OK... anyone who knows me knows that there is a simple answer - BECAUSE THEY'RE REPUBLICANS! There are clearly some Republican stands that do not work for me. In my estimation, they are all too quick to throw the poor under the bus and to shred the little safety net we have. As a party, they have focused on what I think is the wrong issue when they talk about the deficit while what we really need are jobs. Yes, yes, yes, the Dems are not much better, but they are a little better. So here are a few of my reasons with each of the four remaining candidates.
Newt... character counts. He has none. We can look at his hypocrisy as he claims to be a "family values" candidate while having done more to sully marriage than anyone I have ever known, read, or read of. And while involved in despicable behavior, he had the nerve to condemn Bill Clinton for similar acts. I know he says it was not about the sexual acts but about lying to congress, but when the moderator of the South Carolina debate asked about his behavior with his 2nd wife, he said it was despicable to ask such questions in the midst of a presidential campaign. Evidently it was fine to ask such questions of a sitting president?! He claims to have changed. People do change. I don't believe him. His mean-spiritedness through the debates shows that he is the same old Newt. There are those who talk of him as having "big thoughts" and "great ideas." When his big thoughts and great ideas include essentially doing away with child labor laws, they sound like terrible ideas and small thoughts to me.
Rick Santorum... I respect a person living their faith and bringing it to play in their politics. Every single political view that I hold is impacted by my understanding of who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. That said, Santorum's understanding of what it means to be a Christian is, in significant places, diametrically opposed to mine. And while I believe one can act ofor public policy changes based on his or her faith, public policy can never find its sole or even primary justification in anyone's faith. To believe that birth control should be outlawed is so far outside of the mainstream and so far outside of anything that is positive for our country that I can't imagine him being president. Add to that gender views that take us back at least a century. I guess I expect more from him since he calls himself a Christian and a Roman Catholic. When he completely dismisses the rest of the "pro-life" views of his church without a blink, I wonder how much of his political views really are based in faith.
Mitt... First, running a government is not the same as running a business and anyone who thinks it is or should be, doesn't understand government. Add to that the fact that his role in business was to purchase weak companies, strip them of anything of value, and essentially throw the rest away. Even if business and government were analogous, that is not how I want to see government run. That he is so incredibly rich that he doesn't have to work, makes more in a week off of investments that I do in a decade from work, and seems to see nothing wrong in paying a lower percentage of taxes than the vast majority of the 99% makes me wonder whether he really gets it. It also seems that he wants this job too bad. He seems to switch his views depending on what he thinks will get him elected... perhaps not an unusual trait for a politician but still one that I won't vote for if I can help it and it just seems too obvious with him. I do respect that he gives a much larger percentage of his income to charities than any other politician I know of.
Ron Paul... he's the one that really scares me. I don't think the Republican establishment would allow him to win, but I think he is the candidate who would be most able to beat Obama. Paul's commitment to reduce the role of the military and to end our empire is very attractive to me and to many liberals. His commitment to enforce the parts of the constitution that protect individuals from the powers of the state likewise is attractive. His libertarian views regarding drugs also are attractive to many liberals. His consistency is a wonderful thing in the days of politicians reading polls and changing their views like their ties. He could strip off many liberal voters who are disenchanted by Obama's militaristic bent or who drank the Koolaid that he is a socialist and expected him to act like one. He isn't and he hasn't! At the same time, I think that many Republicans who find those views distasteful would still vote for him just to vote against Obama. I think he might gain far more than he would lose. The parts that I don't like about Ron Paul scare me more than the parts I do like entice me... he is commitment to shredding the safety net for the poor, doing away with government involvement in ensuring safe food, water, air, and drugs. He does not believe government has a role providing an adequate education for all or providing foreign aid that can make a difference in saving the lives of literally millions overseas. Those views are more than I can take. Add his racist statements of the past and he is completely off my list too.
When I listen to what each of them envisions for the country, for the world, and look at the stands and characteristics they bring to the table, none are the kind of leader that I believe we need in this difficult time. None bring the kind of vision of the future I want to see implemented.
So that leaves me with Obama. Folk who know me also know that I've never been a huge fan of
Obama. During the Democratic primary I described him to my friends as a
centrist and looking at his work in office, that is exactly what
he has been... and I'm anything but a centrist politically. I'm not thrilled... but I like him much, much, much better than any of the above. I wouldn't vote for a third party candidate even if there was one I loved because I'd be too afraid one of the above might win.
So, given the choices, for me, it's Obama 2012.