I like to draw out charts when there is a difficult decisions to be made. Here’s what a chart for who to choose as the Republican Presidential Nominee would look like.
First, I need to decide how I am going to measure the candidates. To me, the most important qualities are:
- Winner? Does the candidate possess the capability to take on the Obama political machine and win?
- Capability? Is the candidate actually able to do the job of president?
- Uniter? Can the candidate bring both sides together on issues we agree on, or will the president be petty and divisive?
- Character? Does the candidate show a strong moral character and an ability to match his actions with his words?
- Constitution? Does the candidate understand the constitution, the principles that make our country great, and the ability to govern faithfully to these ideas?
- Economy? Does the candidate believe that the path to prosperity is not only desirable, but lies in reducing the size and scope of the federal government?
- Domestic Policy? Does the candidate agree with me on domestic policy issues?
Foreign Policy? Does the candidate agree with me on foreign policy issues?
With these criteria, it shouldn’t be too hard to get an accurate picture of what each candidate would be and do as president. From there, I can make an honest assessment of whom I should support and why.
First, let’s look at Newt Gingrich. It seems a lot of conservative pundits support him. He also has some political instincts that give him a bit of an advantage in the political arena. Note, however, that I don’t care how politically capable a candidate is, or who happens to support him. So these factors are irrelevant, except perhaps in making Newt slightly more likely to win given the same numbers in the polls as another candidate.
Winner? Unfortunately, Newt doesn’t have what it takes to get a great number of moderates to vote for him. He obviously won’t persuade any of the liberals. I doubt he can solidify support among conservatives, given his gross misconduct in his personal life. Newt hasn’t made a lot of political allies over his career, and this is a killer.
Capability? Newt does not demonstrate the executive capability of being president. If I were a member on a board, and we were responsible for choosing a CEO to manage the federal government, I would have little faith that Newt could juggle all the priorities that need to be juggled and still get things done. Newt did OK as a Speaker of the House, but it’s clear that the quickly wore out his welcome. I imagine he’d do the same as president.
Uniter? Newt is not a uniter. He uses divisive politics to get his way. Rather than embrace and work with both factions of the Republican Party, he bulldozed his way through by bullying people who disagreed with him. Newt has no credentials when it comes to working with democrats.
Character? Newt has little character. He boldly lies, boldly commits adultery, and has other character faults that cause people around him to dislike him. If we found Newt dead in a hotel with a hooker and coke in the room, no one would be surprised.
At this point, it’s really pointless to continue, but I shall persevere.
Constitution? Newt gets credit for leading the House to do what the House should do. He understands the constitution better than anyone else, and probably has a better grasp than anyone else about the founding principles of our country. It’s clear he is no light-weight in this department. Would Newt exercise his constitutional authority as president? Most likely. He’ll probably resurrect a few powers as well. Most certainly, he’ll inspire the House and Senate to actively work against him.
Economics? Here, Newt is not a very strong candidate. He stands for the right words, and he did balance the budget, but I don’t think he really understands how things get done in the real world. If we have to compare the candidates with each other, Newt is at the bottom along with Rick Santorum in this department.
Domestic Policy? Newt stands for the right words, and my disagreements with those positions are few. His idea to resurrect the space program is not something I agree with, but that’s a minor line item compared to abortion and marriage.
Foreign Policy? Newt is too hawkish for my taste. While we need a president who projects fear into our enemies, and security to our allies, I think Newt isn’t going to be able to juggle world politics very well.
Overall, Newt earns his place as my last pick because he has not demonstrated the capability to win, the capability to govern, or the capability to unite. How he stands on the other issues is really a moot point with me, because he is not likely to win, and even if he did, he is unlikely to get his agenda pushed through Congress.
Rick Santorum is next. I’ll be honest, I’m surprised Santorum is even in the running at this point. I didn’t do as much research on him as I have with others, so some of the information is lacking in quality and accuracy.
Winner? I don’t think Santorum can survive the long knives that have already been drawn out for him. Google “santorum” and you’ll see why. Santorum is a nice guy who is politically savvy, but he does not have that vicious bulldog streak required to take on one’s enemy and destroy them.
Capability? I don’t know much about Rick Santorum’s governing ability. Because he was a senator, he’ll likely end up being the same kind of failed president most senators turn out to be because he views this position as a promoted senator rather than an almost-king.
Uniter? Rick would be able to reach across the aisle to drive consensus, even though he doesn’t get any love at all from the liberals on the ground. We know this because he was an effective senator.
Character? Rick has as much character as Ron and Mitt, so I can’t complain. I have yet to catch him in a bold lie, and we know for a fact he is devoted to his family and has earned the trust and respect of the people he’s worked with.
Constitution? Rick shows a less than stellar understanding of our constitution and founding principles. He seems to want to enact unconstitutional policies rather than rely on the 10th Amendment and give the states their full power.
Economics? Rick has as good a record in economics as Newt does, which puts him at the bottom of the pack with Newt.
Domestic Policy? I can’t find much I disagree with Rick on domestic issues, except for the bits that show a lack of understanding of federalism and constitutional limits.
Foreign Policy? I imagine Rick will do OK in foreign policies. If anything, he projects too much kindness and gentleness, which can be a bad thing.
Rick Santorum is actually my third choice. If it came down to Rick Santorum or Ron Paul, I’d choose Ron Paul.
Ron Paul is the next victim of my categorization. Ron Paul is actually quite hard to classify because he runs in his own herd.
Winner? Quite possibly, yes, and he’ll do it by courting a lot of liberal voters and moderates at the cost of some conservatives. A Ron Paul win would redefine politics for a generation.
