All right, in the only poll that matters – Todd’s opinion – there has been a radical shake-up in the prospects for the various Republican presidential candidates.
After Saturday’s Focus on the Family faux-Thanksgiving-table debate among six candidates – a debate widely expected (by me) to allow Gingrich to shine – a poll (of me) instead shows all the candidates who participated in the debate (except Ron Paul) being shunted to the bottom of the (Todd) preference rankings, helping to vault non-participants Johnson, Huntsman, and Romney into slots 2 through 4.
But since I’m sticking to my not-voting-for-Romney vow, I think that now logically/ordinally eliminates six candidates altogether, leaving me with these options:
1. Conspiracy guy (who’s at about 10% in primary polls)
2. Pot guy (closer to 0%)
3. Ambassador guy (about 1%)
New Englander (amused though I am by the FunnyorDie parody depicting Romney saying he’ll be our next president because he’s neither insane nor black)
Religion lady (with very ex-gay-seeming husband, disturbing since I also find her attractive)
Lobbyist (though he is the one closest in girth to Christie or Taft)
Let’s hear it for the southwest, then, eh? (Maybe that’d at least be a good vice-presidential regional balance for New England, if it comes to that – though Huntsman would never be picked as a balance for another Mormon presidential candidate – and there were at least two before them, by the way: a feminist anarchist in 1980 and Joseph Smith himself, who was lynched during his campaign.)
By contrast, I find my patience with Gingrich’s combo of ego and authoritarianism growing thin – and it doesn’t help that he plans to start spewing executive orders (of which I thought we were wary these days) on day one, with suggestions for still more being solicited from the public (fun!). Then again, at least he doesn’t have “good and bad days” like a faltering crazy aunt, the way some of his rivals do. Maybe that’ll be enough to make him the nominee.
The trickier question then becomes whether to vote Libertarian Party if the LP candidate were someone as serious as Paul or Johnson. I think principle would oblige me to do so, come what may electoral-consequences-wise. If the LP picks no one stellar, though – and the GOP doesn’t pick Paul – I’m likely to just skip voting for president this year. In short (given Johnson and Huntsman’s dismal poll numbers): it’s become Paul or bust for me.
And believe me, I’d prefer to just have a GOP candidate who appealed to all center/right factions without making so many people nervous.
In fact, it annoys me when some conservatives (not Paul) talk about the importance of moving beyond Reagan idolization. This may sound paradoxical, but while I have no problem with people criticizing Reagan – even very harshly – any conservatives who suggest not honoring that coalition-building man rub me the wrong way, especially if they condescendingly imply they’d do a superior job. By all means try, though.