Are You a Republican or a Republicant?

Okay, so the presidential thingy is warming up again, and quite a few middle-aged men are grinning at the camera, glad-handing the public, stiff-arming the republic, and generally doing their part to snooker us yet again. I used to be a Republican, but have been an conservative independent for lo these many years now. Nevertheless, every four years the pitch for my vote begins. It goes without saying that the siren calls of the Democrats have no allure for me. But the Republicans are a different matter. Every once in a while, someone over there will start talking sense, and this will move me from a state of complete apathy to one where I am willing to think about it.

As a public service, I have ranked the current and prospective Republican candidates in two categories. The first is: Okay, Tell Me More. The Second is: I Would Rather be Dead in a Ditch. After each name, I have also included any parenthetical comments that happen to spring to mind. Both lists are ranked in order of appreciation and disapprobation accordingly. In other words, #1 on the first list would be my first choice, and #1 on the second list would represent my highest level of distaste, that superlative feeling of Platonic ickiness I get from being face down in ditchwater.

Okay, Tell Me More

1. Ron Paul — my most serious quarrel with Paul is the speed with which he would get us out of war in Iraq. I have always opposed this war, along with the first one (Desert Storm), but I also see the justice in Colin Powell’s “Pottery Barn” rule. You break it, it’s yours. Neverthless the buzz Paul has generated (for such a strict constitutionalist) has been very interesting.

2. Fred Thompson — a consistent conservative on most stuff. His support for the war would not absolutely disqualify him in my mind, so long as he nominates Scalia clones to the high court.

3. Sam Brownback — a solid conservative with a faint chance.

4. Duncan Hunter — if still in the race later, I would be willing to read a brochure.

5. Tom Tancredo — if still in the race later, I would be willing to visit his web site.

6. Mike Huckabee — if still in the race later, I would be willing to read a brochure and visit a web site.

Rather be Dead in a Ditch

1. Rudy Giuliani — the support of social conservatives for Rudy represents everything that can go wrong when Christians compromise themselves in politics. Every two days more Americans die in abortion mills than died in the 911 attacks. For Christians to support Rudy because he is the man to head off future terror attacks, when he is a politician who wants public funding for our continued assaults on the unborn is just breathtaking. The bumpersticker ought to be “Rudy! Three and a Half 911s per Week!”

2. Mitt Romney — a flop flipper. I don’t trust him, not hardly for a minute. Obviously competent, which is another reason to not vote for him. He and his supporters say his Mormonism wouldn’t make any difference, which is another thing. It ought to make a difference (at which point it would become another reason for opposing him), but the only reason it doesn’t is that Romney has bought into secular/sacred divide which plagues our political discourse. Potent secularism is more of a problem than impotent Mormonism.

3. John McCain — iracsibility is not the same thing as conservatism.

4. Newt Gingrich — telling Dobson you’re sorry ought to count for something. But it turns out it didn’t.

5. Jim Gilmore — I don’t know anything about this guy. Maybe he should be #28 on the other list.

6. Tommy Thompson — from Health and Human Services to leader of the free world.

7. Chuck Hagel — !!!

8. George Pataki — nanny state totalitarian.