For almost a year now I've taken Thursday as my day off. I used this morning to catch up on last night's GOP debate. Here is my brief analysis of the candidates, feel free to offer comment or corrective. At this point I'm just listening and learning, and have not settled on any candidate.
Ron Paul: I agree with many of his strict-Constitutional views. He is a champion of personal liberty and States rights. For example, Paul has a beautiful solution to our country's current marriage-definition crisis: get the government out of the business of issuing marriage licenses. Paul correctly understands this is a personal and church issue, not a government issue. However, Paul is extreme and quirky. Anyone who believes cocaine should be legal or that we shouldn't intervene in atrocities such as Darfur has already lost touch with reality. It is embarrassing that he is even on that stage, but it is equally embarrassing that the other candidates don't agree more with his Constitutional views.
Newt Gingrich: He is a legislative master. In that arena he is by far the most effective person on the stage. But as a legislative fighter, he is far too combative to be our President. He lacks the ability to offer a positive "Reagan-esque" vision forward. He would be an excellent advisor to the President on legislative issues.
Michelle Bauchman: Of all the candidates, she is the strongest regarding the sanctity of life and affirming historical marriage. In terms of her basic worldview, all Christians should love Congresswoman Bauchman. However, as a junior legislator she has accomplished almost nothing in that role. As President she would accomplish even less. She typifies all of the Tea Party's angst but lacks the ability to move us beyond that.
Jon Huntsman: I utterly disagree with many of this man's policies, and he seems more democratic than republican. In terms of a Christian worldview, he is the most far afield of any candidate. Yet, he is also the most articulate and accomplished of all the candidates. He understands government and foreign relations. If your looking for a "barely-to-the-right" and "almost-a-democrat" type of candidate, then I suppose Huntsman is your man.
Herman Cain: He is brilliant and has offered a clear approach forward for our economy. But the country isn't a corporation and the President isn't a CEO. Nothing in Cain's (otherwise wonderful) plan indicates he understands this. It sounds good on paper, but we must remember the President has to work with both the legislative and judicial branches of our government. Cain is unable to do this. More importantly, Cain only brings economic focus to the table. The country is much bigger than the economy. While he may be useful as a consultant, he is woefully inadequate as as our top leader.
Rick Santorum: He is ignored by both the media and Republicans in general for good reason: although he basic ideas are good, he lacks the maturity and charisma to lead our country. Yet he stands firm on the basic moral issues of our country, and for that reason should be praised. He is also the most personable and down-to-earth. He would be a great choice for a cabinet position. In years to come we might see greater things from him.
Rick Perry: The current front runner and quite possibly the one who will take the nomination. Nevertheless, I was very disappointed. Perry offered nothing but talking points: no clear vision, no articulate statements, no concrete way forward. We must see more from him if he is going to be the bold visionary leader we so desperately need.
Mitt Romney: I have been opposed to Romney since day one. The last thing I want to do is affirm a cult leader for President. His flip-flopping on moral issues (seemingly for political gain) is appalling. Yet Romney has acted the most presidential of all the candidates. Its becoming harder and harder for me to avoid leaning towards Romney. I do believe he is the best candidate to tackle the issues of the economy and health care, and he is able to criticize while also offering a positive vision forward. Yet on the latter issue while I do believe he would champion State rights I question his basic commitment to personal liberty.