I'll be honest - I'm kind of a newcomer to the Republican party. Until 2004 I would have considered myself an independent, and in the elections of 1992-2000, I voted for no less than three political parties for president (I'll let you try to figure that out on your own!). But it feels like I've walked into a room at a party where the hosts are having an argument and everybody's standing around trying to act like nothing's happening and it's awkward. As we move into Super Tuesday this week, some major trends are coming to a head:
- How big of a deal is a candidate's faith? All five of the remaining frontrunners in both parties call themselves Christians. And it hasn't been said out loud, but I'm made to feel that if I don't vote for Mike Huckabee, I'm not voting for the "Christian candidate". Why in the world is this?
- Mitt Romney: Hugh Hewitt loves the guy, and even wrote a book about it. In a lot of ways, he is the most electable Republican. But there seems to be an asterisk with him. Is it because he's a Mormon? Or is it because he's not a "social conservative", even though he's changed his tune on abortion and homosexual marriage.
- The "social conservative" vs. the "fiscal conservative" vs. the "national security conservative": you have a representative of each left in the running, but it's not that simple. People in other camps are hesitant to rally around McCain, the "national security conservative", because of his voting record. People in other camps are hesitant to rally around Romney, the "fiscal conservative", because he has flip flopped on social issues. And people in other camps are hesitant to rally around Huckabee because he appears weak on national security.
McCain appears to be the frontrunner at this point, but regardless of who wins, how does the party move forward as we move into the general election? And the elephant (ha!) in the room is Obama. As odd as it sounds, opposition to Hillary is the most uniting force in the Republican camp right now. But if Obama wins the nomination, things will get really interesting. And any kind of split in the GOP will only work in his favor...
Hewitt made a great point on his CNN interview earlier in the week that Giuliani should have stayed in. A brokered convention might have been the best thing that could have happened.
What's anybody else thinking? Who are you voting for? And how do you think this thing's gonna shake out?