I would show up as somewhat undecided. I have watched all the debates, been to all the websites, checked out their various interviews, even going so far as to spend hours viewing CSPAN, watching house parties and small gatherings.
With my desperate desire to pry Obama out of the White House, I am just as anxious to elect a Republican that will stop growing government, right now, not five or ten years down the road. To my mind, we have very little time left to save this country from a permanent descent into bankruptcy, socialism and worse. America as envisioned by our founders will be forever lost. Our greatness, our exceptionalism, gone.
Therefore, I want a principled candidate. I think any of our candidates can be “electable” if all the GOP coalesces around the primary victor, as we Tea Partiers are told we will need to do once a “moderate” wins. If everyone makes the best sales pitch, educates the masses, instead of tearing down the candidate like Karl Rove did in 2010 with Christine O’Donnell, we’ll do just fine.
So principles first. Electability will follow, if we chose the one the best for the country.
I’ve narrowed down my choices to three: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. In that order.
Michele, time and again, consistently answers questions in practically the same way I would, takes the same stand. When it comes to ideology, we’re very simpatico. Plus, she can articulate these views, and she has done very little wavering in her views over the course of her political career. Lastly, she is bold. When all the rest of Capitol Hill was a little skittish in dealing with the Tea Party early on, she boldly took up its flag—not in an effort to usurp it but to promote it and fight for its causes. She would bring remarkable vitality to the White House, no matter whether we retake the Senate.
My primary doubt about Michele is the disastrous choices she has made in selecting staff. So many backstabbers. She desperately needs to surround herself with people who are both loyal and competent. If she can outlast other candidates, the talent pool from which she can choose should widen.
I’m pleased to see Santorum having his well-deserved “surge.” But the thing that keeps him from moving ahead of Bachmann in my heart is not that he backed Arlen Specter against the conservative Pat Toomey, or the various votes he cast that I disagree with. He is a good conservative. But when I try to recommend him to others and they want to know his positions on various issues, which I’ve heard him address in numerous forums, I can’t direct them to his website for specific information. It’s frustrating. The website is rather skimpy, with just three short essays that are supposed to answer all possible questions. And so there is no concise place I can send people (or myself) to, to review all of his ideas and plans and proposals and record. Why not put it all out there, Senator? Don’t make every one of your supporters memorize all of your stances. Help us out. Let us share your beliefs with others by giving us something substantial to show them that will address the specifics they need to back you. By not using your website to lay out all of your numerous positions, it makes it seem like you want the flexibility to shift nuances later. I know you wouldn’t do that. It just gives off that feel.
Just like Michele was dismissed for a nonsensical reason (the Guardisil kerfuffle), Rick Perry should not be completely cast aside because of his early poor performances in debates. I’m concerned about his stance on illegal immigration and a few other items (like why do so many Texas conservatives not like him?), but he is improving in his communications. I’m willing to give him another chance, to hear him out.
But for tonight, I would vote Michele. If it looked absolutely hopeless for her to place in the top three or four and by casting a vote for one of the Ricks would knock Romney out of the top three, I would change my vote for them. But otherwise, at this early stage of the game, just leaving the starting gate, I would vote my heart. And that’s Michele Bachmann.
(I will update this post a little later to provide links to the candidate webites and other enlightening interviews and information.)