12/25/2011 01:29 pm ET | Updated Feb 24, 2012

What Do Republicans Want in 2012?


As the Iowa caucuses quickly approach, the tarot cards say that Republican voters are still wishing and hoping that they will somehow be rescued by a latecomer to the race. These cards say that Republican primary voters just can't come to terms with the Republican field of candidates, especially their "inevitable" nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The Two of Wands and the Three of Wands both depict figures in a posture of expectant waiting, looking to the horizon for that better candidate to appear. The Five of Cups depicts mourning and indicates that Republicans have gotten themselves into a cyclical series of disappointments. Like children making sandcastles, Republicans have been building candidates up, only to knock them down in frustration when they don't prove to be all that was hoped for. The Tower card in the Past position speaks to just how destructive this process has become. The road to the Republican nomination is now littered with candidates that restless Republican voters briefly pinned their hopes on -- first there was Michele Bachmann, then Donald Trump, quickly followed by Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and now, Ron Paul.

The Two of Swords in the Foundation position says that Republican primary voters feel fundamentally overwhelmed by the daunting task of choosing a nominee from this weak field of candidates. The Ace of Wands in the Obstacle position indicates that Republican voters want to be inspired. They want a candidate they can be enthusiastic about -- they want to fall in love, not just fall in line behind an "inevitable" nominee about whom they have deep misgivings.

The dearest hope of Republican voters, represented by the Four of Pentacles, is that they will send a Republican to the White House to reign in government spending. Their greatest fear is that they will send Gov. Romney to the White House and he will betray their fiscally conservative principles, just as President George W. Bush did, by expanding the size and scope of government and dramatically increasing the federal budget.

On top of finding it difficult to get past Romney's flip-flopping, and its possible future implications, Republican voters seem deeply suspicious of Romney's Mormon faith. Beyond even that, they seem to have a problem with Romney's basic temperament. Like the electorate as a whole, Republicans are looking for a candidate who is "all heart", represented by the King of Hearts. Romney's lack of warmth leaves them cold.

The Four of Wands in the influences position indicates that the Republican establishment wants Republican primary voters to commit to Romney. However, the more the establishment pushes for Republican voters to "put a ring on it," the more the voters resist. Indeed, The Fool card in the crucial Outcome position shows that establishment pressure to get behind Romney is backfiring, sending voters over the edge.

The Republican primary voter is becoming downright reckless, willing to entertain the possibility of choosing a nominee as flawed as Newt Gingrich, a candidate whose "baggage has baggage." The Republican establishment is betting that primary voters will eventually settle down and grudgingly accept Romney, and they probably will, but, looking at these cards, it's hard to see exactly how, or when, primary voters will fall in line.

Subject -- Two of Wands
Environment -- Five of Cups
Obstacle -- Ace of Wands
Ideal -- Three of Wands
Foundation -- Two of Swords
Past -- The Tower
Future -- The Queen of Swords
Attitude -- King of Cups
Influence -- Four of Wands
Hopes/Fears -- Four of Pentacles
Outcome -- The Fool

*Photo courtesy of the author