The Field Narrows


Since Ted Cruz’s victory in Iowa, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee have given up their quests for the Presidency. I suspect Rick Santorum is not far behind. Before it’s too late, I thought I’d rank my favorites of the remaining candidates.

  1. Marco Rubio. He’s knowledgeable about a variety of subjects and good at communicating it in his speeches. His candidacy is inspiring as an American success story, but there’s actual substance there, too. I think he is a little bellicose, but I’d rather a President who looks a little tough than one whom other world leaders suspect of weakness. Plus, this online quiz says my views match his most closely, so it’s not just a matter of liking his speeches. Rubio would be a good president, and stands the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton.

2. Jeb Bush. I’ve given Bush some grief on this site, I know, but when I look at his intelligence, his grasp of the policies, and his history of conservative governance in Florida, I believe he would make an excellent president. His experience is a plus for me, because I believe it means he could be good at the job from day one. As negatives, the way he’s attacked Rubio and Kasich instead of our real enemy, Donald Trump, pisses me off, and makes me think his campaign people would rather have Hillary in the Oval Office than Marco.

3. Chris Christie. Like Bush, he has governing experience, and like Rubio, he’s good at expressing conservative ideas in a way people can understand and get behind. On certain issues, especially on crime, I disagree with him, but I think he’d give Hilary a good fight and govern well if elected.

4. John Kasich. I’ve been a fan of Kasich’s since his 2000 campaign for the presidency (he dropped out before Iowa). He’s a pragmatic conservative, which I think plays well with independent voters (it worked well for George W. Bush). I don’t think he’d much shrink the size of government or enact any massive changes in Washington, but Kasich knows how the system works and would get things done while governing conservatively. He may surprise in New Hampshire, too, if Rubio doesn’t capture his voters.

5. Carly Fiorina. I’m not wild about the idea of someone who’s never held elected office going straight to the White House. Eisenhower did it most recently, but winning World War II at the head of an international coalition is pretty damn good job training, too. I’m not sure heading a tech company is. On the bright side, Fiorina is knowledgeable about the issues and gives energetic and convincing speeches about them. She’s plenty conservative and plenty tough, but I don’t give her much chance of breaking through. I hope she’s in the next president’s cabinet.

6. Ted Cruz. On paper, Cruz’s positions look good and he is a solid conservative. He’s intelligent and accomplished. I just don’t like him, and I think the voters won’t either. If he is nominated and wins, I’ll be thrilled, but I think he’ll have a hard time defeating Clinton once the media gets behind her. I would love to see him on the Supreme Court.

7. Jim Gilmore. Here’s where it starts to get difficult. I like Gilmore. His national security and defense knowledge is good. He was a fine governor. But he’s already missed loads of states’ filing deadlines, so I’m not sure if he’s seriously trying to win.

8. Ben Carson. Carson seems like a good man. He’s intelligent. He’s conservative. But his campaign is a joke and I think he’d get rolled by the Clinton machine in November.

[UPDATE: Santorum is leaving the race. –2-3-2016] 9. Rick Santorum. I voted for Santorum for Senate in 2000 and 2006, and I’d be pleased if he were still representing my state in Washington. As president, I think he’d be a flop. He’s conservative enough, but his conservatism is mostly focused on areas where I’m not that conservative–like keeping the Import-Export Bank going. He’d be good for the pro-life cause, but that’s about it. 

10. 9. Donald Trump. The problem with Trump is that he’s not conservative. He’s for big government, crony capitalism, single-payer healthcare, and gun confiscation. His signature issue is that he doesn’t like Mexicans coming to America. I think our immigration system desperately needs reform, but not the way he wants it. Trump would lose to Clinton. If he won, he be bad for America. So nah.