As of today, who’s your conservative candidate choice?

A friend sent me a link to a post at Whatever, a blog that John Scalzi runs.  Scalzi, who describes himself as a “pinko commie socialist,” is interested — truly, not snarkily, interested — in the views Republicans/conservatives/libertarians currently hold when looking at the Republican primary field.  Having the luxury of my own blog, I thought that, rather than weigh in there, I’d weigh in here, and ask you all to chime in as well.  I’ll stick to Scalzi’s rules, which I think are very good ones for this question:

1. This comment thread is for people who are US potential primary voters who identify as Republican and/or conservative (libertarian is also fine, if you see your libertarianism more aligned with general Republican/conservative principles and/or intend to vote in the GOP primaries). If you’re not any of these things, don’t comment, please. Seriously. We have enough politics back and forth on other threads; this one is not about that.

To amplify this point I will also stay out of the thread except in my capacity as site moderator.

2. For the purposes of this thread, please take as given that you likely believe the policies and practices of the Obama administration to be varying levels of bad, so it’s not on point to go on about that. I’m interested on your take on the actual candidates running for the GOP nomination and your thoughts on their individual pluses and minuses as well as on the group as a whole.


4. Commenting between the people in the thread (who have already identified themselves as Republicans/conservatives) is of course fine but in general I’m more interested in people’s individual opinions regarding the candidates/group than I am in people trying to argue to others in the thread for their favorite candidate. So if you’d keep campaigning to a minimum and focus on the actual question, I’d be appreciative.

As a Californian, of course, none of my votes count.  My primaries are too late to matter and the state is so Blue, it’s kind of like a corpse when it comes to the actual election itself.  So, while I care deeply, my caring is sort of academic.

Having said that, I’ve been enjoying Newt.  Considering that all the candidates just yak away like crazy, it’s a kind of rare, delicious, almost illicit pleasure to hear someone who can string multiple sentences together, who has a rare depth and breadth of knowledge, and who often says what all of us have been thinking.  I have serious doubts about his abilities as an executive (I do think Romney wins in that category), but he’s like chocolate for the conservative political brain — and that’s despite the baggage, the loopiness, the history of random statements, the FDR worship, and whatever else one can say about Newt.

When it comes to thinking seriously about a primary candidate, I don’t know and, as I noted above, for me the question is academic (especially since California now has open primaries).  What I’ve said for months is that my candidate is NOT OBAMA.  Of course, I have to ask myself, what if the NOT OBAMA candidate is Ron Paul?  I think he’d be better for America on the home front than Obama is, but I think he’d manage to be even worse than Obama when it comes to America’s national security interests, both at home and abroad.  I don’t want to have to make an Obama versus Paul choice.

My current plan is to vote for the person with the “R” after his/her name.  I’m not going to teach anyone a lesson by withholding a vote, thereby weakening the NOT OBAMA Party, of which I am a member in good standing.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Book, a question: is he asking out of genuine intellectual curiosity or because the Left is trying to identify the wedge issues they can use in undermine Republican candidates from within their own party?
    I never trust what the Left does. There is always an ulterior motive, and it is not based upon intellectual inquiry.

  • Bookworm

    Good question.  I googled Scalzi.  He’s a science fiction writer with a genuinely eclectic range of interests.  Absent further information, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Having said that, it doesn’t mean that others won’t use the information he gathers for more nefarious purposes.  Of course, since we conservatives are sniping like crazy at the various primary candidates, I doubt it will add much to the information that’s already out there.

  • Michael Adams

    I like Newt’s debating zing,  but I am voting for Rick Santorum in the primary, if he’s still in by then. He just seems like the all round best choice to be President, and that ought to be our sole criterion. Anything else is, in the last analysis, whizzing in our own oatmeal.

  • Ymarsakar

    Back in 2008, Scalzi posted about politics in order to claim that Obama was going to fix things, that Republicans broke the economy (which we all know was an engineered crisis of Obama, Axelrod, Soros, Dodd, etc). He was one of those anti-Sarah Palin bandwagon members, since he readily believed whatever propaganda the Left had to say about things.

    It’s highly unlikely Scalzi actually has an independent brain cell to rub together on this matter. Leftists are too committed, and their jobs rely upon socialist control and bankruptcy of “rivals”, in order to say or do much about this score. Even if they wanted to, even if they wanted to I remind you. As a science fiction writer, he may be thinking about exploring new ideas, but his Leftist dogma is not going to allow that either way. Fundamentally, Scalzi is one of those who thinks his abilities in writing carry over to other fields, like politics or the economy. He’s another The World is Flat guy or another New York Times economist. Thus his arrogance often shows itself, when he doesn’t bother to hide it, such as on his political posts. Curiously, Scalzi is able to hide his political views in his novels, but just barely. So in that little “compartment”, he has boxed in some stuff. The Leftist dogma allows such, since it lets him make money. I doubt it’ll let him pursue true intellectual awareness of conservative values, however. Scalzi is a member of the plutocrat rich class, benefiting from socialist policies, who don’t need a government job because they already have a private sector job that socialist policies aren’t hitting hard.

    That’s the most up to date analysis.


