I am ready to fall in love. I want to fall in love. All I need is someone to fall in love with. My heart beats fast in anticipation of finding The One and making a commitment.
No, my wife has no cause for jealousy. I’m just looking for a candidate to support in the current field of 3127 declared or possible Republican candidates. I’m waiting for one of them to come and sweep me off my feet. But I’ve to play hard to get this election cycle. I’m waiting, candidates – single, unattached, and available. I’m an Iowa Republican and I’m a public speaker! With the caucuses coming up you might find me quite a catch. But my heart will not be easily won.
Ah, the caucuses. It won’t be that many months from now that I will head off on a cold Iowa night to a local school to meet with a gymnasium full of other local Republicans to talk about who we want at the top of our ticket to stop the HRC Express. The last caucus in 2012 was the first one I’d ever attended and it is an interesting experience. Iowa has a special place in the electoral process because our caucuses (as weird as they are) come first in the nation. If you move the date of your primary up, we just move our caucuses up. We are going to caucus before you vote – count on it!
The caucuses are pretty simple. One registered voter can speak on behalf of each candidate, then we vote on who we want to be our nominee. Then we elect delegates to the state convention who actually select the delegates to the national convention. The caucus is non-binding, so the real winner is the guy who gets supporters to the convention. But it’s a fun night where we talk about how much better all our candidates are than anyone the other side has! We join hands, sing Kumbaya and have a group hug and trudge through the snow to our cars.
Last time around, I went in supporting a candidate who was a fairly late riser in the race. No one else had volunteered to speak for him, so I stepped to the mic. My guy actually won our precinct vote and made a strong showing statewide. But he fizzled pretty quickly after that and my ardor for him definitely cooled. He’s back in the race this year, but he’s lost my affection and isn’t likely to get it back. We are never, ever, ever getting back together.
So, fellas (and Ms. Fiorina) I’m here for the taking. My heart is ready and I’m willing to be won. And there are lots of options – more than Match.com and Christian Mingle could find for me if I were single and dating. Here is a list of candidates I found on the interwebs. Is there a candidate or two whose not on here? I’m guessing by Wednesday there will be.
- Skip Andrews – never heard of him. Pro-life AND pro-pot. Hmmm.
- Michael Bickelmeyer – never heard of him. Sounds a little weird.
- Kerry Bowers – never heard of him. Military background.
- Ben Carson – like him. Can he win?
- Dale Christensen – Never heard of him. Entrepreneur.
- Ted Cruz – Top-tier candidate.
- John Dummett, Jr. – Never heard of him. Conservative.
- Mark Everson – Never heard of him. Former IRS Commissioner.
- Carly Fiorina – Only woman. Must learn more.
- Lindsey Graham – well-known. Why don’t I like him?
- Chris Hill – Never heard of him. Military guy.
- Mike Huckabee – One of ours. I like him. Is he presidential?
- Michael Kinlaw – Never heard of him. Tea Party Texan.
- George Pataki – Pro-abortion. Not for me.
- Rand Paul – top-tier candidate. Foreign policy reservations, but worth a look.
- Rick Perry – top-tier candidate. Is he presidential?
- Michael Petyo – Never heard of him. Businessman.
- Marco Rubio – top-tier candidate.
- Brian Russell – Never heard of him. Entrepreneur.
- Rick Santorum – top-tier candidate. Just don’t think it’s happening.
Seems like the major candidates are Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, (maybe) George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and (maybe) Rick Santorum. If they declare, then Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker could join the list. Maybe Kasich as well.
Exploratory Candidates (One step short of Declaring)
- Jeb Bush – Many think he is the frontrunner.
- Chris Christie – Pro-abortion. Not for me.
- Bobby Jindal – I like a lot of what I hear.
- Dennis Michael Lynch – Never heard of him. Businessman/media guy.
- Donald Trump – I would move to another country.
- Scott Walker – Lots to like about him.
Potential (Two Steps from Declared?)
