Long-time readers of this site know that I rarely make endorsements during the primary season. I do criticize and applaud individual actions of individual candidates when it is warranted, and recommend readers stay away from certain candidates who are totally unacceptable such as Ron Paul, but before a general election campaign you wont read me recommending one candidate over another. The only exceptions are when a primary is in my local district, or my daughter who is a Republican committeeman is working on the campaign and I agree that the person would be the better candidate (this hasn’t happened yet).
This Presidential season is different the blog world is more developed and has more influence. While I don’t know how much influence, the thought is in my head while writing every post making me think harder and strive harder for accuracy. Unlike previous primary seasons (this is the third since I began blogging) the thought has occurred that maybe I should be endorsing someone.
However that’s the other thing different about this primary season, Iowa is in two weeks and I still can’t figure out who to support. My number one, two and three priority issues are to make sure Barack Obama is a one term President and with the exception of the bigoted Ron Paul whose world view is “If you are nice to evil, evil will be nice to you,” each of the remaining candidates would be a much better president than what we have now.
The question is who can beat him. Huntsman can’t he is Obama-light. Michele Bachmann is probably the most conservative, but she has no chance of beating Obama. Over the past two debates Santorum has started to look better, but its still hard to over look the fact he whined his way through 10 of the 12 debates.
Out of the three that are left, Rick Perry is probably the one closest to my stance on the issues, but based on all the debates until this last one, Barack Obama will make mincemeat of the guy. Romney and Gingrich both seem to be following the rule that you go for the GOP nomination on the right, but campaign in the general election from the middle. The charges that the two if them are closet-liberals is nonsense, as is the charge that Romney isn’t really pro-life. I believe either of them has a chance to beat Obama (Romney more than Gingrich). The truth is that the nominating convention is not for eight months and my assessment of any of the remaining candidates may change a few times before then.
So I am still going to take a pass on endorsing anybody right now, but might come back in a month or two and endorse Bachman, Santorum, Perry, Gingrich or Romney. But other bloggers have decided to take a stance right now. In fact there has been a rush on candidate endorsements this week.
As my good friend Tony Katz points out –recently Mike Flynn, editor of BigGovernment.com (where I am a contributor) wrote a piece endorsing Gov. Rick Perry for President. The next day, Ben Domenech pointed out in the must-read Transom that more than one blogger has broken for Perry, including Dan McLaughlin at Red State, and the peerless Ace of Spades. Personally I believe that most of these writers were as reluctant to take as stand as I am, but the flawed PPP poll which had Ron Paul leading in Iowa made them spring to action declaring their choice to push some vote from the crazy to a normal conservative.
Tony points to the fact that there seems to be a divide growing, old school Republicans seemingly going to Romney saying that only a moderate candidate can beat Obama. Bloggers, the future of the party, seems to be breaking for Perry, saying that only a conservative can beat Obama. Tony and I both agree that whoever wins, the future of this nation is at stake and it is vital that we unite behind the GOP candidate and fight as hard as possible to beat this incumbent president.
In my mind Tony’s post raises an even bigger question. Do Blogger endorsement’s matter? Mainstream Media and established political figure endorsements have never really changed my selection. For me, blogger endorsements are different, I look at them not as bloggers but trusted colleagues. I value their opinions but personally may look at them differently than their readers. For example, I was not surprised at Ace’s endorsement because I heard him evaluate the candidates over a few slices of pizza and some beers last month at BlogCon 2011.
So dear readers, I would like to hear from you what do you think? Does a well-thought out endorsement by a blogger matter to you? What about an endorsement from the MSM or a political figure? Can it change your opinion? I would love to learn from you!