I was going to write a long post, probably in the area of 3,000 words, about the candidates, and which one I like but I decided not to. Oh sure, I could toss in bullet points and section headers and give you something every bit as good as you’d find in your average conservative political magazine. I could wax on about who did what in the past and who cozied up to whom.
Would you really read that, though? For that matter, do you really care who I like for President?
Look, if you want detailed endorsements, I’ll point you to a few. I linked three excellent endorsements of Rick Perry in this post and you can add this early endorsement by Melissa Clouthier and this even-handed piece by Matt Newman to them. Stacy McCain, Lisa Graas, Zilla Stevenson, and Pete Da Tech Guy have endorsed (or all but endorsed) Rick Santorum. Of course, you know how the more professional conservative crowd has gotten behind Mitt Romney including Ann Coulter, Governors Chris Christie and Nikki Haley, and, in a backhanded way, National Review. If you got behind any of those candidates, you’d have plenty of good reasons and you’d have the support of many smart people.
None of them are for me, though. Like I said on The Delivery a couple of weeks ago, we all have to decide what we want our President to do, then find that candidateswho we believe will get most of those things done. I have my list, and it’s a short one (it is also revised to account for Herman Cain’s retirement from the race. I guess I’ll have to wait to get someone who isn’t a career politician).
- Repeal Obamacare.
- Take the fight to the left, without pause or mercy.
- Carve into the size of government so that it’s smaller after four years than it is now.
As it stands, I believe all the candidates but one will take a legitimate run at Obamacare. I know that Mitt Romney has said he would, but I simply don’t believe him, not as long as he backs Romneycare as firmly as he does. Aside from him, though, I’ve not really narrowed down the field.
I also believe all the candidates, Romney included, will make the federal government smaller in some way than it is today. Some will cut more than others. Each of them will work in different areas of the government, though I’m certain they’ll all strip out business-killing regulations at some point in their administration. Again, I pretty much have the entire field from which to choose.
That leaves me with my second criterion, which is pretty important to me. I have no desire to relive the George W. Bush years, during which I and nearly every other conservative had to do his fighting for him because he was unwilling or unable to muster his own defense. His social security reform died because he didn’t sell it well. The left, and more than a few on the right, savaged our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan because he could not push back against the often scurrilous attacks. I could not have endured another year of President Bush. I was tired. I imagine a lot of you were tired too. In fact, one of the biggest reasons John McCain lost to Barack Obama is because he would not attack Obama’s record, his checkered past, his repugnant associates, or his bog-standard socialist worldview.
So I want a fighter and I’m willing to let a few things slide to get one. I’m willing to overlook a man’s marital iniquities, committed decades ago. I’m willing to accept that I may have to fight my President on occasion to push him back on the right course. I realize that at times I may have to get between him and a compromise with the dishonest Nancy Pelosi or the weaselly Harry Reid.
By now, I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’ve chosen Newt Gingrich. Look, say what you will about some of the bad choices he’s made in the past (and if you want chapter and verse on them, you can get it from National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru and Mark Steyn), but you can not deny that among all our present choices, he is the only one who has aggressively and consistently pushed back against the progressive left and their quislings in the media during the campaign. As I wrote earlier in the week, he fought when other candidates held their peace or whined for more attention. His record as Speaker is stuffed full of times when he shoved back hard against the Democrats and the status quo — the Contract with America, the balanced budgets he passed with a Democratic President, Welfare Reform that he had to push three times to get past that same President. He is the only man in my lifetime who was willing to shut down the entire government rather than let the left’s runaway spending go without challenge.
I support him for more than that, though. I support him because, for the most part, he’s won his fights. he is the only Republican politician I can remember in the last decade who backed down Nancy Pelosi, and it only took a couple of hours for him to do it. I also support him because he is the only candidate, now that Herman Cain is out of the race, who has not only pushed a series of positive messages about what this country can do with him in the Oval Office but has deliberately refrained from savaging his fellow candidates or those who support them. His control has frayed recently, after he came under simultaneous attack from four different candidates in the same week, but he’s holding it together pretty well. I admire that, and I would hope that you do, too.
I am not naive. I know that I will have to keep my eye on Gingrich should he be elected President. I know very well his impulse toward the technological solution and the grand idea. I know that his penchant for brainstorming out loud will lead to headlines that will make me, and most of the country, roll our eyes in disbelief. I know that he can easily come off as arrogant and too clever by half. I will not agree with him in every detail; in fact, I can tell you that I don’t. I have plenty of reasons not to like him. Then again, I have plenty of reasons not to like any of the candidates.
Despite all that, I prefer him to all the others. Much like Abraham Lincoln said of General Ulysses Grant, “He fights”. I want someone in the White House who won’t shy away from a fight over conservative principles. I want someone who will kick recalcitrant Congressional Republicans in the tail, like he did when he was Speaker of the House (and don’t think for a moment that they removed him from the position for any other reason than because he upset their apple carts). I want someone who will look Democrats in the eye, grin, and take them to school so quickly they barely have time to figure out how they lost.
I believe Newt Gingrich will be that man and so he has my support.
Category: The 2012 Horse Race