Given the sad & sorry state of affairs our nation has endured for the past several years, finding a decent alternative to the current occupant of the White House would seem to be easy. I mean, how hard could it be to come up with someone better than the Fence Post Turtle In Chief?
Apparently pretty damned hard.
For my vote, the GOP primary hasn’t felt so much like a war of attrition as it’s been a race to see who could screw up “firstest and mostest” … and have they ever done some racing. One by one the remaining candidates have been steadily eliminating themselves from further consideration for my ballot, thoroughly and irrevocably.
Let’s just get today’s likely winner in Georgia out of the way first. I generally like Newt Gingrich, still consider him without a doubt to be the most fascinating personality I’ve ever been in a room with. I appreciate his determination against the odds, heck I even enjoyed his work as an author. Some pretty serious flaws as a human being but that doesn’t particularly set him apart from a lot of politicians. You’d think he’d have managed to keep himself under consideration for me for quite a while. Alas, he was eliminated fairly early, November 22 to be exact.
I’ll give Gingrich this much: it took a fair amount of guts to blatantly and publicly endorse an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Then again it would also take a fair amount of courage to screw a goat on the courthouse steps in broad daylight but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t vote for a candidate who did that either. I don’t require a candidate to be in perfect synch with my own preferred method of dealing with our lack of border security — I realize that the issuance of permits to legally hunt them like other nuisance animals and the liberal use of claymore mines might be disconcerting for voters with weaker constitutions — but Newt managed to find a third rail that he not only didn’t avoid but leaped upon with gusto.
Bottom line: If he managed to come up with a suggestion that was so abhorrent, so completely & thoroughly unacceptable to me under any circumstance, I’m not willing to consider giving him an opportunity to come up with even more of them.
Then there’s Ron Paul. Given his basic premise of dramatically reducing the role of the federal government in everyday life, you might think there could be some appeal for me there … and then he opens his mouth on foreign policy matters and I realize that he’s completely & utterly batshit crazy. In a million years I couldn’t have imagined a candidate so utterly clueless that he/she could actually cause me to think “y’know, maybe that Obama fella isn’t so bad after all”. But that’s what Paul managed to do. Were he to have been the nominee, which thankfully isn’t going to even come close to happening, I’d have had to give strong consideration to voting for Barry in November. He may be vile, but he isn’t completely insane either.
That would turn things toward the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, or as I think of him these days “Malleable Mitt”. His positions are a lot like the weather in the South, if you don’t like one of them just wait five minutes. It seems easier to find issues that he’s flipped on than those he hasn’t. Immigration, tax cuts, abortion, stem cell research, DADT, marriage, the list goes on & on, and that’s without even getting into RomneyCare. Amazingly, it appears that his indecisiveness has worked in his favor, at some point he’s supported just about everything AND he’s opposed it too, lookie here there’s something for everyone.
Well, except me I guess. What I realized a number of weeks back about Romney is much simpler than any one issue: I don’t trust him. Not an inch. At the end of the day, I simply don’t believe 99% of the words that come out of his mouth. There’s such a collective determination to flush a nation down the toilet that I’m becoming resigned to the reality of November being the battle of Obama vs Robamney … but you’ll have to settle that one without me, choosing between Obama & ObamaLite simply isn’t worth the time to cast the ballot. It’s like trying to decide whether to cheer for LSU or Notre Dame when the only really good outcome is a scoreless tie.
And by process of elimination, I come to Super Tuesday with only one candidate left standing.
For as fiscally conservative as I am, I place an even greater priority on socially conservative issues, with one long-standing & glaring exception — for those who may not be familiar with my take on the subject, I am quite securely pro-choice — It’s not a litmus issue for me however, and it’s an area where I’m reasonably content to allow a candidate to be wrong). Santorum hits quite a few solid notes in the social arena for me.
I’m an unapologetic interventionist and Santorum hits more of the right notes than wrong ones with his statements about our various enemies abroad.
To be sure, he isn’t my perfect candidate. Among other things, recent statements give me pause about the course he might pursue with regard to education (oddly enough, the same issue I had concerns about with my original candidate of choice Michelle Bachmann), likewise he hasn’t been as stalwart fiscally as I’d prefer. The concerns are overwhelmed not only by my appreciation for Santorum’s willingness to speak frankly on controversial subjects and more importantly, to consistently be right on so many of them.
Nearly four years have passed since voters were asked to choose between the lesser of two evils. While Obama was an obvious mistake, so was running a lukewarm lightweight candidate who failed not only to inspire but also failed to provide an adequate alternative. I voted for John McCain that November, and I’ve never been more bothered by a vote in my life. Even candidates who ultimately disappointed me didn’t leave the same sour aftertaste as that vote for a candidate I didn’t trust nor genuinely support. I won’t make that mistake again, not now & not in November 2012 either.
So after a long & winding road to Super Tuesday my choice is quite clear. There’s only one candidate left in the primary field that even managed to remain in contention for my vote, much less actually earn it. Luckily it’s one that I have few qualms about voting for and publicly endorsing, Rick Santorum.