At your neighborhood Republican caucus March 17, a battle royale awaits between the titans of the GOP: Mitt "He who doesn’t give interviews" Romney versus Rick "What did he say today?" Santorum. And don't forget the spoilers, Newt "I really don't need a nickname" Gingrich and Ron "I smoke what I advocate for" Paul.
I really feel sorry for my moderate GOP friends. There really is no alternative to the misfits running in the primaries. I feel sorry for my conservative Christian friends who are now questioning everything and everyone and are sitting in the corner confused.
This is a race of negative rhetoric. One candidate is not Christian enough, and the other is too Christian. One candidate is not conservative enough, and the other is too conservative. The current spoilers are either too strange, too libertarian or both.
This is a race where "foot-in-mouth" disease has eluded no one and makes the choices available even harder to swallow.
This is a race where even I, your favorite liberal-progressive Democrat, feel sorry for the GOP. Whoever is finally selected to run against President Barack Obama will be the Republican Michael Dukakis, a placeholder with little chance of succeeding.
However, if I were a member of the GOP, if I claimed conservative status and if I saw Christian morals as the only morals, who would I vote for? How would I vote if I were on the other side of the fence?
Allow me to start with Mr. Paul. I find much of his libertarian rhetoric well-defined and consistent with what he has denoted in every presidential election since the Lincoln-Douglas-Paul debates in 1860. However, he holds a lot of positions that conservatives just do not back — the legalization of marijuana, isolationist policies and so on.
Then I consider Newt. Listening to his campaign rhetoric over the last few months has been an exercise of "stop laughing, he’s serious." Two-dollar gasoline, a moon base by 2014 and other claims that are just so wild and out there, even his closest supporters should be questioning his ability to lead the nation.
Although Gingrich and Paul claim to be good Christians, I really do not have confidence in their ability to uphold the First Amendment's call that government stay out of religion (or as a liberal, keeping religion out of government).
The two outliers will remain off my "A" list, for a while at least.
Santorum is a solid Christian and conservative. However, his recent rants condemning then-presidential candidate John Kennedy’s 1960 statements made to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association concerning religious bloc voting have me questioning his leadership abilities. Santorum is an anti-contraception/anti-abortion/pro-religion candidate, but his rants are troubling.
For example, his explosion on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" is the most recent example of his unpresidential conduct. He really said that Kennedy's speech "makes me want to throw up." What type of public language is that for a potential president of the United States?
His rhetoric on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" also appeared to be anti-education and anti-American exceptionalism.
Ah, Romney. He is the most presidential — perfect hair and teeth, good voice and temperament.
Yet his conservatism needs to be considered: "Romneycare," supporting government bailouts, wanting to tax the rich and increase the role of government in our lives. I wonder about his ability to keep on the right road.
There is just something that makes me uncomfortable with Romney as the leader of the free world. Maybe it is that he does not want to participate in interviews. Maybe it is his perfect hair.
OK, back to reality. I wish my GOP friends had a choice of "none of the above." But there are no other choices. I can only wish them the best on Super Tuesday and suggest they reconsider voting for the late Pat Paulsen.
David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics.