I said early on I didn't want a safe choice for 2012. Well, now that unsafe choice has gotten to the point where I can no longer stand behind him. It's not just the claims, it's the fact that Cain has been unable to run a functional campaign. Cain's draw was that he was an outsider who was going to surround himself with the right people. The way he's run his campaign has shown that he's unable or unwilling to surround himself with the right people. So, what of the other candidates? As the title of the post implies, I'm undecided and let me tell you why.
Bachmann - Michele is pretty good on fiscal issues, but comes across as a kook. Why? Well, when you imply 9-9-9 is the sign of the devil, you've pretty much made yourself written off.
Huntsman - Huntsman has a pretty solid platform. He has a solid tenure as Governor, but governed as far to the left as was possible in the state of Utah. Other problems? He keeps poking conservatives in the eye with specifically targeted comments (ex "I believe in science") and the fact that he was running for President (or planning to) while serving as Ambassador to China is upsetting to me. I've discussed this at length before. This bugs me, seriously. I could vote for him in the general, but I won't in the primary.
Johnson - Gary Johnson has an excellent record as governor. He founded a 1 man company that turned into the biggest construction firm in New Mexico, which is far more impressive than the experience of a lot of different candidates. That said, he's pro-choice, he's known as the "pot" candidate, and is unable to raise money. At all. Johnson can't get the nomination because no one has given him the chance and he's unable to raise any funds.
Mitt - Romney has an incredible ground game, is focused on Obama, a decent campaigner, and has the same type of business experience I loved in Herman Cain. The problem? Inconsistent on fiscal issues and Masscare. Both of which led me to not vote for him in 2008, and it's part of the reason I'm still undecided on him now. Also, I frankly don't know if I can trust him. He comes across as disingenuous to me and in the debates came across as condescending. Then again, Obama's always condescending. So, I could still vote for him, but again - undecided.
Newt - Newt is a fascinating candidate. Great debater, former Speaker of the House who helped lead the country in the right direction (pun intended) on fiscal issues and led to serious national reform. But he's on his third wife with a history of infidelity and he's been inconsistent historically on fiscal issues. He's a brain power is unmatched, but as I said - inconsistent on fiscal issues. So, I could vote for him - but still undecided.
Paul - I will not vote for Ron Paul in the primary. Ever. Even if he's the only one left in the primary. In that case, I would write in George H.W. Bush.
Perry - Perry has some great experience. He was a pretty solid Governor of Texas. 40% of the jobs created in the US in the past 2 years were created in Texas - that's hard to overlook. That said, Perry is a terrible debater which could be awful against Obama in the general election. Also, there's the Texas DREAM Act, which as a strong opponent of it here in Maryland who supported the effort to put it on the ballot / overturn it - this is a problem. Deal breaker? No, but an issue for me. Again, I'm undecided on Perry in the primary - but of course would vote for him in the general election.
Santorum - I actually don't mind Rick Santorum. But, he couldn't win reelection in Pennsylvania. He comes across angry and agitated in every single debate. He is inconsistent on fiscal issues. And, frankly, his active campaigning for future turncoat Arlen Specter is disappointing. Honestly, Santorum has very little money and does not have a clear path to the nomination. Also, his name is a filthy expression online that will be tough to combat should he get the nomination.
So, I'm back to being undecided. If the primary were held today, I'm not sure who I'd vote for when I got into the voting booth. Maybe Newt. Maybe Rick Perry. Maybe Romney - I'm not sure. What I do know is that I'm waiting to be wowed by the candidates.