By John D. Turner
31 Dec 2011

The Iowa Caucuses are almost upon us – only four days away! Has it really only been 5 months or so since Michelle Bachmann was the front runner? It has been a tumultuous time, and apparently the churning still is not over, as Rick Santorum is showing signs of emerging from the frothy soup of evangelicals looking for someone (anyone!) to vote for other than Romney.

Bachman, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, even Paul have had their turn at the top. Sanctorum is (finally) rising. The only one who hasn’t made a move upward is Huntsman; but then again, he suffers from the same deadly disease, Mormonism, that Romney suffers from. In Iowa that makes a difference.

One has to wonder though, exactly how valid the Iowa Caucuses are when it comes to determining a presidential candidate these days. Republicans across the nation seem more than willing to throw the results out – if Ron Paul is the winner. So what; if someone you don’t like (or think can’t win) actually wins, you just discount the entire thing? Oops! Hey Iowans! We respect your vote, and your “first in the nation” status. Unless of course you vote for Ron Paul; in that case, all bets are off, you guys are a bunch of idiots, and we take a mulligan and move on to New Hampshire where, we hope, smarter people reside.

The conventional wisdom says Romney should be the guy to face Obama in 2012. Indeed, a recent Rasmussen Reports poll (1000 likely voters) shows Romney defeating Obama 45-39, the widest Romney margin since polling began. That poll was taken on 27-28 December. Polling by CNN/Opinion research (928 registered voters), 16-18 Dec, showed Obama up 52-45. So it depends on the poll. And one thing is certain; it is a long way until November 2012.

But voters in Iowa really don’t want to vote for Mitt, where he has consistently polled in the 20’s. According to the current NBC poll (27-28 Dec, 2,905 registered voters, 1.8% margin of error), Mitt is in the lead with 23%, followed closely by Paul (21%), Sanctorum, who is on the rise at 15%, Perry, who is rising again at 14%, Gingrich who has fallen to 13%, and Bachman who has sunk below double digits to 6%. All I can say is that we will know on Tuesday after the polls close. If Romney doesn’t win, no big deal; he never expected to win in Iowa anyway.

So where do I stand?

Well, originally I liked Michelle Bachmann. I still like Michelle – but she is not going to get the nomination. And as much as I like her, perhaps, at this juncture, that is just as well. After Michelle fell off the cliff, I went for Cain. And even though I disagreed with his 9-9-9 plan, I still supported him, all the way until he too fell off the cliff, a victim of unsubstantiated character assassination.

I like Rick Sanctorum. I particularly miss hearing him on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” on Fridays, where he was a regular subbing for Bill. But I am not sure I want him for President. He’s a good guy, but in the end I am simply not convinced he can beat Barack Obama.

I don’t want Gingrich, nor do I want Paul. Both have entirely too much baggage; in the general election it will be all too easy for the Democrats and the media to make it all about them and not the issues, when the issue should be the issues and Barack Obama.

I don’t want Huntsman either. I am not sure I can trust a man who gave up his governorship to serve Barack Obama as ambassador to China, and then quit that job to run against Obama. Just out of curiosity, if quitting her job for a much better reason is held against Sarah Palin, why isn’t quitting two jobs for no apparent reason except personal ambition held against Jon Huntsman Jr? And I really am no big fan of that flat tax he is so proud of that he put into place in Utah either. It bears little to no resemblance to the flat tax proposed by Steve Forbes.

I guess that leaves me with Romney. And if you have read any of my previous posts on the subject, going back to the last election cycle, you will note that I have not been a big Romney fan. So why am I willing to support him at this juncture?

It is important to remember why we are here. What is it that we are trying to accomplish in this election cycle? Are we just trying to win an election, or are there bigger issues at stake, such as the economy, the deficit, the debt, and the future of America? Does it really matter if we win this one, or can we stand four more years of Barack Obama?

What matters more; putting American’s back to work, or a candidate’s religious preference? Is this a “war on Obama and the Progressives”, or is it a “war on Mormons?” If it is more important that we not elect a Mormon to office than it is to defeat Obama; if we can withstand financial Armageddon better than we can withstand a Mormon in the Oval Office, then by all means, we must do everything in our power, even vote for Obama if it comes to that, to ensure that Mitt Romney never takes the oath of office.

Personally, I think we are here to defeat Barack Obama. I firmly believe that the path we are headed down at breakneck speed is totally unsustainable, and that four more years of Obama will end up with us in a financial crisis of biblical proportion.

To be honest, I will vote for any of the Republicans currently running, even Ron Paul, before I will support Barack Obama. Whoever is the winner has my vote. I just happen to believe that of the one’s left standing, Mitt Romney 1) has the best chance of being elected, and 2) has the best chance of reducing spending and actually turning the economy around.

I didn’t like Romney the first time around because I thought he looked too plastic; he reminded me of a used car salesman. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being handed a bill of goods. This time around however, he seems more relaxed. I think that last time he was trying too hard and it came across as being fake, because it was fake. I think we are seeing more of the “real” Mitt this time around.

And as a result, he looks much better in the debates. This time around I think he is ready to debate Barack Obama, and win.

