Blue stained wood with crimson carnations

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Final Five – or is it One?

Disclaimer: This post is REALLY long. My fingers got carried away -
but please bear with me till the end!

Scene: The year was 2007 and I was one girl in total turmoil. The reason? Well that was simple- and not so simple at the same time.  It was spring, and the time had come for my states election primaries. The problem was that however much I wanted to go and however much I knew I needed to go I didn't want to go and vote – at least not for any of the people who were left on the ballot.

My choices had come down to John McCain or Mike Huckabee.

As an establishment old blood liberal Republican there was no way that I was going to vote for John McCain. And as much as Mike Huckabee had become the darling of the Christian conservatives I'd never trusted that man as far as I could throw him. Don't ask me why – I just never did.

With that being said, however, I had a choice to make. It was a choice I agonized over. I was that strange girl standing in the ballot cubby fidgeting and squirming and on the very verge of tears. I honestly considered casting my vote for the candidate I had been supporting all along, even though he was no longer in the race. In the end my vote went to Huckabee and I felt like I'd made a deal with the devil.

In my mind, the problem lie in the fact that every state had a different primary day. By the time the primaries got to my state most of the candidates had dropped out.
I was so mad.
Why had this happened and why couldn't I change it? I seriously considered writing a letter to every Sen. and Congressman I could get an address for and demand they write and propose a bill stating that every primary in the nation should be held on the same day – just like we do with our general election in November. It's a letter that never materialized but one I probably should've written- and probably should write even today.

This election cycle I will not let that happen again. I believe that only a true Conservative (ie: one who honors and believes in the Declaration and the Constitution, one who believes that these documents define and promote liberty, limited government and Christian values; one who believes in life and hard work; in abundant American energy and low taxes so free enterprise can flourish; and one who believes in you) should be the GOP nominee. This year I believe there is a clear Conservative candidate who should be recognised and I am choosing to support him from now until the very end. That end I hope and I pray will be the White House. Because if it isn't, and our nation is controlled by a Liberal or Progressive or Socialist - one who does not understand or one who seeks to 'fundamentally change' those things that make us great- for another four years I don't know if we'll recognize our nation or even the world five years from now. We are standing on a great pivot point of world history one that will become a fixed-point in time that future generations will look back on and say-for good or ill- 'that is where it all changed'.

But before I tell you who I am voting for, let me tell you why I am not voting for the other candidates.

#5–Ron Paul.
I know, I know, many Christians out there today are throwing their support behind Ron Paul, believing him to be the only "Constitutional" choice, but I cannot. In fact, narrowing down his unsuitable qualities to just a few reasons is like sending a woman in her first week of a six-week diet to a dessert buffet Vegas.
My biggest problem with Ron Paul is that he is a man who does not understand the times he is living in. Some days I think he literally lives in his own little world. Our nation and our world is facing rapid sociopolitical changes. These changes will radically make over the world as we know it today if they are not stopped. In Ron Paul's world, however, the only reason that Middle Eastern peoples dislike us or "hate" us is because for decades we have "bombed them" and "occupied their lands".  He has even gone so far as to suggest that the cause of 9/11 is directly related to the "fact" that our 'troops occupied Muslim "holy lands"' from which one must logically conclude he feels that 9/11 was our own fault! In Ron Paul's world the situation we find ourselves in has nothing to do with the very core of Islam's beliefs being to kill or put under subjection any peoples who will not convert to their beliefs, and it has nothing to do with their desire to literally rule the world. It is his position that we should remove our presence from all foreign lands. In Ron Paul's world it's okay to put all the horses back in the barn and lock the door because the tornado can't possibly get us when we are 'minding our own business'.
The problem with this is of course that the tornado has already started to strike the barn.

I may be able to agree with Congressman Paul on his desire to end the Fed (and return to sensible biblical based money and economic practices), the Department of Education and the EPA. What I cannot agree with him on is his foreign-policy stance. You think a man his age would be able to tell the difference between a drop of rain and a storm that threatens to flatten us all, but apparently not..

