Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who Should I Support (cont.) - more on 2012 Republican nomination

A few weeks ago I wrote a long post on the Republican nomination process. In that post I concluded that, although I thought Rick Santorum came the closest to representing my views, I would probably support Mitt Romney because I thought he was the only candidate that had a chance of winning the national election. My reasoning was that it would be much better to have a watered-down, liberal Republican than another term of President Obama. I also said that I wanted Santorum to stay in the race long enough to pull Mitt clearly to the right and pin him down there.

In light of recent events my views have changed a little.

First, what hasn't changed:

I still think that *any* of the Republican candidates (with the possible exception of Ron Paul, who I think is dangerously naive in foreign policy - potentially disastrously so) would be hugely preferable to a second term of Barack Obama.  A second term would see him running even further to the left, possibly ensconcing a couple of liberal Supreme Court justices to continue to provide favorable votes for the destruction of most of what makes the United States distinctive and great.

I'm still a little worried that nomination of a Republican candidate who is a true conservative may condemn us nationally to what we've been experiencing here in California for the past 30 years or so, viz., that we put up candidates that the base likes but that can't be elected state-wide, and so end up ceding the government to the other party and end up living under their horrible policies.

But, ...

I'm feeling a little more confident about Rick Santorum.

Maybe it's just the momentum generated by his trouncing of Romney in three contests last night (Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado), but I listened to excerpts from some of his recent speeches and he is quite effective in articulating a political philosophy that I think many still hold: a political philosophy of freedom, limited government, and constitutionalism. Moreover, when he speaks of that philosophy I get the sense that he holds these beliefs genuinely and passionately, in contrast to the sense I get from Mitt Romney, who seems prone to changes in what should be core political convictions.

It may also be that some of the actions taken by the Obama administration in recent days (notably the announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that Christian institutions would be required to provide abortion coverage in their health insurance plans) have increased the likelihood that a number of Catholic voters who might otherwise vote as union Democrats might be induced to vote for a Republican alternative.

It may also be that during the Republican debates it's become clear just how much the nomination of Romney would play right into the Democrat's hands in that it would be hard for him to use the unpopular Obamacare legislation against him in that he enacted something very similar in Massachusetts with Romneycare. Moreover, he plays right into the "99%" class warfare rhetoric that they seem to want to run on.

And, perhaps most importantly, it may be that Santorum seems to have performed well in midwestern states that have been the battleground States (along with Florida) in the last few elections. If Santorum continues to dominate the more moderate Romney in states like Michigan, that might be a strong signal that he's able to draw enough voters from the center of the spectrum to prevail over President Obama in the general election.

In any case, I'm feeling more confident about Rick Santorum.