Who Has the Vision?

Mike Huckabee is out. I’m sad over that, but trust his judgment. Donald Trump is out. I’m thrilled over that, yet not assured that he will stay out, but will try his hand at an independent run, thereby throwing the race to Obama.

This week, Newt Gingrich pretty much frittered away any chance he had, however small. I wasn’t his supporter anyway, but I at least acknowledge his ability to communicate and his flair for coming up with ideas. His marital failings, and the manner in which they were carried out, reveal a deeper problem. I believe God can turn someone around via true repentance, but I wasn’t convinced his repentance was very genuine. Yet now, with his attack on Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan for getting us out of our debt problem, Gingrich has alienated most of the rest of Republicans who weren’t as focused on moral issues.

I never believed Gingrich had much of a chance to get the nomination in the first place, but he is now electoral toast with Republican primary voters. His political fate is sealed, and his run is over almost as soon as it began.

That leads some commentators to think that Mitt Romney is the frontrunner, which I find highly disturbing. This is the man who won’t disavow his own healthcare plan that is bankrupting Massachusetts. Somehow, he wants us to believe that what he did with that plan, which is the forerunner for Obamacare, is somehow different than the Obama approach.

Sorry, I’m not convinced. If this is the best the Republicans can do, they will deserve to lose again in 2012. However, I’m still hopeful that primary voters will not succumb to this type of doubletalk and will instead gravitate toward someone who will effectively challenge the Obama agenda and present a positive vision for the future.

Who will that be?

The Albatross & the Trump Card

Two businessmen are making noise as presidential contenders: Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. Both have serious flaws. I know my opinion of them will not sit well with everyone, but I always strive to be as open as possible about my views, realizing that I could be wrong, but believing that it is important to air legitimate concerns.

For Mitt Romney, this is a second time around; he fell short in 2008, but now feels the time is right for a comeback. I freely admit that his Mormonism is a stumbling block for me. From my perspective, Mormonism is a cult, and not a variant of the Christian faith. Yes, I know Mormons are moral, and I wish to work with them on policy issues where we have agreement, but it would be troublesome to me to have someone with Mormon theology as the chief executive in the land. Would that be worse than someone whose religion is false in other ways, such as radical liberation theology? Neither is desirable.

But beyond his religious beliefs, I have deep concerns about his policies. Is he really pro-life, or is this late conversion to that stance just a political ploy? That is a real issue, given his past pro-choice position. He also now claims to be opposed to Obamacare, but isn’t that simply a newer version of what he championed in Massachusetts when he was governor? Romney may be trying to run away from his past, but it’s going to weigh him down.

On to Trump, who is a surprise entry into the race. He’s certainly a celebrity, and he’s definitely made a mark in the business world. Anyone who is a billionaire has left his imprint.

But just who is Donald Trump? What does he believe? A few years ago, he was trumpeting [pardon the slight pun] his own plan for universal healthcare that mirrors both Romney’s and Obama’s. Are we to believe he is now totally opposed to what he formerly proposed?

He also recently taped an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he espoused pro-life views that he never held previously, and in which he declared that he is a Christian—which will probably come as a shock to most who know him. Amazing, isn’t it, how born again someone can become when running for president in a party that includes the majority of politically active evangelicals. Please forgive me if I sound less than convinced that his conversion is genuine. Much as I hope it is the real thing, it will take more than one interview during a run for the top spot in the land to thrill my heart.

Political use of religion? Has anyone ever done that before? The better question is—when has this not been done? I worry about his character, and that he may stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

There’s already speculation—fueled by his own comments—that if he fails to win the Republican nomination, he will run as a third-party candidate. Putting his own ego first, he would doom the eventual Republican nominee to defeat by this scheme. He would be the ultimate spoiler, practically ensuring that Obama survives to take the nation down a disastrous path for another four years. Trump’s role would be similar to Perot’s in 1992, which gave us eight years of Bill Clinton.

Yes, he is a “trump card,” and he’s also just a celebrity out for his own advancement. He’s not a serious candidate, and it is astounding that some polls already show him ahead of the Republican pack. That’s not merely astounding—it’s nearly depressing.

If Republicans really want to lose in 2012, they can’t do better than nominating either Romney or Trump. But I’m still counting on the rank and file of the party to show more common sense.