Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Love the One You're With?

Tonight’s precinct caucuses give Minnesota Republicans a chance to have a say in which candidate is best-suited to face President Obama in November. Well, not really. The results of tonight’s vote are non-binding, which means no delegates will be awarded based on them. Which is the same way it works in a certain neighboring state whose caucus attract a great deal more attention. At least we should be able to conduct an accurate and timely count of the vote.

At this point, I’m torn about which way I should vote. I followed fellow Frater Saint Paul in jumping on the Gingrich bandwagon after he appeared to be the best and most viable alternative to Romney. While I still like a lot about Newt, his viability as the non-Romney candidate has now come into serious question. While I definitely think Ron Paul and his paleo-libertarian views have a place in the Republican Party, he is simply not a serious consideration for CIC. That leaves us with Rick Santorum. While Santorum raises concerns in a number of areas, it seems like he may now be best positioned to emerge as the chief contender to Romney. Wins in Minnesota and Missouri could help his campaign regain the momentum they briefly had (and lost) after the Iowa caucus. And a late switch to Santorum wouldn’t violate the Buckley Rule: “Support the most conservative Catholic candidate who is electable.” Okay, I may have added a little corollary there.

Pondering who to support tonight also lead to the realization that when it comes to GOP presidential primary endorsements (at least the contested ones), I’ve rarely had the privilege of been able to support a candidate from start to finish.

It started way back in 1980. Believe it or not, I was actually backing George H.W. Bush at the beginning of the primary campaign. Once it became obvious that Reagan was the man of the hour, I realized the error of my ways and became a confirmed Reaganite. Keep in mind that I was all of eleven at the time.

I don’t really consider 1988 to be much of a contest as Bush was the sitting VP and natural choice.

1996 was a different matter. Early on, I was actually intrigued by the candidacy of one Lamar Alexander. Yes, that Lamar Alexander. Anyway, once Lamarmentum failed to catch hold, I reluctantly came over to support the sacrificial lamb known as Bob Dole.

In 2000, I started out as a tepid supporter of George W. Bush. The media’s infatuation with “maverick” John McCain eliminated him from consideration and although I liked Steve Forbes’ policies, I just couldn’t see him winning a national election.

Going in to 2008, I was excited about having Rudy Giuliani in the hunt. Then there was the Fred Thompson bubble. Remember Sam Brownback? Finally, I settled (again) with John McCain.

Then there were the ones who never ran like Tommy Thompson or that former South Carolina governor who I was at one point convinced would make a fine candidate for president. Sigh. I’m not sure if this history is a indictment of my judgment or that of my fellow Republicans.

One thing is certain. No matter who I decide to vote for tonight, they won’t be the one I really want.