Mitt Romney is the best candidate for President of the United States.
As I write this1, Mitt Romney just won the Nevada caucuses in a landslide, taking 51% of the Republican votes. Ron Paul was a distant second with 14%. All the other Republican candidates were in the single digits. Also, today, McCain won the South Carolina Republican primary with 33% of the votes (again including independents). Huckabee placed a close second with 30%, followed by Thompson with 16% and Romney with 15%. The liberal media is crowning McCain with the front-runner jacket, and are pronouncing that he has taken the lead because the Republicans believe he is the candidate most likely to beat either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. I don’t buy it. I don’t think McCain is going to get the Republican nomination, and I don’t think he is the Republican Party’s best hope to beat the Democrats. And I am not ready to repudiate my principles to win the election, even if what the liberal pundits say is true. Furthermore, current polls in Florida have McCain, Romney and Giuliani running neck and neck (although the Rasmussen poll has Romney ahead 25% – 20%), and in California one poll has Romney in the lead.
I. WHERE WE STAND AFTER THE SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY—THE END IS NEAR FOR HUCKABEE, THOMPSON AND GIULIANI
Now that the South Carolina Primary is over—it appears that the race for the Republican nomination will be between Romney and McCain. The reason is clear: First, Romney currently has more delegates than any other candidate, including McCain. Second, because no Republican contender has more than 25-30% support at this time, it impossible to pick a winner at this point. Third, Romney is already in Florida, where he will campaign vigorously for the next 10 days—and he is expected to stress his economic message, which proved to be a winner in Michigan and elsewhere. The fact that the nation is currently facing the threat of a recession makes the economy the biggest issue for the nation. And Romney’s experience and understanding of economic issues is superior to that of any other candidate. President Bush and Congress are at this very moment discussing a temporary stimulus package to revitalize the sagging economy2. All of this should play into Romney’s hands and help him in Florida. And fourth, the other three main contenders are basically eliminated by the South Carolina results. [A Rasmussen poll on Tuesday had Romney with 25% support, trailed by McCain and Giuliani with 20%. Huckabee was a distant fourth.]
(a) Huckabee needed to win in South Carolina, but he failed to do so. Although he only lost to McCain by a slim margin (33%- 30%), still Huckabee did not win. A candidate has to win some primaries. Except for Arkansas (where he was governor), there is no other state where he can expect to find the evangelical support that he will need to win. Huckabee is a great communicator, and he talks a good talk, but his governing record—especially on taxes and immigration—belie his words. Huckabee still has a mathematical chance to win the nomination, but the probabilities are poor. While Romney and McCain both have excellent chances to win numerous additional primaries—that is not so for Huckabee. Huckabee has said so many things that will come back to haunt him, and he has flip-flopped on major positions during the campaign. This will cause Huckabee to slowly fade in the remaining primaries. Although there will certainly be some evangelicals who will not back a Mormon, I predict that most of them will because the evangelicals are mostly people of principle, who support the same principles that Romney advocates. For all the reasons I stated above, true conservatives will have a hard time supporting McCain. I predict that Romney will pick up most of the Huckabee supporters.
(b) Thompson was desperate to win in South Carolina, and he didn’t. By finishing a distant third in a state that he believed to be the home of some of his most ardent supporters—this brought an end to the Thompson campaign3. He will continue to be respected for his loyal support of conservative principles, but he is not what the party is looking for in a candidate. His support will go elsewhere. I predict that most of his support will go to Romney, for the same reason that most of the Huckabee supporters will eventually back Romney—because he stands for the same principles that Thompson stands for.
(c) Giuliani has not had a good showing anywhere yet. He is counting heavily on doing well in Florida, where he, Romney and McCain are all polling at about 20-25%. Giuliani is literally desperate to win in Florida. If he does not win there, I believe he’ll be out of the running. Whereas Giuliani at one time had a lead in the national polls, McCain has now overtaken him. Both Giuliani and McCain draw support from the more moderate (liberal, if you will) parts of the Republican party. Both McCain and Giuliani are regarded as men with the leadership skills that would serve our nation well. But neither McCain nor Giuliani are regarded as strict conservatives. Giuliani is pro choice and supports gay marriage. Put all of this together, and what you get is: McCain is currently taking the support from those in the party that might otherwise support Giuliani. Thus, Giuliani is suffering most from McCain’s resurgence, and it will lead to Giuliani’s bowing out of the race after Super Tuesday.
The combination of all of this will be that Romney and McCain will be the only two Republican candidates left standing after Super Tuesday. The biggest question then becomes: Where will the Giuliani, Huckabee and Thompson supporters go? For the reasons stated below, I believe that most of this support will go to Romney.
II. THE PROBLEMS WITH McCAIN
The problem with McCain is very simple: He’s not a conservative4. He is liberal on too many important issues. True, McCain has been strong on the war on terror, and this is important. But if he should win the Republican nomination, I, like his 95-year-old mother, would have to hold my nose in voting for him over the Democratic nominee. But at this point, I’m not ready to capitulate and support a Republican candidate whose political philosophy is too much like that of the liberals. McCain’s political philosophy is more like that of Bill Clinton than that of a conservative; he listens to what the voters want, then he decides what position he will take. Either for this reason, or because he really does embrace liberal causes, too often on important issues McCain has sided with liberals, against conservatives. Here is a quick list of John McCain’s serious political errors/flaws that make him unacceptable to me:
1. Campaign Finance Reform. McCain is one of the main proponents of this flawed law—the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill5. This law imposed serious limitations on political speech in the name of seeking to keep “special interests” from having too much influence on national, political debate. The restrictions it imposes on precious political speech is significant; and the law gives increased influence and power to the media, which continues to be heavily slanted in favor of the liberal point of view. This is an assault on free speech. McCain’s excessive zeal to curtail the speech of people who pay for advertising to advocate a political position is a serious error. His goal to keep money out of politics is na