Since before people started talking about Fred Thompson, and after he left the race a few weeks ago, I’ve been agonizing over who I would vote for in the primary tomorrow.
I’ve made my decision.
First let me say I’m not happy with any of my choices.
Mike Huckabee combines the worst aspect of the current President without even the veneer of being fiscally conservative. He raised taxes in Arkansas by several billion. He has a bad record on pardoning criminals. His protectionist rhetoric is unrivaled in this campaign except for maybe John Edwards. I’d vote for Hillary or Obama before I’d vote for Huckabee.
Ron Paul is the patron saint of the libertarians, and once was Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. Of the candidates he would be the best on cutting regulations and spending. Unfortunately Ron Paul has become a victim of his own success. His stance on the war has attracted all sorts of wing-bats, 9/11 Truthers, and Gnomes of Zurich conspiracy nuts. I want nothing to do with that kind of crowd.
So my choice has come down to Mitt Romney or John McCain. That is a tough choice. Both have aspects I like and aspects I don’t like.
John McCain is a national hero. He has a consistent record of fighting for conservative issues. He also has a record of fighting for non-conservative issues. While I like his attempts to reign in spending, I’m appalled by McCain-Feingold. But I’m also appalled by the President who signed the bill while stating that he felt it was unconstitutional. I think John McCain – more than anyone in the current administration – can bring the job in Iraq to a successful conclusion. I think that the “Amenesty” Bill – prior to several poison pill amendments added by the Democratic Majority – was a step in the right direction. It brought millions of people in this country out of the darkness, out of the black market and into the light of lawfulness and being financial contributers to the great nation they too want to call home.
A vote for John McCain is a vote against the ineptness, cronyism, and arrogance of the current Administration. George W. Bush has done more to hurt the image of the GOP with moderate and independent voters than all the Democrat spin doctors and liberal media combined. From the bungling of Iraq for three years, to the Katrina debacle, to No-Child-Left-Behind, Medicare Part-D, run away spending there is very little Reaganesque about Bush’s 8 years in office. While George Bush was sticking behind the incompetence of Don Rumsfeld, John McCain was out there calling for more troops. While George Bush was presiding over the biggest entitlement expansion since LBJ, John McCain was opposing Medicare Part-D. Heros of mine like Tom Colburn and Steve Forbes are backing McCain. As are our two US Senators from Georgia who I respect as quasi-statesmen.
While John McCain would be consistent – consistent in the good and consistent in the bad, how Mitt Romney would govern as President is a black void. Like a previous one term Governor with little experience in government I fear he may sound good on the campaign trail and bring the party to ruin while in the White House. However like John McCain, there are aspects to Mitt Romney I like. First off Huckabee hates him and so there would never be a Romney-Huckabee ticket. Second I believe Romney would be better on free-trade issues than McCain would be. Romney hasn’t resorted to populist attacks against business, profit or the free market like Huckabee and McCain have to a greater and lesser extend (respectively). There are some things I don’t like about Romney. I don’t like that he has gotten the anti-immigrant wing of the GOP on board with his campaign. I was revolted when he introduced that homophobic troglodyte Rick Santorum at today’s rally. I don’t like that current and former Bush officials have joined his campaign. However several good local legislators like Steve Davis and David Shafer are backing Romney and I respect their opinions and insights.
Needless to say, this was a tough choice for me. I attended McCain’s rally on Saturday and Romney’s rally today looking for a reason to support or oppose either of these gentlemen. Neither rally offered the clarity I was looking for.
In the end it came down to one issue upon which the GOP is unsettled, but is near and dear to me.
That issue is free and open trade. And on that issue I think Mitt Romney will be the better nominee.