Ron Paul wants to “Restore America,” Mitt Romney wants us to “Believe in America,” Newt Gingrich wants to have a “21st Century Contract with America” and Rick Santorum wants us to “Join the Fight.” All Idahoans should want from the Republican candidate they support in next week’s March 6 caucus is a proven fiscal conservative who will stop pounding his three competitors today in order to concentrate on taking back the White House in November.
Our endorsement is not based upon the nebulous criteria of “electability” or of “having a chance” — after all, no candidate currently has as many as 10 percent of the delegates needed for nomination, so the race is really just beginning. Roughly 225 delegates have been selected with more than 2000 remaining.
While difficult to choose the best candidate, we have no such problem identifying the worst. Newt Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman and Speaker of the House, is the only speaker reprimanded for misconduct while in office. He was also fined $300,000 by the Republican-majority house and only three days following his final congressional election victory, he quit. He also found time to bounce a number of checks — probably more excusable if one of them hadn’t been for more than $9,000, made out to the IRS.
Rick Santorum is an interesting candidate; seemingly coming out of nowhere to win the Iowa Caucus and bouncing back a month later to claim victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota. Unfortunately, Santorum appeared stronger when not in front of the microphone 24/7, where he has had the chance to stumble over himself on numerous occasions. The area in which he has been most consistent we also find most problematic; despite what he would have you believe, Santorum is not a theologian and his continued tendency to use his own beliefs as the country’s litmus test on what is right, moral and “Christian” is troubling at best and dangerous at worst.
We’re happy that Ron Paul actually took the trouble to visit the Magic Valley — and his outlook on the country, the economy and the role of the federal government is in many ways the clearest and most refreshing of any of this year’s candidates. However, a Paul presidency is likely to propel us back into an isolationist position, and although somewhat appealing as April 15 approaches, his proposal to rescind the 16th Amendment, eliminate federal income tax and abolish the Internal Revenue Service is neither practical or advisable. Of course, the havoc raised by his tax plan would be less worrisome to those who would enjoy the legalized marijuana he also proposes.
We believe that Mitt Romney is the best choice for Idaho, the best choice for Republicans, and the best option in bringing conservatism back to the White House in the person of the 45th President of the United States. He has listed creating jobs and restoring American competitiveness as his highest priorities, and although implementing those priorities is way easier said than done, at least he has the priorities right. And despite his bungled statements about both the “very rich” and the “very poor,” his clarifying remark — “My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people” — is exactly where the next president’s energy ought to be focused.
We encourage you to participate in next week’s caucus, and we encourage you to support Mitt Romney.