I will support the Republican nominee for President.
But until we have that nominee, I will not support Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Had Rick Santorum been up for election in 2010 instead of suffering the largest margin of defeat of any candidate in 2006, I have no doubt he would be one of the Republicans primaried by the tea party. He routinely voted for tax increases to fund healthcare, supported expansions of the welfare state, supported the creation of new entitlements, opposed free trade, filibustered the National Right to Work Act, opposed repeal or even waiver of the Davis-Bacon Act, supported the Bridge to Nowhere even at the expense of rebuilding the Gulf Coast post Katrina, and helped pass all those travesties of the Bush Administration conservatives routinely lament including No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D as well as being perfectly fine with Harriet Miers.
Rick Santorum is a big government conservative and the only way to conclude otherwise is to be intellectually and ideologically disingenuous.
Mitt Romney too should be opposed by conservatives. He is not one. He is a political opportunist. He has held every side of every issue known to man except on the individual mandate about which his faith is unshakable.
So I am left to support Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, either of whom I would willingly support. In the alternative, another candidate could still come forward now, though time is of the essence, and vie for a sweep of the late states to secure the nomination out right or at least force an open and brokered convention. Yes, there is still time for a Perry rebound, a Gingrich surge, and even for a new candidate to get in.
Rick Perry, who is the most successful governor in the United States, unfortunately, does not seem capable of running a Presidential campaign. Perhaps word will come tomorrow that he has restructured and reshuffled his campaign. But without a real reboot of his campaign, I cannot recommend investing in or supporting his campaign. You’ll be wasting your money. There was a report than some staff had been let go, but that was bad reporting and not the staff that really needs letting go anyway.
The most I’ve seen so far is the Washington consultants pushing out the media buying firm, in order to get a local ad buying firm in South Carolina to handle all the South Carolina ad buying work, which is a smart move, but which cannot be the only move or considered even a major move.
I really hope Governor Perry understands just how much he needs to do a reboot and just how necessary it is to change the media narrative into the story of making a comeback.
That leaves Newt Gingrich, though I cannot endorse either Perry or Gingrich. Not just because I would prefer to not endorse and instead review the candidates as I see them without carrying their water, but also because like with Perry, I am not sure Gingrich’s campaign operation is stable — though it is more stable than Perry’s. It seems to be getting that way, if only on strength of personality, but not yet.
Then there is the wildcard option. There is still time and there is, even at minimum, a path to a brokered convention to get a new candidate. I hope that Rick Perry can rapidly rebuild and show clear momentum in South Carolina. I hope Newt Gingrich can trounce both Romney and Santorum. But in the absence of performance by them, I hope they will not drag down the small government conservatives. If they can’t show gains, time is short, but available, for a Bobby Jindal or someone else to get in.
Below is a list of the states, their filing deadlines, and the delegates at stake. As you can see, there is still the ability to enter the race and, if the candidate sweeps the states, win outright or, if the candidate cannot sweep the states, force a brokered convention to get a new, more viable conservative candidate.
I will gladly support Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich. But there is time for an alternative. We do not have to settle even for the current crop. If Perry cannot reboot and Gingrich cannot convince us he won’t implode, I endorse an open, brokered convention.