  • Ymarsakar

    Btw, Brin is probably worse on some levels. David Brin, also another environmentalist light science fiction writer.

  • Rhymes With Right

    Of all the candidates running, I lean towards Romney on the basis of electability. As a Republican in a “mixed marriage” — I’m right-wing and she’s wrong-wing — I get insights into the views of disaffected Democrats on the GOP candidates. My darling wife has said she might not vote in November if the candidate is Romney — but will actively campaign for Obama if Newt is the nominee. Frankly, Gingrich is too much of a boogie-man for the Left to be credible.
    But when it comes down to it, I’m not happy with the current crop of candidates, hence my recent post “My Endorsement – Brokered Convention In 2012″ — — suggesting that we can do better and get someone more electable that way.

  • Ymarsakar

    It is precisely what the Left fears that will destroy them. Electing people they can work with or who they can ignore, will not win the war. If every army chose commanders that weren’t bogey men to their enemies, they wouldn’t survive for long.

  • Old Buckeye

    When Newt first declared his candidacy, my initial reaction was that he was a washed-up has been. Like Michael Adams, I have liked his “zing” in debates, as I did Herman Cain’s saying what had to have been his honest first-thing-that-came-to-mind idea, even if it was politically incorrect and even if everyone else was dancing around the issue. I’ve really run the gamut of “liking” every one of the candidates for some aspect of their beliefs, but recently contributed money to Michelle Bachmann’s efforts because I think she has remained focused and honest, and she’s got Washington experience without seeming to be an “insider.” I’m looking for someone who wants the best for the country without seeing their Washington service as a way to line their own pockets cutting deals and retiring rich on the taxpayer’s dime. I think Perry, Santorum, and Paul would also fit my criteria. (Although  Paul’s foreign affairs policy are probably the most worrisome aspect of any of the candidates’ stances, I still think he is guided by a moral compass that would make him better than the current regime leader.)  I’m just not sure about Newt’s and Romney’s motives to be president, given their history, but I will vote for whomever is on the ballot with an R.

  • kali

    Newt, simply because he can distill an issue down to key points, and he doesn’t let others define the debate. He has also proved he can get things done in Washington. Perfect, he is not. But–OMG
    As for Scalzi, I don’t trust him at all. I read and write science fiction so I follow various sf/f author blogs. I remember a 2008 blog post where he responded to people whining that Obama was being too moderate in his campaign by reassuring them that he was a progressive, but that he had to lie to get elected. After all, there were really scary people out there that *had* to be lied to for their own good.

  • suek

    At the moment, bowing to inevitability to some extent, I’d be happy with Romney/Gingrich. I would vote for Gingrich – or any other Republican – in hopes that he’s learned his own weaknesses (which I doubt) and install people around him that could get things done, leaving himself free to be the idea and management person.

    I like hearing him as well, but the fact is that we don’t need another speech-giving-megalomaniac…and I suspect he’s close to that. Some of the stuff coming out now about Obama and his every day a new idea thing make me think that the two are very alike in some ways – although having very different views of how the world should work. Still…is that enough? I was really disappointed that Cain proved not to have the breadth of knowledge needed – or, it seemed, the ability to pick up the necessary info on the fly – to be a viable candidate. I don’t believe the scandals, and would have given him a pass on them anyway if he’d proven more able.

    I preferred Obama over Hillary – I was right to see that he was less capable than she (and her husband) would be. Thank heavens. He’s done enough damage as it is- if he’d been really capable, I can’t even imagine the mess we’d be in. Hillary has the same end-goals. On the other hand, I wonder just how much she’d be willing to listen to her husband. If she took the attitude of “_I’m_ President now – you had your chance”, I suspect she wouldn’t be as much of a danger. Though, maybe she’s learned a thing or two… Maybe. She certainly would have had her fingers in all the pies, whereas Obama is content to be “king”, and leave all that nasty work of actually governing to Pelosi and Reid, and his cohort czars.

  • Roll Tide


  • Oldflyer

    The choice is not clear.
    Like many, I love what Newt says.  I love his ideas, and his understanding of history and the founding principles.  Like many, I wait apprehensively to see whether he will go “over the top” or “off the deep end”.
    I love Romney’s proven competence and character.  I also believe that his demeanor is Presidential.  I know that his conservative credentials are not the strongest; but I also know that we cannot have everything.
    As to the philosophical underpinning for my choice of President, I have posted several times over the recent past that I now categorize politicians in two slots; i.e.,  Constitutionalist or Statist.  That is the essence for me.  Social conservatism is a bonus; but, I don’t think that a President must share all of my beliefs to govern wisely and well.  I believe that we will be ok as long as we have a President who respects and adheres to the original intent of the Constitution as it relates to the structure, responsibilities, and limits on power of government.  If a President accepts the precepts of the constitution, with careful adjustments, that are derived through the established process, to accommodate an evolving country;  and appoints justices and judges who will defends those views, I will be satisfied.  I believe that either Newt or Romney will meet the Constitutionalist standard.
    At the end of the day, despite my fascination with Newt, I would probably choose Romney on the basis of competence and governing ability.


