LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2012 – Throughout the 2012 GOP primaries readers questioned if I were shilling for one candidate or another. Despite repeatedly stating my undecided status, people looked for hidden hints that were simply never there. For the first time since becoming old enough to vote, the decision was an agonizing one.
Past elections provided agonizing only in the sense that my candidate never won. Backing George Herbert Walker Bush in 1988 was the only time a contested primary resulted in my candidate emerging victorious. As the sitting Vice President to Ronald Reagan, backing him seemed easy enough.
In 1996, avoiding Bob Dole was the desire. While Pat Buchanan was the absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances candidate, Bob Dole was the default candidate if everybody else lost. Pete Wilson dropped out early. Then Lamar Alexander and Dick Lugar called it quits. Republicans were stuck with Dole.
In 2000, John McCain was my choice. Once he was defeated by George W. Bush, I quickly fell in line. Yet unlike 1996, this was done with enthusiasm.
In 2008, I was ready to go through a brick wall for Rudy Giuliani. His heroism after 9/11 made him my second favorite Republican behind President George W. Bush. My rankings had McCain second, Fred Thompson third, and Mitt Romney fourth. Yet any one of them would have been absolutely fine. Mike Huckabee played the Bob Dole role of a candidate to support if there were no other choices left. Giuliani lost, and my losing streak continued.
So going into 2012, it was strange not knowing what to do. For months it became a waiting game as everything hinged on a decision from Rudy Giuliani. If he ran again, I was all in. Without ever making an announcement either way, time came and went and he stayed out of it.
If Mayor Giuliani did not run, my next choice was Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Elections require money, and Governor Barbour is the best money raiser in the Republican Party. Governor Barbour decided not to run.
While many people wanted rock stars such as Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Colonel Allen West to run, this was a bad idea. They all gave their word to their constituents to finish the jobs they started, and they had to keep their word. Any of them running would have come at the cost of their most desired quality, their authenticity.
Sarah Palin deserved better than the savage treatment she received in 2008. The best outcome for her in 2012 would be to make millions on the speaking circuit, where as a private citizen she could savage her critics without consequences. Thankfully she chose this option.
Ten people decided to enter the race, in alphabetical order: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.
(Buddy Roemer, Thaddeus McCotter and Fred Karger also entered the race, but never garnered enough support to rise above an asterisk in the polls.)
The process of elimination began quickly with Gary Johnson being voted off the island first. His supporters seemed to be interested in getting stoned, and little else. Ron Paul ran a much stronger race than in 2008, and his platform made Gary Johnson unnecessary. Johnson would drop out and run for the Libertarian nomination.
A few seconds later Ron Paul was eliminated from consideration. Dr. Paul is an intelligent, likable individual, and his economic and domestic policy views are fantastic. On foreign policy, I simply disagreed with him. I am a Neocon who supports preemptive war. He is a non-interventionist. That gap could not be bridged.
His supporters would go ballistic at anyone who disagreed on foreign policy. They often exhibited behavior that reflected poorly on their candidate. To this day many of them continue to demonize those who disagree with them as evil rather than see people with different policy viewpoints.
Yet with Paul and Johnson it was never personal. Huntsman was another story. He went out of his way to come across as not likable. His initial press conference was substanceless, as his rationale for running was never explained. He became the darling of the liberal media for attacking other Republicans in a manner befitting MSNBC and the New York Times. He may have governed as a conservative, but he acted like a liberal on the campaign trail. He stayed at 1% in the polls because GOP voters were never fooled.
This left seven candidates who were “acceptable.” They were all better than Bob Dole but did not inspire the same passion as Rudy Giuliani. My issues of importance would allow consideration of them all.
1) Supply-side economics. Supporting tax cuts was a must.
2) Second Amendment affirmation. Gun control was a non-starter.
3) A Neocon foreign policy. A hard line on Iran is necessary, including force.
4) Support of Israel. Democracies are good. Dictatorships are bad.
Fiscal restraint was very important as well, although the key to putting people back to work was growth. It starts with supply side tax cuts. Cuts in domestic spending were fine. Defense should be off the table until all domestic programs have been cut first. Entitlements must be slashed drastically.
All of the remaining candidates were fine on my issues. The one I liked the most was Tim Pawlenty. He was a calm, steady, successful leader who did not come across as threatening. Yet the first man in the race was also the first man out. Once again, the search for a candidate continued with six remaining.
Rick Perry had dreadful debate performances. He was a great leader in Texas, but his ability to match up in a debate with President Obama seemed impossible. The caricature of him as a dumb jock was unfair, but life is not fair. Michele Bachmann made way too many gaffes on the trail. She is a bright woman and an accomplished tax attorney, but the left would have done to her what they did to Sarah Palin. They were eliminated from consideration, and soon removed themselves from contention altogether.
Of the remaining four candidates, choosing was impossible. A combination of Cain’s likability, Gingrich’s debating skills, Santorum’s heart, and Romney’s managerial skills would have been ideal. After mulling them over for what seemed like forever, a three-way tie emerged, with Romney dropping very slightly below them into fourth. Part of this was due to Herman Cain’s business experience. He matched Romney on that scale. That allowed me to briefly vault Cain into the lead for my vote. Yet Cain then dropped out, and yet again the decision got tougher.
Santorum and Gingrich were tied, with Romney a very close third. Yet then comments by Gingrich worried me. He spoke about having judges arrested if they voted the wrong way. While it is highly doubtful he would have actually tried to implement such an idea, even floating the idea was politically toxic. Mr. Gingrich is one of the brightest policy minds in the country, but this was not a fine moment. Meanwhile, Mr. Romney was actually benefitting from the bruising primary. He became much sharper on the stump. At this point my choice was between Romney and Santorum, with Gingrich in third.
The head wanted Romney and the heart wanted Santorum. Santorum made the argument that he was more conservative, and therefore more likely to produce a bolder presidency that advanced the conservative cause. Romney argued that he was more electable, and that he would have an easier time wining over moderates and independents. Both of these men were right. Once again the choice was impossible, and the solution was simply to not make it. I remained on the fence and waited, as had been the case the entire time.
After the April 3rd primaries, Santorum dropped out. At that point it was pretty much settled that Romney would be the nominee. The April 24th primaries simply put the final nails in the coffins of the remaining challengers. Romney swept al five contests that day, and Gingrich quietly let it be known that he would be ending his candidacy in the coming days. This is what honorable men do. They fight the good fight, and withdraw with class when the people make their choice. Those who continue on in some quixotic attempt at hanging on for the sake of attention deserve to be ignored and denied that attention.
So those who still believe that this whole time I was some paid shill for any of the candidates can do so. Their opinions don’t matter. This is my story. This is what was inside my head and my heart. Some will say that anybody can back a man after he has won, but at no time was the claim of being on board the whole time stated. Staying neutral and detached between many fine candidates was a conscious choice.
Now the people have spoken. It is time to immediately be good soldiers and fall into line. Mitt Romney is smart, capable, competent, and brings a history of success at every stage of his career. He is a good decent man with a wife in Ann Romney who will make a great First Lady.
It is not to late to hop on board the Romney train. The next stop will be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It will be a bumpy ride, as presidential campaigns always are. Yet if we all work hard, he will win. Staying on the sidelines is acceptable in the primaries. It is not acceptable in the general election. There are only two serious choices for President. The only one who can fire Barack Obama is Mitt Romney. The primary voters deemed him worthy, and they were right.
Good luck, Mr. Romney. I’m proud to back you for President.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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