Capability? Yes, absolutely. Ron Paul understand what the president is and how he should behave, and is quite bold in how he would act as president. If you want to understand what Ron Paul is, go look up the presidencies of Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson to get the general idea.
Uniter? Unfortunately, a Ron Paul presidency without a super majority in the House and Senate would be a disaster. Our government would descend into a crisis state, with the Congress and presidency in an all-out war. I doubt Ron Paul would be able to unite the country should the need arise, unfortunately.
Character? Politically, Ron Paul has tremendous character. Every time he shoots his foot politically it is because he is speaking on things he truly cares about. He is not putting on wolf’s clothing in this race. This has worked for him in the past so he sticks with it. Privately, Ron Paul has shown as much character as Rick and Mitt.
Economics? Although Ron Paul doesn’t have as much experience as Mitt Romney, he does sing all the right songs. If his policies were enacted, or if he were simply to earn the presidency, an economic boom would result.
Domestic Policy? This is hard for a lot of conservatives to understand, but Ron Paul refuses to violate the constitution to get his way on domestic issues. However, he would probably do more to help our domestic issues than any other president.
Foreign Policy? Now we come to the deal-breaker for me. Ron Paul does not “get it”, “it” being the way the world really works. Like it or not, we are Rome, we are Alexander’s Empire, we are Great Britain. It’s not a position we sought after, it’s not something we even want to have, but we are here. If we want to see world peace, if we want to see our allies trade with us, if we want to have any peace of mind concerning the state of the world, we need to project awesome military power. I’m not saying we need to conquer the world (although I would hope people would think about it—a world ruled by a federal constitution with built-in limits would not be a bad thing), I am saying that we need to be able to do so. This means we need to fight wars in small countries, this means our young men need to go out and die just to keep the status quo. This is not the way I wish the world were, it is the way the world is. Ron Paul’s policy has a good chance of seeing Los Angelos or New York get wiped off the map. It has a good chance of seeing thousands of Americans overseas murdered. It has the very real possibility of shutting down world trade, which would lead to another Dark Age.
Overall, I like Ron Paul, a lot. I disagree with him on foreign policy, and I believe that if carried to fruition, it would spell disaster for us and the world. The reason why I maintain hope for Ron Paul is because I don’t think Ron Paul will be successful in withdrawing our military from the world. He would enter office, demand a declaration of war, and get it almost overnight.
Finally, we consider Mitt Romney. In considering my opinion of Mitt Romney, many people would throw out my thoughts because I am a supporter. If I were being paid by the campaign, or if there was some degree of self-interest, I would agree that my opinion would be significantly less important. But the fact is I am none of those things. I give you my opinions in faith that they are the best opinions I have to give.
Winner? Absolutely. Unlike a Ron Paul win, Romney would win by uniting the conservatives (except the small percentage that would never vote for a Mormon) and capturing the middle ground. I believe Mitt Romney has the capability to be popular nation-wide, unlike bold and uncompromising conservatives like Newt and Rick. In addition, Mitt has a certain “mean” streak to him, meaning, he can be quite unstoppable when he sets his mind to do something. Mitt understands strategy and politics at least as well as most of the other candidates, and has the organization and money to actually get things done. Mitt has an army, while the other candidates have militias.
Capability? Absolutely. Mitt Romney is an executive. Not only is he successful in the business world, but he was a truly capable executive for Massachusetts and for the Olympics. I don’t know all of the secrets of his success, but he is absolutely effective as an executive, moreso by miles than any other nominee for any party.
Uniter? Absolutely. Mitt Romney was notorious for convincing people who despised his positions to agree with him. Some of his fervent supporters were far-left communist democrats from Massachusettes, who felt that even though he would significantly damage the progress made in their politics, he would more than make up for it with sheer capability as an executive. They felt Mitt Romney listened and empowered them more than their own party, not because Mitt advanced the positions that disagreed with conservatism, but because Mitt actively sought out areas of agreement. Even if Mitt ended up with a supermajority of Democrats in the House and Senate, he would still advance his agend. Even if he ended up with a super-majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, he would still advance his agenda.
Character? Mitt has as much character as Ron and Rick. Since I share his religious values, I tend to biased towards Mitt, but even according to my religious doctrine, we cannot imagine that Ron and Rick are any less worthy because they have both prayerfully sought out what they believe to be the most righteous path and stuck to it.
Constitution? Mitt is extremely familiar with the constitution and the founding principles of our country. You don’t have to look very hard at Mitt’s time as governor of MA to see this. You can also hear him repeat these principles again and again in the debate.
Economics? The only other candidate that compares to Mitt’s positions on economic issues if Ron Paul. However, I give the edge to Mitt because he has a common sense that no other candidate possesses. When it comes to actually getting business out of government, and government out of business, I don’t think anyone will compare with Mitt’s ability to actually make things happen.
Domestic Policy? I find no disagreement with Mitt Romney on domestic issues. I don’t find a lot of variation among the candidates on this issue, except that Mitt Romney’s stances are built on a very solid foundation of logic and research. Having been “converted” to his current view on these topics, he is able to argue and win the day against his opponents.
Foreign Policy? Of all the candidates, Mitt will be our best foreign policy representative. He is wise, he is cunning, and he has that uncompromising attitude when it is needed. I imagine Mitt knocking some heads together, playing hardball, and totally dominating world politics in a way we haven’t seen since Reagan.
You may disagree with points of my assessment, but I think you will come to agree that overall, Mitt Romney is the best candidate for the job.