I see that by leaving my house yesterday, I missed a very interesting day at the Corner… Among other things, in an effort to show the diversity of corner writers vis a vis the GOP field, Kathryn mentioned my Ron Paulist leanings. I need to clarify: It’s true that I once said something nice about him. I came to conservatism through the libertarian door, and I do miss the old days when we had serious discussions about rolling back the size and reach of government and it seemed like something like that might even happen. I have especially missed that given this administration’s domestic policy. I hate that George Bush has been such a profligate spender — and seemed to believe that big domestic programs would buy him Democratic support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I find it charming and quixotic that Paul votes against everything (except when he doesn’t). But I am no supporter of Paul’s — not even a little bit. For one thing I am certain, even now, that President Bush was right to invade Iraq — and needs to finish the job, and leave behind a society with a modicum of democracy, rule of law, and stability. Not a paragon of those things — but a young state equipped to realize those political goals over a reasonable period of time. Changing the political landscape in the Middle East is the best way I see to fight terrorism — and the culture that spawns it. I regret that we seem to have used the wrong tactics, and I wish they had sent more troops earlier. But it would be a terrible mistake, and a shameful act, for the U.S. to pull out now, as Ron Paul wants to do.
I think all that and more about Afghanistan — to which, I believe we owe a fair amount for their help in defeating the Soviets.
So, who do I support? I have tried, very hard, to keep an open mind. I could live with a few of them. But, ultimately, the only GOP candidate I can imagine going head to head with Hillary and winning — is Rudy. For that matter, I think he is the only one with the spine to face down the Saudis — and to chop off their tentacles, here and abroad.
As a New Yorker, I am keenly aware of his experience in governing. Turning NYC around and making it governable is a bigger feat than anything any governor, or U.S. Senator, or First Lady has ever done politically.
I don’t like some of his social views — but I think that those are not the most important issues the next president will deal with. I hate the way he dealt with his ex-wife — hate hate hate. I think his current wife is a nightmare. And he is clearly not much of a father. But I’ve seen a lot of successful men like that — and while it isn’t what I want in my life, we are not interviewing prospective husbands here. Character matters in leaders– but more for what it tells us about how a person will behave politically, than as a moral report card. Rudy’s flaws are Bill Clinton’s — which smacked of weakness, an excessive need to be loved by pretty much anyone, and inconstancy.
I am certainly aware of the many virtues of Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and John McCain. I could support any of them in the general election — but I can’t, for the life of me, see any of them winning it against Hillary, for reasons I would be happy to go on about another time.
So, Kathryn, I had been meaning to keep this to myself as long as possible. But you have outed me.