The second and final thing that I will take issue with Congressman Paul here is what I believe to be his utter hypocrisy on the issue of spending. In case you didn't know, Congressman Paul's district has the highest per capita spending rate of any in the nation! How is this possible for a man known for being 'so strong' on cutting spending?! As it turns out it is Paul's habit, when he knows a bill is coming to the floor whose passage is sure will vote in committee to pack it with as much pork for his district as possible! When the bill reaches the floor he votes against it keeping his hands "clean" of spending increases.

#4- Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Newt. Some of my earliest political remembrances center around that name and around the Congress of 1994. And while I'll be one of the first to tell you that many good things were done during that Congress (balanced budget and welfare reform) I will also be the first to tell you that a man can't base his presidential bid on one period of leadership from 17 years ago. If he expects goodwill to flow from the conservative heart based on remembrances of the past and make it easy for him right up to nomination – then he's got another thing coming. Because as Susie Conservative walks down that road of remembrances she falls straight into the couch, and lap, of Nancy Pelosi – you know, the couch that finds her setting right next to Mr. Newt? For any Conservative to propagate the myth of  'man made climate change is unthinkable to me! Period. But aside from all that, as this campaign has progressed, I've come to find things I liked and disliked about him but more and more evidence has piled up of Mr. Newt himself holding to Progressive ideals not Conservative ones. Since his time in office, Mr. Newt has become a historian and historical writer so it puzzles me to hear him describe Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson as his favorite presidents. Men who are the poster boys for progressivism – how can he not know that or what it represents?! The only explanation I can think of is that he does know them and I ask myself- how can he support that? It also has troubled me from the beginning of his campaign to hear him debate back and forth over how much healthcare should be mandated by the government- landing on far too much of a mandate for my comfort. Obamacare must be defeated definitively. Nothing like it must ever take its place in any way, shape or form. How can he effectively root out this scourge when he debates what the disease is and prescribes something far too akin to the actual disease? It's like prescribing botox to a patient writhing in agony from botulisim poisoning! And that is a far too risky proposition in my opinion.

Finally, my biggest problem with Mr. Newt- from the beginning of his race- is what I consider to be his complete moral failure. Learning in recent years of this mans marriage history was shocking to me. I honestly don't know how you seriously consider for the highest office in the land a man who has been divorced and remarried twice! On top of that when you consider the sources and circumstances of those divorces being his blatant infidelity- while at the time he went after Bill Clinton for adultery leaves me incredulous! Breaking his marriage vows and keeping his second wife as mistress to the first and the third wife as mistress to the second is reprehensible and exposes his lack of character and willingness to be governed and restrained by the moral laws as (at that time) he supposedly held to as a Southern Baptist. In my book this issue alone disqualifies him from becoming president.

#3- Mitt Romney.
I'll tell you right up front Mitt Romney was my choice last election cycle. I remember the first time I heard him speak. It was some months before he threw his hat to the race but when he was still being considered as a possible candidate for the upcoming race. I liked him a lot then. When I heard him, he spoke about America. He spoke of our greatness. Our hope, our potential and her future. He spoke of the things that used to make us great and still do make us great. It didn't sound like anything that had been spoken of in years. He reminded me of great presidents of the past and I loved him for that.
This year I've gotten to know "my" candidate better though.
This year, he is the one that receives the title of the establishment and old blood. I don't want a candidate that thinks they are next in line because they waited for it. I don't want a candidate who is  being picked by all forms of media as 'inevitable'. And I don't even want a candidate that's being picked by the Republicans. We need a true Conservative representing America- one who will drastically slash the size and spending of the government- not just take the cherry and nuts off of the banana split. As much as I believe Mitt Romney does love America and is sincere when he speaks of her – he isn't the candidate that can turn the banana split into a simple sundae- he's the one who will add sprinkles on top giving us a prettier image image to look at. He is not the Conservative in this race.

#2 Rick Perry
(Yes, he dropped out- but that was after I wrote this and my points still stand.)

The first few weeks into his run every time I heard Rick Perry speak all I heard was George W. Bush coming out of his mouth.
It was of course that universal drawl bred into every Texan from birth that I heard but in hearing it I found it difficult to judge the man accurately. For me there is something comforting behind that accent. I know it is just my associating it to the security in crisis that I always feel around GW, but still it took some time to get around the accent to the real man.
This summer, believing he was about to run. I reserved myself a copy of his book "Fed Up" from the library. It took me weeks to get through that five disc audiobook set. In the beginning I nearly shut it off but as it turns out that was merely because the narrator hadn't clearly delineated that the book began with a forward. That forward was written by none other than Mr. Newt Gingerich and was some of the driest stuff I'd ever heard. Getting into the book, though I found myself agreeing with many of the things that were laid out. However, as the man himself entered the race and began to speak and debate in public I couldn't reconcile the man in the book with the man on stage. As time has gone on Gov. Perry has gotten better at articulating his positions, but I still don't understand how a man can write so passionately and clearly in a work he puts his name to and not be able to just as clearly, passionately and articulately communicate that to real live people.
If it was only Gov. Perry's style that I took issue with I could probably gladly support him in this race, but it's not just style I have issues with. Three big things stand in my way of being able to support this man. One – I do not like the Gardasil issue or the way he has dealt with it. Gardasil is a dangerous drug and giving it to minors is a dangerous premise. Every issue like this that comes up should be taken back and compared to principle. In Gov. Perry's case he is a professing Christian and as such should be basing his principles off of the Bible. We should be operating off of the premise that young girls will not be sexually active. We should be operating off of the premise of promoting purity. We should be operating off of the premise that parents have the right to both know and choose what is best for their child. Don't tell me that having an opt out clause (instituted afterward by the legislature) makes this mandate ok – when did you ever enjoy doing government paperwork? The public should know that while it's not widely advertised I have heard numerous stories of girls that have taken/been given Gardasil with tragic health consequences. The point here is this. We cannot allow any government agent or agency to mandate health, healthcare, and our health choices. To top it off what makes me squeamish about this story is the semi-shady details surrounding the former aide who influenced the governor's decision.
Two – I cannot support another border governor who does not know how to deal with the border. I cannot support a man who will support amnesty for illegal aliens. I cannot sport a man who will not build a fence to protect our people. As he well knows the Mexican-American border is a war zone. It is just as important to protect us on that front as it is on the foreign ones. We must be secure from outside forces and from forces who are now within. This issue must be dealt with decisively but I don't think Gov. Perry is capable of dealing with it if he hasn't done anything about it in the his 11 year tenure as Gov. of Texas.
Three- When Gov. Perry had the chance to deal a hard blow to the TSA in Texas he weaseled out of it and refused to bring it to a vote even though there was the necessary votes to pass it. In doing this he allowed the TSA to continue to intrusively scan and grope airline passengers in his state. If he had led the charge in this important issue instead of backing down I believe that Texas would have been the first of many states to pass similar laws restricting the TSA's power, instead the TSA is now making inroads to placing full body scanners and agents in train and bus depots and even at points on state highways! It is my belief that knowing he was about to announce his candidacy he traded doing the right thing for getting in good with a broad audience.

Now here we are at the end, as all the others have rolled out of the bed littlest one now says "all alone"! In this race it likely will come down to the littlest against the mighty but as it is said -the bigger they come, the harder they fall! I think there's a lot of shaking up to be done so I can't wait for that fall! Over the last several months. One man has consistently articulated Conservative principles on social, moral, economic and international fronts. That man, and my candidate, is none other than Rick Santorum.

#1- Rick Santorum
Faith. Family. Freedom.
For the last eight months Sen. Santorum has run his campaign on those three principles. Before he began his presidential run I didn't know a lot about Santorum or his record or his beliefs but being the political junkie that I am his name in my mind had the lasting impression of being a good guy, one who had worked hard during his time in the Senate. Since then as I have gotten to know him better I have like more and more of what I learned and saw. He truly bases everything he does off of his principles and when he has a conviction he sticks to it. On the other hand on issues he has been wrong on in the past (like supporting No Child Left Behind) he has corrected his course and been open stating he was wrong and I like that. He has proven to me that he is not just a man of principle but a man of great character and great moral conviction. I have found those three principles he is running on of faith, family and freedom both grow from and encompass his understanding of our founding documents- and the fact that those documents are based on Scripture. Realizing he understands our freedoms come from God, society is based on the traditional family and that family is driven by faith you then see how all that is reversed and expressed outwardly in the way he approaches governing and policy making.
Watch here to see Santorum speak on his view of how the founding documents actually work:

Faith is a large part of who Santorum is. Now, to deal with this up front, I'll say right here that he is listed as a Catholic but I have heard him refer to himself as a Christian and I must say that while my highest preference is to have a born-again believer running if that is not an option I will judge a person by his fruit and choose the most charactered and moral man I can find.
From everything I have seen- Rick Santorum's fruit is good. Almost every time I hear him talk about an issue he can/will trace the reasons he believes something- pro or con- back to the Bible- because that's what the founders would have done.

