Monday, December 12, 2011

Political Update

My buddy Mike asked not long ago, "have you picked a candidate yet?"  I answered, "Yes, but I hate to spoil a blog post by telling you."  So, just to keep anyone from dying of curiosity, here's my pre-primary voting plan.

First of all, I'm off the Cain Train.  Not because of the allegations of infidelity--I still have zero clue as to whether any or all of those are true.  But his inability to ever get a clue on foreign policy finally convinced me that he's like the dog that accidentally caught the car and had no idea what to do with it.

Secondly, although I still believe deep down that Perry must be better in real life than he is on TV, at the end of the day, you can't do a job if you can't get the job.  It's like those poor guys who still think Oklahoma State should be in the national championship.  They maybe should--but they blew it against IOWA freaking STATE.  Likewise, Perry can't tank in three consecutive debates and expect to somehow make it to the big game.

So, like everybody else, I'm stuck with Romney vs. Gingrich.  Neither is exactly my cup of tea.  Either one could eventually make me regret my decision.  But I'm going to stick with Romney.  Here's the tortured logic--both of them suffer from a similar political affliction.  They think they are the smartest guys in the room (and with some justification), and that they can operate the levers of government to make things work better than anybody else.  As such, they are going to make small-government conservatives wince.  I don't know which one will disappoint me the most politically, but I feel safe saying that neither one is in any way safer than the other.  I actually lean toward thinking that Romney's political opportunism may work to my advantage in the current environment, as he is going to need to pander to the conservatives (and he's an expert when it comes to pandering).  To quote Milton Friedman: "The trick is not to elect the right people; it is to create an environment where even the wrong people find it in their interest to do the right thing." 

But the deal-breaker for me is personal integrity.  At the end of the day, when either or both lets me down in a political sense, I don't want to have to look back and admit I compromised and voted for the guy with two ex-wives.  Yes, Newt has asked for forgiveness.  And converted to Catholicism.  And a bunch of other stuff which should mitigate the situation.  That's fine--and if he were a much, much better candidate than Romney, I might even be tempted to accept that.  But he's not better--or at least not enough better to make me willing to sell out on such a significant matter.

That said, whichever gets the nomination will earn my vote in the general election.  My conscience will not ache at all over voting for even a flawed pro-life conservative over an apparently happily-married pro-choice liberal.  If the liberal in question also has his own admitted past moral failings (like cocaine use), that only makes it easier.  But for now I'm sticking with the guy who has had the same wife for 40+ years, who hasn't recently changed religions (nor apparently embraced any particular flavor of theology for political advantage), and whose idea of a stiff drink is chocolate milk.


Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

Let's try that again:

I really don't have a lot to add, but I will say that the field is looking a little slim this go-round. I think Romney will and should be the eventual nominee. However, I did see clips from his interview with Bret Baier, and was a little dismayed. He really needs to figure out how to better handle accusations of flip-flopping(I actually have some suggestions of how he could even turn that into a positive thing, but shockingly, he hasn't asked me yet). Regardless, I am honestly not looking forward to this election...

Coach Sal said...

I disagree somewhat about the weakness of the field. I think it is a trap we often fall into--comparing the actual candidates to some imaginary slate. I think it is indisputable that of the top three GOP candidates this year (Romney, Gingrich, Perry), all three have more impressive political resumes than did then-candidate Obama. And let's not forget the rest of the stellar cast that was winnowed down to last time's winning ticket:

-a not-yet-one-term backbench Illinois Senator who never won a seriously contested election and never held a serious job.
-a guy known for his verbal gaffes who was forced from the '88 field over plagiarism.
-a carpetbag senator from NY whose main claim to fame was that if her husband's name had been "Jones" would have never been known for anything.
-John Edwards and Bill Richardson, both of whom are quite possibly on their way to jail.

And let's not forget that this is the crew that beat the GOP ticket headed by McCain, possibly the worst nominee since Dole in '96.

BTW--here's an article by Victor David Hanson which coincides nicely with my post. Wonder if VDH reads my blog?

MichaelPolutta said...

I would have to hold my nose harder and longer to vote for Romney over Gingrich. I'm not really worried about any fresh Gingrich skeletons either - he's been around far too long. Nor have I have yet given up on Perry. His most recent debate performance was redeeming - if you're willing to let him redeem himself. I'm glad Cain is out of the race - his apparent lack of grasp of foreign policy, and his stated approach to foreign policy decisions, engendered deep fear in me.

I'm hoping that most of the current field ends up in the winner's Cabinet in some way.

MichaelPolutta said...

Here's an article from the other (non-Romney) side.

I'd like to know your thoughts here.

Coach Sal said...

To quote our current president, "let me be clear." I'm not worried that Newt will have any NEW indiscretions. And I am well aware of Romney's faults. I just think that Newt shares many of those same (political) faults. He's also an insider. He's also a technocrat. He didn't only have lapses in judgement a decade ago, he called Ryan's budget "right-wing social engineering" just a month or so ago. The notion that Newt is the outsider/insurgent/tea partier compared to Romney is, in my opinion, just projection. So I'm accepting up front that at some point I'm going to wind up shaking my head and wondering, as I did with Bush, "why did I vote for this guy?" When that happens, my conscience will give me less pain if I know that at least I didn't compromise on the issue of personal morality. As I said earlier, I can easily envision a scenario in which other considerations would trump marital bliss. If Ron Paul were the only non-adulterer in the field, I wouldn't vote for him. But for me, the qualitative difference between the current two frontrunners is not enough to justify that compromise.

That said, it's almost a moot point. My own mental gymnastics will not change the fact that Gingrich will almost certainly win the SC primary, and then SC (including me) will go red in the general regardless of the nominee. "My" candidates (Pence, and then Pawlenty) were out long ago.