Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thinning the Herd

Tim Pawlenty,  Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum,  Buddy Roemer, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels...  I'm sure there are others, but these seem to be the Republican contenders for president.  Because I live in a state that has the double whammy of insignificance for primary votes, low population and a late primary, I often find the choice of candidates to have dwindled to nothing but a front runner by the time our primary rolls around.

I will therefore tell you who I would vote for and why, or why not.  Maybe some of you in the states that have primaries that matter can carry the torch for those of us who can't.

My criteria for people for whom I would vote are in order:

1.  Pro-life:  I'm personally stronger on the pre-born life issues than capital punishment.  We were all zygotes once, but most of us weren't serial killers.

2.  Getting us out of debt.  For this I want real business experience.  I want someone who has made hard choices and come out on top in the business world.

3.  Reducing the government to those jobs it was intended to do.  Protect us from foreign and domestic enemies, encourage business to stay here, and enforce the laws on the books.

4.  End entitlement programs for those who are or should be able to care for themselves.  I don't expect the government to pay for my son's education, my retirement, our health care...  Let us choose what charities we want to support.  Then get out of the way.

5.  Allow for true freedom of conscience among health care workers, teachers, etc. 

I'm going to stop with 5.  Now let's talk about who should be the Republican nominee.

Some of the names above fall off the list because of the criteria I just listed.  Being pro-life is non-negotiable, and so is having real business experience.  The candidates who do not meet both of those requirements are: Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin.  Maybe I'm being hard on some of these candidates, but my gut tells me these are not the candidates we are looking for.  They have too much baggage.  They may be pretty, they seem prone to mistakes.  I'd pick anyone on this list to head the Republican party as a fundraiser, but not as a policy maker.

Then there are the ones that may be okay, but at this time they are fighting for name recognition, and this American voter doesn't have time to crawl up that learning curve.  If these candidates want to succeed, they better get some serious press.  Soon.  They are:  Tim Pawlenty, Buddy Roemer, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Mitch Daniels, and Herman Cain.  I'm a news junkie, so I know something about some of these people.  I'd vote for any of them that can rise to the top.  I'd support them.  But they all have work to do to become a meaningful threat to Obama.

That leaves me with Michele Bachmann and Chris Christie.  Bachmann has chops, but her eye contact is going to dog her after her SOTU response.  I like her.  I have contributed to her campaigns.  She would be a good vice presidential pick.  I would not worry about her being a heartbeat away from the presidency.  ( I admit I pray for Obama's health because I'm afraid of a President Biden.)

But the best choice out there is a man who says he won't run.  Chris Christie says he came to his pro-life views when he heard his child's heartbeat.  Many pro-life people came to their beliefs in the same way.  As we fight to require an ultrasound before abortions, his testimony would be persuasive.

He's doing all the right things with debt and taxes in New Jersey.  He's fun to listen to.  When he speaks, people cheer and jeer.  It's like the way one feels when watching a football game.  When you see them fighting for yards, you get excited.  You start saying, "Come on, come on, get 'em..."

Who besides Chris Christie can bring that to the race?

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