I have no idea for whom to vote. None. I am a staunch, free-market, old-school conservative. A fan of men like Burke, Reagan, and Kirk. That means I don’t have a candidate in this race.
As a firm believer in the limited role of government and the importance of federalism, I clearly can’t get behind Obama or Billary. I tried to get behind Thompson, but the man never really ran. I have tried to support either McCain or Romney, but I just don’t trust either one to lead in a way that could be described with a straight face as conservative. Rudy? Not a conservative, never was, and has nothing resembling the experience required. Huckabee? Maybe better on the experience front, but not even close on the conservative or leader bona fides.
The problem is that every time I can start to lean one way or the other with some enthusiasm, I read something like this or this. Can either candidate even carry the Republican base? Probably not. Most votes either can collect from the conservative (as distinguished from Republican) base are going to be lesser-of-two-evils votes, is my prediction. Worse, it may be that neither candidate can carry the conservative base – some conservatives are voting Democrat or staying home on the reasonable thought that, if the country’s going to be run in a liberal, big-government way, at least it should be on the other party’s watch. In that scenario, the Republican nominee is irrelevant; we might as well run a Reagan postage stamp, for all the likelihood of beating a Clinton or Obama with a candidate who can’t carry his own party.
As for me, I don’t know how much the ultimate Democratic and Republican candidate choices really matter. I won’t get much of a say – I’m registered in North Carolina, so my primary’s not until May 6. I will vote in May for somebody and in November for whomever is the most conservative candidate on the ballot. If I don’t vote, I don’t really get to complain. For the first time in my voting career, however, I cannot say I am looking forward to the experience.