The purpose of a primary or a caucus is for members of a political party to select their nominee for a particular office. Two or more candidates vie for the nomination and out of this process, the “cream rises to the top” – that is the strongest candidate gets the nomination. Once a candidate is nominated, party leaders, power brokers, pundits, and rank-and-file voters are then supposed to unite behind the nominee. Once a candidate is nominated all vets and bets are off. If something about a candidate – either known or unknown – is problematic – the party and its members are stuck, because the decision was already made. This is true for both Democrats and Republicans.
Our Republican primary here in New York came down to three candidates, though four were on the ballot.
As the months passed, I vetted the candidates’ records, but the best vetting tool was the ticking clock. I remember when today’s primary was over half a year away. Now, mere hours ago, I donned my red shirt, set my American and Gadsden flags on my house, and went with pen in hand to my polling place….
Simple process of elimination: Romney, Paul, and Santorum are off the table for me right from the start. Romney may very well become the nominee, but not by my vote. I don’t appreciate insincere “evolving positions,” and out-of-touch plutocracy. I don’t consider Ron Paul to be a serious candidate. Santorum is out of the race, but his self-righteousness and inability to manage his behavior on the stump were big turn-offs for me anyway.
That leaves Gingrich. He is a Reagan-era conservative who actually balanced budgets. For Gov. Palin, voting for Gingrich was her only logical choice. She chose not to run, therefore, she could not write herself in. Being a Reagan Conservative herself, Gingrich is the only candidate whose views come closest to hers. He is also the only one of the three who has consistently defended Gov. Palin and has had positive things to say about her. I did not have to ask “what would Sarah do?” because I already know as a matter of public record what she did do.
New York Write-Ins: In Name Only
Though write-ins are supposedly permitted in the State and City of New York, the candidate who wants to be written in must fill out paperwork to become a write-in choice on the ballot. New York’s vision of a write-in is self-contradictory. If a candidate is listed on the ballot, the candidate is declared and not a write-in. A write-in is supposed to be a section on the ballot that consists of an oval and a blank line where the voter starts tabula rasa, because the voter is not satisfied with the declared choices. As a voter, I could try a “write-in” at the scanner without using the ballot, the inspector told me, but I risked having my vote invalidated and not counted. For practical purposes, write-in does not exist anywhere in the State of New York. You pick from the listed choices or stay home.
Having already eliminated three out of the four candidates as being anyone I’d vote for, Gingrich was the last one standing. To be kind, Gingrich’s campaign is in its death throes, and not what I would deem worthy of rewarding with a vote. If I was going to squander a vote, I wanted to at least squander it on someone I believe in. My options were: vote against my values by selecting Romney or Paul; try to force a write-in that would not be counted – tantamount to voting for Romney; disenfranchise myself and go home…or follow in Gov. Palin’s footsteps….
…I filled in the oval next to Gingrich’s name and walked to the scanner, and set the ballot in the feeder. The scanner registered it, and the cardstock ballot dropped to the bottom of the bin. My vote had been cast and counted.
No Pale Pastels, but Bold Colors….
“Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors, which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?,” then Gov. Reagan said 37 years ago at the 1975 CPAC meeting.
In 1976 Reagan described the Democratic Party platform as, “nothing but a revamp and a reissue and a running of a late, late show of the thing that we have been hearing from them for the last 40 years.”
Our presumptive nominee – “presumptive” is the operative word here – only offers pale pastels. The late, late show has now been running for over 76 years. Now, our party establishment wants to offer the same late, late show, just with a different host.
Today’s Bold Colors
What I want is an open convention. On the next ballot, this is what I want to see: someone with executive experience who leads by example. I want someone who has commanded troops, elevated ranks, and has been present at deployment and home-coming ceremonies. I want someone who has experience managing major crises and disasters at the state and city level. I want someone who has experience working with world trade, foreign consuls and diplomats. I want someone with a solid understanding of energy production, generation, transmission and distribution. I want someone who has managed large budgets and has run a surplus. I want someone who has a long track record of accomplishments great and small. I want someone who has a proven ability to withstand media scrutiny. I want someone who resonates, who feels like a close friend, who has an impeccable character that inspires confidence and commands respect. I want someone with an absolute sense of justice and empathy. I want someone who has lived life and has a discerning sense of judgment. I want a strong leader who is not afraid to say it as it is and not afflicted with the cancer of political correctness. There are probably a few things I forgot, but this is a solidly comprehensive list.
Our Greatest Danger
Yes, Gov. Palin has said multiple times, “there is no perfect candidate.” True enough. But, excellence that resides in the realm of the extraordinary does exist. You can see, hear, and touch its embodiment in all areas of human endeavor. In politics, extraordinary excellence is rare, but it does get embodied once, maybe twice every century.
My state with its motto of “Excelsior” (Latin: “Ever Upward”) would not let me write in extraordinary excellence today, but I followed in her footsteps.
Romney may or may not be as “inevitable” as he and his supporters crack him up to be. We will not know for sure until the convention. If any readers are delegates, just remember: when you choose pale pastels and mediocrity, the outcome is also predictable and inevitable.
“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
—Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
1475 -1564, Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer