I’ve waited throughout this pre-primary season: weighing the candidates, watching performances and plans, and examining reactions. I am now ready to announce what the blogo-sphere has no doubt been breathlessly waiting for – my choice for GOP nominee.
To start, let me note that I have given to three campaigns this season. First, I gave to Michele Bachmann before she officially announced to encourage her to get in. She is my Congresswoman (at least for now, stupid redistricting), and is a conservative firebrand. From the start I did not see her gaining the nomination, but knew that her voice on the national stage would be a strong one. I suspected that she wasn’t ready to compete at this level, and I think the record has shown that to be true. I still love Michele, but I do not support her in the primaries.
Second, I gave to Herman Cain. He was the first candidate I remember “liking” on FaceBook. What I knew of him at the time sounded good, and having political outsiders in the race seemed a good idea from the start. I had a wait and see attitude, and actually gave to his campaign AFTER I dismissed him as my candidate of choice. I believe his 999 plan is awesome – I don’t like the specifics and see glaring holes, but it is so much better than the non-plans the GOP has been putting forward for a long time. While we can all agree that 999 won’t happen, it is a much better starting point than others’. I gave to him after the sexual harassment news came out and as it became clear that he was being savaged for political reasons. Although I don’t want him to be our nominee, I like him and see good things in his future and did not want a precedent of character assassination choosing our nominee. Like Michele, he isn’t ready to compete at this level, with a message that isn’t focused enough to get the job done. Given his age, he may not get the chance to compete at this level, but I don’t think he is done. I’d like to see him as an advocate like Sarah Palin, or taking another run at Senator or House member, even a cabinet post would be a good use of his talents and knowledge base.
Tim Pawlenty was my first pretty solid choice for the nomination. Though I had reservations about him because of his leftward slide as MN-GOV, he did well and was a likeable, relatively conservative guy. I think his leaving the race when he did was ill-advised but principled. By doing that, he has preserved his reputation for future runs. (Endorsing Mitt Romney afterwards didn’t do him any favors in my eyes though).
Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Thad McCotter, and various others. None of them are serious candidates. Not that I blame them for putting their hat in the ring in a crazy year where the rules are in flux, but they just aren’t real contenders.
Newt Gingrich is a good man, and the first national politician I met in person back in the early 90’s when he was Speaker of the House and he visited Liberty University where I was a student. His lack of some key political skills hurt him and the movement then, and he hasn’t learned much. Worse, he appears to think that it was his conservative ideology and not his condescending attitude that caused him to fail then. So he has muddled his message and kept the attitude – not a winning combination. Even worse, he was the only national figure dumb enough to hold on to the bitter end supporting Scozzafava. Great performance from the smartest man in the room (at least from his perspective)? – FAIL. His debate performances have been good, but I don’t feel conservatives can trust him not to get back on the couch.
Of all the candidates, the only one I could not vote for in the general, and the one I thoroughly detest, is Ron Paul. As a full-spectrum conservative with special consideration for National Defense, I cannot stand this man’s “blame America” rhetoric and his unwillingness to defend America on the global stage. That plus his whiny voice, his borderline conspiracy theory approach, his eagerness to identify problems(the Fed, earmarks) but un-seriousness with regard to solving them(Gold standard really?, sure gets plenty of earmarks for hating them so), and especially his followers make him an unsuitable candidate for any elected office in the United States, let alone POTUS.
I supported Mitt Romney in 2008, but only as the last remaining alternative to John McCain at the time of the Minnesota Caucuses. I do not trust him, and believe he is not a conservative. Were he to get elected President, it would be a crapshoot as to whether or not he would govern to the right or not. As a candidate he is terribly lacking. I am pretty sure his nomination would be the best thing President Obama could hope for. It would depress the GOP base while gaining no converts from the middle and left.
So, if you are keeping track, that leaves one serious choice. Rick Perry is my choice for the next President of the United States. He is the third candidate I have donated to, and this time it is specifically because I want him to win. Foremost, I trust him as a potential Commander-in-Chief. His plans, both the economic plan and the government reform plan, are bold and inspiring. As conservatives we know that we should paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. His plans may not be feasible as written in the long run and it may be tough to get them through a self-interested Congress, but as a starting point, they blow everything else out of the water. Rick Perry gets my strong, unequivocal, and unmitigated support. I know some of you have different choices, and I know he has had some missteps on the campaign trail, but I think the choice is clear. He meets or exceeds my requirements for the office:
x Likely strong CinC
x Bold plans
x Conservative message
x Proven conservative executive governing experience
x Believes in American Exceptionalism and willing to state it
So, here it is – Rick Perry 2012!!