- Bob Ehrlich – Who?
- Jim Gilmore – Who?
- John Kasich – Maybe.
- Peter King – Maybe.
- Rick Snyder – Who?
By my count, that is twenty declared candidates, six exploratories, and five potentials. Using common core math, that totals somewhere in the neighborhood of a whole passel of GOP candidates. I’ve never heard of several of these guys. Many of them I wouldn’t vote for under any foreseeable circumstances. There are a few of them I find interesting.
But I reall y want to fall in love. I want to find a candidate I’m passionate about, one I think will make a difference. I’m not interested in another Bob Dole (look him up you whippersnappers), or John McCain or Mitt Romney – a candidate that I only vote for because he’s not as bad as the other candidate. I want someone I believe in!
So, what am I looking for in a candidate? I can tell you this: my heart will not be easily won. I’ve been burned before by good-looking politicians with their slick patter who made big promises but delivered nothing. Don’t expect me to fall easily gentlemen (and lady). If you want my vote you are going to have to earn it.
Let me tell you what I’m looking for.
1) My candidate has to oppose abortion in more than just words every four years.
It is amazing how many candidates suddenly become pro-life when election time rolls around. I never completely trusted Mitt Romney’s convenient conversion on the topic. When he was a Massachusetts politicians he embraced abortion, but as soon as his aspirations turned national, his conscience kicked in and he suddenly saw the light about the evils of abortion. I’d like to think people can be convinced, but the timing is too convenient.
But what I want is someone who shows a willingness to make this a priority legislatively. Frankly, Republicans have used pro-lifers but have not served the pro-life interests, except in a few Supreme Court appointments. I’d like to see a candidate who has a track record that demonstrates that abortion is not a political tool.
I won’t vote for a pro-abortion candidate, but I respect those who state their convictions on the topic rather than those who check the pro-life box on issue sheets but are unwilling to do anything about the issue when they have the power.I made a commitment years ago that if someone didn’t have the basic moral sense to realize that killing a baby in its mother’s womb was wrote, he or she would not get my vote. I stand by that. But I want to see more than just lip-service.
Is there a candidate who really cares about the life ethic?
2) My candidate must be committed to the First Amendment.
Baptists in Colonial days were champions of religious freedom. Why is that? Because they were a persecuted minority. The established churches in the colonies restricted their freedoms and they reacted by championing the separation of powers between the church and the state.
Then, somewhere along the line, we became part of the power structure, especially in the Deep South, where Baptists were part of the dominant culture. Instead of advocating religious freedom we became the proponents of controlling the halls of power. And it worked for a long time. But during the Obama administration, we’ve lost our place in those halls. Obama has shown constant hostility toward conservative Christianity like we’ve never seen before. Can you remember a sitting president who has had the temerity to tell the church what it needs to preach and how it needs to change its doctrine and practice?
We who were once the moral majority have become the minority. And we have found ourselves described as homophobes, threatened with sanction both criminally and civilly, fired or eliminated from consideration for hiring, and in other ways pushed to the cultural fringes.
Many of you will be inspired by those candidates who make grandiose statements about “taking America back.” Go for it. I’d love to see a return to conservative values, though I doubt that genie can be put back in the bottle. But my concern is to find a candidate with a passion for freedom – freedom of speech, of religion, and of the press (Obama has been pretty tough on all of those).
The rapid erosion of these freedoms ought to be a huge concern to us. It should have been so all along, even when we were a voting majority. But now that we are heading back toward those days when we are outside of the power structure in America, protecting our freedoms becomes much more important.
3) My candidate needs to tell the truth, be wise and competent.
Sure, I’d love an evangelical candidate who shares my doctrine and beliefs. But, to quote the old cliché, I’m not voting for President, not Pastor. I am willing to vote for someone who shares my political values but not all my doctrinal views if that person demonstrates wisdom, conviction and honesty.
