The solid cadre of national conservative candidates and how that field is likely to shake out this election cycle
- The administration’s efforts to appoint activist judges to rewrite the Constitution and impinge on American freedoms
- Obama’s brand of Christianity and how it fuels his strong belief in the redistribution of wealth.
Like NRA members, O’Leary says Christian conservatives are likely to be driven to the polls in record numbers in 2012 to hold the line on issues and positions they feel the Obama administration is threatening.
“Religious conservatives … weren’t out in massive number last election but they’re there,” O’Leary tells Newsmax. “Anyone who thinks we solved gay marriage, and solved many other issues that would turn people out doesn’t know anything about America.
“Since the Civil War, churches have played an important part in turning out their people to vote in elections,” he says.
Even with the NRA and the Christian vote secured, however, GOP candidates need to be mindful of the burgeoning power of the tea party, O’Leary adds.
“Any successful candidate . . . is going to have to have the support of groups like the tea party,” he insists. “They are not going away. They didn’t come to the table and elect so many people, especially electing 700 new state representatives, [to] then fade into the darkness of politics.
“They are going to have more time to organize, more time to turn people out, and they’re going to get you focusing on the issues.”
O’Leary says he thinks all of the candidates being mentioned in the 2012 GOP presidential mix will be willing to take the gloves off and challenge Obama on the issues in a way they didn’t in 2008.
Most of the candidates and potential candidates now aren’t getting a lot of attention from voters because they aren’t as “flashingly politically famous as we’ve had in previous elections.”
O’Leary’s take on some of the top GOP contenders:
Mitt Romney: “Tested. Good organization and business background. Hasn’t quite learned the terms that are going to sell his vision yet.”
Mike Huckabee: “Has a certain warmth that gets through to his audience and will get through to America.”
Sarah Palin: “She loves her family so much and owes so much to them. Running for president is very difficult, but if she decides to run, she has the right priorities!”
Tim Pawlenty: “Started slow. Picked up momentum. He could be the last guy standing.”
Haley Barbour: “Successful at everything he’s done. The more you see Haley, the more you like him.”
Rick Santorum: “Been silent politically for years. Just allowing himself to get re-known by the American public.”
Donald Trump: “Hard time believing someone as successful as Trump is going to take the time necessary to run for president. But he is beholden to no one and speaks his mind.”
On the subject of activist judges, O’Leary calls Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor “total examples” of the administration’s desire to effect liberal legislative changes from the bench.
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Left around circle starting with Sarah Palin at top center: Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Donald Trump, Buddy Roemer, Jimmy McMillan, Gary E. Johnson, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Rick Santorum, Fred Karger, Herman Cain, John Bolton, Michele Bachmann, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney. And then there is still the possibility of adding Chris Christie, Jeb Bush or even Allen West to the circle.
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