If the point of an endorsement is to convey that you’ve made a choice as to who should lead your country and to encourage others to choose the same, then I’m afraid most people are going to get mixed messages from what I’m about to write.
I find myself in the minority among my party members: I am not dismayed at our candidate selection at all. In fact I would accept almost any of the men running on the Republican line as our next president.
Whether it’s Ron Paul pushing a disciplined low-tax, small government message, Mike Huckabee voicing the values that are important to so many conservatives, or Duncan Hunter never wavering from a Reaganesque list of principles, all of our candidates have something to offer.
Our so-called first tier is an even bigger excess of riches. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain are all good, strong leaders with generally good track records of doing what is best for the states they represented and the country as a whole.
Mitt Romney was elected as governor in one of the most liberal states in the country and managed to run it as conservatively as he possibly could.
Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest.
Mitt has the business experience I appreciate, and I don’t hold it against him that he’s changed his positions on important issues. Until about 2003, I considered myself pro-choice too. People change.
Even John McCain, who I implore you all not to choose in the primary, would make a far better president than any of the candidates on the Democratic ticket.
But ultimately, for me, this race comes down to two people: Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.
Since the possibility of a Fred run first came up, he was my candidate. He is well-spoken, has a good conservative record and seemed able to lead both our party and the nation. But, the more I thought about why Fred was my guy, the more I realized it was at least partly because he could win both the primary and the general election. And when it started to seem like, well, he couldn’t, myself and a lot of Fredheads had to ask ourselves what he was offering, exactly, if not that perfect package of conservatism, leadership and electability we were seeking.
I would be extremely happy to watch Fred Thompson get the nomination, but today I am endorsing Rudy Giuliani.
It’s funny because I still maintain to all who will listen that Rudy probably won’t win the nomination. I still hope to be wrong but I’ve said for so long that Republican primary voters just won’t choose a pro-choice ex-mayor from Brooklyn. But they should.
While it’s true that Rudy is no social conservative, he has something that all the other candidates ultimately lack: my trust. I know this man, I watched him lead New York out of ruins–both after David Dinkins as well as after 9/11. We all know him, even the bad parts, because he has never hid his positions or ideals from us, even when they were inconvenient to him politically. This is a man who will always tell you where he stands, even if you might not agree. Yes, he is pro-choice, but he will support judges who won’t legislate from the bench. Yes, he doesn’t love guns but that is more a product of being from New York (I too was anti-gun for most of my life, it was the default NY position) than his want to snatch yours.
He’s got the executive experience after running the most populous city in the U.S. He was the first Republican mayor in decades and he won election in a city that is 7-1 Democrat. He was able to lead, and lead well, despite that imbalance. He will be able to lead with a Democratic congress just the same.
9/11 changed me. And I know it changed Rudy too. This is not a man who will give up the war against terrorists. This is not a man who will roll over and let our purpose, the one where we defeat Islamofascism where it breeds, wane. He will be steadfast and strong in securing America. I know. I watched him secure New York.
So, if an endorsement is meant to predict a winner, this is not that. I support Rudy because he is the best candidate and would make the best president. Lucky for us, though, so would most of the other Republicans.
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