Thursday, October 20, 2011
Newt Gingrich for President!
Originally, I had planned to hold off for a few more weeks before making an endorsement. I was split between Cain and Gingrich. However, it has become increasingly clear over the last week or so that Newt Gingrich really is the only option. And, as I have seen a move toward him that has not yet become apparent in the polls, it is time to get this ball rolling.
After Sarah Palin left the race, I immediately hoped she could be persuaded to reconsider. After further reflection on her comments in the days surrounding her announcement, I became convinced that she would not run for the GOP nomination. There is too much hatred from the party establishment for her to succeed. I do think that she has left the door open to running on a third party ticket if the GOP should nominate the wrong person, i.e. Romney (or Huntsman). In any other case, I think she will back the nominee. Regardless, even that is a long shot, so for the time being it's better to move on and focus on nominating the right person.
There was no immediately obvious choice for me after Palin left the race. I quickly ruled out Bachmann as being too green, Santorum as not having the economic chops, and Huntsman as being too liberal. While I was initially attracted to Paul's economic libertarianism and even aspects of his isolationism, his performances in the debates left me wanting. Though his devoted fans may still cheer his outlandish statements, the rest of us see them as gaffes. I think his message could play well if carefully filtered, which is why Rand Paul is currently a senator. But Ron Paul, like Moses, will not be the one to enter the Promised Land. He is too old and has made one to many mistake to be President. Oh, and Perry. I ran kicking and screaming from him the moment I heard he was running. He is literally the worst possible presidential candidate ever. From his (or his wife's) Texas size ego, to his corrupt pay-for-play style of governance, to a lack of any brain power, to elementary school hissy fits and horrendously flawed debate performances, the man disgusts me. Should he become the nominee I will vote third party or as a last ditch measure *puke* vote for Obama in order to stop this raging megalomaniac.
That left three options - Romney, Cain, and Gingrich. And I really didn't want to have to support Romney. I thought back to why I supported Palin in the first place, and I came up with three simple criteria I wanted to see in the GOP nominee. 1) The nominee must have conservative solutions to save our country. 2) The nominee must have a proven record of being able to implement these solutions, even working with Democrats if necessary. 3) The nominee must have enough of a pragmatic streak to be able to beat Obama so that we can actually see change. It does no good to nominate a liberal who can beat Obama and yet continue his policies. It does no good to have conservative solutions and beat Obama yet not be able to get anything through congress. And it does no good to have a record of implementing conservative solutions yet not be able to beat Obama. All three criteria are essential in a nominee. Palin had them, and I had to carefully consider whether the remaining three contenders stacked up.
There was a time when I considered Romney. He has managed to become somewhat likable, and shown himself to be, if nothing else, a competent executive in government. However, he crossed the line of electability a long time ago by pandering too much. Romney's problem is that he believes in one thing - that he should be President. In pursuit thereof, he has taken almost every position under the sun. The ones he has chosen to defend, such as his health care plan, are decidedly liberal. Perhaps he believes that he is a lock to win the GOP primary and that by tacking to the center he will be able to beat Obama. I disagree. Both the GOP and Democrats are already slicing and dicing him on his flip-flopping and hypocrisy. He has gotten a bit too cute one too many times, and there is no walking it back. Romney may know how to implement his ideas, but he certainly does not have conservative solutions, and in my opinion his lack of core convictions will not allow him to beat Obama.
