Today is Super Tuesday, and Ohio is allegedly the big prize this year. It’s been a long time since my vote in the Presidential primary has meant anything, so I certainly didn’t want to waste my chance to help pick the Republican candidate. On my ballot, I got to cast votes for two delegates, so I cast one vote for Rick Perry and one vote for John Huntsman, the two men most likely to be able to defeat Barack Obama in November.
No, not really.
I have refrained from commenting on the race. Way back in 2010, I noted my preference for three governors, one of whom never got in, the other two bowed out early. Now the selections on the platter are down to four, and I had to pick one to vote for this morning.
I was never going to vote for Ron Paul. I like some of his libertarian message (stop spending and get the government out of areas where it doesn’t belong), but I can’t sign on to some of the other things (end the Fed, return to the gold standard, non-engagement foreign policy). He might be consistent, but his list of legislative accomplishments is extremely thin and there’s the whole matter of his newsletters, into which he claims to have had no input.
Newt Gingrich is certainly fun to listen to when he’s deconstructing the bias behind the questions asked by mainstream media interviewers (such as he recently did to David Gregory on Meet the Press). But he also sometimes reveals a lack of discipline that leads him to say that we’ll have a permanent moon base by the end of his second term. You simply never know when he’s going to say something cringe-inducing. Legislatively, he did some great things as Speaker of the House, but those who worked most closely with him described his leadership as mercurial. He has talent and ideas that need to be harnessed, but I don’t think he should be at the head of the Executive Branch. The President needs to have a stable personality, and Newt doesn’t.
Rick Santorum was involved in passing some signature bills during his time in Congress. He is an evangelical Catholic, and I happen to agree with most of what he says, even when the secular media gasp in astonishment. He has a way of saying it, though, that makes him sound like a fringe kook. He whined his way through most of the debates. He has no executive experience. He didn’t even try to get on the Virginia ballot, and he failed to get on the Ohio ballot in some of his strongest areas of the state. I don’t think that he’s up to the job of running the federal government.
That leaves us with Mitt Romney, who ran for office in Massachusetts as a progressive Republican. He claims to have come to embrace conservative principles as a state executive. Those who don’t like Romney doubt his veracity in this respect. I don’t know, but I accept that, as Governor of Massachusetts, he was as pro-life in practice as he could be. The similarity between Romneycare and Obamacare is focused on the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. The Supreme Court might or might not declare this provision unconstitutional. The mandate, however, was initially supported by conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, and, in its absence, there still has to be a resolution of the balance between insurance companies that can deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions and those who choose not to purchase insurance until they need it. More importantly to me, though, is that Romney currently says all the right things and has demonstrated an ability to successfully organize and run things at an executive level.
Policy-wise, I don’t see much difference between Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum. Where I see a big difference is in executive demeanor. Romney, I think, has it; Gingrich and Santorum do not.