Deal or No Deal?

Posted on February 10, 2012

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Folks are struggling to sort out the pros and cons of what is left as far as choices go in the Republican primaries. On the one hand, I have to look at these candidates as a realist in the sense that anyone who has been involved in partisan politics at the state and / or federal level, has been tainted, compromised and made policy choices that I may not be comfortable with.  On the other hand – I have drawn a line, that at this present moment excludes all but one candidate.

The bottom line for me and many other conservatives will be “Does this person have the minimal degree of integrity, consistency and conservative values to compel me to mark the box next to his name on the ballot?” The other question of course, is – am I willing to allow Obama to ‘occupy’ the White House for four more years by forfeit?

On the side of the line of unacceptability is a history of bouncing back and forth between polar opposite positions for the expediency of politics at the expense of principal.  Romney’s repudiation of Ronald Reagan when he was running against Ted Kennedy, just cannot be explained away. Romney wants to justify every bad policy choice with his position as the Governor of a ultra-liberal state. It’s too unsettling. He just doesn’t bear the stamp of authenticity.

And then I have another problem. Mitt has been the recipient of more campaign funds from Wall Street finance firms and large banks than any other GOP candidate by a staggering margin. There is only one other Presidential candidate that has received more money than Mitt – that would be the the incumbent President. It’s clear that Obama is the prime choice of those who have been leveraging control of Washington to amass greater power and wealth – ‘crony capitalism’. Mitt Romney is their fall back position, their ‘Plan B’.

Another disqualification is character deficiencies that go well beyond what is typical in society as a whole and present a serious trust deficit.  So those two benchmarks eliminate Mitt Romney (extreme flip flopper) and Gingrich (serial adulterer).

Don’t get me wrong – does any sin that has been forgiven, automatically disqualify a person from consideration from public office?  Of course not, that’s a preposterous concept – no one could be chosen to serve!  Every human being on the planet would be damaged goods. But it’s not just the multiple instances of disrespect to the institution of marriage, but the strange and impulsive statements and actions of Gingrich that give me pause.  Appearing in a commercial promoting Cap and Trade with Nancy Pelosi? That’s just one example of many. He’s a man with a lot of valuable skills and experience – but he’s a loose cannon and just unpredictable.

Now, Ron Paul.  I have enormous respect for Ron Paul.  I have enough Libertarianism in my blood to see the absolute necessity of auditing (and ultimately eliminating) the Fed and taking a realistic approach to the ‘War on Drugs’ that frankly – we have lost.  Here’s my reservation about Ron.  While I do agree with him that America has got to do some serious soul searching about the role of our military and international conflicts and what constitutes compelling ‘National Interest’ – I just feel that his strident and deeply ideological position of non-interventionalism is going to be problematic with respect to some unfinished business we have.

Past administrations have allowed North Korea and Iran to develop over time, into festering threats that we – at this point – just don’t have the luxury of ignoring and hoping that they will resolve themselves.  I would prefer that both those situations be handled without resort to military action – but that option cannot be taken off the table.

If Mr. Paul would indicate a little more flexibility with regard to how he would deal with rogue nations that are threatening the peace and security of the free world – his candidacy would still be on the table for me.

Nevertheless, I think it is a good thing that he will continue all the way to the convention, because I think the platform committee needs to respect and take into account the concerns that Ron Paul’s voters are bringing to the GOP.

Lastly, Rick Santorum.  Rick is getting hammered for some decisions as Senator of Pennsylvania that are typical of just about anyone in Congress, due to the nature of how legislation gets bundled and packaged together by conference committees.  Inevitably, there will be bills that have elements in them that in and of themselves, are quite objectionable and even run contrary to an individual lawmaker’s principals.  But there will be a lot of horse trading and bartering and bullying going on and the individual lawmaker will attempt to amend the bill and remove the item (ex. ‘Bridge to Nowhere’) and failing that, hold his nose and vote for the bill because of other priorities contained within it.  That’s true of Rick Santorum.

I don’t agree with his position on earmarks, but overall – his record is much more solid than the other nominees in the race, with the exception of Ron Paul.

One of the arguments being put forth about Rick Santorum is that a Social Conservative – especially one that has been pretty candid about his disagreement with the homosexual political agenda and abortion, is unelectable.  I don’t believe that is the case.  What I think will happen is that Rick will emphasize common issues that are of importance to the political middle – independents.

Issues like the economy, national defense, jobs, immigration, reversing Obamacare, etc.  Independent voters will look at Santorum in comparison with Obama and decide that even if they do not share his convictions on social issues, that the imperative of removing a tyrant (even one who carries a benign facade) is more important than anything else at the end of the day.  These are just my opinions, I welcome your thoughts.

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Posted in: Reality