    On/off topic you decide…
    The Iowa caucus could see Ron Paul place 2nd. Who really knows, it’s all a guesstimate until; but I was thinking, how much does Iowa reflect conservatives in the rest of the country.  Why Iowa and what about the domino effect after NH and S. Carolina? Here in Pa. our primaries are April 24th. I think it (dis)colors the rest of the process. Who’s going to vote for their candidate when, if say … one of the others has a firm grip on a lot of delegates by then. I don’t want to cut off my nose to spite my face nor do I want to hold it, again.
    Dear Abby’s of Bookworm Room
    Always a bridesmaid and never a bride stigma. What’s a gal to do?

  • Oldflyer

    I just feel that Iowa is a media creation.  They fell in love with the funky idea of the Caucus, and the idea of “retail politics” as they define it.  I guess  I could actually research it, but I believe that I am correct that the winner in Iowa falls flat fairly frequently.  Hence, the idea of the “comeback” kid.
    Of course I feel pretty much the same about New Hampshire.
    These states so jealously guard their positions at the front end of the  primary season because that is the only possible reason for claiming that they matter.
    My father was an Iowa native, so I am not prejudiced.  Of course, he had the good sense to move to Florida–a state that matters–when he was about 5 years old.

  • Bookworm

    “I just feel that Iowa is a media creation.”

    That, Oldflyer, is an excellent point.

  • powerlifter

    I am for Newt because he has a record of actually fighting for the causes I support (balanced budgets, less entitlements, and efficient government).  He is not afraid to attack President Obama, the Democrats, or the media. 

    I am very annoyed by the increasingly vicious attacks on Newt by fellow Republicans.  More and more, the establishment Republicans and pundits are a mirror image of the Democrats:  they sneer at the voters and seem to be promoting a country run by elite technocrats and their lackeys who will let rubes like myself know what is best for them.  They have decided Romney best reflects this point of view.  In my opionion, Ann Coulter, George Will, many of the folks at National Review, prominent Republican members of Congress, etc. are torching decades of good will with their supercilious and condescending anti-Newt diatribes.  They did not stand up when the other side tore Sarah Palin apart.  They think the same thing will happen to Newt and they know they do not have the guts, stamina, or core values to withstand the assault.

    I think Obama is a complete disaster so I will vote for pretty much anybody who runs against him.  However, after this election I think it may be time to start investigating the formation of third parties.   

  • Mike Devx

    I would vote for Newt Gingrich if he were the GOP nominee.  He has the vision and the fortitude to *perhaps* make a difference at the national level.  I am not convinced that he will make a difference; but he has a chance to.

    Due to the growth of national government size, power and scope, the American house is burning down.  We are in an emergency.  Nothing else matters to me; all else is minor.  It takes a long time to burn down the American house, but we are well past the halfway point and no one is slowing it down.

    Washington is in love with its own power.  And Washington IS the problem.  I need a President who clearly knows, when he wakes up every morning in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, that he is living within the heart of the Beast.  Every fiber of his being must resist the Beast, and must desire to see it reduced in power.  He or she doesn’t have to *act* that grim about it, every second of every day, but I want to believe that that is within his or her core.  I want to know that anytime anyone around him discusses an increase in the power of Washington, internally his reaction is instinctive, reactive, and immediately 100% hostile.  It should be that way with a parent when someone threatens your child; it should be that way with my President when someone threatens the foundations of American Freedom.

    Newt has a shot.  Fortitude, determination, and grit.  He’s not ideal.  At times he decides to be the worst sort of Statist.  But the others don’t appear credibly devoted to attacking Washington power.  None of them have the record of anti-Statism that I require; and words are cheap.  They would still need to earn my vote should one of them be the nominee.


  • Gringo

    My favorite candidate is NObama: a Republican who is not named Obama.

  • Alix

    I am for Romney.  If the nominee is Newt, the election will be about him and not about Obama.  We want a referendum on Obama.  Besides, my 14 year-old daughter thinks Romney is “way cute!”


    “I just feel that Iowa is a media creation.”
    And so was Obama. The LEFT wrote, directed and produced their version of American Idol. Not satisfied with a hour on television, they turned it into the longest episode in history. Doesn’t matter if you change the channel or turn the page, he’s always there lurking, snickering on “WATCH ME -TV.”
    I am not enamored with any specific candidate, but I can’t bear another season of tripe.

  • expat

    I think Romney is better able to set priorities and keep our attention focussed on them. I remember his position on the auto bailouts. He was for having the companies declare bankruptcy to get to the bottom of the mess and then evaluating the best way forward. This seems to be what he did for the SLC Olympics too. I am not impressed by Newt’s moon mining and brain science ideas, not because I think they are dumb but because I think they are too far in the future and will be used by people to continue to avoid the current reality.
    I am tempted by the idea of Newt creaming Obama in the debates, but in the end I want someone who will focus on fixing the economy. We simply have to face the financial facts before we start adding and demolishing programs. And when we do the latter we should try to do it in a way that doesn’t add to the overall economic uncertainty.
    I also have concerns about how Newt would work with his cabinet. Would he constantly be bringing up  new big ideas that throw a monkey wrench in the agreed upon plan of action?