- I’m sick of candidates who say stupid, ridiculous and extreme things to curry favor with voters. Tell me what you really think, don’t tell me what you think I want to hear.
- I’m sick of candidates who shape their views to their audience like Hillary changes her accent!
- I’m sick of conservative candidates who say stupid things. People tell me Ted Cruz is a pretty good candidate. But how does a serious candidate make a stupid joke about a man who is in the process of burying his son? The mainstream press hates conservatives and you can’t be that stupid.
- I’m sick of inflated records, hidden histories and all those things.
4) My candidate must hate war but not be afraid to fight for right.
Many of my friends have adopted a much more isolationist foreign policy than I am comfortable with. History has not been kind to those with power who stand by and watch while evil men do evil.
Going in to Iraq and Afghanistan has been anything but an unqualified success and it is hard to argue that perhaps the US has been too quick to intervene, that our motives have often been wrong, that our strategies have been suspect, and that our ethics have not always been pristine. But it is easy to let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction, to over-compensate by becoming isolationist.
I don’t want a war-monger for a president, some blood-thirsty guy who gets his jollies from bombing people. But we need someone who values American military strength and is willing to use it in wise ways (we can have LONG debate about what that is). Finding that balance is tricky, but I want a candidate with a sound philosophy for the use of American force on the worldwide stage. I’m not voting for a “bomb-‘em-all” candidate or a “bring-‘em-all-home” candidate. Both are mistakes.
My candidate needs balance.
5) My candidate needs to look for sensible solutions, not pander to our worst selves.
I often cringe at what I see on conservative political websites and the things that are shared on social media. Extremist rhetoric, harsh “solutions” to social problems, opinions that echo of racism, and all too often a disregard for fact-checking and truthfulness.
We see this in issues like immigration. Of course, it’s time to secure the border. I have no idea why we don’t do that. But there are also, according to estimates, around 12 million people living illegally in America today. Among them are a few criminals, but most of those undocumented people hold down jobs, have families and otherwise abide by our laws.
Are we really going to round up 12 million people and ship them back to their home countries? Really? That is four times the population of my state! And we are going to fund a police force to go door to door, root out all the illegals and send them back to the border?
I want a candidate who does something more than sound like Ann Coulter when talking about immigration issues. Too many are afraid to have reasonable discussions of immigration because the blood-thirsty and xenophobic conservatives on the far right raise the chant of “amnesty” whenever you move off the “ship ‘em back to the border” position. We must both secure the border and figure out a way to handle the 12 million people who live here today in a just, decent and reasonable way.
There are a host of positions like this, where candidates are sometimes tempted to throw red meat to more extreme elements among my party instead of seeking intelligent and workable solutions. I want a candidate who doesn’t just stop at sound bites and feeding party passions. I’d like to see someone go beyond that. Too many candidates are so afraid of being labeled as moderate or liberal that they refuse to even consider reasonable and rational approaches on issues. My candidate needs to stand up to the extremes and the fear-mongers.
Unfortunately, he’d probably not get the nomination.
Is there a candidate for me among those who have declared? Will one come forward and win my heart? I hope so. I hate the idea of saying President Clinton again – didn’t care for it the first time around!
Before some of you warn me to leave the GOP behind, I will just say – give me a candidate who can win and I’ll consider it. Who was the last 3rd party candidate to win? I don’t know. Let me think. It was…hmmm…uh.
The eternal optimist (if you knew me, you’d know that’s a joke), I continue to sit along the wall at the dance waiting for someone to walk over and invite me to the floor. I’m waiting. I really want to fall in love. I want to be passionate about a candidate.
On the other hand, chances are pretty good that in the end I’m going to have to comfort myself with the fact that my citizenship is in heaven and I eagerly await a Savior from there! I will have to put my hope in Christ and not in politics. I will have to remember that while America needs God, God does not need America and the kingdom will survive whatever happens to our nation.
But still, it would be nice to have a candidate to be enthusiastic about!