Truth to be told, I’d hoped to be sitting here right now, waiting to head out to caucuses, writing about either Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani. They, by a razor-thin margin, topped my short list of candidates for the nomination this year. Fred brought the conservative message; Rudy brought the leadership and the executive experience and the passion and, for all of John McCain’s palaver, the real straight talk in this campaign.
But it was not to be. Fred ran a somnambulent campaign, and Rudy miscalculated and put all his eggs in the Florida basket.
And so the race – to all intents and purposes – is down to John McCain and Mitt Romney – two men who finished very close to the top of my short list for very different reasons, but neither of whom was my top choice.
I don’t “endorse” people, because “endorsement” is something that big, influential institutions do. Dennis Prager and the National Review and even Ed Morrissey can get away wtih “endorsing” candidates. Me – a little basement pajamablogger with 2,000 daily readers? No. But I can tell you what I’m going to do and why, and hope that I convince someone – even one of my readers – to some kind of action; to come out to the caucuses for the same reasons, or even at all; to stiffen the spine of one conservative in what might be a dismal year; to drag even one more person out on a winter Tuesday night to devote it to the cause of pushing conservatism (and, of course, to convince as many of you Democrats as possible to show up for your caucuses, which are being held at the Target Center at 7PM tonight).
I’m going to caucus for Mitt Romney. And in keeping with my election-eve “100 Reasons…” tradition (from the ‘04 and ‘06 General Elections), I’m going to make a big list. Maybe not 100 reasons long – that’s more a general election thing – but there are quite a few.
So let’s get started.
- Because Romney has more executive experience – being the person with whom the buck stops, as opposed to the legislative role of being the person that passes the bucks around – than the entire Tic field, with McCain thrown in for good measure. Senators are like nagging passive-aggressive relatives; Governors – the good ones – are the ones that actually makes things happen.
- For all the left’s talk of “inclusion” and “Getting things done”, Mitt is the only presidential candidate who’s actually had to reach “across the aisle” and get things done.
- Mitt has always adapted; he’s become what he’s had to become. I commented yesterday that Romney isn’t really the kind of candidate people can get passionate about. But I think he can make a game stab at it.
- Yes, he’s changed his mind on some things. Like me, he’s changed them in the right direction.
- He has more economic common sense in his left index finger than the entire Tic slate – Madame Putin and O’Kennedy and Silkypony to boot – have in their entire focus-grouped bodies.
- Mitt has an approach to the war that’s straight out of Max Boot and Robert Kaplan and Patrick Nagl. He’d reinforce success – metaphorically and literally (he’d increase the size of the military – a much-needed boost).
- He favors and supports school choice. Putin and Obie are in the pocket of the teachers’ union; every charter school in the country will look like the Branch Davidian compound whey they’re done.
Mitt is far from perfect. And maybe the media’s right; maybe Mac’s got it in the bag.
So I’ll be sending Mac and his people a message tonight; there are a lot of us out there – the ones he’s been badmouthing for most of the past eight years, who will get behind him if he gets the nomination. But tonight, he’s gotta earn it – he’s gotta meet us halfway.
If he picks TPaw as his running mate, maybe the Governor will tell him the story of the ’02 MNGOP convention. It’ll be a good lesson to the Senator.