I know there is a lot of debate as to whether he is a “real” conservative or not. I am not even sure I know what that is anymore. It appears to me that if you disagree with someone on any point who considers themselves a “real” conservative, it doesn’t matter how many points of agreement you have, you are automatically now a RINO. Come on folks! This is the tactic the LEFT uses. We should be above that.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times Mitt tries to explain himself on issues; there are those who insist on not listening. Take the abortion issue for example. What, people are not allowed to change their mind any longer? Reagan changed his on this issue. Would you therefore not vote for Reagan if he were running? Would people today consider Reagan a RINO? I don’t know what more Mitt can say regarding life. It is apparent that there are many out there who aren’t going to listen anyway.

RomneyCare? Convenient stick to bash Mitt with. And truth be told, this is probably going to be the big issue that the Democrats try to use against him as well should he get the nomination. But the more I delve into “RomneyCare” and what Mitt has to say concerning his decision process, the more I come to the conclusion that “RomneyCare” does not equal “ObamaCare.”

How many times does he have to say that RomneyCare was a state solution for a single state – Massachusetts? He is not interested in imposing a Federal version of RomneyCare on the entire United States of America. He has said that he thought it a good solution and that other state’s should look at adopting it or something like it. But the key here is the phrase “other states.” It is a State solution, not a Federal solution, to be accepted by states individually, tailored to their individual needs, or not adopted as determined individually by each individual state, not imposed from above by the Federal Government. He has been quite clear on ObamaCare as well – to ensure that it is not enacted while he is president by immediately cutting its funding and suspending its implementation on day one by executive order, and to work on its repeal as fast as possible. Of course, he will need a Republican House and Senate, probably with a veto-proof majority, to accomplish the latter.

Is it possible that he is just lying to us in order to get elected? Yes, it is possible. It is possible that under it all, he is a closet Progressive, a Ted Kennedy liberal just waiting to get into office and continue what Barack Obama has started. It’s possible, but it isn’t likely. And even if he was, the President is not a dictator – at least not yet. He can’t write his own legislation and sign it into law. Surely a Republican congress would not go along with continuing what Obama has started.

Yes, I will support Mitt. He may not be as “Conservative” as some would like, but I think he is at least as conservative as Reagan was. I think he will work hard and return dignity to the office. I think he at least has a shot at turning things around economically. I don’t see real strong credentials on any of the remaining candidates in that regard.

Remember too that in order to win this election, it will be necessary to capture the votes of Independents. And there are a lot more of those now than in the past. Many people are fed up with both parties. Since 2008, studies show that 1.1 million voters have left the Republican Party, and 1.7 have left the Democrat Party while the ranks of registered Independents have grown by 400,000. Mitt has a much better shot at picking up these voters, in my opinion, than do Gingrich, Perry, Sanctorum, or Bachman.

Paul might as well, however even though I would hold my nose and vote for him if he were the candidate, I really don’t want him to be the nominee. Even though I have been a Paul supporter while he was a member of the House, his foreign policy stand leaves me cold. And the more I find out about the contents of his newsletters, the less I like him. If a newsletter is put out under your name, it is your responsibility to know what is in it. You can’t just stand back and say I didn’t know what was there; by attaching your name, you have granted your imprimatur; particularly when the content includes racist and anti-Semitic articles.

Finally, Mitt Romney is as much of an outsider as you can probably get in the office of president these days and he is a businessman which is something everyone has been saying they want for quite some time. I have no doubt that if he were an Evangelical (or at least an Episcopalian like most of our presidents have been) that he would be easily leading the pack in Iowa, and would probably be the unquestioned front runner at this point, and other questions regarding his “conservative credentials” would be moot. It should not be an issue in this day and age, but it is for some reason. It isn’t as if we haven’t had non-mainstream Christian Presidents in the past. We have had Quaker’s, Dutch Reformed, and even Unitarians, four of them.

Unitarian beliefs are not compatible with Evangelical beliefs. Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity, nor do they believe in the Orthodox doctrine of the Atonement, nor apparently do they believe that Jesus was the literal son of God or in the virgin birth. Unitarian presidents include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft. Unitarian beliefs in the United States have liberalized considerably since even President Taft; they merged with the Universalists in 1961, becoming the Unitarian Universalists, or UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations). Having been to a UUA meeting, I am very sure that Evangelicals would be very uncomfortable in one of their meetings (they would no-doubt be uncomfortable with the Evangelicals as well).

Evangelicals are concerned that electing a Mormon (LDS) president would “legitimize” the faith leading many others who otherwise might not, to look into the LDS church and perhaps join. Perhaps. However four Unitarian presidents have not had that effect; there are less than 900,000 members of the UUA church in the US; there are more Hindus in the US than that. According to the 2009 US Census there were 6,058,907 LDS members living in the United States, making the LDS Church the 4th largest individual denomination, while current membership worldwide stands at over 14 million as of the last General Conference in October. Seems pretty “legitimate” to me; but then again, I are one, so color me biased.

We have even had a Jehovah’s Witness as president (Dwight D. Eisenhower - raised JW but converted to Presbyterian in 1953, weeks after his inauguration as president) and the Republic survived; I think we can survive a Mormon. I am not so sure we can survive another Obama administration.