I’m back on the ground now from about 3 weeks of on-and-off travel. As a California voter, I received my absentee ballot for the Feb 5 Presidential Primary two weeks ago. Since it’s the “super-primary”, I guess that makes me a “super-voter”. California changed its rules from being a “winner take all” state in the primary to one based on congressional districts (whichever R gets the most votes in a single congressional district, that districts RNC delegates go to that candidate), so that really puts California’s votes into play.
So as I sit here looking at the 11 candidates who stand for the nomination for the Republican Party, I wonder who I shall vote for.
Mitt Romney – The man of money. Mitt has a lot of great qualities as a CEO and businessman, but I don’t have a solid feeling on his intuition and intentions for being the leader of a nation. Being President is not like being the head of a company…and the more I hear him speak, the more I realize he does not have what it takes to be the leader of this nation.
Alan Keys – I still don’t know how he made it on the ballot. 15 years ago I had respect for Alan Keys, but now he has gone so far off the reservation that even the conservative rags (National Review, Weekly Standard, etc) won’t even print his rants. He is now more of an embarrassment to the party. He isn’t even worthy of being a “sacrificial lamb.” His critique of American society has now turned into visceral hate and exclusion of anybody who doesn’t agree with his moral and ideological supremacy. And then he disowned his lesbian daughter. If any kind of father who would treat their child like that shows his true character…or lack thereof.
Mike Huckabee – A principled preacher whom I respect…as a preacher. In general, I think he was good for the state of Arkansas. That said, I don’t think spending your entire career being Lieutenant Governor, then Governor of Arkansas prepares you for being President of the United States. I know what you’re going to say – Bill Clinton. Mind you Bill Clinton went to Georgetown and Yale and was a Rhodes Scholar…Mike Huckabee went to Ouachita Baptist University. You do the math there. At the end of the day, I’m electing my President, not my preacher.
Duncan Hunter – Dropped out yesterday. Looks like his looser CA-based consultants will have to find a new candidate to be their sugar-daddy.
Fred Thompson – The candidate I had hoped…along with the rest of the most of the Republican Party…would be the saviour to our effort to have a unified candidate in 2008. He screwed up big time. His “sit around and think about it” 3-month vacation after he went on Leno the first time…the multiple rounds of “musical chairs” he played with campaign staff in the following months. I thought he’d have the energy, enthusiasm and the discipline to light up the party and galvanize support…but it fizzled out faster than than a sparkler on the 4th of July. So much promise, and I’m left with so much disappointment.
Tom Tancredo – Dropped out.
Rudy Giuliani – Mr. “Everything to Everybody”. My main concern is that I don’t really think he knows, or has the experience, to be President of the United States. Examples: A.) He was the mayor of NYC – a city with BROAD executive authority vested in the Mayor. In DC, he has to SHARE it with the Congress (and the courts). NYC had a very weak City Council. That’s not the case with a potentially Democratic Congress. He does NOT have the experience dealing with issues of negotiation and compromise. He didn’t have to when he was Mayor, but he would as POTUS. Example B.) It’s your job as President to PREVENT things like 9/11 from happening. I’m glad you did such a “bang up” job in the aftermath of the terrorist attack…but it would have been a lot better had the attacks never happened in the first place. Ask him what his foreign policy credentials are? Blank stare – he has none. Mmm…and one last thing. If he was such a “hero”, why are the true hero’s…the first responders (fire fighters, police, nurses/doctors, paramedics) in New York VEHEMENTLY opposed to his candidacy? That’s a good question to ask. Maybe he wasn’t the “hero” he claims to be. Mmm…that and I don’t want organized crime (aka: the mafia) in the White House. Remember Bush’s first pick to be DHS secretary after Tom Ridge resigned and how he got “withdrawn” shortly after his name was floated b/c of his organized crime connections? This is Bernard Kerik we’re talking about here…Rudy’s #1 homeland security guy. Yeah. Guess where those organized crime connections came from. Yeah…connect those dots.
John H. Cox – I have no idea who he is.
Sam Brownback – Done a long time ago.
Ron Paul – I’m really really resisting my urge to vote for Ron out of protest. There are lots of things I like about Ron. He’s more knowledgeable about the Constitution than the cumulative total of the rest of our candidates. The problem is that I really believe in the Constitution. I really believe that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are best left in the hands of the states. I am an Edmund Burke conservative. Ron Paul seems to be too. Power in the hands of the local communities. The problem is that he’s a bit on the crazy side. I am by no means a pacifist, and Ron is a big one. I like the military. I want a big strong one. I think the United States needs to be proactive in heading off potential security threats and promoting peace, stability and democracy in the world. Ron doesn’t. So yeah…I have my issues with Ron. I consider him a protest vote because it sends a message. It sends the message to the Republican party that it MUST return to it’s original roots of limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom – all three of these principles have been seriously compromised over the last 20 years by the Republican Party.
John McCain – I liked John McCain before he started running for President (then again, did he ever stop after 2000?). It became clear that he started trying to become all things to all people in this Party…and I’m not so OK with that. Once calling Jerry Falwell & Co the “agents of intolerance” in America and then going to give a commencement address at Bob Jones University? Come on…you’ve got to be kidding me here. His campaign has been a dismal nightmare. The only reason why he’s back in the game is due to the fact that a.) the power brokers in DC decided he was the only candidate that everybody could live with, and b.) the rest of the Republican party realized that all of our candidates have a major issues and at least the nomination of John McCain wouldn’t embarrass our Party as bad as, lets say, Mike Huckabee. My other issue with him is his “time lapse.” McCain is old. We all know that. He’s also know he’s been a very strong voice on defense issues. Now, don’t get me wrong. I support the War on Terror, and I think we need to have an ongoing and strong presence in the Middle East, including Iraq. But let’s say there was a time we needed to pull out/back. I don’t really know if McCain would be able to handle that. The last time we had a withdrawal like that was Vietnam…and we know about McCain and his fixation on/with Vietnam. It left him there as a POW. And I don’t think his mind ever left that place. I don’t know if he’d be able to make some of those decisions because of his past experiences. Sometimes after experiences such as torture, being a captive, you can’t make balanced and unemotional decisions. And I fear that John McCain might not be able to act in the best interests of our country because of his personal experiences.
Umm…and then then there is his support and advancement of BCRA (Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act, aka: McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform). I work in fundraising and I see what John McCain has personally done to limit free speech and shove “soft money” farther underground in even more ambiguous places that are totally untraceable and unaccountable. “527’s” are a direct result of John McCain. I know they kept a lot of us consultants fat and rich in the ’04 and ’06 elections, but it seriously compromised the transparent nature of our campaign finance system. And I blame John McCain for that.
So in a nutshell, that’s my rundown of the Republican candidates. It’s dirty, nasty, and I get nauseated whenever I think about who I have to vote for. My ballot sits on my desk every day. More of anything, I am disheartened that I think our Party could not have fielded a true consensus candidate that didn’t need to use the tactics of division and hate to advance their candidacy. Where is our version of Barak Obama? Where is our candidate that doesn’t need to hate the immigrants, the gays, the women, or persons of education or color to get ahead in the Primary? Where is our candidate who paints a picture of a brighter America? None of them that I see on my little purple ballot. We are the Party of Lincoln and Reagan. We can do much better than this.