When we look at Santorum's family we get an up-close look at this. I have never seen a politician speak of their children with such open tenderness, it's a quality that makes him human and it helps to define for us why he takes the stances he does on life.
Allow me to give you an example...

Now, that's a man that understands the preciousness of life- don't you think?  Living out being pro-life in real and living color is is much harder to do than just talking about it. Even before being blessed with a special needs child Santorum has been a first rate advocate for the unborn and consistently fought for life and was the author of the 'partial birth abortion ban' and the 'born alive protection act' while in the senate. Another important aspect of his standing for life is the story of his still born son Gabriel. I searched for a link to the debate where he told that story but was unable to turn one up- I do  however have a tape of that debate if any one was interested in viewing it. In the end I feel it is incredibly refreshing to see a man who is unequivocally committed to life! 
There is a second issue regarding his family that I love. I am the product of the first generation of homeschoolers and as such I have great admiration for any man who has chosen to educate his children at home- it takes a dedicated man to become a homeschooling father! It really surprised me then when I found out that Sen. Santorum is in fact the homeschooling father of 7 children! Personally I'm excited at the possibility of having homeschoolers in the White House! It think it puts him in the position of being able to address issues of education in a way no other candidate can.

Also stemming from the issue of the family is the anti-family. Santorum has been vocal in opposing homosexual 'marriage' and allowing 'gays' to adopt children. He has and would support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the Bible does. He has stated in the debates that traditional marriage is the building block of society and when we break down marriage we break down society. In another debate he also stated that the poverity we see today (esp. in black communities) is because of the break down of marriage and family.

As important as social issues are Santorum isn't just a one note candidate- he is my candidate because of  his stand on national security and terrorism. National security and terrorism is really a three pronged fork which both deals with the border (he's in favor of building a fence and properly patrolling it combined with refusing amnesty for those here illegally) and being energy independent coupled with a through understanding of terrorism and the mindset of the Middle East and Islam.
Here is a taste:

Where other candidates fail to see the whole picture or around the bend he does. His worldview matches mine, the glasses he sees the world with are the same ones sitting on my shelf.  I believe he is truly a man who understands the times he is living in!

Now I could go on and on in singing Rick Santorum's praises- but I'll restrain myself! I urge you to check him out! His plans for issues like Obamacare (repeal!), getting regulations and government out of peoples way to bring jobs back and cutting the size of government, taxes and entitlement programs are worth finding out about. Find out what he believes for yourself don't just believe me- but I will tell you now that he is the true Conservative in this race. We deserve a real Conservative in the White House. Rick Santorum deserves your support and your vote.

When it comes down to it we have the power to change the course of not just this race but of our country by supporting Santorum. If we give in now to the easy paths and 'answers' and candidates then we will have failed to pass on those most important principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And in case you're wondering- we can win the race with a man like Santorum because he will articulate Conservative principles and every time they are espoused with conviction they work and they inspire and they win. Obama can be defeated if we choose to fight for what we actually believe in and not go for the convenient candidate but the Conservative candidate.

As Santorum's eldest daughter wrote:

"I am here because I believe. I believe in America’s greatness. I believe in her exceptional people. I believe that my Dad is the right man for the right moment in our history. Like my Dad always says, in 2008, America elected someone they thought they could believe in. Now, in 2012, America will elect a president who believes in them."

Someday when I tell my children about the 2012 election I will not be telling them I felt like I was making a deal with the devil when I voted for Rick Santorum. I will tell them that I voted for the man that God brought to this race for just this time. I voted for the man who believed in God and America. I voted for the man who believed in me.

What will you have to tell?