Monday, February 04, 2008

Day of Reckoning: Super Tuesday

The polls open in Arkansas tomorrow, 7:30 AM. I will probably wait to vote until in the evening, after work. Who to vote for? The four candidates left standing, Huckabee, Romney, McCain, and Paul, all have their flaws. Paul is out, unacceptable based on his stand on the war in Iraq. So that leaves the other three to ponder. And, in about 24 hours, I will have to make the decision on ideology or electability.

As I posted some weeks ago, I'm concerned that Huckabee is not really a conservative. He's fine on most social issues, but does not seem to be very strong on economics, despite embracing the Fair Tax (which I still have to study). I don’t know how he would do on immigration and the global war on terrorism, especially as being carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will he be ready on January 20, 2009 to direct that war, even with good professionals in place? I think not.

McCain, despite his mistakes on immigration, free speech, and education, has a generally conservative voting record as a senator. I believe the American Conservative Union has him at 80 percent, which is not too bad. His failure to vote for the tax cuts in 2001 is troubling, though possibly his stand was principled: I won't vote for tax cuts unless we have commensurate spending cuts. I'm not sure what his true motivation was. He seems to now understand that his stand on immigration was wrong, and may be modifying his position based on what the country wants. He seems to be good on social issues, though to be honest I haven't spent a great deal of time looking into that. Obviously he is ready to direct the global war on terrorism.

Romney is the least well defined. His short stretch as Massachusetts governor, with many of his core positions probably modified to appeal to that liberal electorate, does not really give us much to go on, much less than Huckabee's ten years as governor plus a stint as lieutenant gov. My gut feeling is that Romney is fine on social issues, fine on economic issues, probably so-so on foreign policy, and probably okay on the global war on terrorism. However, I feel he is not electable, partly because of his Massachusetts location. Most of the nation sees Massachusetts as a bunch of odd-balls, on the wacko fringe, and I think it will be a long time before anyone from Massachusetts will ever be elected president.

The key issues right now are the global war on terror first, economics second. On these, McCain will do all right, IMHO, and he is not exceptionally bad overall or on specific issues. Congress will restrain him on immigration (if he hasn't learned his lesson). So he will have my vote tomorrow, though I may need a barf bag, but that's what I'll do. My wife says she intends to vote for Huckabee, and I'm not going to try to talk her out of it.

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