This year I find myself in a unique situation. With less than two months until the first votes are cast in the primary season, I am undecided who to support. As long as I can remember there was a candidate early in the process who inspired me, or at least attracted my loyal till political death support. To my surprise, shock and bewilderment, that has not happened this year. First off, those who would have drawn my support decided one by one not to run: Senator John Thume, Former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Bobby Jindal, Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the list goes on. Those that remain, talented as they may be, have each failed to attract my committed vote, let alone passionate enthusiasm.
In some way I think we have the inverse of the 1992 Democratic race where early on many of the presumed favorites like future Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden took a pass thinking George H.W. Bush was unbeatable. In Washington circles a narrative began to form that 2012 was going to be a good year for President Obama. With the Republican takeover of the house in 2010 the stage was set for a repeat of Bill Clinton’s come back and victory in 1996. Yet over the last year we have seen the Obama administration to be politically inept and selling a radical left wing agenda which has not resonated with the American body politic. The Obama attempts at class warfare and leftist populist rhetoric have fallen flat on all but his hard core base. American voters seem to have concluded he is out of his league and not up to the job of president. The net result is the GOP nomination is increasingly valuable as the 2012 election is ours to lose.
So regrets be damned, the slate of candidates we have are the options to be chosen from. I am not going to invite the wrath of my fellow republicans who have already formed passionate allegiances by going down the list of candidates one by one pointing out why each has not captured my imagination and support. Rather I want to look at what I would love to see in an ideal presidential nominee.
- First, above all else is character. Often discussed, this is a complicated characteristic in people. My nominee has to have core values and the commitment to them to stick by them even when the political winds blow in the opposite direction. If you think of the presidential elections of the past, the issues that defined their presidency are almost never the ones which drove the election which put them in the White House. We need a president who when they get that 3am phone call, will not need to consult a pollster.
- My candidate must have a commitment to conservative values and principles which were not adopted after extensive focus group testing but rater from their long term personal considerations. I have no problems with people who evolve over time, even Ronald Reagan was a democrat once upon a time (he even voted for FDR, more than once!). Yet some candidates who get the words right, just give you the feeling they were written by committee.
- I can’t support stupid any more. Call me whatever, but I want a President who can stand up to the tests of the office and deal with the complexities of the issues we face. Make no doubt we are at a crossroads in the history of our republic, and we cannot afford another president who needs training wheels for the first 4 years, or is simply a puppet for advisors.
- I totally agree with Anne Coulter’s recent column in which she said, in essence, electability is not a bad word! To the contrary I believe in all my heart that if President Obama is reelected with a Democratic congress, America will be taken in a left ward direction from which there will be no turning back. We need a nominee who can take Obama on head to head and emerge from the ideological battle that the 2012 election is shaping up to be victorious.
- No longer will I support any candidate who simply attacks the other contenders. My belief in Reagan’s 11th Commandment that thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican is absolute and those who break it will drive me to the primary with absolute certainty I will cast my one vote against them. It is essential our eventual nominee emerge from the primaries stronger for the process and not damaged. Republican unity has always been a strength and any division will simply guarantee a second term for Obama.
For years, I like many conservatives have been looking for another Ronald Reagan, always with disappointing results. However I think the Gripper would have said stop looking to the past for direction, look to the future. So I look for that candidate who reflects my values and also has the ability to capture the imagination and spirit of the American people. This election is just too important to settle of less, or allow victory to slip from our figures.