When deciding how to vote, it’s best to take attack ads with a large grain of salt and look at the candidates’ positions and records – and also who is supporting them and why. In today’s information age, this is easier than ever. In Michigan, people are tiring of the political ads and robocalls, longing for a return to normalcy. But if you don’t take the time to get informed and vote, you forfeit your right to complain.
If you want a moderate, Mitt Romney is your man. He talks conservative and did a good job as governor in a very liberal state. He switched from pro-choice to pro-life and has been consistently pro-life since then. It is unfair to call him a flip-flopper for a one-time change of position. He has done well on issues most social conservatives hold dear.
His defense of past positions is admirable, but perhaps he’s too unwilling to admit mistakes. His Achilles heel is Romneycare, a state prototype for the federal healthcare bill. He defends it as good for Massachusetts and says he wants to repeal Obamacare. This implies it’s OK for state governments to dictate insurance options for people, which is just a smaller government entity making choices for you. It’s a little better to have state government run health care; at least there is the option of moving to another state where they don’t have it. If Romney is elected and government health care becomes a states’ rights issue, look for thriving red states like Texas that won’t want it to do even better.
The federal health care bill had over 2,000 pages and will probably have at least ten times as much paper explaining it. When fully implemented, it will make our tax code look simple. Collecting revenue is far simpler than medicine. Do we really want the bureaucratic costs of complying with government regulations added to an already expensive system?
One gets the sense that Romney cares more about getting elected than telling the truth. A few weeks ago he said he hadn’t attacked Santorum yet (technically true) while his Superpac surrogates were trashing him right and left. No such stretching the truth with Santorum; he speaks from the heart without a teleprompter and means what he says.
Many support Romney because they say he’s the only candidate who can beat Obama. This logic is faulty, because he lost to John McCain last primary election, who was defeated easily in November. Romney is well known now; what makes people think the loser to a loser can defeat an incumbent President? Romney is also the most like Obama of any of the Republican candidates. It’s true that swing voters will determine the election, but conservatives may stay home if they think there’s not enough of a difference (there is, of course). A true conservative can win, as Reagan demonstrated in 1980 and 1984.
Rick Santorum has character, vision and solid conservative ideas. He has other advantages that many have not considered. Evangelicals and other pro-life voters were unenthusiastic in the last election until Sarah Palin was chosen as a running mate. They are already engaged with Santorum’s campaign and the momentum is building as Obama blunders with that stomp on religious liberty.
Legislators must be team players more than governors, so unless they vote “present” like our current President did to hide his true convictions, they have more opportunity to compromise their core convictions than governors. All policy issues can have principled, good hearted people on both sides. Admitting you’re wrong like Santorum has is better than sticking to your guns like Romney has on Romneycare.
Constitutional attorney and former Reagan Justice Department chief of staff to the Attorney General Mark Levin was an early backer of Santorum, saying he preferred him and Michele Bachmann as the conservatives with the most respect for our constitution. Our constitution guarantees the rights of minorities; one would think those with minority views would be the strongest backers of strict constitutionalists.
Many think Santorum is too religious; however, the quotes being used against him were talking to his base of evangelical and pro-life supporters. If he didn’t speak to their values he’d be considered lukewarm and rejected by them. His real opposition comes from people who don’t want him in the bully pulpit of the presidency where he might be able to persuade others to his viewpoint. Half of Americans identify as evangelicals (26%) or Roman Catholics (24%) so his religious views are not those of a small minority.
Ron Paul has loyal backers and is running a distant third in the Michigan polls. His strength is small government & fiscal conservatism. His weakness or strength is isolationist foreign policy, depending on your perspective. His supporters are a mix of libertarians, young people, fiscal conservatives and Christians. Young people are understandable because of their idealism. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 even though he had no chance of winning. I didn’t like Jimmy Carter’s principles and thought Ronald Reagan was a trigger happy cowboy. I wish I had listened to Reagan’s speeches then instead of my friends and the news media. History proved him right as Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul are widely credited with ending the Cold War.
Libertarian Christians are more puzzling, since libertarian principles are taught nowhere in Scripture. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6) is fine in theory but doesn’t work out in real life. “If men were angels, no government would be needed.” (James Madison, Federalist 51) We will not need government in heaven, but on earth we need it to restrain our sinful desires and prevent us from hurting each other (Romans 13).
Ron Paul has played tag team with Romney to attack Romney’s leading conservative challenger throughout the whole race. Even the liberal New York Times noticed this in the last debate. No wonder Cain, Gingrich and now Santorum appeared defensive in debates when double-teamed. Paul still holds libertarian views, having run as a libertarian 20 years ago, so it’s a bit disingenuous of him to hold himself up as the true conservative.
Bringing up the rear in the polls is Newt Gingrich. He is a good debater, but has erratic ideas like colonizing the moon, proposed in space state Florida, didn’t bother to visit Michigan and has a gambling money connection. With proper limits, gambling can be harmless entertainment, but like any vice, it can destroy people’s lives. Its business model tries to get people to spend their money in the casino; nearby restaurants suffer. Its lucrative nature also attracts corruption; most important, it can undermine the work ethic. Gambling funding and his previous adultery make him a difficult sell for the social conservatives. Gingrich has also not been a team player, not talking with the other candidates and vowing to fight to the bitter end.
Romney will get some Democrat crossover votes as the least distasteful of the Republican candidates, but at least they’ll have to be on the record asking for a Republican ballot this year. No doubt Santorum will get crossover voters thinking he’ll be easier to defeat than Romney. He will certainly welcome Obama voters in November after he’s had the chance to make his case to the American people.