I thought long and hard about Herman Cain. Look, everybody loves Herman Cain. His poll numbers, intensity index, etc. are through the roof right now, especially in early states. I hope he is an integral part of any administration, perhaps as Fed chair. (Somewhat paradoxically, I would also consider Ron Paul for this position.) I thought that with his strong fundamentals and charisma, it might have been counterproductive to split the vote against Romney by supporting someone else. However, some warning signs began to emerge early on and have drastically worsened in recent days. My first problem with Cain was his support of TARP and the Fed. TARP was really THE reason Republicans lost in 2012, and until we get away from it, Republicans will never be trusted with the government again. It was a slap in the face of all hard working Americans that the rich bankers and wall street execs who had over-leveraged our economy to the point of collapse were bailed out with billions of dollars in taxpayer money. It was the rebellion against this ham handed theft that got Obama elected in the first place. And though Cain disavowed the way it was implemented, he actually came out in favor of the concept! Like Michelle Malkin, I don't buy the chicken little story Bush and the GOP sold us in order to justify this type of crony capitalism. The free market does not work when the bad economic models of big businesses are propped up instead of being allowed to collapse. As a result, we find ourselves in continuing malaise. Had they instead collapsed, a thousand small and medium sized companies and banks would have expanded to fill the gap, creating plentiful jobs and good business models to produce wealth for all. As it is now, we are held in perpetual bondage to a class of lobbyists and executives that have appropriated government power and our tax dollars for the purpose of enriching themselves, instead of gaining their wealth by producing useful goods and services for the public. While Cain says that he doesn't approve of the things the Fed is doing today and that things were different when he was a regional chair, he betrayed his true feelings by defending Alan Greenspan. This stuff was some tough medicine for Tea Partiers to swallow, and it certainly had the Paulbots up in arms. Nonetheless, I was prepared to consider him as an alternative to Romney due to his "Main St." appeal vs. Romney's "Wall St." approach. But the problems continue to mount. He is utterly clueless on foreign policy. With absolutely zero experience navigating the treacherous bureaucracy of government, he became a man with only one thing in his favor - the 9-9-9 plan. But even this has quickly fallen apart. Opponents point out that it raises taxes on low and middle income people while decreasing them on the rich. While something like 9-9-9, a broadening of the tax base, may indeed be necessary in order to reduce our deficit and pay for the lavish government services which the American people have ordered, it's not something you probably want to put front and center in a campaign against Obama. Class warfare, anyone? Romney and Cain both claim to be the best choice because they have experience in the private sector and know how to get the economy going again. But the way they both turned failing businesses around is identical - close stores and lay off people in order to benefit the bottom line for the execs at the top of the company. Is this sort of gristmill really the approach we should take in order to fix the economy? I don't think so. I think we need someone with new and innovative ideas to do what Obama promised but can't deliver - get the economy working for everyone, not just the top 1%. (That's right, I said it.) Cain of course is now walking back parts of his 9-9-9 plan, as well as the recent revelation that while personally pro-life, he is pro-choice when it comes to government. These sort of gaffes and mistakes are exactly the type of thing that happen when you don't have much governing experience, and I'm afraid that in the end he would fare pretty poorly against Obama. Isn't Obama's big problem that he wasn't ready for the job? And now we want to put up someone with even less experience? While Cain may have mostly conservative solutions, I do not believe he can either beat Obama or get them implemented. As the campaign wears on, I believe he will begin to fade in the harsh glare of the spotlight.
Newt Gingrich may be the closest thing we now have to Reagan. Someone with an optimistic spirit to lift the country out of its misery. Someone who knows how to practically renew and restore America. Someone who can rise above petty bickering and just plain fix things. And as a professor with carefully reasoned ideas, he may be the only person who will be able to lecture Obama instead of the other way around. Gingrich, certainly, is not perfect. His personal life has been less than stellar, though he claims that is all in the past. His commercial with Pelosi on the need to address climate change (which he has since walked back) has rubbed many people the wrong way. Some people see him as just another Beltway insider, despite his obvious and sincere attempts to distance himself from the permanent political class (losing those staffers helped him, in my opinion) and embrace the grassroots. In my opinion, these issues are just a sideshow. Gingrich has a flawed past, yes, but he is making a sincere effort to change. Just as Palin encouraged us to welcome Orrin Hatch's new found conservatism, because we need all the help we can get, I would urge people to extend the same courtesy to Gingrich. Does he have conservative solutions for our country? In spades. And he can sell his ideas too. Can he practically implement them? Yes. He has a record of doing it before as Speaker of the House. Can he beat Obama? Please, dear Lord, please oh please oh please bring on the Lincoln-Douglass debates. Gingrich is good in my book. As far as a path to the nomination, it won't be easy. Although a number of Palinistas and others have been swinging his way in recent days, he still doesn't have the poll numbers one would like to see. As he has put it, his campaign is the tortoise in the race, and he is slowly and steadily gaining. I'm willing to cede Iowa based on his personal history, but I thing strong second or third place finishes in Iowa and NH followed by a win in SC is possible. And SC is never wrong when it comes to the presidential nomination. In the end, as always, it comes down to who is the electable conservative. Romney is electable, but not conservative. Cain is not electable, and maybe not even conservative on a few things. Gingrich is electable, conservative, and has a good track record to boot. Go Newt!
Posted by bjwilson83 at 12:20 PM