For this primary season, like many other conservatives I know, Perry was my man. If he jumped in the race today, he'd still be my man. Nevertheless, I believe in moving on, and I've been earnestly searching for a replacement since the great state of Texas took back the great hope of conservatism. CPAC provided a great opportunity to gain insight from many people who's opinions I highly regard. What it did not do, however, was provide a clear answer as to who I should cling to in the bitter fight for my Bible and guns.
I've been in the anyone but Romney camp since the beginning; apologies to those that are in the Romney camp who I know and love. I simply can't get behind a guy who couldn't even beat McCain. While he seems smoother and slightly less robotic after 6 years of campaigning, he still stands behind his government mandated healthcare. America just isn't going to care about the nuances between RomneyCare and ObamaCare and that gives the Democrats a huge strategic advantage. One of the biggest issues facing our country today will be off the table for discussion; unless you can get a country full of politically disinterested people to hone in on the intricacies of federalism when most are already tired of politics not even midway through the primary season. It shouldn't go unnoticed either that the media has been working extra hard to beat us into the submission that Romney is, in fact, our eventual candidate and we should fall in line as quickly as possible or risk being alienated (since we don't know what that feels like). Anyone backed by the media is worthy of a healthy dose of skepticism.
Very much not backed by the media is Santorum and I'll admit to having been on the fence with the guy. I love the role his faith plays in his everyday life. He understands what it means to be a Christ follower and he's unafraid to stand firm in his beliefs; a rare find in the political world. He also gets conservatism and what it stands for. Unfortunately, he follows that up with big government solutions that would further confuse the public, many of whom already think Bush represents conservatism. So while Santorum gets it ... he kind of doesn't. What really threw me over the fence, however, was the difference between his public persona and his personal one. People that I know (and trust) who have met him in person have found him to be as whiny as his reputation. I haven't personally met Santorum, which is funny because I was supposed to at two different times during CPAC. Only, while he said he was going to be available for the little people like me, he stood us up; not once, but twice. I can take a hint. You love Jesus, but you don't love me. It's cool. You'll be stuck with me in Heaven, maybe we can chat then.
That leaves me with Newt, who I voted for in my primary. His personal life has never been an issue for me. As a Christian, I understand the power of redemption and I stand with Newt and everyone else on the planet as a sinner. If you don't understand the concept of Jesus' saving grace, I'd be happy to discuss it with you. 'Nuff said. As for his record, he presided over the first Republican congressional majority in decades. Budgets were passed, taxes were cut, welfare was reformed. But like Perry, the people simply aren't responding. The reaction to him at CPAC was tepid and it comes as no surprise that he placed third in the straw poll. Overall it seems he has the credentials, but for some reason he's just not that exciting.
So I'm left in nobody's camp. It's becoming a comfortable place actually. I don't mind my friends criticizing each other's candidate, I'm not married to anyone. I can still hope for a VP that may infuse some excitement into the race; as long as the media doesn't rape them as they did Palin. Unlike the lackluster McCain candidacy, this campaign doesn't have to blow away the competition. America has lived in Obama-Land for some time now and many are ready to reclaim the freedoms, and jobs, they've lost over the last four years. I look forward to backing whoever wins the GOP nomination and, in that sentiment, I know I'm not alone. Being ready for this dreary primary season to be over is the only camp we all seem to agree on.