I still plan to vote for Rand Paul. The Republican leadership claims that they told the South Carolina Election Commission that Paul suspended his campaign, which means that my vote for him will be counted. I saw an email from the Election Commission saying that he "resigned" from the election, which means that he will be on the ballot but the votes won't count. I guess I will see tomorrow. (P.S. Just voted. No signs saying that anyone withdrew.)
Why stick with Paul? I sure don't see eye-to-eye with him on every issue. But there are no other good options.
Cruz claims that he should inherit the "Liberty vote." I actually heard him speak in person, I spoke a few words with him face to face, and Kathy and I have a picture with him. He was at The Citadel a few years ago at an event for the Free Enterprise Foundation. I don't remember too much, but his remarks sounded good to me.
Also, the attack ads on Cruz saying that he is "anti-defense" make me want to vote for him. Is willing to cut excessive defense spending? Good. Has some concern for the 4th amendment? Good.
But it is not enough. (Also, it sure suppresses my willingness to vote for the candidates of the campaigns that generate the attacks--Rubio, Bush and Kasich.)
In my view, Cruz seems to be too much of a hawk, but he has said a few things that sound at least slightly realist in his foreign policy views.
My problem with Cruz is that he panders too much to the Christian Coalition/Moral Majority or whatever we call that faction these days. He is running to be President of Evangelical Christians.
It is a bit humorous that he began his campaign at Liberty University. It didn't do Cruz much good. I received a robo-call from President and son of the founder, Jerry Falwell, supporting Donald Trump. My wife is from Lynchburg, Virgina and I once waited on Falwell's uncle Gene (twin of Liberty University founder Jerry) at my father-in-law's feed and seed store. But I visit Peakland Baptist when I am up there, not Thomas Road Baptist Church.
When can we expect there to be a Donald Trump Chair of Free Enterprise (or more accurately, of crony capitalism) at Liberty University?
None of the other candidates are much better on the social issues. They all are fully committed to a futile effort for government to promote traditional moral values by using law enforcement to punish sin. But Cruz wears this on his sleeve. Cruz leads with these social issues. It makes him impossible for me to stomach. He won't let me forget that I believe in personal liberty and he doesn't.
I don't like Cruz's position on immigration. I appreciate his earlier support for legalization of status (guest worker program) without citizenship (voting and welfare "rights.") But he says that his support for that was just a legislative ploy and that he really doesn't favor providing for some kind of legal status for illegal immigrants. So, either he is a liar or else he supports having an permanent illegal workforce here.
I am not too concerned with Republican political strategy. But I think this is one of the problems that most Republican elected officials have with Cruz. They don't think motivating Christian conservatives even more to vote Republican is a good strategy. It will chase away other, more moderate voters. (Which on these issues, they are clearly right about me.) They also don't like Cruz because of his history of claiming that he is the only "true" conservative and the others are all sell outs. It hurts their feelings. I sometimes think that this is a case where the truth hurts, but it sure won't help Cruz "unite the party" and win in November.
Also, the fact that Cruz stood by while Trump acted the fool for months was awful. It seemed as if as long as Trump insulted Bush, Cruz had no problem. That Cruz has finally begun to stand up to Trump's nonsense, particularly his effort use his corporate lawyers to threaten suits to violate the first amendment, is great. Finally.
What about Rubio?
When I see the attack ads claiming he is soft of immigration, that makes me want to vote for him. I don't favor a pathway to citizenship--welfare "rights" and voting rights. I do favor legalization of workers (guest worker status.) I can understand a compromise, and if the path to citizenship is long and hard enough, it might be worth it to get legalization.
The problem with Rubio is that he is a neo-con's neo-con. No evidence of foreign policy realism. Instead policeman of the world and nation-building. I think it is delusional. A futile effort to remake all of the world in America's image by military force. I have no interest in having my students be killed, or worse, come back maimed, due to grandiose visions of what is possible in Iraq, Syria, Libya or Iran. I have even less interest in that happening to my son. In my opinion, one tour in Afghanistan was enough.
I am not at all pleased that Rubio has remained silent about Trump and has joined in with Trump to claim that Cruz is a liar and using dirty tricks. An alliance of convenience, no doubt.
I can understand why Rubio is irritated with Cruz when Cruz makes out that there is a big difference between them--Rubio is the sell out, while Cruz is the principled conservative. Of course, there isn't really that much difference.
I appreciate Bush finally challenging Trump a bit. Watching ad after ad bashing Rubio (for well over a month now,) when there is not much difference between Bush and Rubio was a bit sickening. What a waste. Aside from Trump, Bush has the most Republican voters who will never support him and the highest unfavorability rating from the general public, Maybe it is immigration (and Bush's record on immigration is no problem for me) or common core. But I think it is the Bush name.
But Bush keeps it up. If Trump wins the Republican nomination, or worse, it will be the fault of Bush and his ego.
I did look at Kasich. I remember him from when he was in Congress years ago. I had a positive impression. I don't like his campaign approach. No problem with being positive, I guess. But his emphasis of his "establishment" approach to foreign policy is only marginally better than Rubio's full-frontal neo-conservatism. And his attacks on Cruz as being anti-defense because of a hint of applying fiscal conservatism to defense (something Kasich used to do,) turns me off.
Trump. You must be kidding.
There is no doubt, I will put a good bit of effort fighting Trump if he is the Republican nominee regardless of who opposes him.
OK. He is not the least bit neoconservative on foreign policy. Good.
But what is he? Invade and take their oil? Kill their families? Torture works? It is like the return of Genghis Khan. Normal for the pre-modern era. And, of course, that was what was "special" about the Axis powers in World War II. A return to the "ethics" of international relations from an earlier era. The winners exploit the losers and are proud of it. Open and uncompromising evil--Donald Trump.
So, Rand Paul it stays.