No Second Choice

by Mike on January 21, 2008

in Election 2008,Politics

With Fred Thompson placing a distant third in the South Carolina primary, it’s a good bet that the man who was the only viable conservative in the race will drop out tomorrow. Even if Thompson decides to stay in the race, his chances of winning the nomination are even lower than they were before Palmetto State spoke. This being the case, many conservatives are now openly wondering who Thompson backers will support. Here are my thoughts.

This year is the third contested Republican primary in my adult lifetime. As was the case in 1996 and 2000, my first choice did not win the nomination. In those years, I easily moved on to a fairly conservative second choice (both of whom were nominated) before the outcome was known. Those of you who know me personally or have read this site for a while know that I will not support Rudy Giuliani in the primary because he is pro-choice. You also know that I do not support Mike Huckabee because of his big government, tax-increasing record. If I were to have a second choice this year, it would be either Mitt Romney or John McCain. Unfortunately I cannot choose either, not in a primary.

My aversion to John McCain should be obvious. His McCain-Feingold bill (Fred’s biggest mistake BTW, thankfully he reversed himself on the most offensive parts of it) showed a disrespect for the First Amendment and by extension the Constitution itself. His McCain-Kennedy bill is nothing short of rewarding people for the illegal behavior, which by most accounts is indeed amnesty. He opposed the Bush tax cuts, not because of his belief in spending cuts as he now claims, but because they benefited the wealthy. (I’ve never been hired by a poor person but that’s McCain’s logic, not mine.) McCain is right on many issues however, and is therefore preferable to She Who Must Not Be Named and Barack Obama, but it is a stretch to call him a conservative. My problem with Romney requires a post of its own to be fully explained, so I’ll hold off for now.

Because there is no conservative to fall back on this year, I will continue to support Fred Thompson until he drops out. For now, I hope Thompson stays in the race. There is another debate coming up and his rivals and the voters need to see and hear what conservatism is about. For some reason, Thompson is still registering in post-SC polling in the Sunshine State. This could, if nothing else, block Huckabee from breaking through. Finally, there is the 1976 model; stranger things have happened.

Once Fred does drop out, I will become sort of a Republican Switzerland, neutral until the nominee is chosen. Despite my negative thoughts on this year’s field, I will support the Republican nominee in November because that person will at least advance conservatism on some issues. Even Mitt Romney would at least look at a poll every now and then and realize that tax hikes are unpopular.

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